The Associated Press is reporting that Charles Rocket has committed suicide. They’re focusing on his work on SNL, which is less famous in its existence than in his firing (he uttered a notorious four-letter word on the air). I guess I know him better for a range of scammers and stuck-ups he has played over the years; when I think of Rocket, I think of his work on Moonlighting as Bruce Willis’s brother, trying to move a product called “Rich and Thin” at seminars using a rap sales pitch. I last saw his work a couple weeks back, when I watched Dumb & Dumber for the first time. The moment he appears, you know he’ll be a stuck-up bad guy. That’s the kind of specific talent he had.
We’re bound to see some reporting on the “string of tragedies” that has hit Saturday Night Live alumni; those counts tend to overlook the sheer number of folks who have been in that cast over the past thirty years. That’s not to say that there is no link between the sort of excesses that made Belushi and Farley the figures that they were and their deaths, it’s just that in the past commentators have made it sound like there’s some sort of SNL curse.
Another thought on the coverage of this: he actually died ten days ago. If there was any coverage of it, well, I missed it. And yet the ruling of the death to be a suicide seems to have gotten enough attention to be seen. Perhaps I was just otherwise occupied (and ill) when the death was initially reported – but perhaps the media just considered him to minor to worry about until the death became salacious.
Ah, well. This is more detail than I should probably have gone into on a post that I shouldn’t have made. After all, it’s not as though Rocket were some large figure in my personal landscape. I have no idea what sort of personal situations brought him to this, and frankly it’s none of my business. Is it sad? Yes, but most deaths are. This one’s just a bit more famous than most.