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Notable Folks Who We Loved & Lost in 2009

  • Dec 28, 2009
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This list may seem a bit morbid, but it's really meant as more of a tribute. I know that many other folks in tinsel town passed away this year, but these are the few folks who stood out in my mind the most. CNN recently published an article about celebrity deaths this year, posing the questions of whether tinsel town took an extra hard hit this year, or if it only seemed so because social media seemed to perpetuate it.  I think it's a combination of both.

Let's take a moment to remember these great folks and all of the contributions that they've made to pop culture that have entertained us so during their careers. RIP.
Bea Arthur
Bea Arthur passed away from cancer on April 25, 2009. I absolutely loved her in the Golden Girls. I'd be lying if I said that she was my favorite, though, because I loved all the ladies on that show, but there was something about her character's wry, wittiness that bounced off of the others so well. Apparently, she was like that in real life, too.
David Carradine
David Carradine died a mysterious death on June 3, 2009. Older generations probably know David Carradine for his kung fu series, but to the younger generation, he'll always be known as the hardcore Bill from Kill Bill. This man lived quite the life, and it looks like he left it in as crazy a way as he lived it.
Les Paul
Les Paul passed away on August 12, 2009 from complications from pneumonia. I didn't actually know too much about Les Paul until after his death, but I sure can appreciate the guitars that he created and the inspiration that he gave to some of my favorite musicians in the past few decades.
Farrah Fawcett
Farrah Fawcett passed away on June 25, 2009 from anal cancer. This blonde bombshell will probably always be known for her red swimsuit, feathered hair, and Charlie's Angel. In her later years, she seemed to be a little more kooky than usual, re: her stint on Roast and her interview on David Letterman, but that was just more Farrah to love. I thought it was hilarious and loved her more for her craziness.
Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson passed away on June 25, 2009, after going into cardiac arrest. This was a sad, sad day for music, and with his upcoming tour, his death was totally uncalled for. In his adulthood, based on his mannerisms and the things that he did, it never seemed like he was truly part of "our" world, which sometimes led him to legal and financial troubles. I guess he's relieved of all that now, but I still feel badly for his family, especially for his very young children. Despite the crazy life he lived, he will always be remembered for his great contribution to music.
John Hughes
John Hughes passed away on August 6, 2009, after going into cardiac arrest. He brought the world so much awesomeness in the 80's and early 90's through the films he wrote and directed, including Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Weird Science, The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink and Home Alone. I think I'm going to have to have a John Hughes marathon soon.
Rest In Power DJ AM
DJ AM passed away on August 28, 2009 from an accidental drug overdose. Every time I read a news article about him or saw an interview, it seemed like he was always talking about overcoming something, whether it was obesity, depression, drug abuse or a plane accident, and I always thought that his candor and openness to talking about this was very admirable. It's extra tragic that at the time of his death, it only seemed like he was on his way up and he was working on a show called Gone Too Far about helping drug abusers, yet the one person who he couldn't help was himself.
Taco Bell Dog
Gidget Chipperton was put down on July 21, 2009, after suffering from a massive stroke. Yes, the Taco Bell dog has a real name. A real awesome one at that. A lot of people say that Paris Hilton started the whole chihuahua craze, but I swear it all started with Gidget! She will forever be known as the "Yo Quiero Taco Bell?" dog.
Patrick Swayze
Patrick Swayze passed away on September 14, 2009, from pancreatic cancer. He gave us such hit movies as Dirty Dancing and Ghost. At the time of his death, he had been married to his childhood sweetheart, Lisa Niemi, for almost 35 years, which is amazing, especially for Hollywood. It's really admirable how even after he had surgery and was going through cancer treatments, that he continued to make appearances and appeal to the public for support in finding a cure for cancer.
Brittany Murphy
Brittany Murphy passed away on December 20, 2009, after going into cardiac arrest, which is really unusual for a seemingly healthy 32 year old woman. Hearing her husband gush about her and talk about how they had planned on having children next year is absolutely heartbreaking. Brittany played the frumpy friend on Clueless, but later shed some pounds, played some great roles and became a bombshell. She seemed like such a sweet, bubbly and free spirited person. Ashton Kutcher was right when he tweeted, "the world lost a little piece of sunshine" after her death.

What did you think of this list?

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January 11, 2010
It seems like there have been so many celebrity deaths since the New Millennium began. Also, it seems like the people that have been dying are increasingly younger. Strange. As for John Hughes, lately they've been playing his movies on cable a lot. I'd forgotten how controversial some of them were. "Sixteen Candles" is kind of racist, you know? "The Breakfast Club" still holds up wonderfully though.
January 10, 2010
Great list, D! Let's hope we're done with all the deaths for 2010....
January 11, 2010
Thanks, lady! I positive that we're not though, but c'est la vie. I'm just hoping that less young folks pass before their time!
December 30, 2009
Great list. We also lost Christo of The Gates fame (French people wrapping up big objects)... http://www.christojeanneclaude.net/.... Are you feeling old? I am!
January 02, 2010
Thanks, James! And tragedy. I didn't know that Christo had passed away!
December 28, 2009
Still can't believe Brittany Murphy. She must have been on SOMETHING, right?! Still, how sad.
December 28, 2009
I know, I'm still not over Brittany Murphy's death! Way too out of the blue. I don't think she was known to have a drug problem, but she did lose a lot of weight over the years. Dieting gone wrong? I guess we'll find out when the toxicology test results are reported.
December 28, 2009
Did you ever notice how "notable" people lists seem to only include celebrities associated with the entertainment industry? Are our lives so shallow that we can't "celebrate" or "mourn" the deaths of authors, scientists, philanthropists, politicians, business leaders and others that contribute more to the general improvement of the world than media celebrities? I'm not a particularly religious person but it seems to me, (just as an example that popped into my mind) that somebody with the status of Oral Roberts might have been included on such a list. Just a passing thought of mine. Nice tribute and nice list. Take a look at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deaths_in_2009 There are lots, lots more to choose from.
December 28, 2009
I actually almost called this list "Celebrities Who We Loved & Lost in 2009", but I felt like a couple of the folks on this list, like Les Paul, didn't fit the same type of celebrity status that some of the other folks on this list did. I realize that I left off a lot of politicians (Ted Kennedy's a huge one), athletes, as well as many celebrities, etc, off this list, but I wanted to narrow it down to the few people who at least made a slight impact on my life so that I had something to say about them. I'd love to see a list of the folks you consider notable :) Thanks for your comment, Paul!
December 28, 2009
Agreed. Les Paul stood out on your list as being the kind of person I meant. Not only was he a celebrity (of sorts) but he was a ground-breaking musician who contributed to the development of the entire field of music.
December 28, 2009
I was so struck by the number of celebrities who passed away (not to mention how HUGE some of them were in the case of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett... on the same freakin' day!) that I was tempted to make a list of celebrities who DIDN'T die in 2009 just to get to people to realize that we lost some iconic people but a lot of huge icons are still there.  Great list!
December 28, 2009
I know! I think that the last big star who we lost before this year was maybe Heath Ledger? Nothing's stopping you from still making a list of iconic people who are still around! :P Thanks for your comment, Sean!
December 28, 2009
2009 was just an odd year the way celebrities were just sort of passing away one after the other. There's also a boxer who passed on this year. excellent effort in paying a homage, Debbie!
December 28, 2009
Thanks, Woo! There are so many people who I didn't include on this list. Too many celebrities, as well as athletes, and politicians, etc. But something tells me it's going to be like this every year, cuz that's just life.
Lists Inspired by This List
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created a list. January 08, 2010
Some were only minor TV stars or character actors, some of you may not recognize them at all, but here are my additions to the list.
Dan O'Bannon Paul Naschy Gene Barry Liam Clancy Soupy Sales
About the list creator
devora ()
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When I'm not Lunching, I'm a jeweler, and an all around, self-proclaimed web geek. My passions include social media, the interweb, technology, writing, yoga, fitness, photography, jewelry, fashion, … more
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