Quite a few readers wrote last week to ask if they can nominate people for the Honorary Unsubscribe, mostly due to the death of Don Knotts (Deputy Barney Fife on The Andy Griffith Show, among other roles), but also for actor Darren “Mike Hammer” McGavin. And Monday I learned that Dennis Weaver, who lived just a few miles from me, died on Friday. He was Chester in Gunsmoke and also played a New Mexico marshal working in New York in McCloud. McGavin was 83; Knotts and Weaver were 81. All three were pioneers in early television.
Anyway, the answer is generally no: when people are splashed all over the front pages of the newspaper when they die, I figure they’re pretty well covered and there’s little point in featuring them.
I prefer the H.U. be used for the unknown (or the forgotten) — people you haven’t heard of — or had known about but the media had forgotten about by the time they died.
I do think that actors and other entertainers are well qualified for the honor. Indeed, Jack Lord of the hit TV show Hawaii Five-O was the inspiration for the whole concept: his death was virtually ignored by the media, even though he had been a “big star” before he retired and dropped out of the limelight.
So… How To Do It!
Sometimes I am tipped off by readers about more obscure people, though the timing has to be just right: I prefer to feature people within a week of their deaths, 10 days at the outside (which requires extraordinary circumstances). Remember I write them on Fridays Mondays.
So if you see someone’s death reported all over the place, consider them well covered. If you only see an obit of someone interesting in a small local paper and hear nothing elsewhere, and it’s the Saturday to Monday timeframe, that is the time to let me know. (See? It’s tough! That’s why I say “generally no”….)
So if you can meet all of that, send links with information. Please use the subject “Honorary Unsubscribe Nomination” so it’s more likely I will notice it in my bulging inbox. Thanks.