Thursday, November 10, 2011

You Can't Stop What's Coming


Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, Leslie Caron, Francis Ford Coppola, Maggie Smith, Joanne Woodward, Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Jane Fonda, Glenda Jackson, Sophia Loren, Clint Eastwood, Burt Reynolds, Gene Hackman, Al Pacino.   Know what they all have in common?  They are all the names of actors and directors I grew up with as the big stars of the day and soon, sooner than you think, they're going to die.  Sorry for that, maybe I should have cushioned the blow more.

The cinematic stars, in front of and behind the camera, that I grew up with will soon be dead and not freakishly so, like John Belushi, in which the death is a shocking and tragic loss.  No, when they die, it won't be surprising.  No one will say "they were too young to die."  They will be in their seventies, eighties and nineties soon, very soon.  Some already are.  No one is very shocked when someone in their seventies, eighties or nineties dies.

In the last couple of years, I've already lost Peter Falk, Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman and a host of other actors that were the big stars of my youth.  The thing is, when a star dies, I often have little to say, not because I didn't care for them but because I didn't feel personally connected to them.  With Peter Falk, I did and it took me a few weeks to come up with a proper remembrance of him on this blog.  Charles "Bud" Tingwell and Edward Woodward felt the same way.  And I know others will feel more so.

Woody Allen, for instance.  If you don't like him, now's not the time to tell me because I'm here to simply say he means a lot to me.   So I'm not looking for a debate on merits or whether you agree on this movie or that, I'm saying his films, particularly ones like Manhattan, Stardust Memories, Hannah and Her Sisters, Broadway Danny Rose and Crimes and Misdemeanors are very powerful emotional experiences for me and when he goes it won't be the same as any other.  It will be a seismic shock to my sensibilities.

Robert De Niro will feel the same.  He's not quite seventy yet so I feel secure that he will be around a while longer but still, when he goes, a generous piece of my acting soul will go with him.

And I bring all of this up because I think, "Maybe I should start writing obituaries now, so I'm prepared when they go."  Or maybe that's a dumb idea.  Maybe I should just let it happen as it happens.

But, mainly, I think I bring it up because I realize I'm getting older.  Aren't we all?