We’ve Lost Three Cultural Icons

In the past few days, we have lost three cultural icons.  They represent three different cultural areas of America and show us in some ways how our culture has changed over the years.  Ed McMahon died Tuesday at age 86, Farrah Fawcett died Thursday at age 62, and Michael Jackson died Thursday at age 50.  Each of them played a unique roll in American culture.

No one over the age of 35 will ever forget “Here’s Johnny” or the wonderful straight man to Carnac the Magnificant.  The Tonight Show had a different flavor than the late night shows of today.  There was political comeday, but it was less vicious than it is today.  There were jokes that pushed the envelope, but they did it gently.  America was able to laugh it itself as well as laughing at the jokes in the monologue or many skits.  Ed McMahon represented a comedic civility that we seem to have lost.

Farrah Fawcett was the pinup girl of the 1970’s.  “Charlie’s Angels” was not great drama, but it was fun and the good guys always won.  She did some more serious acting on TV later in her carreer and was nominated for Emmy awards three times.

The Washington Times commented on Michael Jackson’s contributions to the world of music: 

“Mr. Jackson, named in the Guinness World Records as the “Most Successful Entertainer of All Time,” with 13 Grammy Awards, 13 chart-topping solo singles and more than 750 million albums sold worldwide.”

The thing I remember the most about Michael Jackson was the 1985 recording of “We Are The World”, written with Lionel Richie, and recorded with most of the major music stars of the time.  Michael Jackson was a pioneer in may ways.  He fused rock and roll and funk with the concept of the music video just as MTV was becoming popular.  He had the ability to find the next step in musical entertainment during the 1980’s.  He was getting ready to tour in the coming year, and I know his fans were looking forward to seeing him.

These three people represented very different lives and lifestyles, but all contributed to our American culture, and all will be missed.