Both born on January 19th, he in 1809, she in 1943, they each felt themselves to be "different." Joplin proclaimed herself the black sheep of her Port Arthur, Texas, family. Poe, born in Boston and orphaned at two, was the son of an actor, who had been the black sheep of his respectable family. Joplin, often despondent, gained fame by shrieking out blues songs to the masses. Poe, a melancholy man, left his mark through his sad poems and macabre tales.
The styles of both were meant to shock. Moody and undisciplined, both turned to drink and drugs. But fame was the ultimate high for both. Said Joplin: "I love being a star more than life itself." Said Poe: "I love fame--I dote on it--I would drink to the dregs the glorious intoxication."
Death came early and in similar manner--even on similar dates--for these brilliant people. At age 40, on Wednesday, Oct. 3, 1849, Poe was found lying in the gutter of a Baltimore street, apparently dead drunk. Taken to a hospital, he died on Sunday, Oct. 7. He was buried with only four mourners in attendance.
At age 27, on Oct. 3, 1970, Joplin was last seen alive by a Hollywood motel manager. The next day, a Sunday, she was found in her room face down where she had fallen from a heroin overdose. She was cremated on Wednesday, October 7, after a small private funeral.
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