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Dead Pool 1st December 2019

With the sad passing of Clive James, quite a few of you have scored; Christine and Martin both had him down as their Cert, so 170 points each, and Debbie, Julie, Ashley, Shan and Julia also had him listed, so 70 points each also. Well done everyone! This has tightened the league table somewhat, who know what will happen in the next four weeks! Anyone at the top end of the table could win if one of their Big Three decide to succumb to the cold weather, it’s that close! And to anyone who’s a bit miffed about being at the bottom end of the table, don’t worry, I’m there too.    

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Music legend Tina Turner has spoken about turning 80 today, saying: “It’s like having a second chance at life.” The star has had a stellar 60-year career in which she has sold more than 200 million records. But in recent years the Queen of Rock and Roll has been dogged by ill health including a cancer fight and a kidney transplant. Tina said: “I’m 80. What do I think? How did I think I would be at 80? Not like this. “I look great. I feel good. I have gone through some very serious sicknesses that I am overcoming. It’s like having a  second chance at life. “I am happy to be an 80-year-old.” Tina suffered a mild stroke after marrying German music executive Erwin Bach, 63, in 2013 and had to learn to walk again. Three years later she was diagnosed with kidney failure and ­intestinal cancer. Doctors treated the cancer by removing part of her intestine, but her kidney problems got worse and she considered assisted suicide. But then Erwin gave her one of his own kidneys, and Tina had a successful transplant operation in April 2017. She said: “I know that my medical adventure is far from over. There’s always another test, another doctor’s appointment or biopsy to get through. 

Gray O’Brien has revealed on social media that he has been battling stage four tonsil  cancer. The 51-year-old former Coronation Street star posted a video of him finishing his treatment and revealed that he had been “devastated” by the diagnosis. The actor, who played crooked businessman Tony Gordon in Corrie between 2007 and 2010, said he discovered that he had cancer after visiting his doctor with swollen glands. This was in August and since then Gray has had 30 rounds of radiotherapy, which has been done over a six week period. The Glasgow-born actor shared news of his diagnosis on Twitter but there was light at the end of the tunnel as he also announced that he had finished his treatment. Gray said: “When I received the diagnosis of tonsil cancer I was of course devastated – it’s cancer. “My reason for waiting to ring the bell before I mentioned it publicly is because I wasn’t sure how strong I would be in coping with the treatment, indeed could I cope with the treatment? “This is only the treatment finished. I now have a long way to go with my recovery. “I have been advised it will get worse before it gets better, and I have no reason to doubt this. “As long as I take it a day at a time as I have up until this point I am looking forward to coming through the other side.” 

A tree surgeon was killed in a freak accident when he moved to avoid a falling trunk but was hit by a 16-stone branch from a neighbouring tree, an inquest has heard. Charley Purkiss-McEndoo, 27, was working in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park on May 23 this year, when the tragedy occurred. The highly regarded amateur rugby union player had felled a large oak tree before stepping to the side as it fell into what is known as ‘the safety zone.’ But in an unforeseeable tragedy, his textbook safety manoeuvre took him into the path of a falling branch from a neighbouring tree, an inquest heard. The branch belonged to a tree 20ft away which had rotted at its socket and was being held in place by the tree he was was felling as part of a five year forestry clearance plan on the estate. Mr Purkiss-McEndoo- described as a ‘wonderful, humble person’ and the ‘life and soul of his rugby team’ – had sent a text to his mother wishing her a happy birthday minutes before the tragedy. The inquest in Skipton found that he died an accidental death while following ‘correct safety procedures with correct safety equipment.’   

On This Day

  • 1919 – Lady Astor becomes the first female Member of Parliament to take her seat in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom.  
  • 1952 – The New York Daily News reports the news of Christine Jorgensen, the first notable case of sex reassignment surgery.   
  • 1955 – American Civil Rights Movement: In Montgomery, Alabama, seamstress Rosa Parks refuses to give up her bus seat to a white man and is arrested for violating the city’s racial segregation laws, an incident which leads to that city’s bus boycott. 
  • 1990 – Channel Tunnel sections started from the United Kingdom and France meet 40 metres beneath the seabed.

Deaths

Last Meals 

Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin was a Russian mystic and self-proclaimed holy man who befriended the family of Tsar Nicholas II, the last monarch of Russia, and gained considerable influence in late imperial Russia. Born to a peasant family in the Siberian village of Pokrovskoye in the Tobolsk governorate, Rasputin had a religious conversion experience after taking a pilgrimage to a monastery in 1897. He has been described as a monk or as a “strannik” (wanderer, or pilgrim), though he held no official position in the Russian Orthodox Church. 

After traveling to St. Petersburg, either in 1903 or the winter of 1904–05, Rasputin captivated some church and social leaders. He became a society figure, and met the Tsar in November 1905. In late 1906, Rasputin began acting as a healer for Alexei, the Tsar and his wife Alexandra‘s only son, who suffered from hemophilia. At court, he was a divisive figure, seen by some Russians as a mystic, visionary, and prophet, and by others as a religious charlatan. The high point of Rasputin’s power was in 1915, when Nicholas II left St. Petersburg to oversee Russian armies fighting World War I, increasing both Alexandra and Rasputin’s influence. As Russian defeats in the war mounted, however, both Rasputin and Alexandra became increasingly unpopular. 

On 12 July 1914 a 33-year-old peasant woman named Chionya Guseva attempted to assassinate Rasputin by stabbing him in the stomach outside his home in Pokrovskoye. Rasputin was seriously wounded, and for a time it was not clear that he would survive. After surgery and some time in a hospital in Tyumen, however, he did recover. 

Having decided that Rasputin’s influence over the Tsarina had made him a threat to the empire, a group of nobles led by Prince Felix Yusupov, the Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich, and the right-wing politician Vladimir Purishkevich concocted a plan to kill Rasputin in December 1916, apparently by luring Rasputin to the Yusupovs’ Moika Palace. Rasputin was murdered during the early morning on 30 December 1916, at the home of Felix Yusupov. He died of three gunshot wounds, one of which was a close-range shot to his forehead. Beyond this, little is certain about his death, and the circumstances of his death have been the subject of considerable speculation.  

According to historian Douglas Smith, “what really happened at the Yusupov home on 17 December will never be known”. The story of Rasputin’s death that Yusupov recounted in his memoirs, however, has become the most frequently told version of events. According to Yusupov, he invited Rasputin to his home shortly after midnight and ushered him into the basement. Yusupov offered Rasputin tea and cakes which had been laced with cyanide. At first, Rasputin refused the cakes, but then began to eat them. To Yusupov’s surprise, Rasputin did not appear to be affected by the poison. Rasputin then asked for some Madeira wine (which had also been poisoned) and drank three glasses, but still showed no sign of distress. At around 2:30 am, Yusupov excused himself to go upstairs, where his fellow conspirators were waiting. Taking a revolver from Dmitry Pavlovich, Yusupov returned to the basement and, referring to a crucifix that was in the room, told Rasputin that he’d “better look at the crucifix and say a prayer”, then shot him once in the chest. Believing him to be dead, they then drove to Rasputin’s apartment, with Sukhotin wearing Rasputin’s coat and hat, in an attempt to make it look as though Rasputin had returned home that night. Upon returning to the Moika Palace, Yusupov went back to the basement to ensure that Rasputin was dead. Suddenly, Rasputin leapt up and attacked Yusupov, who – with some effort – freed himself and fled upstairs. Rasputin followed and made it into the palace’s courtyard before being shot by Purishkevich and collapsing into a snowbank. The conspirators then wrapped Rasputin’s body in cloth, drove it to the Petrovsky Bridge and dropped it into the Malaya Nevka River. 

News of Rasputin’s murder spread quickly, even before his body was found. An investigation was launched the next morning and his body was found under the river ice, approximately 200 meters downstream from the bridge. 

Rasputin was buried on the following day at a small church at Tsarskoye Selo. The funeral was attended only by the royal family and a few of their intimates. Rasputin’s wife, mistress, and children were not invited, although his daughters met with the Royal family at Vyrubova’s home later that day. His body was exhumed and burned by a detachment of soldiers shortly after the Tsar abdicated the throne in March 1917, in order to prevent his burial site from becoming a rallying point for supporters of the old regime. 

Last Week’s Birthdays

Ridley Scott (82), Ben Stiller (54), Mandy Patinkin (67), Billy Idol (64), Chadwick Boseman (42), Gemma Chan (37), Diane Ladd (84), Don Cheadle (55), Jeff Fahey(67), Karen Gillan (32), Ed Harris (69), Aimee Garcia (41), Judd Nelson (60), Martin Clunes (58), Armando Iannucci (56), Jon Stewart (57), Robin Givens (55), Bill Nye (64), Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson (31), Tina Turner (80), Rita Ora (29), DJ Khaled (44), Christina Applegate (48), Bruno Tonioli (64), Sarah Hyland (29), Stephen Merchant (45), Conleth Hill (55), Billy Connolly (77), and Denise Crosby (62). 

Dead Pool 24th November 2019

Another week passes, another newsletter is produced. Another quiet week for us, no points to award, but plenty to read and time to remind you to start researching for 2020. 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

  • Brad McQuaid, 51, American video game designer (EverQuest, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes).  
  • John Mann, 57, Canadian guitarist and singer (Spirit of the West), and actor (Underworld: Evolution).  
  • Michael J. Pollard, 80, American actor (Bonnie and Clyde, Scrooged, House of 1000 Corpses), cardiac arrest.  
  • Colin Skipp, 80, British actor (The Archers).  
  • Olly Croft, 90, British darts administrator, founder of the British Darts Organisation. 
  • Goo Hara, 28, South Korean singer (Kara) and actress (City Hunter). 

In Other News

Actress Jane Galloway Heitz, best known for portraying show choir head Lillian Adler in the high school musical series Glee, has died aged 78. Although not famous enough for a wiki mention, we thought she was worthy of a small recognition. She died of congestive heart failure in an Illinois hospital last week, her daughter Amie Richardson confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter. She also appeared in shows like ER, Grey’s Anatomy and The Big Bang Theory. Alongside her own acting, she helped to nurture the talents of a young Steve Carell (well known for the US Office and films such as Foxcatcher, The Big Short and The 40-year-old Virgin), as well as chat show host Stephen Colbert. Her casting also helped launch the careers of actors Richard Kind, who starred in Mad About You and Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Modern Family star Eric Stonestreet. Stonestreet led the tributes, crediting Galloway Heitz for his success, while describing her as a “a great friend and mentor”.  

Sir Elton John has said he was terrified he would not live to see his children grow up and had to learn to walk again after he contracted an infection following surgery for prostate cancer. The superstar musician previously revealed in his autobiography Me that he was successfully treated for cancer two years ago but then became ill with an infection. Speaking to Graham Norton in the BBC programme Elton John: Uncensored, Sir Elton said he has had an “annus horribilis” as he struggled with his health. He said: “I was on stage in Vegas in a lot of pain, fluid had built up under my colon. “I did the show and was wearing nappies shortly after the operation. I thought ‘If only they knew right now that I’m pissing myself’. The singer added that he was rushed to hospital in London, where he was “24 hours from snuffing it”, and continued: “I had to learn to walk again. I was extremely sick. “I said: ‘Don’t let me die, I want to see my children grow up.’” He joked there is “very little of me left” after having his prostate removed and losing his hair.       

Sir Rod Stewart, 74, took to Instagram to tell fans he is “absolutely devastated” to have to pull out of the charity show in London. In view of his 347,000 followers, he wrote: “Due to a throat infection and on strict doctor’s orders, I’m absolutely devastated to say I’m unable to perform at the Royal Variety Performance, an amazing show which I love being a part of. He added: “It’s going to be a great evening with some fantastic talent and I’m very disappointed that I can’t be there to give my support. Many of the star’s loyal fans flocked to his post to send their well wishes to the star. One fan commented: “I hope you’re back to your best soon. We can’t have anything happen to that beautiful voice!” Rod is set to kick off his UK and Ireland tour later this week in Manchester ahead of his international tour next year. It is currently unknown if his throat infection will affect his tour. Back in September, Sir Rod Stewart opened up about his secret cancer battle as he issued a warning to others. “Guys, you’ve got to really go to the doctor,” he added. “Finger up the bum, no harm done.” 

TV comic John Bishop has revealed how a terrifying cancer scare left him “contemplating death”. The 52-year-old Liverpudlian was sent for an X-ray after suffering a prolonged cough three years ago. He explained: “I was told that unless I heard anything, I should regard everything as normal and the cough would go. “I heard nothing and gradually my chest cleared, so I thought no more about it. “Three months later I received a call saying the results of the X-ray had been misreported by one of the junior staff. His GP said he needed an emergency CT scan – “and something in his tone suggested it needing doing sooner rather than later,” said John. “So I organised a private CT scan at the local hospital. I spent a few hours alone thinking it could be the start of the end. “This is because a Google search of ‘shadows on lungs’ does not make you believe the prognosis will be good.” John, who has three sons with wife Melanie, says: “It was the first time I had seriously contemplated my own death. I was filled with sadness for all the things I’d miss – my family, my sons getting married, my parents, becoming a grandparent, laughing, blue sky days when you are so happy that you almost feel guilty to be so lucky. Football, music, films. “Death takes away everything, although this isn’t all bad. I suddenly realised I did not have to care any more about what Donald Trump did, if the ice caps were going to melt and the Brexit vote. “I had seen this before with people facing terminal illness. There is a sense of contentment and balance hard to explain. All that matters are those you love.” “The GP called me as soon as he had the results. I had shadows on both lungs but it was nothing sinister and was caused by increased bone mass in my sternum. “I put the phone down grateful for the life I had ahead of me. “I embraced Melanie and then on the radio in the background I heard Trump was saying global warming was a myth, and I started worrying again.” 

On This Day

Deaths

Last Meals

Rather than concentrate on murderers and rapists, I thought it might be a nice change to concentrate on some famous people’s last meals for a change. Let’s begin with the one and  only Elvis Presley. 

Born Elvis Aaron Presley on January 8th 1935 in Tupelo, Mississippi, Elvis Presley came from very humble beginnings and grew up to become one of the biggest names in rock ‘n’ roll. Regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century, he is often referred to as the “King of Rock and Roll” or simply “the King”. In 1955 Presley began to develop a following with fans being drawn to his unusual musical style, provocative gyrating hips and good looks. That same year, he signed with RCA Records, a deal worked out by his manager, Colonel Tom Parker. Presley was on a roll, scoring his first No.1 single with “Heartbreak Hotel,” as well as his first No.1 album, Elvis Presley, and signing a movie contract with Paramount Pictures — all in 1956. Despite the uproar that his sexy dance moves caused, he also became a popular guest on a number of television variety shows. Soon, Presley was everywhere — on the radio, television and the silver screen — working as a musician and actor. His first film, Love Me Tender (1956), was a box office hit. Even a stint in the U.S. military couldn’t put a damper on Presley’s thriving career. 

After leaving the Army in 1960, Presley resumed his career and was soon back at the top of the charts with the soundtrack for his film GI Blues. He continued recording music and acting in such films as Blue Hawaii (1961), Girls! Girls! Girls! (1962) and Viva Las Vegas (1964). Though his films were often hit or miss with both critics and audiences, they brought in a profit and the soundtracks usually sold well. By the late 1960s, however, the enigmatic performer appeared to be losing his box office appeal.   

Around this time, Presley’s personal life seemed to be on an upswing. He and Priscilla married in 1967 and had a daughter, Lisa Marie, the following year. Unfortunately, this joyous time would not last. By the early 1970s, Presley’s marriage was falling apart. The couple divorced in 1973, and Priscilla received custody of Lisa Marie. Presley was also wrestling with other personal problems, including a growing addiction to prescription drugs; the once-thin rock star was battling a weight problem, and his destructive lifestyle caught up with him that autumn, when he was hospitalised for drug-related health  problems.

In the morning of August 16th, 1977, Presley died of heart failure, at the age of 42. It was later ruled that his death was related to his prescription drug use and it was rumoured that he’d died on the toilet eating a burger. However, the evening’s events were very different. Elvis had stayed up most of the night; he was restless. Between midnight and 6:00 a.m., he went to his dentist to have a cavity filled (he did this late at night to avoid the mobs), then he returned to Graceland and played racquetball with friends, talked over marriage plans with his 20-year-old fiancée, Ginger Alden, and belted out some gospel songs on the piano. Around sunrise, Ginger went to bed, but Elvis, still unable to sleep, ate one of his usual early-morning snacks: four scoops of ice cream and six chocolate chip cookies. After that, he went to bed, then got up a few hours later to go to the bathroom, where he suffered the fatal heart attack. Presley was buried on the Graceland property, near the gravesites of his mother, Gladys, father Vernon and grandmother Minnie Mae Hood Presley. 

Last Week’s Birthdays

Kelly Brook (40), Miley Cyrus (27), Michelle Gomez (53), Ricky Whittle (38), Scarlett Johansson (35), Mads Mikkelsen (54), Jamie Lee Curtis (61), Mark Ruffalo (52), Terry Gilliam (79), Goldie Hawn (74), Alexander Siddig (54), Björk (54), Carly Rae Jepsen (34), Liza Tarbuck (55), Ming-Na Wen (56), Sean Young (60), Bo Derek (63), Adam Driver (36), Jodie Foster (57), Meg Ryan (58), Terry Farrell (56), Robert Beltran (66), Chloë Sevigny (45), Owen Wilson (51), Linda Evans (77), Delroy Lindo (67), Alan Moore (66), Anthony McPartlin (44), Martin Scorsese (77), Rachel McAdams (41), Tom Ellis (41), Danny DeVito (75), Sophie Marceau (53), Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (61), and RuPaul (59).

Dead Pool 17th November 2019

No movement in the table this week and with little over six weeks left to go, some of us are hoping that this cold weather will do the trick. I hope you’re all researching your lists for 2020 already and letting your friends know about our amazing little pool. 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Jimmy Carter has been admitted to hospital for brain surgery following a number of recent falls. The former US president was due to undergo surgery on Tuesday morning to relieve pressure on his brain caused by bleeding, his spokeswoman said. Rev Tony Lowden, Mr Carter’s pastor, said the Democratic leader had had ”a rough day” on Monday. “We just need the whole country to be in prayer for him,” he said. Mr Carter is resting comfortably Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, and his wife Rosalynn is with him, his spokeswoman added. The 95-year-old former peanut farmer has fallen at least three times in 2019, with one incident necessitating hip replacement surgery. On 6 October Mr Carter needed 14 stitches after a fall and on 21 October he fractured his pelvis. He is the oldest living president, surviving longer after leaving the White House than any former president in US history. 

Ariana Grande has reportedly been  struggling on tour in recent weeks. The 26-year-old posted a message to her Instagram Story on Saturday, revealing that she’s been battling an illness for several weeks! Not only that but her message indicates that her future tour dates in jeopardy until she’s feeling better. “Hi my loves so I’m still very sick. I’ve been sick since the last London show. I don’t know how it’s possible but my throat and head are still in so much pain. I sound okay I’m just in a lot of pain and it’s difficult to breathe during the show,” Grande wrote. “I just really don’t know what’s happening with my body right now and need to figure it out.” From there, the singer expanded on her condition throughout several videos. “Hi everyone so I have a quick health update, I just finished my show in Charlottesville and I’ve been sick since the last show in London,” the video showed. “I’ve been coughing and had this like crazy sinus infection thing that has not gone away for a really long time. I haven’t been able to really get better and tonight during the show tonight my head was really splitting and heavy and my glands really hurt and I’m trying to figure out what’s going on.” Grande added that she’ll be going to a doctor soon and hopes to learn more about her condition and prompt a speedy recovery. Fans are likely hopeful she goes sooner than later, with Grande adding to fears with her confusion over the illness. “I’m scared that I might have to cancel some things, so this is kind just a heads up of like I don’t know what’s happening with my body, and I’m really disappointed and freaked out of why I can’t get better because it’s been over three weeks at this point,” Grande revealed to her fans. Pneumonia? Tuberculosis? Pleurisy? Over-reacting to a slight cold?    

Dwayne Johnson has become the victim of another sick death hoax after a fake news story suggesting he’d died in a stunt accident went viral. The post purported to be from BBC News and featured the headline “Dwayne The Rock Johnson Dies at 47 after a terrible stunt attempted failed”. The link took social media users to a fake website rather than the legitimate BBC site and it horrified fans as it circulated online. The 47-year-old actor and wrestler has yet to comment on the hoax, but he has been active on social media since, so he is alive. This isn’t the first time The Rock has been a target for a death hoax. In 2011 and 2014, the Fast and Furious star was declared dead by online trolls. He responded to the 2011 rumours on his Facebook page, telling fans: “Rumours of my death are false. “I’m still ‘Bringin’ It’ 24hrs a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year – including leap year!” In 2014, trolls circulated a fake story suggested Johnson had been killed in an accident on a movie set in New Zealand. The fake report declared: “Actor Dwayne Johnson died while filming a movie in New Zealand early this morning – June 10, 2014. “Preliminary reports from New Zealand Police officials indicate that the actor fell more than 60 feet to his death on the Kauri Cliffs while on-set.” However, the movie star was very much alive and well at the time and went on to make several shit films. 

On This Day

  • 1558 – Elizabethan era begins: Queen Mary I of England dies and is succeeded by her half-sister Elizabeth I of England.  
  • 1603 – English explorer, writer and courtier Sir Walter Raleigh goes on trial for treason. It didn’t end well… 
  • 1894 – H. H. Holmes, one of the first modern serial killers, is arrested in Boston, Massachusetts.  

Deaths

  • 1796 – Catherine the Great, of Russia (b. 1729)  
  • 1917 – Auguste Rodin, French sculptor and illustrator (b. 1840)  
  • 1940 – Eric Gill, English sculptor and typeface designer (b. 1882)  
  • 1968 – Mervyn Peake, English poet, author, and illustrator (b. 1911)  

Last Meals

Herman Webster Mudgett, better known as Dr. Henry Howard Holmes or, more commonly, as H. H. Holmes, was an American serial killer. While he confessed to 27 murders, only nine could be plausibly confirmed and several of the people he claimed to have murdered were still alive. He is said to have killed as many as 200, though this figure is only traceable to 1940s pulp magazines. Many victims were said to have been killed in a mixed-use building which he owned, supposedly called the World’s Fair Hotel (informally called “The Murder Castle”. Besides being a serial killer, Holmes was also a con artist and a bigamist, the subject of more than 50 lawsuits in Chicago alone. 

One of Holmes’ early murder victims was his mistress, Julia Smythe. She and her daughter disappeared on Christmas Eve of 1891, and Holmes later claimed she had died during an abortion, though what truly happened to the two was never confirmed. Another likely Holmes paramour, Emeline Cigrande, began working in the building in May 1892, and disappeared that December. Another woman who vanished, Edna Van Tassel, is also believed to have been among Holmes’ victims. 

While working in Chicago, Holmes met and became close friends with Benjamin Pitezel. Holmes used Pitezel as his right-hand man for several criminal schemes; a district attorney later described Pitezel as “Holmes’ tool … his creature”. Holmes had an entrepreneurial spirit. Based on his former medical education and his connections, he was able to sell skeletons to medical labs and schools. “He, and his creature were accused of stripping the flesh off the bodies, dissecting them, and preparing the viable skeletons. The rest of the remains would be tossed in pits of lime or acid, effectively breaking down the remaining evidence. 

Whilst briefly incarcerated for the first time, on the charge of selling mortgaged goods in St. Louis, he struck up a conversation with a convicted outlaw named Marion Hedgepeth, who was serving a 25-year sentence for fraud. Holmes had concocted a plan to swindle an insurance company out of $10,000 (equivalent to $300,000 today) by taking out a policy on Pitezel and then faking his death. Instead, Holmes killed Pitezel by knocking him unconscious with chloroform and setting his body on fire with the use of benzene. As with all good plans, he became rather unstuck when he was forced to take on Pitezel’s children, who he later confessed to murdering by forcing them into a large trunk and locking them inside. He drilled a hole in the lid of the trunk and put one end of a hose through the hole, attaching the other end to a gas line to asphyxiate the girls. Holmes buried their nude bodies in the cellar of his rental house. Frank Geyer, a Philadelphia police detective assigned to investigate the disappearance of the missing children found the decomposed bodies of the two Pitezel girls in the cellar of the Toronto home. And thus Holmes’ murder spree finally ended when he was arrested after Hedgepeth informed the police of Holmes’ prior intentions. 

In October 1895, Holmes was put on trial for the murder of Benjamin Pitezel, and was found guilty and sentenced to death. By then, it was evident Holmes had also murdered the Pitezel children. Following his conviction, Holmes confessed to 27 murders in Chicago, Indianapolis, and Toronto, and six attempted murders. Holmes was paid $7,500 (worth $226,000 today) by the Hearst newspapers in exchange for his confession, which was quickly found to be mostly nonsense. Holmes gave various contradictory accounts of his life, initially claiming innocence and later that he was possessed by Satan. His propensity  for lying has made it difficult for researchers to ascertain the truth on the basis of his statements. 

On May 7, 1896, preceding his execution, Holmes was served boiled eggs, dry toast, and coffee as his last meal. He was then hanged at Moyamensing Prison, for the murder of Pitezel. Until the moment of his death, Holmes remained calm and amiable, showing very few signs of fear, anxiety or depression. Despite this, he asked for his coffin to be contained in cement and buried 10 feet deep, because he was concerned grave robbers would steal his body and use it for dissection. Holmes’ neck did not snap; he instead was strangled to death slowly, twitching for over 15 minutes before being pronounced dead 20 minutes after the trap had been sprung. In 2017, amid allegations Holmes had in fact escaped execution, Holmes’ body was exhumed for testing. Due to his coffin being contained in cement, his body was found not to have decomposed normally. His clothes were almost perfectly preserved and his mustache was found to be intact. The body was positively identified as being that of Holmes with his teeth. Holmes was then reburied.

Last Week’s Birthdays

Lisa Bonet (52), Missi Pyle (47), Maggie Gyllenhaal (42), Martha Plimpton (49), Beverly D’Angelo (68), Jonny Lee Miller (47), Petula Clark (87), Russell Tovey (38), Sandahl Bergman (68), Paul McGann (60), Gerard Butler (50), Whoopi Goldberg (64), John de Lancie (71), Jimmy Kimmel (52), Anne Hathaway (37), Ryan Gosling (39), Wallace Shawn (76), Max Grodénchik (67), Neil Young (74), Mariella Frostrup (57), Leonardo DiCaprio (45), Demi Moore (57), Stanley Tucci (59), Calista Flockhart (55), Taron Egerton (30), and Hugh Bonneville (56).

Dead Pool 10th November 2019

We begin this week by awarding 65 points to Sylvia for correctly guessing that Guy Byrne would kick the bucket this year. This leaves seven of us yet to score this year, and as always, one of the seven is me. You’d think I’d be good at this now, having run this thing for 28 years… 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Donald Trump “stumbles, slurs and gets confused”, according to a new book by a senior White House official, who claims the US president “deserves to be fired”. The anonymous staff member questions Mr Trump’s fitness for office in a book published later this month under the title A Warning. “I am not qualified to diagnose the president’s mental acuity,” the author writes, according to a review by The Washington Post. “All I can tell you is that normal people who spend any time with Donald Trump are uncomfortable by what they witness. “He stumbles, slurs, gets confused, is easily irritated, and has trouble synthesising information, not occasionally but with regularity. “Those who would claim otherwise are lying to themselves or to the country.”  Mr Trump is described variously as “a twelve-year-old in an air traffic control tower” and an “elderly uncle running pantsless across the courtyard” of a nursing home while “cursing loudly about the cafeteria food, as worried attendants tried to catch him”. “You’re stunned, amused, and embarrassed all at the same time,” the author adds. The anonymous official admits he sat in “uncomfortable silence” as the president made offensive jokes about a woman’s appearance or performance. The anonymous official says that “the last straw” which prompted his decision to speak out was the president’s attempt to prevent the White House flag being lowered to half-mast after the death of senator John McCain.  

A woman nearly died from an allergic reaction after having sex with her husband! The 46-year-old from Baltimore, Maryland, suffered an anaphylactic reaction to a medication her husband was taking through exposure to her husband’s semen, according to the case report in the American Journal of Medicine. The report, titled “Almost Killed by Love: A Cautionary Coital Tale”, said she complained of dizziness, diarrhoea, itchy hands and feet, and severe sweating shortly afterwards. The woman went to A&E and doctors initially believed she was suffering from sepsis due to her low blood pressure and she was put on an IV drip and given various antibiotics. However, further tests revealed she was suffering from anaphylactic shock. It was found that her husband had been treating a bacterial infection with a course of an antibiotic called nafcillin, which contains penicillin. The woman had a history of penicillin allergy since she was a child and said she had not been exposed to penicillin since then. The authors said they believe the woman was “exposed to nafcillin concentrated in the seminal fluid”. After her blood pressure normalised and her symptoms improved, the woman was discharged from hospital with an epipen. She was instructed to abstain from sexual intercourse with her husband until at least one week after he completed his course of antibiotics.  

A man has died attempting to eat 50 eggs to settle a dispute with a friend. The pair were visiting the Bibiganj market area in Uttar Pradesh’s Jaunpur district, in India, when they began arguing, police said. To settle the disagreement, they agreed on a Rs2,000 (£22) bet that each could be the first to eat 50 eggs in one sitting. Police say Subhash Yada had just begun eating his 42nd egg when he collapsed and fell unconscious. The 42-year-old was rushed to hospital but died just hours later. Doctors believe Mr Yada died from overeating, according to the Indo-Asian News Service. However his family has refused to comment on his death. But this eggy chap isn’;t the first to die stuffing his face! In August this year, Dana Hutchings died after choking and hitting his face on a table as he fell to the ground during a taco-eating contest in California. Medical staff attempted to clear airway of food but he died less than half an hour after arriving at hospital. Bethan Gaskin, 24, also choked to death in February while trying to see how many Jaffa Cakes she could fit inside her mouth. The young mother stopped breathing and suffered a heart attack after they became lodged in her throat. Student Caitlin Nelson, 22, collapsed just minutes into a pancake-eating contest during a charity fundraiser at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut, US, in 2017. She later died in hospital. Take this as a warning peeps, chew your food! 

On This Day

  • 1580 – After a three-day siege, the English Army beheads over 600 people, including papal soldiers and civilians, at Dún an Óir, Ireland.
  • 1871 – Henry Morton Stanley locates missing explorer and missionary, Dr David Livingstone in Ujiji, near Lake Tanganyika, famously greeting him with the words, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”.
  • 1944 – The ammunition ship USS Mount Hood explodes at Seeadler Harbour, Manus, Admiralty Islands, killing at least 432 and wounding 371.
  • 1983 – Bill Gates introduces Windows 1.0.
  • 1989 – Germans begin to tear down the Berlin Wall.

Deaths

  • 1982 – Leonid Brezhnev, Ukrainian-Russian general and politician, 4th Head of State of the Soviet Union (b. 1906)
  • 2006 – Jack Palance, American boxer and actor (b. 1919)
  • 2010 – Dino De Laurentiis, Italian-American, producer, and production manager (b. 1919)

Last Meals

SaddamSaddam Hussein was President of Iraq from 16th July 1979 until 9th April 2003. A leading member of the revolutionary Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party which espoused a mix of Arab nationalism and socialism. Saddam played a key role in the 1968 coup (later referred to as the 17th July Revolution) that brought him and the party to power in Iraq. He suppressed several movements, particularly Shi’a and Kurdish movements which sought to overthrow the government or gain independence, and maintained power during the Iran–Iraq War and the Gulf War. Whereas some in the Arab world lauded Saddam for opposing the United States and attacking Israel, he was widely condemned for the brutality of his dictatorship. The total number of Iraqis killed by the security services of Saddam’s government in various purges and genocides is conservatively estimated to be 250,000. Saddam’s invasions of Iran and Kuwait also resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths.

In 2003, a coalition led by the United States invaded Iraq to depose Saddam, in which U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair erroneously accused him of possessing weapons of mass destruction and having ties to al-Qaeda. Following the war, Saddam’s Ba’ath party was disbanded and elections were held. Saddam’s whereabouts remained in question during the weeks following the fall of Baghdad and the conclusion of the major fighting of the war. Various sightings of Saddam were reported in the weeks following the war, but none was authenticated. At various times Saddam released audio tapes promoting popular resistance to his ousting. On 13th December 2003, in Operation Red Dawn, Saddam Hussein was captured by American forces after being found hiding in a hole in the ground near a farmhouse in ad-Dawr, near Tikrit.

Following his capture, Saddam was transported to a U.S. base near Tikrit, and later taken to the American base near Baghdad. The trial of Saddam took place under the Iraqi Interim Government and he was found guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced to death by hanging. Saddam’s half brother, Barzan Ibrahim, and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, head of Iraq’s Revolutionary Court in 1982, were convicted of similar charges. The verdict and sentencing were both appealed, but subsequently affirmed by Iraq’s Supreme Court of  Appeals.

Saddam was hanged on the first day of Eid ul-Adha, 30th December 2006, despite his wish to be executed by firing squad (which he argued was the lawful military capital punishment citing his military position as the commander-in-chief of the Iraqi military). In his final hours, he refused offers of cigarettes and a last meal of chicken and shawarma rice.” Other sources state Saddam ate his last meal of chicken and rice and had a cup of hot water with honey. The execution was carried out at Camp Justice, an Iraqi army base in Kadhimiya, a neighbourhood of northeast Baghdad. Saudi Arabia condemned Iraqi authorities for carrying on with the execution on a holy day. A presenter from the Al—Ikhbariya television station officially stated “There is a feeling of surprise and disapproval that the verdict has been applied during the holy months and the first days of Eid al-Adha. Leaders of Islamic countries should show respect for this blessed occasion … not demean it.” On his way to the gallows, Hussein never bowed his head, until his neck snapped that is… His last words were equally defiant. “Down with the traitors, the Americans, the spies and the Persians.” Video of the execution was recorded on a mobile phone and his captors could be heard insulting Saddam. The video was leaked and posted on the Internet within hours, becoming the subject of global controversy. It was later claimed by the head guard at the tomb where his remains lay that Saddam’s body had been stabbed six times after the execution. A second unofficial video, apparently showing Saddam’s body on a trolley, emerged several days later. It sparked speculation that the execution was carried out incorrectly as Saddam Hussein had a gaping hole in his neck. Saddam’s demeanour while being led to the gallows have been discussed by two witnesses, Iraqi Judge Munir Haddad and Iraqi national security adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie. The accounts of the two witnesses are contradictory as Haddad describes Saddam as being strong in his final moments whereas al-Rubaie says Saddam was clearly afraid.  Saddam was buried at his birthplace of Al-Awja in Tikrit, Iraq, on 31st December 2006. He was buried 3 km (2 mi) from his sons Uday and Qusay Hussein. His tomb was reported to have been destroyed in March 2015. Before it was destroyed, a Sunni tribal group reportedly removed his body to a secret location.

Last Week’s Birthdays

Taron Egerton (29), Hugh Bonneville (55), Neil Gaiman (58), Ennio Morricone (90), Robert Duncan McNeill (54), Lou Ferrigno (67), Alfre Woodard (67), Matthew Rhys (45), Gretchen Mol (47), Richard Curtis (63), Gordon Ramsay (53), Adam Devine (36), Emma Stone (31), Ethan Hawke (49), Rebecca Romijn (47), Thandie Newton (47), Sally Field (73), Maria Shriver (64), Lori Singer (62), Nigel Havers (68), Famke Janssen (55), Sam Rockwell (51), Tilda Swinton (59), Robert Patrick (61), Tatum O’Neal (56), Armin Shimerman (70), Elke Sommer (79), Tamzin Outhwaite (49), Chris Addison (48), Art Garfunkel (78), Matthew McConaughey (50), Ralph Macchio (58), Olivia Taylor Dudley (34), and Loretta Swit (82).

Dead Pool 3rd November 2019

A quiet week in the celebrity death circles. You are forgiven for not knowing anyone on the list below. However, an excellent time to remind you to start researching for next year, whether that be looking back through Dead Pool articles or hunting down those celebs who have been unwell for some reason or another.    

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Nigel Benn has been forced to call off his controversial comeback fight after sustaining a shoulder injury in training. The 55-year-old had been due to face Sakio Bika in a one-off  contest at the Resort World Arena in Birmingham on November 23rd. But Benn, who last fought 23 years ago when he lost a rematch to Steve Collins, revealed the bout against Bika is now off. He said “I have been dreaming of a one-off fight for years and I’m heartbroken I’ve had to call it off.” Benn’s clash with Bika was to have been sanctioned by the British and Irish Boxing Authority. Although Benn did not formally apply for a licence to the British Boxing Board of Control, its general secretary Robert Smith indicated there was no chance of his request being considered. In his prime, Benn won middleweight and super-middleweight world titles and was involved in some of the defining fights of his generation against the likes of Chris Eubank, Michael Watson and, tragically, Gerald McClellan. Announcing his comeback in September, Benn said: “It is my decision to box again (although may be seen by some as ‘controversial’). “However, unlike many boxers, I have continued to maintain my fitness and healthy lifestyle since my last fight with Steve Collins. “I acknowledge the risks associated with the sport, and fully understand the importance of being fully assessed by medical professionals. “Therefore, I’ve welcomed the requirements of BIBA to clearly establish that I AM ‘fit to box’. There appears little chance of the contest being rescheduled for a later date.   

Earlier this year the actor and comedian Kevin Hart was involved in a major car accident while in a car in Malibu, California. The Jumanji star suffered major injuries to his back after he was involved in the incident in September with friend Jared Black, who was driving the car, and his fiancée Rebecca Broxterman. And now, two months later, Kevin has spoken out the difficult accident, opening up to fans about his ‘world was changed forever’ after the crash and how he has moved on from it. Taking to his Instagram page, the comedian shared a video with his nearly 81 million followers that shows his intensive rehabilitation and recovery over the last couple of months. “Basically you realise you’re not in control,” he said. “No matter how much you think you’re in control, you’re not in control. And at the end of the day it can all be over.” In the video the star can be seen in a hospital, leaning on a frame to try and stand up. He also shared clips of him undergoing physical therapy at home and struggling through rehabilitation exercises. The dad-of-four also shared a series of clips that show him walking around the house and spending time with his wife and children while wearing a back brace. Saying that the accident was a “message from God”, the star added, “Life is funny, because some of the craziest things that happen to you end up being the things that you needed most. “In this case I feel that God told me to sit down. When you’re moving too fast and doing too much, sometimes you can’t see the things you’re meant to see.” “After my accident I see things differently” he continued. “I see life from a while new perspective. My appreciation for life is through the roof. “I’m thankful for my family, my friends, for the people who simply ride with me and have been with me, because you stood by me. My fans – thank you for all of your love and support.” Kevin also showed fans a clip of his meeting with a team of doctors, who say to him that will take a year to fully recover, to which the star replies, “I’m not in a rush. I’m thankful for simply still being here.” 

On This Day

  • 1936 – The British Broadcasting Corporation initiates the BBC Television Service, the world’s first regular, “high-definition” (then defined as at least 200 lines) service.
  • 1947 – In California, designer Howard Hughes performs the maiden (and only) flight of the Hughes H-4 Hercules (also known as the “Spruce Goose”), the largest fixed-wing aircraft ever built.
  • 1990 – British Satellite Broadcasting and Sky Television plc merge to form BSkyB as a result of massive losses.

Deaths

  • 1950 – George Bernard Shaw, author, playwright, and critic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1856)
  • 1996 – Eva Cassidy, American singer (b. 1963)
  • 2014 – Acker Bilk, English singer and clarinet player (b. 1929)

Last Meals

Ricky Ray Rector was executed for the 1981 murder of police officer Robert Martin in Conway, Arkansas. On March 21, 1981, Rector and some friends drove to a dance hall at Tommy’s Old-Fashioned Home-Style Restaurant in Conway. When one friend who could not pay the $3 cover charge was refused entry, Rector became incensed and pulled a .38 calibre pistol from his waist band. He fired several shots, wounding two and killing a third man named Arthur Criswell, who died almost instantly after being struck in the throat and forehead. Rector left the scene of the murder in a friend’s car and wandered the city for three days, staying in the woods or with relatives. On March 24, Rector’s sister convinced him to turn himself in. Rector agreed to surrender, but only to Officer Robert Martin, whom he had known since he was a child. Martin arrived at Rector’s mother’s home shortly after 3 p.m. and chatted with Rector’s mother and sister. Shortly thereafter, Rector arrived and greeted Martin. As Martin turned away to continue his conversation with Rector’s mother, Rector drew his pistol from behind his back and fired two shots into Martin, striking him in the jaw and neck. Rector then turned and walked out of the house. Once he had walked past his mother’s backyard, Rector put his gun to his own temple and fired. Rector was quickly discovered by other police officers and taken to the local hospital. The suicide attempt effectively resulted in a lobotomy. Rector survived the gunshot and was put on trial for the murders of Criswell and Martin. His defence attorneys argued that Rector was intellectually impaired and not competent to stand trial. However, after hearing conflicting testimony from several experts who had evaluated Rector, Judge George F. Hartje ruled that Rector was competent to stand trial. Rector was convicted on both counts and sentenced to death. Rector was subject to a unique overlap of controversies in 1992, during his execution in Arkansas. An oft-cited example of his mental insufficiency is his decision to save the dessert from his last meal “for later,” which would have been after his execution. In 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court banned the execution of people with mental retardation in Atkins v. Virginia, ruling that the practice constitutes cruel and unusual punishment; however, it is not clear that this ruling would have applied to Rector because his brain damage was caused by his suicide attempt after having committed the two murders for which he was convicted.  

For his last meal, Rector requested and received a steak, fried chicken, cherry Kool-Aid, and pecan pie. As noted above, Rector left the pie on the side of the tray, telling the corrections officers who came to take him to the execution chamber that he was “saving it for later.” The slice of pecan pie was not disposed of until Rector had been executed. Rector was executed by lethal injection. It took medical staff more than fifty minutes to find a suitable vein. The curtain remained closed between Rector and the witnesses, but some reported they could hear Rector moaning. The administrator of the State Department of Corrections Medical Program said “the moans did come as a team of two medical people—that had grown to five—worked on both sides of his body to find a vein. That may have contributed to his occasional outbursts.” The state later attributed the difficulty in finding a suitable vein to Rector’s great weight and to his having been administered an antipsychotic medication. Unsurprisingly he didn’t leave any last words.

Last Week’s Birthdays 

David Schwimmer (52), Stefanie Powers (76), k.d. lang (57), Toni Collette (46), Jenny McCarthy (46), Anthony Kiedis (56), Peter Jackson (57), Stephen Rea (72), Sanjeev Bhaskar (55), Michael J. Anderson (65), Vanilla Ice (51), Clémence Poésy (36), Henry Winkler (73), Jessica Hynes (46), Ivanka Trump (37), Winona Ryder (47), Rufus Sewell (51), Richard Dreyfuss (71), Dan Castellaneta (61), Joaquin Phoenix (44), Annie Potts (66), Julia Roberts (51), Matt Smith (36), Gwendoline Christie (40), and Bill Gates (63).