Remembering Beloved Celebrities
by Cate Robertson on Friday, January 13th, 2017
With the new year approaching, I began hearing more and more people announce their pent-up frustrations about the 2016 year. The recent passing away of both Carrie Fisher and her mother, Debbie Reynolds, only contributed to these feelings.
Reynolds was known for her roles in film, most famously Kathy Selden in Singin’ in the Rain, and for her time on Broadway and in the music industry. She passed away a day after her daughter.
Her daughter, Carrie Fisher, rose to fame when she played Princess Leia, one of the stars in George Lucas’ Star Wars. Fisher broke barriers in this movie through her radical portrayal of a strong, intelligent princess who did not need saving from any prince or man.
Besides opening doors in the film industry, Fisher was also known for living with bipolar disorder, a mental disorder that causes alternating mood swings of depression and elation. She was one of the first people to be open about her own struggles with the disorder and supported others who shared similar experiences. She served as a role model for many, both as Princess Leia and someone coping with bipolar disorder.
However, Reynolds and Fisher were not the only celebrities to pass away in 2016. Muhammad Ali, a renowned American boxer, also died. Despite holding a plethora of titles, Ali was perhaps most widely known for his controversial antagonizing of the white establishment in the U.S. He demonstrated opposition to the establishment when he changed what he considered a “slave name,” Cassius Clay, to Muhammad Ali.
While Ali certainly became a symbol for counterculture in America, he also suffered setbacks when he appeared in court for refusing to be drafted. He had his boxing titles stripped but ended up fighting his case and winning. After four years, he won back his titles, but he had lost several prime years for competition in the process. Nonetheless, Ali’s legacy lives on with his signature quote, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”
Music legend Prince also passed in 2016. Signed to Warner Bros. at just 18 years old, Prince helped define the music of the 80’s. Rolling Stone ranked Prince number 27 on the list of the top 100 most influential singers of the rock and roll era. He clearly had a major impact on not only his fans but also the industry.
Prince’s first, self-titled album went platinum due to its edgy, sensual lyrics. His blending of musical styles also ushered in a new era of musical exploration. Prince even crossed over from music to film in his movie Purple Rain, winning an Academy Award for the corresponding album of the same name.
These are only some of the losses the world felt this year. Other deaths included those of musicians David Bowie and George Michael, philanthropist Arnold Palmer, actors Alan Rickman and Gene Wilder, previous first lady Nancy Reagan, and many more. Many hope that 2017 will be filled with new beginnings and fewer goodbyes than this past year.
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