Death in Triplicate: Hank Aaron, Larry King & Cloris Leachman
The recent Jupiter/Saturn conjunction of late December has brought on a rash of celebrity (Jupiter) deaths (Saturn), and as the Sun has come to conjoin this duo, highlighting this effect, famous people have begun dropping like flies. Three such recent departures are star baseball player Hank Aaron, broadcast legend Larry King, and the inimitable Cloris Leachman, one of the finest actresses of her generation, who all passed within five days in late January 2021.
Henry “Hammerin’ Hank” Aaron passed first, on January 22nd, bringing to a close a success story that was uniquely American. Born to a poor family with 8 children, Aaron idolized baseball player Jackie Robinson, first to break the MLB color barrier. The family couldn’t afford baseball equipment so Aaron practiced batting with sticks and bottle caps, eventually crafting his own bats and balls from trash-picked materials. As a junior in High School, he began his professional ball career with the Negro League, moving into the Minor Leagues when the Boston Braves offered a contract in 1952. Aaron earned his stripes with such farm teams as the Eau Claire Bears and the Jacksonville Braves, finally joining the Major Leagues with the Minneapolis Braves in 1954.
During this time Aaron became known as a power hitter, and the Braves’ PR division shifted him from birth name of Henry to “Hank”, which they felt was more accessible for fans. In 1965 Aaron moved with the team to Atlanta, which became the scene of his greatest success. He had long held the goal of unseating MLB star hitter Babe Ruth’s career homerun record of 714 hits, which he attained on 8 April 1974, with his 715th homer. Aaron retired two years later, but his lifetime record of 755 homeruns stood for 33 years; he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. Aaron was the subject of considerable racism during his career, not least when he surpassed the Babe’s record, but he bore it with stoic dignity and grace.
Born 5 February 1934 at 8:25 PM CST in Mobile, Alabama (Rodden Rating AA), Aaron’s status as a “powerhouse hitter” can be seen in a loose Thor’s Hammer, a fated pattern similar to a Yod, formed of athletic Mars at 1 Pisces on its Apex, sesquiquadrate to both Jupiter at 23 Libra, ruling pro team sports, and Pluto at 23 Cancer, symbolizing energy and power. As is common with one’s own PNAs (Personal-Named Asteroids), asteroid Henry at 16 Libra is exactly trine the Sun at 16 Aquarius, while asteroid Aaronson, closest to Aaron, is exactly inconjunct the Sun from 16 Virgo. Aaronson also conjoins the 24 Virgo Ascendant, another common placement for a PNA. Asteroid Hank at 9 Pisces conjoins Mars, for his sports-engendered nickname. The Sun conjunct Venus at 15 Aquarius and Saturn at 18 Aquarius granted Aaron popularity (Venus) and a core of steel (Saturn), with a strong focus on career (also Saturn).
When Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s homerun record on 8 April 1974, a Mars/Saturn conjunction at 23 and 29 Gemini straddled his natal MC at 24 Gemini, ruling career, status and reputation, for the new sports (Mars) record (Saturn) he had set. Asteroids Henry and Aaronson opposed each other exactly from 9 Aries to 9 Libra, and were just within orb of conjunction and opposition to the 18 Aries Sun (which also opposes natal Henry at 16 Libra), highlighting him for the period. Asteroid Hank at 5 Taurus sextiles Jupiter at 6 Pisces (conjunct natal Hank/Mars), and these form the base of a Yod, or Finger of Destiny, with inconjunct aspects to powerhouse Pluto at 5 Libra on its Apex.
When Hank Aaron passed on January 22nd, 2021, asteroids Hank at 1 Aquarius and Aaronson at 3 Aquarius sandwiched the 2 Aquarius Sun, putting him in the spotlight one last time, while within orb of the ongoing Saturn and Jupiter conjunction at 4 and 7 Aquarius. Transit asteroid Osiris at 18 Aquarius, named for the Egyptian god of the dead, exactly conjoined natal Saturn and paired with transit Mercury at 21 Aquarius, bringing news (Mercury) of his death (Osiris, Saturn).
Additional death indicators include transit Pluto, modern planetary lord of death, at 24 Capricorn, conjunct natal asteroid Requiem at 23 Cap, named for the funeral mass for the dead, also opposed by transit asteroid Atropos at 27 Cancer, named for the mythic Greek Fate who severs the thread of life at death. Pluto also opposes its natal degree of 23 Cancer. Transit Requiem at 16 Aries exactly opposes natal asteroid Henry at 16 Libra, while transit asteroid Rip (“RIP”) at 6 Pisces conjoins natal asteroid Hank at 9 Pisces. Transit asteroid Nemesis at 0 Sagittarius, which refers to undoing and ruin, conjoins natal asteroid Anubis at 1 Sag, named for the Egyptian deity governing funerary rites (then opposed by transit Anubis at 3 Gemini), while natal Nemesis at 12 Scorpio is conjoined by transit asteroid Lachesis at 11 Scorpio, named for the Fate who determines the span of life.
When he passed, speculation was rife on the internet that his demise was linked to a COVID-19 vaccination he had received some two weeks prior. The official coroner’s ruling of “natural causes” and a statement that Aaron expired “peacefully in his sleep” would seem to rule out any vaccine connection, but astrologically, there is support for COVID as a contributory cause. Asteroid Koronis, our celestial referent for the coronavirus, appears in a stationary stance at 8 Gemini in Aaron’s nativity, implying a greater-than-typical importance for this energy in Aaron’s biography (it had turned direct on January 23rd, some two weeks prior, at that degree). Koronis had been energized by an exact Lunar Eclipse conjunction on November 30th, and is part of a Grand Cross incorporating Hank at 9 Pisces, Anubis at 1 Sagittarius, and Neptune at 11 Virgo, ruling medications such as vaccines. Transit Koronis at 24 Aries set off a second natal Grand Cross of Uranus at 23 Aries, Pluto at 23 Cancer, Jupiter at 23 Libra and Requiem at 23 Capricorn, further energized by transit Pluto at 24 Cap and Atropos at 27 Cancer. This could describe the sudden, unexpected (Uranus) death (Pluto, Requiem, Atropos) of a celebrity (Jupiter), related to the coronavirus (Koronis).
Broadcast and interview giant Larry King passed on the following day. His is another “rags to riches” American saga. Born Lawrence Zeiger in 1933 to Orthodox Jewish immigrant parents, King’s father died when he was nine and the family survived only through welfare. From an early age King dreamed of working in broadcasting, and began his career in Florida in his early twenties, working at a local radio station. But initially he wasn’t on-air talent – he was hired to clean and provided general assistance, until an announcer quit without notice, and King was promoted!
That sudden job change also gave him the surname by which he would become famous, when the general manager insisted that “Zeiger” was too difficult to remember. Just minutes before airtime, Larry chose the surname King, which he got from an advertisement in the “Miami Herald” for King’s Wholesale Liquor. Two years later, he legally changed his name to Larry King, and the rest is history.
Almost immediately King began interviewing as his personal style of broadcasting, talking with patrons at a local diner, though he also worked as a color commentator for the Miami Dolphins NFL football franchise. His first job in TV was as moderator on a local issue debate program, followed by a stint hosting a live call-in sports talk-show. It wasn’t until 1978, at age 45, that King found his niche with “The Larry King Show”, a late-night live interview and call-in show on the Mutual Broadcasting System that ran from midnight to 5:30 AM weeknights. King quickly developed a loyal following of insomniacs and graveyard shift employees, and in 1985 translated his show to primetime on CNN as “Larry King Live”, which became the longest-running television show hosted by the same person, on the same network and in the same time slot, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. He retired in 2010 after a quarter century, having taped 6,000 episodes of the show, with an estimated 60,000 interviews under his belt over the course of his career.
King was almost as famous for his private life as his public interrogations. Married 8 times to 7 women, he tied Elizabeth Taylor’s matrimonial record, and like her, married one spouse twice. Shortly before his death King was diagnosed with COVID-19 and passed away at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on January 23rd. The official cause of death was an unrelated sepsis infection, though his wife relayed that the coronavirus had “taken a toll” on his overall health.
Born 19 November 1933 at 10:38 AM EST in Brooklyn, New York (Rodden Rating A), asteroid Lawrence at 10 Scorpio is conjoined the 11 Scorpio MC and semisquare the Moon at 24 Sagittarius, two other common placements for one’s own PNA, which typically connect to the Sun, Moon, Mercury or the Angles. The Sun at 26 Scorpio conjoins Mercury, ruler of broadcasters, at 25 Scorpio and asteroid Juno, named for the Roman goddess of marriage, at 28 Scorpio, representing the two facets of his life with which King was most identified. Incredibly, natal asteroids Larry and King appear at the same degree, 7 Aquarius, from where they conjoin natal Saturn at 10 Aquarius, for the name he chose so randomly as his professional (Saturn) identity!
First wife Freda Miller shows as asteroid Freda at 2 Leo, trine Juno, and asteroid Miller at 8 Capricorn, conjunct the 13 Capricorn Venus, planetary ruler of partners. Second wife Annette Kaye shows as asteroid Annette at 5 Virgo, trine Venus, and asteroid Kaye at 10 Cancer, opposed it. Third wife Alene Akins (whom he married twice) shows as asteroid Alena, which at 26 Capricorn is sextile Juno; fourth wife Mary Frances Stuphin shows as asteroid Mary, which at 6 Aries squares Venus. Fifth wife Sharon Lepore shows as asteroid Sharon, which at 25 Scorpio exactly conjoins the Sun, also conjunct Juno; sixth wife Julie Alexander shows as asteroid Julia at 26 Virgo, sextile Juno, and asteroid Alexander at 22 Aries, inconjunct it. Seventh and final wife Shawna Southwick, with whom he was partnered the longest (since 1997) and who was still with him at the end, shows as asteroid Shawna, which at 14 Aquarius is squared asteroid Hera, named for the Greek goddess of marriage, at 19 Scorpio, and also cojoins Saturn, perhaps a symbol of that longevity.
When “Larry King Live” premiered on June 1, 1985, asteroid Larry at 1 Pisces was squared Mercury at 3 Gemini, ruling interviews and talk-shows, with asteroid King at 16 Aries roughly on their midpoint, semisquare to each. Larry also broadly squared the Sun at 10 Gemini, granting King enhanced visibility. Asteroid Lawrence at 4 Capricorn conjoined Neptune at 2 Cap, ruler of television.
When Larry King passed away on 23 January 2021, transit asteroid Larry at 26 Sagittarius was exactly inconjunct transit asteroid Atropos at 26 Cancer, named for the Greek Fate who severs the thread of life at death, and conjoined the natal Moon at 24 Sagittarius as well as natal asteroids Rip (“RIP”) and Lachesis (the Fate who determines the span of life) at 22 and 19 Sag respectively. Transit Lachesis at 11 Scorpio is an exact match for his natal Midheaven. Transit asteroid Lawrence at 29 Scorpio conjoins transit Nemesis at 0 Sagittarius, a symbol of ruin or destruction, and these both conjoin the natal Sun.
Transit asteroid King at 12 Sagittarius squared transit Rip at 7 Pisces and broadly opposed transit asteroid Anubis at 3 Gemini, named for the Egyptian deity governing funerary rites. King is also trine transit asteroid Requiem at 16 Aries, named for the funeral mass for the dead, conjoins natal Requiem at 14 Sagittarius, and exactly squares natal Neptune at 12 Virgo, for the hospital locale.
As with Hank Aaron, there are intimations that COVID had a definite role to play in his transition. Transit Larry and King both opposed natal asteroid Koronis at 18 Gemini, which natally opposes Rip and Lachesis, a sign that the coronavirus could be involved with his death. This axis had been activated by the Solar Eclipse of 14 December 2020 at 23 Sagittarius, shortly after which he was diagnosed with COVID-19, and hospitalized December 22nd.
January 27th saw the passing of 94-year-old actress Cloris Leachman, best known for her supporting role as brittle, neurotic landlady Phyllis Lindstrom on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” in the 1970s.
Leachman’s career extended over seven decades, and while she was most familiar to audiences in comedic roles, including the horse-whinny-inducing Frau Blucher in Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein”, she was also a talented dramatic player, winning a Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 1972 for her performance as Ruth Popper in “The Last Picture Show.” But it was in TV where Leachman found her greatest success, becoming a familiar fixture early on in her career, in supporting roles from “Rawhide”, “The Twilight Zone”, “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” and “Lassie” before hitting it big with “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” in 1970, followed by the spinoff “Phyllis”, in which she starred.
Leachman continued to add to her voluminous resume on both wide and small screens. Later roles included recurring appearances as grandmothers on “Malcom in the Middle” and “Raising Hope”, popular series which garnered her additional acclaim. Leachman is one of the most-nominated actresses in TV history with 22 Emmy nominations and 8 wins, as well as BAFTA, SAG and Golden Globe nominations. She continued working until the end, with two widescreen performances to be released posthumously in 2021.
Born 30 April 1926 at 6:55 AM CST in Des Moines, Iowa (Rodden Rating AA), Cloris Leachman fits the typical PNA pattern, with asteroid Chloris (alternate spelling of Cloris) at 11 Taurus conjoined the 9 Taurus Sun, and asteroid Leach (for Leachman) sesquiquadrate the Moon (ancestral inheritance, including the surname) at 10 Sagittarius and semisquare the 10 Gemini Ascendant.
Oscar gold is foretold by a Grand Trine from Leach with asteroid Ruth at 24 Cancer (for the role of Ruth Popper which brought her the win) to Saturn, ruling career, at 23 Scorpio and asteroid Oskar at 26 Pisces with Venus at 23, conveying popularity. Asteroid Nike at 16 Virgo, named for the Greek goddess of victory, is stationary (turning direct at that degree 10 days after her birth), trine the Sun, and broadly opposes Oskar. With asteroid Victoria at 3 Gemini (named for Nike’s Roman counterpart) conjunct the Ascendant, Leachman had a “winning” vibe, making her the second most-honored actress on television, after Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Asteroid Emma, closest match to Emmy, shows prominently as well; at 5 Leo it squares her Sun/Chloris conjunction.
The role that brought her the most attention, Phyllis Lindstrom on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”, is represented by asteroid Phyllis at 13 Aquarius, squared Sun/Chloris, allowing the actress to produce an authentic, genuine performance based on her core self, which audiences reacted to positively. Phyllis also conjoins the 15 Aquarius Midheaven, for the apotheosis of her career. Asteroid Lindstrom at 29 Aries broadly conjoins both asteroid Actor at 20 Aries and the 9 Taurus Sun, further identifying her with the part.
When Cloris Leachman brought home her Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress at the 44th Academy Awards on 10 April 1972, transit asteroid Victoria at 0 Taurus was semisquare transit Chloris at 17 Gemini, while transit asteroid Nike at 4 Capricorn was sesquiquadrate a combination of transit asteroids Leach and Ruth (for winning role Ruth Popper) at 15 and 18 Taurus, together again as in her nativity. Transit Chloris also squares natal Nike at 16 Virgo, with natal Victoria exactly conjoined by transit Saturn at 3 Gemini, ruling career and peer recognition.
Transit asteroid Oskar at 29 Pisces had recently returned to its natal degree and was semisquare transit Leach/Ruth. Transit asteroid Academia at 8 Leo (for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, which sponsors the awards) squares her natal Sun/Chloris conjunction at 9 and 11 Taurus, and the transit Sun at 20 Aries is an exact match for natal asteroid Actor.
When Cloris Leachman passed on January 27, 2021, transit asteroid Chloris at 7 Taurus joined Uranus and Mars at 6 and 10 Taurus, all conjunct her natal Sun/Chloris, and all squared the transit Sun at 7 Aquarius, with Saturn and Jupiter at 4 and 9 Aquarius, for a final moment in the spotlight (Sun) as the world focused (Sun also) on the latest celebrity (Jupiter) death (Saturn). Transit Lachesis at 12 Scorpio opposed natal Sun/Chloris and transit Chloris and squared the transit solar stellium creates a T-Square. The addition of the natal MC/IC axis at 15 Aquarius/Leo makes this a Grand Cross.
Asteroid Leach at 2 Libra was at station, having turned retrograde a week prior, indicating a major “change of direction” for Leachman. Leach in exact sesquiquadrate to natal Atropos at 17 Aquarius intimated just which direction this change might take. Leach also exactly opposed transit asteroid Actor at 2 Aries, which formed the string of a Grand Trine Kite pattern with transit Saturn and transit asteroid Anubis, named for the Egyptian deity ruling funerary rites, at 3 Gemini, emphatically stating the theme of the death (Saturn, Anubis) of an actress (Actor) named Leachman (Leach).
Transit asteroid Atropos at 25 Cancer conjoins natal Leach at 28 Cancer, and is exactly semisquare the natal 10 Gemini Ascendant, also sesquiquadrate the natal Descendant at 10 Sagittarius; natal Atropos at 17 Aquarius was conjoined by transit Osiris at 20 Aquarius, which itself exactly conjoined natal asteroid Nemesis. Transit Venus at 23 Capricorn conjunct transit Pluto at 25 Capricorn suggested the death (Pluto) of an entertainer (Venus); their opposition to natal asteroid Leach at 28 Cancer singled out whose death.
Three more deceased celebrities, and three more stunning astrological connections, as the celestial chorus of “as above, so below” plays on.
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All of my teenage/early adult heroes are now gone with the passing of Hank Aaron, Larry King, and Cloris Leachman. Watched the record-breaking Hank Aaron on the evening news when he broke Babe Ruth’s record, listened to Larry King late at night during the most turbulent time in my life with my mom dying of lung cancer, and nearly losing my two-month-old daughter to pneumonia within a span of three months in 1985, wanting to be Frau Blucher, Phyllis, or Evelyn Wright at various times along with the love of violin music. It has been very difficult the past few weeks as we continue to lose various individuals that were at one time or another unique in their chosen careers. Thanks for the trip down memory lane, Alex!