Miguel Ferrer and Six Other Celebrities We Lost in 2017 That You Mistakenly Think are Dead By Your Hand

We here at Nathan Rabin’s Happy Place try to do our part to alert the public about the fascinating and newsworthy phenomenon of once-living famous people now being dead via such essential and well-read listicles as “47 of the Munchkins from Wizard of Oz that are now tragically dead” and “One Charlie’s Angels Cast Member Named Farrah Fawcett Who Is Now Dead.” 

But it has come to our attention that a lot of misinformation remains out there regarding dead celebrities, namely, the cause of their deaths. You’re aware that all seven of the celebrities on this list tragically passed on in 2017, yet for some reason you think all seven died by your hand.

The good news? You can say goodbye to a lot of that guilt you’ve been feeling, as well as the accompanying legal charges! Phew! The bad news? Your delusions about being a prolific murderer of celebrities indicate you may be suffering from some manner of serious mental illness. 


1. Miguel Ferrer

The son of actor Jose Ferrer and singer-actress Rosemary Clooney, Ferrer was a prolific and sought-after character actor throughout his career. He’s best known for his role as bad guys in movies like Robocop but you shouldn’t feel bad about your inexplicably strong conviction that he perished in a knife fight you instigated because that couldn’t be further from the truth. Stop feeling so guilty! You’re a flawed human being, sure. We all are. But you’re not responsible for the veteran actor’s demise. 


2. Mary Tyler Moore

Who doesn’t love Mary Tyler Moore? It’s hard to imagine a bigger television icon than the Dick Van Dyke Show and Mary Tyler Moore Show star, who was the kooky, perfect wife of the 1960s and a plucky feminist hero in the 1970s. Moore lived a long, full, happy life before dying at 80 in January of 2017. That’s why it makes absolutely no sense that you somehow imagine that you accidentally killed Moore during a botched plastic surgery operation. You’re not even a doctor! You sell life insurance, which makes your weirdly unshakeable belief that Moore died by malpractice because of your unsteady hand all the more inexplicable. 


3. John Hurt

John Hurt was one of the all-time great character actors, a versatile and charismatic performer whose storied career spanned decades. He was the Elephant Man in David Lynch’s haunting adaptation of the Broadway smash, a definitive Winston Smith in 1984’s 1984 and part of the doomed crew in Alien on top of so many other unforgettable performances and roles. You’re far from alone in being a John Hurt fan, but you’re not an obsessed fan who killed him onstage during a Broadway show, as you somehow believe. You had nothing to do with Hurt’s death. Or any of the other beloved entertainers here .


4. Robert Osborne

Robert Osborne long served as the face and perpetually reassuring voice of Turner Classic Movies. He was a warm, avuncular presence in the lives of countless cinephiles and movie-lovers, a true Hollywood insider who happily graced the cable landscape for many happy decades. Osborne died of natural causes last year at 84, and not, as you somehow believe, at your hands during an illegal underground boxing match.


5. Chuck Berry

Forget Elvis Presley: Chuck Berry is the true King of Rock and Roll. It would not be an overstatement to say that he more or less invented rock guitar and perfected it with iconic hits like “Johnny B. Goode” and “Brown Eyed Handsome Man.” He famously had a complicated personal life freighted with darkness and criminal proclivities, but he most assuredly was not stabbed to death in an alley over a card game by you, as you are convinced. Like many of the folks on this list, he died from natural causes, not because you murdered him. 


6. Don Rickles

Insult comic Don Rickles was famously acidic and aggressive onstage but offstage he had a richly merited reputation as one of the nicest men in comedy, a consummate mensch beloved by multiple generations of comedy fans and revered by comedy lovers the world over. Yes, Rickles truly earned his title as the King of Zing but you need to stop punishing yourself, because you had absolutely nothing to do with his natural death. You certainly did not poison him, slowly and deliberately over time, as you’ve confusingly told your psychiatrist several times. You didn’t even know the man! Only his comedy.


7. Judge John Wapner

Judge John Wapner was a fixture on American TV screens thanks to his starring role in The People’s Court. To many Americans, Wapner was the law, a fair-minded judge who doled out justice with a side order of compassion before dying in 2017.

If Judge John Wapner were alive today, however, he himself would tell you that you are one hundred percent innocent in his death! He’d tell you himself that he died of natural causes at the very ripe age of 97, not from being strangled to death by you in his sleep, as you somehow imagine. 

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