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Patrick Swayze dies on the same day as the inspiration for ‘Norma Rae’

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

Seems we always have to choose whom we’ll grieve over. John Ritter dies the same day as Johnny Cash. Musical genius Ellie (“Be My Baby”) Greenwich dies the same week as Michael Jackson. Now comes word that Patrick Swayze has succumbed to his illness. How many know about another death, that of the woman whose life inspired the 1979 film “Norma Rae”?


Crystal Lee Sutton was 68. She died of cancer after struggling with her health insurance company, which had delayed her treatment for several years for meningioma, a form of brain cancer.


Doesn’t it seem that these incidents serve to divide our attention, divide our loyalties?


Patrick Swayze

Time was, popular culture was defined by the Andrew Hamiltons and, later, the Garbos, and much later, the Marilyns and Elvises, et. al. Now, decades into the advanced media age, there are so many names we’ve come to know — more than any we ever learned of in a history class.

Life being what it is, all people must pass. So we get many of these “same day” instances.

Do you mourn for both? For one more than another?

When you write your headline of the day, or your Facebook or MySpace post, who gets prominence? I was working at a newspaper when Ritter and Cash died.

Guess who got the more prominent coverage?

Crystal Lee Sutton

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