Is Macaulay Culkin still alive?
The question is not my own. Today a searcher arrived on my blog with the terms: “Is Macaulay Culkin still alive today in 2011”. That gave me pause. However, another similar question compounded it: twice in the last couple of days I have had searches for the former child prodigy Kim Ung Yong: “Kim Ung Yong, Date of Death” and “Kim Ung Yong Died...”. They are basically the same search. They embody the assumption of death, for someone who was once prominent and famous, but who now leads a quieter, less public life.
What is really sobering about these searches is where the Macaulay Culkin search was from: Grove City,Ohio, in the United States. One would have thought that an American would know that Macaulay Culkin was still alive...but apparently not. I didn’t note where the Kim Ung Yong searchers were from.
The stories of Kim Ung Yong and Macaulay Culkin have certain similarities. They were both famous as children. They both showed great promise. Then they both elected, as adults, to lead more discrete, less prominent lives as adults. In both cases it is not clear to what extent this is choice or happenstance. Whatever the case, they have both slipped from public view – yet both are still alive.
It is interesting that some members of the public assume that these once prominent children have died, since they are no longer prominent as adults. This is quite sad and speaks of the expectations of the general public towards such figures. Everyone has a right to conduct their lives as they wish. If a person who is famous as a child, wants a quieter life as an adult – then that is their choice. They should be free to make that choice. It seems, however, that, in some quarters they are not. The simple fact that they have chosen a less public adult life leads to the assumption that they must have died young. They didn’t die. What died was their wish to sustain a public image and presence.
Macaulay Culkin has largely stopped acting. We don’t know the reasons for this. Kim Ung Yong, has chosen to work as an academic in a minor provincial University, rather than have a more visible position. He has published 90 papers in his field, hydraulics. So, he continues to contribute – but in an area that is not high profile or likely to attract attention.
I feel the public should not expect anything of such people. They should let them be and choose their own lives – even if these lives might disappoint the expectations of those who followed them as children. Everyone’s life, is their own – and is not lived for public consumption.
So, carry on living quietly, Macaulay Culkin and Kim Ung Yong. Enjoy your lives in the way you want – even if some people out in the world, think you are dead because of it. None of it matters. The perceptions of strangers do not count. What counts is whether Macaulay Culkin and Kim Ung Yong enjoy the lives they lead. I hope they do. They should also be allowed to live those lives in peace and free from public pressure.
So, just be what you please, Culkin and Kim. I, for one, believe in your right to do so. Have happy lives.
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