DEBORAH CROMBIE: What a week. First, David Bowie, dead at 69, just three days after releasing his final album. Then, Thursday, Alan Rickman, also dead at 69, also from cancer.
The mourning for David Bowie here in the UK has been enormous and public. He was not only a talented artist, but an icon, a hero to generations of those who felt different. Hundreds of people gathered around the mural painted on the side of Morley's department store in Brixton (his birthplace), singing, crying, and leaving flower tributes. There have been retrospectives in every newspaper and every television station.
But while I shared in the nostalgia, I didn't have a huge emotional connection to Bowie.
Alan Rickman was a different matter. I ADORED Alan Rickman. From the first time I saw him, stealing the screen as Hans Gruber in Die Hard. He played the good, the bad, the silly, the complicated, all with such joy and finesse. (And, yes, you can play villains joyously, if you are Alan Rickman...) Some of the performances I loved best: Jamie, the dead cellist in Anthony Minghella's Truly, Madly, Deeply; The deliciously evil Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood, Price of Theives; Bad Harry in Love Actually; and of course, the multi-layered Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films. JK Rowling has said she had Rickman in mind from the beginning. She certainly wrote Snape for him from the time he was cast in the first film. They grew into one another, Snape and Rickman, and Rickman always knew what part Snape was meant to play.
There are too many more movies to name. I only wish I'd seen him on the stage. That voice, so instantly recognizable in film--can you imagine having heard him live?
Actor friends of mine in London have described him as kind, generous, and funny. He was actor's actor, a pro, never a movie star.
I am heartbroken at his passing.
REDS, have these deaths hit you hard, too?
HALLIE EPHRON: I agree, it was a tough week. Huge talents. Gone.
strikes me so about David Bowie's music is how much he's a storyteller
(Major Tom to Ground Control...) and a brave one at that. Alan Rickman
was one of my all time favorite actors. Love Actually! Of course. And he
made Professor Snape human. And a brilliant comedian (check out one of
my favorite silly great movies, Galaxy Quest). He was one of those
performers that you felt like you knew personally.
RHYS BOWEN: I was shocked, but not overwhelmingly shocked by David Bowie's passing. After all, one suspects that rock stars have toyed with drugs during their lives. They certainly lived stressful lives, touring, performing late at night, coping with public adoration. I'll always think of David Bowie as the evil being in Labyrinth. He scared my kids so much.
But then to read about Alan Rickman only a few days later was shattering to me. I always had such a soft spot for Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility. Poor noble guy, always trying to do the right thing, but luckily triumphing in the end for once. And then Love Actually, not such a good guy. And Snape--what a wonderful character. It's events like these that remind me how transient life is and how foolish it is to waste a single moment worrying about unimportant things.At least these two leave a legacy!
LUCY BURDETTE: I was a huge David Bowie fan. I went to see him at the Tower Theater in Philadelphia in the early seventies. His performance and costumes were electric! (And I confess to ducking into the men's room with my pals to smoke LOL.) I know all the words to the songs of that era, but my favorite is ch-ch-ch-changes.
Most amazing was how hard he worked in his last year and a half. He was deathly ill and yet fiercely productive. I am in awe of that. I would have probably just laid on the couch...
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: When we saw the new star wars movie, as soon as I saw Kylo Ren, I thought--oh, twenty years ago, that character would have been played by Alan Rickman. He had such a look, and such a brand, and so inhabited his characters. You could always see why he was chosen for each part. And we loved him for that. And right, Rhys, he was so awful/hateful/perfect in Love, Actually.
As for David Bowie. Ground Control to Major Tom (Space Oddity) is the SADDEST song ever. It's a top ten for me. I wasn't so attached to him personally, I was in a different era, but I bow to his constant motion, and re-invention. He was always exploring--music, and himself, and boundaries of it all.
Both men handled it so gracefully at the end. May we all be as caring and careful and elegant--and strive to leave even a fraction of their legacy. And yes, every day matters. "Check ignition, and may God's love be with you..."
DEBS: You are all so spot on. Storytellers, both in their own ways, whether by creating characters or inhabiting them. And so graceful, both of them.
Dear READERS, do you have a favorite Bowie song, or a favorite Rickman film? Share with us, please.