Dear Crabby, Why Do We Care When Someone Famous Dies?

Dear Crabby,

I was looking through my Facebook memories and was shocked to see it’s been five years since Carrie Fisher and her mom Debbie Reynolds passed away. I still feel sad that they’re gone. Is that weird? It’s not like I knew them. What do you think?


Gwenie Tew

Dear Gwenie Tew,

Well, when you get to be my age, death becomes part of the daily narrative. I’m not being morbid, just stating a fact. Each morning I like to scan the obits in the newspaper to see if I recognize any names. Mrs. Crabby thinks I’m nuts, but I like to know how I’m doing compared to some of the knuckleheads I grew up with.

Dear Crabby sits infront of his laptop

I don’t think what you’re experiencing is weird. What would be weird is if you had some sort of a shrine in your home to Fisher or Reynolds. I don’t have a rational explanation for why we are drawn to certain famous people. Sometimes, I think it’s because they’ve had an impact on our lives. Or the person was our age, and we grew up together during the same time. Maybe we saw a quality in them we admired or wished we had. Former President John F. Kennedy is a good example. Thousands mourned him and not just because he was president or how he was killed. He was the first Catholic president and Irish. That resonated with a lot of people. I know it did in my Detroit neighborhood. Or how about Princess Diana. Even when they took away her royal title, she was more popular than many in the royal family. Millions of people loved her. Plus, there’s just something about this time of year that makes this old curmudgeon get a bit sentimental.

We lost a lot of good people this year. Some were on the younger side like comedian Norm Macdonald. I never had much reason to watch Saturday Night Live, but I sure enjoyed Macdonald’s dry wit and delivery. Passing away at 61 is too young. Then there was Larry King, who was 87. Honestly, I didn’t realize he was still alive. And there has to be a joke in there somewhere regarding “Hustler” Founder Larry Flynt and conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh dying seven days apart, but this is a family column, so I’ll keep it to myself. While I may be a lifelong Detroit Tigers fan, there’s no denying the talent that Hank Aaron, “Hammerin’ Hank,” wowed crowds with during his 23 years in Major League Baseball. I could go on and on, but it’s this next group that I’m aiming to be part of – the 90+ club.

These are the folks who squeezed every bit out of life that they could and really made an impact. People like Christopher Plummer (91), Cloris Leachman (94), and Cicely Tyson (96). I was really pulling for the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip to make it to 100 years old, but reaching 99 isn’t a bad run. Speaking of turning 100, that’s what Betty White will do on January 17, 2022. Talk about a national treasure. I wonder if she’s into dating younger men.

Obviously, I haven’t mentioned everyone who passed. If you want that, I suggest you ask Mr. Google. So, watch Star Wars or Singing in the Rain if it makes you feel better. And here’s to all of us making it into the New Year!

Dear Crabby

About Dear Crabby

Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at

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