Home > Uncategorized > The Fallen Foursome: Gary Coleman, Dennis Hopper, Rue McClanahan, & Jimmy Dean

The Fallen Foursome: Gary Coleman, Dennis Hopper, Rue McClanahan, & Jimmy Dean


Inevitably, the cold embrace of death comes to us all.  And if that embrace is indeed cold, it must be freezing in Celebrity Land.

Four high-profile passings have come and gone over the past week or two and I sure as hell wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t throw my two, less-than-well-informed, cents into the mix.

Gary Coleman

Ever since he appeared on television screens as Arnold Jackson in 1978, America—nay, the entire world—has been smitten with the little guy.  He was cute.  He was funny.  And he made faces like this:

“What’choo talkin’ ‘bout, Willis?” quickly became the hot catchphrase, only to be replaced years later with such classics as “Where’s the beef?” and “You got the right one baby, uh huh.”  This led to a contract that paid Gary up to $100K per episode.  But things went downhill from there.  Three quarters of his pay for the show vanished, falling into the pockets of his lawyers, advisors, and even his parents.  Two suicide attempts, a few assault charges, and a seizure on the set of The Insider followed.  On top of all that he had to deal with the rigors of daily dialysis due to his congenital kidney disease (the cause of his short stature as well).

But for all the troubles Gary Coleman endured, I never stopped loving the guy.  And I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.  The news of his passing was a sad, but not altogether unexpected, one.  He will be missed.

Last note:  Whoever would have thought that Todd Bridges would outlive both Dana Plato and Gary Coleman?  It’s a crazy world, folks.  A crazy world.


Dennis Hopper

Pop quiz, Blackjack!  How many Dennis Hopper movies have you seen?

Umm…damn good question.  Gimme a moment to check out the IMDB.

Well, surprisingly I’ve seen seven!  Not all of them good.  I’ll rank them from best to worst:  Apocalypse Now, Easy Rider, Hoosiers, Speed, Waterworld, Ed TV (why isn’t the Elfman on the Island yet?), and the wonderfully-terrible Super Mario Bros.

And that’s about all I know about the Hopster.  I’m fairly sure he was a pretty cool guy though. 

So, let’s leave it at that.

Rue McClanahan

The few of you who read this blog know how much the Golden Girls mean to us.  And all of America knows how popular Betty White is right now.  But with Rue’s passing last week, Betty’s the only one left.  A sad time for us all.

Rue famously played Blanche:  America’s favorite over-the-hill harlot.  I’m pretty sure she was the reason Bea Arthur put her fist in her mouth during the opening song to each show.  And we loved her for it.

But I was shocked to discover that Rue also starred in a movie that is a great guilty pleasure of mine:  Starship Troopers. 

I’ve seen that movie dozens of times and never noticed that Johnny Rico’s biology teacher was none other than Blanche herself.  Oh Johnny, always attracting the sexy ladies…

Anyway, Rue, as is fitting for a memoriam of this type, all I can say is…

Thank you for being a friend.

Jimmy Dean

If Abe Froman was the Sausage King of Chicago, Jimmy Dean was the Sausage King of America.

Starting off as a country music singer, Jimmy parlayed that into a new career by asking a simple question:

“Who doesn’t like sausage?”

And he was right.  I like sausage. You like sausage.  Breakfast loves sausage.  And so does the great American cookout.  Hell, sausages are even running the bases at ballparks these days.  Sausage is IN.

Unfortunately, Jimmy himself is now OUT.  But I like to think of him happily tying a bib around his leathery neck in heaven as a platter of sizzling, popping sausages is slid in front of him.

Because if everyone loves sausage heaven has to be full of them.

–Cap’n RIPJack

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