Is death the new sex tape?
Search your brains and be honest before you answer the following question: If I had asked you last Friday to tell me who Casey Johnson was, how would you have answered? My suspicion is there would have been an overwhelming chorus of "Who?" cut with a few tentative assertions about Johnson being the male heir of the Johnson & Johnson fortune.
All that changed on Monday when the Web -- and soon after, TV news -- was flooded with stories about the death of Johnson, the hard-partying heiress whose most recent claim to fame was a romantic attachment to Tila Tequila, herself a D-Lister. Johnson -- so far -- is crushing the competition in today's Buzziest Celebs poll (see Morning Mix). But a week ago, only regular readers of Page Six might have kept track of Johnson's shenanigans. She was hardly the new Paris Hilton. More like the Paris (Texas) Holiday Inn.
And where Hilton's fame was built on a sex tape, Johnson's seems to have hinged on her death. One could hardly escape the details this week -- about the circumstances, the shadowy adopted Kazakh daughter, the drama involving Johnson's dogs and the squalor which apparently was well hidden behind the doors of her Los Angeles home (One description: "Her house on Mulholland Drive is a mess. The electricity is off, there are rats, the pool is green. She was supposed to be evicted and her Porsche is being repossessed.").
Coming close on the heels of Brittany Murphy's surprising death, well, it does make one wonder what is going on in the Hollywood Hills. But Murphy, too, is another example of the same phenomenon, albeit to a lesser degree. She was the chick from "Clueless" and "Girl Interrupted" whose career peaked early and even stories of her sometimes erratic behavior were met with a ho-hum response until her untimely demise.
Is it how they died? The circumstances were gnarly, for sure, but neither Johnson nor Murphy attracted much attention with their tabloid-friendly lives while they lived them, so why do they fascinate in death?
You tell me. Share your thoughts in the comments section below...
UPDATE, 12:15 p.m. ET -- Some thoughts from Dr. Andrea Bonior, licensed clinical psychologist and author of the Express Baggage Check column:
Whenever a young, attractive person dies in mysterious ways, it grabs extra attention ... Additionally, death tends to enlarge the characteristics that people remember -- and I think there's a good bit of sordid curiosity here, in that Tila Tequila has been such an outrageous figure that there's a real hunger to see how her reactions will play out. Finally, these things tend to grow exponentially, as the more media coverage they receive, the more we believe we should be paying attention, and the more likely we are to revise history and remember her as perhaps being more famous than she was.
| January 8, 2010; 11:43 AM ET
Save & Share: Previous: Police raided Casey Johnson's house before death; Lilo accused of copying designs
Next: Tom Cruise voted world's sexiest short man; Fergie and Josh Duhamel renew vows
Posted by: Roxie1 | January 8, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: epjd | January 8, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: epjd | January 8, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Californian11 | January 8, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: reddragon1 | January 8, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Nosy_Parker | January 8, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Nosy_Parker | January 8, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: reddragon1 | January 8, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Nosy_Parker | January 8, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: hodie | January 8, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Nosy_Parker | January 8, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Pokey1 | January 8, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Nosy_Parker | January 8, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: honeylamb | January 10, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: carlaclaws | January 10, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: LisaJain1 | January 10, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: weanderson | January 10, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.