family, life

My Celebrity Family

witsendI’d love to say that I come from a perfect family, but I’m a realist. I know my family can be dysfunctional. This is not to say that I don’t love my family, or that we didn’t have some wonderful “Leave it to Beaver” times, because we had some of those moments, too. The key is, to accept all the moments, and I’m grateful for them. They are a part of this journey called, Life.

Now, onto the celebrity portion of this post. You see, some celebrities have actually taken a part in my family life.

Let me explain.

For the most part, I’m not a fan of celebrities. I refuse to use the word “star” when referring to them. They are human just the same as any one of us, but many of them see themselves as more important than those who don’t share their fame.

Except, recently I realized that there are some celebrities that actually made an impact on my life! If you couldn’t tell by the exclamation point, this surprised me.little-lori2wm

When I was a child, there were certain TV shows that helped me through some tough family times. One in particular will forever be in my mind and heart.

The Dick Van Dyke Show.

I can’t express enough how the humor from that show brought joy to me as a child. It lifted my spirits. It gave me hope. I grew to love Rob and Laura Petrie as if they were my favorite aunt and uncle. When I became an adult, I grew to love Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore for portraying them so well.

When I grew up, I married into an entirely different kind of dysfunction. I knew how to handle the dysfunction I was used to, but this one threw me for a loop. Again, it’s not to say that my new family didn’t also have wonderful “Leave it to Beaver” moments. I just didn’t know how to fit into an unfamiliar way.

Along came another TV show to help me through.

In this television show, I felt like I was looking in a mirror at one of the characters. I even heard her speak lines I used on my own in-law family. The name of the show …

Everybody Loves Raymond.

GLR wmThe Barone Family became my family. They supported me through my marital journey in life. They taught me about the people in my new family and how to take our situations more lightly. They got me to laugh at myself. I grew to love the Barones like I love Rob and Laura Petrie.

So, last week when I got the news of Doris Roberts passing, I cried. I thought it was odd, because she didn’t know me. I didn’t really know her. I don’t cry over celebrities passing. I didn’t understand why it moved me, until I did this analyzing and dissecting.

Marie Barone was my family, and I love Doris Roberts for portraying her so well that it helped me in my own life.

I actually didn’t think of Doris Roberts as a celebrity. I heard her say to a group of acting students once (and I paraphrase), “You have to make up your mind what you want out of acting. Do you want to be famous, or do you want to be an actor?”

Doris was definitely an actor. She certainly didn’t seem to seek fame. She aged gracefully because she stayed true to herself and her art.

Update: Since I drafted this post, we lost another celebrity who impacted my life. I saw his movie on one of my first dates with my husband. My friend and I use one of his hits as our theme song. May Prince and Doris rest in the peace of the eternal Oneness.

Do you have a favorite TV show? Can you relate to any fictional characters? Have any characters and their portrayers moved you?

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21 thoughts on “My Celebrity Family”

  1. Hi Lori, I really liked “Bewitched” and could never understand, as a kid, why Samantha would not want to use her powers at every opportunity. The “Dick Van Dyke Show” was great too. Those shows came on right after each other. It was “I Dream of Jeannie”, then “Bewitched” and then the “Dick Van Dyke Show”. That was definitely great TV, back then I enjoyed watching TV.
    I was definitely saddened to hear of Prince’s passing.

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    1. Oh yes, SD. I remember, in-order, when those old TV shows were on. Probably cause we both lived in Chicago. After school at 4:30 it started with Gilligan’s Island, I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, Andy Griffith Show and then Dick Van Dyke. They all helped me get through my childhood. Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie, helped me escape to a fantasy world. Like you, I didn’t understand why Samantha didn’t use her powers to clean house and do chores. I mean, who wouldn’t want that? 😀

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      1. Oh I forgot about Gilligan’s Island – okay so here is my question that has always bothered me about Gilligan’s Island. If they are going on a 3 hour tour, why did they bring luggage? We were probably sitting on opposite sides of Chicago watching the same shows on WGN. How cool is that!!!! And Andy Griffith – with Barney – the biggest goofball ever. Opie was so cute!!!!

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        1. Gilligan’s Island was ridiculous. it’s why children watched it. Ha.And, even then we knew it was silly. My best friend (who lived next door) and I still quote lines from Dick Van Dyke today. It’s our inside joke-lines. You’re right, we probably were watching WGN from opposite ends of the city. It would’ve been cool if we had met.

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        2. Isn’t it kind of weird that we met online thousands of miles away from each other instead of when we lived in/near the same city? Gotta love how the Universe works.

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            1. I know, you were on the opposite side of the city. I was raised in the northwest suburbs. We rarely got into the city when I was a kid, but as a teenager and older, we used to drive in all the time. We usually went to Water Tower Place or Oak Street Beach for fun (or to party at Rush and Division ;-))

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              1. I remember when the Water Tower was brand new. We moved all our shopping expeditions from State Street to the Water Tower. There used to be a sandwich shop in there, I think called DB Kaplan that we loved to go to, and of course they had Lord & Taylors, Marshall Fields (when Marshall Fields was really Marshall Fields). We came into downtown on the IC or rode our bikes from Hyde Park (thinking back on that, that was kind of nuts).

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                1. Wow. Rode your bikes! You were ambitious. Of course, we were 25 miles from Water Tower, but we did ride our bikes all around the suburbs to different stores.

                  Marshall Fields is now Macy’s. 😦

                  Sears Tower is now Willis Tower. 😦

                  Oh … the changes. Sigh.

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  2. I was saddened with Alan Rickman and Robin Williams. But, with that said, all of them passing are sad. While we don’t know them personally, as you said, in some way or another they’ve been apart of our lives. It might not mean anything to them or to another people, but it means something to us individually. Heath Ledger was one of my first celebrity crushes. It was sad when he died and it brought back memories of my late teen years, fawning over him in his movies. As Carrie mentioned another hard one Steve Irwin. I loved watching his show, and I was so happy to get to know Bindi on Dancing with the Stars. I’m so glad she won.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your experiences with the loss of “celebrity family,” Angela. I don’t like putting any human on a pedestal, but in my case, I see them more like peers whom I’ve related to.

      I know what you mean about Heath Ledger. I was too old for him and found him attractive. 😉

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    1. Oh yes, Nancy Reagan. I felt bad for her when Ronald Reagan got sick and then again at his passing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a couple so close. Thanks for sharing your experience, Jill.

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  3. It’s interesting how moved we can be by a celebrity’s passing, but I think it’s for the reason you mention: they are meaningful somehow to our lives.

    I was very sad when Steve Irwin died years ago from the sting ray accident. I enjoyed watching his show, and to me he was the epitome of taking life by the horns and running with it. Always so positive and exuberant, you couldn’t help smiling after watching him. So I was saddened by his death and carried it around with me for a while. I was surprised to feel it so deeply.

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    1. Oh yes, I remember Steve Irwin. That was sad. Yes, somehow these people get connected to an event in our lives and it causes us to think fondly of them.

      Thanks for sharing your own experience, Carrie.

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