Letters to the Editor

Seeking lessons from celebrity suicides

“When Celebrities Kill Themselves.” A good title for a TV docu-drama, no? Everyone would tune in.

Who isn’t fascinated when someone who has it all suddenly commits suicide?

I don’t mean to sound harsh; I feel a genuine sadness for the recent deaths of fashion designer Kate Spade, and chef and author Anthony Bourdain.

But naturally, we’re all wondering why and postulating like mad on how they could do such a thing.

The problem we non-celebrities have is, we’re imagining ourselves on our best days, when all is right with the world, as the mind set these celebrities must have because they have achieved so much.

We think that if we had what they had, we’d be darned gleeful, all the time.

But that’s not exactly how human nature works.

In fact, it’s often the opposite.

A monk praying in a dark, dank corner might be a lot happier than some billionaire hedge-fund operator.

“Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers,” poet William Wordsworth wrote.

One of our powers is to know ourselves.

Celebrities often lose touch with their core being as success roller-coasters them hither and yon.

And the trajectory can’t be stopped just like that when relief is wanted.

They’re in too deep.

If you combine this too-much-of-a-good-thing with a deep-feeling sensitive nature, battered by some disappointment or loss, it’s a potentially deadly combo.

Their deaths could serve as a cautionary tale if we truly understood them.

But we can’t, and so we can only speculate and lay blame: mental illness, impending divorce, unfaithfulness, etc., etc.

Forget it. Let them rest.

Natalie Altman,


If you are feeling that was yourself, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resourcesor SamaritansUSA.