Actress Carrie Fisher, another shooting star leaves us in 2016

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Rodney Harwood

 “Saw a shooting star tonight, and I thought of you …” I don’t know how I will feel when Bob Dylan finally leaves this world, but I thought of his words as I started thinking of all the fallen stars that have left us in 2016. The list seems so endless, people who touched all facets of humanity, from musicians to politicians, broadcasters to athletes, to icons who have touched the world and made it a better place … well except for Fidel Castro. We’ve said goodbye to so many, it’s hard to even touch the list without knowingly leaving someone out. But the latest was one of those, “I remember where I was at the time moments.” Carrie Fisher, 60, whose career took off like a rocket with her part as the double-bunned Princess Leia Organa in the “Star Wars” movies left us Tuesday suffering from complications of a heart attack. Star Wars was not just a movie when it hit the theaters back in 1977, it was a phenomena. Every theatre had lines around the block and down the street. Not just the special places, but all of them. People would get in and not come out, watching the movie over and over until the theatre closed for the night. I remember seeing it at a theatre called the Aladdin in Denver when I was in college. As you might expect, the line was around the corner and down the street. We walked up to the front to ask when the next show was, expecting to que up for an hour or two. The line started to move to go in and this couple, God bless ‘em, stepped aside allowing us to go in. There must have been 500 people in that line, but they somehow thought we were next, and who were we to tell ‘em we’d rather wait. When the words to the opening sequence went from over our heads into space and the ship followed, I knew we were in for something special. And thus, the Star Wars Generation was hatched. Carrie was a big part of that memory, just like all the rest. God bless the shooting stars that lit up the sky and lifted my spirit to bigger and brighter places. Here's a few that touched my spirit. - David Bowie, 69, who broke pop and rock boundaries with a genre-spanning persona. He christened Ziggy Stardust. Jan. 10. - Glenn Frey, 67, who co-founded the Eagles and with Don Henley formed one of history’s most successful songwriting teams. Jan. 18. - Paul Kantner, 74, a founding member of the Jefferson Airplane. Jan. 28. - Maurice White, 74, Earth, Wind & Fire founder whose horn-driven band sold more than 90 million albums. Feb. 3. - Merle Haggard, 79, the country giant who rose from poverty and prison to international fame through his songs about outlaws. April 6. - Leon Russell, 74, who performed, sang and produced some of rock ‘n’ roll’s top records. Nov. 13. - George Martin, 90, the Beatles’ producer who quietly guided the band’s historic transformation from rowdy club act to musical and cultural revolutionaries. March 8. The journalism industry lost a great one with the passing of Morley Safer, the veteran “60 Minutes” correspondent who exposed a military atrocity in Vietnam that played an early role in changing Americans’ view of the war. There was also the passing of former first lady Nancy Reagan, 94. We lost some of the greatest sports icons the world has ever known. - Muhammad Ali, 74, the former heavyweight champion whose blazing fists, irrepressible personality and determined spirit transcended sports and captivated the world. June 3. - Arnold Palmer, 87, the golfing legend who brought a country-club sport to the masses with a hard-charging style, charisma and a commoner’s touch. Sept. 25. - Gordie Howe, 88, known as “Mr. Hockey,” the rough-and-tumble Canadian farm boy whose blend of talent and toughness made him the NHL’s and Detroit Red Wings' quintessential star. June 10. The Detroit Free Press, one of America’s great voices, has a rather impressive list of all those who passed, http://www.freep.com/story/life/2016/12/27/2016-celebrity-deaths/95872686/

Rodney Harwood is a business/sports writer at the Columbia Basin Herald and can be reached at businessag@columbiabasinherald.com.

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