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October 4, 2023 60 mins

When it comes to obituaries, Mo has always been obsessed with the phenomenon of public figures who share the same death day. So he’s asked CNN anchor and 60 Minutes correspondent Anderson Cooper to join the podcast to talk about who gets top billing and why. You’ll hear about the case of one person’s death getting “buried” by the death of somebody else. (#Justice4Farrah) There’s also the eerie coincidence of two Founding Fathers dying on the same exact day -- July 4th, no less. And finally, we’ll look at some of the oddest “death fellows” in recent history. Special appearances by legendary obit writers Kay Powell and John Pope.

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:01):
Do you remember the day that Fara fass had died.

Speaker 2 (00:04):
I do not, and I'm ashamed, but you.

Speaker 1 (00:08):
Know it was the same day as Michael Jackson.

Speaker 2 (00:11):
Was it.

Speaker 1 (00:12):
I'm chatting with CNN anchor and sixty minutes correspondent Anderson
Cooper about one of the biggest days in the modern
history of obituaries, June twenty fifth, twenty oh nine.

Speaker 2 (00:25):
I mean, now that you say it, I vague I
do recall did she die in the morning? And then
morning it was announced that Michael Jackson died a little
later that.

Speaker 1 (00:35):
Day, Michael Jackson was confirmed dead right before the evening
news broadcast on the East Coast, so she had the
full first half of the day.

Speaker 2 (00:43):
Well, I mean, as she should. I mean, well, yeah,
that's fast. I didn't realize that that's a strange pairing.

Speaker 1 (00:50):
I asked Anderson to join me today because he not
only has a real understanding of the news cycle, but
he also hosts a podcast about death and green called
All There Is. Anderson started working on the podcast when
he was packing up the apartment of his late mother,
the well known designer, artist and heiress Gloria Vanderbilt.

Speaker 3 (01:13):
I've lived, lost a lot, had dreams of love and
faithful encounters.

Speaker 1 (01:17):
I wanted his take on why Michael Jackson's death so
completely overshadowed Farah Fawcett's.

Speaker 2 (01:24):
I think it's a combination of her just I'm not
saying it's fair, but from a news standpoint, her career
had probably peaud I guess she was not in the
forefront of pop culture and the public consciousness in the
way that Michael Jackson still was.

Speaker 1 (01:44):
Now. Pharaoh wasn't entirely out of the headlines in twenty
oh nine. She'd been very public about her three year
battle with cancer, but Michael Jackson's death was a shock,
a suspicious drug overdose. The King of Pop had even
been staging a comeback tour, and so as the afternoon progressed,
the special bulletins came fast and furious. Pop superstar Michael

(02:08):
Jackson rushed to a hospital in Los Angeles to day that.

Speaker 2 (02:11):
When they arrived on scene, he was not breathing.

Speaker 1 (02:13):
At three point fifteen Pacific time, Michael Jackson, the King
of Pop, was pronounced dead. Michael Jackson had an extraordinary
career and a troubled life, mark by incredible highs and
terrible lows.

Speaker 2 (02:28):
Just from on a global scale and the ups and
downs and the controversies. I mean, look now, Michael Jackson
is still more talked about than Farah Fosterite.

Speaker 1 (02:38):
There's no Fara Foss musical on Broadway. There should be.
But yes, you know, in a friend of mine from
the New York Times, I remember at the time he said,
Michael Jackson is a story about music, about business, about fashion,
about race, about celebrity justice, like every section of the paper.

Speaker 2 (02:51):
Also, I mean there's his children, there's the family, there's
the siblings. There's the question of possible medical malpractice. And
Michael Jackson grew up before the cameras in a way
that Farah Fawcett did not.

Speaker 1 (03:04):
The day after both of these pop culture icons passed away,
CBS's Early Show mentioned Jackson's name more than one hundred times.
Farah Fawcett was mentioned just six times.

Speaker 4 (03:18):
And of course we're also going to remember Farah Fawcett.
Somebody put it this way, this is the moment when
Generation X realizes they're grown up, when we lose two
icons that really defined our generation. These people were on
our lunchbox, isn't it right?

Speaker 3 (03:32):
Yeah?

Speaker 1 (03:32):
It was the ultimate one two Punch yesterday speaking which
Ed McMahon died two days before Michael Jackson and Farah
fawcet Oh really interesting, totally ignored. Now when it comes
to obituaries, I've always been fascinated with the phenomenon surrounding
public figures who share the same death day, Who gets
top billing and why? So in this episode, I'm going

(03:55):
to do something a little different instead of focusing on
just one person, and and I, along with some other
special guests, will look at a series of noteworthy people
who happen to have died on the very same day
as other noteworthy people. There are, of course more cases
like Farah's where news of one person's death gets well

(04:17):
buried by the death of someone else more well known.

Speaker 2 (04:20):
Of course, you're going to tell me that Charles Mansk
got all the coverage, then.

Speaker 1 (04:22):
He got all the coverage. Some coincidences seem too perfect,
almost divinely engineered. I mean, what are the chances Thomas
Jefferson would die on the same day as John Adams
on July fourth, no less, not just any July fourth,
but the exact fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the

(04:43):
Declaration of Independence. There are cases of singular showbiz talents
turned co stars in death.

Speaker 5 (04:50):
Sammy Davis Junior died after an eight month battle with
throat cancer, and Jim Henson Lee, creator of the Muppets,
died suddenly of what the hospital called a massive bacterial infection.

Speaker 1 (05:02):
And then you have what I call the odd death fellows,
those with seemingly nothing in common. For example, Prime Minister
Margaret Thatcher and Mouseketeer and Nette Funicello. Can you imagine
the conversation those two had upon arrival in the afterlife.

Speaker 2 (05:18):
I don't think Margaret Thatcher would have it much to
say to a net Fonicello.

Speaker 1 (05:22):
I mean each blanked bingo from CBS Sunday Morning, and
iHeart I'm Morocca, and this is mobituaries, this mobit died

(05:45):
on the same day.

Speaker 2 (06:09):
I mean Pharah Faws. I had her poster, her famous
poster of course, up in my room as a kid,
even though I wasn't really that interested in her in
the way that most of my friends were interested in her.

Speaker 1 (06:23):
So that poster sold twelve million copies. And the thing
that I love about it, and I think this is
probably well at least why I loved Farah is that
Apparently she rushed through the shoot because she wanted to
go play tennis. But she was like a real person.

Speaker 2 (06:37):
Yes, it's so of the time, it's so seventies, it's
so and she's just she Yeah, she looks real.

Speaker 1 (06:45):
Now, we've got a bunch of died on the same
day pairings to get to. But because Farah got such
a raw deal on the day she died, we're going
to take some time now to give her some extra love.
When Farah posed for that nineteen seventy six photograph wearing
a red one piece swimsuit, she became instantly iconic. The hair,

(07:09):
the smile, those teeth. I mean. Tony Manero, John Tripolta's
character in Saturday Night Fever had her poster up on
his wall. Of course he did. By the way, Farah's
feathered flip was a TikTok fashion trend in twenty twenty three.

Speaker 6 (07:25):
Once upon a time, there were three little girls who
went to the police Academy.

Speaker 1 (07:29):
Anderson Cooper and I were just kids. When Charlie's Angels
premiered in the fall of nineteen seventy six, it was
a total sensation. It was sexy and preposterous. Three beautiful
women who fought crime at the behest of a man
they never saw but only heard via speakerphone.

Speaker 7 (07:50):
You heard that, Charlie, everything, Sabrina, and I've already made
arrangements for you three to go to prison.

Speaker 3 (07:56):
Prison.

Speaker 4 (07:57):
You've got to be kidding, Charlie.

Speaker 1 (08:00):
Angels can say that again. I loved all the angels,
including kay Jackson's Sabrina, today known as the stem Angel,
But Pharaoh was in a class all her own. She
radiated friendliness, big dreams, and a great American can do spirit. Jill,
thanks for everything.

Speaker 2 (08:19):
You're an angel.

Speaker 1 (08:21):
Yeah, that's what.

Speaker 3 (08:22):
They tell me.

Speaker 1 (08:24):
Sarah Lenny Fawcett was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, in
nineteen forty seven. Farah was voted most beautiful by her
high school classmates every year. But, and this is crucial,
she was the kind of popular girl who was nice
to everyone. I have no proof of this. I just
know this instinctually. Don't challenge me. Sarah went to the

(08:45):
University of Texas at Austin to study microbiology before switching
to art. At twenty one. With her parents' permission, she
moved to Hollywood to try her luck in the entertainment industry.
She soon appeared on The Dating Game.

Speaker 2 (08:59):
And number two.

Speaker 8 (09:01):
Being from Texas, I'm used to having things done in
a big way, So how would you make a little
thing like sending me flowers really big?

Speaker 6 (09:08):
Well?

Speaker 2 (09:09):
The Dating Game always fascinated me because even as a
kid watching it, I couldn't tell if it was real
or not. Did she appear as Farah Fawce's.

Speaker 1 (09:15):
She appeared as Fara Faucet. She chose bachelor number two,
who was definitely the best looking one. I'm glad she
chose him, and he seemed like the most normal.

Speaker 2 (09:22):
There's no way that date happened if she was Farah
Fawcett at the time, I don't believe that that date happened.

Speaker 1 (09:28):
Not surprisingly, Farah began popping up in all sorts of commercials.
It must be said that there still has never been
an advertisement as sexy as the TV commercial for Noxima's
shaving cream that ran during the Super Bowl in nineteen
seventy three. While singing, Farah lathers the product on the
face of superstar quarterback Joe Nimath. Farah left Charlie's Angels

(09:58):
after only one sea. For a while, she struggled to
show that she had talent after co starring in the
comedy mystery film Somebody Killed Her Husband. One critic wrote,
somebody killed her career, but she didn't give up, and
by the mid nineteen eighties, Farah proved the naysayers wrong.

Speaker 2 (10:18):
You know, she had done The Burning Bed, so there
had been a revival of her and reappreciation of her,
And so she'd already gone through the cycle of sort
of rediscovery and reappreciation.

Speaker 1 (10:29):
Anderson's referring to the nineteen eighty four TV movie The
Burning Bed, based on a true story, Farah played a
woman who fought back against an abusive husband. TV critic
Matt Zeller Sites has called the film a landmark, depicting
domestic violence as an unambiguous horror and a human rights violation,

(10:51):
and Farah's performance one of the finest in the history
of TV movies.

Speaker 2 (10:58):
You know, I'm come and go as much as I want.

Speaker 1 (11:00):
Just leave Mickey. On the personal front, her short lived
marriage to six million dollar man star Lee Majors and
long term relationship with heartthrob Ryan O'Neil were continuous tabloid fodder,
but when Pharah was diagnosed with anal cancer in twenty
oh six, it was her illness that made headlines. She

(11:21):
was suffering from anal cancer, which no everyone wanted to
talk about euphemistically. They would just say she had cancer,
but she insisted on putting that out there because it
was sort of like an unspeakable kind of cancer. Supposedly, Oh,
that's interesting, good for her. Many of her fans last
saw her appear in the NBC documentary Farah Story, which
intimately chronicled her decline. It premiered on May fifteenth, twenty

(11:45):
oh nine, the month before she died.

Speaker 8 (11:49):
Sometimes this disease makes me feel like a stranger to myself,
like ablon nothingness, alone inside a body that once was mine,
but that has been damaged by radiation, chemo and all
those drugs necessary.

Speaker 1 (12:10):
For me to live. Now in twenty oh nine, Michael
Jackson was bound to overshadow anybody who might have died
on the same day. But forty six years earlier, there
was a day when the world all but stopped spinning.

Speaker 6 (12:27):
There is a bulletin from CBS News in Dallas, Texas.
Three shots were fired at President Kennedy's motorcade in downtown Dallas.
The first reports say that President Kennedy has been seriously
wounded by this shooting from Dallas, Texas. The flash apparently
official President Kennedy died at one pm Central Standard Time.

Speaker 1 (12:52):
If you're of a certain age, you will never forget
where you were on November twenty second, nineteen sixty three,
day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, which means,
though you may not realize it, you will never forget
the day theologian C. S. Lewis, author of the Chronicles
of Narnia, met his maker.

Speaker 9 (13:13):
Every stick and stone you see every icicle is Narnia.

Speaker 1 (13:20):
Or the day writer and philosopher Aldus Huxley gave up
the ghost.

Speaker 6 (13:25):
As searing social critic.

Speaker 5 (13:26):
Mister Huxley wrote Brave New World, a novel that predicted
that someday the entire world would live under a frightful dictatorship.

Speaker 1 (13:34):
Yes, all three men, John F. Kennedy, C. S. Lewis,
and Aldus Huxley died on the very same day.

Speaker 2 (13:44):
That's so interesting. I just was trying to read an
Aldus hux lady small book about his experiences taking I
want to say it's peyote, but I don't think it's paoti.
It's mescaline. Mescaline yes, and I tried. I was really
excited to read it, and I started it, and I
just found it so dull.

Speaker 1 (14:03):
That I thought you were going to say, found it
so trippy.

Speaker 2 (14:06):
No, I just found it so dull. And that's interesting
because I just read C. S. Lewis his book about
the death of his wife, and it's really it's an
incredibly touching book.

Speaker 1 (14:18):
I wonder there are people, probably fans of those authors
who never realized they died.

Speaker 2 (14:25):
That's I'm sure that's true, or certainly you know it
took them a year to find out that they had died.
Even globally, I mean, there's no way the assassination of
President Kennedy on that day, there's no way anybody else
would get any airtime.

Speaker 1 (14:40):
Well, Huxley's obit showed up two days later in the
paper on the twenty fourth of November, and then it
took yet another day for C. S. Lewis, who had
actually been the first of the three to die that day.
His death was reported on November twenty fifth. That same day,
though the headline was the death of Oswalt the murder
of him by Jack Rubin. He sort of got double

(15:01):
a clipse.

Speaker 2 (15:02):
Wow. I mean It's extraordinary when you think about the
impact that C. S. Lewis had with all his books,
and beloved he was, and yet it's the vagary of
the day. I mean, it makes no you know. I've
been on airplanes with a couple of famous people, and

(15:23):
I remember one time thinking, if this plane goes down,
the headline is going to be that person was on
the plane and four others, and I would be one
of the four others.

Speaker 1 (15:33):
I think that you'd either get below the fold on
a one, or you'd at least get the little reefer,
the little go to box.

Speaker 2 (15:39):
First of all, thank you for having thought of this. Well, no,
I just you know, I think you have to. You're
plotting my death as I came in here today. Where
would I stack up. You're talking about a front page.
I would not be on the front page.

Speaker 1 (15:53):
Oh we go on a plane with the queen.

Speaker 2 (15:55):
I'm not going to say.

Speaker 1 (15:57):
As a member of the storied Vanderbilt family, Anderson is
aware of the role that social class used to play
on the Obitz page.

Speaker 2 (16:05):
When my great uncle Alfred Vanderbilt died on the Lusitania,
which was sunk by the Germans prior to the US
involvement in World War One. His name was in the
headlines of the announcement of the Lusitania being torpedoed. You know,
Alfred Vanderbilt doesn't survive, which is interesting given the number

(16:27):
of people on board that ship. And I don't think
I don't think that would happen today. Well, and this
was in the New York Times, right, New York Times. Well, okay,
And because the New York Times, especially then and for
a long time, sort of deferred very much to establishment families. Well,
I should also say I'm working a book about the
Asters and Jack Aster when he died on the Titanic,

(16:48):
the Astor name was very prominent in the headline.

Speaker 1 (16:51):
Well, speaking of which, February fourth, nineteen fifty nine, on
page sixty six, way back in the paper, the headline
reads three singers who died in crash of chartered plane,
and there are pictures here. They are Buddy Holly, Big
Bopper and Richie Vallence. This is the so called day

(17:11):
the music died.

Speaker 3 (17:13):
The three singers that appeared at the Surf.

Speaker 6 (17:14):
Ballroom in clear Like Iowa last night, and.

Speaker 5 (17:16):
We're on the way to Fargo, North Dakota.

Speaker 1 (17:19):
This is page sixty six.

Speaker 3 (17:22):
Right.

Speaker 1 (17:22):
However, there is another death on page A one that day,
and it is if you can see right there.

Speaker 2 (17:30):
Wow, it was at Vincent Astor dies in his home
at sixty seventy. I had dropped out of a heart
attack in his home.

Speaker 10 (17:38):
Wow.

Speaker 2 (17:39):
I mean Vincent Astro had been one of the richest
men in America since he inherited the money from Jack
Astro when Jack Astro died on the Titanic. But I
don't think today that person would be on the front page.
I think the Buddy Holly, the Richie Vallens, and the
big Bopper would be right.

Speaker 1 (17:59):
I think that's right. I think the criteria has changed,
has changed.

Speaker 3 (18:03):
Love like yours will silly come by.

Speaker 1 (18:10):
We're going to do a quiz now. On November nineteenth,
twenty seventeen, two very different figures died on the same day.
The first became best known for her television roles, but
began her career as a jazz and gospel singer, releasing
her biggest hit, Don't You Know in nineteen fifty nine.
Here's a little bit.

Speaker 7 (18:30):
Of a.

Speaker 2 (18:40):
I have fallen in love with these.

Speaker 1 (18:44):
Right, did a little hard So I'm going to give
you a couple of other clues. She became very big
in the nineteen nineties on a Sunday night inspirational CBS
hour long drama. She had been big in the nineteen
fifties and then in the seventies she was on the
sitcom Chico and the Man.

Speaker 11 (19:00):
If you don't come to that meeting, somebody is just
liable to report this greasy old.

Speaker 6 (19:06):
Garage as a fire hazard.

Speaker 3 (19:08):
Why this is some kind of black mail.

Speaker 8 (19:10):
Well, it ain't.

Speaker 1 (19:11):
White male baby. That's Dela Reice. Touched by an Angel?

Speaker 6 (19:18):
Right.

Speaker 1 (19:18):
So she died on November nineteenth, twenty seventeen, and she
had a really interesting life. She toured with Mahelia Jackson
when she was thirteen years old, so she had its
great career as a singer before she was on the
sitcom and then Untouched by an Angel. By the way,
Untouched my Angel, I never understood, like Roma Downey was
this angel that would go around and I think Delice

(19:41):
was like her supervisor or something.

Speaker 2 (19:43):
Don't you raise your voice to me, miss Wings, you.

Speaker 9 (19:46):
Got a little pride thing going on yourself.

Speaker 2 (19:49):
I watched a lot of TV, but like Touched by
Angel probably was not something Every morning I was looking
a little darker, Yeah, a little mer dystopian.

Speaker 1 (19:59):
Murder. She wrote, Well, I mean, I mean, every every
week someone dies in this tiny town in Maine. That's
pretty dark. Anyway. On that same day, November nineteenth, twenty seventeen,
another person who was decidedly not touched by an angel died.
He also began his career in music.

Speaker 9 (20:18):
Ah, those real look at your game, Look at your game.

Speaker 12 (20:30):
What a mad delusion.

Speaker 1 (20:33):
Let's stop that now and then, because there's no way,
there's no way you're gonna get this. I'll just give
you a clue. He was a psychopathic killer.

Speaker 2 (20:40):
And well, I was gonna say, is he a serial
that's so funny. I was going to say, just from
that thing, I was like, is that like a recording
made in prison by a serial killer?

Speaker 1 (20:48):
It was a recording made before this killer went to prison,
and he was in charge of a family.

Speaker 2 (20:54):
That Charles Manson.

Speaker 1 (20:55):
Yes, Oh my gosh, Charles Manson delay. This just got
really dark, really dark. And I understand the fascination or
that there was a fascination with Charles Manson.

Speaker 2 (21:05):
Of course you're going to tell me that Charles Manson
got all the coverage, He.

Speaker 1 (21:08):
Got all the covers in New York Times. He was
on a one. Delriice was on a nineteen. The Chicago
Tribune put Charles Manson on the front page. They gave
nothing to Dela Resee. The La Times made Dela Reice
wait a day.

Speaker 2 (21:19):
I was probably on the air that day, And if
I don't recall what I did, but I would imagine
faced with those two, I.

Speaker 1 (21:29):
Mean, go with God, go with the Angel.

Speaker 2 (21:32):
I mean, I think you have to go with Charles Manson,
maybe like a reader of like, you know, del Reice died,
but to at least give her some props, yes, but
you know, and maybe play a clip from I mean again,
it's unfair, but just in terms of like foremost in
people's consciousness and the nightmares of generations of people and

(21:55):
knowing that this person is no longer out there.

Speaker 1 (21:59):
How would you do that transition?

Speaker 12 (22:00):
Though?

Speaker 2 (22:01):
Well, I'm not going to do them close together, not
going to do a four minute piece on Charles Manson.
Then be like, oh, in Dela Reste, well.

Speaker 1 (22:08):
Or would you say we lost Ella Reese today and
in much darker.

Speaker 2 (22:12):
Us No, or you would not at all link them together.

Speaker 1 (22:16):
Well, if you say somebody that we're actually sorry, we lost.

Speaker 2 (22:19):
Why no, why are you insisting on putting these two together?
What is your vendetta against Dela Reo?

Speaker 5 (22:25):
No?

Speaker 1 (22:25):
No, no, I actually have her greatest hits. I really do.
But I'm just thinking if you want the broadcast to
have some cohesion and so, no, and then and then
later on we'll all be touched by an angel. No,
we don't do that. We wait.

Speaker 2 (22:38):
I would not also make a you've made now to
touch by an angel sort of puns. I would not
do a touch by an angel pun either. You said
someone who is definitely not touched by an angel? Right,
was not a which was a clever transition, but not
when I wouldn't get but I would That's not what
I would have used in a broadcast, like coming up.

Speaker 1 (22:57):
Or something subtler, a passing that is touched all of us.
You could do that and then people won't know and
then afterwards. It was a very popular show. And she
sang the theme song as well.

Speaker 2 (23:10):
Oh I didn't know that.

Speaker 3 (23:13):
I need all the time.

Speaker 1 (23:16):
I January seventeenth, twenty eight chess master Bobby Fisher, who
then became a paranoid anti Semmi, and Alan Melvin Alvin
Melvin Sam the Butcher from The Rady Bunch.

Speaker 2 (23:32):
Oh, Sam Alice's boyfriend.

Speaker 3 (23:36):
Sam.

Speaker 2 (23:37):
It's me Alice.

Speaker 3 (23:39):
That's what I said, Sam.

Speaker 1 (23:43):
Alice's boyfriend. And what happened to Butcher's like there there.

Speaker 2 (23:48):
You don't you don't see the you don't see Butcher's
It's true.

Speaker 1 (23:51):
Bobby Fisher in The New York Times A one at
the Bottom, nothing on Alan Melvin. Alan Melvin was on
be sick in the Washington Post four days after he died.

Speaker 2 (24:03):
Okay, I mean, I don't know what to say.

Speaker 1 (24:07):
July eighth, nineteen ninety four. Dick Sergeant, the second actor
to play Darren in the nineteen sixties sitcom Bewitched, Good
Morning in Dora, How Nice You Dropped In? And North
Korea's founding dictator Kim Il sung die on the same day.

Speaker 5 (24:25):
North Korea Tonight announced a nine day period of mourning
for the only leader it's ever had, Dictator Kim El
Sung dead at eighty two.

Speaker 2 (24:34):
That was a tough one for us of who do we?
Who do we? Who we cover?

Speaker 1 (24:39):
But you know, here's the thing. I feel so bad
for Dick Sergeant because it's tough enough being the second Darren.
Because everyone knows the first Daron dick Yorick was a
better Darren, although Dick Sargent later came out and became
a gay rights advocate and was apparently a lovely, lovely guy.
But to be overshadowed on that though that one day
you expect all the attention, right A that's genocidal maniac.

Speaker 2 (25:02):
Takes it from you, takes it from you. Don't try
to spare my feelings.

Speaker 1 (25:06):
There's one thing I can't stand at someone feeling sorry
for me. Fun fact. Dick Sargent's first film role was
a bit part in nineteen fifty four's Prisoner of War
about Americans in a North Korean pow camp who knew
coming up after the break some downright spooky coincidences and

(25:30):
some very odd death fellows.

Speaker 10 (25:48):
Fifty years to the day after the declaration of Independence,
having said all he had to say to us, which
was enough, Thomas Jefferson died on this bed a freeman
on that same day.

Speaker 7 (26:03):
A few hours later, away to the north in Massachusetts,
John Adams, also old and weak, also satisfied to have
lived until the fourth also died. His last words were,
Thomas Jefferson still lives.

Speaker 2 (26:20):
That's so crazy that they died in the same day.

Speaker 1 (26:22):
I mean, I'm talking with Anders and Cooper about famous
people dying on the same day. It doesn't get much
eerier than two founding fathers meeting their creator on the
very day the nation they had helped birth turned fifty.

Speaker 2 (26:38):
And wasn't Adams's son, the president.

Speaker 1 (26:41):
John Quincy Adams.

Speaker 2 (26:42):
So I wonder had I been on the air that day, hypothetically,
like the coverage, what would you do, Like if television
had been around, both would probably get equal. But because
his son is the current president, his son would come
out and make like some sort of blick statement and stuff,
So Adams might that might push Adams up above Jefferson.

Speaker 3 (27:06):
Yep.

Speaker 1 (27:07):
I think that's absolutely right.

Speaker 2 (27:08):
Because he would hold maybe a live press event and
you would take the whole thing. You have to say,
the whole thing, and he would give I mean, he
would do a lot about his dad. He would definitely
do a head nod to Jefferson and a lot about Jefferson.
But John Quincy Adams is going to speak live in
a minute, We're obviously going to take this live. That
would be twenty minutes, and then.

Speaker 1 (27:29):
Van Jones, what do you think and we're back with
the panel. But you know, this was considered a big
deal the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Declaration
of Independence. It's not something we just looked back at.

Speaker 3 (27:40):
Now.

Speaker 1 (27:41):
Do you think that a person can hold on to
die on a day like that?

Speaker 2 (27:49):
I do think that. Yeah. I mean, I don't know,
I don't have any actual evidence for that, but yeah,
I mean it seems first of all, too coincidental in
that way. But but yeah, I do believe people can
hold on or decide like I'm ready. And maybe maybe
they did, one of them, or maybe just one of

(28:11):
them did the other. It just happened to be that day.
That one seems particularly too coincidental. I mean, what are
the chances of that?

Speaker 3 (28:18):
Do you know?

Speaker 1 (28:19):
What's so cute is that James Monroe died five years
later to the day, So he died on the fifty
fifth anniversary. Yeah, on July fourth, eighteen thirty one. And
it just is I wonder if he was like, hey, guys,
I want to be me too. I want to be
in the club. But not really another historic coincidence. November tenth,

(28:45):
nineteen sixty two, Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and Lillian Cross,
the woman who decades earlier foiled an assassination attempt on
Frank Lindelano Roosevelt, are buried on the same day, a.

Speaker 6 (29:01):
Final tribute to Eleanor Roosevelt, distinguished Lady of our times.

Speaker 1 (29:08):
Back in nineteen thirty three, the five foot four, one
hundred pound Missus Cross was watching the then President elect
deliver a speech in Miami. When she noticed the even
shorter Giuseppe Zanngara aiming a gun at Roosevelt. She grabbed
him by the arm.

Speaker 8 (29:27):
I knew he was shooting at the President, so my
first thought was to get the foot club in the
as so it wouldn't hurt any.

Speaker 1 (29:33):
Of the bastin. Because of her heroics, FDR was spared
and the bullet instead killed Chicago Mayor Anton Sermak. So
we've talked about pairings that sort of seemed to go together,
but what about pairs that don't seem to have anything
in common, like Pope Benedict the sixteenth and Pointer sister

(29:57):
Anita Pointer. Then there's Whitewater Prosecute, Ken Starr and French
New Wave director Jean Luc Cadard, who were both left
breathless on the same day. Ditto character actor Rip Torn
and third party presidential candidate Ross Perot, who was himself
a pretty great character.

Speaker 3 (30:15):
Now whose fault is there?

Speaker 12 (30:17):
Not the Democrats, not Republicans.

Speaker 1 (30:19):
Somewhere out there, there's an extraterrestrial that's doing this to us.
I guess these kinds of pairings are what I call
odd death fellows. For this special category, I turned to
two veteran obituary writers whom I met at twenty nineteen's
Obit Khan. Yes, Obit Khan think comic con but for
obituary writers. Ka Powell spent fifteen years at the Atlanta

(30:44):
Journal Constitution and is known in the biz as the
Doyenne of Death. John Pope is a fifty year veteran
of the business, penning obits, most notably for the New
Orleans Times Picayune. Both are fluent in the euphemisms used
to eulogize the dead.

Speaker 3 (31:04):
Passed on, join God's Heaven, require or my favorite, the
lights went out.

Speaker 13 (31:09):
Lady fran means well or prostitute or raconteur is a
boring storyteller.

Speaker 1 (31:20):
A racontry, a boring storyteller in an obituary, Yes, racus.

Speaker 3 (31:24):
Racus means loud drunk.

Speaker 1 (31:27):
Naturally, I thought they'd be the perfect duo to talk
about this next combination of famous figures. April eighth, twenty thirteen,
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher dies on the very
same day as former mouseketeer and star of Beach Blanket
Bingo A net Funaicello age age brag. Now, can either

(31:53):
of you give our listeners a sense of how big
a deal a net Funaicello was.

Speaker 3 (31:57):
Any boy who grew up in the nineteen fifties much
Mickey Mouse Club was just head over heels in love
with Annette.

Speaker 11 (32:04):
Pine too twift our MOCKI dial to the right and
left were the great big smile. This is the way
we get to see a mouse cartoon.

Speaker 14 (32:15):
For you and me, well, as a woman of that era,
the most influential was Beach Blanket Bingo and her two
piece bathing suit. Really couldn't call it a bikini. It
was a two piece bathing suit, which I did have osa.

Speaker 3 (32:43):
Well, you didn't mention this detail about an that footagellow swimsuit.
She didn't show her navel because Walt Disney didn't want to.

Speaker 14 (32:50):
And I wouldn't either because we were ladies. John, she
didn't have to be told that.

Speaker 1 (32:58):
For people who are familiar with Vanessa Dudgeons right from
high school musical or Selena Gomez, you know, Anette Funicello
was probably orders of magnitude bigger than those. She became
even more beloved after struggling for years with MS and
really advocating for others. Now, as for the obituary coverage,
Margaret Thatcher got more attention. I wonder if news organizations

(33:21):
struggled to balance who they thought they should prioritize versus
who the audience wanted to hear more about. What do
you all think?

Speaker 14 (33:28):
No, they knew it would be Margaret Thatcher.

Speaker 3 (33:33):
Yeah, Thatcher had been out on a limelight, but she
did lead a nation for better or worse.

Speaker 1 (33:38):
In the aftermath of Thatcher's death, protesters in the UK
began an online campaign to propel the song Ding Dong
the Witch Is Dead from The Wizard of Oz to
the number one position on British iTunes. I wonder how
do you handle the situation as an obit writer when
the figure you're writing about has a complicated legacy, a

(33:58):
legacy that polarizes people you.

Speaker 3 (34:01):
Write it, you tell the story, you.

Speaker 14 (34:03):
Tell the truth. Yeah, it's a news story and that's
part of the news.

Speaker 1 (34:10):
January thirtieth, nineteen forty eight, The New.

Speaker 5 (34:13):
Delhi, India Radio has just been heard reporting that Mohandas
Gandhi has been fatally shot.

Speaker 1 (34:19):
Mahatma Gandhi, the great Liberator of India, is slain on
the same day that Orville Wright, the co inventor of
the airplane, dies here at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

Speaker 2 (34:31):
This primitive kite made aviation history.

Speaker 1 (34:34):
Now, obviously Gandhi dominated that day banner headline, but Orville
Wright was also on the front page below the fold
of most major newspapers. This makes sense, right.

Speaker 14 (34:48):
I I think if I look at it over the
long haul, to me, we're looking at two people whose
contributions are equal and affecting the entire world forever.

Speaker 1 (35:05):
Now, it had been forty four years since that first
flight at Kitty Hawk when Orville Wright died, and it
had been thirty six years since his older brother Wilbur
had died. I suppose that accounts for how much less
coverage Orvill Wright got on that day. But you do
make the point that flying, I mean, it's an unimaginable legacy.

Speaker 3 (35:26):
Gandhi, I mean, Gandhi founded a nation, and there was
also the drama of his death orvil Wright was thought
of as more of a part of a pair. I mean,
I'm sorry that he died, but he was old and
he didn't die as dramatically as Gandhi.

Speaker 1 (35:42):
And being part of a pair, maybe the power of
his passing is diminished, like by a fraction of half.

Speaker 3 (35:51):
Oh easily. Absolutely. I wasn't around when either Lewis or
Clark died, so I can't vouch for the coverage their
death's got like that.

Speaker 1 (36:02):
September twenty eighth, twenty oh three, tennis pioneer ALTHEA. Gibson
and director Elia Kazan both died now. Kazan was one
of the most honored and influential directors in Broadway in
Hollywood history. He was most famous for his Broadway productions

(36:23):
A Street Car Named Desire and Death of a Salesman,
and for his movies On the Waterfront and East of Eden. Personally,
I love tree grows in Brooklyn.

Speaker 14 (36:31):
They didn't have any right to kill it, did they, Papa?

Speaker 2 (36:35):
Oh No, wait a minute, they didn't kill it.

Speaker 1 (36:38):
Why they couldn't kill that three. He was controversial. In
his nineteen fifty two testimony before the House on American
Activities Committee, Kazan named the names of eight others who
had been members of the Communist Party with him. Althea
Gibson was a legendary tennis player who broke color barriers
in the sport as a young woman. She was the

(36:59):
first africa An American tennis player, female or male, to
win a Grand Slam title.

Speaker 7 (37:05):
After Wimbledon, New York or Native City welcome to her
hall with a ticker tape parade up Broadway.

Speaker 9 (37:14):
I would have never thought that, coming from the streets
of New York playing paddle tennis, that I would be
one who would have the opportunity to shake the hand
of Queen Elizabeth.

Speaker 1 (37:29):
She was the first black tennis player to compete in
the US National Championships, the precursor to the US Open,
and then in golf, she became the first black woman
on the LPGA Tour. They both had a lot of coverage.
Kazanne got more coverage, so in the New York Times,
Kazan edged out Althea Gibson in the Chicago Tribune. In

(37:49):
the LA Times, they were fairly equal. You know, Kazan
was a heavyweight, but Gibson was a major. First. Did
newspapers get this one right?

Speaker 3 (38:02):
Well, if you go by recent fame slash notoriety, Kazan
had gotten back into the spotlight a couple of years
earlier when he was given an honorary Oscar and people
were furious because this man who had named names was
getting an award.

Speaker 14 (38:20):
I would have probably given her more coverage for the
groundbreaking things that she did and the variety of accomplishments
she had.

Speaker 1 (38:34):
October third, nineteen sixty seven, Two very different cultural figures
left us that very day. Here is the first.

Speaker 10 (38:42):
This land is your land, and this land is my land.

Speaker 15 (38:47):
From California to the New York.

Speaker 14 (38:50):
Island, from the Redwood Forest and the Gulf Stream waters.

Speaker 15 (38:57):
This land was made for you and me.

Speaker 1 (39:00):
Okay. That's American folk singer Woody Guthrie. Of course, he
died from Huntington's disease at fifty five. It wasn't front
page news, but it was the leading obituary in most
major papers. Now here's the voice of the other big
entertainer who died that day.

Speaker 6 (39:16):
Does follow me?

Speaker 14 (39:18):
Bozo the Clown and I'll take you Dousey Kurt's home.

Speaker 1 (39:24):
This is indeed the original Bozo the Clown, played by
the actor Pinto Colvig. Ultimately, there were many different Bosos
depending on where you lived, but the very first was
Pinto Colvig. Any thoughts on the contrast between Woody Guthrie
and Boso.

Speaker 3 (39:41):
Couldn't be more different. I mean, Woody Guthrie was of
the people and Boso performed his whole career in clown makeup.
No one I couldn't tell you what he looked like.

Speaker 1 (39:51):
Let me also add that Colvig Pinto Colvig, was the
original voice of Disney's Goofy and Pluto the Dog. Colvig
a also voiced the bearded muscleman, Blue Doo and Popeye.
And it's interesting because I used to always confuse Pluto
and Blueto, even though they are very different characters.

Speaker 6 (40:10):
Oh that I am, okay, have it my way.

Speaker 14 (40:17):
I would think that John sort of hit on it
with the anonymity of who is Boso? He had an
appeal on one level. Would he go through who was
kind of more political? The themes of his songs could

(40:37):
be divisive, but clowns are rarely divisive unless you're afraid
they're going to eat you, so you don't sleep right.

Speaker 3 (40:46):
There's that you're talking with someone who dated the first
female graduate of Ringling's Clown College.

Speaker 1 (40:52):
Is that true?

Speaker 3 (40:54):
Yes, her name is Peggy Williams. She is in the
Clown Hall of Fame.

Speaker 1 (40:58):
That's really exciting. Was dating her a lot of fun.

Speaker 3 (41:02):
She had this habit because of her training. Whenever we'd
go to dinner, I would say something kind of a
music and she would react. She was playing to the
second balcony. So it's kind of scary.

Speaker 1 (41:16):
When we've crossed over to the other side of the
break more with Anderson Cooper. We're back with Anderson Cooper
and a game I call above the fold. Below the
fold New York Times edition. For those of you who

(41:39):
still remember what a newspaper looks like. The top half
of the front page is above the fold, where the
really big news goes. The bottom half of a one
is below the fold, where the still big, just not
quite as big news goes. Okay, I'm obsessed with this,
even though no one under the age of fifty notes
that this means, right.

Speaker 2 (41:58):
I actually still get a newspaper. Dillar.

Speaker 1 (42:00):
Okay, right, so above the fault, below the fault. These
are all a one.

Speaker 2 (42:03):
O bets, oh, these were all a one.

Speaker 1 (42:06):
Yeah.

Speaker 2 (42:06):
So I think my mom was below the fold. She was, yeah,
she was blow the full she was yeah, but she
was a one. She was a one.

Speaker 1 (42:14):
Yeh yeah, which is great. I mean, it's great to
have a mom who's on a one. It's cool, Babe
Ruth above the vault or below the fault, above the fault.
He's above Jackie Robinson above the fault, below the fault.
And that I think is the most egregious error here. Incredible,
that's pretty bad. Yeah, that they put in below the fault.

Speaker 2 (42:31):
What year was that?

Speaker 1 (42:32):
That was in nineteen seventy two, October twenty fifth.

Speaker 2 (42:36):
I'm sure it was still a pretty all white news room. Maybe,
I don't know.

Speaker 1 (42:40):
I mean, there's more sensitivity I would, I would think now,
and that Jackie Robinson, who was such a Titanic figure,
would be above the fault, okay, Judy Garland.

Speaker 2 (42:50):
Above the fault, below the fault. Really no, it's crazy.

Speaker 1 (42:54):
June twenty third, nineteen sixty nine. She obviously died the
day before.

Speaker 2 (42:57):
I cannot believe that she was well. Where was Stone World?

Speaker 1 (43:00):
Wasn't mentioned now the New York Times, I mean a
different days. I thank you, but she's below the fault,
luci O ball.

Speaker 2 (43:11):
Well, I mean, if they messed up with Judy Garland,
I'd say, below the fold.

Speaker 1 (43:15):
You're absolutely right about that. Richard Rogers, great composer, below
the fault, above the fold. Wow, Oscar Hammerstein, the lyricist
below the fold, below the fold, which is really this
is like part of of what I think. It's like
the New York Times, long running anti lyricist bias's.

Speaker 2 (43:35):
Always there, always identify that it's true, and I'm that's
going to be my cause.

Speaker 1 (43:46):
I inherited my love of obituaries from my father. He
always said that the obits were his favorite part of
the newspaper. It's probably because my father had a deep
appreciation for the romance of life. I know that sounds strange,
but a good O bit captures that the highs and
lows of a person's life in just a few inches.

(44:06):
To put it another way, a good oh bit has
the dramatic sweep of a movie trailer for an Oscar
winning biopeck, the kind of movie that Golden Age director
Cecil B. De Mill would make all.

Speaker 8 (44:19):
Right, mister demil, I'm ready for my close up.

Speaker 1 (44:22):
Incidentally, Cecil B. De Mill died on the same day
as Carl Switzer aka Alfalfa from The Little Rascals.

Speaker 3 (44:35):
How do you ask that warrior?

Speaker 13 (44:39):
Thank you very much. You're not so bad yourself.

Speaker 2 (44:43):
I would like to watch The Little Rascals again to
see if it holds up, because I still don't remember
what the whole concept was. Who were these little rascals
and where they how do they get that way?

Speaker 1 (44:53):
A great question Anderson and One will hopefully address on
a future episode. But for now, let's talk about a
pair of Hollywood royalty who both departed this realm on
October tenth, nineteen eighty five. Yule Brenner, famous as the
King and the King and.

Speaker 15 (45:10):
I, when I shall said, you shall sit, and I
shall neil, you shall nil at sea.

Speaker 1 (45:17):
And Orson Wells, the director and star of Citizen Kane.

Speaker 12 (45:28):
Orson Wells, died of natural causes at his home in Hollywood.

Speaker 7 (45:31):
He was seventy.

Speaker 12 (45:32):
And El Brenner died here in New York after a
long battle with lung cancer.

Speaker 7 (45:36):
He was sixty five.

Speaker 2 (45:37):
I met Eul Brenner as a kid. I loved the
King and I and I loved Eel Brenner and being
in his dressing room and him going like etcetera, etcetera,
and the whole thing. He was Yule Brenner like. It
was exactly what you would want eul Brenner to do, right,
he was the King on stage and off, on stage
and off. Incredible. But I think my I mean, my
mom went out to Hollywood when she was like sixteen

(45:59):
seven and Shenner. She absolutely would have known that you'l Brenner.

Speaker 1 (46:04):
Yes, did she know Orson Wells?

Speaker 2 (46:06):
So there is a rumor that my mom had an
affair with Orson Wells, which I just read online.

Speaker 1 (46:12):
Can I ask, if your mother did have an affair
with Orson Wells, was it Citizen Kane, Orson Wells or
Paul Mason Wine.

Speaker 2 (46:20):
Outweels It would have been Citizen Kane. I mean, please,
My mom had an affair with Marlon Brando, and it
was like on the waterfront of Marlon Brando, wasn't It
wasn't apocalypse now, Marlon. I mean, give my mom some credit.
So Orson Wells and Yuel Brenner died on the same day.

Speaker 1 (46:35):
Yes, Now there's a split on TV. Yule Brenner got
top billing. Okay, in print, and this sort of makes
sense to me. Orson Wells very much got top billing
there because I think in print they were honoring sort
of the importance of Orson Wells, even though it had
been decades, I think forty five years since Citizen Kane.
They felt it was important to honor that. But yul

(46:57):
Brenner had been touring very recently. I brought my grandmother
actually to see his very last tour in the King
and I in Washington, DC, and he'd had a sixty
minutes profile and I don't know if you remember this.
He didn't add that aired posthumously.

Speaker 2 (47:12):
First about cancer ladies and gentlemen, the late Yule Brenner.

Speaker 15 (47:18):
I really wanted to make a commercial when I discovered
that I was that sick and my time was so limited,
I wanted to make that commercials it says simply Now
that I'm gone, I tell you don't smoke.

Speaker 1 (47:32):
Do you remember that.

Speaker 2 (47:33):
I do remember that. I do remember that.

Speaker 1 (47:35):
That was a big deal.

Speaker 6 (47:36):
Yeah.

Speaker 2 (47:37):
This is what's interesting to me. The people alive would
have remembered, probably foremost in their minds about Orson welles
at that time. The pal Masan wine add.

Speaker 15 (47:47):
The taste is smooth, flavorful, delicious. Porma San wines taste
so good because they made with such care.

Speaker 2 (47:55):
What Farmasan said nearly a century ago.

Speaker 10 (47:57):
Is still true today.

Speaker 15 (47:59):
We will sell wine the first time.

Speaker 1 (48:03):
We will sell no wine before its time. Always annoyed
me because it's a false rhyme. Wine and time.

Speaker 2 (48:08):
Do not rhyme.

Speaker 16 (48:09):
That's what bothered you about it. Kind of did well,
that's what bothered okay. As a childer child, I loved
Paumas on wine. May sixteenth, nineteen ninety Sammy Davis Junior
and Jim Henson.

Speaker 2 (48:26):
Wow, see that's that's big.

Speaker 12 (48:29):
The memories of Sammy Davis Junior and Jim Henson topped
the news this morning. The head of Henson's production company
says Henson took our breath away as a talent and
provided laughter and love as a friend. Frank Sinatra calls
Sammy Davis Junior a class act and the best friend
the man could have.

Speaker 1 (48:47):
They're like the Adage and Jefferson of entertainment.

Speaker 2 (48:50):
That is big. Sammy Davis Junior had been sick for
a while, hadn't.

Speaker 1 (48:53):
He had been sick, and they'd had this really amazing
special on television where all these stars paid tribute to him,
and Gregory Hines got up and tap dance with him
at the end. He wasn't expected to because he was
so sick. And then Jim Henson was a shocker.

Speaker 2 (49:09):
I don't I don't remember him. I mean I remember
his death. I don't remember what it was.

Speaker 1 (49:14):
It was a pneumonia. I think for a time people thought, oh,
it was just a euphemism for AIDS. No, he died
in pneumonia.

Speaker 2 (49:20):
Wow. I mean, what incredible contributions, both.

Speaker 1 (49:24):
Really amazing, really amazing, and they were given I think
appropriately side by side.

Speaker 2 (49:30):
That makes total sense just their creative output. And Jim
Henson obviously the Muppets some.

Speaker 1 (49:38):
They will find Lorraine convection, the lovers, but dreamers and me,
you know, it's amazing to me that Sammy Davis Junior
never guest starred on the Muppets.

Speaker 2 (49:55):
Really is that amazing?

Speaker 12 (49:57):
Wow?

Speaker 1 (49:57):
I mean he was builders for the Muppets.

Speaker 9 (50:02):
Black and Birred with our very red, the basic hand
black of luck.

Speaker 14 (50:09):
Whitney animals talk, Britney.

Speaker 2 (50:11):
Animals, grunt squeak.

Speaker 1 (50:13):
This one writty animals, and they did not. At the
top of this episode, we mentioned Anderson's podcast All There
Is On it, he explores the importance of grieving. We've

(50:36):
been having some fun chatting about the coverage of bold
faced names when they pass on, but Anderson knows all
too well what it's like to be part of the story.
When he was twenty one, his older brother Carter took
his own life.

Speaker 2 (50:51):
When my brother died, I do recall there being I
think it was a front page with somebody else's photo
on it as him. I don't know if it was
the hoster the daily news.

Speaker 1 (51:01):
And could you could you all even absorb that? Could
you absorb it and not be outraged?

Speaker 2 (51:06):
Or I mean I didn't. We didn't have any you know,
we were sort of you know, there were like reporters
camped outside the house. And obviously my brother's death was
very public because he jumped off the balcony of our apartment,
but we weren't looking at newspapers. Somebody who was coming
to visit had, I mean stupidly, had brought in a
paper and I just happened to see it, like sitting

(51:27):
out in the foyer. But uh, yeah, I just remember
I just remember they had there was the wrong picture.

Speaker 1 (51:36):
You know, it's in the constellation of terribleness, you know,
associated with this. That's one terrible thing that the wrong
picture does.

Speaker 2 (51:46):
That have any meaning, that has no meaning, has no meaning.
I mean, those were all very obviously dramatic, silicious headlines
about you know, my brother or about his death. So
it's not something like an obituary that you would want
to read. And you know that also, he was so
young that there wasn't a track record for you know,

(52:08):
anybody to write kind of an obituary of you know,
it was unpleasant to have to feel like you're sort
of in this cocoon and somewhat under siege. And then
and then we went to the funeral home, my mom
and I to view his body, and there were photography
were camera people camped outside with of course Frankie Campbell

(52:28):
funeral home, and we were trying to go on a
side entrance and they followed us, and I remember the
time hating the camera people, just feeling very protective on
my mom. And the weird thing is, I don't know
I've mentioned of this ever, there was a viewing my
brother's body at the Campbell funeral home, and we had

(52:48):
really no way. I mean, we were all, you know,
just like shell shocked, and there was a line of
I don't know, hundreds of people and we really had
no way to police it. Anybody could have gotten that line,
and my mom greeted each person, but I realized there's
just random people on this line. So I spent the
entire time going through the line like pre greeting people

(53:10):
and weeding people out. And there was one guy who
got within like three people at my mom with a
cover that he wanted her to sign the front page.

Speaker 1 (53:20):
Oh my god, and what did you do? You remember today?

Speaker 2 (53:23):
I escorted him out, I ushered him away, and you.

Speaker 1 (53:26):
Kind of ushered him away. This is perhaps a little
too logical, but do you think part of it was
you just lost your brother, you weren't going to lose
your mother because some lunatic was in the line, or yeah.

Speaker 2 (53:38):
I mean I was always very protected my mom, and
certainly in that situation, you know, I felt very much
like we are under siege, and this is what I
need to do, and there's really no one else who
can do it because there's nobody else who kind of
knows everybody that my mom knows, and I always been
like my mom's gatekeeper. So I did a study in

(53:59):
my mom. From the time I was very little, I
used to read our journals like I would listen in
on phone calls. I wanted to know what was happening.
So yeah, I policed the line.

Speaker 1 (54:08):
So it's I mean, it's almost as there was literally
no one else who could do that job.

Speaker 2 (54:13):
Who was yeah or nobody. I mean, there was nobody
doing it, and I didn't feel like there was anybody
who could really Yeah. I just didn't feel there's anybody
could really do it.

Speaker 1 (54:23):
Anderson says that terrible chapter of his own life fundamentally
shaped the way he approaches his work.

Speaker 2 (54:31):
It always stuck with me because I know what it's
like to be on the other end of the camera
lens in those situations, and it's really impacted the way
I interact with you know, if there's been a school
shooting and I'm talking to or approaching somebody, you know,
I'm very sensitive about I know what it's like to
feel too, you know, in the lowest moment of your life,

(54:52):
to have cameras in your face. I would rather not
get the shot than do something that is intrusive, inappropriate.
I don't ask people how they feel when you know,
which is always an awful question. And so it's yeah,
it's impacted the way I interact with people in those moments.

Speaker 1 (55:21):
So, Anderson, on this episode, you and I have been
talking about famous people who died on the same day.
I have to tell you, whenever I bring up this
particular subject to people, and it happens occasionally, they almost
always find it interesting, I mean even fascinating, and they're
sort of tickled by it. Why is this interesting?

Speaker 2 (55:43):
I mean, why does anyone read obituaries? We all have
associations with these people, and so I mean not with
some of the historical figures, but you know, we all
have our own memories of Charles Manson or who are
Della Reese? Who you know, however it may be, who
whatever it may be, and we feel connected to them.
I mean, that's the interesting thing about celebrity. You feel

(56:04):
you have a relationship with these people, and so there
is this sadness when somebody you you know, when Sam
the Butcher dies, you know, it brings back all those
memories of your kid, and you're watching it and Alice
and Sam and the stupid jokes and the whole family
and those experiences. You're married and right, and who you're
watching it with?

Speaker 12 (56:25):
Sam, Are you.

Speaker 14 (56:26):
Going to kiss me under those stars?

Speaker 10 (56:30):
I'm sure i'mna try.

Speaker 2 (56:33):
And this is one of the things that that fascinates
me is, you know, the rituals of mourning and the
rituals of grief. We don't have communal rituals really anymore,
and so there's a privacy to grieving now, and it's
done behind closed doors.

Speaker 1 (56:47):
And so and when more than one notable person dies
on the same day, it almost makes you think about
why people are remembered and how they're remembered.

Speaker 2 (56:57):
And also just how how mysterious all of this is,
you know, how life and death and you know, no
matter how high and mighty somebody is, in the end,
we are all, you know, we all become dust, and
everybody we know will die, and we will die. We
all think we're the first ones to like face the

(57:18):
troubles that we face and to you know, have the
issues that we have, But there have been generations of
people before us who have had the exact same problems
and the exact same worries and sleepless nights and all
that and I take great comfort in that and to
know that no problem I face hasn't already been faced
by generations of people before me, And whatever sadness I

(57:40):
feel has been felt by generations of people who have
experienced far worse than I will ever experience and survived it.

Speaker 1 (57:52):
By the way, did you ever meet Michael Jackson or
Faara Faucet?

Speaker 2 (57:55):
Yeah, I did meet Michael Jackson. I went to the
premiere of The Whiz with my mom and my brother.
And remember if I met him at the theater or
if it was afterwards at Studio fifty four, where my
mom took me at age eleven, But it was very

(58:16):
distinct to me because I didn't really know who Michael
Jackson was other than the guy in The Wiz. I
wasn't really much of a music listener as a kid,
but I remember being a Studio fifty four and watching
him dance, and I turned to the person next to me.
I mean, I said, he's really good at that. He
should pursue it.

Speaker 1 (58:34):
You know how to pick him.

Speaker 2 (58:36):
I like to take some credit for you know, he
chose to pursue it.

Speaker 1 (58:40):
He needed that extra encourage that A.

Speaker 2 (58:43):
Little question from eleven year old me.

Speaker 1 (58:49):
I truly hope you enjoyed this Mobituary. May I ask
you to please rate and review our podcast. You can
also follow Mobituaries on Facebook and Instagram, and you can
follow me on the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.
At Morocca hear all new episodes of Mobituaries every Wednesday
wherever you get your podcasts, and check out Mobituaries Great

(59:12):
Lives Worth Reliving, the New York Times best selling book,
available in paperback and audiobook. This episode of Mobituaries was
produced by Aaron Schrank. Our team of producers also includes
Hazel Brian and me Bo Raka, with engineering by Josh Hahn.
Our theme music is written by Daniel Hart. Our archival

(59:34):
producer is Jamie Benson. Mobituary's production company is meon Hum Media.
Indispensable support from Alan Pang and everyone at CBS News
Radio Special thanks to Steve Razis, Rand Morrison and Alberto Robina.
Executive producers for Mobituaries include Megan Marcus, Jonathan Hirsch, and Morocca.

(59:58):
The series is created by Yours Truly

Speaker 12 (01:00:13):
H
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