Suicide and the Aging Superstar
You know what makes total sense to me? Aging superstars, no longer relevant, who kill themselves. Think about that gorgeous thought for a moment. The media portrays these people as brilliantly accomplished people (which they usually are) who end their own livesneedlessly (probably true) and no one gets it (understandable). However think about the perspective of the suicidal entertainer:
- their time has come and gone
- perhaps he or she is a joke from yesteryear
- the physical beauty if this performer is fast disappearing
- no one would line up to see that show anymore
Aging isn’t fun for anyone. Most of us are vain. We want to be young-looking forever. Who wants crow’s feet and a saggy butt? I don’t hear anyone jumping up and saying “pick me!” Now add to that the faded experience of having been a glamorous, sought-after entertainer in one area of the industry or another, be it an actor, musician, model, what have you. Those flaws are magnified. Mirrors become torture devices more malicious than those of the Medieval Era.
And to t0p it all off, no one wants these people anymore, or at least not to the degree they were once desired and valued. Perhaps the spouse they married years ago, half their age, has been cheating on the ex-superstar, clearly only having married for the money and the lifestyle. Humiliation cloaks the washed-up performer. It’s probably an egocentric thing for many, but for others it’s just the understandable torment of no longer being relevant in the public eye.
Donny Osmond, who is neither aging visibly nor unwanted, gave an interview where he stated frankly that “to be famous and loved by millions of people one day then to wake up and find yourself a joke the next was a very traumatic experience.” No doubt. It was his stunning performance in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat that revived what truly is a remarkable talent.
John Travolta candidly discussed his similar experience. After his brilliant performances in Saturday Night Fever and Grease his stardom faded rapidly: disco was dead and along with it his career. He appeared in a string of utterly banal and graceless films after this successful period in his life but his phone didn’t ring for decades after Grease. Then his unexpected comeback in Pulp Fiction re-launched his career and a new star was re-born. Travolta and Osmond were two of the lucky few.
Then there are those suicidal stars whose lives are so messed up post-fame that they are no more than walking tragedies waiting to happen: Cory Haim, Don Cornelius, Kenny McKinley, Dana Plato, Savannah, Jonathan Brandis, Andrew Koenig, Peg Entwistle, Ricky Schroder, Rob Pilatus are some pathetic examples. Of course there is always more to a suicide than one aspect of a person’s life but doubtless the difficult transition from fame and wealth to obscurity and for some, poverty, is a proven formula for suicide.
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