One of my guilty pleasures on the good ol’ idiot box is Spike’s 1,000 Ways To Die. I’m either fascinated by people’s stupidity, or, shocked at how strangely any of us could meet the Grim Reaper. I guess I’m just a morbid guy. However, when it comes to crazy deaths, celebrities have have most of us beat badly. It’s been that way throughout history. Like the famous Chinese poet Li Bai, also known as Li Po, (701-762) who supposedly died after getting drunk on a boat and fell off while attempting to embrace the moon. Or how about the Dutch nobleman Tycho Brahe who held in his pee in 1601, which resulted in him getting an infection and would later die from it. And, who could forget the strange deaths of Jack Daniel, Rasputin or Steve Irwin? What I’m trying to say is that celebrities like to go out with a bang. Whether it’s from their fast lifestyles of consuming drugs and/or alcohol or some loon with a gun that takes them out, their deaths make headlines that they could only dream of when they were amongst the living.
Perhaps that’s why photographer Grant Waud chose celebrities and their deaths as the topic for his most recent series entitled “Death By Hollywood”. Waud settled on Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean and John Dillinger as his subjects. He took two pictures of each celebrity. One recreating their deaths and the other of a significant object that played a part in their deaths. The reenactments appear to be painstakingly accurate. Which may disturb fans of the five celebs portrayed. We all know that Elvis died on a toilet but seeing that depiction of The King brings it to a whole new level. We put these people on pedestals and seeing them at their most vulnerable crashes them down to Earth. It’s kind of demented, yet, we oddly fascinated by these photos. Regardless if you’re intrigued, or disturbed, by Waud’s pictures, it’s still an interesting topic to tackle. And, with so many celebrities having unconventional deaths, Waud could easily create a continuing series.
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