Remember that old adage that airplane crashes happen in groups of three?
E-Pop! thinks that the deaths of pop culture figures come in three's, too. Dusty Springfield, Stanley Kubrick, and Joe DiMaggio all died during the first few days of March, 1999. Coincidence? Of course! But that's not hot copy.
E-Pop! is not alone in wanting to think they are linked, like some perverse Kevin Bacon game, and that these threesomes make for interesting bus rides to the pearly gates.
E-Pop!’s favorite story about celebrity deaths involves The New York Post headlines and this "three strikes" theory. Several years ago, after two minor celebrities died on the same day, The New York Post started running small 2nd page stories on how death and airline crashes happen in groups of three. But in 1991, after two celebrities died but no third appeared in the offing, we got worried! Would the theory hold? Just as The New York Post was about to be proved wrong, sixty-year-old actress Lee Remick, notable for her films in the 50's and 60s but hardly a household name for anyone under forty, succumbed to cancer. The New York Post headline the next day?
"Now it's Lee!"
That day, I saw plenty of quizzical expressions on New Yorkers who passed by newsstands and muttered out loud, "Lee who,?" But it didn't matter. The New York Post made its point in typically uber-dramatic fashion.
Taking our cue from The New York Post’s eye-catching death headline, E-Pop! started the “Now it’s _______!” pop culture alert system (PCAS) to inform our readers when a notable pop culture icon (or semi-icon) kicked the bucket.
Here’s a few of our favorite obituary listings:
1. Now it’s Mario Puzo! And in honor of him, a special E-Pop! Mario Puzo Haiku:
dead; he received an offer
he could not refuse
cotton mouth no more
sleeps with fishes; sounds wet
2. Now it’s Peggy Cass! To tell the truth, we thought she died a long time ago.
Peggy Cass, the character actress best known for her appearances on 1960’s television quiz shows like To Tell The Truth and her award-winning role in both the film and stage versions of ''Auntie Mame,'' died Tuesday at the age of 74. She was known best for her smoky, boozy, raspy laugh as she cackled at everything Kitty Carlisle Hart said.
3. Now it's Ellen Corby! Grandma Walton died this past week, surprising Walton fans who believed that actress Ellen Corby, who played Grandma Walton to great acclaim for years, had succumbed years ago. In the "Peggy Cass-o-meter" of dead celebrites who, to tell the truth, we thought already died, add acerbic Grandma Walton to the list. Corby, who started life as a (gulp, please tell me there's no video) Las Vegas showgirl, now joins Granny from The Beverly Hillbillies in the great skinny, little-old-cranky-bitch section of heaven.
4. Now it’s David Letterman’s Announcer! Another pop culture icon fallen. The announcer on the David Letterman show, always second to Don Pardo his entire life, also died this past week..No more Daaaaaaaavid Letterman. When asked to give the eulogy, Ed McMahon responded, "YEESSSS!!" No, we don’t know his name. He never announced that. Don’t ask us.
5. Now it’s Anthony Newley! He meant it this time. Anthony Newley, singer and rancoteur famous for his show, "Stop the World I Want to Get Off" died last week at the age of 67.
6. Now it’s the Mars Candy Patriarch! Forrest Mars Sr., who invented M&Ms candies and built one of the biggest fortunes in America as head of the Mars candy empire, has died. He was 95.
The reclusive billionaire, one of the richest men in America, died of natural causes in Miami. On his deathbed, Forrest called a priest to confess what we long suspected was true: the red ones really do kill you. And that whole "melt in your mouth not in your hands" promise was just a cheap lie.
7. Now it’s Gladys Kravitz! Sandra Gould, who played nosy neighbor Gladys Kravitz on TV's ``Bewitched,'' has died at 73. Miss Gould died of a stroke July 20. As Gladys Kravitz, she was forever peering into her window and seeing strange doings at the home of Darrin Stephens and his witchy wife, Samantha. She played the role on the ABC series from 1966 to 1972. When reached for a comment, her husband Abner responded with a resigned, "Yes, Gladys. Whatever you say, Gladys. Here's some aspirin for your sick headache, Gladys."
8. Now it’s Screaming Lord Sutch! E-Pop! leaves you with the sad news that David Sutch, who brought a chuckle to British politics as leader of the Monster Raving Loony Party with the slogan: “Vote for insanity - you know it makes sense,'' died of apparent hanging. He was 58. Known as Screaming Lord Sutch, he was Britain's longest- serving party leader. England apparently hasn't heard that failed politicians have lucrative second career opportunities hawking Viagra and making speeches to Japanese businessmen who can't understand a word they're saying.