Saturday, February 18, 2012
Supposed friends enabled Whitney Houston’s steady decline toward death - NYPOST.com
The best article I read about Whitney Houston's tragic death was written by NY Post Columnist, Andrea Peyser (link above). Andrea also wrote the most profound article about the reopening of the Natalie Wood case late last year.
Today, Whitney will be buried near her father in Westfield, NJ. May she rest in peace.
Whitney was found in a bathtub on Feb. 11th, and in her hotel suite were people -- her small entourage of employees and friends who traveled with her and helped to care for her. Sometimes even caring people are at a loss for "what to do." It wasn't until Whitney seemed to be taking extra long in the bathroom that someone in her entourage broke inside to investigate why Whitney was not answering knocks at the door. Understandably, Whitney's hired help would not be invited into a bathroom while Whitney bathed. It makes perfect sense that they would not have had reason to insist upon watching her bathe, unless they had actually witnessed Whitney consuming more pills than healthy before bathing. We don't know those circumstances. Andrea Peyser makes a good point, but often, employees and friends are simply unaware of or do not realize the extent of what is happening around them.
A cause of death has yet to be determined for Whitney's death, but most people expect to learn in the near future that drugs are to blame. Toxicology reports can require weeks, if not months.
When iconic stars pass tragically, there is always lots of speculation and rumors. Nancy Grace is taking some heat from media colleagues with her suggestion of possible foul play involved in Whitney's death. The one thing Whitney is getting is a full investigation. We should await the final, official answer, just as we await the final, official answer in Natalie Wood's death 30 years later because Natalie was not given a full investigation back in 1981.
Just as Whitney's people were not privy to her private bathroom habits, nor was Dennis Davern privy to the Wagner's master stateroom. When Dennis overheard trouble stemming from the room, he did knock on the door to see if he could help. He was ordered away. This is a point where an employee is confused over how far to take the next interference. Do you overstep the boundary? Is the person you care for in danger? One has no way of knowing, and often, such as in Whitney's and Natalie's cases, you do not realize how grave a given situation is until it's too late.
A Huffington Post article today says: To the world, Houston was the pop queen with the perfect voice, the dazzling diva with regal beauty, a troubled superstar suffering from addiction and, finally, another victim of the dark side of fame.
Often, the dark side of fame, in the end, revolves around IMAGE. It is the single most important personal concern of people of great fame. They will defend themselves, lie, hide, create whatever it takes to not be seen as a fallible human being. When Whitney was asked in an interview about tens of thousands spent on drugs, Whitney's answer was, "Show me the receipts." The answer speaks for itself. It is such a sad situation, one that does not deter from Whitney's super talent, let alone protect her from common pitfalls while living. Celebrities are people, too. But in many cases, they are people unable to let go of a facade that is long past transparent to those looking in.
Last night, I heard on Bill Maher's show, guesting Dr. Drew, about how sleeping is a common problem for celebrities. Michael Jackson had been seeking a good rest when his life was taken by a drug. His doctor was found accountable for administering the drug, despite it was Michael who had lain himself down on the bed and expected his hired doctor to honor his command. Elvis, just as Natalie Wood had told Dennis, was the person who looked for multiple doctors to increase the dosages he wanted readily available on his nightstand, to enhance a good night's sleep.
Perhaps entertainers' minds are so wrapped-up in scheduling, appearances, appointments, obligations, and yes, image, that they truly are restless around the clock. They need to assist a night of peace. Too often, sleeping pills lead to wake-up pills, and wake-up pills lead to added aid in another form of a pill.
Stardom, in any class, is a hard gig to follow when it comes to real life. The one thing stardom and fame will never replace, for grieving family members, friends and fans, is the unfathomable way or reason the person they loved was taken.
To Whitney's family and friends, she was just "Nippy," a nickname given to her as a child. She was a mom who will be dearly missed. To Natalie's family and friends, she was also a mom, a sister, an aunt, friend, and a daughter, always to be missed. We will most likely learn what happened to Whitney. We may never know exactly how Natalie Wood ended up drowning in the Pacific, but we do know what prompted the situation of Natalie's mysterious night.
Just as there are tributes to Natalie to this day, such as the "Yesterday's Angel" tribute in NY City in 2009, there will always be tributes to Whitney. Those who knew these icons, along with the public fans, will celebrate their lives rather than linger on their tragic deaths. Whitney sold over 50 million records in our country alone, won six Grammys and dozens of other awards. Her tumultuous marriage to Bobby Brown was her personal life the public saw as her downfall, but Whitney hoped for her comeback. In the midst of striving for it, she was found dead in a bathtub. In the midst of Natalie's return to film work, she was found dead in the ocean. Yet, these iconic women, despite their personal strife, are celebrated for their contributions to our cultural society, and to society itself. These are historic women. There are few of them. We learn details about them from the media. Therefore, we often do not really know the most private of details, and in some cases, it's none of our business, but sometimes, well, it is our business.
When I started writing the GNGS manuscript, the first editor to read a first draft in 1983 told me that if the argument of the bottle smashing aboard the Splendour was the extent of the argument, then it should remain information for only the ears that were involved. At that time, I had a suspicion the bottle smashing was not the end of the argument, and it took me years to learn more details. A person can only sift through what is learned, and sometimes is left with information that is of concern. That's when you hope you can turn to the law or professionals for help. It took a long, long time to reach that point, but October 2011 will remain one of the most important months of my life, when finally, professional help was available for information I had gathered throughout the decades in regard to Natalie's mystery death. The information involved eye and ear witnesses who always hoped for one thing: to be believed.
As a tribute to Whitney, our governor (amidst some complaining) has asked the state of NJ to raise flags only to half staff today. He claims Whitney's cultural contribution to the world is worthy of the recommendation. To me, I see no harm in it, although I understand the reasoning behind those opposed to the tribute. Just as there will never be another Natalie Wood, there will never be another Whitney Houston. These women are unique. If I were raising a flag today, it would not be raised to the top. I would honor Whitney Houston, and not hold it against her that she is exactly what we all are: human.