Thursday, June 25, 2009

L.A. Draws Down Its Icon Count

Granted, Johnny Carson's sidekick, Ed McMahon, wasn't the celebrity icon that Farrah Fawcett was, and, by the same token, neither was Farrah Fawcett as famous (or infamous) as the supremely weird "King of Pop," Michael Jackson. Still, one almost wonders if the universe isn't trying to tell us something about the state of the entertainment industry by snatching away these three well known multi-generational Hollyood icons within such a short period of time of one another. Almost certainly not. After all, the aforesaid were, collectively, way past their primes.

Arguably, the notoriety of, by far oldest of the three stars, Ed McMahon, would have been greatest in the sixties and seventies, before the age of cable, when McMahon's employer, The Tonight Show, was the staple of late night viewing. As for Farrah Fawcett, it would be hard to over state her celebrity status during about a three period in the mid to late seventies when she was a superstar of one of the era's cheesiest bits of television entertainment, Charlie's Angels. Fawcett Majors, as she was then known due to her relatively brief marriage to the far less celebrated T.V. star, Lee Majors, (he of the equally cheesy Six million Dollar Man) never came close to scaling her Charlie's Angels era heights, when she was absolutely ubiquitous on the cover of tabloid rags, and as a poster girl in the bedrooms of feverish adolescent American boys.

As for Jacko, perhaps more than enough has been said about the strange man child who waxed and waned as a mega star from the sixties all the way through to the mid nineties when his epic, ahem, idiosyncrasies, pretty much destroyed his career as well as his life. Apparently Jackson's death came three weeks before he was set to give a series of concerts in London that were intended to restart his career. We will never know to what extent, if any, the man who sang that "Billie Jean was not my lover" would have succeeded in his gambit to rekindle his career, though, in some ways, at least for erstwhile admirers, it is irrelevant since Jackson's best days were far behind him.

So, L.A. and its bevy of A, B, C, and D list stars will, after embarrassing displays of one sort or another, no doubt, move on, blissfully unaware of the fact that the area's entertainment industry, like so many aspects of American life, seems to be in something of a sclerotic state. And so, one contemplates, not altogether unhappily, the appearance in the not so distant future of a much grander and meaningful obituary than even the combined epitaphs of Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, and Michael Jackson.

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