It was only a rehearsal, and he was twice the age of the dancers accompanying him. But the video doesn’t lie: Michael Jackson was looking ahead to a smash opening in London — and giving it his all.
And then he was gone.
With his thrilling music and dance, enigmatic personality and worldwide reach, Jackson led the list of notables in the worlds of art, entertainment and popular culture who died in 2009.
Some, like Jackson, Adam “DJ AM” Goldstein and British actress Natasha Richardson, departed without warning. Some, like actor Patrick Swayze, waged a very public struggle with illness.
But others were still active in their 80s and 90s, including choreographer Merce Cunningham, painter Andrew Wyeth and legendary guitarist-inventor Les Paul.
We also said goodbye to writers John Updike, Irish-born Frank McCourt and Hugh Leonard, Britain’s J.G. Ballard and John Mortimer, Uruguay’s Mario Benedetti, Israel’s Amos Elon, the Arab world’s Al-Tayeb Saleh, Spain’s Francisco Ayala and Austrian-born Johannes Mario Simmel, as well as Americans John Hope Franklin, Marilyn French and Hortense Calisher.
TV fans mourned “Prisoner” star Patrick McGoohan, delightfully sharp-tongued Bea Arthur, “Kung Fu” star David Carradine; and the decorative Farrah Fawcett. Jade Goody represented a 21st century celebrity, making a name for herself on British reality TV, then garnering sympathy around the world as she battled cancer.
The music world lost Argentine folksinger Mercedes Sosa, Mary Travers of Peter, Paul and Mary, jazz singer Blossom Dearie, Gordon Waller of British duo Peter and Gordon, Spanish pianist Alicia de Larrocha, punk rocker Lux Interior of the Cramps and Liam Clancy, the last of the Irish folk troubadors the Clancy Brothers.
The visual arts lost photographer Irving Penn, cinematographer Jack Cardiff, and two women who collaborated with their husbands on famous public art projects, Coosje van Bruggen and Jeanne-Claude.
We also lost French intellectual Claude Levi-Strauss, the centarian pioneer of modern anthropology