Saturday, May 07, 2011

Bifnei Seiva Takum VeHadatah Pnei Zakein

Today I thought of Don Knotts. He died at age 81 in 2006. I relate to him in that I feel my face is not aging so great and I'm not inclined to address the issue with action. He had bags under his eyes, his face's shape changed, his mannerisms and demeanor shifted; he simply didn't seem to age well. A few years ago we had an elementary school reunion. I was the only person not recognized by anyone. The positive spin on that is that my childhood shyness has gone away, my constant anxiety had ebbed, I have become more confident and gregarious. My essence that I put forward has changed in a really good way. Let's stick with that.

While we're on the topic here are some other actors that stand out in my mind due to the entertainment they brought me. They either lived long and passed or are still going. A dear friend of mine, Rabbi Shamai Wahrman, is one of the biggest talmidei chaxchamim and pure souls that I m blessed to know. When we were learning together he used to look through the yeshiva's copy of Encyclopedia Judaica. He marvelled at the young pictures of famous people and the contrast those photos provided compared to more recent pictures of those people in their older incarnations. He took in deeply that it is not only them that this happens to. It's important to reflect on mortality regularly to lessen the shock. Although as Fletch said so articulately (and another dear, talmid chacham friend of mine loves to quote this line - "in the end it's always sudden."

Barbara Barrie is alive and active at 79 years old. She just opened in the film Harvest, which got one of the strongest/rave reviews I've seen the NY Times give in a while.

Hal Linden (buzz in if you know what made me think of him) is 80.

Norman Fell (do you know the association?) passed away in 1998 at the age of 74.

Andy Griffith is alive and still acting at 84.

Buddy Ebsen died at 95 in 2003.

The rumors of his death have been reported for years, and yet Abe Vigoda is alive at 90.

Chuck Barris is 81.

Joey Bishop passed away in 2007 at the age of 89.

Dean Martin died (from emphysema) at 78 in 1995. He was a recluse for years, spending his time watching old movies, seeming to have a calm, to want nothing more.

Jerry Lewis is still going at 85.


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