Cultural AffairsOpinion

Remembering the celebrities who didn’t die in 2016

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2016 sent many of our favourite celebrities for a permanent dirt nap. Be it sports, music, or film, someone famous from every facet of pop culture peaced out. It may have been the year of dead celebs, but don’t worry there’s still heaps of famous people alive to tweet at, steal inspirational quotes from, and venerate from our smartphones. The Gateway has a tribute to some celebrities who didn’t die in 2016.

Betty White

I’m convinced that there is only one reason why Betty White is still, at 94, breathing: she is immortal.  Just imagine it — Betty White, descending from the heavens like a box of Ferrero Rocher to bless us mere mortals with her presence. Logically, the only reason she’s so down-to-earth is because she literally came down to earth. How else could she have received tens of TV and comedy awards and been inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records? We’re in such awe of her that the only thing we can do with it is shower her with praise. A GoFundMe campaign started a few months ago to “protect Betty White from 2016” raised over $9,000 dollars. The funds, which will be donated to The Spartanburg Little Theater, proves people will give anything to see this badass old lady continue to prosper.
– Julia Sorensen

Bob Barker

Remember Bob Barker? Well, apparently he’s not dead like I and some other oblivious idiots from the internet thought. You’re probably thinking, “oh dear, I forgot about him.” But don’t fret, I guess “Bob Barker dead” is a semi-frequent Google search because he’s featured on a website called He is old AF at 93, but he’s not quite as old as Betty White, and apparently not as important becuase no one’s started a “save Bob Barker” GoFundMe page. Nonetheless, he didn’t die when he stopped hosting The Price is Right in 2007 like we may have thought. Nor did he die after trying to save Lucy the elephant from the hell hole that is Edmonton Valley Zoo. As it turns out, Lucy is still alive, too. Even though your cold, dead hearts forgot about these two beauties, I’m glad both wrinkly, ancient beasts survived 2016.
– Ashton Mucha 


*skip to 6:00 for Cher relevance…

At 69 beautiful years of age, Cher is still slaying the haters on Twitter, calling people on their shit, and teaching us all a lesson about the power of emojis. Tabloids love to tell us that Cher has kicked the bucket, or is at least close to it (a particularly cheery National Enquirer headline proclaims “Dying Cher Fading Fast!”), but despite being tied with the band Kiss for the highest number of “farewell tours,” the Goddess of Pop isn’t signing off yet. Instead, she’s busy unapologetically defending gay rights, women’s rights, equality, and basic human decency, with unprecedented levels of sass. She’s the GOP’s worst nightmare in lipstick and leather boots. We’d probably all be as immortal as Cher if we took a page out of her book, took less shit, and called people out in all caps while using flower emojis.
– Emma Jones

Vince McMahon

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Vince McMahon even at age 71 looks like he consumes enough steroids to be a comic book super villain. However, the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) promotor is alive and well despite an ascending age coupled with illicit super drug use. What’s glorious about McMahon’s not-deadness and career legacy is specifically WrestleMania 23 (2007). Donald Trump and McMahon each wagered their hair in the “Battle of Billionaires.” Trump was represented by professional wrestler Bobby Lashley and McMahon by Umaga. Umaga lost the match to Lashley, Trump body slammed McMahon outside the ring, and McMahon got his head shaved. Now fast forward a decade: Trump is President and Linda McMahon (McMahon’s spouse) will run Trump’s small business administration. I hope Vince McMahon will live to see the day when a professional wrestler runs and wins the U.S. presidency. But for now I’m please McMahon was body slammed back in the day by Trump.
– Jonah Kondro

Ric Flair

Ric Flair, also known by his wrestling nickname “Nature Boy,” is another pro-wrestling affiliate not touched by 2016’s cold hand of death. The professional wrestler may be retired from the ring, but Flair is not finished from adding to his legacy. In a short 18 second video spreading around social media, Nature Boy, at the crisp old age of 67, is captured dead-lifting 400 pounds. After completing the feat of strength, Flair follows up with his trademark “woo!” Flair may be an ex-wrestler, senior citizen, and fit all the tropes of a ridiculous high energy entertainer, but he certainly is still moving a lot of weight in the gym, 400 pounds of it, which is more than most New Year’s resolutioners can claim. I hope 2017 keeps its cold frost bitten fingers off our hallowed professional wrestlers so that we can keep enjoying the absurdity that is known as show business.
– Jonah Kondro

R.A. Dickey’s no-quit attitude

Even after a forgettable season with the Blue Jays, where he pitched badly at home (3-8, 5.28 ERA) and was left off the playoff roster, ain’t nothing gonna break R.A. Dickey’s stride. His tenure with the Blue Jays frustrated fans more than it impressed, not in the least because he was traded for flame-throwing Noah Syndergaard, and at the end of the season he was out of Toronto faster than you can pronounce “Thole” the right way after seeing it for the first time. Dickey took a pay cut and signed with the Braves, but if Leland (my hot-takes friend) is right and it was the Toronto SkyDome’s lack of air circulation with the roof up that made Dickey suck, maybe R.A. is on to much better things in hot ass Atlanta. How does Dickey feel? It’s not his first career slump and he should be right at home with fellow old man (who is also a bonus not dead celeb) Bartolo Colon.
– Josh Greschner


Did you know Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” video surpassed a billion views in 2016? Yeah, me either. But the dude’s alive, well, and still adamant about using his music to fight against injustice. This past year he dropped a single to protest the Trump rhetoric, shot an MTV documentary on opioid addiction (with Obama?!), and even took part in a few protests. He’s made appearances on Ellen, The Tonight Show, and performed at a bunch of festivals. Oh, and somewhere in between he dropped an album (I think? Oh. Right…). The guy’s just been tryna make the world a better place, how about we cut him some slack and appreciate his aliveness a little more in 2017? (Plus, honestly, he’s more political engaged than Kanye… idk #Macklemore2020?)
– Navneet Gidda

Henry the tabby cat

Every time I go visit my aunt in Seattle I get spooked by her 22-year-old ginger tabby cat Henry because I always just assume he’s dead. When that mangy feline appears, meowing away like he should’ve keeled over 10 years ago I’m perturbed. Henry has lived to see the founding of Google, the release of Shrek, and the first iPhone. If this cat was a human he’d probably be graduating from the University of Washington at the end of this semester with some useless millennial degree. I consider Henry a celebrity because I feature him on my Snapchat story whenever I visit my aunt with some caption like “How is this cat still alive?!” and the stories always get a lot of views. In the end, Henry will haunt me even after his death (if that day ever comes) because even though in cat years he’s 154, he still looks better than me.
– Sofia Osborne

Bill Murray

The world lost too many great actors this past year, but we can all be thankful we didn’t lose Bill Murray. Undoubtedly his death would have become some sort of international tragedy, and meant a day work for distraught Chicago White Sox fans. The guy is well loved, and for good reason. Since his debut on Saturday Night Live, Murray has been one of the biggest comedic actors of the past three and half decades with hits like Ghostbusters, Caddyshack, and Groundhog Day. He’s even won an Oscar for Lost In Translation. So while we continue to collectively mourn the actors we lost, let’s appreciate that the undisputed king of dead-pan comedy is still alive and well.
– Matt Gwozd

Charles Manson

It’s easy to forget that everyone’s favourite fanatic cult leader was still kicking it in 2016 (albeit barely after being rushed to the hospital at the end of the year). Manson has been locked up for nearly 46 years for orchestrating the murders of seven people. In the late 60s, Manson brainwashed a bunch of teenage hippies with anti-establishment propaganda, promising a blissful life off the grid, but you know, first we gotta knock off a few celebrities. Among those the Manson family took out we’re aspiring Hollywood actress Sharon Tate (who was eight months pregnant) and Abigal Folger, heir to the Folger coffee fortune. Even though Manson hasn’t really done anything exciting since, his legacy is still prevalent in pop culture today thanks to shows like South Park, and Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers, where James Franco’s character “Alien” has moments where he parallels the famous cult leader. Substitute “Helter Skelter” for “Spraaang break.”
Jon Zilinski

Vince “The ShamWow Guy” Offer

Offer Shlomi, otherwise known as Vince Offer, Vince Shlomi, or simply “The ShamWow Guy,” was one celebrity personality who didn’t kick the bucket in 2016 (although, if he did, I’m sure a ShamWow could pick whatever mess spilled out). From ShamWow to Slap Chop (“The skin comes right off“) this guy had the infomercial game on lock a number of years back — at least he did until he himself was nearly locked up for punching a prostitute after she bit his tongue and wouldn’t let go. Although neither of his most infamous ads could ever live up to the holy grail of late-night T.V. shopping commercials, he’s still undeniably a top tier “CALL IN THE NEXT 60 SECONDS AND RECEIVE A SECOND ONE FREE” salesman. When his life’s limited time offer eventually does run out, it might be a sad day for some. But rest assured, wherever infomercial men go when they die, he will be greeted by a friendly, bearded smile and the soothing shout of “HI BILLY MAYS HERE!”
– Sam Podgurny

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