With the news of crotchety opinion magnate Andy Rooney’s passing last Friday still fresh on our minds, the entertainment world has lost another titan. Writer/Producer/Director Hal Kanter passed away yesterday at the age of 92…the same age, coincidentally as Rooney.
Well, I use the term “coincidentally” loosely. They were really just the latest casualties of the curse known as The Forever 92 Club.
Musicians may get all the notoriety with their so-called Forever 27 Club – a distinguished list of stars who died at 27 that includes names like Hendrix, Joplin, Cobain and, recently, Winehouse, but, no one cares to look at the darker, far-more-tragic 92 Club.
In fact, the rate at which the Forever 92 rakes in victims puts the 27 Club to shame. Just this past September, lovable character actress, Frances Bay, of Seinfeld and Happy Gilmore fame, joined its esteemed ranks. It took over 17 years for Amy Winehouse to enter Forever 27 after its previous newest member, Nirvana singer, Kurt Cobain was added to the list. But, Forever 92 knows no such patience. Three stars in less than 2 months join the throng of unfortunate souls that were claimed before their time by the dreaded F92C.
Other members of this elite club include:
Senator Robert Byrd
Dick Winters (Of Band of Brothers fame)
Civil Rights Crusader, Rosa Parks
Jazz Musician, Snooky Young
MLB Pitcher, Bob Feller
Dancer, Ruth Page
Sports Announcer, Ernie Harwell
Cryogenics Pioneer, Robert Ettinger
Actress, Claudette Colbert
Publisher, Harold McGraw
Jockey, William L. Passmore
Paul Warfield Tibbets, Jr. (Pilot of the Enola Gay)
Composer, Virgil Thomsen
Designer, Oleg Cassini
Voice Actor, Jackson Beck
Record Producer, Israel Horowitz
Author, Tasha Tudor
Cyclist, Harry Hill
Horticulturist, Morgan “Bill” Evans
Inventor, Joseph Francis
General William Hood Simpson
Sir Étienne Dupuch 1
Mathematician, André Weil
Rugby Great, Haydn Tanner
Urban Planner, Robert Moses
Mary Montagu Douglas Scott, Duchess of Buccleuch
And these are just the most famous members. I’m sure there are others that time has simply overlooked.
Take it for whatever it is, there is something about celebrity that just doesn’t allow for one to grow obscenely-old. These stars burned bright for just a tad more than 9 scant decades.
1 – Sir Étienne died mysteriously in his garden after catching fire trying to destroy an ants nest only fueling the mystique of the curse.