Keyboard Commando – Public figures, stars that passed away in 2016, and some reflections

Mac Olsen
Everyone mourns the passing of someone close to them, be it relatives or friends, and sometimes even public figures and stars.

Whom we lost last year included Carrie Fisher, who passed away on December 27, 2016 following a heart attack.

Fisher will always be remembered for her role as Princess Leia of ‘Star Wars’ fame. But she was also an author and pulled no punches about what went on in her private life, including battles with substance abuse and mental illness.

Certainly, Fisher deserves credit for overcoming all the adversity in her life.

Other notable figures who died in 2016 included Leonard Cohen, Prince, David Bowie and George Michael. Prince and Michael made it to their early 50’s, Bowie made it to 69 and Leonard Cohen made it to 82.

Another well-known actor, Leonard Nimoy, passed away at age 83. I greatly appreciated a tribute that the movie ‘Star Trek: Into Darkness’ gave him.

In one scene, the new Spock played by Zachary Quinto, holds a picture of the original cast of ‘Star Trek’, and Quinto’s character has to deal with such a great loss in his life. His own mentor of sorts.

However, the new ‘Star Trek’ cast also lost one of their own in 2016. Anton Yelchin, who played the young Chekov, died in a vehicle incident. He was just 27 years old and the cast and crew paid tribute to him as well.

Christopher Lee, most widely known for his role as Dracula in the ‘Hammer Horror’ films in the 1950’s, passed away on June 7, 2016 at the age of 93.

Towards the end of his life, Lee appeared in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ trilogies, all directed by Peter Jackson. Lee played the character Saruman – and he was perfect for that role. He projected in Saruman a complex, conflicted soul, but someone deserving of sympathy.

Someone whom I really admired, John Glenn, passed away on December 8, 2016, at the age of 95.

Glenn was someone who had an extraordinary life – a US Marine pilot during the Second War, a Korean War pilot and a test pilot.

All of this led him to be among the Mercury 7 group of astronauts to fly into space in the early 1960s. He was also the last member of the Mercury 7 group to pass away.

He also served in the U.S. Congress for over 30 years, which included a failed bid to secure the nomination for President of the United States in the 1984 national election.

His very last public venture was to return to space at the age of 77. On Octover 29, 1998, he was part of the crew that launched aboard Space Shuttle Discovery.

Officially, Glenn was part of several medical experiments. Whether there were any real benefits derived from his presence on the mission is debatable.

I look at that he was owed this space flight as a thank-you for his 50-plus years of public service.

These, then, are some of the public figures and stars that we lost in 2016. May they all rest in peace.

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