Three Recent Cancer Victims

Mr. Bedford, left, as Lady Bracknell and Charlotte Parry as Cecily Cardew in “The Importance of Being Earnest,” a 2010 production at the American Airlines Theater. (Photo Credit: New York Times

Brian Bedford, left, as Lady Bracknell and Charlotte Parry as Cecily Cardew in “The Importance of Being Earnest,” a 2010 production at the American Airlines Theater. (Photo Credit: New York Times)

The recent passing of David Bowie, Alan Rickman and Brian Bedford, all from cancer, reminds us that no matter the place people hold in our imagination we are grounded in a humanity that can be taken from us equally.

They will be missed.

I know least about David Bowie. He was one of many rock and roll stars who came up at the same time, some of which I followed and some I didn’t. He falls from space into the latter category midst a grab bag of male artists that includes Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger, Prince, Freddy Mercury, George Harrison and others.

What distinguished Bowie was less his music than the creation of asset-backed securities from it. In 1997 he gave up the financial rights to his catalog of 25 record albums produced before 1990 in favor of a lump sum of $55 million, creating “Bowie bonds.” Intellectual property rights securitization, while little known, was one of Bowie’s many innovations. After a ten-year period without default, the rights to revenues reverted back to Bowie. For more about David Bowie, read the New York Times obituary.

The death of English actor and director Alan Rickman is more personal. It has been a running family joke that I recognized Alan Rickman from his portrayal of Hans Gruber in the film Die Hard, knowing full well that others in the family were enamored of his performances in Sense and Sensibility and as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films. There was a lot more to Rickman than his characters. Would that I had learned more while he was living. Read the New York Times obituary here.

Finally, Brian Bedford whom we know from the Stratford Festival of Canada. At 80, he was closest to living the full span. I was endeared to him because he came up in classical theater. We saw his one-man performance of “The Lunatic the Lover and the Poet” at Stratford.

Our daughter sought out the actor for a brief moment after the play. Actors are quite adept at quickly slipping out the back, but no match for her. She returned after a brief conversation with an autographed program.

Already memories of them are beginning to fade, along with so much about the time in which we grew up. It seems fitting to remember one more time.

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