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Showbiz Supernovas’ Deaths Mark End of Megastar Era


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By Jeff Herrin

It’s a tricky thing to dance with icons, and not just because we mortals look so goofy when we dance. (I’m not allowed to moonwalk in public, for example). Fame itself is as fleeting as Ben Johnson — if anyone even remembers the man formerly known as the fastest sprinter in the world.

We’ve grown weary of stars who burn out after 15 minutes. Can the Jonas Brothers last? Is Usher a flash in the pan? If I was on the Springsteen bandwagon in 1984, is it OK to be there 25 years later?

Lighting up the universe is a pretty tall order for anyone. But finding love from an audience with massive attention deficit disorder is even tougher.

And that’s all the more reason why the careers of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett were so remarkable for so many years, and why we’ll probably never see stars of their magnitude again.

Entertainment is a rocket that takes us into a dazzling alternate reality, and for much of the 20th century, we were all aboard the same spaceship. Our media options were so limited before cable television and the Internet became fixtures that prime time meant the same thing from coast to coast.

We all knew Farrah because “Charlie’s Angels” competed against only two other shows in its time slot. Her famous swimsuit pinup — the one with the curls, the smile and the … um, other attributes — occupied dorm room walls like one-third of Mount Rushmore — right next to the poster that came with “Dark Side of the Moon” and the one from the Beatles’ “White Album.” The lowest price I could find for an original Farrah pinup on eBay on Thursday was $76 — and every entry had bids.

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