Two Great Talents, One Insidious Disease

Jan 18, 2016 | Matt Kollar | Celebrity Health
Two Great Talents, One Insidious Disease

image by: Rik Walton

Actors are agents of change. A film, a piece of theatre, a piece of music, or a book can make a difference. It can change the world - Alan Rickman

People die of Cancer every week, but we often don’t hear about it on the same kind of scale as we have this week with Alan Rickman and David Bowie. The world is poorer for the loss of these cultural icons, and respectively, they have both influenced generations of filmmakers and musicians. The characters that Alan Rickman portrayed, and the songs that David Bowie composed transported us to another world, and challenged our views of what normal is. It’s heartbreaking to realize that we will never hear another new David Bowie song, that we will never see Alan Rickman in another great role, but their legacy will remain to inspire new generations of artists.

In films he played some of the most iconic villains of the past three decades, Die Hard’s Hans Gruber, The Sheriff of Nottingham, and of course the dower and tragic, Severus Snape. In real life however, Rickman was the honorary president of the International Performers Aid Trust, a charitable organization that raises money to relieve poverty amongst people involved in the performing arts. Also, one of his last pieces of work was the Voice Over for this charming video of a turtle eating a strawberry that was created to help fund the charities, Save the Children, and the Refugee Council.

Likewise, besides having one of the greatest and most influential careers on Rock n Roll history, Bowie was a generous philanthropist and was always vocal in his fight against inequality. From huge public events, such as the Live Aid concert, and the countless charities that he was involved in, to smaller battles, like criticizing MTV for their lack of diversity in their programing, Bowie was unabashedly unafraid in his music and in his personal opinion.

The bittersweet part of any celebrity’s death is that it brings us together to celebrate their lives and work. However, the loss of these cultural giants should be more than an excuse to put on “Labyrinth” or “Galaxy Quest”, although those are indeed fine things to do. Art can change the world. It can make you feel like you belong. It can give your life purpose. We need these larger than life figures, and we need their innovations and careers to look up to and to inspire us.

But as much as we need that, we also need some brilliant men and women in the science community to make improvements in the way we are combating cancer. The fact that both of these men were 69 when they died is quite disturbing. Yes, in a less civilized time, when the average age of death was in the 30’s, that would have been impressive, but in 2016, when we are driving robots around on Mars, and using a handheld super-computer-phone to watch Youtube on the toilet, you would think a miracle cancer breakthrough would be on its way.  According to the American Cancer Society; “In 2016, there will be an estimated 1,685,210 new cancer cases diagnosed and 595,690 cancer deaths in the US.” That’s 595,690 stories, ideas, pieces of music and acts of kindness that will never be fully realized.

Every day we don’t act we risk losing another hero, another pioneer, another human-being that will die before their time. So praise the careers of these great and inspiring men, but do not forget the insidious disease that took them before their time.

About the Author:

Matt Kollar is a writer, film director and composer, based out of Southern California. Besides writing blogs and podcasts and producing videos for Health Entertainment Network, Matt is the head of Space Barbarians Productions, a new production company that specializes in horror, fantasy and science fiction films and videos. 

His work has been featured in the downtown Los Angeles Film Festival, OC Weekly, and feature films such as Bobcat Goldthwait's "God Bless America" 2012. To check out more work by Matt Kollar, please visit:

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