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Famous People Seem to Die In Threes – Funicello, Thatcher – Who’s Next?

Which celebrity is going to go next?
(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

It might seem weird, or even macabre’.   But don’t famous people always seem to die in threes?

Over the weekend, we lost singer, entertainer and legendary Mousketeer Annette Funicello.  Then historic British leader Margaret Thatcher passed away.   So, the question seems to be – who’s next?   Think we’re reaching here?   The phenomenon of famous people seemingly dying in groups of three, within a day or very short time of each other was first “created” in 1959 when The Big Bopper,  Ritchie Valens and Buddy Holly all perished in that famous plane crash in Iowa.   Since then,  we’ve had an eerie number of famous celebrities depart our planet very close together.

Here are some examples:

  • Johnny Cash, Warren Zevon (the song Werewolves of London) and John Ritter all died the same week in September, 2003.
  • Suzanne Pleshette, Brad Renfro, and Heath Ledger,  all within one week in January, 2008.
  • June, 2010:  Gary Coleman, Art Linkletter and Dennis Hopper passed in the same week.
  • Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett and Ed McMahon, within two days of each other, the week of June 25th, 2009.

And the list goes on and on.   Of course, there’s no way of proving any of this.  But since we first began really paying attention to such events,  there is an uncanny number of celebrities who die in triples very close together.   How can it be explained? writer Mary Elizabeth Williams says it might be something created by our worship of American “pop” culture in general:

But because sometimes when we lose people, especially people who made movies we love or TV shows that remind us of childhood or music we rocked out to our in our bedrooms, the need to believe in something is compelling and comforting. It imposes sense upon the senseless.

We can’t think of a better explanation, so we will agree with her.  But until the rest of this week passes, and nobody famous passes away, we will be keeping a close eye on the news – and tabloids.   Kinda creepy.

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