Celebrity deaths and what they mean to us

By Laura Stall, Opinion Writer

These past years have plagued us with an unfortunate number of celebrity deaths. In the past few years, the world has said goodbye to Amy Winehouse, Shirley Temple, Whitney Houston, Cory Monteith, and most recently, Robin Williams and Joan Rivers. Their friends mourn, their family mourns, and the entire world mourns.

But why?

People have varying opinions when it comes to the deaths of celebrities. Some people say that others should not get so caught up in the deaths of celebrities because they never knew them personally and did not know anything about their life. Then, there are some people who think it is completely normal to treat a celebrity death as though it was the death of someone close to him or her.

Whether we would like to admit it or not, celebrities play a large role in people’s lives. Whether it’s their backstories that people relate to, the struggles they faced in life, or just the fact that a celebrity is really good at his or her job, people form a close connection with them. As they follow celebrities throughout their life, which is easy to do because they can actively communicate with their fans via social media such as Twitter or Tumblr, fans feel that they can relate to them, regardless of the fact that they never met the person in real life.

This would be the case with celebrities like Cory Monteith. He sprung to stardom with his role as loveable jock Finn on Glee.  His character on Glee was considered a very inspirational character. He was a jock who was not ashamed of being part of the nerdy Glee Club, and always encouraged others to express, love, and be true to themselves. Finn as Corey in real life was the same way. A lot of people related to him, and losing him was very hard for people.

Some celebrities are mourned because they played a large part in our childhood. This would be the case with Robin Williams. Williams voiced one of the best Disney characters in existence, the Genie from Aladdin. He also starred in Hook, a movie about a grown-up Peter Pan, and Patch Adams, where he brought the gift of laughter to young children. Williams, to the college-aged generation, was a loving, funny man whose presence we enjoyed during our childhood. To lose that is tough because we recall exactly how much of an impact those types of movies had on our lives, and it hurts to see the person behind such an impact be taken from us.

I have mourned the death of certain musicians, like Davy Jones of the 70s band and TV show The Monkees, because their music played a large role in my life. It helped me through rough times and kept me going when things seemed bleak.  It is sad when such an inspiration is taken from the world. I felt like it was a personal loss, even if Davy Jones was not my close, personal friend.

It is important to remember that it is completely normal to have deep feelings of sadness and loss when a celebrity passes away. Everyone has their own reasons for loving a celebrity, and everyone is entitled to their feelings if a celebrity is taken from them. It’s also important to remember that that celebrity is never really gone, as long as people continue to share their work, wisdom, and love.