Celebrity (famous) Deaths in Threes?

With the deaths of JFK, Jr., his wife, Carolyn and her sister, Lauren occuring all at once, does this fall into the category of three celebrity (or famous)deaths? Or is JFK, Jr. #1, King Hassan #2?

(Mind you I could careless, but it was the topic of discussion last night & I was asked to post it.)

“Quoth the Raven, ‘Nevermore.’”
E A Poe

I doubt whether anybody here REALLY takes the idea of “celebrity deaths come in threes” seriously, so I’m liable to sound like a grouchy spoilsport here. But…

  1. Carolyn Bessette’s sister HARDLY counts as a celebrity! Before the plane crash, nobody knew who she was. FOr that matter, before the place crash, most people didn’t know the name of John-John’s wife.

  2. What is the time frame in which “three” deaths must occur? If it’s 24 hours, then there are almost NO cases in which 3 celebs have died in such a short time (odd exception: on November 22, 1963, JFK Sr., and authors C.S. Lewis and Aldous Huxley all died). If it’s a week or a month… heck, there are so MANY celebrities these days, and sooner or later, they’re ALL going to die!

The time frame for the celebrity deaths is the time frame necessary to allow three celebrities to die. People believe the principle * a priori * to it actually occuring, therefore will feel that any time period over which it occurs is sufficient to say that it does occur. Its one of those self fufilling prophesies. BTW, the way I have always heard the theory is this:

  1. The deaths occur within 1 week of each other.
  2. The three people are famous in some relatable way (i.e. all actors, all politicians, all world leaders, etc. etc.)

Thus Kennedy, Huxley, and Lewis were all at some level authors.
Princess Diana, Mother Theresa, and Mubuto Sese Seko were all “world leaders” of some sort.
Jimmy Stewart, Martin Balsam, and Robert Mitchum were all actors.
Richie Valens, Big Bopper, and Buddy Holly all musicians (and another example of three at once)

Still, peoples minds tend to create the time frame necessary to back the principle. It’s the power of suggestion

Jason R Remy

“And it could be safely said that at that moment, in the whole of India, no one, absolutely no one, was f^(king a goat.”
– John Irving A Son of the Circus (1994)

Since there are people dying all the time, and a fraction of them will be celebrities, it’s very easy to make the quota and keep this urban lengend alive. What people don’t point out is that a lot more than three NON-celebrities died at the same time.

Actually, John-John was the third recent death of a major New York magazine editor, so I guess that counts.

. . . Along the same lines, the manufacturers and/or inventors of Reddi-wip, Turkish Taffy and M&Ms all died in the past month or so.

I have never heard Celebrity deaths coming in threes. I have heard just plain old death coming in threes though. And don’t forget if you dream your tooth falls out someone you know will die.


“She’s dead Jim. And really, really wet.”

(Think about it.)