There were also a few "WTF, they were still alive?" moments on the list. I hadn't heard about Constance Cummings, who died at 99. I thought she died sometime in the '70's. Then there was lounge music legend Martin Denny, who died at 93, and band leader Skitch Henderson who was 87. I thought both of them gone long ago. Same for singer Frances Langford, 92, who was popular as far back as the 1930's. Actor Dan O'Herlihy died at 85. I remember him being an old guy when I saw him in movies made way back in the 1950's (well, he seemed old to me when I was akid, though he was a decade younger than my dad.) Writers Alvin Josephy (90) and Gavin Lambert (80) I also thought already dead.
I always have mixed feelings about the annual dead lists. On the one hand, they're sort of ghoulish and a bit depressing. On the other, I get to say "Hey, I outlived that guy!" which makes me feel lucky. But what would we do without dead lists to exacerbate the inevitable mood swings of this moody season? They're as essential to the time as booze and electrical fires and the morose, sentimental verses of Robert Burns. Happy freakin' holidays.
I probably won't make the list next year, either, even if I'm dead by then. I'm unlikely to become even a qualifying semi-celebrity in so short a time.