Leslie Cheung was a pop superstar, a movie idol, and he had a loving boyfriend named Hok-Tak Tong, so his millions of fans were stunned on April 1, 2003 to learn he had jumped off a twenty-fourth floor balcony of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Hong Kong. His suicide dominated the headlines of Asian tabloids for more than a month, searching every aspect of his life for clues. The youngest of ten children of a Kowloon tailor, he was educated in England and returned to Hong Kong to sing. He released more than twenty-five very successful albums and his hit “Monica” was named Song of the Century. Two years after his death, China Central Television named him The Most Favorite Actor In 100 Years of Chinese Cinema for his work with directors John Woo, Kaige Chen, and Wong Kar-Wai, among others. Unlike many closeted actors in America, Cheung enthusiastically played gay characters, notably in two of his most famous films, Farewell, My Concubine and Happy Together. He came out in 1997 and his career thrived. His albums from that year on were extremely popular, as were his concerts, and many of his movies. He tried to kill himself in 2002 and succeeded the next year, when he was forty-six. His suicide note read,
Last year graphic designer Chip Kidd celebrated 25 years working at Knopf, notable because today he turns 48. In addition to creating many of the era's most iconic book jackets (Jurassic Park, American Psycho, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle), he is also an editor-at-large for Pantheon. A lifelong Batman fanatic, he has written many books about cartooning, including Peanuts: The Art of Charles M. Schulz, Mythology: The DC Comics Art of Alex Ross, Shazam!: The Golden Age of the World's Mightiest Mortal, Jack Cole and Plastic Man, Batman Animated, Batman Collected, and Bat-Manga!: The Secret History of Batman in Japan. He has also written two novels about a gay graphic designer, The Cheese Monkeys and The Learners. But he deserves to be punished for co-authoring with Lisa Birnbach last year's sequel to the Preppy Handbook, True Prep: It's a Whole New Old World. In his spare time, he blogs a lot and fronted the band Artbreak, whose song "Asymmetrical Girl" plays after the jump. So far this year Kidd's given a TED talk about book design garnering half a million views and he's published his first graphic novel, Batman: Death by Design. Unless they've split, he and super poet J.D. "Sandy" McClatchy, 67, are longtime partners, living in Manhattan, Stonington, CT, and Palm Beach.