The beginning of a surprising death list

Sid Caesar, the comedian, died yesterday, and I added him to my year’s death list.  Everytime a “famous” person dies, I open up my database and write in the name, age, date, place and cause of death.

It is a subjective list.  Chances are a notable businessman or influential scientist will fly right by my window.  The list tells as much about the listmaker as it does anything.   The list reflects my interest over the years.  It is clear my primary interests have been books, music, films and sports with politics not far behind.  Probably no different from anyone else’s.

With the death of Caesar at age 91, there are 12 names on the 2014 list.  This is about the same pace as last year when I entered 76 deaths.

What is different in 2014 is the average age at death.  That number is 82.7 years.  Last year it was 81.5.  Subtract the accidental  drug over-dose that killed actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, 46, and that average this year jumps to a whopping 86 years.  Four have lived into their 90s.  That’s a third of the total.  The oldest, the folk singer Pete Seeger, died at 94.

And, yes, it is early in the year.  Things could change.  But it will be interesting to follow.

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