What Alan Rickman & David Bowie's Lives Meant to Us All
This week sucks. It's been heart-wrenching for anyone who's enjoyed the arts or pop culture in the last forty years. That is to say, everyone in the Western world has been devastated.
On Monday, David Bowie was taken away from us by cancer.
Today, we lost Alan Rickman to the same devilish fiend.
Both 69 years old. Both British. Both loved and adored by hundreds of millions of people the world over. That last part's incredible. The loss of these two men has so shaken the bedrock of mine and others' lives because they meant something to us. Because their work and life stories allowed us to feel personally connected to them.
I grew up watching Bowie's Labyrinth all the time. I even have his character Jareth as a decal on my MacBook. The man released 26 studio albums. He appeared in 22 films. He was the judge for Zoolander and Hansel's walk-off for crying out loud! He's been an influence for dozens of the musicians and artists you love today. And I can only imagine how much more amazing stuff he's done that will appear in a best-selling biography, not to mention the way he went out in style!
Most of us Millennials know and love Alan Rickman as the most perfectly casted Severus Snape possible. Maybe you remember him for his majestic performances in the Royal Shakespeare Company, or Die Hard, or any of his 66 roles in film and television. That voice, that ability to seduce your very core and instill in you more emotion than you'd like to admit. The man's a legend!
The loss of these two great artists is tragic for us because of their influence on each of our lives. Because of all the memories they created between us and our loved ones. For instance, without taking more than 10 seconds, I can think of literally dozens of situations where I've quoted or sang Bowie to my mom or wife or friends or random people, and the same for Rickman! Who hasn't said "Turn to page three hundred and ninety-four" in a terribly fake British drawl?
We feel loss, we feel legitimate depression at these men's deaths because they made such a fantastically large impact on our lives!
And what's really amazing about all they've done for the arts and each of us as individuals is that we all have that same chance to create just as much of an impact on others!
It's amazing. Each of us is given a life to do something with. These men chose to continually pursue their passions, to meddle with artistic norms, and both achieved - by any measure - greatness.
They were genuinely loved. People were in awe to work with them. Other celebrities that came in contact with David and Alan all have an inspirational story to share. They chose to create something with the lives they were given. They created love, they fostered imagination, furthered dreams, built others up, and generally left the Western world a better place to be.
They were able to do all these incredible things, and we feel so much loss at the thought of them putting on the greatest theatre performance together of all time, because they chose to do great things with their lives. And we all have the chance to do the very same.
I cherish the memories David Bowie and Alan Rickman allowed me to have. I can only hope to do the same for others.
Years down the road, when our children stumble across one of their movies or albums, they'll ask us if we really liked this old stuff. And we'll give them a simple reply.