With all the time we spend complaining about those we share air with, perhaps we should spend more time remembering those who have gone before. A smattering of folks who confirmed life is terminal from February 20-22 …
Feb. 22, 1512 – It’s camp to consider early navigators and explorers despicable biological agents of death. I personally think Amerigo Vespucci was a pretty brave dude. It doesn’t hurt that he had such a rad name, either.
Feb. 21, 1513 – Rex Harrison. Strike that, I meant the Warrior Pope, Julius II, portrayed by Harrison in The Agony and the Ecstasy.
Feb. 20, 1895 – Frederick Douglas passes. In my book he and Abraham Lincoln stand as the giants of their times, and his path was a lot tougher. Both were born in humble cabins, but Abe was born free.
Feb. 20, 1920 – 99 years after the death of Admiral Robert Peary, and contrary to Al Gore’s predictions, the North Pole still has not melted. Peary reached the pole in 1909 and was celebrated as the first man to do so, but Frederick Cook fans contend he got there in 1908.
Feb. 21, 1965 – Malcolm X assassinated. Maligned by many, revered by many. Mad at the world? Yup. Justifiably so? Yup. Complicated man.
Feb. 20, 1966 – They don’t name aircraft carriers after just anybody. Admiral Chester Nimitz is among those so honored. He was the Eisenhower of the war in the Pacific.
Feb. 21, 1974 – Canadian hockey player Tim Horton dies in car crash. Yep, that Tim Horton. He co-founded the popular eatery bearing his name.
Feb. 22, 1976 – Supremely gifted, singer Flo Ballard died much too young.
Feb. 22, 1987 – The inventor of Campbell’s Tomato Soup, Andy Warhol, survived an assassin in 1968 but still died young, at just 58.
Feb. 22, 1995 – Character actor” is defined by guys like Ed “St. Elsewhere” Flanders. His death came at his own hand at age 60.
Feb. 20, 1999 – Rotten Tomatoes? Who needed them when there were Siskel and Ebert? Revered movie critic Gene Siskel died at 53 following brain surgery.
Feb. 21, 1999 – Gert Elion. I didn’t know who she was either. Never made the cover of People magazine. But she did win the Nobel Prize in Medicine for groundbreaking work on leukemia and herpes cures.
Feb. 22, 2002 – It’s an ugly world. Danny Pearl, noted journalist for the Wall Street Journal, was murdered by Pakistani terrorists. He held dual citizenship in Israel and the USA.