Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Celebrity deaths often seem to occur in threes. Last week there were 3 unnaturally early deaths. Former Chelsea footballer Peter Osgood set a new precedent for attention-seeking by dying at a funeral. Comedienne Linda Smith died unexpectedly of cancer at the age of 48. Last and receiving the least coverage was Jack Wild, one time star of the musical Oliver. The reason that he received the least attention is that he followed the classic trajectory of the child star: a short-lived fame followed by obscurity and the bog standard drink problem all contributing to his eventual ill-health.

I've just been reading that Macaulay Culkin is considering quitting acting to take up sports management, spends a lot of time alone and can find no acting work whatsoever. He's also gone through a problem with drugs. Virtually all former child stars have lost their marbles, and many have never recovered them, from Judy Garland onwards.

The 1970's were littered with annoying child stars who went through their season in hell.
Lena Zavaroni went from casting a black cloud over early '70's light entertainment to a lifelong battle with anorexia.

Phil Collins appeared as a cherubic child model on knitting patterns, and ended up writing confessional songs about how he split from his last wife to replace her with a younger model, and how awful it was.

Steve Marriott of the Small Faces had started out as a child actor - the Jack Wild of mod, as it were. He ended up dying when his bed was set on fire by a "jazz cigarette" he'd forgotten to extinguish because he was so stoned.

Keith Chegwin seemed during my childhood to be ubiquitous on television, usually appearing in some aimed-at-kiddies' drama where he got to wear a purple corduroy jean jacket. He ended up getting divorced from Maggie Philbin off of Multi Coloured Swap Shop and lived in an alcoholic daze for several years. Unfortunately, after his recuperation he returned to television. As the eminently sensible Blanche off Coronation Street recently observed "you don't want to see Keith Chegwin shouting at you first thing in the morning". How can anyone who is a recovering alcoholic be so relentlessly and annoyingly upbeat?

Little Jimmy Osmond may have claimed to be a Long Haired Lover From Liverpool but who knew that the jowly Mormon was secretly shooting up smack until he was 27? Junior Showtime big cheese Glynn Poole has spent a number of years in jail for extortion, robbery, assault, drug dealing - where do you start? Even at the height of his fame there were signs that the squeaky clean image was just a front for darker forces: the song "Milly" "Molly" "Mandy", "Sweet" As "Sugar" "Candy"" contains more streetwise drug references in the title alone than, say, Happy Mondays' Squirrel And G-Man album.

Perhaps I should stress that, occasionally, child stars do go on to be relatively level headed people and may achieve a lasting fame. Even Michael Jackson managed to have a highly lucrative career for a number of years despite being on some other astral plane, possibly due to being unnaturally talented. His chickens seem to have come home to roost these days, mind. Oh, and Tucker Jenkins off Grange Hill went on to be Mark Fowler off Eastenders, then Mark Fowler in the Bill. I have seen him interviewed on the telly a few times and it has to be said he seems to be the world's least charismatic man, which may have helped him stay sane in the upside down world of celebrity.

These days there don't seem to be child stars - their appeal has faded at the same time that society has dictated that paedophiles are the BOGEYMEN of the modern age. I mean, Lena Zavaroni in those little girl dresses and ankle socks and ringlets on prime time tv these days would be a bit SICK, wouldn't it? Instead, these days pushy parents just bung their sons into a football academy where they come out at the other end stupid, spoilt and sex mad, or their daughters into the Sylvia Young School for a few years where they come out at the other end neurotic, scraggy, blonde, cultivating an eating disorder, ready to be a television presenter and marry a footballer. It's great to live in 2006, isn't it?

Poor Jack. I remember as a kid I had such a crush on him. And Mark Lester. He was such a hottie (to my young self!) :-)
Ex-kid-star Britney's going off the rails in a splendidly entertaining fashion as well.
Ohh, I had a crush on Jack too.I believe Mark Lester is a chiropractor these days.

Just the name Phil Collins makes me want to start chewing the desk. Lena *shudders* and who was the other one, that didn't get anorexia?
Now Betty, we had a letter from the All Whites manager the other day. Oldest son has been 'spotted'. Are you telling me that this not a good idea?
Jack Wild used to muck about with Phil collins when he was a nipper.
(Phil was a bit upper middle class but condescended).

One ends up as a crap drumming, bald, whingeing arsehole worth millions (aka a good bloke). The other ends up with a shagged voice box due to chuffing on fags.

Artful dodger my arse.
Indeed.... well that should bring in a few interesting search engine hits.....
Fours: John Junkin.

And I used to live in the same Village as our Keith. He was a good villager; always attended fetes etc and spent generously.

He was missed in the pub after he went on the wagon though. The Landlord tried to sell up a few years later.

No takers.
To be fair to Phil Collins, his wife was cheating on him.

"Well i was there, and I saw what you did, I saw it with my own 2 eyes, so you can wipe off that grin, I know where you've been, it's all been a pack of lies..."

That told her. Phil is ill.
BONNIE LANGFORD! (I shouted in the supermarket, as it came to me...)
Well it's OK if you're a child star in Corrie 'cos you get replaced before puberty. I wonder what will become of Chesney?
Jodie Foster survived but became a tad boring after dealing with Hannibal Lechter.
Blimey, 9 comments overnight. A personal best for me. Am I the Johnny B for insomniacs? Well, for one post, anyway ...

Kyahgirl - Mark Lester seems to have kept his dignity in tact, apart from being friends with Michael Jackson.

Spinsterella - Britney seems to have gone through the fame and come out at the other end wanting to get back to her trailer trash origins. She'll probably have a house full of kids and weigh 25 stone by the time she's 30.

I'm not sure what All Whites is - a talent agency perhaps? Depends how much of a pushy mum you are, heh heh. Bonnie Langford has recently appeared in some celebrity ice dancing competition over here. She seems to look very wizened for her age. Perhaps she is a chain smoker.

Garfer - Phil always pretends to be one of the people, what with the role in that film about the great train robbery and the chirpy cockney persona. Tory voting tax- dodging-home-in-Switzerland wanker.

Psychbloke - I'm a bit worried about the engine searches. I have the feeling I might be "helping the police with their enquiries" in the same way as Pete Townsend.

Beep - no, John Junkin is THIS WEEK's celebrity deaths, along with Christopher Reeve's wife and Ivor Cutler. If someone else famous dies today and disproves my all celebrities die in threes theory, I'll be most upset.

Del - that's Phil again, playing the menacing hard man. I hope she wasn't carrying on with one of his gangster mates!

Kaz - I should imagine Chesney will go away for a bit and be replaced with a gorgeous hunk of buffness, like the lad who played Nicky Tilsley who came back as
Adam Rickett.


*collapses with laughter at thought of Adam Rickett*

Adam Rickett is a prospective conservative MP and has appeared on Question Time.


*collapses with laughter again and has to be put into an oxygen tent*
when was jodie foster in coronation street?
Surly - it was about 30 years ago. She played a child prostitute. Ernest Bishop was her vile, seedy pimp and Albert Tatlock went a bit mad with a machine gun. "One day 'appen I'm going to wash all't scum off the Street ... that Elsie Tanner carrying on with married men and that Suzy Birchall - what a little madam!"

You could get away with more on prime time telly in those days.
Adam Rickett appeared nude in a cage in his pop video? Ideal to include in the CV of a Tory MP
Shirley Temple had rather a good career as an American ambassador. And I saw a clip of the Oscars and, fuck me, there behind our Rachel was Mickey Rooney. I believe he's in that theatre-seat all year round because they are afraid to move him because he's so old and may fall apart.
Kaz - perhaps it is a career that former goatherd and stripper Chico might consider a few years down the line.

Wyndham - oh God, Mickey Rooney. It has been considered in our house for some time that Mickey Rooney interviews are the worst thing ever. He always goes on, without fail, about how he managed to pull Ava Gardner, even though he looks like a squashed frog.
Was it considered difficult to pull Ava Gardner? She was associated with lots of fellers. Didn't her daughter stab notorious, and very well hung, mobster Johnny Stomponato?
Right . I give you a week then you must publish your search words again. Should be interesting after this post.
My day is now complete, knowing that our Bonnie is alive and wizened.
I am not an insomniac, it's lunch time here in New Zealand and The All Whites are our (completely crap) football team.
Wyndham - I had to consult Google about Johnny Stomponato - it turns out that he was stabbed by Lana Turner's daughter after he'd been beating her mother up. Mind you, I wouldn't be surprised if Ava Gardner had dealings with him too, what with her relationship with Frank Sinatra and all.

Caroline - no interesting new search words yet, just the usual ones about the funny taste of water from plastic kettles and Arctic Monkeys and their girlfriends. I'll do an update if anything happens
By the way Caroline, sorry for implying that you were a dysfunctional insomniac. I know I am.
Lana Turner/Ava Gardner. Doh!
Is this the club for dysfunctional insomniacs? I'm in!
Wyndham - I thought you invented Johnny Stomponahead, the well-hung gangster, as revenge for the supposedly made up Barry Onions, who is, incidentally, very much a real person.

MJ - Nothing wrong with being a dysfunctional insomniac. I've had sleep problems for years although I'm going through one of those weeks when I have to compensate for all the lost sleep by feeling barely alive during the waking hours.
Oh no. I AM one, just wasn't one yesterday.
Today's another story all together.
I didn't know Ivor Cutler had died. Shame.

Anybody know if James Blunt was a child star? If he was, it's his time...
Ivor Cutler had a "pretty good innings, I suppose" as people tend to say if anyone survives beyond 70.

As far as I know Bluntie was put in a boarding school from the age of 18 months onwards and had a rigorous army training. Didn't do him any harm, did it?
Righto, Betty.

*wyndham taps a finger on the side of his nose and does a vaudeville wink.*
Does any of this explain why Ant "and" Dec are still with us?
Let us not forget Leif Garrett, seventies US teen hearthrob turned drug-ravaged fare dodger.
He still has a sense of his image though.
As he was sentenced to another month in rehab today he vowed never to appear in an orange jail suit mugshot: "I don't look good in orange."
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Patroclus - good point. I suppose they still look like children despite being about 30, so they appeal to daft grans who think they would be the sort of nice young men they wish their grand daughters were "courtin'". If one of them goes bald though they are in trouble (especially the one with the big forehead).

Lex - too true about Leif Garrett. At least all his scrapes keep him in the public eye, which he probably likes. I saw a trailer on one of the music channels for a fly on the wall series about the bloke who used to play Danny on the Partridge Family who basically has a complete breakdown in front of the cameras and apparently insisted they carry on filming ... it HAS to be a way of getting attention from the public, surely?
This is all making me a little nervous for Dakota Fanning. Hopefully we can keep her off the smack. :)
Oh, I don't know about that. The problems will probably start once she gets to about 16 ...
I don't know know about this properly its a nice post just thanks.
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