Jade Goody

She won't get a state funeral, but in other respects, the March 22 death of Jade Goody, 27, proved that the British reality-TV star had come closer than any of her compatriots--certainly closer than any royal--to filling the gap in public life left by Princess Diana. The street outside Goody's house swiftly disappeared under a snowfall of bouquets and soft toys, the Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition issued solemn statements, and newspapers published commemorative editions. Goody's image could shift newsprint like no other celebrity since Diana.

There were eerie parallels in their narrative arcs: miserable childhoods; the unprepared...

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