It’s entirely coincidental that actors Gary Coleman and Dennis Hopper died within a 36-hour window. What may not to be so coincidental is the fact just yesterday morning I mentioned two friends who are staying with us are part of a celebrity deathwatch league.
Allow me to explain: At the start of the calendar year, Annie and Nolan — a pair of friends visit from Minneapolis — chose a roster of 10 players in a draft system usually reserved for fantasy sports. The goal: Select celebrities or public figures most likely to perish in 2010. When a celebrity dies, their age is subtracted from 100 to determine points. For instance, because Gary Coleman died at age 42, a player in Annie and Nolan’s league earned 58 points.
At this point, you’re either fascinated or disgusted or both. I hear it. There’s no way to defend actively rooting for someone else’s death. Although, it should be mentioned less wholesome figures like Kim Jong-Il, Osama bin Laden and Fidel Castro are considered higher-rated prospects alongside usual suspects like Lindsay Lohan, Pete Doherty and Steve-O.
Just as fantasy football writers predict the upcoming season for running backs, celebrity deathwatch writers predict the celebrities most likely to die each year. For instance, in late December, Johnny Firecloud of Crave Online predicted Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler as the musician most likely to die:
“The odds were running strong against Tyler even making it to New Year’s, with relapse rumors and an old lady spat with guitarist Joe Perry making everybody uncomfortable, seeing their geriatric asses sprawled on front pages for days. But the massive-mouthed vocalist has reportedly checked into rehab to deal with his addiction to painkillers. He doesn’t seem the type of rock star to hop a wall, ditch rehab and go MIA for a few days before gobbling a shotgun a la Kurt Cobain, so we’ll see.”
Anyway, as we all know, these celebrity deaths generally happen in threes. Last summer, it was Ed McMahon, followed by Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson, all in a span of three days. Coleman and Hopper should have half of Hollywood holed up in a safe place this weekend, hoping to avoid rounding out the fatal trinity.
I swear, my friends Annie and Nolan are good people. They certainly do not wish anyone harm. Their celebrity deathwatch league is comparable to a bunch of weather geeks getting together to predict the number of hurricanes in a storm season. Hurricanes are natural.
So is death.