The June 2009 celebrity purge continues. To a death list that already included Michael Jackson, David Carradine, Farrah Fawcett, Ed McMahon and Koko Taylor, add the name of deafening direct marketing pitchman Billy Mays, who died yesterday at his home in Odessa, Florida. The day before he had been a passenger on U.S. Airways flight 1241, which experienced a rough landing when one of its landing gear tires blew out. Mays told a reporter he’d been it in the head by objects falling from the overhead storage compartments, but felt fine. “I’ve got a hard head,” he said. He was 50 years old.
For a professional shill, Mays was relatively likable. Once I got accustomed to his “just shout everything” pitch style, I found him entertaining. But his death shouldn’t be important to those who didn’t know him personally; unlike Michael Jackson, who was an important figure in popular culture, Mays wasn’t much more than an amusing meme. I’m not so interested in Mays himself as I am in the number of famous people who have met mostly untimely ends this month. June 2009 has been a bloodbath, man.
Besides the five I mentioned above and Mays, June has also seen the death of Japanese wrestling legend Mitsuharu Misawa, actress/singer Gale Storm, popular fantasy author David Eddings, and Huey Long, who was briefly a member of the pioneering black vocal group The Ink Spots who in the 1930s and ‘40s laid the foundations for R&B and rock ‘n roll. They say these things happen in threes — what multiple of three are we on?
I have another, more chilling question: With two days left in this celeb-unfriendly month, who’s next? Who will be the next to fall to the cold scythe of June 2009? All the obvious choices have to go out the window, because I know none of you motherfuckers had Michael Jackson or Billy Mays in your office death pool.
After careful thought, I’ll take Dana Carvey. He’s had heart troubles in the past, and he’s right in that sweet spot between fame and obscurity. If there’s time for another one, I’ll go for Kurt Angle, since pro wrestlers are always a good bet and Jake Roberts is the too-obvious pick.