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Dead Pool 29th January 2023

Deaths were a bit thin on the ground last week but plenty to read as always. I’ll be closing the donations page next week, last chance to chip in you feel you need to. Big thank you to everyone who did! 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

A man has died after he was crushed by a telescopic public urinal he was working on in central London, just yards from the Harry Potter theatre. Emergency services raced to the scene in the West End on Friday to attempt to free the maintenance worker, who become trapped underneath the unit. A rescue operation was launched just after 1pm between Shaftesbury Avenue and Charing Cross Road, near the capital’s busy theatre district. The London Fire Brigade sent four fire engines and around 25 firefighters, and with the help of police and paramedics at the scene managed to free the man but he was pronounced dead soon after. In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said: “We’re sorry to have to update that, despite the efforts of emergency services, the man who was critically injured in Cambridge Circus was pronounced dead at the scene. His next of kin have been informed. Cordons remain in place at the location.” The man had become trapped underneath the hydraulic urinal, a toilet stowed below ground which is brought to street level at night for people to use. A crane was brought to the scene as part of efforts to lift the entire structure out of the ground. Road closures were in place through Cambridge Circus during the attempted rescue, while buses were diverted away from the area. 

If you are stuck for a Maverick next year, you could choose this 45-year-old software developer. Bryan Johnson has opened up about his quest to regain his youth through a rigorous plan that involves a strict diet, medical procedures, and treatments, and which costs him around $2m a year. Johnson made his wealth when he sold his company, Braintree Payment Solutions, to Ebay’s PayPal in 2013 for $800m in cash. Since then, the 45-year-old has turned his attention inward and is now focused on reversing the ageing process. To reach his goals, which include achieving the “brain, heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, tendons, teeth, skin, hair, bladder, penis and rectum of an 18 year old,” Johnson employs a team of more than 30 doctors and health experts who monitor his “every bodily function”. The treatment plan, which is overseen by Oliver Zolman, a 29-year-old regenerative medicine physician, and required an investment of “several million dollars,” also meant building a medical suite in Johnson’s Venice, California home, according to the publication. As for what “Project Blueprint” entails, Johnson revealed that he wakes up each morning at 5am and takes two dozen supplements and medicines, including zinc to supplement his diet and a micro-dose of lithium for “brain health”. He also follows a strict vegan diet of 1,977 calories a day, works out for an hour each day, and goes to sleep at the same time each night. He also wears blue-light glasses for two hours before bed. Each month, the millionaire tech entrepreneur also “endures dozens of medical procedures, some quite extreme and painful, then measures their results with additional blood tests, MRIs, ultrasounds and colonoscopies. He’s taken 33,537 images of his bowels, discovered that his eyelashes are shorter than average and probed the thickness of his carotid artery. He blasts his pelvic floor with electromagnetic pulses to improve muscle tone in hard-to-reach places and has a device that counts the number of his nighttime erections.” Johnson also undergoes weekly acid peels and laser therapy, and has fat injected into his face to build a “fat scaffolding”. He claims that the procedure is different from regular fillers because, as he “regenerates,” the new fat will “create fat on its own”. “The body delivers a certain configuration at age 18,” Johnson told the flying monkeys. “This really is an impassioned approach to achieve age 18 everywhere.” Who wants to tell him he looks like he’s 45?

Dame Esther Rantzen has said she is remaining “optimistic” after revealing she has been diagnosed with lung cancer. The 82-year-old broadcaster, long-time activist and founder of charities Childline and The Silver Line, confirmed the news on Sunday. Dame Esther said in a statement to the flying monkeys: “In the last few weeks I have discovered that I am suffering from lung cancer which has now spread. At the moment I am undergoing various tests, to assess the best treatment. I have decided not to keep this secret any more because I find it difficult to skulk around various hospitals wearing an unconvincing disguise, and because I would rather you heard the facts from me. At the age of 82, this diagnosis has prompted me to look back over the years, and I want to express my profound thanks to everyone who has made my life so joyful, filled with fun, and with inspiration. First and foremost my family. My three children Miriam, Rebecca and Joshua have been the most wonderful support, company, and source of love and laughter and I am deeply grateful to them. My friends have been amazing and have created memories which sustain me and give me strength. My colleagues with whom I have worked, and continue to work with in broadcasting, journalism, the voluntary sector, and in many other organisations have been a constant pleasure, and have amazed me with their tolerance of my wild ideas and awful jokes. I have been continuously inspired by the courageous children, older people and viewers who have trusted me with their life stories. I have always tried to live up to that trust. As I am sure you will understand, while I am awaiting the results of the tests, I am unable to answer questions. Thanks to the extraordinary skills of the medical profession there are wonderful new treatments, so I am remaining optimistic.” Dame Esther, who was a trailblazer for female broadcasters, became a household name during her career at the BBC. She is best-known for presenting That’s Life! – a programme featuring a mix of investigations, topical issues and entertainment – from 1973 to 1994.

Jay Leno is in the hospital again. The former host of The Tonight Show was previously hospitalized in November for burns sustained while working on one of his vintage cars, but he’s now receiving treatment for new injuries. Ahead of his return to performing in Las Vegas in March, the comedian revealed in a new interview with the flying monkeys that he got into a motorcycle crash on Jan. 17th and required medical care for broken bones. “Just last week, I got knocked off my motorcycle,” Leno said. “So I’ve got a broken collarbone. I’ve got two broken ribs. I’ve got two cracked kneecaps.” The good news is that Leno says he’s “okay” and “working this weekend.” Leno was test-driving a 1940 Indian motorcycle, one of his many prized vintage vehicles, when he noticed the smell of leaking gas and decided to pull over and figure out the problem. “So I turned down a side street and cut through a parking lot, and unbeknownst to me, some guy had a wire strung across the parking lot but with no flag hanging from it,” Leno said. “So, you know, I didn’t see it until it was too late. It just clotheslined me and, boom, knocked me off the bike. The bike kept going, and you know how that works out.” Leno compared his recent predicaments to another accident-prone celebrity: Harrison Ford. “You know, after getting burned up, you get that one for free,” Leno said. “After that, you’re Harrison Ford, crashing airplanes. You just want to keep your head down.” Leno should have plenty of time to recuperate. Sadly for Leno, CNBC has canceled Jay Leno’s Garage, his long-running series about vintage vehicles and the stories behind them. The network cites a renewed investment in its “core content of business news and personal finance.” So basically it was shit. 

On This Day

  • 1845 – “The Raven” is published in The Evening Mirror in New York, the first publication with the name of the author, Edgar Allan Poe.
  • 1886 – Karl Benz patents the first successful gasoline-driven automobile.
  • 2020 – COVID-19 pandemic: The Trump administration establishes the White House Coronavirus Task Force under Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar.

Deaths

Funeral fun

Have you ever wondered what your own funeral will be like, or who might turn up? Well, a curious Brazilian man has faked his own death to find out. Baltazar Lemos, 60, from Curitiba, Paraná, announced his death on social media and set up a hoax funeral for his friends and family.

Lemos frequently conducts funerals, and has overseen hundreds of ceremonies commemorating the life of other people. He recounted how saddened he had been after conducting a service with just two people in attendance compared to other services where more than 500 were present.

So, just like the episode in Friends where Ross Geller held a fake funeral to see which of his old college mates would attend, Lemos pulled the hoax to see who would show up. Unfortunately for the 60-year-old Brazilian, his funeral produced similarly disastrous results to that of the fictional palaeontologist. 

Lemos told our Brazilian flying monkeys ‘I had the idea five months ago. I wanted to make it look like I really died. People interpreted it in their own way. The truth is that I wanted to know who would come to my wake.’ 

He also apologised for his antics. ‘I didn’t tell anyone, because I hoped it would work out. I had no intention of hurting, offending, or causing any harm to anyone. I truly apologise to these people.’

Social media users quickly learned of the disastrous funeral. One wrote: ‘You got what you wanted Baltazar, to draw attention. In all the groups of event photographers, people are talking about your ‘death’. Everyone was mourning. What a ridiculous joke! I think you should take a picture with everyone who mourned your supposed death. I don’t know you personally and I hope I don’t ever meet you.’

Another of his friends said: ‘I’ve known him since 2001. I thought the story was horrible. I spent one day sad and the other very indignant. For me, he died on the 17th [the day the fake death was announced], when I found out everything. It was in very bad taste.’ 

Last Week’s Birthdays

Tom Selleck (78), Heather Graham (53), Katharine Ross (83), Marc Singer (75), Oprah Winfrey (69), Adam Lambert (41), Tim Healy (71), Will Poulter (30), Ariel Winter (25), Elijah Wood (42), Tom Hopper (38), Alan Alda (87), Frank Darabont (64), Alan Cumming (58), Bridget Fonda (59), Patton Oswalt (54), James Cromwell (83), Scott Glenn (84), Deep Roy (74), Ellen DeGeneres (65), Volodymyr Zelenskyy (45), Matthew Lillard (53), Mischa Barton (37), Kristen Schaal (45), Nastassja Kinski (62), Michael Ontkean (77), Adrian Edmondson (66), Neil Diamond (82), and Gil Gerard (80).

Dead Pool 22nd January 2023

We’re finally up and running!!! With the passing of the worlds oldest person, Lucile Randon, I can award 182 points to Abi, Ceri, Dave, Paul C. And 82 points to Laura and Julia. Well done all of you for maximising the points available, she was only worth 32 points unless you listed her as one of your Big Three, plus the 1st Death of the Year bonus really boosted your scores. Commiserations to Martin, with the death of David Crosby, he missed out on the 1st Death Bonus by one day! However 69 points, better than a kick in the teeth! 

Also a very big thank you to all of you who have donated to keep us up and running for another year, we have hit our goal, and for the first time ever broken even 🙂 If anyone else feels the need to contribute, the donations page will be open until the end of January, no harm in being in profit for once! 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Julian Sands, a prolific actor with more than 150 screen credits, has gone missing while hiking. The British star is believed to have been somewhere on the popular Baldy Bowl Trail in California, which climbs 3,900 feet over 4.5 miles to the highest summit in the San Gabriel Mountains. His phone appears to show he was on the move heading into the mountainous area on the day he was reported missing. The search has been ramped up of late as officials use mobile phone forensics to help pinpoint the location of the actor. Sands, 65, was reported missing during a hiking trip in the Baldy Bowl area last Friday, as searches by local authorities continue by “helicopter and drones when weather permits”. The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department previously said that phone pings showed the British actor to be heading to the Mount Baldy area two days after he was first reported missing. It comes after The Flying Monkeys revealed images sent from Sands to his grandson Billy in September, which show the father-of-three mountaineering. The Flying Monkeys understands that Sands’ son Henry joined the search, retracing the route his father took, with the assistance of an experienced climber.  

Christy Dignam, the lead singer of Irish rock band Aslan, is receiving palliative care at home, his family has confirmed. The 62-year-old Dubliner is being treated for amyloidosis, which causes an abnormal protein to build up in the body, triggering organ failure. He was admitted to hospital in July 2022 and received six months of treatment. His family shared an update on Monday “in response to the large number of media enquiries received”. A statement read: “Since December, Christy has been at home and is being cared for lovingly by family, with the support of a palliative care team. The Dignam family thanks everyone for keeping Christy in their thoughts and prayers and asks for privacy at this time.” Aslan formed in Dublin in 1982 and had several hit records including Crazy World and This Is. The band was due to tour the Republic of Ireland this summer as well as performing in Londonderry’s Millennium Forum on 15th July. But in statement on their social media pages, the other Aslan members said they were “devastated that all future shows will be cancelled” due to Dignam’s ill-health. “As always, Christy’s health has been, and is, our priority. It has been a tough road for all of us but most of all Christy,” they said. “There are no words to describe how we are feeling with the update that has been shared by Christy’s family.” Over the past few years, Dignam has spoken openly about his physical and mental health struggles. Prior to be being diagnosed with amyloidosis, he was treated for heroin addition. It contributed to Dignam being fired from Aslan in the late 1980s. The group reformed for a one-off gig in 1993 and ending up recording several more albums and regularly touring around Ireland.   

The death of a farmer who appeared on BBC documentary This Farming Life will be  probed by a sheriff after he was killed by one of his own cows. Derek Roan, 71, died in hospital after a horror incident at his family farm in southern Scotland last year. Emergency crews were called to the scene at Barnbarroch Farm, near Dalbeattie, Dumfries and Galloway, on June 18th and took the grandfather-of-six to Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary, but he died from his injuries. A Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) will now examine the circumstances around Mr Roan’s death. His loved ones confirmed his death and spoke of their shock in a statement issued via the family firm Roan’s Dairy, saying he was a ‘beloved husband’ to wife Kathleen and a ‘devoted father’ to their three children. They said: ‘We are totally devastated and still in shock at what has happened and it will take some time for us to come to terms of not having him around. ‘All Derek’s hard work was for his two passions in life – his family and his farms. ‘Derek was well known within the farming community and many other circles. He will be sadly missed by all.’ Mr Roan, who appeared in the BBC documentary about farming, was chairman of Colvend and Southwick Community Council. Vice-chairman Simon Pain said at the time his friend had died from a ‘stock-related injury’ and said the farmer was ‘well liked and well respected in our community’, describing him as a ‘leading light’. The Health and Safety Executive launched an investigation following the tragedy. Police Scotland said they were not treating the death as suspicious, and a report was submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.  

Jeremy Renner has shared more about the extent of his injuries from his snowplough accident, as he revealed that he broke more than 30 bones earlier this month. On 1st January, the Marvel star was airlifted to hospital with “blunt chest trauma and orthopaedic injuries”, after he was accidentally run over by his own plough machine. Renner, 52, has posted a number of updates to Instagram from his hospital bed since then. On Saturday, he shared a photo showing a masked man handling his leg during treatment. “Morning workouts, resolutions all changed this particular new year,” he wrote. “Spawned from tragedy for my entire family, and quickly focused into uniting actionable love.” Renner went on to thank his fans for their “messages and thoughtfulness for my family and I”, adding: “Much love and appreciation to you all. These 30-plus broken bones will mend, grow stronger, just like the love and bond with family and friends deepens. Love and blessings to you all.” His Marvel co-star Chris Hemsworth commented: “You’re a champion mate! We love you.”

On This Day

  • 1879 – The Battle of Rorke’s Drift, during the Anglo-Zulu War results in a British victory.
  • 1901 – Edward VII is proclaimed King of the United Kingdom after the death of his mother, Queen Victoria.
  • 1905 – Bloody Sunday in Saint Petersburg, beginning of the 1905 revolution.
  • 1915 – Over 600 people are killed in Guadalajara, Mexico, when a train plunges off the tracks into a deep canyon.
  • 1924 – Ramsay MacDonald becomes the first Labour Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
  • 1973 – The Supreme Court of the United States delivers its decisions in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, legalising elective abortion in all fifty states.
  • 1984 – The Apple Macintosh, the first consumer computer to popularise the computer mouse and the graphical user interface, is introduced during a Super Bowl XVIII television commercial.

Deaths

Last Week’s Birthdays

Linda Blair (64), Geena Davis (67), Martin Shaw (78), Emma Bunton (47), David Lynch (77), Rainn Wilson (57), Tom Baker (89), Bill Maher (67), Katey Sagal (69) Dolly Parton (77), Tippi Hedren (93), Rob Delaney (46), Michael Crawford (81), Dave Bautista (54), Kevin Costner (68), Mark Rylance (63), Jason Segel (43), Jane Horrocks (59), Samantha Mumba (40), Jim Carrey (61), Zooey Deschanel (43), James Earl Jones (92), Kelly Marie Tran (34), Lin-Manuel Miranda (43), John Carpenter (75), and Sade (64).

Dead Pool 15th January 2023

Afternoon all, another busy week, including the shocking death of Lisa Marie Presley! Although she did have a family history of early deaths, nobody could have predicted her passing. 

On another note, the donations page is still open, we’re still slightly short of breaking even, so if anyone could spare a couple of quid before the end of the month, it would be appreciated. And of course, thank you to everyone who has donated so far, you’re all legends!  

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Adele Roberts has updated fans on her recovery from bowel cancer. Posting a selfie to Instagram on Monday, the radio host posed with a thumbs up from a hospital bed. The 43-year-old announced that she was undergoing treatment for stage two bowel cancer in October 2021. Eight months later, in June 2022, she revealed she was cancer free. In her most recent update, Roberts shared her reasons for undergoing “post bowel cancer surgery”. “Today was the first step in hopefully getting my colon working again (post bowel cancer surgery),” she wrote in the caption. “I may be down a rectum but I think there’s enough left to blag it and get things moving again.” The former Big Brother contestant  went on to praise the NHS and the team who looked after her during her surgery. “Yet again, the level of care I’ve received from the @nhs angels is awesome. Dr Bhan and team I love you,” she said. “The fabulous Bola along with the nurses and porters who looked after me post surgery thank you for helping me and I hope my anaesthetic chat wasn’t too random”. She continued by thanking those who are making advances in medical sciences in the UK. “Thank you to everyone who helps make that happen,” she said. “You do us proud.” “The fact I can recover from bowel cancer, have a stoma, start getting my life back on track and today a balloon up my bum to sort out my stricture is just marvellous. What a time to be alive?!” The BBC Radio 1 DJ gave a special mention to her stoma – who she has nicknamed “Audrey” – for keeping her ”happy, healthy, alive and kicking”. A stoma allows urine and faeces to be diverted out of the body through an opening in the abdomen into a collection bag. “I think there’ll be a few more surgeries for me this year… but do you know what, I’m just so happy they can help me and there’s hope,” continued Roberts. “I might be able to go to the toilet the ‘old fashioned way’ one day in the future. Might even get inspired by all the balloons and have a grand re-opening party.”

Dancer and choreographer Michael Flatley, famous for his Irish production Riverdance, has had surgery for an “aggressive form of cancer”. A post on his Instagram page said he was “in the care of an excellent team of doctors”, adding no further comments would be made. Flatley, 64, shot to fame with Riverdance, which first appeared during the 1994 Eurovision interval in Dublin, lasting seven minutes. Its success at Eurovision, where it teamed Irish dancers with music by Bill Whelan, saw it extended into a full-length show which opened at Dublin’s Point Theatre the following year. The Riverdance 25th anniversary website suggests that since its debut, more than three billion people worldwide have seen the show on television. Flatley, born to an Irish-American family in Chicago, has also created, produced and directed productions including Feet Of Flames and Celtic Tiger. He has previously had a diagnosis of facial skin cancer which he was treated for in 2003. He also directed and starred in the spy thriller film Blackbird, which did not receive many positive reviews. The film also stars Eric Roberts, Patrick Bergin and Ian Beattie, Flatley plays former MI6 operative Victor Blackley, who returns to the world of espionage, having left it behind. Last year Flatley also launched a Lord Of The Dance tour, which helped raise money for the humanitarian effort in Ukraine. 

Brazil’s former President Jair Bolsonaro was admitted to a hospital in Florida with intestinal discomfort due to a stabbing he suffered during the 2018 election campaign, his wife Michelle Bolsonaro said on Monday on Instagram. In Brazil, Dr. Antonio Luiz Macedo, who has been treating Bolsonaro since the stabbing, said he has an intestinal subocclusion, or blockage, but was unlikely to need surgery. “It is not a serious case,” he told the Flying Monkeys. Earlier, a source close to his family said Bolsonaro’s condition was “not worrying.” Brazilian newspaper O Globo had reported earlier in the day that Bolsonaro had been suffering from abdominal pain. Bolsonaro has undergone six surgeries since his stabbing, four of them directly linked to the attack. He also has had cases of bowel adhesions and obstructions in the last few years. On Sunday, Bolsonaro supporters in Brazil’s capital launched the worst attack on state institutions since the country’s return to democracy in the 1980s. His successor as president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who took office on Jan.1st, blamed Bolsonaro for inflaming his supporters with a campaign of baseless allegations about election fraud. Bolsonaro flew to Florida 48 hours before his term ended.  

Only Fools and Horses star Patrick Murray has revealed that he has had part of his liver and a tumour removed following his second cancer diagnosis. The 66-year-old actor, best known for playing Mickey Pearce in the hit BBC comedy, previously opened up about how his lung cancer had been cured in May last year. However, he took to Twitter to share the news that he had another form of cancer and that he had half of his liver and a tumour removed. He tweeted: “I am going home today. Minus half a liver and a tumour that the wonderful Prof Heaton removed last week. I kept this under my hat that they’d discovered another primary cancer last year. I am a two person, that’s for sure. High fives to all at Kings College Hospital.” It comes after Patrick revealed last year that he had discovered a cancerous lung tumour in its early stages and underwent surgery to remove it, as well as undergoing chemotherapy. More scans found another tumour in his liver that was treatable. He received transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (Tace), a minimally invasive procedure performed in interventional radiology to restrict a tumour’s blood supply. Sharing a health update on Twitter, Patrick explained at the time: “Thanks again for all your lovely messages. As you may know, I was diagnosed with lung cancer last July. After an op in Oct to remove the tumour I had chemo to help prevent the cancer returning. During this chemo, another tumour was discovered in my liver. Luckily for me this cancer was unconnected to the lung cancer and was also treatable. I had a procedure called Tace to deal with this. Last Friday l saw my oncologist. She told me the lung cancer was cured and that the tumour in my liver was shrinking. It’s not over yet, but as you can imagine I am over the moon with this latest news.” He went on to thank the ‘brilliant’ doctors and nurses of the NHS for all that they have done. “I will hopefully be there at next years convention,” he said of the annual Only Fools And Horses convention.    

On This Day

  • 1559 – Elizabeth I is crowned Queen of England and Ireland in Westminster Abbey, London.
  • 1867 – Forty people die when ice covering the boating lake at Regent’s Park, London, collapses.
  • 1919 – Great Molasses Flood: A wave of molasses released from an exploding storage tank sweeps through Boston, Massachusetts, killing 21 and injuring 150.
  • 1947 – The Black Dahlia murder: The dismembered corpse of Elizabeth Short was found in Los Angeles.
  • 1976 – Gerald Ford‘s would-be assassin, Sara Jane Moore, is sentenced to life in prison.
  • 2001 – Wikipedia, a free wiki content encyclopaedia, goes online.
  • 2009 – US Airways Flight 1549 ditches safely in the Hudson River after the plane collides with birds less than two minutes after take-off. This becomes known as “The Miracle on the Hudson” as all 155 people on board were rescued.
  • 2019 – Theresa May‘s UK government suffers the biggest government defeat in modern times, when 432 MPs voting against the proposed European Union withdrawal agreement, giving her opponents a majority of 230. It doesn’t get any better…

Deaths

The Gruesome Story of The Black Dahlia 

The 1947 murder of Elizabeth Short, also known as the “Black Dahlia,” is one of the oldest cold cases in Los Angeles. Not only was it a horrific crime, but it’s also proven notoriously difficult to solve.

In the decades since the Black Dahlia murder, police, the press, and amateur sleuths alike have all delved deep into this unsolved crime and developed several convincing theories. 

Though we may never know who killed the Black Dahlia, poring over the evidence of this case is just as darkly fascinating today as it was in 1947. 

On January 15th, 1947, Elizabeth Short’s dead body was found in the Los Angeles neighbourhood of Leimert Park. The first person who reported the grisly sight was a mother out for a morning walk with her child. 

According to the woman, the way Short’s body had been posed made her think that the corpse was a mannequin at first. But a closer look revealed the true horror of the Black Dahlia crime scene.

The 22-year-old Short had been sliced in two at the waist and completely drained of blood. Some of her organs — such as her intestines — had been removed and neatly placed underneath her buttocks. Pieces of flesh had been cut away from her thighs and breasts. And her stomach was full of faeces, leading some to believe that she’d been forced to eat shit before she was killed. 

The most chilling mutilations, however, were the lacerations on her face. The killer had sliced each side of her face from the corners of her mouth to her ears, creating what’s known as a “Glasgow smile.” 

Since the body had already been washed clean, Los Angeles Police Department detectives concluded that she must have been killed elsewhere before being dumped in Leimert Park.

Near her body, detectives noted a heel print and a cement sack with traces of blood that had presumably been used to transport her body to the vacant lot.

The LAPD reached out to the FBI to help identify the body by searching their fingerprint database. Short’s fingerprints turned up rather quickly because she had applied for a job as a clerk at the commissary of the U.S. Army’s Camp Cooke in California back in 1943. And then her prints turned up a second time since she had been arrested by the Santa Barbara Police Department for underage drinking — just seven months after she’d applied to the job.

The FBI also had her mugshot from her arrest, which they provided to the press. Before long, the media began reporting every salacious detail they could find about Short.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth Short’s mother Phoebe Short didn’t learn of her daughter’s death until reporters from The Los Angeles Examiner telephoned her pretending that Elizabeth had won a beauty contest.

They pumped her for all the details they could get on Elizabeth before revealing the terrible truth. Her daughter had been murdered, and her corpse had been dismembered in unspeakable ways. 

As the media learned more about Elizabeth Short’s history, they began to brand her as a sexual deviant. One police report read, “This victim knew at least fifty men at the time of her death and at least twenty-five men had been seen with her in the sixty days preceding her death… She was known as a teaser of men.”

They gave Short the nickname, “The Black Dahlia,” due to her reported preference for wearing a lot of sheer black clothing. This was a reference to the movie The Blue Dahlia, which was out at the time. Some people spread the false rumour that Short was a prostitute, while others baselessly claimed that she liked to tease men because she was a lesbian.

Adding to her mystique, Short was reportedly a Hollywood hopeful. She had moved to Los Angeles just six months before her death and worked as a waitress. Sadly, she had no known acting jobs and her death became her one claim to fame.

But as famous as the case was, authorities had tremendous difficulty figuring out who was behind it. However, members of the media did receive a few clues.

On January 21st, about a week after the body was found, the Examiner received a call from a person claiming to be the murderer, who said he would be sending Short’s belongings in the mail as proof of his claim.

Shortly thereafter on the 24th, the Examiner received a package with Short’s birth certificate, photos, business cards, and an address book with the name Mark Hansen on the cover. Also included was a letter pasted together from newspaper and magazine letter clippings that read, “Los Angeles Examiner and other Los Angeles papers here is Dahlia’s belongings letter to follow.”

All of these items had been wiped down with gasoline, leaving no fingerprints behind. Though a partial fingerprint was found on the envelope, it was damaged in transport and never analysed.

On January 26th, another letter arrived. This handwritten note read, “Here it is. Turning in Wed. January 29th, 10 a.m. Had my fun at police. Black Dahlia Avenger.” The letter included a location. Police waited at the appointed time and place, but the author never showed.

Afterward, the alleged killer sent a note made of letters cut and pasted from magazines to the Examiner that said, “Have changed my mind. You would not give me a square deal. Dahlia killing was justified.”

Yet again, everything sent by the person had been wiped clean with gasoline, so investigators couldn’t lift any fingerprints from the evidence.

At one point, the LAPD had 750 investigators on the case and interviewed more than 150 potential suspects linked to the Black Dahlia killing. Officers heard more than 60 confessions during the initial investigation, but none of them were considered legitimate. Since then, there have been more than 500 confessions, none of which led to anyone being charged.

As time went on and the case went cold, many people assumed that the Black Dahlia murder was a date gone wrong, or that Short had run into a sinister stranger late at night while walking alone.

After over 70 years, the Black Dahlia murder case remains open. But in recent years, a couple of intriguing — and chilling — theories have emerged.  

Shortly after his father’s death in 1999, now-retired LAPD detective Steve Hodel was going through his dad’s belongings when he noticed two photos of a woman who bore a striking resemblance to Elizabeth Short.

After discovering these haunting images, Hodel began using the skills he had gained as a policeman to investigate his own deceased father.

Hodel went through newspaper archives and witness interviews from the case, and even filed a Freedom of Information Act to obtain FBI files on the Black Dahlia murder.

He also had a handwriting expert compare samples of his father’s writing to the writing on some of the notes sent to the press from the alleged killer. The analysis found a strong possibility that his father’s handwriting matched, but the results were not conclusive.

On the grislier side, the Black Dahlia crime scene photos showed that Short’s body had been cut in a manner consistent with a hemicorporectomy, a medical procedure that slices the body beneath the lumbar spine. Hodel’s father had been a doctor — who attended medical school when this procedure was being taught in the 1930s.

Additionally, Hodel searched his father’s archives at UCLA, finding a folder full of receipts for contracting work on his childhood home.

In that folder, there was a receipt dated a few days before the murder for a large bag of concrete, the same size, and brand as a concrete bag found near Elizabeth Short’s body.

By the time Hodel began his investigation, many of the police officers who originally worked on the case were already dead. However, he carefully reconstructed conversations these officers had about the case.

Eventually, Hodel compiled all of his evidence into a 2003 bestseller called Black Dahlia Avenger: The True Story. 

While fact-checking the book, Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez requested official police files from the case and made an important discovery. Shortly after the murder, the LAPD had six main suspects, and George Hodel was on their list.

In fact, he was such a serious suspect that his home was bugged in 1950 so the police could monitor his activities. Much of the audio was innocuous, but one chilling exchange stuck out:

“8:25pm. ‘Woman screamed. Woman screamed again. (It should be noted, the woman not heard before the scream.)’”

Later that day, George Hodel was overheard telling someone, “Realise there was nothing I could do, put a pillow over her head and cover her with a blanket. Get a taxi. Expired 12:59. They thought there was something fishy. Anyway, now they may have figured it out. Killed her.”

He continued, “Supposin’ I did kill the Black Dahlia. They couldn’t prove it now. They can’t talk to my secretary anymore because she’s dead.”

Even after this shocking revelation, which seems to support that George Hodel killed Short — and possibly also his secretary — the Black Dahlia case still hasn’t been officially closed. However, this hasn’t stopped Steve Hodel from investigating his father.

He says he has found details from dozens of other murders that could possibly be connected to his father, implicating him not only as the Black Dahlia murderer but also as a deranged serial killer.

Hodel’s research has even garnered some attention from law enforcement. In 2004, Stephen R. Kay, the head deputy for L.A. County’s district attorney office, said that if George Hodel was still alive he would have enough to indict him for the Elizabeth Short murder. 

Though we still don’t know for certain who killed the Black Dahlia, recent theories present compelling cases. And it’s possible that the truth is still out there, just waiting for the right investigation to finally bring it to light.

Last Week’s Birthdays

James Nesbitt (58), Claudia Winkleman (51), Eddie Hall (35), DJ Jazzy Jeff (58), Jason Bateman (54), Kevin Durand (49), Faye Dunaway (82), Carl Weathers (75), Mark Addy (59), Grant Gustin (33), Dave Grohl (54), Ruth Wilson (41), Liam Hemsworth (33), Orlando Bloom (46), Michael Peña (47), Bill Bailey (58), Rob Zombie (58), Howard Stern (69), Melanie C (49), Pixie Lott (32), Jemaine Clement (49), Evan Handler (62), J.K. Simmons (68), Joely Richardson (58), Imelda Staunton (67), James Acaster (38), Catherine Princess of Wales (41), Michelle Forbes (58), and Amber Benson (46).

Dead Pool 8th January 2023

Buggeration! With the deaths of almost all celebrities known to mankind last week, nobody has scored a bean. I’m also kicking myself for de-listing Gianluca Vialli at the last minute, he’d have scored me 142 points as the first death of the season! Anyhow, let’s crack on…. 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Shane MacGowan of the Pogues has given fans an update on his health after he was rushed to hospital in December. In early December, MacGowan, 65, was admitted to hospital due to an infection. His wife Victoria Mary Clarke later announced that the singer had been diagnosed with encephalitis, an uncommon condition that causes the brain to swell and can be life-threatening. Those with serious cases can be left with problems such as seizures, hearing loss, and blindness. Hours before midnight on New Year’s Eve, the “Fairytale of New York” musician gave fans an update on his condition. “Hi friends, I’m sitting here suffering from encephalitis,”said MacGowan in a video. He was wearing sunglasses and a cross necklace in the clip. The light is killing me,” he said, explaining his choice of eyewear. “But I wanted to wish you a Happy New Year and Happy Christmas and many more. All the luck in the world and all the love. Happy Christmas and Happy New Year, love Shane.” He captioned the clip: “Happy New Year. Have as much fun as you can when you can!!! Thank you.” Reflecting on when MacGowan became ill in early December, Clarke told the flying monkeys: “I noticed it on his face. His eye was getting red and began to close over. I called the doctor and the doctor said it was very dangerous so we had to get him to the hospital straight away. The hospital explained to me that shingles can go into your brain and that’s what happened to Shane so now they want to keep him on a drip for two weeks.” Clarke, 56, said that MacGowan appears “perfectly normal now” but “pissed he can’t drink in the hospital”.  

Jeremy Renner has thanked staff at his intensive care unit for “beginning this journey”, as he continues to recover from a serious snowplough accident. The Marvel actor, who celebrated his 52nd birthday on Saturday, shared a picture from hospital of himself with staff and members of his family on his Instagram story. “Thank you Renowned Medical ICU team for beginning this journey,” he wrote. The actor, who plays the bow and arrow-wielding Hawkeye in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), was admitted to hospital after the incident last weekend. Local police said the actor was helping a family member free a car from heavy snow when he was accidentally run over by his own six-tonne ploughing machine. He was airlifted to hospital on Sunday after suffering “blunt chest trauma and orthopaedic injuries” in the accident, a statement provided to the Flying Monkeys from his publicist said. The incident took place near the Mount Rose highway, which links Lake Tahoe and south Reno, straddling the Nevada-California border. The post is the latest in a series of updates that Renner has shared on his progress while being in hospital. On Thursday, he shared that his mother and sister had treated him to a “spa day”. “A ‘not no great’ ICU DAY, turned to amazing spa day with my sis and mama. Thank you sooooo much,” he wrote. One of his family members was seen in the clip massaging his head. Immediately after the incident, Renner posted a picture of himself from his hospital bed, thanking fans for their support, but saying he was “too messed up to type”.Scores of famous faces, including his Marvel co stars, praised the actor for his bravery and sent well wishes in the aftermath.  

Former 18-time Grand Slam champion Martina Navratilova has announced that she has been diagnosed with throat and breast cancer. Many from the tennis world expressed their support to one of the greatest players in tennis history. “Needless to say my phone and twitter are both blowing up so I will say again- thank you all for your support and I am not done yet,” Navratilova tweeted. In her statement, Navratilova revealed that she caught the disease in the early stages. Also, Navratilova vowed to fight with everything she has got. “The double whammy is serious, but fixable, and I’m hoping for a favourable outcome. It’s going to stink for a while, but I’ll fight with all I have got,” Navratilova said. Following the diagnosis, it has also been confirmed that Navratilova won’t be at the Australian Open. Since retiring, Navratilova has been working as a tennis analyst and commentator during Grand Slams. The prognosis is good and Martina will start her treatment this month. The cancer type is HPV and this particular type responds really well to treatment,” a statement read. Unfortunately, this is not the first time that Navratilova was diagnosed with cancer as she was also diagnosed with breast cancer 13 years ago. “I was so shocked that there was anything going on with my body. But you can be the healthiest person on the planet and still get cancer. You are definitely improving the odds by being healthy, but you’re not totally eliminating the possibility,” Navratilova said of her first diagnosis. Fortunately, Navratilova was able to beat the disease over a decade ago. Now, Navratilova is again fighting the same battle and hoping for the same outcome.  

Jackass’s Bam Margera revealed he had a close brush with death after experiencing five seizures while suffering from Covid and pneumonia. Last month, it was reported that the stunt performer and skateboarder had been rushed to hospital with a “very serious” case of pneumonia. Appearing on fellow Jackass star Steve-O’s Wild Ride podcast last Thursday, Margera told his friend that “basically, I was pronounced dead on 8th December”. “I did not know that I had gnarly Covid and my body was shutting down,” he said. “I went into four seizures, each one lasting 10 to 20 minutes. On the fourth one, I bit my tongue so hard it was nearly fallen off. It got so swollen and puffy it wouldn’t fit in my mouth. I was drinking the infected blood, which gave me pneumonia as well.” Margera continued: “I went to the hospital and had my fifth seizure and then couldn’t breathe without a tube down my throat. I woke up five days later thinking I was there for just a couple hours. I spent eight days in there. When they took that tube out I felt like I sucked on Darth Vader’s dick.” Alongside Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O and Margera were two of the original members of the Jackass crew-members, performing stunts in the MTV series and subsequent film adaptations. However, Margera did not feature in the recent sequel, Jackass Forever, claiming that he had been fired partway through production after failing a drugs test. He initiated a lawsuit against Knoxville, as well as the film’s director Jeff Tremaine and producer Spike Jonze, and the film companies Paramount Pictures and MTV Networks. The lawsuit was eventually settled, with Margera telling the Flying Monkeys that he was “happy with the outcome and feels vindicated”.

On This Day

  • 1940 – World War II: Britain introduces food rationing. Highly likely to be implemented in 2023.
  • 1989 – Kegworth air disaster: British Midland Flight 92, a Boeing 737-400, crashes into the M1 motorway, killing 47 of the 126 people on board.
  • 1994 – Russian cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov on Soyuz TM-18 leaves for Mir. He would stay on the space station until March 22, 1995, for a record 437 days in space.
  • 2011 – Sitting US Congresswoman Gabby Giffords is shot in the head along with 18 others in a mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona. Giffords survived the assassination attempt, but six others died.
  • 2020 – Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 crashes immediately after take-off at Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport; all 176 on board are killed. The plane was shot down by an Iranian anti-aircraft missile!

Deaths

Last Week’s Birthdays

Michelle Forbes (58), Nicolas Cage (59), Jeremy Renner (52), Erin Gray (73), Linda Kozlowski (65), Eddie Redmayne (41), Norman Reedus (54), Rowan Atkinson (68), Angus Deayton (67), Bradley Cooper (48), Diane Keaton (77), January Jones (45), Robert Duvall (92), Clancy Brown (64), Hayao Miyazaki (82), Vinnie Jones (58), Marilyn Manson (54), Julia Ormond (58), Graham McTavish (62), Lenora Crichlow (38), Matt Frewer (65), Julian Sands (65), Florence Pugh (27), Mel Gibson (67), Victoria Principal (73), Sarah Alexander (52), Greta Thunberg (20), Tia Carrere (56), Kate Bosworth (40), Cuba Gooding Jr. (55), and Frank Langella (85).

Dead Pool 2022 in Review

The past year saw a number of unexpected deaths of much-loved celebrities, along with the loss of veterans from the entertainment industry.

Here are some of those who were mourned during the past 12 months.

January

Sidney Poitier: The Bahamian-American Hollywood star, known for films including In the Heat of the Night, Blackboard Jungle and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, died aged 94. He was the first Black man to win the Oscar for best actor and US president Joe Biden, Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey were among those who paid tribute to the “trailblazing” actor.

Meat Loaf: The American singer, known for hits such as “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” died at the age of 74. Meat Loaf, who was born Marvin Lee Aday but was also known as Michael, sold more than 100 million albums worldwide and starred in more than 65 movies during his career which spanned six decades. 

Barry Cryer: The veteran comedy writer and performer died aged 86 following a seven-decade career which saw him appear on stage, screen and radio. He penned jokes for legends of British comedy including Ronnie Barker, Ronnie Corbett, Sir Billy Connolly and Tommy Cooper and had a long-running partnership with Sir David Frost, with their collaborations including BBC’s The Frost Report. 

February

Ivan Reitman: The influential filmmaker and producer behind beloved comedies from Animal House to Ghostbusters died aged 75. He also directed the 1979 summer camp flick Meatballs and a number of films starring Arnold Schwarzenegger including Twins, Kindergarten Cop and Junior.  

William Hurt: The actor, who starred as General Thaddeus Ross in several instalments of the Marvel Comic Universe, died aged 71. He also won the best actor Oscar and Bafta for Kiss of the Spider Woman in 1985 and was nominated for the Oscar for his roles in 1986’s Children of a Lesser God and 1987’s Broadcast News.

Anna Karen: Actor best known for playing the put-upon wife, Olive, in the 1970s sitcom On the Buses and its three spin-off feature films. Sadly she died in a house fire aged 85. 

Bamber Gascoigne: Writer, documentary-maker and broadcaster who was the popular quizmaster of University Challenge for 25 years. The polymath was ever irked by the fact that he was best known to the British public for the phrase: “Fingers on buzzers … your starter for 10,” although he never showed it. 

March

Taylor Hawkins: Hawkins, who had played in Foo Fighters, the band fronted by former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl, for more than two decades, died aged 50. Musical stars from around the world paid tribute and a special concert featuring a star-studded line-up was held at Wembley Stadium and the Kia Forum in Los Angeles in his memory.  

Tom Parker: The Wanted star died at the age of 33 after being diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour. The singer died surrounded by his family and bandmates – 17 months after being diagnosed with stage four glioblastoma.

Shane Warne: The legendary Australian spin bowler, considered one of the greatest cricketers of all time, died aged 52 of a suspected heart attack while in Thailand. England Cricket paid tribute to Warne on Twitter, writing: “One of the greatest of all-time. A legend. A genius. You changed Cricket. RIP Shane Warne.” 

Peter Bowles: Veteran stage and screen actor who starred in the popular BBC TV sitcom To the Manor Born. Bowles died aged 85 of cancer, ruefully admitted that he wasn’t a “star” until, aged 43, he played Richard DeVere in the hit series. 

Dai Jones: Welsh broadcasting legend Dai Jones ‘Llanilar’ died at the age of 78. Jones was a TV favourite on S4C and hosted popular farming show Cefn Gwlad for more than 35 years, as well as other Welsh language shows including Noson Lwen, Rasus, and Sion a Sian.  Despite being one of the faces of Welsh television for a generation, Jones was actually born in London in 1943. 

April

June Brown: The EastEnders star, best known for her role as chain-smoking Dot Cotton, died at the age of 95. A spokeswoman for the soap said: “There are not enough words to describe how much June was loved and adored by everyone at EastEnders, her loving warmth, wit and great humour will never be forgotten.”

Cynthia Plaster Caster: Cynthia Albritton was a pop artist known for her casts of rock stars’ penises. She was a young art student at the University of Illinois Chicago when she got the idea for her lifelong art project. Her dream was to meet rock musicians and hoped to lose her virginity to one. Jimi Hendrix agreed to be her first celebrity client! 

May

Dennis Waterman: The actor, who starred in TV shows Minder, The Sweeney and New Tricks, died at the age of 74. Waterman starred as bodyguard Terry McCann in Minder and he first found fame as tough nut cop George Carter in The Sweeney opposite John Thaw. 

Ray Liotta: The actor, best known for his portrayal of Henry Hill in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas opposite Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci, died at the age of 67. He found fame playing ex-con Ray Sinclair in 1986 black comedy Something Wild and also starred as Shoeless Joe Jackson in the 1989 film Field of Dreams. 

Anne Heche: The Hollywood actor was “peacefully taken off life support” nine days after suffering a “severe anoxic brain injury” in a car crash in which her vehicle hit a building and burst into flames. Heche, 53, was among the biggest film stars of the late 1990s, starring opposite actors including Johnny Depp and Harrison Ford, and was also the former partner of US talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.

Lester Pigott: died aged 86, was regarded by many as the finest jockey ever to ride on British turf. His record in major races is unlikely to be surpassed. In all, he rode 4,493 winners in Britain and more than 850 elsewhere during a career that spanned 47 years. 

Vangelis: The Greek composer died aged 79, and always avoided becoming a trained, academic musician. His work ranged from pop, jazz and classical to the Oscar-winning Chariots of Fire soundtrack. Equally significant was his score for Ridley Scott’s sci-fi masterpiece Blade Runner.

June

Hilary Devey: The former Dragons’ Den star died aged 65 after a long illness. She joined the BBC Two programme in 2011 and left in 2012, going on to present Channel 4’s The Intern. 

Julee Cruise: Singer, songwriter and actor acclaimed for her work with the film director David Lynch and composer Angelo Badalamenti, took her own life at the age of 65 after a long period of illness and depression. 

July

James Caan: US actor and star of The Godfather, Stephen King adaptation Misery and Christmas film Elf died aged 82. While the actor was initially cast as Michael Corleone in The Godfather, he had his heart set on Sonny and successfully suggested that Al Pacino play the role of Michael instead. He eventually faced his co-star alongside another Godfather actor, Robert Duvall, in the Best Supporting Actor category at the 1973 Oscars; all three lost to Joel Grey, who won for Cabaret.

Bernard Cribbins: The children’s TV star and entertainer died aged 93. The veteran actor starred in the Carry On films, Doctor Who and the 1970 film The Railway Children.

David Warner: Stage and screen actor hailed for his 1965 Hamlet at the RSC who went on to have a distinguished film and TV career. A highly divers actor who starred in The Omen and the Star Trek franchise. 

August

Dame Olivia Newton-John: Dame Olivia was best known for her starring role as Sandy in the 1978 film Grease, in which she acted opposite John Travolta as Danny. The British-born singer died “peacefully” at her ranch in Southern California aged 73, surrounded by family and friends. 

Raymond Briggs: The author and illustrator, best known for the 1978 classic The Snowman, died aged 88. The Snowman has sold more than 5.5 million copies around the world, and Briggs also created the beloved children’s books Father Christmas, Fungus the Bogeyman, The Man and When the Wind Blows.

Darius Danesh: The singer and actor who rose to fame on Popstars and Pop Idol died at the age of 41. He was found dead in his US apartment, in Rochester, Minnesota. The death was ruled an accident by the medical examiner.

Nichelle Nichols: The actor who blazed a trail for black women on American TV in the 1960s in the role of Lt Uhura in Star Trek. She was also involved in the US’s first small-screen kiss between a black woman and a white man, Uhura and Captain Kirk (played by William Shatner), in 1968. 

September

Queen Elizabeth II: Britain’s longest-serving monarch died aged 96, with her son Charles succeeding her as the nation’s new king. The Queen died “peacefully” at Balmoral, having spent 70 years as head of state, outlasting her predecessors and overseeing monumental changes in social and political life. 

Bill Turnbull: The TV presenter and journalist died at the age of 66. The BBC Breakfast presenter died “peacefully” at home in Suffolk after a “challenging and committed fight against prostate cancer” which had been diagnosed in November 2017. 

Dame Hilary Mantel: The author, best known for the Wolf Hall trilogy, died aged 70. The British writer won the Booker Prize twice, first for her 2009 novel Wolf Hall and again for its sequel, Bring Up the Bodies, in 2012.  

Coolio: The famed Nineties rapper died aged 59. Real name Artis Leon Ivey Jr, he was best known for his 1995 Grammy Award-winning hit single “Gangsta’s Paradise”, which was released as the soundtrack for the Michelle Pfeiffer film, Dangerous Minds. The song spent three weeks at the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 list.

Jean-Luc Godard: The revered filmmaker, regarded as a giant of the French New Wave movement, died at the age of 91. He was known for directing a run of radical, medium-changing films throughout the 1960s, including Breathless and Alphaville.

Mikhail Gorbachev:  The last leader of the Soviet Union, he was ousted as his reforms pointing to the end of the USSR spiralled out of control. Almost singlehandedly he brought an end to 40 years of east-west confrontation in Europe and liberated the world from the danger of nuclear conflagration. 

Louise Fletcher: American actor who won an Oscar for her role as Nurse Ratched in the 1975 film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. As Nurse Ratched, who instils fear into the patients in a mental institution without ever raising her voice, she was calmly terrifying. 

October

Dame Angela Lansbury: The Irish-British and American actor was best known for her portrayal of Jessica Fletcher in the drama series Murder, She Wrote. A Broadway icon who excelled as Mrs Lovett in Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, she died “peacefully” in her sleep five days before her 97th birthday. 

Robbie Coltrane: The Harry Potter and Cracker actor died aged 72. The Scottish star, whose real name was Anthony Robert McMillan, was best known for playing both McGlone brothers in John Byrne’s Tutti Frutti (1987), beloved Hogwarts gamekeeper Hagrid and for starring as criminal psychologist Dr Eddie “Fitz” Fitzgerald in ITV’s crime drama Cracker. 

Jerry Lee Lewis: Founding father of rock’n’roll who took the world by storm with Great Balls of Fire and Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On. His career was blighted after the press found out he’d married his 13 year old cousin. 

Kitten Natividad: Francesca “Kitten” Natividad, the go-go dancer who became a cult pop culture figure when she was cast by sexploitation film director Russ Meyer in Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens. 

November

Leslie Phillips: The veteran actor, famed for starring in the Carry On films, died at the age of 98. He spent eight decades in the spotlight and became well known for his suggestive catchphrases, which included “Ding dong”, “Well, hellooo” and “I say!” 

Christine McVie: The Fleetwood Mac star died following a short illness at the age of 79. The British-American rock band, founded in London in 1967, sold more than 100 million records worldwide, making them one of the most successful groups ever. 

Wilko Johnson: Musician with Dr Feelgood whose stark chords and pin-sharp riffs made him one of the most distinctive of British rock guitarists.

Irene Cara: American actor and singer best known for her role in the film Fame and co-writing the 1983 hit Flashdance … What a Feeling. Cara died unexpectedly aged 63, topped the British singles chart with Fame, which also went to No 4 in the US. 

December

Kirstie Alley: The US actor died from cancer at the age of 71. She was best known for her breakout role as Rebecca Howe in the NBC sitcom Cheers from 1987 to 1993 and received both an Emmy award and a Golden Globe for the role in 1991. 

Terry Hall: The lead singer of The Specials and Fun Boy Three died aged 63. The singer-songwriter rose to fame as part of the band, who were pioneers of the ska scene in the UK. 

Pele: The legendary Brazilian footballer passed away aged 82. Widely considered one of the greatest players of all time, Pele is the only man to have won the World Cup on three occasions, as he helped Brazil to success at the 1958, 1962 and 1970 tournaments, also winning the Golden Ball for best player at the latter. During a 21-year playing career, he is said to have scored 1,283 goals in 1,363 senior matches for clubs and country. 

Dame Vivienne Westwood: The iconic British fashion designer died aged 81. Dame Vivienne emerged from the British punk scene of the late 1970s and quickly became known for her androgynous designs, slogan T-shirts and irreverent attitude towards the Establishment, later making waves as an activist on causes close to her heart. The Victoria and Albert Museum described her as a “true revolutionary and rebellious force in fashion”.

Maxi Jazz: Frontman of Faithless whose thoughtful, life-affirming lyrics were in contrast to the usual hedonistic banalities of dance music. Sold an estimated 15 million albums and score a string of Top Five singles including such guaranteed dance floor fillers as Insomnia, God Is a DJ and We Come 1. 

Ruth Madoc: The stage and screen actor died after a fall aged 79. She cemented herself in the memories of TV sitcom viewers as Gladys Pugh, chief yellowcoat and Radio Maplin announcer in Hi-de-Hi! 

Pope Benedict XVI: In the annals of papal history, Joseph Ratzinger, who has died aged 95, will be remembered principally as the first pope in 600 years to retire, rather than to die in office.