News broke over the weekend that a small private plane carrying Jenni Rivera, the queen of Norteño music, from Monterrey to her next gig in Toluca had lost contact with air traffic control. Information lagged for a few hours until the plane was confirmed to have crashed and that Rivera and six other passengers were dead. It was a shocking end to an amazing life story, in which Rivera triumphed over hardship time and time again to become the first lady of banda.
Director Tony Scott committed suicide on Sunday. According to the L.A. County Coroner, Scott left notes to loved ones in his Toyota Prius, which was parked in an eastbound lane of the Vincent Thomas Bridge, off of which he jumped at about 12:30 p.m. His body was recovered hours later by authorities using sonar equipment. Scott, who is director Ridley Scott's younger brother, had a long string of crowd-pleasing hits after breaking out with 1986's Top Gun, including Beverly Hills Cop II, Days of Thunder, True Romance, Crimson Tide, and Enemy of the State.
With the possible exception of Salman Rushdie, no one lived life in hiding as publicly as Henry Hill, who beat the odds on Tuesday by dying, in a hospital, at 69, of a long illness. It was (probably) a lifetime of smoking that did him in, not a hot-lead overdose or an ice-pick to the endocranium, so he won, kind of.
Sixty-nine is old for a Mob turncoat expelled from federal witness protection for all manner of criminal backsliding. But it's fairly young for a celebrity, and that's what Henry Hill was when he died — a celebrity, in that a celebrity is almost always a chimera of fictional character and actual human being.
If the question is, "Name a TV personality whose easy charm and wry demeanor made him an emblematic game-show host of the format's '70s golden age," the no. 1 answer would have to be Richard Dawson, the Match Game panelist, Family Feud host, and all-around home-sick-from-school-watching-daytime-TV staple, who died Saturday of complications from esophageal cancer at the age of 79.
Adam Yauch died today. It wasn’t completely unexpected. He’d been first diagnosed with cancer, in his parotid gland and a lymph node, in 2009, and underwent surgery and radiation at the time. The then-upcoming Beastie Boys album Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 1 was pushed back, and a bunch of tour dates were canceled. A few months before it was eventually released, under the title Hot Sauce Committee Part Two, in April of 2011, Yauch released a statement denying reports he was back to full health, explaining that he was still undergoing treatment and saying that he was optimistic he would be “cancer free in the near future." When that album was released I attended a press event for it, and from the back of the room saw a frail Yauch, rocking a giant cowboy hat, proudly introducing the awesome “Make Some Noise” video he’d directed. I guess that ever since seeing him in person, looking unwell, I’ve had the thought, somewhere in the back of my mind, that Adam Yauch — of the Beastie Boys, my favorite band — might die young.