Killing Abe Vigoda

We've been killing Abe Vigoda off for a while now.

We. Us. The general populace has. He's that guy in Barney Miller who played "Fish." Apparently, according to CNN, he's been learning he's dead since 1982.

I bet that put a crimp in his day.

But there are other celebrities who I'll hear about after a lengthy hiatus from the public eye and I find myself wondering, weren't they, too, of non-living status? And no, I don't mean Ben Stein, that's just his style. I'm talking about celebrities who fill our lives with TVLand reruns, cameo appearances, and infomercial advice and then vanish into the Great Cocktail Party of Obscurity.

Here are just a couple of celebs I've inadvertently offed over the years:

George Hamilton- A skin cancer discussion came up between some friends and I, and at least two thought Mr. Hamilton was dead. He is actually alive and doing baked cracker ads, as a form of intentional poetic irony and retirement plan.

But really, how come skin cancer hasn't snagged this guy? The answer: he's been a vampire since the 70s, so melanoma can no longer affect him. Being a method actor for Love at First Bite, he ran right out and got bitten. Now the light of day burns his flesh-- but tanning beds are apparently a-okay. Who knew?

An alternate theory from fellow-blogger Cari, of Two Kids and a Beagle, was that his leather-like skin has just morphed into a protective coating. In which case, Mr. Hamilton might be representative of the Human of the Future, should the ozone layer finally give out.

Things to think about.

J.D. Salinger- He died recently. Unfortunately, my reaction was, "You mean he was alive?" Of course, in my mind, if you are a renowned writer who has had a book that reached "classic" or "reading list" status, you are automatically dead to me. No one living can possibly have a book school children are supposed to spend pouring over in July instead of swimming and breaking assorted limbs attempting misguided stuntman impersonations.

Bob Barker- Is he alive, or not alive? I know he opened up a can of whoopass on Happy Gilmore, but that's been over a decade. I can't keep up with these things because I'm not home to watch daytime television. So for that matter, I am starting to question Drew Carey and Wayne Brady's aliveness. Once you start hosting a game show, your chances of me offing you preternaturally are increased by approximately 76%.

In a total reversal of all this, I am still seeing infomercial hawker Billy Mays, and I am pretty sure he's no longer with us.

What can we believe anymore? Really?

Question of the day: What celeb did you think was dead, only to find out was alive and kickin'?


Jaffer said...

You can always check the status of Abe Vigoda if you are ever in doubt at:

I was pretty sure George Hamilton is dead. I mean - I saw a monument erected to George Hamilton just the other day !

Jenn Thorson said...

Jaffer- Good to know we have these online resources to help. :)

stillthinking said...

I was under the impression that Danny Most (Ralph Malph from Happy Days) had passed on to the great beyond as well Pat Morita. Alas, both former Happy Days cast members are still alive and Mr. Miyagi is still waxing poetic. I think. Apologies about the terrible pun. We also cannot forget Mikey from the Life cereal commercial who supposedly died from the deadly and unfortunate ingestion of Pepsi/Pop Rocks.

DeadRooster said...

I am speechless! Abe Vigoda looked like he was scratching on Death's door 30 years ago!

But, now that I think about it... isn't it true he will never die as long as we can just pop in the throwback DVD of Barney Miller?

As far as Ben Stein goes, I WISH he would die... THERE, I SAID IT!

(come on, we were all thinking it...)

Jenn Thorson said...

Still- Last time I saw Donny Most he was on a CHiPs rerun, playing an Alice Cooper or KISS-like rockstar... if ya can believe that. I was pretty sure Pat Morita was alive, but I can't tell you why I thought that. Yes, the Mikey Pop Rocks rumor was HUGE when I was a kid. That, of course was before the Interwebz... when we could spend time looking up bizarre crap like that. :)

Dead Rooster- I know. He's been 80 for 30 years. And yes, for me Ben Stein sorta peaked at Bueller.

MikeWJ at Too Many Mornings said...

I'm constantly prematurely offing celebrities, and then debating their status with friends and family. Fortunately, I found this site:

It's very useful.

Jaffer said...

I am disappointed. They have no record of me ! Now how am I supposed to know that I am here ?

Anonymous said...

I'm shocked! I thought Abe Vigoda was dead. I still have a hard time beliving that Larry Linville ( Frank from MASH) is dead while Harry Morgan ( Potter) is still alive.

Unknown said...

Mike- Now that IS useful. Clearly, another example of the Wonders of the Internet.

Jaffer- Well, the true greats don't NEED to be listed. I mean, why bother with things that are common knowledge among your many fans?

Anonymous- Frank is dead?! I didn't know that myself.

Shieldmaiden96 said...

Wilford Brimley. I'm still not 100% sure, but I'm eating my damned oatmeal, so I don't end up ordering diabetic supplies by mail.

Harry Morgan is dead now. He was like 95.

But yes, 'Frank' is dead, and so is Colonel Blake. (Mclean Stevenson)