In the past week, we have lost legendary icons like George Michael, Carrie Fisher, and Debbie Reynolds – but that’s just a few of who we lost in 2016. All of Hollywood and the rest of the world mourned the death of the iconic actors and singers as if they were part of their own family. To some, mourning the loss of a celebrity may seem silly, but to others, it really is a terrible time. While most people aren’t close to the celebrities or don’t even personally know them, these celebrities still had quite the impact on their lives.
Carrie Fisher played the forever icon and legendary character Princess Leia Organa, later known as General Organa, in the hit franchise Star Wars. But how open she was about being mentally ill is what made her forever iconic to me, and to other battling similar things. She used her platform and was open about her mental health and assured others than even celebrities deal with mental illnesses. Not only that, but she used her platform, which was insanely huge, to female empowerment. Princess Leia was one of my favorite feminist characters and Fisher will be deeply missed.
Debbie Reynolds, known famously for starring in Singin in the Rain, was a wonderful actress and humanitarian, also known for donating to many charities. For 56 years, Reynolds was involved in The Thalians, a charitable organization devoted to children and adults with mental illnesses. Let’s not forget that she brought attention to – and held benefits for it – AIDS before Reagan did. To many, she was a wonderful actress who also portrayed the iconic Grandmother Aggie in Disney’s Halloweentown, but she was also a humanitarian.
George Michael, one-half of the hit 80’s group, Wham!, was truly a wonderful musical legend who not only helped redefine sexuality, but the way men dress, as well. His hit songs like Careless Whisper, Last Christmas, and Everything She Wants will forever be known as true legendary hit songs. But let’s not forget that Michael was involved in many charities, anonymous and public. Michael dealt with his sexuality and depression, but was also outed by an undercover police officer. The fact that Michael managed to mimic and poke fun at an embarrassing time in one of his videos Outside.
Many stars do play a big impact on the lives of ordinary people. When Banda-Ranchera singer Jenni Rivera passed away during a plane crash in early December of 2012, one of my family members was tremendously heartbroken. I remember hearing stories of how she sat on her couch, drinking and sobbing while blasting Rivera’s music throughout the house. Even when I visited her house, I found a small shrine dedicated to the late singer in her room.
I’ve even had my own experiences of crying over celebs who had passed away. On July 13, 2013, I heard the news that one of my favorite actors, Cory Monteith, had passed away on a drug overdose. I remember I had gone to a concert, only to arrive home and get the terribly tragic news. That night, I played all of the songs he was featured on in Glee and cried. He was a big part of my life because I watched Glee religiously, and for him to pass away truly struck me deeply. Some of my family made jokes about me for crying over someone “doesn’t even know [I] exist”.
To those who have been deeply affected by the passing of a celebrity, it is okay to cry over them. These are people who have left wonderful prints on our hearts and their lives will be missed. Who cares if they knew we existed or not, these are people who have had a greater and extreme impact on our lives than the people we are close to. When we mourn the loss of someone, we mourn the fact that they won’t return or even get to bring joy back to the lives of many people who loved them. These aren’t just “celebrities”, these are people who have left their mark on Hollywood and their legacy will continue to live on for many, many years to come.
May they all Rest in Peace and Harmony.