I See Dead People: Vanity Fair‘s Obsession With Dearly Departed Celebs


The September issue of Vanity Fair hits stands as royal baby fever is still in the air. And the cover features a royal, but not the one everyone’s talking about. It’s Princess Diana, with the cover line “Diana’s True Love.”

The story is new, supposedly; it deals with the late Princess’s love affair with Pakistani heart surgeon Hasnat Khan. But how new can it really be when the poor woman died 16 years ago? This is the second late star who’s been on the cover this year; the May cover model was Audrey Hepburn. In the last five years, there have been eleven dead folks on the cover of VF:

  • Audrey Hepburn, May 2013
  • Marilyn Monroe, June 2012
  • Marilyn Monroe, November 2010
  • Grace Kelly, May 2010
  • Jackie O, October 2009
  • Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson, September 2009
  • Marilyn Monroe, October 2008
  • Bobby Kennedy, June 2008
  • Jackie O and JFK, November 2007

For some reason, the magazine will not let the deceased rest in peace. Especially Marilyn Monroe.

This cover is kinda sorta tied to the movie Diana, starring Naomi Watts, which hits theaters in September. Apparently the film deals with the last two years of Diana’s life “and specifically her relationship with Khan, who has not cooperated with the filmmakers.”

Still. Seems like a strange choice. Last year Vanity Fair’s September issue featured Kate Middleton, and sold 401,247 copies, making it the year’s best-selling issue. Since the mag has no problem repeating cover subjects — and K. Middy is having another big year — she probably would have been better. Is there a clamoring for another Princess Diana cover? Is it all all possible that VF readers are as nostalgic and death-obsessed as the editors? Should VF rebrand itself as Dead Icons Monthly?

[Vanity Fair]

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