More sad news over the weekend, when in the space of 48 hours we learned of the deaths of Gary Coleman and Dennis Hopper.
Coleman was obviously most famous for his role as Arnold on 80’s TV sitcom ‘Diff’rent Strokes’. In subsequent years the child star led an oftentimes troubled life, and died on Friday from a brain hemorrhage which was the result of an accidental fall in his kitchen at home. Coleman was 42, and is survived by his wife Shannon Price
Hopper was easily one of Hollywood’s most colorful identities. A legendary bad boy, Hopper is still most famous for his role in the brilliant film ‘Easy Rider’ (which he also wrote and directed). Hopper was an actor, director, writer, producer, as well as being an accomplished photographer and artist. Married 5 times over the course of his life, Hopper was 74 when he succumbed to complications from prostate cancer on Saturday.
What struck me in the aftermath of each death was how comparable the degree of media coverage was for both men, and that were you to base your opinion solely on Google trending and social networking sites over the past few days you’d most likely be convinced that it was Coleman who was the bigger star of the two by far.
I’ll grant you that Gary Coleman was an 80’s icon. But then so were Cyndi Lauper, Boy George and Mr. T.
Yes, that really IS Mr. T & Gary Coleman. Glory Days, they'll pass you by...
See, THIS is my favorite Dennis Hopper moment:
And THIS is probably my favorite Gary Coleman moment (at least now it is, predominantly because I’m a cruel, hateful little man with an overdeveloped irony gland):
I don’t want to denigrate the memory of Gary Coleman. Nostalgia has its place in life, sure, and the dude obviously overcame his share of obstacles in life to become a household name (at least for a while). But as a self-professed movie tragic, it pains me just a little when I see Arnold treated with more reverence than a man who influenced cinema as much as Dennis Hopper.
It’s nothing new, sadly. Hopper finally received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame this March… wow. Only 7 years after David Spade received one.
To be fair, he WAS pretty awesome in 'Eurotrip'... wait... whattya mean that wasn't David Spade?!?
And no, Coleman doesn’t have a star, yet. But I’m sure that in a world where we can honor Shrek with Hollywood immortality, Coleman will definitely receive one posthumously.
But were his contributions to the zeitgeist really that significant?
To put it in to context, which would you prefer as your epitagh?
Iconic, Oscar-winning writer and actor who appeared in films including ‘Rebel Without a Cause’, ‘Giant’, ‘True Grit’, ‘Easy Rider’, ‘Apocalypse Now’, ‘Hoosiers’, ‘Blue Velvet’, ‘True Romance’ and ‘Speed’…
“Whatchu talkin about, Willis?”
Life’s all about the tough decisions…