On Celebrity Deaths

What do we do when a celebrity dies? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

A little over a week ago, the world received a shock. I remember I was at work that day and I had just randomly started thinking about Betty White’s 100th birthday coming up. In the break room in the past few days before that, I had seen on what I think was Entertainment Tonight that plans were underway for her birthday party. Everyone was ready. It was coming. Let’s celebrate!

Except we didn’t. Before the new year on December 31st, Betty White died.

Then on Sunday night, I received a message from friends about the death of Bob Saget. If your family was like mine at one time, watching America’s Funniest Home Videos was a staple in the household. Bob Saget hosted that and although he was not a bit funny, we did enjoy the videos. I know he was on Full House, but I never watched that so I can’t comment.

When these people die, we mourn and it’s not because we’re normally close to them, but more I think for the nostalgia. For Betty White’s performances, I mainly watched The Mary Tyler Moore Show and I remember her from her husband being the host of Password. I never watched The Golden Girls. I have already said where I remember Bob Saget from.

I suppose you could say it’s like the past dying in some ways. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie Patch Adams, but I have not seen it once since Williams’s suicide. I suppose it’s like my own parents talking back about their past experiences and mentioning someone and saying “They’re dead now.”

Yet there are some matters that need to be said.

First off, most of these celebrities probably had plans, which is not bad, but they never got to pull them off. Saget was on a comedy tour. He had no idea his time was limited to that very night. It’s something to consider that one breath is all that separates you from eternity.

After I get done here, I will take a shower and after some time, I will go to work. I have no guarantee I will come home tonight. I don’t even have a guarantee I will get to work okay. I act like I will and I don’t think we should live in terror that we will die at any moment, but I do need to remember more often that every moment is a gift.

So let’s look at what happens next. What will happen to many of these celebrities? Will they enter into eternity with joy or will they enter it with shame? Will they love the presence of God or will they hate it? Right now, their choice is made and they are done. What would it profit them if they gained the adulation of the world and lost their souls? I’m not saying that happened for sure for either White or Saget. I can’t speak on that. I am saying it could have.

Hollywood is one of the most influential systems in the world today, and we Christians have to admit it’s full of depravity. So what are we doing about it? Do we write them off because they’re celebrities? We often treat them as gods and goddesses and our magazine racks are filled with stories about events in their lives to which I often want to say, “Who cares?” Why should anyone live vicariously through a celebrity? What difference does it make who so-and-so is dating? Don’t you have enough issues in your own life to work out?

However, these people have struggles like everyone else. They have questions and problems like everyone else. They also need Jesus like everyone else. Are we trying to influence Hollywood at all or are we just avoiding it? There is no reason Jesus Christ cannot redeem Hollywood. There is no reason He cannot use you to do it, except for one. You are unwilling to be used. That includes me as well.

When we get to Hollywood also and start making our movies, can we please also make good movies? Right now, for the most part, Christians make movies only other Christians want to see. What good would an evangelism method be that only reached other Christians and never those who don’t know Christ? One rare recent movie I understand was an exception to this was Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ.

Christian movies for the most part are universally bad and Christians go see them because they’re Christian and that’s what you do. Sadly, that’s often the reason we could give for going to church as well. What if we made them so well and they were so popular that non-Christian celebrities wanted to be in them?

There will be other celebrity deaths in 2022. Are we trying to reach these people that seem out of reach with the gospel? Do we consider that they are a breath away from eternity? Do we consider that we are?

God loves them as He loves us. Let’s show Jesus to them as we should.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

 

Book Plunge: So Far

What do I think of Kelsey Grammer’s autobiography published by Dutton? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

This one is definitely not a work on apologetics or Christianity, but when my wife and I moved into the new apartment, we cut the cord and got Hulu and Amazon Prime Video instead. I saw that Hulu had Cheers, a show that my Dad and I had watched when we were growing up. I watched through the whole series in order calling my Dad regularly to tell him about the episodes and we would remember them together.

In looking up information about the show, I saw that Kelsey Grammer had written an autobiography which did have some more in it about being on Cheers. My wife and I had decided to watch Frasier next and he had always been a character I liked on the show so I decided to order it. It recently came in at the library and it’s fairly short, so much so that I finished it in two days.

Grammer’s tale is one that really grips so much so that I found it hard to put it down. He spoke of his faith early on in the book, though for those of us who are Christian, it is Christian scientist of the Mary Baker Eddy variety. He doesn’t hold to all the tenets of it though, as he does believe in doctors and medicine.

It also reminded me that despite the impression often given, people in the world of Hollywood can have their lives marred just as much as anyone else can. Grammer has had two people in his life murdered. I do not want to say who for those who might be interested in reading his book.

Grammer also talked about the hard work that goes into being an actor and the tough living he had at times trying to make ends meet. He ended up not finishing school at Juilliard, but he still never gave up on acting. He accepted bit piece by bit piece until Cheers came along where he got established.

And along the way, there was trouble in the area of love. He had a number of marriages that failed. At the end of his book, at least the edition that I read, he talked about dating a girl named Tammi who would be his wife one day and he knew he was ready for her. Looking ahead later on on IMDB, he wasn’t ready. He never married her and while he’s remarried now, there was one more marriage that ended in divorce before this current one.

Grammer also emphasized the importance of reading. One of the greatest compliments he says he received was after doing a show once someone came up to him and said after seeing him in a Shakespearean play, they started reading Shakespeare. Grammer also talks about reading the works of Auden in the book, though I am sure there are many others he reads.

One particularly sad story he told about was a friend who had a rough go in life and then started turning it around and met a beautiful girl and married her. Two days after the wedding, she died in an accident. Just a few days later, her husband had died, probably a suicidal accident. It’s hard to imagine that a large group of people could gather together to celebrate a lifelong love and then in a week the bride and groom are both dead.

Grammer also says he wrote a theme for his life early on and years later found it in Auden’s writings. That theme was to stagger onward rejoicing. That could be a good theme for most of our own lives as well.

We often look at celebrities on the screen and think they don’t have a clue about the real world. In many ways, maybe some don’t. However, reading about Grammer’s life in his own words, I found someone I could understand to a great degree and also understood how he wanted to be accepted as a person apart from his celebrity status.

Not only that, he’s candid about his own problems. Grammer says in the book regularly that he had to undergo therapy. He talked about having to overcome a cocaine addiction when he was on Cheers. I appreciated both of these statements. Being in Hollywood doesn’t mean you’re necessarily insulated.

I found Grammer to be someone I thought I could talk to about intellectual subjects in literature as well as politics seeing as we are both conservatives. Also though, I got a reminder that those people we see on the screen and sometimes we actually look down on in some ways, they need Jesus just as much. Perhaps while we are busy condemning so many things in Hollywood, we should be praying for the salvation of the people there.

If you’re a fan of Cheers or Frasier, you could probably enjoy this work. The chapters are short enough that you could read one quite easily. The writing is more of a stream of consciousness style that I think works well. It left me thinking perhaps I need to read more biographies.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

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