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Web-Exclusive Book Review

The Last Days of Dead Celebrities

All of these pieces are sad reminders of enormous losses to the worlds of acting, sports, music, and broadcast news: Bloom's death in Iraq, just a month before his 40th birthday, from a pulmonary embolism; the death of the magnanimous and gifted actor John Ritter, at 54, on the set of his new TV show; tennis star Arthur Ashe's death from AIDS at age 50; and so on.

It is disappointing that The Last Days of Dead Celebrities is mostly a collection of banal reminiscences and that the author doesn't offer any kind of cultural critique, analysis, or larger context for these stories. To his credit, though, Fink treats each of his subjects gracefully, avoiding gory details or salacious end-of-life rumors. His book is as respectful a treatment as any dead celebrity could hope for and will satisfy their most devoted followers.

Carmela Ciuraru is a writer and editor in New York City. She has written for the  Los Angeles Times, ArtNews, The Washington Post, and other publications, and edited six anthologies of poetry. She previously reviewed The Secret Daughter and The Weather Makers on AARP The Magazine Online.

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