Editor’s Letter: Whatever Happened to These Minnesota Icons?

Editor in Chief Rachel Hutton reviews some of the forgotten Minnesotans and wonders where they are now.

Sarah Palin—remember her? Leading up to the 2008 election, the Republican Party’s aspiring VP was all over the national news—as well as Saturday Night Live. That fall, Palin not only inspired many a Halloween costume, but her memoir, Going Rogue, moved a conservative retiree I know to read the first book he claimed to have cracked since high school.

And what’s Palin up to these days? The onetime Alaskan governor has practically vanished from the public sphere. She might as well have moved to Russia—for all we’ve heard from her.

In the age of the digital footprint, it’s becoming harder to drop completely off the radar, regardless of whether your name is well known or obscure. We’ve become accustomed to tracking down people we haven’t seen in years through just a few seconds’ worth of clicks. (Who among us won’t cop to having looked up an ex’s current employer or recent vacation pics?)

In this spirit, we wanted to know whatever happened to some of Minnesota’s liveliest public figures and most recognizable icons of the recent past—all now faded from the spotlight. Through a combination of probing interviews, deep Googling, a little social media stalking, and a perusal of the Los Angeles County court records, we tracked them down to learn where they are and what they’re doing today. Find out which disgraced philanderer now runs a Tasmanian cherry orchard, the marital status of Prince’s Purple Rain muse, and the whereabouts of Judy Garland’s ruby slippers.