Victoria Noe

Award-winning Author, Speaker, Activist

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Celebrity deaths

Warning: Grief Anniversary Ahead

Warning: Grief Anniversary Ahead
Mar 09, 2021 by Victoria Noe

This time it wasn’t Facebook Memories that reminded me. It was my friend, Ken. 

A year ago, the world was experiencing a devastating and profound change. Our way of life was about to be altered in ways no one could have predicted. A year ago today, I arrived in New York City for the beginning of a four-week East Coast trip. I had book signings scheduled in several cities. I had an advocacy conference to attend in Washington. I had lunch and dinner dates set with friends, along with book-related meetings to discuss future events. 

When I left Chicago, I told my husband I wasn’t sure when I would be back. It depended on how serious all of this turned out to be. My trip lasted only six days. And though I ate indoors in NYC several times, when I got back I refused to eat inside a restaurant. In fact, I’ve only done that once in the past year. The anxiety I felt in that almost deserted restaurant wasn’t worth it.

Another Celebrity Friend Dies

Another Celebrity Friend Dies
Feb 24, 2019 by Victoria Noe
I confess to being fascinated by the response when a celebrity dies. Few, if any, of those posting online tributes had ever met that person, much less counted them as a friend. But they still considered that person to be at least ‘like’ a friend.

When David Bowie and Prince died, the tributes went on for months. People shared their favorite songs and what the music meant to them. Some even changed their avatars, in honor. I suppose that was understandable: Bowie and Prince were superstars, well-known around the world, with long, ground-breaking careers.  So it surprised me this week when the death of a lesser star provoked almost equally strong sentiments.

Peter Tork was part of a 1966 phenomenon: The Monkees....

The Year of Grieving

The Year of Grieving
Nov 15, 2016 by Victoria Noe


“I love you for my life, you are a friend of mine, and when my life is over, remember when we were together, we were alone and I was singing this song to you.” - Leon Russell (1942-2016)

 

It's been a hell of a year: Prince. Bowie. Natalie Cole. Alan Rickman. Pat Conroy. Leonard Cohen. Brian Bedford. Tammy Grimes. George Martin. Joe Garagiola. Patty Duke. Muhammad Ali. Gwen Ifill. Elie Wiesel. Gene Wilder. Edward Albee. Arnold Palmer. Robert Vaughn. And that's a partial list. I feel like I've been in mourning since New Year's Day, when Jo Stewart, the leader of my first writing group, died. And I guess that's true. The people on that list weren't friends. I have a letter from one who I dared to...

How to Remember Them

How to Remember Them
Feb 16, 2016 by Victoria Noe
It’s award season. There’s one thing that every show includes (besides the pre-show red carpet extravaganza).

The “In Memoriam” segment.

Some people take that as their cue to get up and go the bathroom or get more snacks. Others are glued to the TV, wincing as each familiar face appears on the screen.

If you feel like this segment is getting longer, you’re not alone. So many celebrities – legends in the arts communities – died in the past year. Everyone from Louis Jourdan to Alan Rickman, Glenn Frey to Leslie Gore, in what feels like a never-ending list.

That pause in each awards ceremony to honor those who have died is largely uncontroversial. But after the Grammy’s last night, the Twitterverse lit...

Respecting a Dying Friend's Wishes

Respecting a Dying Friend's Wishes
Jan 13, 2016 by Victoria Noe
David Bowie's final photo by Jeremy King

Unless you were in a cave on Monday, you heard of the unexpected death of David Bowie. Though he wasn’t one of my top ten favorite performers, I respected his talent and unconventional approach to his craft. “Did you like David Bowie?” I was asked. “Which one?” I replied. He was fearless in his artistic pursuits and, as it turned out, his death.

He did something that I’ve discussed here before. I asked several friends if they would tell me if they were dying. Most said they would. Some said absolutely not and refused to elaborate. Surprisingly, no one asked me (that’s a topic for a future post).

It was his decision...

Tracy Morgan's Friend Grief

Tracy Morgan's Friend Grief
Jun 03, 2015 by Victoria Noe
"Bones heal, but the loss of my friend will never heal."

You probably know Tracy Morgan as the talented comedian on 30 Rock. But his life changed forever almost a year ago, June 7, 2014, when his limo was rear-ended by a Walmart truck. The accident killed his friend, comic James McNair, and left Morgan with debilitating injuries.

Last week he appeared on the Today Show, for an emotional interview with Matt Lauer. I'm not going to repeat much of it. It's much more powerful watching Morgan speak of his amazement at surviving, as well as his gratitude to the medical staff, his family and friends. How he struggled to understand what happened is very touching.

I know when something bad has happened...

"You have been - and always shall be - my friend"

"You have been - and always shall be - my friend"
Mar 03, 2015 by Victoria Noe
Nimoy at Phoenix Comicon Unless you live under a rock, you know that actor Leonard Nimoy, the Vulcan first officer Mr. Spock on the original Star Trek series, died at the age of 83. And though he was surrounded by his family when he died, they were not the people the media reached out to first. They were not the people his long-time fans wanted to hear from. They wanted to hear from his friends.   Most of those who were interviewed were former cast-mates on Star Trek, along with others who worked with him in his impressive career on stage, television and film. Many found it challenging to express their grief for a man they counted as their friend for decades.   Not everyone – even celebrities – can...

Friend Grief's Top Five List for 2014

Dec 19, 2014 by Victoria Noe
The year is almost over and I thought it would be a good time to look back on the posts that generated the most interest this year.The funny thing about writing is that you don’t always know what resonates with people. Sometimes you write something that you believe is so brilliant it will change the lives of everyone who reads it – and obviously, everyone in the world will read it. That usually doesn’t happen. Sometimes you write something that’s definitely not your best effort, but there’s something about it that hits a nerve.This list certainly surprised me:#5 Update on Friend Grief and AIDS The second book in my series has been the most popular by far. It’s also the...

How Celebrities Grieve Their Friends

Aug 26, 2014 by Victoria Noe
Yes, I know I wasn't going to write about celebrities. But doesn’t it seem like a lot of them have died in the past month or so? James Garner, Sir Richard Attenborough, Lauren Bacall, Robin Williams, Elaine Stritch: all left grieving families and friends, just like non-celebrities – with one glaring difference.Celebrities leave friends behind who are anonymous and others who are also celebrities. And while those live their lives in the glare of the media, that doesn’t mean that they’re capable of grieving gracefully in public. You may be surprised or even critical of them.Remember Paul McCartney? He was roundly criticized for his “It’s a drag” comment the day after John Lennon was murdered.People who hadn’t worked with Robin Williams...

Anger, Condemnation and Philip Seymour Hoffman

Feb 06, 2014 by Victoria Noe
As I work on the next book in my series, Friend Grief and the Military: Band of Friends, I’m immersed in stories of survivor guilt. Men and women are haunted for years about what they see as their failure to prevent the death of their friend, even if their friend died from suicide. Rarely is there a situation where that guilt is logically justified, but that doesn’t stop it from tearing people apart.Lately, the news is full of the death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman from an apparent heroin overdose. I’ve heard very little from his friends in terms of survivor guilt. What I have heard should disturb us all.“He didn’t love his kids enough to stop using.”“Celebrities think nothing...

When Your Friend Dies: TMI

When Your Friend Dies: TMI
Aug 21, 2012 by Victoria Noe
I learned about the death of film director Tony Scott in a Facebook post from a friend who had worked with him. Since then, details have trickled out about what is now considered a suicide (several notes were found).It was typical reporting of a celebrity death: “what’s your favorite Tony Scott movie?” Clips from his films were shown on TV and the internet. Reactions from other celebrities were sought.One persistent rumor – denied by his wife – was that he had recently been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. Funny: tumor, rumor. Both should be stopped, don’t you think?Anyway, it all seemed typical, until this morning. One of the cable news programs reported that onlookers were shopping videos of Scott’s...

Grieving for a Celebrity “Friend”

Grieving for a Celebrity “Friend”
Mar 05, 2012 by Victoria Noe
 Davy Jones "Did you hear who died? Because if you didn’t, you need to sit down.”That was the text I sent to my girlfriend last week. I saw the news on Facebook and Twitter, and when I didn’t hear from Eileen immediately, I realized she must not know what happened.She responded instantly, asking who it was.I hesitated. I was the one who called her almost 30 years ago to tell her that one of her very favorite actors had died. This was another sudden death.“Jones.”“Jones” was Davy Jones of the Monkees, who died of a heart attack last week at the age of 66.In the interest of full disclosure, in high school we (and a few other girls, too)...

When A Celebrity Dies

When A Celebrity Dies
Mar 26, 2011 by Victoria Noe
I recently posted on the phenomenon of grieving when a celebrity dies. We grieve because we have a connection to them, just as we do with our real friends. “I felt like I knew them” is a familiar explanation.Aurora Winter’s article, Elizabeth Taylor: 5 Tips for Overcoming Grief When a Celebrity Dies, looks at this from the perspective of actress and AIDS activist Elizabeth Taylor’s recent death. She has some thought-provoking tips for using a celebrity’s death as a catalyst for your own life. Read her article at:  http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Elizabeth-Taylor-5-Tips-for-prnews-1227967326.html?x=0&.v=1Monday – Back at Ground ZeroWednesday – “Do You Need Any Help?”Friday – Longtime Companion

A Friend You Never Met

A Friend You Never Met
Mar 07, 2011 by Victoria Noe
Where were you when you heard John Lennon died?Princess Diana?Michael Jackson?Celebrity deaths – especially those that are sudden or violent – hold a certain fascination for many people.  The media will be temporarily obsessed with the story.But what can seem unusual is the way some people mourn those celebrities – as if they were a close friend.Why is that?They’ve never met that particular celebrity, even though they may have bought their cd’s or seen their movies or watched their TV show.But they mourn.Jeff Goldblum was a guest on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and suddenly began to talk about the late Tim Russert, moderator of “Meet the Press”.  Goldblum admitted he was upset for two days, when he heard of Russert’s sudden...