Walter and Michael

One was an internationally respected journalist and newsman, who kept us informed through the tumultuous years of the sixties and seventies; he died, apparently of natural causes, at age 92. The other, famous across the globe for his musical genius, his eccentric lifestyle and his plastic surgeries, died at age 50 of a suspected drug overdose.

Despite their obvious differences, both men had a major influence on the careers of their colleagues and, more importantly, on society as a whole. As with all humans, both were the products of inborn talent, personal commitment and life experience. Molded by family, friends and the public at large, they accepted their opportunities with passion and, few would argue, altered the course of their chosen professions.

Some might judge their individual contributions based solely on a superficial understanding of their lives. After all, ignorance begets intolerance and fame invites criticism. Better that we celebrate their achievements than dwell on their differences. Human life is complex and, in our brief time on this planet, we can only hope to make an impact; in the end, we are all expendable.