I've never made one of these think pieces, hence the title 'Offtopic,' but this is something that has been on my mind for a bit.
As you've already attained from the title, this piece addresses the seemingly-sudden influx of celebrity deaths. At first this was attributed to the cursed year that is 2016, but now I see people's (or at least the writers of editorials) opinions seem to have changed to ‘with the world now interconnected as ever, everyone will know the minute a celebrity dies.’ While true, I never see them addressing the other side of the equation: pure demographics.
The modern concept of the celebrity is certainly a new one in terms of world history, so it stands to reason that as enough time passes the figureheads of early pop culture should pass as pop culture itself outlives them. For example, an article in The Guardian posits 1962 as the birth of pop culture, being the year the Beatles’ first single was released. The term ‘pop’ as the abbreviated form of ‘popular’ arose in the late 50’s. 1962 was 55 years ago. If you were twenty when you bought the Beatles’ first single, you would be 75 in the 2017, just 3 years under the U.S average life expectancy. Pop culture has already past its golden anniversary of 50 years. For us humans it’s getting up there.
If we get even drier we can hedge our bets with statistics. As mentioned before, 78 is the U.S average life expectancy. For female Americans it’s 81, for males 76. I go by U.S rates because this is were the majority of pop culture (especially early pop culture) comes from (world life expectancy sits at 71 years). So if you want to make predictions about which celebrities will leave their mortal coil these coming years it’s safe to bet on those born between the year 1936 to 1941 (2017-81 and 2017-76 respectively), as well as those born before. Morbid? Yes, but with mass media and celebrity culture how it is, it’s good to understand this and realise that the year 2016, or the Trump election, or Brexit or any other event didn’t bring on God’s wrath to smite culture’s beloved. Human genetics did.
For those curious, here’s a list of some that could pass according to my list (1936-1941), excluding the many others born before these years:
Burt Reynolds, Kris Kristofferson, Robert Redford, John McCain, Silvio Berlusconi, Brian Blessed, Pope Francis.
King Harald V of Norway, Warren Beatty, George Takei, Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman, Bill Cosby, Dustin Hoffman, Ridley Scott, Jane Fonda, Anthony Hopkins
Jerry Brown, Kenny Rogers, Christopher Lloyd, Ted Turner, Jon Voight
Judy Collins, Harvey Keitel, Ian McKellen, John Cleese, Tina Turner
Jack Nicklaus, John Hurt, George A. Romero, Peter Fonda, Chuck Norris, Al Pacino, Tom Jones, Ringo Starr, Patrick Stewart, Martin Sheen, Michael Gambon, Pelé
Hayao Miyazaki, Neil Diamond, Dick Cheney, Nick Nolte, Richard Dawkins, Bob Dylan, Bernie Sanders