Wow. When I heard that Gregory Peck had died I said “I betcha there’s going to be another celebrity death within a few days. I think I’ll start a CS thread and make that prediction”.
Then within minutes I heard about David Brinkley.
Here are some other celebs who died a few days apart–if not on the dame day.
Elvis Presley & Groucho Marx
Orson Wells & Yul Bryner
Jim Henson & Sammy Davis Jr.
Jimmy Stewart & Robert Mitchum
Princess Diana & Mother Theresa
Charles Schultz & Jim Varney
Caroll O’connor & John Lee Hooker
Jack Lemmon & Chet Atkins
To beat all that, consider founding fathers and co-authors of the Declaration of Independence Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. Not only did they die on the same day, but that day was July 4.
And not only was it July 4, but it was the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.
Most of these “these things come in pairs” (or “in threes”) events are less remarkable. I’d wager that if you did a statistical analysis, you’d find that celebrities die at a more-or-less constant rate. But thanks to our human prediliction for finding patterns even in sheer randomness, we break them down the events into tidy little clumps of two or three.
I’m dead certain this is true. I imagine celebrities die at a rate that falls within any standard deviations, if not at a constantly normal rate. Still, people actively look for coincidences, so they make up patterns a lot.
Last March 27, Billy Wilder, Milton Berle and Dudley Moore all died. In fact, I remember the IMDb commenting about how “celebrities always die in threes.” If you check the IMDb’s births/deaths/marriages page, you can find at least that many people with film credits (often more) on any given day. But not all are so famous as to draw major attention.
And let’s not forget that half the time, one celebrity gets ignored for the other. People paid little heed to Mother Theresa’s death at the time, for example. I’m told Groucho’s passing was overlooked because of Elvis (who, like Diana, was relatively young and died suddenly).
Yes, it’s threes, not twos. As I mentioned in another thread, this week for me it was David Brinkley, Gregory Peck, and Trevor Goddard. But of course it all depends on your definition of celebrity.
Ten years ago Lillian Gish and Ruby Keeler’s obits shared the front pages.
Funny story: back in ‘77, Groucho Marx’s death was almost completely ignored by the media because of the hysteria over Elvis’ death. When Mother Teresa’s death didn’t get the coverage that Princess Diana’s did, some paper (can’t remember which one) referred to her as “The Groucho Marx of Grief.”
One of the oddest coincidences was the fact that Maclean Stevenson and Roger Bowen both died within 24 hours of each other. Both men played Colonel Henry Blake – Bowen in the movie and Stevenson on TV.
JFK Jr. and Carolyn Bassett Kennedy.
Am I the only one who has seen the episode (‘Humiliated’) of Nikki where she has to sing that horrible song ‘Why do celibrities always die in threes?’
“…and in other news, noted author Aldous Huxley is dead”
Let’s not forget that Donald Regan died this week too.
I’ve noticed that two will be relatively big, and the third will be a grade C level celeb.
Sorry to be an idjit, but I don’t get the Aldous Huxley quip. Oh, I get that his death was probably unfairly overshadowed by someone else’s. But who?
Huxley died on November 22, 1963 - the day John F Kennedy was shot.
Speaking of threes, it went Princess Di, Mother Teresa, Mobutu Sese Seku. Yeah, he wasn’t a celebrity per se, especially in the western world, but I’d consider him very influential.
'89 was especially bloody, in two waves folks who were never destined to see the '90’s took a final bow:
Andrei Gromyko 7/2
Mr. Howell 7/3
Mel Blanc 7/10
Sir Laurence Olivier 7/11
But there was a second wave in 8 days in October
Graham Chapman 10/04
Bette Davis 10/6
Jay “Bullwinkle” Ward 10/12
Lucy, Sugar Ray Robinson and Abbie Hoffman all died within 2 weeks in April '89, while in August Miss Kitty and Alfred of batman died in the same week.
In this same year Gilda Radner had died in May and Dali had kicked the year off by dying in January. Aunt Bee died in December to close the year out.
The Summer of '73 still stands as a black season for old-movie fans: Betty Grable, Veronica Lake, Joe E. Brown, Robert Ryan, Lon Chaney Jr., Fay Holden, Ernest Truex, Jack Hawkins, Bruce Lee–all died within about a month of one another.
This I hadn’t known. Huxley, Kennedy, and Lewis: a twenty four hour triple celebrity death. If we had been playing Celebrity DeathPool 1963 somebody could have got 120 points.
John Lennon and Darby Crash
Bumping this thread because nobody mentioned Cheers/Fraiser creator and executive producer David Lee Angell and Washington political commentator Barbara Olson. Both died on September 11, 2001. On hijacked planes that crashed into buildings.