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Famous people who died in 2012

Whitney-Houston

The New Year programmes which reviewed the year were mildly interesting, reminding us of the Olympics and the floods. I found it more interesting when they reviewed the celebrities who had died during the year. The one thing that struck me was how transient a thing is fame.  Many of these people had achieved success and celebrity when they were young. Now when they died, in some cases decades afterwards, it brought them back briefly to our attention.

The sportspeople seemed to fare worst, in that it was quite a struggle to recall them after all this time. Sporting fame comes young and is soon eclipsed by the next bright star’s achievements.  Television comedians are also soon forgotten (with the noted exception of Morcambe and Wise) because fashions in humour change, and much of it reflects its own time.

Singers fared rather better if some of their songs were still extant. Davy Jones of the Monkees was remembered because people still play “Day Dream Believer” on karaoke nights, and Whitney Houston left us the classic “I Will Always Love You.”  But the movie stars did less well in memory because while a screen performance endures, out attention turns to later ones.  It is significant that when people are asked to vote on the best ten movies of all time, there is quite a high proportion of recent ones.  The message which came over the review of the year was perhaps that celebrity and fame, which seem so big in their day, are soon gone. All glory is fleeting.

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