Celebrity is a strange thing
The past two weeks has the world mourning the loss of a pair of icons. Sean Connery, aka James Bond, passed away at the ripe old age of 90 on Halloween, and just recently Alex Trebek, the long time game show host of Jeopardy, departed after a struggle with cancer.
These two people were a big part of my childhood. I can remember watching episodes of Jeopardy on those days when I was sick and could not go to school. My mom would make lunch or sometimes soup for me. And while I nursed a cold or the flu bug I’d do my best to answer trivia questions about the Middle Ages, countries that start with the letter S, and famous titles.
Alex Trebek had an easy-going way about him, and he never ridiculed or embarrassed anyone for saying the wrong answer. He always had a comforting word for a person who lost.
Sean Connery, on the other hand, was a completely different sort of character, especially depending on what movie role he was playing. I first got to know the affable Scotsman in the Indiana Jones flick “The Last Crusade.”
There, he played the titular character’s father. A few years later I saw him in the cult-classic film “The Highlander.” I don’t want to give the plot away in case you have not seen it, but Sean Connery plays a centuries old immortal who goes by the name Ramierez.
I can’t imagine what the producers were thinking, having the film set in Scotland, about an eternal Scottish warrior, and then casting Sean Connery, but making him Spanish. Hey, it was the 1980’s, anything went apparently.
Judging by some of the movies Connery was in, that seems to be true for he was in some terrible movies, but he kept at his craft and eventually earned an Oscar for “The Untouchables.”
His career is a credit to doing something you love, and doing it a high standard. The same goes for Alex Trebek. He clearly loved what he did and he made an impact on people’s lives.
Celebrity is a strange thing, and at times it can be a dangerous thing. It can even lead to both men being parodied on Saturday Night Live as contestants on Celebrity Jeopardy, another big part of my childhood.
Our society has a strange worship of all things celebrity. We have TV channels and magazines devoted to the cult of celebrity. We admire celebrities and try to be like them. They’re paid millions to endorse a lifestyle that for many is unattainable. We tend to forget that celebs are people too. They make mistakes and they fail and they disappoint.
I try not to worship any celebrity, but I always did enjoy Sean Connery and Alex Trebek. Maybe it was because despite their fame and wealth and status they seemed like good people.
They weren’t saints, or had austere lifestyles, but they certainly showed that one can enjoy success without becoming ensnared by it. That’s a good lesson, I think. Success can be a drug and failure can be fatal. I guess the other lesson I take from these two men, is when you find something you love, you’ve found your purpose.
M USINGS AND G RUMBLINGS
ROSS PATTERMANN REPORTER