Yay! We have a winner! First death of the year and the bonus points go to Ceri for the demise of murderer Lisa Montgomery, well done Ceri!!! Touch and go if they were going to list her, they were very slow to do so, but she is listed; even though her Wiki points to her victim which is common practice nowadays as to limit the glorification of the murderer. I’ve elaborated below on the story of Montgomery as it’s a tragic tale from start to finish.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Julie Strain, 58, American actress (Naked Gun 33⅓, Penthouse Pet of the Year in 1993), complications from dementia.
- Lisa Montgomery, 52, American murderer, execution by lethal injection.
- Gerry Cottle, 75, British circus owner and presenter, COVID-19.
- Siegfried Fischbacher, 81, German-American magician, entertainer and tiger worrier (Siegfried & Roy), pancreatic cancer.
- Joanne Rogers, 92, American pianist and puppeteer (Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood), heart disease.
- Storm Constantine, 64, British fantasy and science fiction author (Sea Dragon Heir, Grigori Trilogy).
- Peter Mark Richman, 93, American actor (Dynasty, Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, Poolhall Junkies).
- Dustin Higgs, 48, American convicted murderer, execution by lethal injection.
- Paul Varelans, 51, American mixed martial arts fighter (UFC) and professional wrestler (ECW), COVID-19.
In Other News
Jeff Bridges has announced that his cancerous tumour has “drastically shrunk” amid treatment for lymphoma. The Oscar winner revealed in October that he had been diagnosed with lymphoma, but that his prognosis was “good”. In a new message posted to his official website, Bridges said that he went “in for a CAT scan” on 6th January to see if his tumour had shrunk in the wake of his treatment. “Turns out it’s working beautifully,” Bridges writes in the hand-written note. “The thing has drastically shrunk. I come home elated with the news.” Bridges added that his CAT scan coincided with the Capitol riots, in which Donald Trump supporters stormed Washington’s Capitol building. “To see our country attacking itself broke my heart,” Bridges writes. “A question rose in me – what’s an individual to do in a situation like this? My mentor, Rozzell Sykes, came to mind. His mantra was ‘be love’.” Nice to see he’s not lost his lovie-ness. Lymphoma is cancer that begins in infection-fighting cells of the immune system, called lymphocytes. These cells are in the lymph nodes, spleen, thymus, bone marrow, and other parts of the body. When you have lymphoma, lymphocytes change and grow out of control.
Don’t you just hate rewrites? I was leading this week with the story of Lisa Montgomery, the only female inmate on federal Death Row and how she got a stay of execution only hours before her big moment. Well, they only went and executed her!!! She received a lethal injection at a prison in Terre Haute, Indiana. The case attracted attention because her lawyers argued she was mentally ill and suffered serious abuse as a child. The 52-year-old strangled a pregnant woman before cutting out and kidnapping her baby in Missouri in 2004. Her victim, 23-year-old Bobbie Jo Stinnett, bled to death. Montgomery is the first female federal inmate to be put to death by the US government in 67 years. The execution was postponed twice – first by Covid-19, then by a judge – until a Supreme Court ruling cleared the way for it to take place in the early hours of Wednesday. In a dramatic move late on Monday, a judge in Indiana had halted the scheduled injection until a mental competency hearing could be held which was thought to be a total reprieve as had she been able to hold out until President-elect Joe Biden took office, it was widely believed that he’d put a stop to federal executions. Her lawyers argued that she had been born brain-damaged and was too mentally ill to be executed as she had no comprehension of what her punishment involved. As a child she was routinely sexually and physically abused by her father and trafficked by her mother, family members said. Her treatment was so violent that it amounted to torture, her lawyers say. Her defence team believe that at the time of her crime, Montgomery was psychotic and out of touch with reality. That opinion is supported by 41 current and former lawyers as well as human rights groups like the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. But her victim’s family and friends say the murder committed by Montgomery was so horrific that she deserved to be put to death regardless of her mental health. Since 2008, Montgomery had been held in a federal prison in Texas for female inmates with special needs, where she has been receiving psychiatric care. Since receiving her execution date, she’d been placed on suicide watch in an isolated cell. Montgomery’s lawyer, Kelley Henry, said her original legal defence was woefully inadequate, and presented few of the details about her abuse, trauma and mental illness. Federal executions had been on pause for 17 years before President Donald Trump ordered them to resume earlier last year.
Former Italian leader Silvio Berlusconi was rushed to hospital in Monaco on Thursday because of heart issues, his personal physician has said. It is unclear what the media tycoon’s medical emergency is. The 84-year-old has battled multiple health issues in recent years, undergoing heart surgery in 2016 and being hospitalised with Covid-19 in September, following a visit to Sardinia. Mr Berlusconi developed double pneumonia after contracting the virus and was treated for more than a week at Milan’s San Raffaele Hospital. On his release from hospital, the former prime minister said he had survived “the most dangerous challenge” he had ever faced. “Each one of us is exposed to the risk of infecting others. I repeat my call for maximum responsibility from everyone,” he cautioned at the time. On the news of his current health scare, shares in his family’s broadcasting firm Mediaset leapt almost three per cent on Thursday. The jump in price was attributed to speculation about ownership changes at Mediaset were his condition to worsen.
Saved by The Bell actor Dustin Diamond has been diagnosed with cancer, his representative has said. The 44-year-old, who played Samuel “Screech” Powers in the popular 1990s US school-based sitcom, fell ill last week and was taken to hospital. His representative, Roger Paul, said the actor is now waiting for further details. “We will know the severity of it when the tests are done,” Paul said, adding they expect an update next week. Diamond reprised his role in follow-up series Saved by the Bell: The New Class, and Saved by the Bell: The College Years. But he did not appear in the recent revival series. The American was also a contestant on Celebrity Big Brother in 2013.
On This Day
- 1912 – British polar explorer Captain Robert Falcon Scott reaches the South Pole, one month after Roald Amundsen.
- 1991 – Gulf War: Operation Desert Storm begins.
- 1998 – Matt Drudge breaks the story of the Bill Clinton–Monica Lewinsky affair on his Drudge Report website.
- 2003 – Richard Crenna, American actor and director (b. 1926)
- 2008 – Bobby Fischer, American chess player and author (b. 1943)
- 2020 – Derek Fowlds, British actor (b.1937).
The Bullseye Killer
In May 1989, a Welshman named John Cooper filmed an appearance on the cult ITV game show Bullseye. He was skilled at darts, talked of the beauty of the Welsh coastline, and happily told presenter Jim Bowen of his love of scuba-diving. He was also a serial killer.
The unexpected significance of Cooper’s Bullseye appearance only became apparent 20 years after the episode was broadcast, and plays an integral role in a new ITV drama series about his crimes.
While Cooper appeared jovial and friendly on television, he also hid a dark side. As well as being a prolific burglar of homes across the Welsh village of Milford Haven, Cooper had killed two people four years prior to filming the episode. Less than a month after Bullseye, he killed again.
“You’ve got an unusual hobby John, haven’t you?” Bowen asked Cooper during the programme. “Oh yes,” Cooper replied. “The scuba diving … on the coast line. We’ve got deep water where you can swim over mountains and all sorts of things.” Cooper’s performance on the show was relatively short-lived. Kicked off after the first round having failed to answer a sufficient number of general knowledge questions, he was then invited back in a later round, but that also proved unsuccessful – all three darts he threw missed their target. He forced a smile for the cameras nonetheless.
Three weeks later, Cooper held a pair of holidaymakers at gunpoint before shooting them both at point-blank range.
In court, Cooper’s son would recall his father roaming the sleepy town of Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire, Wales, with a shotgun concealed under his coat. Secretly, Cooper was looking for houses to break into, and used the skills learnt in his vast collection of SAS manuals to slip in and out undetected. Cooper is believed to have turned to crime after losing thousands of pounds attempting to break into the property market and gambling away the £90,000 he won in a 1978 newspaper competition.
In 1985, Cooper targeted a mansion in Milford Haven owned by millionaire farmer Richard Thomas and his sister Helen, who would become his first known murder victims. Prosecutors later speculated that Cooper had killed the siblings after being disturbed during the break-in, with the pair’s bodies, both bearing point-blank shotgun wounds, found in their burnt-out home days after the robbery.
The killings cast a dark shadow over Milford Haven, but police were unable to apprehend a suspect. It would be four years before Cooper struck again just as violently.
Peter and Gwenda Dixon were a Oxfordshire couple holidaying on the Pembrokeshire coast when they encountered Cooper. Before killing the pair, again at point-blank range with a shotgun, Cooper tied them up close to a cliff edge and demanded their bank details. He would spend the rest of the day travelling from cashpoint to cashpoint, withdrawing money from the couple’s accounts. Police, meanwhile, were able to deduce that the same 12-bore shotgun was used in both the Thomas and Dixon murders. They had a serial killer on their hands.
Cooper, however, remained at large. In 1996, he held a group of Milford Haven teenagers hostage during a robbery, raping one girl and sexually assaulting another. In 1997, he held a woman at gunpoint in her home in the small Pembrokeshire village of Sardis. The woman was bound and gagged, but managed to flee. It was this crime that eventually exposed him, with police arresting Cooper in 1998 in connection with a series of home invasions in the area.
During a raid on Cooper’s home, police recovered jewellery, silverware and photo frames, some still bearing the photos of his victims. A pair of shorts were also recovered. Cooper was sentenced to 16 years in prison on 30 counts of robbery and burglary, but it wasn’t until advancements in technology occurred that police were able to officially link him to the Thomas and Dixon murders, as well as the 1996 assaults.
Police would identify traces of Gwenda Dixon’s blood on the recovered shorts, believing Cooper kept them as a trophy. A sock that once belonged to Richard Thomas was also recovered from Cooper’s home, while traces of Peter Dixon’s blood were found beneath a fresh lick of paint on Cooper’s shotgun.
In his 2013 book The Pembrokeshire Murders: Catching the Bullseye Killer, retired chief superintendent Steve Wilkins, recalled the moment of truth.
Having learnt that Cooper appeared on Bullseye, Wilkins partnered with ITV presenter Jonathan Hill to unearth a copy of the episode. Once a copy was found, Wilkins was floored by what he saw – notably Cooper casually telling Bowen his knowledge of the exact spot in which the Dixons were killed weeks later. It was also quickly made clear that the unknown man in the police sketch bore an uncanny resemblance to Cooper as he appeared on television, with ITV’s camera capturing him in the exact same stance as that in the sketch.
“You could hardly make it up,” Wilkins writes in his book. “For the first time we could see Cooper as he would have looked at the time of the Dixons’ murder. In my 30 years service, I had seen many artist’s impressions and photo-fit efforts, but I had never seen as close a match as this.”
The Bullseye tape, and the discovery of small traces of blood found on items of clothing retrieved from Cooper’s home, proved pivotal to Wilkins’s case. Cooper has always protested his innocence, but his attempts at appealing the verdict have proved unsuccessful. Since his imprisonment, Cooper has been linked with at least five other possible deaths in the Pembrokeshire area.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Zooey Deschanel (41), Jim Carrey (59), Betty White (99), Kelly Marie Tran (32), James Earl Jones (90), Lin-Manuel Miranda (41), John Carpenter (73), James May (58), Eva Habermann (45), Kate Moss (47), James Nesbitt (56), DJ Jazzy Jeff (56), Claudia Winkleman (49), Jason Bateman (52), Carl Weathers (73), Kevin Durand (47), Faye Dunaway (80), Grant Gustin (31), Mark Addy (57), LL Cool J (53), Dave Grohl (52), Ruth Wilson (39), Orlando Bloom (44), Michael Peña (45), Liam Hemsworth (31), William B. Davis (83), Bill Bailey (56), Rachael Harris (53), Kirstie Alley (70), Howard Stern (67), Jeff Bezos (57), Pixie Lott (30), Zayn Malik (28), Amanda Peet (49), Mary J. Blige (50), Jason Connery (58), and Melanie Hill (59).
Welcome to a bumper edition of the Dead Pool. This week we learn the Los Angeles’ Cedars-Sinai Hospital is the place to be to look out for ailing celebrities! Bet the staff there could tell a few stories! And because I don’t thank her enough, big shout out to Nickie who keeps sending interesting stories she’s found for the newsletter. Very much appreciated, as is all the donations so far. You all rock!
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Gerry Marsden, 78, English musician (Gerry and the Pacemakers), heart infection.
- Tanya Roberts, 65, American actress (A View to a Kill, That ’70s Show, Charlie’s Angels).
- Colin Bell, 74, English footballer (Bury, Manchester City, national team).
- Alexi Laiho, 41, Finnish death metal composer, guitarist and vocalist (Children of Bodom, Sinergy, The Local Band).
- Albert Roux, 85, French restaurateur and chef.
- Barbara Shelley, 88, British actress (Village of the Damned, Dracula: Prince of Darkness, Quatermass and the Pit).
- Marion Ramsey, 73, American actress (Police Academy, Return to Babylon, Lavalantula) and singer.
- Deezer D, 55, American rapper and actor (ER, Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, CB4).
- Michael Apted, 79, English filmmaker (Up, Coal Miner’s Daughter, The World Is Not Enough).
- American Democracy, 245, the storming of the Capitol by ‘very special’ Trump supporters.
In Other News
Tom Parker has revealed his stage 4 brain tumour has ‘significantly reduced’ and is ‘responding well’ to treatment. The Wanted singer, 32, took to Instagram on Thursday to update fans on his progress after receiving his terminal diagnosis of glioblastoma, an aggressive type of brain cancer, in October. In a lengthy post, Tom said it was a ‘good fucking day’ after receiving the positive news about his battle and vowed to ‘keep fighting’ for the sake of his wife Kelsey Hardwick and their two children. He wrote: ‘SIGNIFICANT REDUCTION These are the words I received today and I can’t stop saying them over and over again. I had an MRI scan on Tuesday and my results today were a significant reduction to the tumour and I am responding well to treatment. Everyday I’m keeping on the fight to shrink this bastard! I can’t thank our wonderful NHS enough. You’re all having a tough time out there but we appreciate the work you are all doing on the front line.” Last month Tom has admitted his world was turned ‘upside down’ after he was told he has a stage four brain tumour. Thanking his wife Kelsey and their family for the support they have given him, Tom said he has ‘come a long way’ since being given the heartbreaking news. Tom revealed he’d reached the end of his latest day of treatment, admitting it had taken its toll. He also revealed he’d been suffering with bad short term memory loss after having chemotherapy and radiotherapy amid his brain tumour battle. Glioblastoma is considered the most aggressive tumor that can form in the brain. Patients have a 10 percent chance of surviving five years after their diagnosis, according to figures. The average lifespan is between 14 and 16 months.
A representative of London Zoo has responded to Ricky Gervais’s wish that his body be consumed by lions in the aftermath of his death. The comedian and long-time animal rights campaigner had made the proposal to Conan O’Brien on the US late night chat show Conan, saying he wanted to “give back”. “I thought it would be good to be just fed to the lions at London Zoo,” said Gervais. “That would be useful, isn’t it? We never give anything back. We take everything from this world…everything we do is for us, we’re not even food for other things. At least then…I’d like the look on the tourists’ faces when they throw this dead, fat, naked, 73-year-old, maybe, if I’m lucky, to the lions, and as it lands some people go, ‘is that the bloke from The Office?’” London Zoo’s chief operating officer Kathryn England said: “I suspect Ricky may be a bit gristly for our lions.” She added: “We are struggling financially because of lockdown so if anyone wants to ‘give something back’ we welcome donations that will help us keep our lions fed on a more suitable diet.” We’re wondering why he wants to wait until he dies, feed the fucker to them right now!
After days of false reports, it’s been confirmed that Tanya Roberts has died at the age of 65. Her partner, Lance O’Brien, told us that Roberts’ doctors called him just after 9:00 p.m. on January 4th to notify him of Roberts’ passing. The actress had been hospitalised for complications of a UTI that he claimed spread to her kidneys, liver and gallbladder before it “got into her blood.” The news comes shortly after a premature death announcement was made. The star was admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after collapsing on Christmas Eve. Her rep, Mike Pingel, said that O’Brien claimed to have been asked by hospital staff to come in and say his final goodbyes on Sunday. Apparently O’Brien watched her close her eyes and assumed she had passed away. O’Brien reportedly called Pingel afterwards and told him Roberts had died. But during an interview with Inside Edition that morning, O’Brien received a phone call from the hospital informing him that Roberts had not passed away. “Now you’re telling me that she’s alive?” he said at the time. “Oh, thank the lord! Thank god.” O’Brien began to cry. “The hospital’s telling me she’s alive, and they’re calling me from the ICU,” he said, later adding, “I’m so happy.” However, the joy didn’t last long, it appears that Roberts is now dead, again. Roberts starred in many films over the course of her lifetime, including the 1985 James Bond movie A View to a Kill. She also acted on a number of popular TV shows, including That ’70s Show and Charlie’s Angels.
Dr Dre says he is ‘doing great’ after being hospitalised in California for a suspected aneurysm. The rap mogul posted on Instagram that he hopes to leave Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles and return home soon. “Thanks to my family, friends and fans for their interest and well wishes,” he wrote. “I’m doing great and getting excellent care from my medical team. I will be out of the hospital and back home soon. Shout out to all the great medical professionals at Cedars. One Love!!” Dre, whose real name is Andre Young, was taken to the hospital’s ICU on Monday where doctors ran tests to find what caused the bleeding on his brain. Luckily he wasn’t declared dead by his better half as he’s in the middle of a divorce from his wife, Nicole Young, who filed to end their marriage of more than 20 years. The rapper, who was born in Compton, California, rose to fame in the rap group NWA in the 1980s. After leaving the group he went on to huge solo success and won a Grammy for his 1993 album The Chronic. He went on to work as a hit music producer, and played an influential role in the careers of rappers such as Eminem and 50 Cent before selling his soul to Apple Inc. for $3 billion. Yup, you read that right, three billion dollars. The boy from Compton did good!
On This Day
- 1776 – American Revolution: Thomas Paine publishes his pamphlet Common Sense.
- 1863 – The Metropolitan Railway, the world’s oldest underground railway, opens between Paddington and Farringdon, marking the beginning of the London Underground.
- 1927 – Fritz Lang‘s futuristic film Metropolis is released in Germany.
- 1862 – Samuel Colt, American engineer and businessman, maker of guns (b. 1814).
- 1917– Buffalo Bill, American soldier and hunter (b. 1846).
- 1971 – Coco Chanel, French fashion designer, founded Chanel (b. 1883).
- 2016 – David Bowie, English singer-songwriter, producer, and actor (b. 1947)
George Junius Stinney Jr., was a 14-year-old African-American boy who was convicted, of murdering two white girls, Betty June Binnicker, age 11, and Mary Emma Thames, age 7, in his hometown of Alcolu, South Carolina. He was executed by electric chair in June 1944. Stinney is the youngest American to be sentenced to death and executed since Hannah Ocuish in 1786.
A re-examination of the Stinney case began in 2004 after a judicial review. Stinney’s conviction was overturned in 2014, seventy years after he was executed, when a court ruled that he had not received a fair trial.
In March 1944, Betty June Binnicker, 11, and Mary Emma Thames, 7, were riding their bicycles in Alcolu looking for flowers. When they saw Stinney and his younger sister Aime during their journey, they stopped and asked if they knew where to find maypops, the yellow edible fruit of passionflowers. That was reportedly the last time the girls were seen alive.
Binnicker and Thames, who were white, never made it home that day. Their disappearance prompted hundreds of Alcolu residents, including Stinney’s father, to come together and search for the missing girls. It wasn’t until the next day when their dead bodies were discovered in a soggy ditch. When examined, their bodies, there was no clear sign of a struggle, but both girls had met violent deaths involving multiple head injuries.
Thames had a hole boring straight through her forehead into her skull, along with a two-inch-long cut above her right eyebrow. Meanwhile, Binnicker had suffered at least seven blows to the head. It was later noted that the back of her skull was “nothing but a mass of crushed bones.” The wounds were likely caused by a round instrument about the size of the head of a hammer.
A rumour floated around town that the girls had made a stop at a prominent white family’s home on the same day of their murder, but this was never confirmed. And police certainly didn’t seem to be looking for a white killer.
When Clarendon County law enforcement officers learned from a witness that Binnicker and Thames were seen talking to Stinney, they went to his home. There, George Stinney Jr. was promptly handcuffed and interrogated for hours in a small room without his parents, an attorney, or any witnesses. Police claimed that Stinney confessed to murdering Binnicker and Thames after his plan to have sex with one of the girls failed. At the time, 14 was considered the age of responsibility – and Stinney was believed to be responsible for murder.
About a month after the girls’ deaths, George Stinney Jr.’s trial began at a Clarendon County Courthouse. Court-appointed attorney Charles Plowden did “little to nothing” to defend his client. During the two-hour trial, Plowden failed to call witnesses to the stand or present any evidence that would cast doubt on the prosecution’s case. The most significant piece of evidence presented against Stinney was his alleged confession, but there was no written record of the teen admitting to the murders.
By the time of his trial, Stinney hadn’t seen his parents in weeks, and they were too afraid of getting attacked by a white mob to come to the courthouse. So the 14-year-old was surrounded by strangers — up to 1,500 of them.
Following a deliberation that took less than 10 minutes, the all-white jury found Stinney guilty of murder, with no recommendation for mercy. On April 24th, 1944, the teen was sentenced to die by electrocution.
On June 16th, 1944, George Stinney Jr. walked into the execution chamber at the South Carolina State Penitentiary in Columbia with a Bible tucked under his arm.
Weighing in at just 95lbs/43kg, he was dressed in a loose-fitting striped jumpsuit. Strapped into an adult-size electric chair using a Bible as a booster seat because Stinney was too small for the chair. The state electrician also struggled to adjust an electrode to his right leg due to his size. A mask that was too big for him was placed over his face.
An assistant captain asked Stinney if he had any last words. Stinney replied, “No sir.” The prison doctor prodded, “You don’t want to say anything about what you did?” Again, Stinney replied, “No sir.”
When officials turned on the switch, 2,400 volts surged through Stinney’s body, causing the mask to slip off. His eyes were wide and teary, and saliva was emanating from his mouth for all the witnesses in the room to see. After two more jolts of electricity, it was over. Stinney was pronounced dead shortly thereafter. In a span of just 83 days, the boy had been charged with murder, tried, convicted, and executed by the state. He was buried in an unmarked grave in Crowley.
In 2004, George Frierson, a local historian who grew up in Alcolu, started researching the case after reading a newspaper article. His work gained the attention of South Carolina lawyers Steve McKenzie and Matt Burgess. Together they filed for a re-trial.
Frierson stated in interviews, “There has been a person that has been named as being the culprit, who is now deceased. And it was said by the family that there was a deathbed confession.” Frierson said that the rumoured culprit came from a well-known, prominent white family. A member, or members, of that family had served on the initial coroner’s inquest jury, which had recommended that Stinney be prosecuted.
New evidence in the court hearing in 2014 included testimony by Stinney’s siblings that he was with them at the time of the murders. In addition, an affidavit was introduced from the “Reverend Francis Batson, who found the girls and pulled them from the water-filled ditch. In his statement he recalls there was not much blood in or around the ditch, suggesting that they may have been killed elsewhere and moved.
Rather than approving a new trial, on December 17, 2014, circuit court Judge Carmen Mullen vacated Stinney’s conviction, thus not exonerating Stinney, but voiding the verdict. She ruled that he had not received a fair trial, as he was not effectively defended and his Sixth Amendment rights had been violated.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Jemaine Clement (47), William Sanderson (77), Evan Handler (60), Fran Walsh (62), Rod Stewart (76), Imelda Staunton (65), Joely Richardson (56), Rachel Nichols (41), Michelle Forbes (56), Amber Benson (44), Nicolas Cage (57), Jeremy Renner (50), Erin Gray (71), Linda Kozlowski (63), Brett Dalton (38), Steven Williams (72), Helen Worth (70), Eddie Redmayne (39), Kate McKinnon (37), Norman Reedus (52), Rowan Atkinson (66), Angus Deayton (65), Clancy Brown (62), Bradley Cooper (46), January Jones (43), Diane Keaton (75), Robert Duvall (90), Shea Whigham (52), Hayao Miyazaki (80), Vinnie Jones (56), Marilyn Manson (52), Mandip Gill (33), Dafne Keen (16), Julia Ormond (56), Graham McTavish (60), Matt Frewer (63), Emma Mackey (25), and Julian Sands (63).
Here we are folks! We made it through 2020!! Thank you all who have contributed to The Cause, you have been very generous indeed! We’re fairly close to the goal, in fact the closest we’ve been to breaking even ever!!! I suppose we’d better get on with it!
Look Who You Could Have Had 2020:
- Phil Niekro, 81, American baseball player (Atlanta Braves, New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians), cancer.
- Pierre Cardin, 98, French-Italian fashion designer.
- Romell Broom, 64, American convicted murderer.
- Giovanni La Penna, 111, Italian supercentenarian, oldest living man in Italy.
- Samuel Little, 80, American serial killer.
- Dawn Wells, 82, American actress (Gilligan’s Island, The Town That Dreaded Sundown, Return to Boggy Creek), COVID-19.
- Adele Rose, 87, English television writer (Coronation Street, Z-Cars, Byker Grove), pneumonia.
- Tommy Docherty, 92, Scottish football player (Preston North End) and manager (Chelsea, national team).
Look Who You Could Have Had 2021:
- Mark Eden, 92, English actor (Coronation Street, Quatermass and the Pit, The Prisoner), complications from Alzheimer’s disease.
- Steve Brown, 62, British music producer (Manic Street Preachers), The Cult, Wham!).
- Barry Austin, 52, British record holder, nation’s heaviest man.
In Other News
Eighteen care home residents in Belgium have reportedly died after contracting coronavirus, following a visit from a man dressed as Santa Claus, Ho ho ho! Scores were infected at the nursing home in early December, with an outbreak emerging in the days after the visit. The visitor was reportedly among the first to test positive after his trip to the Hemelrijck home in Mol, a town in Antwerp province. It is yet unclear whether his visit was the cause of the outbreak, which authorities are still looking into. The city council said on Christmas Eve that 13 residents had died at the care home, after being infected with coronavirus. Five more people have since died at the nursing home, Mol’s mayor Wim Caeyers said. On Christmas Eve, Mol city council said a total of 121 residents at the Hemelrijck nursing home had tested positive for Covid-19, and the number showing serious symptoms was increasing. Six members of staff had also tested positive for the virus. “The residential care centre will face a very difficult period in the next seven to ten days,” the council said in a statement on Christmas Eve. After the outbreak emerged following the Santa visit, a company spokesperson told us: “The team is very shocked by what happened, but that also makes them very motivated to get the virus out again.” In hindsight, one wonders who thought it was a good idea to bring a Santa to see a bunch of geriatric non-believers in the first place??
YouTuber Grace Victory’s family has shared an update on her condition after she was placed into an induced coma by doctors on Christmas Day. On 30th December, the family shared a second post on her Instagram page, saying: “Grace is currently stable and responding well to treatment.” They also thanked fans for their support and well wishes: “We as a family are truly overwhelmed by the amount of Love and well wishes sent to our Grace and we want to thank each and everyone of you for casting a light of hope our way. The 30-year-old influencer delivered her first child on Christmas Eve, much earlier than her due date of February, due to Covid-19 complications. After the birth, Victory, who is from High Wycombe, was then admitted to intensive care as a result of breathing difficulties. Her family shared a post on 28 December detailing what had happened. “As you guys know, Grace gave birth on Christmas Eve to a beautiful baby boy, who is currently doing so well, he’s incredible. We love him so much. Grace developed Covid-19 two weeks ago and although her symptoms were mild at first, they worsened as the days went on. Which meant they had to deliver the baby as soon as possible, as she was just too unwell to carry on with the pregnancy.” The family explained that despite the successful delivery of her son, Victory was then placed into an induced coma to “give her body the rest it needs, in order to recover”. Victory has over 200,000 YouTube subscribers and 224,000 Instagram followers. She has focused her career on body positivity, mental health and holistic healing. That went well for her then….
Voice actor Tom Kane, best known for his roles in Star Wars films and TV series, has suffered a stroke. According to a Facebook post by Kane’s daughter, Sam, the stroke occurred around two months ago, and left Kane unable to “efficiently communicate verbally, nor read or spell”. “Our family wanted to share why my dad has been MIA,” she wrote. “About two months ago he had a left side stroke that gave him right sided weakness and damage to the speech centre of his brain. “He is still competent and very much himself, but can only get out a few words right now… My dad still remains in good spirits and his extreme stubbornness has helped him already show improvements in speech. He is fully on board with me sharing this and he will see anything you guys post.” A prolific actor, Kane, now 58, voiced Jedi master Yoda in the Star Wars animated series The Clone Wars, returning to the role in other productions. He also voiced the cult franchise favourite Admiral Ackbar in Rian Johnson’s 2017 entry Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi, and has appeared in other roles in several Star Wars video games and series. Outside of Star Wars, Kane has appeared in animations including Archer, Powerpuff Girls and Robot Chicken. In the Facebook post, Kane’s daughter revealed that his neurologist told him he may not be able to act in voice-overs again.
On This Day
- 1833 – The United Kingdom claims sovereignty over the Falkland Islands.
- 1911 – A gun battle in the East End of London left two dead and sparked a political row over the involvement of then-Home Secretary Winston Churchill.
- 1961 – The SL-1 nuclear reactor is destroyed by a steam explosion in the only reactor incident in the United States to cause immediate fatalities.
- 1962 – Pope John XXIII excommunicates our old friend Fidel Castro. Castro still lived a full life and probably didn’t even notice.
- 2009 – The first block of the blockchain of the decentralised payment system Bitcoin, called the Genesis block, was established by the creator of the system, Satoshi Nakamoto.
- 2015 – Boko Haram militants raze the entire town of Baga in north-east Nigeria, starting the Baga massacre and killing as many as 2,000 people!!
- 1795 – Josiah Wedgwood, English potter, founded the Wedgwood Company (b. 1730).
- 1903 – Alois Hitler, Austrian civil servant, father of Adolf (b. 1837).
- 1946 – William Joyce, American-British pro-Axis propaganda broadcaster (b. 1906).
- 1967 – Jack Ruby, American businessman and murderer (b. 1911).
- 1979 – Conrad Hilton, American businessman, founded the Hilton Hotels (b. 1887).
- 2003 – Jimmy Stewart, Scottish racing driver (b. 1931).
In the weeks after the Second World War broke out, the crackly sound of a clipped English accent spouting Nazi propaganda began to filter through the wireless sets of Britain in a desperate attempt to sap morale. Radio critic Jonah Barrington was the first to brand the anonymous plummy voice he heard with the nickname “Lord Haw-Haw”. He wrote scathingly: “I imagine him having a receding chin, a questing nose, thin yellow hair brushed back, a monocle, a vacant eye, a gardenia in his buttonhole. Rather like PG Wodehouse’s Bertie Wooster…” The moniker would stick when the anonymous voice was revealed as belonging to William Joyce, a scar-faced Anglo-American traitor who had begun broadcasting fascist propaganda. Over the next five years, Joyce would go on to become the scourge of the airwaves. It is estimated that, at his peak, six million Britons regularly tuned in to his transmissions.
Now, over 80 years on from Joyce’s first broadcasts, the story of how he was finally captured and brought to justice, was, ironically, by a Jew who had fled Hitler’s Germany.
Born in 1906 in New York to an Irish father and English mother, Joyce’s family moved to Ireland where, as a young man, he dabbled with working for British intelligence. He went on to study English at the University of London, became a teacher and once said: “From my earliest days, I was taught to love England and her Empire.” But by the 1920s, Joyce began to fall under the spell of fascism and in a spat with communist sympathisers, he was slashed from his earlobe to mouth leaving him with a distinctive scar across his right cheek. Joyce was soon giving speeches for the British Union of Fascists but believed its leader Sir Oswald Mosley was too moderate and formed his own pro-Nazi and anti-semitic organisation.
In 1939, Joyce was tipped off that he was about to be arrested and fled for Germany with his wife Margaret just a week before hostilities broke out. He was quickly recruited by the Nazis, keen to use his background to help them wage a propaganda war through the radio. Although Joyce was of ordinary stock, he had developed a nasally, upper-class English accent that the Nazis believed would give their message credibility and authenticity. His sarcastic and sneering short-wave transmissions from Hamburg would always start with “Germany Calling” before a tirade of arguments designed to convince his British audience to surrender. The Third Reich’s head of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, would describe him as “the best horse in my stable” and Joyce was rewarded for his treachery with German citizenship.
Many Brits, bored by the stodgy wartime BBC output, admitted they listened in not because they sympathised with Haw-Haw’s message but to have a good laugh at his haughty tone. But as the Second World War began to turn against the Nazis and British resolve hardened, Joyce’s power began to wane. As the Allies closed in on Berlin, Joyce gave a final, drunken, rambling broadcast on April 30th 1945, before signing off with a final defiant, “Heil Hitler and farewell”. Joyce and his wife then went into hiding near Flensburg, on the Danish border.
A month later, on May 28th, a dishevelled figure was spotted gathering firewood by two British soldiers, Captain Bertie Lickorish and Lieutenant Geoffrey Perry members of T-Force, the unit tasked with securing Germany’s scientific and industrial assets. They had begun to engage the man in conversation in English when Lieutenant Perry had a lightbulb moment. He knew Haw-Haw was rumoured to be in the area and thought he recognised the distinctive accent of the man in front of them. He asked him: “You wouldn’t, by any chance, be William Joyce would you?” In response to the question, Joyce reached for his pocket. Believing that he was going for a weapon, Lieutenant Perry shot him in the buttocks. In fact, Joyce didn’t have a gun, he had been reaching for his papers drawn up in the fake name of Wilhelm Hansen.
The captured Joyce was sent back to Britain to stand trial for high treason because of his British passport. In September, he was found guilty at London’s Old Bailey and hanged by the famed executioner Albert Pierrepoint, on January 3rd 1946, at Wandsworth Prison, making him the last person to be executed for treason in the United Kingdom. He was 38. Sadly we don’t know what his last meal was but Joyce’s unrepentant last words are said to have been: “May the swastika be raised from the dust.”
The scar on Joyce’s face split wide open because of the pressure applied to his head upon his drop from the gallows. As was customary for executed criminals, Joyce’s remains were buried in an unmarked grave within the walls of HMP Wandsworth. In 1976 following a campaign by his daughter, Heather Landalo, his body was reinterred in Bohermore, Galway, Ireland.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Mel Gibson (65), Florence Pugh (25), Victoria Principal (71), Dabney Coleman (89), Sarah Alexander (50), Tia Carrere (54), Kate Bosworth (38), Cuba Gooding Jr. (53), Frank Langella (83), Li Gong (55), Anthony Hopkins (83), Val Kilmer (61), Ben Kingsley (77), Jane Badler (67), Eliza Dushku (40), Tracey Ullman (61), Fred Ward (78), Tiger Woods (45), Michael Nesmith (78), Jude Law (48), Jon Voight (82), Ted Danson (73), Lilly Wachowski (53), Danny McBride (44), Bernard Cribbins (92), Marianne Faithfull (74), Denzel Washington (66), Maggie Smith (86), Noomi Rapace (41), Sienna Miller (39), Joe Manganiello (44), John Legend (42), and Nichelle Nichols (88).
This year has been rather exceptional with the coronavirus picking off celebrities of all ages. However, it doesn’t seem as deadly as 2016, where it felt like anyone who wasn’t listed were dying just to spite us; I’m thinking of you David Bowie!!!
Anyhow, we have a winner to declare! Congratulations to Louise for topping the table with 467 points from 4 deaths. If you could send me your contact details I can send off the trophy to you! Honourable mentions go to Laura for the most deaths (7) and to Stu and myself for not scoring a bean throughout the year. Well done all of you!
Right, let’s have a quick look at who we lost in 2020.
- Derek Acorah – The self-styled spiritual medium, whose real name was Derek Johnson, died right at the beginning of the year aged 69. It was revealed he had been treated in intensive care following a “brief illness”. So far he’s refused to contact the living world since his departure.
- Terry Jones – The Welsh actor and Monty Python star passed away aged 77. His family said he died at his home in London after battling a rare form of dementia. In a statement, the actor’s family said: “His work with Monty Python, his books, films, television programmes, poems and other work will live on forever, a fitting legacy to a true polymath.”
- Kobe Bryant – The basketball legend and his 13-year-old daughter died in a helicopter crash that killed nine people in total. The five-time NBA champion and two-time Olympic gold medallist was 41.
- Nicholas Parsons – The Just a Minute host died aged 96 after a short illness. He was best known for the show, where panellists have to speak for one minute without hesitation, deviation, or repetition. He first fronted the show on its inception in 1967. BBC director general Tony Hall said: “Very few people have done so much to entertain audiences over the decades and no-one deserves to be called a broadcasting legend more than Nicholas Parsons.
- Kirk Douglas – The actor died at the age of 103. The venerated star, patriarch of an acting dynasty was one of the few remaining survivors of Hollywood’s golden age, was best known for films including Spartacus, Paths of Glory and The Vikings. His eldest son, Michael Douglas, a two-time Oscar-winner, announced his father’s death with a touching tribute that failed to address his aggressive and murderous personality and the likelihood he was a paedo rapist.
- Caroline Flack – The former Love Island TV presenter and Strictly Come Dancing winner was found dead at the age of 40 at her London home after taking her own life. Flack, who was described as “vulnerable” by her management, had pleaded not guilty to assaulting her boyfriend Lewis Burton at her former flat. Her death came just weeks before the trial was due to begin.
- Dieter Laser – The German actor who played sadistic surgeon Josef Heiter in 2009 shock horror film The Human Centipede. He died at the age of 78, with The Human Centipede director Tom Six describing him as a “force of nature, an unique human being and an iconic actor”.
- Max von Sydow – Swedish actor Max von Sydow died at home in France aged 90. He’s mostly lnown for his roles in Flash Gordon, Game Of Thrones, The Exorcist and The Seventh Seal. He once said of his most famous role “The film you hear about the most is The Exorcist. When people come up to me and say, ‘Oh, you scared me!’ I was the good guy in that film!”
- Michel Roux – Chef Michel Roux died aged 79. He opened the first Michelin-starred restaurant, Le Gavroche, in Britain in the ’70s alongside his brother Albert.
- Roy Hudd – Comedian and actor Roy Hudd died at the age of 83 after a short illness. His agent said he had passed away peacefully with his wife Debbie at his side. Hudd was born in Croydon and started his career as a messenger for an advertising agency, window dresser and a commercial artist before his professional debut in 1957.
- Kenny Rogers – The Country music legend with a career that spanned six decades, with hits including Coward Of The County, The Gambler and Islands In The Stream, with Dolly Parton. The Houston-born singer, known for his trademark husky voice and silver beard, broke through into the world of pop to sell more than 100 million records. He also gained fame as an actor, starring in TV movies based on The Gambler and other songs, making him a superstar in the 1970s and 80s. He died peacefully in a hospice, surrounded by family, aged 81.
- Eddie Large – Comedian Eddie Large died at the age of 78 after contracting coronavirus while in hospital. The comedian, famous for his double act with Syd Little, had a long-running comedy sketch show on BBC One in the 1970s and 1980s.
- Lord Bath – Lord Bath of Longleat was 87 when he died after testing positive for coronavirus. The “gloriously” eccentric Alexander Thynn, 7th Marquess of Bath, ran Longleat Safari Park. The flamboyant aristocrat was known for his colourful dress sense and was a regular feature of the Animal Park television show about his estate.
- Honor Blackman – Actress Honor Blackman, best-known for playing Pussy Galore, died at the age of 94. She died peacefully of natural causes at home in Lewes, Sussex, surrounded by her family. Her numerous and varied roles included Cathy Gale in The Avengers and Bond girl Pussy Galore in Goldfinger.
- Sir Stirling Moss – The motor racing great died at the age of 90 following a long illness. His wife Lady Moss said: “It was one lap too many. He just closed his eyes.” Though Moss famously never won the Formula One title, he finished runner-up four times and came third three times in a career during which he won 16 Grands Prix.
- Tim Brooke-Taylor – The Goodies star died aged 79 after contracting coronavirus. The actor, best known as part of the 1970s comic trio, was survived by his wife Christine. Alongside Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie, The Goodies TV show attracted millions of viewers in its heyday.
- Bill Withers – Famous for timeless classics including Lean On Me, Lovely Day, Just The Two Of Us and Ain’t No Sunshine. His death from heart complications at the age of 81.
- Little Richard – Sir Mick Jagger led tributes to Rock ‘n’ Roll singer Little Richard following his death at the age of 87. Little Richard, who inspired musicians including The Beatles, David Bowie and Sir Elton John, was a Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famer and renowned for hits such as Tutti Frutti and Long Tall Sally.
- Florian Schneider – Co-founded Kraftwerk alongside Ralf Hutter in 1970 after meeting as students in Dusseldorf. The band’s pioneering use of drum machines and synthesisers influenced countless musicians who came after them. Schneider died after a short cancer disease just a few days after his 73rd birthday.
- Roy Horn – Best known as part of the Las Vegas performing duo of Siegfried & Roy, who were world renowned for their shows involving white lions and tigers, alongside Siegfried Fischbacher. However, the act unravelled in October 2003 when a tiger named Mantecore mauled him during a live performance, severing his spine and inflicting several other injuries, permanently affecting his ability to move, walk and speak. Horn died at the age of 75 after contracting coronavirus.
- Willie Thorne – The snooker legend died in hospital in Spain after a short battle with leukaemia. He was 66. He had been in an induced coma in the intensive care ward at Torrevieja Hospital, Spain, after suffering respiratory failure. Thorne was diagnosed with leukaemia earlier in the year and had several health issues while undergoing chemotherapy treatment.
- Dame Vera Lynn – Forces’ Sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn died at the age of 103. A statement said: ”The family are deeply saddened to announce the passing of one of Britain’s best-loved entertainers at the age of 103.‘’
- Ian Holm – The Lord Of The Rings star was remembered as “charming, kind and ferociously talented”, following his death at the age of 88. The actor, who was acclaimed for his roles in Chariots Of Fire, Alien and Brazil, was also a prolific and accomplished star of the Royal Shakespeare Company and was described as Harold Pinter’s favourite actor. He died peacefully in hospital after a Parkinson’s-related illness, with his family and carer at his bedside.
- Ennio Morricone – The legendary movie composer died at the age of 91 after breaking his hip in a fall. The Italian composer created music for more than 400 films, but was best-known for the soundtrack to 1966 Spaghetti Western The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Morricone was rated as one of the world’s most influential composers after writing scores for cinema – including 70 award-winning films – television and 100 classical works.
- Jack Charlton – The former Leeds and England defender who won a World Cup winner’s medal in 1966, died in July. He was 85. Charlton had been diagnosed with lymphoma in the last year and was also battling dementia. He spent his entire 21-year playing career at Leeds, making a joint club record 773 appearances, before retiring as a player in 1973 and going on to enjoy a successful and colourful career as a manager.
- Kelly Preston – the wife of John Travolta, died aged 57 after battling breast cancer for two years. The actress starred in films such as Mischief, Twins and Jerry Maguire. Alongside a photograph of her, Travolta announced her death saying: “It is with a very heavy heart that I inform you that my beautiful wife Kelly has lost her two-year battle with breast cancer. She fought a courageous fight with the love and support of so many.“ The couple had been married for nearly 30 years. Their son, Jett, died at the age of just 16 after suffering a seizure during a family holiday in the Bahamas in 2009.
- Naya Rivera – Tributes were paid to the former Glee star, after her death was confirmed at the age of 33. The actress went missing during a boating trip at Lake Piru in Southern California with her four-year-old son, Josey Hollis, and her body was found days later. Demi Lovato, who played Rivera’s on-screen girlfriend on the show, said she will “forever cherish” starring alongside her.
- Dame Olivia de Havilland – The two-time Oscar winner and for decades the last surviving star of Gone With the Wind, died at the age of 104. The actress died of natural causes at her residence in Paris, where she had lived for more than six decades. She emerged as a star during the classic movie era – first as a romantic partner for Errol Flynn in swashbucklers such as Captain Blood and The Adventures of Robin Hood and then as Melanie Hamilton Wilkes in Gone With the Wind.
- Chadwick Boseman – The actor, best known for playing superhero Black Panther, died at the age of 43 after a battle with cancer. In an announcement that stunned Hollywood, Boseman’s family said he had been diagnosed with colon cancer four years ago and died surrounded by his loved ones, including wife Taylor Simone Ledward. He never discussed the illness publicly and films including Black Panther, Da 5 Bloods and Avengers: Endgame were all filmed “during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy,” the family said.
- Dame Diana Rigg – The actress, known for roles from The Avengers to Games of Thrones, died at the age of 82. Her daughter Rachael Stirling said: “My Beloved Ma died peacefully in her sleep, at home, surrounded by family. She died of cancer diagnosed in March, and spent her last months joyfully reflecting on her extraordinary life, full of love, laughter and a deep pride in her profession. I will miss her beyond words.”
- Jackie Stallone – The mother of Hollywood actor Sylvester Stallone, died at the age of 98. The famous celebrity astrologer and women’s wrestling promoter had a memorable – although brief – stint in the Celebrity Big Brother house in 2005. A surprise contestant, Stallone entered much to the shock of co-housemate and former daughter-in-law Brigitte Nielsen, with whom she had a frosty relationship.
- Michael Lonsdale – Best known for his role as James Bond villain Hugo Drax in 1979’s Moonraker, Lonsdale made more than 100 films and performed on stage in a career in entertainment that spanned 60 years. Lonsdale died peacefully at his home in Paris, aged 89, with his agent of 20 years saying it was simply old age. “His spirit was alive but his body was tired,” he said.
- Eddie Van Halen – The world of rock and roll mourned the “Mozart for guitar” Eddie Van Halen following his death at the age of 65. The revered guitarist was Van Halen’s creative force as they blurred the line between hard rock and heavy metal on their way to becoming one of the biggest bands in the world in the 1980s. Van Halen died after a “long and arduous” battle with cancer.
- Frank Bough – The former TV presenter died at the age 87. A family friend told the BBC Bough died in a care home. Bough was one of the best-known TV hosts in the 1970s and 1980s and was part of the launch of the BBC’s Breakfast TV show in 1983. His career with the BBC ended in 1988 when he was sacked over a sex-related scandal.
- Bobby Ball – The 76-year-old comedian died of coronavirus in hospital. One half of the duo Cannon & Ball, Bobby’s death was confirmed by his manager and wife Yvonne said: “I will always miss him, he was so joyful, full of fun and mischievous.” The Cannon and Ball Show ran for nine years from 1979 and in more recent times they found success on the panto circuit and cameos on TV.
- Sean Connery – The film star, most famous for playing James Bond, passed away at the age of 90. Sean, who played 007 in the likes of Goldfinger, Thunderball and You Only Live Twice, won an Oscar in 1988 when he was named best supporting actor for his role as an Irish cop in The Untouchables and also starred in films like The Rock and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
- Johnny Nash – Best known for the 1970s reggae hit I Can See Clearly Now, which sold more than a million copies and sat at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart for four weeks. He largely dropped out of the spotlight in the late 1980s. He died of natural causes, aged 80, his son said.
- John Sessions – The actor and comedian died at the age of 67 after suffering a heart attack. He was best known for his work on Spitting Image and Whose Line Is It Anyway?
- Des O’Connor – The much loved entertainer died at the age of 88. The TV legend passed away in hospital a week after suffering a fall in his Buckinghamshire home. He will be best remembered for shows such as Take Your Pick, Countdown, The Des O’Connor Show and Today with Des and Mel. The presenter was also a singer and recorded 36 albums as a singer, five of which made it to the UK Top 40.
- Geoffrey Palmer – The actor, known for his roles in such sitcoms as Butterflies, As Time Goes By and The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, died aged 93. Versatile and prolific, he was known and loved for his hangdog expression and the often testy demeanour he gave to his characters.
- Ray Clemence – Former Liverpool, Tottenham and England goalkeeper Ray Clemence was hailed as a “true legend” and “a giant of a man” after his death at the age of 72. Clemence, who won three European Cups and five First Division titles during a trophy-laden spell at Anfield, was without question one of the greatest of his generation.
- Diego Maradona – The Argentinian football legend famous for his Hand of God, died aged 60. He was regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time and helped Argentina win the World Cup in 1986, the pinnacle of an illustrious career.
- David Prowse – The British actor who played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, died aged 85. The weightlifter-turned-actor, who also earned an MBE for playing the Green Cross Code Man to promote road safety, died after a short illness. Prowse won the role playing Vader due to his impressive 6ft 6in physique, but with his West Country accent deemed not quite suitable, the part was instead voiced by James Earl Jones.
- Peter Alliss – The “voice of golf” died at the age of 89 after a successful playing career where he won more than 20 tournaments during and played on eight Ryder Cup teams. His move into broadcasting came about after he was overheard by the BBC’s Ray Lakeland talking to a friend on a flight back from a tournament in Ireland in 1960.
- Dame Barbara Windsor – Babs died aged 83 in a care home. Best known for her roles in EastEnders and the Carry On films, she was considered a national treasure in the UK after finding fame as a buxom blonde in the Carry On films. Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2014, she made the news public in 2018. Her husband Scott Mitchell said her final weeks were “typical of how she lived her life” and “full of humour, drama and a fighting spirit until the end”.
- John le Carré – Cold War espionage author David Cornwell, known by his pen name John le Carré, died aged 89 after a battle with pneumonia. Among his 25 novels were acclaimed best-sellers including Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, and The Night Manager. His most well-known character was the career intelligence officer George Smiley – made even more famous by Alec Guinness in the TV series of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
- Eileen Pollock – Was a star of stage and screen who appeared in films including Far And Away in 1992, alongside Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, and Angela’s Ashes in 1999. But she was best known for playing “tart” Lilo Lill, mistress of Freddie Boswell, in Bread, the TV comedy that centred around the working class Boswell family in Liverpool, which ran from 1986 to 1991. She died peacefully in her sleep at home in London, aged 73.
Here we are again, the last newsletter of the year. Comes around so quickly!! With just a few days to go, anything could happen! I’ve already had about a dozen 2021 lists and they’re all fantastic! You will have to think deeply if you haven’t submitted yours already.
Just so you know, the winner will be declared on Friday 1st January, which will also be the day I’ll send out the 2020 review, a copy of everyone else’s list and a new email address list if you want to send the group a klaxon for instance.
Donations to keep us running will be the same as usual, PayPal page on the website. The page will be opened on 1st January for four weeks, and as always, you’re not obliged to contribute as 2020 has been a shit year for all of us. But if you think a years worth of newsletters, a trophy, a few giggles and a cool website is worth a couple of quid, your contribution will be thankfully received; running costs for 2021 will be roughly £140, about the price of a pint each if we have our usual numbers taking part, although that usually ends up being the price of a night out and a taxi for me to make up the shortfall.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Pelle Alsing, 60, Swedish drummer (Roxette).
- Rosalind Knight, 87, British actress (Carry On, Tom Jones, Gimme Gimme Gimme).
- Eileen Pollock, 73, Northern Irish actress (Bread, Far and Away, Angela’s Ashes).
- Margaret Tebbit, Lady Tebbit, 86, English nurse.
- K. T. Oslin, 78, American country singer-songwriter (“80’s Ladies“, “Do Ya“, “I’ll Always Come Back“).
- Stella Tennant, 50, British model.
- James E. Gunn, 97, American science fiction author (The Road to Science Fiction, Star Bridge, The Listeners).
- Rebecca Luker, 59, American actress (Mary Poppins, Show Boat, Not Fade Away), complications from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
- Kay Purcell, 57, English actress (Emmerdale, Tracy Beaker Returns, Waterloo Road), liver cancer.
- Brodie Lee, 41, American professional wrestler (AEW, WWE, ROH), lung disease.
In Other News
In a candid recent interview comedy legend Billy Connolly confessed he feels close to death, and thinks about it “quite a lot”. Connolly was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2013, “I don’t think I’ve got that long”, he said to us. “I don’t want to be a comedian you feel sorry for”, said the performer who has chosen to remain off the stage as he doesn’t feel comfortable with the symptoms of the disease showing. “There’s an American boy who says, ‘Shaking is the new cool.’ He’s got it on a T-shirt. And bless him, but I don’t want to do it,” said Connolly. In 2019, the Glaswegian comic announced his poignant, provocative last tour The Sex Life of Bandages, in which he joked about the disease “Drooling has taken over my life,” he mused. “It’s so unattractive.” The Sydney Opera House date of the final tour was released as a film. Connolly explained how his condition is getting worse. “Nothing’s working,” he said, revealing that his condition is affecting his mood. “I’m having a bit of a sad time”. The comic has tried alternative treatments to curb symptoms of the brain disorder, which causes shaking, stiffness, affects balance and causes difficulty walking. Some research suggests Cannabis helps: “but I get bombed out of my head”, said Connolly on trying the remedy in Florida, where he now lives and there is a Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act. “I don’t like it. My daughter bought me cigarettes with CBD. It helped a little, but not enough to write home about.” Voted “most influential comedian of all time” in a 2012 poll, the comic also received a special recognition National Television Award in 2016, and was knighted in 2017.
Tom Parker, 32, has shared on Instagram that since beginning radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment, he has been suffering from “bad” memory loss. The Wanted singer explained how the brutal hospital sessions have left him forgetting what he has “just done” throughout the day. Tom said: “As some of you know, I have been through chemo and radio, haven’t I? “Which was pretty god-damn brutal, but some of the side effects from the chemo and radio are you get bad memory loss.” He then asked his wife Kelsey Harwick: “Mine was already bad, wasn’t it? His spouse responded: “Horrendous already, so now I’m like… literally, it’s even worse!” Tom elaborated that he struggled to remember daily activities, but would sometimes recall “weird” things, such as a present he bought for his daughter Aurelia. He continued: “But it’s the weirdest thing because like, I’ll go to her [Kelsey], ‘What did I just do?’ But I can remember stuff like this…” Tom is best known for being in boyband The Wanted, who achieved fame in the early 2010s with singles including All Time Low and Glad You Came.
Australian golfer Greg Norman is in hospital after suffering from coronavirus. The 65-year-old, who won two Open championships in 1986 and 1993, confirmed on his Instagram page that he had been admitted to hospital on Christmas Day due to contracting Covid-19. The former professional golfer posted a picture from his hospital bed, along with a second image of a doctor standing behind a protective screen that showed Norman in isolation from other patients. Norman added: “This sums it all up. My Christmas Day. On behalf of millions, fuck CoVid. This get this shit behind us never to experience it again.” Several golfers sent their best wishes to Norman, with British trio Justin Rose, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter among those to wish the Australian golfing great a “speedy recovery”. Norman, who earned the nickname The Great White Shark, spent more than 300 weeks at the top of the world golf rankings, and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2001.
Johnny Ruffo recently announced the heartbreaking news his brain cancer had returned after he experienced “an unexpected week of seizures and excruciating headaches.” The 32 year old former Home And Away actor kicks off another round of chemotherapy over the festive season. The actor and talented singer first battled the illness in 2017, and had since been given the all clear after brain surgery and multiple rounds of chemotherapy. Johnny wrote on social media “After an unexpected week of seizures and excruciating headaches it is with a heavy heart that i have to let you know i now have another huge battle ahead of me as my brain cancer has returned,”. He added: “though i will dig deep and beat this s*hit disease again #f***cancer.” The former X factor Australia’s doctors had actually discovered his first tumour by chance when he headed to hospital suffering from migraines. At the time, the star underwent life-saving surgery to have the 7cm tumour removed before undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
On This Day
- 537 – The construction of the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople is completed.
- 1831 – Charles Darwin embarks on his journey aboard HMS Beagle, during which he will begin to formulate his theory of evolution.
- 1836 – The worst ever avalanche in England occurs at Lewes, Sussex, killing eight people.
- 1939 – The 7.8 Mw Erzincan earthquake shakes eastern Turkey with a maximum Mercalli intensity of XI (Extreme). At least 32,700 people were killed.
- 2007 – Former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto is assassinated in a shooting incident.
- 1923 – Gustave Eiffel, French architect, co-designed the Eiffel Tower (b. 1832)
- 1958 – Harry Warner, Polish-American film producer, co-founded Warner Bros. (b. 1881)
- 1982 – Jack Swigert, American pilot, astronaut, and politician (b. 1931)
- 1994 – Fanny Cradock, English author and critic (b. 1909)
- 2003 – Alan Bates, English actor (b. 1934)
- 2007 – Benazir Bhutto, 11th Prime Minister of Pakistan (b. 1953)
- 2012 – Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr., American general and engineer (b. 1934)
- 2016 – Carrie Fisher, American actress, screenwriter, author and producer (b. 1956)
Last Female on Death Row?
A ruling by a federal judge to delay the execution of the only woman on federal death row could push the new date into the early days of the administration of President-elect Joe Biden, who has said he would work to end federal capital punishment. The woman, Lisa Montgomery, had been scheduled to be executed the 8th of December, but that date was delayed after two of her lawyers tested positive for the coronavirus shortly after travelling to a federal prison in Texas to visit her in November. Should Montgomery’s life be spared as a result of the series of delays caused by the infection of her lawyers, it would be a rare reprieve for a prisoner from a virus that has swept through prisons, infecting inmates crammed into shared spaces.
But if the Department of Justice appeals the decision, a higher court would most likely overturn it. Since the Supreme Court paved the way for federal executions to proceed in June after a 17-year hiatus, the justices have been largely unreceptive to requests for reprieve from federal inmates scheduled for execution. The Justice Department had rescheduled her execution for January 12th, but Judge Randolph Moss of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled Thursday that the January execution date had been unlawfully rescheduled because a stay order, which was issued because of her lawyers’ illnesses, was still in effect.
Montgomery, of Melvern, Kansas, was convicted in 2008 of killing Bobbie Jo Stinnett, who was 23 years old and eight months pregnant at the time, and cutting a baby from her abdomen. She tried to pass off Stinnett’s baby as her own before admitting to the crime. A jury convicted her of kidnapping resulting in death in federal court in Missouri.
Montgomery’s lawyers have said that she has severe mental illness, which was inherited from both of her parents and worsened by the abuse she endured as a child, including being sex-trafficked by her mother and gang-raped by men.
Federal execution rules state that a prisoner will receive notice of his or her execution date at least 20 days in advance. However, when the rescheduled date is fewer than 20 days from the earlier execution date, the prisoner must be notified only “as soon as possible.” The stay in Montgomery’s case barred the government from executing her before December 31st. How long the government will wait to execute her after that point remains unclear. Once Biden is sworn in on January 20th, the chances of Montgomery’s execution become increasingly unlikely. Representatives for Biden did not immediately respond to a request for comment about whether he would intervene in Montgomery’s case should her execution fall under his purview. A spokesperson for the president-elect told us that Biden “opposes the death penalty now and in the future.”
If Montgomery is executed, it would be the first federal execution of a woman since 1953, when Bonnie Heady was killed in a gas chamber for the kidnapping and murder of a 6-year-old boy in Kansas City, Missouri. The Trump administration resumed federal executions in July for the first time since 2003.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Timothée Chalamet (25), Wilson Cruz (47), Gérard Depardieu (72), John Amos (81), Maryam d’Abo (60), Jared Leto (49), Kit Harington (34), Temuera Morrison (60), Shane Meadows (48), Phil Spector (81), Sissy Spacek (71), Helena Christensen (52), Annie Lennox (66), Nadiya Hussain (36), Anil Kapoor (64), Ricky Martin (49), Finn Wolfhard (18), Harry Shearer (77), Carla Bruni (53), Ralph Fiennes (58), Vanessa Paradis (48), Samuel L. Jackson (72), Jane Fonda (83), Kiefer Sutherland (54), Steven Yeun (37), Julie Delpy (51), and Michael Horse (71).
Afternoon all. Now that Christmas has been cancelled you have even more time to think about your list for 2021. Remember, you need to choose 13 names altogether; 1 Dead Cert, 1 Woman, and 1 Maverick (anyone under 50yo not expected to die). The rules can be seen if you click on this link. You can e-mail your submissions to email@example.com With only 11 days to go, you better get your thinking caps on. Between eating sprouts and crying about not seeing your much despised siblings, the time will soon fly by. Tell all your friends if you have any!
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Ann Reinking, 71, American choreographer and actress (Chicago, Fosse, Annie).
- John le Carré, 89, British author (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Night Manager, The Little Drummer Girl), pneumonia.
- Gérard Houllier, 73, French football manager (Liverpool, Lyon, national team), complications from heart surgery.
- Jeremy Bulloch, 75, English actor (Star Wars, The Spy Who Loved Me, Mary, Queen of Scots).
- Donato Bilancia, 69, Italian serial killer, COVID-19.
In Other News
Jeff Bridges has given fans an update on his health while he undergoes treatment for cancer. The 71-year-old actor revealed he had been diagnosed with Lymphoma in October. “Although it is a serious disease, I feel fortunate that I have a great team of doctors and the prognosis is good,” he wrote in a statement shared on Instagram. “I’m starting treatment and will keep you posted on my recovery,” he added. Now, Bridges has revealed that his treatment is progressing well and that he has shaved his head and bought a new puppy. On Monday, the Big Lebowski star uploaded a photograph of himself reclining on a chair on what appears to be the balcony of a beachfront flat. Dressed in a zip-up jumper, Bridges is pictured with a towel on his chest while his puppy lies on top. “Here’s the latest,” he wrote in the caption before listing a series of bullet points. “Feeling good, shaved my head, got a puppy – Monty, had a birthday – 71, man,” Bridges wrote. It’s not clear which type of lymphoma Bridges has, but around 15,000 people are diagnosed with a type of Hodgkin lymphoma in the UK each year.
Johnny Knoxville and Steve-O have been sent to hospital after just two days of filming Jackass 4. The actors and stunt performers, known for their work on previous Jackass films, were reportedly jumping on a full speed treadmill while carrying “band equipment”, including a tuba, when they sustained injuries. Jackass star Bam Margera posted about the incident, saying in a video: “It’s the second day of filming Jackass already and Steve-O and Knoxville were hospitalised by jumping on a full-speed treadmill with band equipment – like a fucking tuba. So yeah, I’m here are the clinic now, taking a piss test. Rock’n’roll, oh yeah – I’ve got the scars too. Yeah man.” The fourth Jackass film was originally due to be released in cinemas next March, but has been pushed back until 2nd July 2021 because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Jackass 4 will be the first film involving the whole Jackass cast to be made since the death of cast member Ryan Dunn in 2011, at the age of 34. Earlier this year, Jackass 3D star Stevie Lee also died “unexpectedly” at the age of 54. Yeah, I was just as surprised as you that Jackass is still a thing, but I suppose if watching a bunch of 50 year olds doing stupid things was boring, Top Gear would have been cancelled years ago.
Ian McKellen has become one of the first prominent public figures to receive the coronavirus vaccine, with the actor getting his injection at a London hospital on Wednesday. The 81-year-old McKellen said he felt “euphoric” after rolling up his wizards sleeve and receiving his first dose, which was made possible by meeting the criteria for Britain’s eligible groups. “I would have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone. It’s a very special day! Anyone who has lived as long as I have is alive because they have had previous vaccinations.” While technically older than the NHS, McKellen still remembered the impact that public health care had on his life, saying he “wouldn’t be alive if it hadn’t been for the NHS.” He went on to note that “we’re all equal under the vaccination.” He went on to ramble a bit and wanting to hug clinicians before he was returned to his home. Great British Baking Show judge and necklace icon Prue Leith, who is 80 years old, also received the coronavirus vaccine this week, allowing herself to be filmed and assuring people that it was a “painless jab.” Two excellent candidates for our game, possibly gambling with their futures if you are inclined to think that way?
On This Day
- 1924 – Adolf Hitler is released from Landsberg Prison. Despite being sentenced to five years, Hitler was granted early release and ended up only serving about nine months. Possibly the worst case of early release parole ever!
- 1946 – The popular Christmas film It’s a Wonderful Life is first released, concentrating on James Stewart’s real life PTSD and suicidal tendencies! Merry Xmas!
- 1955 – Cardiff is proclaimed the capital city of Wales. Yay!
- 1987 – In the worst peacetime sea disaster, the passenger ferry Doña Paz sinks after colliding with the oil tanker ‘MT Vector in the Tablas Strait of the Philippines, killing an estimated 4,000 people (1,749 official).
- 1968 – John Steinbeck, American novelist and short story writer. (b. 1902)
- 1995 – Madge Sinclair, Jamaican-American actress (b. 1938)
- 1996 – Carl Sagan, American astronomer, astrophysicist, and cosmologist (b. 1934)
Last Friday, child killer Alfred Bourgeois became the tenth inmate of 2020 to be executed by the federal government since the Trump administration ended a 17-year hiatus on executions earlier this year. An administration which has insisted it stands for law and order is doing all it can to bring ‘justice to victims of the most horrific crimes’ before Joe Biden, who has pledged to attempt to phase out capital punishment, takes over the reins on January 20th. Trump has scheduled more executions than any president for at least a century, after reinstating the death penalty in July. His administration has already carried out more than double the number of executions America had seen over the previous three decades. Not only that, in the last weeks of his presidency, Trump’s administration is encouraging officials to use execution methods that are widely condemned as barbaric.
His Justice Department recently published new rules expanding permissible execution methods to include electrocution, poison gas, hanging and even death by firing squad if lethal injection is unfeasible or the necessary drugs are not available. The wording also suggests that if the state where the crime was committed does not have the death penalty, a judge can designate another state to carry out the execution.
So many of Trump’s boasts — from his ‘record’ inauguration crowd to his ‘record’ economy — have proved to be hollow, but he looks certain to enter the record books for the number of executions he can pack into his last months in office. Most presidents spend this time finding people to pardon, but Trump — determined to execute ten people in a year, more than any president in this or the last century — seems set on doing the opposite.
When convicted killer Orlando Hall was executed last month, it was the first federal execution during a ‘transition period’ between one president and the next since 1889.
The federal system’s preferred execution method is lethal injection, usually by a dose of a cocktail of drugs that first sedates the prisoner and then stops the heart. However, a spate of cases of condemned prisoners apparently suffering in agony after being injected prompted the drugs’ makers to refuse to supply them and juries to be more hesitant about demanding the death penalty. The Trump administration has tried to get round drug shortages by using a single one — pentobarbital, a widely available sedative often used to euthanise pets — for executions, after all, what’s good enough for Fido is good enough for a rapist! Whatever the public’s misgivings about pentobarbital, they’re nothing on the widespread disgust among activists that the U.S. may now, once again, shoot, hang or electrocute people.
Nine states still authorise the electric chair as an execution alternative, eleven permit lethal gas, while three have hanging and three have death by firing squad on their books. Death penalty experts say that given the locations of the current inmates of federal Death Row, the most likely of these gruesome alternatives to end up being used would be electrocution, as 17 prisoners committed their offences in states that have it as a back-up execution method. Lethal gas would be the next most likely. Oklahoma is the only firing squad state with prisoners on federal Death Row but it’s a last resort there, only to be used after the three other options have been ruled out.
The U.S. remains the only country in the world to use the electric chair, but Tennessee is the only state that still uses ‘Old Sparky’ regularly. Since 2018, five men have died there, strapped to a wooden chair, a metal skullcap-shaped electrode covering the head and another electrode attached to an ankle. They are then given two lengthy jolts of 1,750 volts. Although death should be instantaneous, it is a notoriously grisly spectacle — sometimes with flames several feet long leaping from the condemned man’s mask-covered head as his over-heating body swells and turns bright red. Experts say it isn’t painless, chiefly because the current sends the muscles into uncontrollable and agonising spasms.
The firing-squad method started to be used in the mid-19th century. The convicted person is usually hooded and strapped to a chair, with a white cloth pinned over the heart which either five or eight riflemen must shoot at simultaneously. Up to three of the squad will be firing blanks so that none of them can be certain they discharged the fatal bullet.
Lethal gas, allegedly a humane method, was first adopted by Nevada in 1922 and last used in 1999. The prisoner is seated inside an airtight room and hydrogen cyanide gas is pumped in. Again, unconsciousness and death should be painless, but witnesses have reported seeing eyes popping and skin turning purple.
Opponents of capital punishment, who say that more than 70 per cent of the world’s countries have abolished the practice — including every close ally of the U.S. — had hoped America might soon follow suit. But it certainly won’t while Trump is in the White House.
Trump’s enthusiasm for capital punishment is hardly new, going back at least as far as 1989, when five young black and Latino men were arrested for the vicious rape of a woman in New York’s Central Park. Mr Trump paid for a full-page advert in the New York Times that demanded ‘Bring Back The Death Penalty. Bring Back Our Police!’ In the event, the five served their prison sentences only to be exonerated after a fellow inmate confessed.
There are currently 52 offenders on federal Death Row, most of them at Terre Haute, Indiana, each one crossing their fingers that they’ll be spared until Binden takes power in January.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Jonah Hill (37), Jenny Agutter (68), Nicole de Boer (50), Lucy Pinder (37), Annie Murphy (34), Jake Gyllenhaal (40), Kristy Swanson (51), Alyssa Milano (48), Jennifer Beals (57), Richard Hammond (51), Sarah Paulson (46), Milla Jovovich (45), Katheryn Winnick (43), Eugene Levy (74), Bill Pullman (67), Laurie Holden (51), Ernie Hudson (75), Bernard Hill (76), Krysten Ritter (39), Miranda Otto (53), Billy Gibbons (71), Michelle Dockery (39), Don Johnson (71), Charlie Cox (38), Helen Slater (57), Garrett Wang (52), Vanessa Hudgens (32), Natascha McElhone (51), Miranda Hart (48), Ted Raimi (55), and Vicki Michelle (70).
With a great sense of loss we had to say goodbye to Barbara Windsor at the good old age of 83, but for the following who listed her, a fantastic 67 points! Lee, Laura, Iwan, Nickie, Rachel, Ceri, Louise, Doug, Ron, and Abigail. Well done all of you! But Debbie trumps you all as she had Babs down as her Woman, so 167 points! A round of applause for Debbie! Almost everyone has scored this year, apart from Stu and myself! I think both of us need to go back to the drawing board. I don’t know about you lot, but I was super surprised to learn that Chuck Yeager was still alive!
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Doug Scott, 79, English mountaineer and philanthropist, cerebral lymphoma.
- Chuck Yeager, 97, American pilot, first person to exceed the speed of sound.
- Tom Lister Jr., 62, American actor (Friday, The Fifth Element) and professional wrestler.
- Dame Barbara Windsor, 83, English actress (EastEnders, Carry On, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang), complications from Alzheimer’s disease.
- Kim Ki-duk, 59, South Korean film director (The Isle, Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring, 3-Iron), complications from COVID-19.
- Charley Pride, 86, American Hall of Fame singer (“Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’“, “Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone“) and baseball player (Memphis Red Sox), complications from COVID-19.
In Other News
England Rugby World Cup winner Steve Thompson has been diagnosed with dementia at the age of 42. The former Northampton Saints and England hooker is part of a group of players taking legal action against the RFU over brain injuries they say were brought on from playing the game, obviously not taking any responsibility themselves. Thompson was part of the 2003 team that won the William Webb Ellis trophy after Jonny Wilkinson’s drop goal against Australia, but he says he no longer remembers anything about the tournament or the final itself. “I have no recollection of winning the World Cup in 2003, or of being in Australia for the tournament. Knowing what I know now, I wish that I had never turned professional,” he said. “It was not uncommon for me to be left dazed, seeing white spots and not knowing where I was for a few seconds, sometimes I would pass out completely. It was just an accepted part and parcel of training. I really wished that I had ended my career earlier, maybe my diagnosis might not be so bleak.” However, Matt Dawson, the 48 year old former England captain says he won’t be joining the negligence claim, even though he has been “worried for a while” about his cognitive functions. Speaking on the Rugby Union Weekly podcast, Dawson says it was his choice to play the game, and he “knew what he was getting into”. “No one forced me to do this,” he said. “In my era they acted with their best knowledge of the scenario. I don’t feel the game has let me down. The whole of my life is because I chose to play rugby, I’m a big boy, I made that decision. I picked my vocation and I will take the consequences, I’m owning up to them, I’m having them so I’ve got to deal with them.
In another blatant disavowal of responsibility, Simon Cowell is reportedly considering legal action against the manufacturers of his electric bike after breaking his back in a terrifying accident back in August which was by no means his own fault. The TV mogul, 61, and his team are said to be ‘weighing up’ legal options and have been ‘pressing’ the manufacturers, Swindon Powertrain. One lawyer claimed that a successful lawsuit could see Simon get up to £10million for medical bills and loss of earnings!! It comes as a whistleblower from the manufacturers reportedly claimed the £20,000 electric bike an ‘accident waiting to happen’ due to Simon’s lack of training. The former employee claimed the Swind EB-01 bike, which can reach up to 60mph and is banned on public roads in the UK, should not be used without specialist training. Simon broke his back in August after falling from his electric bike, leaving him forced to undergo a six-hour surgery to try and fix the injuries. The accident occurred when the powerful machine ‘flew up in the air and did an accidental wheelie’ after he tired to change gears. The music boss is thought to have been ‘surprised by the power’ of the bike and knew immediately that he ‘was in trouble’ even though he knew he bought a 60mph super-electric bike! Following the accident, Simon tweeted: ‘Some good advice… If you buy an electric trail bike, read the manual before you ride it for the first time.’ More or less admitting he’s a knob. Thankfully his recent injuries and ongoing recovery saw him sit out of the resumed 2020 series of Britain’s Got Talent after it returned following England’s first lockdown.
Linda Nolan, 61, has addressed her health concerns after being diagnosed with cancer during the coronavirus pandemic. The Nolans band member has been battling the disease at the same time as her sister Anne Nolan, 70. Linda and Anne were diagnosed within days of each other, with Anne suffering from breast cancer and Linda with secondary cancer. Linda opened up after receiving a warning from her doctors saying that if she contracts Covid or the flu this winter she “will die”, as her immune system is depleted from chemotherapy. “That’s what me and my sister Anne were told, we will die because we have nothing to fight it with, because chemotherapy depletes your immune system.” Linda then took the opportunity to encourage those who are in the same position as her to get the free flu jab this year to protect themselves. She added: “So it is vitally important that you get the jab and the thing is it’s so easy, it takes 10 minutes out of your day.” The star divulged: “I’ve finished my chemo and I’ve had some scans and I’m actually getting the results of them soon. So fingers crossed the chemo’s worked and we get good news. I feel okay, I get tired, and both Anne and I are suffering with neuropathic pain in our fingers and feet, my feet are really bad actually. It doesn’t even describe it because it’s 10 times worse than ordinary pins and needles. But apart from that we’re okay, we’re doing well.”
On This Day
- 1577 – Sir Francis Drake sets sail from Plymouth, England, on his round-the-world voyage.
- 1972 – Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt begin the third and final EVA or “Moonwalk” of Apollo 17. To date they are the last humans to set foot on the Moon.
- 2003 – Iraq War: Operation Red Dawn: Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is captured near his home town of Tikrit.
- 1784 – Samuel Johnson, English poet and lexicographer (b. 1709)
- 2007 – Floyd Red Crow Westerman, American actor and activist (b. 1936)
- 2016 – Alan Thicke, Canadian-American actor and composer (b. 1947)
It is supposed to be a season of goodwill and celebrating, a time to relax with the family. However for some, Christmas can be a great time to murder a relative or two just like Justin Lee Klopp who hacked his wife to death on Christmas Day – hitting her repeatedly in the head with an axe and cutting her throat with the chopper after an argument. Klopp had been married to Stephanie Kilhefner, 34, for three years when he turned to murder. After the brutal slaughter he wrapped her body in a bag, put it in an outbuilding and took their two children to his parents to celebrate Christmas. The children, aged five and two, were marking the holiday with their grandparents when he phoned police to confess to the killing. He later hanged himself in prison.
Bruce Pardo, 45, killed nine people including his ex wife after going on the rampage dressed as Santa Claus with four handguns and a flame-thrower at a Christmas Eve party. A recording of a woman caught in the conflict calling police, revealed her saying: “He’s shooting my whole family. My mum’s house is on fire.” She goes on: “We need someone immediately. My daughter’s been shot. She was shot in the face.” Former aerospace engineer Pardo had recently gone through a bitter divorce with ex-wife Sylvia, 43, who died alongside her parents and three of her four siblings. He later shot himself dead.
It took more than two decades for the murder of Ed, 81, and 83-year-old Minnie Maurin to be solved. The couple’s dead bodies were found in woodland on Christmas Eve 1985 after they had been shot dead. Their surviving children had worked tirelessly to find their killers, and finally got justice for their parents in 2012. The couple were reported missing on 19th December and found five days later. It transpired they had been kidnapped and driven to a cash point by Rick and his now dead brother, John Riffe, and forced to withdraw $8500 in cash. They were then forced to drive to a rural road, shot inside their car and dragged into woodland. It is believed many witnesses remained quiet after seeing the brothers for fear of retribution from the pair, who were known drug dealers. The Riffe brothers did not know the elderly couple but targeted them because they were wealthy. Two of the couple’s surviving children got to see the killers of their parents brought to justice.
In 2011 Aziz Yazdanpanah is believed to have killed seven members of his own family while dressed in a Santa suit. He targeted his family, which included his children and his wife, just after they had opened their presents and then turned the gun on himself. It is believed Yazdanpanah turned up at the apartment in the morning because he hadn’t been invited to the party, after separating from his wife in March of that year. Ho Ho Ho!
Last Week’s Birthdays
Steve Buscemi (63), Jamie Foxx (53), Christopher Plummer (91), Dick Van Dyke (95), Taylor Swift (31), Tony Curran (51), Robert Lindsay (71), Jennifer Connelly (50), Mädchen Amick (50), Bill Nighy (71), Sarah Douglas (68), Kenneth Cranham (76), Ben Browder (58), Kenneth Branagh (60), John Malkovich (67), Judi Dench (86), Beau Bridges (79), Michael Dorn (68), Donny Osmond (63), Kim Basinger (67), Teri Hatcher (56), Dominic Monaghan (44), Nicki Minaj (38), Jennifer Carpenter (41), Ellen Burstyn (88), C. Thomas Howell (54), Jeffrey Wright (55), and Kristofer Hivju (42).
A quiet week on the deaths front, plus a bad week if you co-founded a major chain of restaurants. Apologies for the briefness of this weeks newsletter, I’ve been a bit busy and there’s been a lack of worthy deadly news.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Betty Bobbitt, 81, American-born Australian actress (Prisoner, Crocodile Dundee II, Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles), stroke.
- Ben Bova, 88, American science fiction writer (Grand Tour), complications from COVID-19.
- Hugh Keays-Byrne, 73, English-Australian actor (Mad Max: Fury Road, Stone, Farscape).
- Warren Berlinger, 83, American actor (The Joey Bishop Show, The Cannonball Run, The World According to Garp).
- Bill Palmer, 70, American restaurateur, co-founder of Applebee’s, pancreatic cancer.
- Frank Carney, 82, American restaurateur, co-founder of Pizza Hut, pneumonia.
- Peter Alliss, 89, English professional golfer, television presenter and commentator.
In Other News
Everyone’s favourite tax dodger, Lewis Hamilton, is “not great”, according to Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, as the F1 world champion battles with ‘mild’ symptoms of coronavirus. Hamilton was ruled out of this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix earlier this week after testing positive for Covid-19 and has been self-isolating ever since. His Mercedes seat has been taken up by fellow Briton George Russell, the young Williams driver, who was the fastest man in Bahrain during Friday practice, which makes you wonder if it’s talent or machine that makes a winner. “He is not great,” Wolff said. Covid-19 is something you mustn’t take lightly and he is in safe hands. That is the most important. But it is those early days that are always not so nice.” He added: “Mild symptoms and then obviously, as you can imagine, a race driver out of his car and combine it with Covid, he would rather sit in there [the team garage].” I think the rest of us would rather he paid the £3.3m in tax he owes from buying his own private jet for £16.5m amongst other dodges he’s thought to have made.
Staying in the world of F1, I’m sure most of you would have seen the amazing scenes as Romain Grosjean suffered a work related accident. Grosjean’s accident at Bahrain was horrific. His Haas car crashed at 137mph, with an impact force of 53G. It split in two and speared through the metal barriers. The halo cockpit protection device had been decisive in keeping him alive but he was swiftly engulfed in a huge fireball. Incredibly, he ultimately escaped with only burns to his hands. On Friday, Grosjean related how time appeared to slow down for him as the events, which lasted 28 seconds, unfolded. He had undone his seatbelt, and attempted to extricate himself from the wreckage but could not do so. “I sat back down and then thought about Niki Lauda, his accident, thought it couldn’t end like this, it couldn’t be my last race, couldn’t finish like this. No way,” he said. “I tried again and I’m stuck. So I go back and then there is the less pleasant moment where my body starts to relax. I am at peace with myself and I am going to die. I ask the question: ‘Is it going to burn my shoes or my hand? Is it going to be painful? Where is it going to start?’. To me, that felt like two, three, four seconds. I guess it was milliseconds at the time. Then I think about my kids and they cannot lose their dad today.” The 34-year-old tried again and, finally able to raise himself, had to push up and out of the twisted metal. As Grosjean climbed from the car he was helped by the occupants of the medical car. taken to hospital, he was examined and discharged on Wednesday. “What is the hardest is not what I went through but what I put people through: my family, my parents, my wife and kids, my friends,” he said. “For two minutes 43 seconds they thought their friend, their father and husband was dead and that is what makes me cry, that I made people suffer to that extent.”
On This Day
- 1897 – London becomes the world’s first city to host licensed taxicabs.
- 1917 – Halifax Explosion: A munitions explosion near Halifax, Nova Scotia kills more than 1,900 people in the largest artificial explosion up to that time.
- 1953 – Vladimir Nabokov completes his controversial novel Lolita.
- 1988 – Roy Orbison, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1936)
- 1993 – Don Ameche, American actor (b. 1908)
- 2015 – Nicholas Smith, British actor (b. 1934)
- 2016 – Peter Vaughan, British actor (b.1923)
Last Week’s Birthdays
Noel Clarke (45), Nick Park (62), Andrew Flintoff (43), Frankie Muniz (35), Jeff Bridges (71), Marisa Tomei (56), Tony Todd (66), Tyra Banks (47), Pamela Stephenson (71), Jay-Z (51), Amanda Seyfried (35), Brendan Fraser (52), Julianne Moore (60), Daryl Hannah (60), Holly Marie Combs (47), Jean-Luc Godard (90), Ozzy Osbourne (72), Lucy Liu (52), Britney Spears (39), Nelly Furtado (42), Bette Midler (75), Woody Allen (85), Emily Mortimer (49), Sarah Silverman (50), Riz Ahmed (38), Elisha Cuthbert (38), Ridley Scott (83), Ben Stiller (55), Richard Brake (56), and Mandy Patinkin (68).
Welcome all, let us begin with dishing out some points! Congratulations to Abigail for correctly guessing that Darth Vader himself would finally succumb and truly pass to the Dark Side! 65 points!! Which makes it intensely interesting at the top of the table.
Seeing that we only have a month to go, I decided to do some housekeeping. I went through all of your lists and found that I have missed a few deaths, so here’s some belated points! Trish gets 49 points for the passing of Marge Champion back in October; Iwan gets 57 points for the demise of Geoffrey Palmer in early November and Dave J. gets 50 points for the death of Javier Perez De Cuellar back in March! Well done everyone!!!
You now have just over FOUR weeks to work on your 2021 lists, but knowing you lot, half of you will be rushing to get them done at New Years Eve.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Patrick Quinn, 37, American disability activist, co-founder of Ice Bucket Challenge, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
- Diego Maradona, 60, Argentine football legend (Barcelona, Napoli, national team), World Cup winner (1986), heart attack.
- Colin Newell, 47, British television personality (Storage Hunters, Celebrity Big Brother).
- i_o, 30, American techno DJ (“Violence“).
- Christophe Dominici, 48, French rugby union player (Toulon, Stade Français, national team), fall from a tall building.
- David Prowse, 85, English bodybuilder, weightlifter and actor (Star Wars, A Clockwork Orange, Jabberwocky).
In Other News
Remember the chap who lead you all like a Judas Sheep to slaughter to dump a bucket of cold water over your head for charity? Well, his name was Patrick Quinn, he was one of the men responsible for driving the insanely popular Ice Bucket Challenge fundraising campaign, has died on Sunday morning aged 37. Quinn, a New Yorker, was diagnosed with the incurable neurological disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in 2013. His viral campaign raised $220m (£163m) for ALS research. The Ice Bucket Challenge did not begin with Quinn, but he and his family and friends helped it become a global social media phenomenon in the summer of 2014. To complete the challenge, people would dump a bucket of ice water over their heads and post the video to social media, challenging others to do the same or make a donation to ALS research. Most people didn’t get the idea of the challenge, they donated money and did the challenge, that’s how idiotic the genre populace is. The challenge drew high-profile participants like former President George W Bush, Oprah Winfrey, Lady Gaga and even the twunt Donald Trump, although I never saw that video and I wonder how his wig took the punishment, and one wonders how he took part in a charitable event as he hasn’t got one decent charitable atom in his whole blobby body!
Although not famous enough for our purposes, John Gilbert Getty, grandson of J. Paul Getty and heir to an oil fortune has been found dead. The 52-year-old heir was found dead in a hotel room in Texas, according to reports. Apparently “John was a talented musician who loved rock and roll. He will be deeply missed.” Getty is said to have been found unresponsive in a hotel room in San Antonio, Texas, on Friday. His death was not believed to be suspicious, but the cause is yet to be confirmed. Getty’s death is one of several tragedies to recently befall the family – his mother Ann died in September and his older brother Andrew died of a gastrointestinal haemorrhage in 2015. Andrew was also found to have a toxic level of methamphetamine in his system at the time of his death. In the same year, Forbes ranked the Getty family as the 56th richest in America with a $5.4bn (£4bn) fortune. Looks like billions of dollars doesn’t help keep you alive.
Again, not famous enough for our use, rapper 21 Savage wrote a heartbreaking tribute to his British brother who was stabbed to death on a south London estate. Terrell Davis – a 27-year-old drill rapper known as TM1way – was killed on the Blenheim Gardens estate in Brixton. He had been taking some shopping to his grandmother when he got into an argument with an old friend, who suddenly lunged forward and stabbed him, a family source said. Don’t you wish you had friends like that? Mr Davis and 21 Savage – who was born in Plaistow, east London before emigrating to the US as a child – have the same father, Kevin Emmons. The Grammy-award winning artist wrote on Instagram: ‘Can’t believe somebody took you baby bro. I know I took my anger out on you I wish I could take that shit back.’ He also posted a picture of him and his brother as young boys – as well as a series of more-recent images of Mr Davis. The source said: ‘They are brothers. They used to speak on the phone quite a bit and on WhatsApp. I don’t think Savage has been back to Britain for a while because he’s had some legal problems in the US.’
A 93-year-old woman who at 88 was the oldest competitor in the 2016 London Marathon has died. Iva Barr, from Bedford, was a member of Bedford Harriers Athletics Club from its early days and ran marathons for “30-odd years”. She took part in the first London Marathon in 1981 and only stopped running a few years ago. The club said she “encouraged and was an inspiration to many of our older and younger runners” and would be missed. The 2016 London run was her 20th marathon and afterwards she confirmed it had been her last. She tackled the first 14 miles before taking the Underground to Westminster, and walked the final part to the finish at The Mall. At the time she said she would “never forget” her final attempt, despite not quite completing the route. “I rather wanted to go out in a blaze of glory,” she said. “That didn’t happen, but I still had a great day.” Ms Barr was not the oldest person to have ever taken part in a London Marathon. Fauja Singh, from Ilford, east London, ran in the event in 2012 at the age of 101 and was believed to be the world’s oldest marathon runner when he completed the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 2011.
On This Day
- 1781 – The crew of the British slave ship Zong murders 133 Africans by dumping them into the sea to claim insurance.
- 1877 – Thomas Edison demonstrates his phonograph for the first time.
- 1972 – Atari releases Pong, the first commercially successful video game.
- 1872 – Mary Somerville, Scottish astronomer, mathematician, and author (b. 1780)
- 1924 – Giacomo Puccini, Italian composer and educator (b. 1858)
- 1975 – Graham Hill, English race car driver and businessman (b. 1929)
- 1981 – Natalie Wood, American actress (b. 1938)
- 1986 – Cary Grant, English-American actor (b. 1904)
- 2001 – George Harrison, English singer-songwriter, guitarist, and former Beatle (b. 1943)
Natalie Wood was an American actress who began her career in film as a child actor and successfully transitioned to young adult roles. She was the recipient of four Golden Globes, and received three Academy Award nominations. She starred in a host of well known films in the 60’s & 70’s, including Miracle on 34th Street, Rebel Without a Cause, The Searchers, West Side Story and many more.
During the 1970s, Wood began a hiatus from film and had a child with husband Robert Wagner, whom she had previously married and divorced.
Wood famously drowned off Catalina Island on November 29th, 1981, at age 43. She died in mysterious circumstances during the making of Brainstorm while on a weekend boat trip to Catalina Island on board Wagner’s yacht Splendour. Outside of drowning, many of the circumstances are unknown; it was never determined how she entered the water.
Wood was with her husband Robert Wagner, Brainstorm co-star Christopher Walken, and Splendour‘s captain Dennis Davern on that evening. Shortly after docking their boat, at Avalon Harbor on Catalina Island, Wood, Wagner and their guest Walken went ashore to do some shopping. Later that evening, the threesome ate dinner together in the dining room of Doug’s Harbor Reef Restaurant. The meal would be Natalie’s last. Although what they ate is a mystery, they did consume two bottles of Soave Bolla wine, Margaritas, a joint and Quaaludes.
From Davern’s witness statement he stated that the mood was tense when thy returned to the Splendour. A bottle of wine was opened after Wood lit some candles. Shortly after a conversation began between Wood and Walken, Wagner grabbed the open wine bottle and with rage crashed it upon the coffee table and screamed out to Walken, “Do you want to fuck my wife, is that what you want?” The glass shattered throughout the salon. After the bottle smashing, Walken retreated to his cabin and closed the cabin door. He remained there until morning. Wood was mortified and went immediately to the master bedroom. Wagner followed her within minutes, and then a terrible argument proceeded. Davern knocked on their bedroom door from the main salon to try to calm the situation. Wagner answered to tell him to go away and to not interfere. The loud arguing continued and Davern heard things (objects, possibly people) hitting the walls and things being thrown at the ceiling of the master bedroom, directly beneath where he stood.
Next, Wagner and Wood were on the open back deck arguing loudly. By then it was 11:00p.m. The arguing sounded fast and furious. The only full sentence Davern could completely decipher during the entire argument was “Get off my fucking boat” said by Wagner. Davern was terribly concerned but waited about 15 minutes before going to the deck. When he arrived on the rear open deck, only Wagner was present, and he stood near the far rear wall of the yacht. Wagner appeared sweaty, flushed, anxious, nervous, and disheveled. He told Davern “Natalie is missing” and asked him to search the yacht. He immediately went to Walken’s cabin and opened his door. He appeared to be sound asleep. He then went to the bedroom, but it was empty. He met up with Wagner in the wheelhouse and he informed Davern the dinghy was missing, too. Davern immediately wanted to radio for help and to turn on the searchlight, but Wagner told him, sternly, “We are not going to do that. We will wait and see if she returns.” His choice led Davern to presume that he knew his wife was in the dinghy and had taken off in it. While they waited, Wagner opened a bottle of scotch and discussed with Davern the repercussions of bringing any immediate attention to the situation and Wagner claimed he did not want to tarnish his image. After an hour passed, Wagner began crying and repeated, “She’s gone, she’s gone, she’s gone” which Davern believed a strange thing to say. Over two hours passed before Davern finally convinced Wagner to make a call for help.
Natalie Wood was found floating facedown at 7:45 a.m., a mile away from the boat, with a small Valiant-brand inflatable dinghy beached nearby. The autopsy report revealed that she had bruises on her body and arms, as well as an abrasion on her left cheek, but no indication as to how or when the injuries occurred.
In his memoir Pieces of My Heart, Wagner admitted that he had an argument with Wood before she disappeared. The autopsy found that Wood’s blood alcohol content was 1.4% and that there were traces of a motion-sickness pill and a painkiller in her bloodstream, both of which increase the effects of alcohol.
At the time, Los Angeles County coroner Thomas Noguchi ruled the cause of her death to be accidental drowning and hypothermia. According to Noguchi, Wood had been drinking and she may have slipped while trying to re-board the dinghy. Her sister Lana expressed doubts, alleging that Wood could not swim and had been “terrified” of water all her life, and that she would never have left the yacht on her own by dinghy.
In 2011, the Los Angeles County Chief Coroner amended Wood’s death certificate and changed the cause of death from accidental drowning to “drowning and other undetermined factors”. The addendum stated that Wood might have sustained some of the bruises on her body before she went into the water, but that this could not be definitively determined, however the bruises were substantial and fitting for someone who had been thrown out of a boat.
One thing is for certain, we will never find out what truly happened aboard the Splendour that fateful evening, unless we gat a deathbed confession from Wagner, whom at the age of 90 might be sooner than you think.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Gemma Chan (38), Diane Ladd (85), Don Cheadle (56), Tom Sizemore (59), Jeff Fahey (68), Gena Lee Nolin (49), Karen Gillan (33), Ed Harris (70), Ryan Kwanten (44), Judd Nelson (61), Martin Clunes (59), Jon Stewart (58), Armando Iannucci (57), Sharlto Copley (47), Robin Givens (56), Bill Nye (65), Kristin Bauer van Straten (54), Mark Margolis (81), Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson (32), Rita Ora (30), Tina Turner (81), Christina Applegate (49), John Larroquette (73), Bruno Tonioli (65), Katherine Heigl (42), Sarah Hyland (30), Shirley Henderson (55), Colin Hanks (43), Stephen Merchant (46), Denise Crosby (63), Billy Connolly (78), Dwight Schultz (73), Conleth Hill (56), Ricky Whittle (39), Miley Cyrus (28), and Michelle Gomez (54).
If you thought you were big and tough and Covid wasn’t going to get you, today I can share that a 34yo contender to be the Worlds Strongest Man died of the virus. So it doesn’t matter how tough you think you are, everyone is still a target. So with that in mind and that the vaccine is still a few months away for most of us, you have less than 6 weeks to come up with a list of potentials who are still friends with Donald Trump for instance.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Ray Clemence, 72, English footballer (Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, national team), prostate cancer.
- Vincent Reffet, 36, French BASE jumper, wingsuit flyer and jetpack pilot, training accident.
- Kirby Morrow, 47, Canadian voice actor (Dragon Ball Z, Inuyasha, Ninjago).
- Jan Morris, 94, Welsh historian and travel writer.
- Aaron Page, 34, Australian strongman, COVID-19.
In Other News
A French stuntman famous for airborne feats using jetpacks and carbon-fibre wing packs has been killed in an inevitable training accident in Dubai. Vincent Reffet was part of the company Jetman Dubai. The 36-year-old went viral for flights over the Gulf city’s waterfront and the Alps. A statement said Reffet died “during training in Dubai” but did not give any further details. An investigation into his death is now under way and is expected to disclose that he went splat on the ground somehow. “Vince was a talented athlete, and a much-loved and respected member of our team. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and all those who knew and worked with him.” Reffet was the child of skydivers and had performed numerous stunts throughout his career, including BASE-jumping off the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. Reffet’s exploits often went viral on social media, including one occasion when he jumped from a mountain into a moving plane!
My apologies beforehand, there’s a lot of Bobby’s in this tale. Bobby Brown’s son, Bobby Brown Jr, has died aged 28 – five years after the singer lost his daughter Bobbi Kristina and eight years after the death of her mother Whitney Huston. Bobby Jr was the half-brother of Bobby’s daughter with Whitney Houston, Bobbi, who passed away aged 22, in 2015. Bobby Jr was reportedly found dead at his home, cause of death is yet to be established but foul play is not suspected, so we can rule out Bobby Brown offing his family one by one. However, going from family history, we can suspect drowning and/or toxic levels of alcohol and cocaine to be a factor in his death. Bobby Jr is one of Bobby Brown’s seven children, most likely they are also called Bobby. He was involved in the family’s reality show on Bravo – Being Bobby Brown – when he was 13, starring alongside Bobbi Kristina. Bobby Jr’s mother is Kim Ward, who had dated Bobby for 11 years on and off, before he sparked a relationship with Whitney, leading to them getting engaged.
If you thought Wipeout was just a bit of fun and games, think again! An unidentified male Wipeout contestant died shortly after completing the show’s obstacle course. “We are devastated to have learned of his passing and our deepest sympathy goes out to the family,” a TBS spokesperson said in a statement. Apparently, he contestant suffered an undisclosed medical emergency on the show’s Santa Clarita set and was being treated by on-site medical personnel before being taken to the hospital, where he ultimately died. In order to participate in the show, contestants must pass a medical examination in order to proceed, so a death on-set was very unexpected. Hosted by John Cena, Nicole Byer, and Camille Kostek, Wipeout is a TBS reboot of the original, which ran for seven seasons on ABC between 2008 and 2014. The show’s official description reads, ”Each game is three rounds, with each round featuring a jaw-dropping, multi-stage obstacle course with numerous strategy and decision points designed to further challenge the stamina of the competitors and deliver hilarious and surprising wipeouts. And of course, the iconic staple of the show—the big balls!”
On This Day
- 1307 – Pope Clement V issues the papal bull Pastoralis Praeeminentiae which instructed all Christian monarchs in Europe to arrest all Knights Templar and seize their assets.
- 1963 – U.S. President John F. Kennedy is assassinated.
- 1977 – British Airways inaugurates a regular London to New York City supersonic Concorde service.
- 1986 – Mike Tyson from Brooklyn, New York becomes the youngest heavyweight champion in boxing history at age 20.
- 1990 – British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher withdraws from the Conservative Party leadership election, confirming the end of her Prime-Ministership. The world rejoices!
- 2005 – Angela Merkel becomes the first female Chancellor of Germany.
- 1718 – Blackbeard, English pirate (b. 1680)
- 1963 – Aldous Huxley, English novelist and philosopher (b. 1894)
- 1963 – John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States (b. 1917)
- 1963 – C. S. Lewis, British writer, critic and Christian apologist (b. 1898)
- 1980 – Mae West, American actress, singer, and screenwriter (b. 1893)
- 1986 – Scatman Crothers, American actor and comedian (b. 1910)
- 1993 – Anthony Burgess, English novelist, playwright, and critic (b. 1917)
- 1996 – Mark Lenard, American actor (b. 1924)
- 1997 – Michael Hutchence, Australian singer-songwriter (b. 1960)
On the last night of his life, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, dined on Chicken Virginia, bread rolls, green beans and pumpkin pie. The meal was simple because the chefs from the Rice Hotel didn’t have the correct equipment for an elaborate dinner for 3200 covers at the Sam Huston Coliseum for the testimonial dinner JFK was residing over. Once done, he and his entourage boarded Air Force One on a flight to Fort Worth. On arrival at 11:35pm, despite the late time and rainy weather, the President and Mrs. Kennedy take some time to shake hands with well-wishers gathered outside the hotel before retiring to their assigned suite (Room 850) for the night.
On the morning of November 22nd, 1963, JFK ate breakfast in his room at the Hotel Texas in Fort Worth. According to the hotel’s executive chef, Otto Druhe, he served the president “coffee, orange juice, two boiled (five-minute) eggs, some toast, and marmalade on the side.” Nothing too substantial as President Kennedy was scheduled to deliver a speech and share a steak luncheon with local government, business, religious, and civic leaders and their spouses at the Trade Mart in downtown Dallas at 1pm, however unbeknownst to him, he would never make it.
What happened next is indelibly etched on everyones mind, even if you weren’t born yet. At 12:29 p.m. CST, the presidential limousine entered Dealey Plaza after a 90-degree right turn from Main Street onto Houston Street. Over two dozen known and unknown amateur and professional still and motion-picture photographers captured the last living images of President Kennedy. Witnesses recalled the shooting occurred shortly after the limousine made the sharp left-hand turn from Houston onto Elm Street. Most of the witnesses thought that the first shot was fired after the president had started waving with his right hand. Several onlookers recalled hearing at least three shots, with the second and third shots bunched distinctly much closer together than the first and second shots. The assassination complete the limousine began speeding up, Mrs. Kennedy was heard to scream “I have his brains in my hand!” The limousine driver and police motorcycles turned on their sirens and raced at high speeds to Parkland Hospital, passing their intended destination of the Dallas Trade Mart along the way, and arriving at about 12:38 p.m, unfortunately, way too late for Kennedy.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Scarlett Johansson (36), Jamie Lee Curtis (62), Mads Mikkelsen (55), Mark Ruffalo (53), Michael Kenneth Williams (54), Terry Gilliam (80), Goldie Hawn (75), Alexander Siddig (55), Björk (55), Liza Tarbuck (56), Sean Young (61), Ming-Na Wen (57), Bo Derek (64), Joe Biden (78), Jerry Hardin (91), Jodie Foster (58), Meg Ryan (59), Adam Driver (37), Terry Farrell (57), Robert Beltran (67), Chloë Sevigny (46), Owen Wilson (52), Linda Evans (78), Delroy Lindo (68), Alan Moore (67), Rachel McAdams (42), Tom Ellis (42), Martin Scorsese (78), Danny DeVito (76), Sophie Marceau (54), Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (62), RuPaul (60), Jonathan Ross (60), Missi Pyle (48), Maggie Gyllenhaal (43), Martha Plimpton (50), and Gigi Edgley (43).
A quiet week for famous deaths, but the ones that did die have thrown quite a few points towards us. With he passing of Alex Trebek I can award 70 points to Doug, Abigail, Lee, and Paula; Laura steals 170 points for listing him as her Cert. In addition I can dole out 62 points to Gwenan for correctly guessing that Des O’Conner would sadly die this year. Plus, with the joyful demise of Peter Sutcliffe, only Nickie scores 76 points as he hurtles towards hell! The league table looks very interesting at the top end, several of you could easily win this year! I must remind you that causing the deaths of any of your listed celebrities will result in a disqualification.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Alex Trebek, 80, Canadian-American game show host (Jeopardy!, High Rollers, Classic Concentration), seven-time Emmy winner, pancreatic cancer.
- John Hays, 71, British travel agency executive, founder of Hays Travel. Cardiac arrest.
- Peter Sutcliffe, 74, English serial killer, COVID-19.
- Des O’Conner, 88, English comedian, singer and television presenter, complications from a fall.
In Other News
McFly star Dougie Poynter took a “lethal dosage” of Valium after feeling responsible for the band splitting up. Poynter found himself struggling without McFly despite being the one who suggested they come to an end in 2016. The musician, who attempted suicide in 2011, relapsed after falling out with his bandmates and friends Tom Fletcher, Danny Jones and Harry Judd. Speaking in new documentary McFly: It’s All About Us, Poynter said: “On the one hand, I felt inspired because friends in LA would take me to see other bands and stuff. “On the other hand, I was like, ‘But my band’s broken and it’s all my fault’.” Poynter said that “Valium was a way of just making all that disappear”. Fletcher, Jones and Judd soon realised that Poynter was “taking something”, with Judd saying: “He sort of told me what he’d been taking – he was like, at that lethal dosage”. In an attempt to repair their friendship, Poynter asked his bandmates to join him at group therapy. Judd acknowledged that, while there may have been hard feelings initially, “we realised Dougie did nothing wrong – and that’s the biggest lesson from all this”. Speaking about being a part of McFly, Poynter, who won I’m a Celebrity in 2011, said: “It’s all I really know and all I really want to know.”
Jesy Nelson has sparked further concern this week after pulling out of two big Little Mix events with ill health. The ‘talented’ 29-year-old singer is feared to have secretly quit the group by worried fans who received their copies of the band’s new album missing her signature. While Perrie Edwards, Leigh-Anne Pinnock and Jade Thirlwall had all signed the special copies of Confessi, Jesy’s distinctive handwriting had been left off the cover. Fans were quick to point out Jesy has recently been unwell, so may not have been with her bandmates during the signing session. Little Mix’s rep told Mirror Online: “We’re not making any further comment on Jesy currently for private medical reasons.” It comes after Jesy pulled out of last Friday’s Little Mix: The Search final after falling ill. She also turned down Sunday’s MTV EMA, leaving her three co-stars to host the virtual event instead. Last week fans thought Jesy looked “over it” in a since-deleted Little Mix video promoting their sixth studio album. While Leigh-Anne, Jade and Perrie were full of beans speaking about Confetti, Jesy was seen rolling her eyes and looking downbeat. Just hours after the video vanished from the band’s socials, a Little Mix rep said: “Jesy is unwell and will not be appearing on tonight’s final of Little Mix The Search. “She will also not be hosting or performing at tomorrow’s MTV EMA’s.” No further information was given about Jesy’s condition.
Sinéad O’Connor is entering a year-long rehab program following “a very traumatic six years.” In a Twitter-thread on Tuesday announcing the postponement of her shows originally scheduled for next year to 2022, the 53-year-old singer-songwriter revealed to fans that she’ll be seeking treatment for “trauma and addiction.” Declaring that “recovery starts now,” the “Nothing Compares 2 U” singer wrote that “this year was the end” of her trauma and suffering. O’Connor, reflecting on the struggles she has faced, revealed that this year she lost someone “beloved,” which cause her to “become briefly addicted to a drug other than weed.” O’Connor explained she has been addicted to marijuana for 34 years, which she called a “lifetime.” The Grammy winner also revealed that “the last year has been very traumatic” as one of her children – she’s mom to sons Jake, 32, Roisin, 25, and Shane, 15 – was “unwell.” O’Connor did not detail that scenario, though she confirmed that her child “is thriving now.” “I grew up with a lot of trauma and abuse. I then went straight into the music business. And never learned really how to make a normal life,” she wrote. “Never took proper time to heal. Wasn’t ready to either.” Asking fans to be “supportive and understanding,” she encouraged them to hold onto their tickets, promising that she will “be back with a new album and tour.” She apologized “to anyone this causes inconvenience to.” She also requested that her music business partners support her in “taking this step toward making a life I am happy in. So that we can all make some money !!!”
On This Day
- 1943 – German SS leader Heinrich Himmler orders that Gypsies are to be put “on the same level as Jews and placed in concentration camps”.
- 1949 – Nathuram Godse and Narayan Apte are executed for assassinating Mahatma Gandhi.
- 1971 – Intel releases the world’s first commercial single-chip microprocessor, the 4004.
- 1958 – Tyrone Power, American actor, singer, and producer (b. 1914)
- 1983 – John Le Mesurier, English actor (b. 1912)
- 2015 – Saeed Jaffrey, Indian-British actor (b. 1929)
A seventh-grade dropout, Woods was so illiterate that he had to refer to a spelling list just to write simple notes to his family. He had IQ scores of 80 and 78 during elementary school. His IQ score right before his murder trial was 70, and another in 2002 returned 68. Woods also worked as a short-order cook and roofer.
In the early morning of April 30th 1997, Woods went to the home of his ex-girlfriend, Schwana Patterson, 35, who had had kicked him out a few days earlier. Her two children, 11-year-old Sarah and 9-year-old Cody, were sleeping inside. Woods crawled through an open window into the children’s bedroom. He grabbed Sarah’s foot and began beating her chest, then sexually molested her. Woods then forced both children to leave through the window in their nightclothes, put them in his car, and drove to a cemetery. There, he beat and stomped Cody on the head and strangled him. With Cody left for dead, Woods drove away with Sarah and found a secluded area where he raped her and cut her throat, resulting in her death. Cody survived and managed to raise the alarm.
Based on Cody’s statement, police found Woods and asked him where Sarah was, hoping to find her alive. Woods answered, “You will not find her alive. I cut her throat.” He then led them to her body.
Because the Woods case was heavily reported in Dallas-area media, Woods’s trial was held in Llano, Texas. During his trial Woods admitted to kidnapping Patterson’s children and beating Cody Patterson unconscious. A psychologist representing the defence testified that Woods was mentally retarded and was not a threat to society. In response, a psychiatrist representing prosecution testified that Woods was not mentally retarded and could commit future violent crimes.
Woods received a 40-year sentence for the abduction and assault of Cody Patterson and was sentenced to death for Sarah Patterson’s rape and murder. Schwana Patterson was also tried on charges of child neglect and was found guilty. She was sentenced to 23 years in prison.
Prior to his execution, Woods last meal consisted of two chicken fried steaks, two fried chicken breasts, three fried pork chops, two hamburgers with lettuce, tomato, onion and salad dressing, four slices of bread, half a pound of fried potatoes with onion, half a pound of onion rings with ketchup, half a pan of chocolate cake with icing and two pitchers of milk.
Woods was executed by lethal injection at 6:48 p.m. local time on December 3, 2009 in the Huntsville Unit state prison. His final words were “Bye. I’m ready.”
Last Week’s Birthdays
Jonny Lee Miller (48), Edward Asner (91), Beverly D’Angelo (69), Petula Clark (88), Olga Kurylenko (41), Russell Tovey (39), Sandahl Bergman (69), Paul McGann (61), Gerard Butler (51), Whoopi Goldberg (65), John de Lancie (72), Jimmy Kimmel (53), Anne Hathaway (38), Ryan Gosling (40), Gustaf Skarsgård (40), Wallace Shawn (77), Max Grodénchik (68), Neil Young (75), Leonardo DiCaprio (46), Demi Moore (58), Stanley Tucci (60), Calista Flockhart (56), Taron Egerton (31), Hugh Bonneville (57), Neil Gaiman (60), Tracy Morgan (52), Robert Duncan McNeill (56), and Lou Ferrigno (69).
A fairly standard week with a few recognisable faces departing the mortal world. Despite their passing we can all be happy due to the news that the despicable Wotsits Hitler has been deposed. Yes, we can now breathe a little easier, even with Covid, as Trump is a loser!
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- John Sessions, 67, British actor and comedian (Stella Street, Spitting Image, Whose Line Is It Anyway?), heart attack.
- Luis Troyano, 48, Graphic designer (The Great British Bake Off finalist, series 5), oesophageal cancer.
- Eddie Hassell, 30, American actor (The Kids Are All Right, Surface, Devious Maids), shot.
- Carol Arthur, 85, American actress (Blazing Saddles), Alzheimer’s disease
- Elsa Raven, 91, American actress (Back to the Future, Amen, Titanic).
- Geoffrey Palmer, 93, British actor (The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, Butterflies, Mr. Men and Little Miss).
- Joy Westmore, 88, Australian actress (Prisoner, Neighbours, Blue Heelers), dementia.
- Jonathan Sacks, 72, British Orthodox rabbi, former Chief Rabbi of the United Synagogue and member of the House of Lords, cancer.
In Other News
Diego Maradona, 60, was in recovery after a “successful” surgery to treat a subdural hematoma, a blood clot on the brain, a source close to the former World Cup winner said late on Tuesday. The operation was to address the clot, often caused by a head injury, and which can put pressure on the brain. “The operation proceeded normally and without complications and was successful,” the source told us, adding that the diagnosis was a chronic subdural hematoma. The person did not give details on the potential recovery period. The intervention, which was risky due to the ex-footballer’s delicate general health, lasted about two hours and was carried out by a team led by Leopoldo Luque, Maradona’s neurosurgeon and personal physician. Luque said earlier that the procedure was a “routine surgery” and that Maradona had been “lucid” and understood and agreed with the procedure. Maradona was admitted to the Ipensa clinic in La Plata, Argentina, on Monday for anaemia and dehydration, before being transferred to Olivos Clinic in Buenos Aires province.
Jeff Bridges, the acclaimed actor who became a cult icon with his role in “The Big Lebowski,” shocked his legions of fans when he announced Monday he has been diagnosed with lymphoma, a type of blood cancer. Bridges, 70, said his prognosis was “good,” adding that he was starting treatment. But he did not specify whether he had been diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma or non-Hodgkin lymphoma, the two main subtypes of lymphoma. “As the Dude would say,” the actor tweeted, referring to his “Lebowski” character, “New SHIT has come to light. Although it is a serious disease, I feel fortunate that I have a great team of doctors and the prognosis is good,” Bridges said. Bridges expressed gratitude to his family, friends and medical team and promised to keep fans posted on his recovery. Bridges is a seven-time Oscar nominee known for his roles in Starman, True Grit, The Last Picture Show and many other films. He won an Academy Award in 2010 for Crazy Heart and was most recently nominated for playing a grizzled lawman in Hell or High Water. Bridges is the son of the former actors Lloyd and Dorothy Bridges, who died in 1998 and 2009, respectively.
Al Roker shared on “Today” that he will undergo surgery following a prostate cancer diagnosis. The beloved American weatherman said it was discovered after a routine medical checkup in September. “It’s a good news-bad news kind of thing,” he said. “Good news is we caught it early. Not great news is that it’s a little aggressive, so I’m going to be taking some time off to take care of this.” Roker said he wanted to go public with his illness because 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime “but for African American men that number’s 1 in 7 and is more deadly.” “So if you detect it early this is a really treatable disease and it’s why I wanted to take you along my journey so we can all learn together how to educate and protect the men in our lives,” he said. Roker is scheduled to have surgery next week at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Dr. Vincent Laudone is his surgeon and said the cancer “appears somewhat limited or confined to the prostate” but given that it’s aggressive the decision was made to remove the prostate. Roker said his wife, journalist Deborah Roberts, has been his fiercest advocate and later added he doesn’t want people feeling sorry for him. Roker’s colleagues rallied around him Friday and he said he’s feeling optimistic about his cancer battle. “We’ll just wait and see, and hopefully in about two weeks, I’ll be back” on “Today,” he said.
On This Day
- 1519 – Hernán Cortés enters Tenochtitlán and Aztec ruler Moctezuma welcomes him with a great celebration. This went well…
- 1605 – Robert Catesby, ringleader of the Gunpowder Plot, is killed.
- 1895 – While experimenting with electricity, Wilhelm Röntgen discovers the X-ray.
- 1939 – In Munich, Adolf Hitler narrowly escapes the assassination attempt of Georg Elser.
- 1965 – The Murder (Abolition of Death Penalty) Act 1965 is given Royal Assent, formally abolishing the death penalty in the United Kingdom, except in cases of high treason, “piracy with violence” (piracy with intent to kill or cause grievous bodily harm), arson in royal dockyards and espionage, as well as other capital offences under military law. The death penalty would be abolished in all cases in 1998.
- 1973 – The right ear of John Paul Getty III is delivered to a newspaper outlet along with a ransom note, convincing his father to pay $2.9 million.
- 1987 – Remembrance Day bombing: A Provisional IRA bomb explodes in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland during a ceremony honouring those who had died in wars involving British forces. Twelve people are killed and sixty-three wounded.
- 1999 – Bruce Miller is killed at his junkyard near Flint, Michigan. His wife Sharee Miller, who convinced her online lover Jerry Cassaday to kill him (before later killing himself) was convicted of the crime, in what became the world’s first Internet murder.
- 2016 – Donald Trump is elected the 45th President of the United States, defeating Hillary Clinton, the first woman ever to receive a major party’s nomination. This went well…
- 1674 – John Milton, English poet and philosopher (b. 1608)
- 1887 – Doc Holliday, American dentist and poker player (b. 1851)
- 1978 – Norman Rockwell, American painter and illustrator (b. 1894)
1st Internet Murder
Miller’s husband, Bruce Miller, was killed by a shotgun blast inside his junkyard office on the evening of November 8, 1999. Believing at first the death was a result of a botched robbery, police failed to find a credible lead and the case went cold for months. In February the following year, Sharee Miller’s online lover, ex-cop Jerry Cassaday, killed himself in Missouri and left a suicide note in which he admitted to carrying out the murder and accused Miller of planning the deed. Cassaday’s accusation, and Fb instant chat message logs left behind by the former police officer as evidence of the set-up, eventually led Miller to be thrown in prison for life on conspiracy and second-degree murder charges.
The confession noted “I drove there and killed him. Sharee was involved and set it up, I have all the proof and I am sending it to the police, she will get whats coming. I have been so stupid, but now you know the real story of why I went into such a state of depression… because I just couldn’t tell anyone the truth… She just wanted all her money and no more husband, well she got her wish, but she is soon to learn that she cant do that to people… Now I know it was all just more lies and games from Sharee, she didn’t care what it took or who she hurt to get what she wanted.
In 2008, Miller won an appeal and was released from prison the following year, after a judge agreed with her lawyers’ argument that the suicide letter should not have been admitted as evidence against her because Cassaday was not available for cross-examination.
In December 2009, Sharee Miller was found using Facebook again. Miller’s lawyer David Nickola said that there was no reason for his client to be barred from using a computer, but Sharee’s Facebook page was temporarily deactivated when it attracted publicity. “I don’t think there’s anything inappropriate about it,” Nickola said. He states that Sharee used Facebook to keep in touch with her family members and her son who is overseas in the military. “She’s an innocent person out in society and she’s doing positive things,” Nickola said.
In 2012, still pleading innocence, Miller was sent back to prison to continue to serve her original sentence after a court re-interpreted the admissibility of the suicide letter. However 16 years after the murder, a remorseful letter was sent to Genesee Circuit Judge Judith A. Fullerton, where Miller admitted to arranging for her husband to be killed by her lover. “Judge Fullerton, I did it. Almost the way the prosecutor said I did,’ Miller wrote in a letter. “I knew it was going to happen and I allowed it. I allowed a man to kill another man based on my lies and manipulation.”
In her letter, Miller also accused three different attorneys, including her current lawyer, David Nickola, of refusing to listen to her admission of guilt. Nickola denied the accusation, and said that if Miller’s confession had come sooner, she could have taken a plea deal offered before the trial, served 15 years in prison, and been a free woman by now, the Flint Journal reported. Miller is currently still serving her live sentence at the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Parker Posey (52), Tara Reid (45), Matthew Rhys (46), Gretchen Mol (48), Alfre Woodard (68), Richard Curtis (64), Gordon Ramsay (54), Jack Osbourne (35), Adam Devine (37), Ethan Hawke (50), Emma Stone (32), Rebecca Romijn (48), Thandie Newton (48), Taryn Manning (42), Sally Field (74), Lori Singer (63), Michael Cerveris (60), Maria Shriver (65), Nigel Havers (69), Conchita Wurst (32), Famke Janssen (56), Sam Rockwell (52), Tilda Swinton (60), Robert Patrick (62), Tatum O’Neal (57), Armin Shimerman (71), Tamzin Outhwaite (50), Elke Sommer (80), Eric Menyuk (61), Matthew McConaughey (51), Ralph Macchio (59), Olivia Taylor Dudley (35), Loretta Swit (83), Dolph Lundgren (63), Kate Capshaw (67), Tom Savini (74), Roseanne Barr (68), Dylan Moran (49), David Schwimmer (54), Stefanie Powers (78), and k.d. lang (59).
Points!! Let’s start by awarding Doug, Paul and Laura 72 points each for the demise of Nobby Styles; and not to be outdone, Jemm scores with the passing of Sean Connery, 60 points! Well done all of you! The league table has changed somewhat, some interesting familial rivalries being very close too, and only two months to go!
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Frank Bough, 87, English television presenter (Grandstand, Nationwide, Breakfast Time).
- Bobby Ball, 76, British comedian (Cannon and Ball), actor (Last of the Summer Wine, Not Going Out) and television host, COVID-19.
- J. J. Williams, 72, Welsh rugby union player (Bridgend, national team, British and Irish Lions).
- Nobby Stiles, 78, English footballer (National Team, Manchester United), world champion 1966.
- Sir Sean Connery, 90, Scottish actor (Dr. No, The Untouchables, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade), Oscar winner (1988).
In Other News
Sooty puppeteer Matthew Corbett first experienced symptoms of Covid-19 when he popped down to the cellar to fetch a bottle of wine on his birthday. As he came up the stairs on March 28, just days after the start of lockdown, the 72-year-old started to sweat, felt dizzy and started to hallucinate. Within days, Matthew was admitted to hospital, suffering from a range of severe symptoms, including chest pains and pneumonia. Seven months on, the ordeal has left him feeling breathless, fatigued and so frail that he is no longer able to do the DIY and gardening jobs he previously enjoyed. Struggling to cope and with no NHS aftercare, reluctantly he and his wife Sallie have sold their much-loved house in Cheshire and, in August, moved to a retirement village in West Sussex where more help would be on hand. Matthew took over as the puppeteer of Sooty, Sweep and Soo in 1976, after his father Harry Corbett, who created the trio, had a heart attack. He retired in 1998, aged 50, having sold the brand to the Bank of Yokohama for £1.4 million, and over the next 20 years developed a number of health problems, including type 2 diabetes.
Dame Patricia Routledge is ‘resting’ following yet another fall. Dame Patricia, who is 91, “has suffered injury following a fall and has been advised to take a period of rest in order to speed recovery.” Best known for her role as Hyacinth Bucket in Keeping Up Appearances, has a history of falls in recent years, beginning in 2017 when she was forced to cancel her appearance in July’s Buxton International Festival when she had a fall just before going on stage. At the time she bounced back and thanked the Stockport’s Stepping Hill A&E with free tickets for the ‘wonderful treatment’ she received. Sadly most of the main cast from Keeping Up Appearances have died, with the exception of herself and Judy Cornwell who played Daisy, it’s a very sparse list.
Artist Tracey Emin had an operation this summer after a cancerous tumour was found in her bladder, she has said. Emin, 57, was diagnosed in the spring, had surgery two months ago and is now in remission. But she said she is too weak to return to making art. “Yesterday, I was crying because I wanted to paint and I didn’t have the energy to do it,” she said. Emin was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1999 and is one of Britain’s best-known and most celebrated excuse for an artist. She said she had been working on a semi-abstract painting early in lockdown that had been “keeping her up at night”. Only after her diagnosis did she realise it resembled her bladder. “It’s exactly the same as my bladder with the tumour in it, before I knew I had the cancer – it’s brilliant!” she said. Emin, who is based in Margate, Kent, is known for such installations as her unmade bed and the tent Everyone I Have Ever Slept With. Emin’s operation involved removing many of her female reproductive organs. She told the us she had “half my body chopped out, including half my vagina”. No doubt the parts will end up in an installation piece soon enough.
England World Cup winner and Manchester United legend Sir Bobby Charlton has been diagnosed with dementia. The news follows the deaths of his older brother Jack in July and fellow World Cup-winner Nobby Stiles on Friday, both of whom had also been diagnosed with dementia. His wife, Lady Norma Charlton, confirmed Sir Bobby’s diagnosis to us and said that the family were happy for this to be reported. She also expressed a hope that the knowledge of Sir Bobby’s diagnosis could help others. Now 83, Sir Bobby is celebrated across the footballing world for his achievements on the field. As well as playing every minute of the 1966 World Cup triumph, he won the Ballon d’Or later that year and, having survived the Munich Air Disaster of 1958, he inspired Manchester United to their first European Cup triumph in 1968 with two goals in the final.
On This Day
- 1512 – The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, painted by Michelangelo, is exhibited to the public for the first time.
- 1755 – In Portugal, Lisbon is totally devastated by a massive earthquake and tsunami, killing between 60,000 and 90,000 people.
- 1800 – John Adams becomes the first President of the United States to live in the Executive Mansion (later renamed the White House).
- 1896 – A picture showing the bare breasts of a woman appears in National Geographic magazine for the first time.
- 1951 – Operation Buster–Jangle: Six thousand five hundred American soldiers are exposed to ‘Desert Rock’ atomic explosions for training purposes in Nevada. Participation is not voluntary.
- 1955 – The Vietnam War begins. That went well…
- 1982 – King Vidor, American director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1894)
- 1985 – Phil Silvers, American actor and comedian (b. 1911)
- 2005 – Michael Piller, American screenwriter and producer (b. 1948)
One Halloween in the Bronx, teenagers threw eggs at a car. The eggs probably cost the boys a few dollars. They cost Karl Jackson his life. The year was 1998. Mr. Jackson and his girlfriend were picking up her 9-year-old son from a children’s party. Mr. Jackson had turned 21 weeks earlier. He was a quiet young man, the son of a nurse and a postal worker. He usually avoided going out on Halloween, not because he was too busy he was a data entry clerk at Morgan Stanley but because he thought it was too dangerous. The teenagers’ eggs struck their car. Mr. Jackson stepped out of the vehicle. An argument began. Mr. Jackson had sat back down in the passenger seat when one of the teenagers pulled out a gun. A single shot rang out, striking Mr. Jackson in the head, killing him. “I think it took us two years to even talk about it,” said Gloria Jackson, 62, Mr. Jackson’s mother. “We were just devastated. We never thought that anyone from our family would be murdered, especially on a holiday, for something stupid.”
Halloween eggings have left a violent legacy in New York City. Since 1984, at least 24 people have been seriously wounded or killed in stabbings, shootings, beatings or accidents sparked by egg-throwing confrontations around Halloween. All 24 cases played out in roughly the same way: a group of boys hurled eggs at pedestrians, cars or houses; the targets confronted the throwers; and violence erupted. Most of the 24 victims were teenagers or young men. The New York Police Department said it did not compile statistics on eggings. The tally of 24 victims comes from a review of articles in The New York Times, The Daily News, The New York Post and Newsday that described Halloween egg-throwing episodes. Caught up in the thrill and anonymity of wearing costumes and masks, teenagers have long used Halloween as an excuse to wreak havoc.
Halloween eggings have occasionally led to attacks in other parts of the country, but only in New York City has the practice left two dozen dead and wounded. Some like Mr. Jackson, who had the audacity to confront egg-throwers, have been murdered. Some who have been hit with eggs have chased the culprits and killed them. Some who have thrown eggs have died trying to get away. The seemingly harmless prank of a tossed egg has been perceived as a kind of ultimate insult, the sudden splatter and mess touching off a rage in people. For police officers in the 104th Precinct in Queens, eggings are serious business: they ask merchants not to sell eggs or shaving cream to minors during Halloween week and distribute “No Eggs” posters to stores, as part of a campaign started by the Juniper Park Civic Association.
Two days before Halloween in 1994, a man leaving a bar in Brooklyn was hit with eggs tossed by several boys. The man stabbed and killed one of the boys, a 12-year-old. In 1996, a 10-year-old Brooklyn boy was shot in the neck by a stray bullet after an egg fight on Halloween.
On Oct. 29, 2005, Joseph Padro, 31, the brother of a police detective, was shot and killed in the Bronx after he chased a group of teenagers who pelted his minivan with eggs. One of those he chased, Jeffrey Ivey, 15, never admitted that he threw an egg that hit the minivan witnesses said he had but he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. He was sentenced to five years to life in prison. “Whether he threw it or not, the deceased thought he had,” said Mr. Ivey’s lawyer, Robert M. Moll. “What may start off as a prank does not always end how people may think, and in this case, it led to tragic results for both the deceased and Jeffrey Ivey.”
Every Halloween, on the anniversary of Mr. Jackson’s death, his family gathers at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx. They write messages to him, on painted stones they leave at his grave. His sister, Karlyn Jackson, was pregnant at the time of the shooting. The nephew he never knew is now 11. Mr. Jackson’s grandmother, Sally Bagley, still keeps a pair of his shoes at the top of the stairway.
The teenager prosecuted for killing Mr. Jackson, Curtis Sterling, was 17 when he was arrested. Serving 20 years, he turned 29 in June, inmate No. 99A4542 at a state prison in Ulster County. Every October Mr. Sterling receives a Halloween card in the mail. The cards read: “I’m glad you’re still there.” It’s from Mr. Jackson’s mother.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Toni Collette (48), Natalia Tena (36), Jenny McCarthy (48), Anthony Kiedis (58), Erica Cerra (41), Peter Jackson (59), Stephen Rea (74), Willow Smith (20), Sanjeev Bhaskar (56), Michael J. Anderson (67), Vanilla Ice (53), Fiona Dourif (39), Clémence Poésy (38), Henry Winkler (75), Jessica Hynes (48), Juliet Stevenson (64), Ivanka Trump (39), Winona Ryder (49), Rufus Sewell (53), Ben Foster (40), Richard Dreyfuss (73), Dan Castellaneta (63), Joaquin Phoenix (46), Julia Roberts (53), Annie Potts (68), Matt Smith (38), Gwendoline Christie (42), Nolan Gould (22), Caitlyn Jenner (71), Chris Bauer (54), Inbar Lavi (34), John Cleese (81), Robert Picardo (67), Kelly Osbourne (36), Jon Heder (43), Cary Elwes (58), Anthony Rapp (49), Seth MacFarlane (47), Tom Cavanagh (57), and Roger Allam (67).
Sad times when a Disney character dies… But what else would 2020 be if not totally crap? At least The Amazing Randi will now be able to annoy proper psychics by haunting their crystal balls from now on, he’d had a long life considering most of his career was based on spoiling magicians secrets and debunking faith healers.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Spencer Davis, 81, Welsh musician (The Spencer Davis Group), pneumonia.
- James Randi, 92, Canadian-American magician and skeptic, founder of the JREF and co-founder of the CSI.
- Marge Champion, 101, American actress (Show Boat, Give a Girl a Break), choreographer and model (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs).
- Johnny Leeze, 78, English actor (Emmerdale, Coronation Street, Last of the Summer Wine), COVID-19.
- Joan Hocquard, 112, British supercentenarian, oldest person in the United Kingdom.
In Other News
Hollywood star Robert Redford, 84, is “in mourning” following the death of his son James at the age of 58. Activist and filmmaker James Redford died on Friday after being diagnosed with liver cancer, his wife Kyle confirmed via Twitter. His famous father’s publicist, Cindi Berger, said: “The grief is immeasurable with the loss of a child.” “Jamie [James] was a loving son, husband and father,” added Berger, who asked for privacy for the Redford family “during this difficult time”. “His legacy lives on through his children, art, filmmaking and devoted passion to conservation and the environment.” Redford’s son James made documentary films, including The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia. His latest film Playing Keeps, which explored the importance of play and downtime in our lives, was given a virtual premiere online at this month’s Mill Valley Film Festival in California. His wife of 32 years, Kyle, shared the news of his death online, alongside pictures of the couple and their two children. She told the Salt Lake Tribune that James had discovered the cancer diagnosis late last year while awaiting a liver transplant. His liver disease had returned two years ago, she added.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is recovering after undergoing heart surgery. The Terminator star told fans he feels “fantastic” after being given a new aortic valve. The 73-year-old was given a new pulmonary valve in 2018 to replace the one he received in 1997, due to a congenital heart defect. He’s now more machine than human! In a post to social media, Schwarzenegger thanked doctors at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, and said he had been enjoying the local sights since his operation. Photos showed him in a hospital bed with his thumbs up, and other pictures of him exploring the area. “Thanks to the team at the Cleveland Clinic, I have a new aortic valve to go along with my new pulmonary valve from my last surgery,” he wrote. “I feel fantastic and have already been walking the streets of Cleveland enjoying your amazing statues. Thank you to every doc and nurse on my team! Schwarzenegger’s son Patrick commented on the Instagram post, joking: “PLEASE DON’T GO WORK OUT TODAY.”
Thanks to Paul G. for this little beauty of a story from The Yorkshire Herald but to be taken with a pinch of salt I suppose! A furious row has broken out between a local tattoo artist and his client after what started as a typical inking session left both of them requiring emergency hospital treatment. Furious film fan and part-time plus-size XXXL model Tracey Munter, 23, had visited the ‘Ink It Good’ Tattoo Emporium in Wellgate, Yorkshire last week, to have the finishing touches applied to a double buttock representation of the chariot race scene from the iconic 1959 film, Ben Hur. Tattooist Jason Burns takes up the story. “It was a big job in more ways than one.” he told us “I’d just lit a roll-up and was finishing off a centurions helmet. It’s delicate, close up work. The next thing is, I sense a slight ripple in the buttock cleavage area just around Charlton Heston’s whip, and a hissing sound – more of a whoosh than a rasp – and before I know what’s happening, there’s a flame shooting from her arse to my fag and my beards gone up like an Aussie bush fire.” Jason says he rushed to the studio sink to quell the flames, only to turn round and see Tracey frantically fanning her buttock area with a damp towel. The fire had travelled down the gas cloud and set fire to her thong, which was smoking like a cheap firework. “To be honest”, said Jason, “I didn’t even realise she was wearing one. You’d need a sodding mining licence and a torch to find out for sure. She could have had a complete wardrobe in there, and I’d have been none the wiser.” Jason and Tracey were taken to Rotherham District Hospital accident and emergency department where they were treated for minor burns and shock. Both are adamant that the other is to blame. “I’m furious,” said Jason, “I’ve got a face like a mange-ridden dog, and my left eyebrow’s not there anymore. I don’t know about Ben Hur – Gone With The Wind would be more appropriate. You don’t just let rip in someone’s face like that. It’s dangerous.” But Tracey remains both angry and unrepentant; “I’m still in agony,” she said, “and Charlton Heston looks more like Sidney bloody Poitier now. Jason shouldn’t have had a fag on the go when he’s doing close up work; there’s no way I’d guff on purpose. He’d had me on all fours for nearly an hour. I can only put up with that for so long before nature takes its course. My Kev knows that I give him my five-second warning, and I’d have done the same for Jason, but I didn’t get chance – it just quietly crept out.” Ted Walters from the South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue service wasn’t surprised when we asked him to comment on what had happened “People don’t appreciate the dangers.“ he told us, “We get more call-outs to flatulence ignition incidents than kitchen fires these days now that people have moved over to oven chips. We have a slogan ‘Flame ‘n fart – keep ’em apart’. Anyone engaging in an arse-inking scenario would do well to bear that in mind in future.” On behalf of the entire Fire and Rescue service, we wish them both a swift recovery.
On This Day
- 1415 – Hundred Years’ War: Henry V of England, with his lightly armoured infantry and archers, defeats the heavily armoured French cavalry in the Battle of Agincourt.
- 1854 – The Battle of Balaclava takes place during the Crimean War. It is soon memorialised in verse as The Charge of the Light Brigade.
- 1400 – Geoffrey Chaucer, English philosopher, poet, and author (b. 1343)
- 1993 – Vincent Price, American actor (b. 1911)
- 2002 – Richard Harris, Irish actor and singer (b. 1930)
- 2004 – John Peel, English radio host and producer (b. 1939)
Edmund Zagorski was an American convicted murderer from Michigan who was executed by the state of Tennessee for the 1983 murders of John Dotson and Jimmy Porter in Robertson County. Zagorski lured the two men into a wooded hunting ground under the pretence of selling them 100lb (45 kg) of marijuana – before shooting them and slitting their throats.
Zagorski first met John Dale Dotson on April 5th 1983 at a trout farm. Zagorski introduced himself to Dotson and his wife Marsha under the guise of being a mercenary based in Central America named Jesse Lee Hardin. Zagorski convinced Dotson that he would be able to sell as much as 100 pounds of marijuana for around $25,000 as early as April 21st. Following this, the two scheduled a meeting in a wooded hunting ground in Robertson County for 6:00 pm on Saturday, April 23rd 1983. Before he left to meet Zagorski on April 23rd, Dotson was described by his wife Marsha as “somewhat hesitant” and allegedly asked her to call a friend if he failed to return that night. After leaving, he met his friend James “Jimmy” Porter at Porter’s tavern, near the arranged meeting location. Dotson had a change of clothes, a backpack and a revolver. The two men promptly left in Porter’s truck to meet Zagorski. At around 5:30 pm, the owner of the trout farm where Zagorski and Dotson first met heard gunshots coming from the area where he knew the three men had arranged to meet. However, little action was taken as gunshots were common in the area due to deer hunting. Almost two weeks later, on May 6, the bodies of Dotson and Porter were found in that same wooded area. The bodies had decomposed quickly, in part due to a burgeoning heat wave; however it was concluded that both men had been shot and their throats had been slit. Ballistics tests matched a bullet casing found at the scene to a gun owned by Zagorski.
In late April, days after the murders, Zagorski arrived at a friend’s house in Ohio. The friend in question observed that Zagorski was in possession of numerous items belonging to Dotson and Porter, including Porter’s red Datsun truck, as well as a large amount of money. Zagorski was ultimately arrested on May 26th 1983 following a shootout with Ohio police, during which he shot a number of officers, before he himself was shot, subdued, and arrested. Zagorski was convicted of murdering Dotson and Porter and was sentenced to death by electrocution.
At around 4pm on November 1st 2018, Zagorski ate a final meal of pickled ham hock and pig tails: he had previously rejected a special last meal. Zagorski was executed by electrocution on Thursday, November 1st 2018, at the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville, being pronounced dead at 7:26 pm. His last words were reportedly, “Let’s rock”.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Craig Robinson (49), Nancy Cartwright (63), Katy Perry (36), Glynis Barber (65), Kevin Kline (73), F. Murray Abraham (81), Ryan Reynolds (44), Emilia Clarke (34), Sam Raimi (61), ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic (61), Christopher Lloyd (82), Jeff Goldblum (68), Saffron Burrows (48), Bob Odenkirk (58), Derek Jacobi (82), Catherine Deneuve (77), Jesse Tyler Ferguson (45), Andrew Scott (44), Ken Watanabe (61), Everett McGill (75), Kim Kardashian West (40), Viggo Mortensen (62), Danny Boyle (64), Snoop Dogg (49), Sandra Dickinson (72), Rebecca Ferguson (37), Michael Gambon (80), and John Lithgow (75).
A distinct lack of deathly news this week, maybe we’re experiencing a calm before a storm… As we are slowly nearing the end of the year, maybe this is the time to think about next years list. Personally, I keep a notebook of potentials I stumble upon throughout the year, but I usually pick a theme, this year was Star Trek actors, maybe next year will be Sitcom stars from the 80’s or Tory politicians of 2020…. Anyhow, start thinking!
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Roberta McCain, 108, American political matriarch.
- Ronald Forfar, 81, English actor (Bread).
- Margaret Nolan, 76, English actress (Goldfinger, Carry On at Your Convenience, A Hard Day’s Night), model, and artist.
- Conchata Ferrell, 77, American actress (Two and a Half Men, Edward Scissorhands, Network), complications from cardiac arrest.
- Rhonda Fleming, 97, American actress (Spellbound, Serpent of the Nile, The Buster Keaton Story), aspiration pneumonia.
In Other News
The Wanted singer Tom Parker has been diagnosed with an inoperable and terminal brain tumour – just weeks before he is due to become a father for the second time. The 32-year-old boy band member announced the news to fans on Monday morning. In a shared message posted on Instagram, Parker and wife actor Kelsey Hardwick wrote: “Hey guys, you know that we’ve both been quiet on social media for a few weeks and it’s time to tell you why. “There’s no easy way to say this but I’ve sadly been diagnosed with a brain tumour and I’m already undergoing treatment.” They continued: “We decided, after a lot of thought, that rather than hiding away and trying to keep it a secret, we would do one interview where we could lay out all the details and let everyone know the facts in our own way. “We are all absolutely devastated but we are gonna fight this all the way. “We don’t want your sadness, we just want love and positivity and together we will raise awareness of this terrible disease and look for all available treatment options. “It’s gonna be a tough battle but with everyone’s love and support we are going to beat this. Tom and Kelsey” Parker said that the diagnosis came after he suffered a series of unexplained seizures. Following a number of tests, doctors broke the news he had a tumour known as a grade four glioblastoma, adding that it was “the worst case scenario”. The singer added that he has already begun radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment in an effort to prolong his life. I’m still in complete shock, it’s so much to take in,” he said. “I knew something wasn’t right, but I never expected it to be this. You never think this will happen to you.”
On This Day
- 1851 – Herman Melville‘s Moby-Dick is first published as The Whale.
- 1867 – United States takes possession of Alaska after purchasing it from Russia for $7.2 million.
- 1922 – The British Broadcasting Company (later Corporation) is founded by a consortium, to establish a nationwide network of radio transmitters to provide a national broadcasting service.
- 1929 – The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council overrules the Supreme Court of Canada in Edwards v. Canada when it declares that women are considered “Persons” under Canadian law.
- 1954 – Texas Instruments announces the first transistor radio.
- 1963 – Félicette, a black and white female Parisian stray cat becomes the first cat launched into space.
- 2019 – NASA Astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch take part in the first all-women spacewalk when they venture out of the International Space Station to replace a power controller.
- 1871 – Charles Babbage, English mathematician and engineer, invented the mechanical computer (b. 1791)
- 1931 – Thomas Edison, American engineer and businessman, invented the light bulb and phonograph (b. 1847)
- 2007 – Alan Coren, English journalist and author (b. 1938)
- 2012 – Sylvia Kristel, Dutch model and actress (b. 1952)
Last of the Space Animals
As you saw above, today is the anniversary of the first cat launched into space! Félicette was one of 14 female cats trained for spaceflight by the French space program. The cats ‘training’ included having electrodes implanted onto their skulls so their neurological activity could be monitored throughout the flight. Electrical impulses were applied to the brain and a leg during the flight to stimulate responses. Most of the data from the mission was of good quality, and Félicette survived the 14 minute flight, the only cat to have survived spaceflight! A second feline was launched on 24th October, but the mission resulted in a fatality. The boffins don’t like to advertise is that most animals blasted off into space don’t survive.
Sadly, Félicette was euthanised two months after the launch so that scientists could perform a necropsy to examine her brain. Of the remaining 12 cats that were trained, the fate of 11 is known. One cat’s health was deteriorating after the electrode surgery, so the scientists had them removed. The group adopted her as their mascot and gave her the name Scoubidou, as she had a scoubidou braid around her neck, a popular style at the time. The other nine cats were ‘decommissioned’ at the end of the program. France continued its biological payload research, changing to monkeys. A monkey known as Martine was launched on 7th March 1967 and Pierrette six days later. They were both successfully recovered.
France’s feline biological rocket payloads were preceded by rats and followed by monkeys. According to an article in Space.com on 8th November 2017, the participation of Félicette in the space race, “… was certainly not voluntary, but it was a huge milestone for France, which had just established the world’s third civilian space agency (after the Soviet Union and the U.S.). Félicette’s mission helped bring France into the space race.” Although Félicette’s flight was much less popular than other spaceflights at the time, probably due to photos of her with electrodes implanted on her skull and the new animal rights movement.
While some non-human animals which traveled in space were celebrated as heroes—the chimpanzee Ham was buried at the International Space Hall of Fame in New Mexico, U.S.A., and the Soviet dog Laika has a bronze monument at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre near Star City in Russia; but for more than 50 years after her mission, there was no monument for Félicette. Then, in 2017 a crowdfunding campaign was started by Matthew Serge Guy to erect a bronze statue of Félicette to commemorate her contribution to science. In April 2019, Guy announced that the statue was to be located in Eastern France at the International Space University. It is 5ft tall and depicts Félicette “perched atop Earth, gazing up toward the skies she once traveled”. Guy wrote in a Kickstarter update, “It’s crazy to think a video I put online has resulted in this. The internet’s an alright place sometimes.” Félicette has since been commemorated on postage stamps around the world.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Zac Efron (33), Jean-Claude Van Damme (60), Pam Dawber (69), Felicity Jones (37), Michael McKean (73), Mark Gatiss (54), George Wendt (72), Eminem (48), Angela Lansbury (95), Tim Robbins (62), Suzanne Somers (74), Peter Bowles (84), Gary Kemp (61), Dominic West (51), Steve Coogan (55), Lesley Joseph (75), Cliff Richard (80), Sacha Baron Cohen (49), Himesh Patel (30), Paul Simon (79), Chris Carter (64), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (31), Hugh Jackman (52), Robin Askwith (70), and Les Dennis (66).
- Clark Middleton, 63, American actor (Sin City, Snowpiercer, Twin Peaks), West Nile virus.
- Johnny Nash, 80, American singer-songwriter (“I Can See Clearly Now“, “Hold Me Tight“, “Tears on My Pillow“).
- Eddie Van Halen, 65, Dutch-born musician (Van Halen) and songwriter (“Jump“), throat cancer.
In Other News
The UK’s oldest person with Down’s Syndrome has died aged 78, despite his family being told when he was born that he was only expected to live for 12 years. Robin Smith, from Kettering in Northamptonshire, set a new record as Britain’s oldest living person with Down’s Syndrome when he turned 78 on October 9th last year. He lived life to the full and was a massive fan of both Cliff Richard and Elvis Presley. But he tragically died on September 27 at Northleigh Residential Home in Kettering, where he had lived since 1986. Tributes have flooded in from his friends and family, who have described him as a ‘beautiful soul’ with an unforgettable laugh. Workers at the care home said that Mr Smith, who loved yoga and aerobics, ‘lit up a room with his twinkly eyes and cheeky smile’. People with Down’s Syndrome are expected to live until their 50s but the life expectancy was much lower in the 1940s. A Down’s Syndrome Association spokesperson said: ‘Thanks to medical advances and the care and love of those around them, the average life expectancy for people with Down’s syndrome is now between 50 and 60 years, with a small number of people living into their seventies and beyond.’ When Mr Smith was a child, very little was known about Down’s Syndrome and wide-spread ignorance often resulted in children with the condition being abandoned or even killed. Many were sent to institutions where medical conditions associated with the syndrome – such as heart problems – were not properly treated. For this reason, countless youngsters died in childhood.
Lucille Ball’s only granddaughter Desiree S. Anzalone has died at the age of 31 following a battle with breast cancer. Desiree had been first diagnosed at the age of 25 and underwent a double mastectomy and chemotherapy treatment. She was in remission but in 2018 learned the cancer had progressed to Stage four and spread to her liver, lungs and bones. Sharing the news of her tragic death, Desiree’s mother Julie paid tribute to her ‘special little girl’ in an emotional statement. Watching her slip away was just, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. No mother should have to watch that,” she added. Desiree was named after her grandfather Desi Arnaz Sr, who was Lucille’s co-star on I Love Lucy and real life husband. Speaking in 2019, Desiree said she felt her actress grandmother would have been proud of her. She said she believed that ‘Lucy and I share the same gumption in regards to my fight with stage 4 breast cancer.’ Sadly, due to coronavirus social-distancing restrictions, Desiree’s mum Julie wasn’t able to see her poorly daughter as much as she’d like to in her final months this year. “The COVID-19 kept us apart,” explained Julie. “I wasn’t able to see her as much as I usually do because she was compromised and I didn’t want her getting sick in any kind of way. “I mean, I saw her, but not as much; we’d hang out every day practically she was here. Plus, she lived with me for a while.” Lucille Ball died in 1989 at the age of 77 after suffering an abdominal aortic aneurysm.
The woman who became the world’s oldest female skydiver has died, aged 88. Former teacher Dilys Price, from Cardiff, was scared of heights when she did her first jump in her fifties. But she went on to complete hundreds of parachute jumps all over the world, and set the Guinness World Record for the oldest female solo parachute jump. She also founded the Touch Trust charity championing art and creative movement programmes for disabled people. Learning Disability Wales said she “transformed the lives of thousands of people with profound multiple disabilities and people with autism”. In 2018 Ms Price told BBC Wales: “Skydiving is my passion, there you have the ultimate beauty of the sky… you just feel so free.” After taking up the sport when she was 54, she went on to complete 1,139 solo jumps all over the world. She was no ordinary skydiver – with a background in drama and dance, she specialised in air acrobatics and freestyling. The University of Wales Trinity Saint David, where she was an honorary fellow, said she was a “remarkable, amazing and inspiring” woman. Aged 80, the former Cardiff College of Education lecturer set the Guinness World Record for the oldest solo parachute jump (female). At 86 she sold her parachute, but went on to do a tandem skydive with former Wales rugby star Gareth Thomas. She was awarded an OBE for services to people with special needs in 2003, and was honoured for her work at the Pride of Britain awards in 2017. Back in 2018, Ms Price, who went on to model for Helmut Lang, said she wanted to inspire older people to keep active. She said: “We only get one shot at life”.
The Trump is back at the White House after a dramatic nine days in which he tested positive for coronavirus, was flown to hospital, was given experimental drugs and made an impromptu drive-by to meet supporters while still sick. But how ill has Trump been and has he recovered? Mr Trump’s doctors said he had a fever when admitted to hospital on 2nd October but by the time the president left hospital on Monday, they said he hadn’t had a fever for 72 hours. This would mean Mr Trump’s 10-day isolation countdown would have begun on Saturday. But just like Typhoid Mary, he’s been spreading it about like nobody’s business! The second presidential debate, scheduled for 15th October, is well within the infection timeframe and the commission organising the event in Miami has said it would now have to take place remotely. Mr Trump has since pulled out of the event saying he was “not going to waste my time on a virtual debate”, knowing full well that he could kill his opponent by just breathing on him. But while Mr Trump is pushing to get back work and onto the campaign trail, among the wider US population, there is evidence that coronavirus patients – especially those in older age groups – take some time to recover from the disease, so there is a glimmer of hope still!
On This Day
- 1910 – Theodore Roosevelt becomes the first U.S. president to fly in an airplane.
- 1984 – Aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger, astronaut Kathryn D. Sullivan becomes the first American woman to perform a space walk.
- 2001 – Polaroid files for federal bankruptcy protection.
- 1721 – Edward Colston, English merchant and politician (b. 1636)
- 1961 – Chico Marx, American comedian (b. 1887)
- 1967 – Stanley Morison, typographer, known for Times New Roman font (b. 1889)
- 2019 – Alexei Leonov, Soviet/Russian cosmonaut and first human to conduct a spacewalk (b. 1934)
Mathias Kneißl, known as Robber Kneißl was a German outlaw, poacher and popular social rebel in the Dachau district, in the Kingdom of Bavaria. Kneißl became famous for having caused the largest manhunt in Bavaria of the time. Chased by the police, Kneißl became a legendary hero with the rural people because of his witful and artful fight against the authorities.
Mathias Kneißl was the eldest of six children of a poor innkeeper. In 1886 his father purchased the mill at Sulzemoos Schacher. At age 16 he was imprisoned for the first time, because members of his family were suspected of stock rustling. His father died in 1892 while in police custody. Kneissl then began accompanying his brothers on robberies.
In 1893 he was arrested for the second time. His younger brother Alois had been shot by police while resisting arrest and died of tuberculosis after four years in prison. Mathias Kneißl was sentenced to five years and nine months in prison. After serving his sentence, he was released in February 1899 and worked as a carpenter in Nußdorf am Inn. After six months Kneißl was dismissed by his master, because his colleagues refused to work with him any longer. Due to his bad reputation, he was unable to find another job, therefore a life of crime was all he had to fall back upon.
For two years, Kneißl was pursued by the police. After his accomplices were arrested, he continued committing armed robberies on his own. An attempt to arrest him occurred on 30 November 1900 in Irchenbrunn Altomünster. In a massive gun battle, two policemen were injured so badly that they subsequently died. Three months later, in March 1901, Kneißl was captured at Geisen Egenhofen by sixty policemen. During the preceding gunfight, Kneißl was seriously injured by a bullet in the abdomen.
In November 1901 Kneißl was placed on trial at Augsburg. He was charged with two murders, attempted murder, as well as armed robbery and extortion. At his trial, which was followed by the media with great attention, Kneißl reportedly said: “I can suffer no wrong. I cannot bend, I would rather kill myself.” Kneißl confessed to most of the charges, but denied an intent to kill against the two policemen who were shot by him. However, the court found him guilty of murder, premeditated bodily harm with fatal consequences, extortion and for aggravated robbery. The Court then sentenced him to receive the death penalty for murder and 15 years imprisonment on the other charges. Sentenced on a Monday, Kneißl allegedly sarcastically remarked: “Well, that’s a good start of a week.”
Strangely enough, a small and charming beer garden called Räuber-Kneißl-Garten has been name after him, which is located behind the Maisach brewery in the town of Maisach, 25km north west from the centre of Munich. The Räuber Kneißl Dunkel (dark lager) named in memory of the infamous bandit is brewed according to an original and ancient recipe from the Maisach brewery.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Michelle Trachtenberg (35), Joan Cusack (58), Emily Deschanel (44), Claudia Black (48), Jane Krakowski (52), Stephen Moyer (51), Lennie James (55), John Nettles (77), Dawn French (63), Dan Stevens (38), Rose McIver (32), Charles Dance (74), Manu Bennett (51), Martin Kemp (59), Guillermo del Toro (56), Scott Bakula (66), Tony Shalhoub (67), Brandon Routh (41), Chris O’Dowd (41), Brian Blessed (84), Sharon Osbourne (68), Matt Damon (50), Sigourney Weaver (71), Kristanna Loken (41), Chevy Chase (77), Paul Hogan (81), Ardal O’Hanlon (55), Bruno Mars (35), R.L. Stine (77), Soon-Yi Previn (50), Shawn & Aaron Ashmore (41), Tim Minchin (45), Simon Cowell (61), Thom Yorke (52), Ioan Gruffudd (47), Britt Ekland (78), Kate Winslet (45), Guy Pearce (53), Jesse Eisenberg (37), Karen Allen (69), Glynis Johns (97), Clive Barker (68), Neil deGrasse Tyson (62), and Stephanie Cole (79).
Welcome poolers! Another week passes, sadly Trump is still alive as we speak, but who knows what will happen… I thought I’d let you know that if you had the prescience to have listed Archie Lyndhurst as a Maverick you could have scored 231 points.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Archie Lyndhurst, 19, English actor (So Awkward).
- Helen Reddy, 78, Australian-American singer (“I Am Woman“, “Delta Dawn“) and actress (Pete’s Dragon).
- Frank Windsor, 92, English actor (Z-Cars, Softly, Softly, EastEnders).
In Other News
Trump entered his third day in the hospital today after contracting the coronavirus and falling ill last week, even as confusing and contradictory accounts about his medical condition added to the general lack of concern for the 74-year-old president’s well-being. Seeking to project an optimistic image to the world, President Trump released a four-minute video on Saturday evening from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., to say that he is “starting to feel good” and would “be back soon.” Even though he looked like he’d been bitch slapped by Dolly Parton’s untethered tits. Wearing a blue jacket, cuff links and an American flag pin but no necktie, the president looked much paler than he did during his debate in Cleveland on Tuesday with former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. Thanking the staff at Walter Reed, Mr. Trump said that he “wasn’t feeling so well.” But that optimism was not shared by everyone close to the president and just a few hours earlier, Mark Meadows, the president’s chief of staff, had offered a darker picture. “The president’s vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning,” Mr. Meadows said. “And the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care.” Many doctors stressed the critical period of time — about seven to 10 days after infection — when a patient’s condition can take a turn for the worse. Some people respond to an infection with an overly exuberant immune response that can worsen their illness and in this case hopefully prove fatal.
The first person cured of HIV – Timothy Ray Brown – has died from cancer. Mr Brown, who was also known as “the Berlin patient”, was given a bone marrow transplant from a donor who was naturally resistant to HIV. It meant he no longer needed anti-viral drugs and he remained free of the virus, which can lead to Aids, for the rest of his life. The International Aids Society said Mr Brown gave the world hope that an HIV cure was possible. Mr Brown, 54, who was born in the US, was diagnosed with HIV while he lived in Berlin in 1995. Then in 2007 he developed a type of blood cancer called acute myeloid leukaemia. His treatment involved destroying his bone marrow, which was producing the cancerous cells, and then having a bone marrow transplant. The transfer came from a donor that had a rare mutation in part of their DNA called the CCR5 gene. CCR5 is a set of genetic instructions that build the doorway that human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) walks through to infect cells. Mutations to CCR5 essentially lock the door and give people resistance to HIV. After the treatment, levels of HIV in Mr Brown’s blood fell to undetectable levels and he no longer needed anti-retroviral therapy. He was in effect “cured”. But the leukaemia, that led to his HIV cure, returned earlier this year and spread to his brain and spinal cord. “It is with great sadness that I announce that Timothy passed away… surrounded by myself and friends, after a five-month battle with leukaemia,” his partner Tim Hoeffgen posted on Facebook. He added: “Tim committed his life’s work to telling his story about his HIV cure and became an ambassador of hope.” Mr Brown’s cure was too risky and aggressive to be used routinely – it remains principally a cancer treatment. The approach is also too expensive for the 38 million people, many in sub-Saharan Africa, thought to be living with an HIV infection.
Brian May has described recovery as a “long climb back” after suffering a heart attack earlier this year. The Queen guitarist previously said that he was “very near death” after being admitted to hospital in May. Doctors discovered that three of his arteries to be blocked and in danger of stopping the blood supply to his heart. “It is a long climb back,” May, 73, told The Dead Pool of his health. “I’ve had complications due to the drugs I’m on, one of which was a stomach explosion that nearly killed me.” May, who still performs with Queen + Adam Lambert, admitted that he had been baffled by the heart attack, which was a symptom of an arterial disease. “I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t have high cholesterol and I was exercising through the tour, so why did it happen?”, he questioned. “At least I now have a heart that is working far better than it was.” May initially told fans about the incident after admitting to ripping his buttock muscles while gardening. “In the middle of the whole saga of the painful backside, I had a small heart attack,” he said. “I say small – it’s not something that did me any harm. It was about 40 minutes of pain in the chest and tightness and that feeling in the arms and sweating.” May said he turned down open heart surgery and instead opted to have three stents put in.
Elvington Airfield has struck again! The former RAF base near York, famously the scene of Richard Hammond scraping his head into the concrete whilst driving a jet powered car upside down. He suffered serious brain injuries when he crashed at almost 300mph, some might say he made a full recovery. Back to this week though, Zef Eisenberg, a millionaire fitness firm founder was killed attempting a British land speed record. Motorsport UK said the 47-year-old’s Porsche 911 Turbo S “went out of control at high speed at the end of a run” on Thursday. Guernsey-based Mr Eisenberg was involved in a “near-death” 230mph crash at the same airfield in 2016. Mr Eisenberg has now left behind his partner Mirella D’Antonio and two children. Sports nutrition firm Maximuscle said it was “devastated” at the news of the Mr Eisenberg’s death, who had “worked tirelessly” on his “brain child” during his ownership of the company before it was sold to pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline in 2011 for £162m. Mr Eisenberg ran the Madmax Race Team, which attempts speed records with motorbikes and cars. Before his previous crash, in which he suffered 11 broken bones including his pelvis, he had set other speed records at the airfield. He returned to racing in 2017, despite concerns he would never walk again, now he’ll never se his wife and children again.
On This Day
- 1883 – First run of the Orient Express.
- 1927 – Gutzon Borglum begins sculpting Mount Rushmore.
- 1957 – Sputnik 1 becomes the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth.
- 1226 – Francis of Assisi (b. 1182)
- 1669 – Rembrandt, Dutch painter and illustrator (b. 1606)
- 1947 – Max Planck, German physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1858)
- 1970 – Janis Joplin, American singer-songwriter (b. 1943)
- 1989 – Graham Chapman, English actor and screenwriter (b. 1941)
Of Funerals and Pythons
Graham Chapman was an English comedian, writer, actor, author, and one of the six members of the British surreal comedy group Monty Python. In his personal life, Chapman was openly homosexual and a strong supporter of gay rights, and was in a long-term partnership with David Sherlock. He was an alcoholic during his time at Cambridge and the Python years, but quit drinking shortly before working on Life of Brian and remained sober for the rest of his life.
In 1988, Chapman made a routine visit to a dentist, who found a small but malignant tumour on one of his tonsils, leading to both being removed via a tonsillectomy. The following year, the cancer had spread into Chapman’s spinal cord, where another tumour was surgically removed. Chapman had several chemotherapy treatments and surgeries during the final months of his life, but ultimately the cancer was declared inoperable. According to his brother, Chapman was visibly upset by the death of his mother that July, by which time he was terminally ill. Shortly afterwards, Chapman filmed scenes for the 20th anniversary of the first broadcast of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, the final time he appeared on television.
Chapman died on 4th October 1989 in Maidstone Hospital. At the time of his death, he was being visited by Sherlock, brother John and his sister-in-law, and fellow Pythons Palin and Cleese, the latter of whom had to be led out of the room to deal with his grief. Peter Cook had intended to visit, but arrived too late and was visibly shaken by the news.
The five surviving Python members had decided to stay away from Chapman’s private funeral to prevent it from becoming a media circus and to give his family some privacy. They sent a wreath in the shape of the Python foot, with the message: “To Graham from the other Pythons with all our love. PS: Stop us if we’re getting too silly”. The Rolling Stones also sent a floral arrangement, saying “Thanks for all the laughs.”
A public memorial service was held at St. Bartholomew’s on 3 December, two months after his death. The service began with a chorus of the hymn “Jerusalem” sung in Engrish with a mock Chinese accent. Cleese delivered a eulogy to Chapman with shock humour that he believed Chapman would have appreciated, and later became the first person at a televised British memorial service to say “fuck”. Palin also delivered a eulogy to Chapman, as did Idle, quipping that Chapman had decided to die rather than listen to Palin once again. Idle led the other surviving Pythons and Chapman’s close friends and family in a rendition of the song “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life“, from Life of Brian, and later closed his remarks by saying: “I’d just like to be the last person at this meeting to say ‘fuck’.”
Ten years after Chapman’s death, his ashes were first rumoured to have been “blasted into the skies in a rocket” with assistance from the Dangerous Sports Club. In a second rumour, Chapman’s ashes had been scattered on the mountains of Snowdonia, Wales, where he had visited regularly as a climber.
Melissa Benoist (32), Dakota Johnson (31), Alicia Silverstone (44), Christoph Waltz (64), Susan Sarandon (74), Liev Schreiber (53), Sarah Lancashire (56), Nick Mohammed (40), Alicia Vikander (32), Denis Villeneuve (53), Lena Headey (47), Neve Campbell (47), Clive Owen (56), Seann William Scott (44), Gwen Stefani (51), Tommy Lee (58), Greg Proops (61), Avery Brooks (72), Sting (69), Ian McNeice (70), Brie Larson (31), Julie Andrews (85), Zach Galifianakis (51), Randy Quaid (70), Monica Bellucci (56), Kieran Culkin (38), Omid Djalili (55), Ian Ogilvy (77), Erika Eleniak (51), Ian McShane (78), Mackenzie Crook (49), Luke Goss (52), Naomi Watts (52), Hilary Duff (33), Hana Mae Lee (32), Jeffrey Jones (74), Brigitte Bardot (86), and Dita Von Teese (48).
Strangely enough, only one of us guessed that Jackie Stallone would depart us this year, so Vic is the only recipient of points this week, 52 of them in fact! Well done Vic!! That only leaves five of us who haven’t scored yet this year, which includes myself :/
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Jackie Stallone, 98, American astrologer.
- Michael Lonsdale, 89, French actor (The Day of the Jackal, Moonraker, The Remains of the Day).
- Tommy DeVito, 92, American Hall of Fame musician and singer (The Four Seasons), COVID-19.
- •Jimmy Winston, 75, English musician (Small Faces) and actor (Doctor Who).
In Other News
A Massachusetts man has died after eating an excessive amount of black liquorice, doctors said this week. The unusual case was reported in the New England Journal of Medicine and details the death of a 54-year-old construction worker. The man collapsed inside a fast-food restaurant and was taken to a hospital, where he died the next day. Doctors discovered he had dangerously low potassium, which led to heart rhythm and other problems. Doctors wrote that the man had maintained “a poor diet, consisting primarily of several packages of candy daily,” which threw his nutrients out of whack. One doctor cited in the study described the man’s diagnosis as, “Metabolic, renal, vascular, and cardiac toxic effects from apparent mineralocorticoid excess due to liquorice consumption.” The problem, according to a report from the Associated Press, lies in the consumption of glycyrrhizic acid, a sweetening compound found in black liquorice and in other foods containing liquorice root extract. It can deplete potassium levels, cause high blood pressure, and imbalance electrolytes. “The key message here for the general public is that food containing liquorice can potentially be hazardous to your health if eaten in large quantities,” said Dr Neel Butala, a cardiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, who contributed to the case study. “I don’t think people realise it. It’s not labeled that way.” In 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration published a warning about the dangers of black liquorice consumption, advising that eating only two ounces of black liquorice a day for two weeks could lead to an irregular heart rhythm and may require hospitalisation. With Halloween coming up next month, perhaps this new study will serve as a reminder to enjoy candy in moderation.
If you noticed, this week was all about cows, especially in the North of England. Yet another pensioner has died after being charged by cows, meaning two people in northern England have been killed in such circumstances this month. Malcolm Flynn was walking along the Pennine Way near Thirlwall Castle and Gisland in Northumberland when the animals stampeded. The 72-year-old from Carlisle was so badly injured during the incident that he died at the scene. The tragedy occurred just 10 days before popular school teacher David Clark was killed by a herd of cows while walking his dog near Richmond in North Yorkshire. Some 98 people have been killed by cows in the UK over the last 20 years, according to the government’s Health and Safety Executive – 22 members of the public and 76 farm workers. In the vast majority of public deaths, a dog is the trigger. It is advised that if you are charged, let the dog go and walk calmly away in the opposite direction, most likely you will survive and the dog will outrun the cows for later collection. Or just avoid fields with cows in, not all rights of way are worth it.
On This Day
- 1936 – Mrs Wallis Simpson obtains her divorce, which would eventually allow her to marry King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom, thus forcing his abdication from the throne.
- 1962 – By refusing to agree to the firing of a nuclear torpedo at a US warship, Vasily Arkhipov averts nuclear war.
- 1992 – United States Navy radioman Allen R. Schindler, Jr. is murdered by shipmate Terry M. Helvey for being gay, precipitating debate about gays in the military that results in the United States’ “Don’t ask, don’t tell” military policy.
- 939 – Æthelstan, English king (b. 894)
- 1988 – Charles Hawtrey, English actor, singer, and pianist (b. 1914)
- 2013 – Lou Reed, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, producer, and actor (b. 1942)
The Man Who Saved the World
Vasili Arkhipov was a Soviet Navy officer credited with preventing a Soviet nuclear strike (and, presumably, all-out nuclear war) during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Such an attack likely would have caused a major global thermonuclear response. As flotilla commander and second-in-command of the diesel powered submarine B-59, Arkhipov refused to authorise the captain’s use of nuclear torpedoes against the United States Navy, a decision requiring the agreement of all three senior officers aboard.
On 27 October 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, a group of eleven United States Navy destroyers and the aircraft carrier USS Randolph located the diesel-powered, nuclear-armed Foxtrot-class submarine B-59 near Cuba. Despite being in international waters, the United States Navy started dropping signalling depth charges, explosives intended to force the submarine to come to the surface for identification. There had been no contact from Moscow for a number of days and, although the submarine’s crew had earlier been picking up U.S. civilian radio broadcasts, once B-59 began attempting to hide from its U.S. Navy pursuers, it was too deep to monitor any radio traffic. Those on board did not know whether war had broken out or not. The captain of the submarine, Valentin Grigorievitch Savitsky, decided that a war might already have started and wanted to launch a nuclear torpedo.
Unlike the other subs in the flotilla, three officers on board B-59 had to agree unanimously to authorise a nuclear launch: Captain Savitsky, the political officer Ivan Semonovich Maslennikov, and the flotilla commodore (and executive officer of B-59) Arkhipov. Typically, Soviet submarines armed with the “Special Weapon” only required the captain to get authorisation from the political officer to launch a nuclear torpedo, but due to Arkhipov’s position as Commodore, B-59‘s captain also was required to gain Arkhipov’s approval. An argument broke out, with only Arkhipov against the launch. Even though Arkhipov was second-in-command of the submarine B-59, he was in fact Commodore of the entire submarine flotilla, including B-4, B-36 and B-130.
Arkhipov eventually persuaded Savitsky to surface and await orders from Moscow. This effectively averted the general nuclear war which probably would have ensued if the nuclear weapon had been fired. The submarine’s batteries had run very low and the air-conditioning had failed, causing extreme heat and high levels of carbon dioxide inside the submarine. They were forced to surface amid the American pursuers and return to the Soviet Union as a result.
Immediately upon return to Russia, many crew members were faced with disgrace from their superiors. One admiral told them “It would have been better if you’d gone down with your ship.” Olga, Arkhipov’s wife, even said “he didn’t like talking about it, he felt they hadn’t appreciated what they had gone through.”
In 2002, retired Commander Vadim Pavlovich Orlov, a participant in the events, held a press conference revealing the subs were armed with nuclear torpedoes and that Arkhipov was the reason those devices had not been fired. Orlov presented the events less dramatically, saying that Captain Savitsky lost his temper, but eventually calmed down.
When discussing the Cuban Missile Crisis in 2002, Robert McNamara, the U.S. Secretary of Defence at the time, stated, “We came very close” to nuclear war, “closer than we knew at the time.” Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., an advisor for the John F. Kennedy administration and a historian, continued this thought by stating “This was not only the most dangerous moment of the Cold War. It was the most dangerous moment in human history.” Thomas Blanton, who was then director of the US National Security Archive, said that Arkhipov “saved the world”.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Anna Camp (38), Gwyneth Paltrow (48), Indira Varma (47), Meat Loaf (72), Denis Lawson (73), Avril Lavigne (36), Jim Caviezel (52), Linda Hamilton (64), Olivia Newton-John (72), Lysette Anthony (57), Serena Williams (39), Anne Robinson (76), Will Smith (52), Michael Douglas (76), Mark Hamill (69), Catherine Zeta-Jones (51), Michael Madsen (63), Heather Locklear (59), Felicity Kendal (74), Kevin Sorbo (62), Sven-Ole Thorsen (76), Rosalind Chao (63), Karl Pilkington (48), Bruce Springsteen (71), Tom Felton (33), Billie Piper (38), Sue Perkins (51), Ruth Jones (54), Joan Jett (62), Nick Cave (63), Bill Murray (70), Stephen King (73), David Wenham (55), Alfonso Ribeiro (49), and Ricki Lake (52).
Welcome once again to another issue of the newsletter! We have points to award due to the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Well done to Jemm and Louise, who both had her down as their Woman, so an epic 163 points, and also to Mark who scored the normal 63 points! Well done all of you, its certainly made the top half of the leader board interesting.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Bill Gates Sr., 94, American attorney and philanthropist, complications from Alzheimer’s disease.
- Sei Ashina, 36, Japanese actress (Kamen Rider Hibiki, Silk, Kamui Gaiden), suicide.
- Winston Groom, 77, American novelist (Forrest Gump, Gump and Co.).
- Terry Goodkind, 72, American author (The Sword of Truth, The Law of Nines).
- Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 87, American jurist, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (since 1993), complications from pancreatic cancer.
- Robert W. Gore, 83, American engineer, philanthropist and inventor of Gore-Tex.
In Other News
Jacquie Beltrao – one of the main Sky News presenters and former Olympic gymnast – has given fans an update on her health, following her incurable cancer diagnosis. She was recently diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time. The 55-year-old’s cancerous lump in her breast has shrunk to half its original size. The former gymnast was initially told the difficult news in June, after doctors reportedly first told her she had the condition in 2013. Jacquie recalled that “neither my doctors nor I could believe” how much the growth had shrunk by. “When I was told it was incurable, I burst into tears and thought, ‘That’s it, I’m going to die’.” She recalled: “I felt so sad that I’d never go to my daughter’s wedding, see my sons graduate, or become a grandma.” Jacquie stated that while she is “not out of the woods yet” doctors have told her it is “possible to keep the cancer under control”. She has also has revealed that she “lost so much” weight after following a strict diet, amid her devastating cancer diagnosis. Jacquie has been sticking rigidly to a ketogenic diet – a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that excludes sugar. “If I’ve done everything I can to stay well, I can’t beat myself up if things go wrong,” she explained. Jacquie continued: “I’d have Rich Tea biscuits with my tea, strawberries and grapes by the punnet. Boiled sweets when I was tired.” The former Olympics gymnast revealed she has lost a stone in weight after following the new plan. Jacquie admitted: “We’ve eaten a ton of salad and tuna and yes, it is really hard. “I will relax it soon to incorporate rice, because I’ve lost so much weight [at least a stone, she is 5ft 6in and weighs 8st 4lb] but so far I haven’t fallen off the wagon.”
Linda Nolan shared the emotional moment she rang the cancer bell to mark the end of her chemotherapy. The 61-year-old reached the milestone just weeks after her sister Anne finished her rounds of chemo. ‘It was an amazing feeling and I felt so emotional, especially when all the nurses came out and cheered. It’s been such a lovely day.’ Linda was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006 but has been told the secondary cancer found in her pelvis in 2017 had since spread to her liver and is not curable. The pair have already lost one of their sisters, Bernie, to secondary breast cancer seven years ago. Anne recently opened up her conflicting emotions as she finished chemotherapy for breast cancer, knowing sister Linda’s illness is incurable. Anne told us: ‘Chemo was absolutely horrendous for me and I was so happy it finally was over, but at the same time I felt a terrible melancholy that Linda wasn’t ringing the bell with me. ‘I started my chemo a week before Linda, so she still has one more round to go, but she said to me: “Anne, I will ring the bell, but we all know my cancer is never going away.”’
In yet another attention seeking stunt, Justin Bieber has confirmed that he is suffering from an “incurable disease”. The world famous singer took to social media to explain his diagnosis and what this means for his current and future health. The ‘singer’ hit back at claims that he looked “like shit” on Instagram. Addressing his some 142 million followers, The Bieber, 25, confirmed that he has been recently diagnosed with Lyme disease and that he is “battling” and “overcoming” the illness. He wrote: “While a lot of people kept saying Justin Bieber looks like shit, on meth etc. they failed to realise I’ve been recently diagnosed with Lyme disease, not only that but had a serious case of chronic mono which affected my, skin, brain function, energy, and overall health. It’s been a rough couple years but getting the right treatment that will help treat this so far incurable disease and I will be back and better than ever NO CAP.” *According to Urban Dictionary, “No Cap” means either “no lie” or “for real”, or back in my day it meant a cold head.
Amy Schumer revealed on September 8th that she has Lyme disease, but she didn’t make a fuss about it. The 39-year-old comedian shared the news with her 10 million followers on Instagram, opening up about how she might have had it for years. Schumer captioned the throwback photo herself, “My first ever fishing pole. Anyone get LYME this summer? I got it and I’m on Doxycycline. I have maybe had it for years. Any advice? Can you have a glass of wine or 2 on it? I know to stay out of the sun. I’m also taking these herbs from cape cod called Lyme-2. Please comment or text me on my number in my bio. I also want to say that I feel good and am excited to get rid of it.”
Lyme disease is transmitted to humans from infected blacklegged ticks, according to the CDC, and is the most common vector-borne disease in America. Typical symptoms include headache, fatigue, fever and a skin rash known as erythema migrans. However, Lyme disease is completely treatable. The drug Schumer is taking, doxycycline, is one of the top-recommended drugs for adults with Lyme disease. Three to four weeks of antibiotic therapy is recommended for successful treatment. If Lyme disease is left untreated, more severe symptoms may arise as the infection can spread to the joints, the heart and the nervous system. To answer Schumer’s question, drinking while on doxycycline can make the drug less effective if you have liver problems. However, if the patient is healthy, it’s okay to have a drink or two without making the antibiotics less effective.
On This Day
- 1973 – Billie Jean King beats Bobby Riggs in the Battle of the Sexes tennis match at the Houston Astrodome.
- 2000 – The United Kingdom’s MI6 Secret Intelligence Service building is attacked by Real Irish Republican Army using a Russian-built RPG-22 anti-tank missile. Expect more after Brexit.
- 2017 – Hurricane Maria makes landfall in Puerto Rico as a powerful Category 4 hurricane, resulting in 2,975 deaths, $90 billion in damage, and a major humanitarian crisis.
- 2018 – At least 161 people die after a ferry capsized close to the pier on Ukara Island in Lake Victoria and part of Tanzania.
- 1793 – Fletcher Christian, English lieutenant and mutineer (b. 1764)
- 1945 – William Seabrook, American occultist, journalist, and explorer (b. 1884)
- 2004 – Brian Clough, English footballer and manager (b. 1935)
William Seabrook was an American occultist, explorer, traveler, cannibal, journalist and author. Born in Westminster, Maryland; he began his career as a reporter and City Editor of the Augusta Chronicle in Georgia and later became a reporter for The New York Times. Besides his books, Seabrook published articles in popular magazines including Cosmopolitan, Reader’s Digest, and Vanity Fair.
He was married several times but all of his relationships ended up in divorce, perhaps because of his alcoholism, sadism and obsessions; like the time he traveled to West Africa and came across a tribe who partook in the eating of human meat. Seabrook writes about his experience of cannibalism in his novel, Jungle Ways; however, later on Seabrook admits the tribe did not allow him to join in on the ritualistic cannibalism. Instead, he obtained samples of human flesh from a hospital and cooked it for himself, as you do.
Or the week he spent with occultist Aleister Crowley, which inspired him to write a story based on the experience and to recount the experiment in Witchcraft: Its Power in the World Today. He was an extensive traveler, having lifelong fascination with the occult practices of satanism and Haitian Vodou, which he witnessed and described firsthand in Third World countries, as documented in his book The Magic Island. The book is credited with introducing the concept of a zombie to popular culture.
In December 1933, Seabrook was committed at his own request and with the help of some of his friends to Bloomingdale, a mental institution in Westchester County, near New York City, for treatment for acute alcoholism. He remained a patient of the institution until the following July and in 1935 published an account of his experience, written as if it were no more than another expedition to a foreign locale. The book, Asylum, became another best-seller.
On September 20, 1945, Seabrook committed suicide by drug overdose
Last Week’s Birthdays
Jon Bernthal (44), Kristen Johnston (53), Sophia Loren (86), Moon Bloodgood (45), Asia Argento (45), Michelle Visage (52), Michelle Visage (52), George R.R. Martin (72), Danielle Panabaker (33), Jeremy Irons (72), David McCallum (87), Jimmy Fallon (46), Twiggy (71), Jason Sudeikis (45), Jada Pinkett Smith (49), Cassandra Peterson (69), Mickey Rourke (68), Jennifer Tilly (62), Danny John-Jules (60), David Copperfield (64), Tom Hardy (43), Tommy Lee Jones (74), Oliver Stone (74), John Bradley (32), Brendan O’Carroll (65), Jimmy Carr (48), Prince Harry (36), Sam Neill (73), Andrew Lincoln (47), and Walter Koenig (84).
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Rodney Litchfield, 81, English actor (Early Doors, Coronation Street, Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights, Heartbeat).
- Kevin Dobson, 77, American actor (Kojak, Knots Landing, Midway), heart attack.
- Bruce Williamson, 49, American singer (The Temptations), COVID-19.
- Ronald Bell, 68, American saxophonist (Kool & the Gang) and songwriter (“Ladies’ Night“, “Celebration“).
- Dame Diana Rigg, 82, English actress (The Avengers, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Game of Thrones), cancer.
- Toots Hibbert, 77, Jamaican singer (Toots and the Maytals) and songwriter (“54-46 That’s My Number“, “Pressure Drop“).
- Sir Terence Conran, 88, English designer and restaurateur (Habitat).
In Other News
Two-time major champion John Daly has revealed he has undergone surgery after being diagnosed with bladder cancer. The 54-year-old American says the cancer was discovered during an appointment related to kidney stones. Daly – winner of the 1991 US PGA Championship and 1995 Open – had surgery to remove the cancer but said there was an 85% chance it could return and require further treatment. “They will probably have to cut it out again, It’s probably going to come back, and then another three months, that you don’t know,” the five-time PGA Tour winner said. “Luckily for me they caught it early, but bladder cancer is something that I don’t know all the details about. But it doesn’t look like it may go away. We will just see what happens. Maybe there’s a miracle. “I always tell people I’ve lived one hell of a life. No matter what happens, I’m not scared to die or anything. I’m still working, I’m still living life, I’m still doing the things I need to do. I can accept the challenge. I’m not scared of that. “I just want my kids to be OK and everyone else in my family.” Daly last played a PGA Tour event at last year’s Safeway Open, where he missed the cut. His 1991 US PGA Championship win saw him claim a major despite only entering the tournament with days to spare when Nick Price withdrew from the field.
Yet another “influencer” has kicked the bucket. Beauty blogger and influencer Ethan Peters, known as Ethan Is Supreme, has died at the age of 17. Ethan’s father Gerald told us: “He was a kind soul, who accepted everyone for who they were.” His friend, fellow influencer Ava Louise, also posted saying she’d lost her “best friend in the entire world”. Both have said that Ethan was struggling with addiction, but his official cause of death is not yet known. Ethan had over half a million Instagram followers and 139,000 YouTube subscribers. A Vice article last year described his makeup style as “characterised by its desire to catch your attention” and “dramatic, emotional and, at times, gory.” He started young, saying that by the summer of 2017 he’d hit 100,000 followers and left his private Christian school because his social media activity “violated their moral conduct code.” He moved to an online school instead. There was some negative response on social media after news of Ethan’s death broke. He had been accused of racism and transphobia in the past. But fans also spoke in his defence – including one of his inspirations, fellow makeup artist Manny MUA, who posted: “He’s made many many mistakes… but to say he deserved to pass away is horrible and inhuman.” The 17-year-old had recently started his own clothing line called Hellboy. Dunno about you, but at 17 I was too busy chasing after girls and trying to find the next bottle of 20/20 to influence fuck all.
Remember Michael Schumacher? Nope, nor do I. But former Ferrari boss Jean Todt has revealed he saw Michael last week and says the seven-time Formula One world champion is fighting to overcome the devastating injuries that have kept him out of public view for almost seven years. Following a skiing accident on the French Alps in December 2013, Schumacher’s condition has been kept a closely guarded secret from those outside his Lake Geneva home. FIA president Todt, 74, is among just a handful of visitors to see the 51-year-old. The Frenchman oversaw five of Schumacher’s seven titles as team principal for Ferrari. On the eve of the Italian constructor’s 1,000th race, Todt told us: “I saw Michael last week. He is fighting. My God, we know he had a terrible and unfortunate skiing accident which has caused him a lot of problems. But he has an amazing wife next to him, he has his kids, his nurses, and we can only wish him the best and to wish the family the best, too. All I can do is to be close to them until I am able to do something, and then I will do it.” So basically he’s still cabbaged.
On This Day
- 1501 – Italian Renaissance: Michelangelo begins work on his statue of David.
- 1848 – Vermont railroad worker Phineas Gage survives an iron rod 11⁄4 inches (3.2 cm) in diameter being driven through his brain; the reported effects on his behaviour and personality stimulate discussion of the nature of the brain and its functions.
- 1899 – Henry Bliss is the first person in the United States to be killed in an automobile accident.
- 1956 – The IBM 305 RAMAC is introduced, the first commercial computer to use disk storage.
- 1985 – Super Mario Bros. is released in Japan for the NES
- AD 81 – Titus, Roman emperor (b. AD 39)
- 1996 – Tupac Shakur, American rapper, producer, and actor (b. 1971)
Almost Fatal Injuries
Phineas P. Gage (1823–1860) was an American railroad construction foreman remembered for his improbable survival of an accident in which a large iron rod was driven completely through his head, destroying much of his brain’s left frontal lobe, and for that injury’s reported effects on his personality and behaviour over the remaining 12 years of his life—effects sufficiently profound (for a time at least) that friends saw him as “no longer Gage.”
Gage was the first of five children born to Jesse Eaton Gage and Hannah Trussell (Swetland) Gage of Grafton County, New Hampshire. Little is known about his upbringing and education beyond that he was literate.
On September 13, 1848, Gage was directing a work gang blasting rock while preparing the roadbed for the Rutland & Burlington Railroad south of the village of Cavendish, Vermont. As his attention was attracted by his men working behind him. Looking over his right shoulder, and inadvertently bringing his head into line with the blast hole, Gage opened his mouth to speak; in that same instant the tamping iron sparked against the rock and the powder exploded. Rocketed from the hole, the tamping iron — 11⁄4 inches in diameter, three feet seven inches long, and weighing 131⁄4 pounds — entered the left side of Gage’s face in an upward direction, just forward of the angle of the lower jaw.
Continuing upward outside the upper jaw and possibly fracturing the cheekbone, it passed behind the left eye, through the left side of the brain, then completely out the top of the skull through the frontal bone. The tamping iron landed point-first some 80 feet (25 m) away, “smeared with blood and brain”. Gage was thrown onto his back and gave some brief convulsions of the arms and legs, but spoke within a few minutes, walked with little assistance, and sat upright in an oxcart for the 3⁄4-mile (1.2 km) ride to his lodgings in town. About 30 minutes after the accident physician Edward H. Williams, finding Gage sitting in a chair outside the hotel, was greeted with “one of the great understatements of medical history”
When I drove up he said, “Doctor, here is business enough for you.” I first noticed the wound upon the head before I alighted from my carriage, the pulsations of the brain being very distinct. The top of the head appeared somewhat like an inverted funnel, as if some wedge-shaped body had passed from below upward. Mr. Gage, during the time I was examining this wound, was relating the manner in which he was injured to the bystanders. I did not believe Mr. Gage’s statement at that time, but thought he was deceived. Mr. Gage persisted in saying that the bar went through his head. Mr. G. got up and vomited; the effort of vomiting pressed out about half a teacupful of the brain [through the exit hole at the top of the skull], which fell upon the floor! You will excuse me for remarking here, that the picture presented was, to one unaccustomed to military surgery, truly terrific; but the patient bore his sufferings with the most heroic firmness. He recognised me at once, and said he hoped he was not much hurt. He seemed to be perfectly conscious, but was getting exhausted from the haemorrhage. His person, and the bed on which he was laid, were literally one gore of blood.
With Williams’ assistance Harlow shaved the scalp around the region of the tamping iron’s exit, then removed coagulated blood, small bone fragments, and “an ounce or more” of protruding brain. After probing for foreign bodies and replacing two large detached pieces of bone, Harlow closed the wound with adhesive straps, leaving it partially open for drainage; the entrance wound in the cheek was bandaged only loosely, for the same reason. A wet compress was applied, then a nightcap, then further bandaging to secure these dressings.
12 days after the accident, Gage was semi-comatose, “seldom speaking unless spoken to, and then answering only in monosyllables” the globe of the left eye became more protuberant with infected tissue pushing out rapidly from the internal canthus and wounded brain coming out at the top of the head.” By the 14th day, “The exhalations from the mouth and head are horribly fetid. Will not take nourishment unless strongly urged. The friends and attendants are in hourly expectancy of his death, and have his coffin and clothes in readiness.” Galvanised to action, Harlow decided to reopen the wound and “cut off fungi which were sprouting out from the top of the brain and filling the opening, and made free application of caustic to them.
On the 24th day, Gage “succeeded in raising himself up, and took one step to his chair”. One month later, he was walking “up and down stairs, and about the house! By November 25 (10 weeks after his injury), Gage was strong enough to return to his parents’ home in Lebanon, New Hampshire.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Evan Rachel Wood (33), Shannon Elizabeth (47), Toby Jones (54), Julie Kavner (70), Doug Bradley (66), Martin Freeman (49), Heather Thomas (63), Pink (41), Miles Jupp (41), Adam Sandler (54), Henry Thomas (49), Hugh Grant (60), Eric Stonestreet (49), Jeffrey Combs (66), Julia Sawalha (52), Rachel Hunter (51), Guy Ritchie (52), Colin Firth (60), Virginia Madsen (59), Elizabeth Henstridge (33), Roxann Dawson (62), Johnny Vegas (49), Alfie Allen (34), and Linda Gray (80).
A fairly standard no scoring week, thankfully Nickie kept me abreast of the news as I was taking a busman’s holiday in North Wales, where I noticed first hand the lack of social distancing and mask wearing that holidaymakers seem to be entitled to. I suppose those who feel the real urgent need to go on a holiday are the ones who are most likely to transmit and die of the covids.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Virginia Bosler, 93, American actress and dancer (Oklahoma!, Brigadoon, Out of This World).
- Ric Drasin, 76, American bodybuilder, professional wrestler (NWA Hollywood Wrestling), promoter and trainer.
- Ian Mitchell, 62, Irish bassist (Bay City Rollers).
- Erick Morillo, 49, American DJ (Reel 2 Real), music producer and record label owner.
- Kang Kek Iew, 77, Cambodian internal security leader (Tuol Sleng, Santebal) and convicted war criminal, lung disease.
In Other News
Bill Oddie has been suffering from an “almost fatal” condition throughout the summer. The British TV personality and former member of The Goodies revealed the news to his Twitter followers. He told them he has been “very ill” with “lithium toxicity”. “Just so you know, I have been very ill most of this summer. Lithium toxicity. Almost fatal!” he wrote on social media. “I am still here but very confused about most things! But then aren’t many of us. He added: “It fuddles my brain. Confusion. Will I return? I Really dunno. I do hope so. Please wish me luck. XX.” Lithium is a type of medicine known as a mood stabiliser. According to the NHS, too much of it in the blood can trigger serious side effects, including a loss of appetite and the feeling of confusion. Oddie – a known conservationist and birdwatcher – first shot to fame as a member of the comedy trio The Goodies. Earlier this year, his co-member Tim Brooke-Taylor died from Covid-19, aged 79.
As you saw above, DJ Erick Morillo — best known for his 1993 hit, “I Like to Move It” — has died. Law enforcement sources tell us the DJ and music producer’s body was found on Tuesday morning in Miami Beach, the circumstances surrounding his death are currently unclear. Best known for his work in international house music, Morillo produced his biggest hit in the ’90s with the electro-dance track “I Like to Move It”, which he put out under the stage name Reel 2 Real. He’s a 3-time winner of the DJ Awards’ Best House DJ and a 3-time winner of Best International DJ, including his most recent win in 2009. Morillo’s death comes a few weeks after he was arrested in Miami on sexual battery charges. The alleged victim claims she and Morillo went to his place after they were both DJing. She alleges she resisted his sexual advances, and then went to sleep at his place, but woke up nude … with Morillo standing next to her, also nude. He’d turned himself in on August 6th.
Britain’s Got Talent and X Factor star Ian Royce has died aged 51 following a health battle, with the tragic news announced on his Twitter account on Tuesday evening. A statement was shared on his verified Twitter account with his 68,100 followers which read: “It is with our greatest regret that we have to tell you all that Ian has passed away today from severe pneumonia and multiple organ failure. “He was in no pain and was surrounded by friends and family. He put up a good fight but is in a better place now. Roxanne.” The tweet was immediately inundated with well wishes to Ian’s family from fans, friends and former colleagues. One said: “Incredibly shocking and sad news. Hugs to you Roxy and the rest of the family. Ian was one of those unsung legends, he never gave up and despite his own struggles his outspoken outlook helped others. RIP Ian.” Last year, aged 50, Ian’s showbiz pals including Ant McPartlin, Declan Donnelly, Simon Cowell, Olly Murs and Robbie Williams rallied behind him as he opened up about his rehab stint. In an emotional statement, the ITV favourite said: “I just wanted to let you all know that my first 28 days of treatment have come to an end and I will now be going abroad for the next three months to continue my treatment and really work on me and issues that have been buried deep for 40 years.” He continued: “As well as my alcohol addiction I have also surrendered to my sex and love addictions stemming from my past which have affected my relationships greatly. Ian was best known as the warm up guy for ITV shows Britain’s Got Talent and The X Factor.
On This Day
- 1620 – The Pilgrims sail from Plymouth, England on the Mayflower to settle in North America.
- 1901 – Leon Czolgosz, an unemployed anarchist, shoots and fatally wounds US President William McKinley at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York.
- 1952 – A prototype aircraft crashes at the Farnborough Airshow in Hampshire, England, killing 29 spectators and the two on board.
- 1972 – Munich massacre: Nine Israeli athletes die (along with a German policeman) at the hands of the Palestinian “Black September” terrorist group after being taken hostage at the Munich Olympic Games. Two other Israeli athletes were slain in the initial attack the previous day.
- 1997 – The Funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales takes place in London. Well over a million people lined the streets and 2 1⁄2 billion watched around the world on television.
- 1998 – Akira Kurosawa, Japanese director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1910)
- 2007 – Luciano Pavarotti, Italian tenor (b. 1935)
- 2012 – Terry Nutkins, English naturalist, television presenter and author (b. 1946)
- 2018 – Burt Reynolds, American actor, director and producer (b. 1936)
- 2019 – Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwean politician, 2nd President of Zimbabwe (b. 1924)
Last of The Khmer Rouge?
The Khmer Rouge’s chief jailer, who killed 16,000 Cambodians, ordered babies to be beaten to death and carried out medical experiments on live prisoners has died peacefully in hospital aged 77. Kaing Guek Eav, known as Comrade Duch, had been serving a life prison term for war crimes and crimes against humanity having locked up and abused thousands of men, women and children seen as enemies of the regime or who disobeyed its orders. Under his rule, torturers beat and whipped prisoners and shocked them with electrical devices, before their children were then also killed to stop any fears of the next generation taking revenge. When he finally faced a trial over the regime’s crimes, some 30 years on from the atrocities, he called himself ‘criminally responsible’ for babies’ deaths, with many infants having their young bodies battered against trees. Duch died at Cambodian Soviet Friendship Hospital on Wednesday, having developed breathing difficulties at the Kandal provincial prison he was being held two days earlier. The body is now to be examined for a cause of death before being handed to his family.
Duch, whose trial took place in 2009, was the first senior Khmer Rouge figure to face the U.N.-backed tribunal that had been assembled to deliver justice for the regime’s brutal rule in the late 1970s, which is blamed for the deaths of 1.7 million people – a quarter of Cambodia’s population at the time. The communist Khmer Rouge regime that ruled Cambodia from 1975-79 was accused of genocide for causing the deaths of so many of their countrymen from executions, starvation and lack of medical care due to its radical policies. Only after neighbouring Vietnam pushed the Khmer Rouge from power did the scale and barbarity of their rule become absolutely clear.
As commander of the top-secret Tuol Sleng prison code-named S-21, Duch was one of the few ex-Khmer Rouge who acknowledged even partial responsibility for his actions, and his trial included his own wrenchingly graphic testimony of how people were tortured at the prison. The site in Phnom Penh, which had been a secondary school before the Khmer Rouge came to power, is now a museum with stunning evidence of the cruelty with which the Khmer Rouge persecuted even its own members they accused of disloyalty. Men, women and children seen as enemies of the regime or who disobeyed its orders were jailed and tormented there, and only a handful survived. ‘Everyone who was arrested and sent to S-21 was presumed dead already,’ he testified in April 2009. The tribunal since Duch’s trial has convicted two top echelon Khmer Rouge leaders, while two other defendants died before their trials could be completed.
Youk Chhang, head of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, which has collected voluminous archives about the country’s tragedy, said Duch’s death ‘is a reminder to us all to remember the victims of the Khmer Rouge. And that justice remains a difficult road for Cambodia.’
Like many key members of the Khmer Rouge, Duch was an academic before he became a revolutionary. The former maths teacher joined Pol Pot’s movement in 1967, three years before the U.S. started carpet-bombing Cambodia to try to wipe out Northern Vietnamese troops and Viet Cong inside the border. The Khmer Rouge seized power in 1975 and immediately attempted a radical transformation of Cambodia into a peasant society, emptying cities and forcing the population to work on the land in the country they renamed Democratic Kampuchea. They backed up their rule with ruthless elimination of perceived enemies, and by 1976, Duch was the trusted head of its ultimate killing machine, S-21. Tribunal judges said he signed off on all executions there and was often present when interrogators used torture to extract confessions, including pulling out prisoners’ toenails, administering electric shocks, and waterboarding. Despite his denials, the judges said he had at times taken part in the torture and executions himself. The torture and executions that took place at Tuol Sleng were routinely recorded and photographed, and when the Khmer Rouge were forced from power in 1979, the thousands of documents and film negatives left at the prison became proof of the regime’s atrocities. Duch fled, disappearing for almost two decades in northwestern Cambodia and converting to Christianity until a chance discovery by a British journalist in 1999 led to his arrest.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Idris Elba (48), Naomie Harris (44), Michael Winslow (62), Mathew Horne (42), Rose McGowan (47), Michael Keaton (69), Raquel Welch (80), Carice van Houten (44), Paddy Considine (47), Bob Newhart (91), George Lazenby (81), Damon Wayans (60), Beyoncé (39), Michael Berryman (72), Charlie Sheen (55), Keanu Reeves (56), Salma Hayek (54), Keith Allen (67), Zendaya (24), Burn Gorman (46), Lily Tomlin (81), Steve Pemberton (53), Craig McLachlan (55), Gloria Estefan (63), Richard Gere (71), and Chris Tucker (49).
This weeks big news is without doubt the untimely passing of Chadwick Boseman; who’s illness was alluded to in one of our reports back in April. Just goes to show that those who pay attention and read the articles have a better chance of making a winning list.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Lori Nelson, 87, American actress (Revenge of the Creature, How to Marry a Millionaire, I Died a Thousand Times).
- Gerald Carr, 88, American astronaut (Skylab 4) and aeronautical engineer.
- Joe Ruby, 87, American animator and television producer (Scooby-Doo, Dynomutt, Dog Wonder, Thundarr the Barbarian), co-founder of Ruby-Spears.
- Chadwick Boseman, 43, American actor (Black Panther, 42, Marshall), colon cancer.
In Other News
Girls Aloud singer Sarah Harding has been diagnosed with breast cancer, which she says has spread to other parts of her body. Writing on Twitter, the 38-year-old told fans she was diagnosed with the disease earlier this year. Harding explained she then received the “devastating news” this month that the cancer had spread. “I’m currently undergoing weekly chemotherapy sessions and I am fighting as hard as I possibly can,” she said. She thanked NHS staff, her family and friends for support, adding that she was “trying to keep positive”. Harding said she had decided to go public with her diagnosis after being seen in hospital last week. Her Girls Aloud bandmate Cheryl responded to the news by posting a superficial broken heart emoji on Twitter. Harding shot to fame in 2002 as a contestant on Popstars: The Rivals – an ITV talent show which aimed to find both a new girl band and boy band. She made it to the final and was voted into the group which became Girls Aloud, alongside Nicola Roberts, Nadine Coyle, Kimberley Walsh and Cheryl Tweedy. The group went on to have several UK hits, including Sound of the Underground, The Promise, Love Machine, Jump and Call The Shots. They split in 2013. Harding has since taken on several acting roles, including appearances in Run for Your Wife, and St. Trinian’s 2. In 2017, she won Celebrity Big Brother.
R Kelly has been attacked by another inmate in prison, his attorney has claimed. The singer was allegedly attacked on Wednesday (26th August) at Metropolitan Correctional Centre in Chicago, where he is awaiting trial after pleading not guilty to dozens of state and federal sex crime charges. Kelly’s attorney Steve Greenberg made the claims on Twitter as he demanded that the “musician” be released from jail ahead of his trial, which is scheduled to begin in New York in September. “We received conflicting reports as to the extent of Kelly’s injuries,” Greenberg wrote. “We have not been provided any information from the jail, nor has Mr Kelly called. We are hopeful that he was not seriously injured.” “The government cannot ensure his safety, and they cannot give him his day in court. We should not incarcerate people indefinitely because we cannot provide them with due process!” Kelly, 53, was originally due to face trial on 7th July, but his trial date was pushed back to the end of September due to the coronavirus pandemic. He is facing charges for multiple offences, including sex trafficking, child pornography and racketeering, in New York, Minnesota and Illinois. Earlier in August, three men were charged with threatening, intimidating or attempting to silence Kelly’s alleged victims, with one accused of setting fire to a vehicle outside the residence where an accuser was staying.
On This Day
- 1916 – Ernest Shackleton completes the rescue of all of his men stranded on Elephant Island in Antarctica.
- 1984 – STS-41-D: The Space Shuttle Discovery takes off on its maiden voyage.
- 2008 – In a bad day for the pilot, a Conviasa Boeing 737 crashes into Illiniza Volcano in Ecuador, killing everyone on board.
- 1979 – Jean Seberg, American actress (b. 1938)
- 2003 – Charles Bronson, American actor and soldier (b. 1921)
- 2015 – Wes Craven, American director, producer, screenwriter, and actor (b. 1939)
- 2019 – Valerie Harper, American actor (b. 1939)
The ‘Horror Movie’ Island
There is an island off the coast that hardly anyone talks about. And you definitely wouldn’t want to go there. You’ll find it opposite Queenborough in Sheppey and its probably one of the most haunting spots anywhere, situated as it is just off the River Medway. It’s local name sounds like something out of Pirates of the Caribbean – it’s dubbed Deadman’s Island, a name it earned after recent investigations found it littered with human remains. More than 200 years ago, the island was used as a burial ground for convicts who died aboard prison ships, and rising sea levels have caused the lost bodies of the ‘prison hulk’ boats just off Sheppey to be uncovered.
Coastal erosion and lower tides mean that in 2020, wooden coffins, aged skulls and fragments of bones stick out from the six feet of mud that once blanketed the area. Usually the island is completely out of bounds to the public. But a Dead Pool roving reporter was among some of the only visitors who have been allowed to Deadman’s Island in recent times as all others have been banned due to its bird breeding and nesting site. Natural England owns the land which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is recognised to be of international importance under the Ramsar convention. Television crews have been drawn to this spine-tingling location to explore its hidden secrets, with the BBC’s Inside Out team unearthing some harrowing sites on the forgotten island. Director Sam Supple previously told the Sun: “It is like being on the set of a horror film. “It looks so surreal, it’s like an art department has designed it. There are open coffins and bones everywhere.” Presenter Natalie Graham added: “What I saw there will stay with me forever. “This is a really strange sight. I would imagine there can’t be anywhere on earth like this.” It’s not just visitors that are prohibited, no-one lives on the island and so it remains untouched by modern civilisation. This in turn has spurred ghostly folklore about it.
Locals have warned travellers of hounds with glaring-red eyes that ate the heads of buried bodies, a skin-crawling atmosphere and ‘an island solely occupied by the dead’. And ‘Coffin Bay’ greets anyone who enters its perimeter with, you guessed it, open coffins accompanied by scattered remains along its banks. Floating prisons were former warships which housed inmates, including young pick-pockets, awaiting the death penalty in Australia. If prisoners were not healthy enough for the journey they would be left in the underbelly of the ship until they died, possibly of cholera. They were then buried in unmarked graves on the island so the disease did not spread further, causing an epidemic. Many have wondered whether the bodies at Deadman’s will be re-buried, but experts have admitted this would be a difficult task. This is because the constantly changing seascape threatens the durability of the bones, washing them out to sea. Coincidentally, researchers also found more human remains of a similar nature in Chatham. These were from many French prisoners who were held during the Napoleonic wars – those who died were buried in nearby marshes. When the bones of these prisoners were revealed by erosion they were exhumed and reburied on St Mary’s Island. Later, when this land was needed for redevelopment they were moved to St George’s Church at Chatham Maritime.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Cameron Diaz (48), Michael Chiklis (57), Warren Buffett (90), Emily Hampshire (38), Carla Gugino (49), Rebecca De Mornay (61), Elliott Gould (82), William Friedkin (85), Jack Black (51), Brian Thompson (61), Billy Boyd (52), Shania Twain (55), David Soul (77), Aaron Paul (41), Peter Stormare (67), Paul Reubens (68), Barbara Bach (73), Peter Mensah (61), Reece Shearsmith (51), Chris Pine (40), Melissa McCarthy (50), Macaulay Culkin (40), Blake Lively (33), Alexander Skarsgård (44), Sean Connery (90), Rachel Bilson (39), Tim Burton (62), Joanne Whalley (59), Tom Skerritt (87), Gene Simmons (71), Billy Ray Cyrus (59), Claudia Schiffer (50), Jared Harris (59), Steve Guttenberg (62), Rupert Grint (32), Jennifer Lien (46), Dave Chappelle (47), and Stephen Fry (63).
Good afternoon everyone! A rather benign week for the listed, however plenty of news and potential for 2021, with four months to go, some of the newsworthy celebrities might hold on ’til January for us to list them.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Ben Cross, 72, English actor (Chariots of Fire, Star Trek, First Knight), cancer.
- Chi Chi DeVayne, 34, American drag queen (RuPaul’s Drag Race), pneumonia.
- Frankie Banali, 68, American drummer (Quiet Riot, W.A.S.P., Heavy Bones), pancreatic cancer.
- Fredie Blom, 116 (claimed), South African longevity claimant
- Jack Sherman, 64, American guitarist (Red Hot Chili Peppers).
In Other News
Veteran radio DJ James Whale has revealed he has cancer in his kidney, spine, brain and lungs. The 69-year-old us that he received the diagnosis two weeks ago. It comes 20 years after he had one kidney removed because of a tumour. “It’s in my remaining kidney,” he said. “I’ve got a couple of small lesions in my lungs. I’ve got it in my spine. I’ve got it in my brain.” Whale has hosted a nightly evening phone-in show on TalkRadio since 2016. But the often controversial and confrontational host has been absent for the past month. He told us that he went to the doctor when he started forgetting names on air. “The woman looked worried and she said, ‘I’m so sorry. I’ve got really, really bad news for you. I’m afraid 20 years ago you had kidney cancer. Well, it looks like it’s probably come back. You’ve got a tumour on your kidney.’ “And I thought, ‘OK, well, 20 years later I’ll have to do all over again.’ And then she said, ‘I’m sorry. Sadly its spread. You’ve got small lesions in your brain and your lung, in your spine, in your pituitary gland.’” He said he already had the tumour in his pituitary gland. He has been on immunotherapy and hormone replacement treatment, and is already feeling the benefits. “I haven’t got a proper prognosis yet because it’s very early days, but this immunotherapy is a very new way of treating cancer – it gets the immune system to attack the tumours,” he said. “I’m probably going to be on tablets for the rest of my life but I’ve gone from being like a little shrunken, old man in the chair who’s not eating and could hardly walk up the stairs, to where I can run upstairs.” A drove of hateful fascists, including TV hosts Piers Morgan and Charlotte Hawkins, fellow TalkRadio presenters Julia Hartley-Brewer and Ian Collins, and Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage were among those sending well wishes. After his initial experience of cancer, Whale set up the James Whale Fund for Kidney Cancer in 2006, which merged with Kidney Cancer UK in 2015. Whale’s wife Melinda died of lung cancer two years ago.
A singer recorded his final moments alive before his car was hit by a train in a live stream. Tavy Pustiu, 29, was regarded as one of Romania’s rising music stars before his life was tragically cut short. In the live-stream of the horrific accident, Tavy films himself listening to music in a car which his wife is driving. He jigs along to the beat and looks at the camera as the vehicle approaches a level crossing in the city of Ploiesti, in Romania’s Prahova County. The musician looks jovial and smiles at his wife, who is seen scanning the crossing for any oncoming trains. But she fails to spot one speeding right towards them. The final moments of the video capture the singer screaming in terror when he realises the danger he is in. Tavy died on the scene and his wife – who has not been named – remains in a critical condition and is on life support at the Prahova County Hospital. A local police spokesman in Prahova over said: “As a result of a collision between a train and a car on the level crossing a 29-year-old man who was the passenger in the front of the car was declared dead and a 24-year-old woman who was the driver was injured. “The accident happened because of non-compliance with the rules at the level crossing.” The train had been travelling between Maneciu and Ploiesti Sud and police said that it had been complicated for firemen to remove the pair from the wreckage. Pictures from the scene of the crash show the pair’s white car stuck underneath the front of the train. Just one month before his death, Tavy had posted on Facebook saying: “One day, the wrong train will take you to the right destination.”
A South African who was thought to be the oldest man in the world has died at the age of 116. Fredie Blom’s identity documents showed he was born in Eastern Cape province in May 1904, although that was never verified by Guinness World Records. When he was teenager, his entire family was wiped out by the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. He went on to survive two world wars and apartheid. Mr Blom told the BBC in 2018 that there was no special secret to his longevity. “There’s only one thing – it’s the man above. He’s got all the power. I have nothing. I can drop over any time but He holds me,” he said. Mr Blom spent most of his life as a labourer – first on a farm and then in the construction industry – and only retired when he was in his 80s. Although he gave up drinking many years ago, he was a regular smoker. However, a coronavirus-related lockdown imposed by the South African government reportedly meant he was unable to buy tobacco to roll his own cigarettes on his 116th birthday. Mr Blom’s family said he died of natural causes in Cape Town on Saturday. “Two weeks ago oupa [grandfather] was still chopping wood,” family spokesman Andre Naidoo told us. “He was a strong man, full of pride.” But within days Mr Blom shrank “from a big man to a small person”, he added.
Microsoft has finally killed Internet Explorer! The browser will be finished on 17th August, 2021, the company said. In a blog post, Microsoft explained that the Microsoft Teams web app will no longer support Internet Explorer 11 – the most recent and final iteration of the browser – from November 30th, 2020. The remaining Microsoft 365 apps and services will end support for the browser next year. Replacing the browser is the equally shit Microsoft Edge, the computer giant’s new browser which relies on Chromium open-source software, developed by Google for Google Chrome. That gives Edge more features than Internet Explorer, or you could just use Chrome. The move towards Chromium for Microsoft’s browser, compared to its previous proprietary browser, has larger ramifications for the future of the open internet. Chromium is now the basis of Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Brave, Vivaldi, Avast Secure Browser, and Opera. This means that Google has greater influence when it comes to what features are developed, practices accepted, and which usability concerns are deemed vital.
On This Day
- AD 79 – Mount Vesuvius begins stirring, on the feast day of Vulcan, the Roman god of fire.
- 1305 – Sir William Wallace is executed for high treason at Smithfield, London.
- 1966 – Lunar Orbiter 1 takes the first photograph of Earth from orbit around the Moon.
- 1973 – A bank robbery gone wrong in Stockholm, Sweden, turns into a hostage crisis; over the next five days the hostages begin to sympathise with their captors, leading to the term “Stockholm syndrome”.
- 1991 – The World Wide Web is opened to the public.
- 1305 – William Wallace, Scottish rebel commander (b. 1272)
- 1926 – Rudolph Valentino, Italian actor (b. 1895)
- 2005 – Brock Peters, American actor (b. 1927)
William Wallace’s Final Days
The movie ‘Braveheart’ was a blockbuster hit and is based on the life and death of legendary Scottish hero William Wallace as he fought for independence. You already know that the Hollywood version of events was quite different to the reality; even Mel Gibson referred to it as ‘historical fantasy.’ What you may not be aware of is the genuinely grisly nature of Wallace’s death which was far more graphic and horrifying than depicted on screen. He may have lived by the sword, but he died by a variety of other means.
Wallace was captured at Robroyston near Glasgow on August 3, 1305. He was handed over to Sir Robert de Clifford and Sir Aymer de Valence and taken to Carlisle Castle. Rather than executing him immediately, Edward wanted to transport the prisoner to London to show other would-be rebels what happened to those who defied the crown. He was forced to travel another 300 miles to London where a terrible fate awaited him.
There was a show trial in London, but in reality, there was zero chance that Wallace would escape with his life. While his death scene in Braveheart is excruciatingly painful, it was a mild demise compared to what really happened. After the inevitable guilty verdict on August 23, 1305, he was sentenced to die in one of the worst ways imaginable. Wallace was about to be hung, drawn, and quartered.
The English apparently took him from Westminster Hall and stripped him naked. Then they tied him to a hurdle and horses dragged him around six miles to Smoothfield where the pain began. During the journey, bystanders threw excrement and other assorted pieces of garbage at the unfortunate Scot, and he was also beaten with sticks and whipped by the angry mob. In Braveheart, Wallace endures the painful trip to the gallows but he is clothed, and while the crowd throws items at him, he is not struck by excrement. He received the ‘drawn’ punishment for committing treason, but there was much worse to come. Wallace had also been found guilty of robbery and murder, and the sentence for these crimes was hanging. Alas, the rebel didn’t get off so easily so while he was half-strangled by the rope, he wasn’t allowed to die. In Braveheart, we see knives on the table, but we don’t see what happened below Wallace’s waist. In reality, his executioner ‘emasculated’ him; this means Wallace’s testicles and penis were cut off. Next, the prisoner’s intestines were removed and burned in front of him. If Wallace weren’t already dead at this point, the next step would have finished him off. The executioner ripped the Scot’s heart out of his chest; there were instances when a criminal’s heart was still beating when the executioner displayed it to the crowd and declared it to be the heart of a traitor. We don’t know if Wallace’s heart was still beating when it was taken out of his body. The final brutal step involved chopping Wallace’s head off with an axe. After the execution, his body was divided into four pieces and displayed in areas around the country as a showcase of Edward’s power. For example, Wallace’s head was stuck on a pike on London Bridge. The heads of John and Simon Fraser joined that of Wallace on the Bridge later on. Wallace’s limbs were sent separately to Berwick, Stirling, Perth, and Newcastle.
It is often assumed that William Wallace died such a cruel death because of his continued resistance to King Edward I. However, new research suggests that he was targeted because Edward believed Wallace wanted the Scottish Crown. In 2011, historians from Glasgow University found evidence which suggests the English thought Wallace was trying to become the King of Scotland.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Ray Park (46), Charley Boorman (54), Richard Armitage (49), Kristen Wiig (47), Ty Burrell (53), James Corden (41), Dua Lipa (24), Mark Williams (61), Laura Haddock (35), Carrie-Anne Moss (53), Hayden Panettiere (31), Kim Cattrall (64), Amy Adams (46), Ben Barnes (39), James Marsters (58), Andrew Garfield (37), Demi Lovato (28), Misha Collins (46), Ray Wise (73), John Noble (72), Sylvester McCoy (77), David Walliams (49), Melissa Fumero (38), Matthew Perry (51), Jill St. John (80), Jonathan Frakes (68), Diana Muldaur (82), Ian McElhinney (72), Jim Carter (72), Simon Bird (36), Edward Norton (51), Andy Samberg (42), Christian Slater (51), Robert Redford (84), Madeleine Stowe (62), Roman Polanski (87), Denis Leary (63), Robert De Niro (77), Sean Penn (60), Rachel Hurd-Wood (30), and Belinda Carlisle (62).
This day seems to be quite a deadly one. Although I haven’t listed each occasion, there seems to have been quite a few plane crashes and numerous previous celebrity deaths on this day. So try not to travel today… Oh… Also apologies for the tardiness of this weeks issue, life got in the way again and my leading story had to be wiped because Brutha Trump went and died before I could tell you he was critically ill, so rewrites and more rewrites!
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Martin Birch, 71, British music producer and engineer (Deep Purple, Whitesnake, Iron Maiden).
- Raymond Allen, 91, American actor (Sanford and Son, Good Times, Starsky & Hutch).
- Pete Way, 69, English rock bass guitarist (UFO, Waysted, Fastway), injuries sustained in accident.
- Robert Trump, 71, American business executive (The Trump Organization).
In Other News
Bollywood’s Sanjay Dutt has been diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer, reports claim. The 61-year-old star – who recently announced on Twitter that he is taking a break from work to focus on medical treatment – is said to be “devastated” by the heartbreaking diagnosis. It is thought that the Naam actor is jetting to America to start treatment right away. An insider told us: “Baba is devastated. He has little children. Fortunately, they are in Dubai right now with their mother. But breaking this awful news to them would be an ordeal.” The friend also added that Bombay native Sanjay is pretty shaken but trying to stay positive, as they added: “It is curable. He needs instant and rigorous treatment for which he leaves immediately.” The actor recently posted a statement on Twitter where he announced that he would be taking a “short break” from work. According to local media, Sanjay was taken to Mumbai’s Lilavati hospital on August 8th after complaining of breathlessness and chest discomfort. He later announced on Twitter that his test for COVID-19 was negative and he was discharged from the hospital on August 10th.
Robert Trump, the younger brother of President Donald Trump, has died. The president visited his 72-year-old brother at a hospital in Manhattan on Friday, according to White House spokesman Judd Deere. Trump was already scheduled to visit his property in Bedminster, New Jersey, on Friday, so he’s not going out of his way. The White House did not immediately release details about why Robert Trump had been hospitalised, but officials said that he was seriously ill. Robert Trump was previously hospitalised in the Spring with an undisclosed serious condition. A senior administration official said Friday that the President “has a very good relationship with his brother and his brother is very special to him.” Robert Trump was a former top executive at the Trump Organisation. He was one of four other siblings to the President, including the late Fred Trump, Jr. Robert Trump recently filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Trump family seeking to stop publication of a tell-all book by the president’s niece Mary titled “Too Much and Never Enough.” The president has said that Mary Trump’s book was a violation of a nondisclosure agreement she signed in connection to a financial settlement she received from the Trump family. Mary is the daughter of the brothers’ eldest sibling, Fred Trump Jr., who struggled with alcoholism and died in 1981 at the age of 43. No family members joined Fred Jr., who was known as Freddy, at the hospital on the night he died, Mary Trump said, adding that Donald Trump went to the movies with another sibling instead. And you thought your family has issues…
Actress Alyssa Milano has said her hair is falling out as a result of coronavirus and urged people to wear face masks to stop the spread. The Charmed actress shared a video on Instagram in which she is brushing her hair, to demonstrate clumps of hair coming out. She said: “I just wanted to show you the amount of hair that is coming out of my head as a result of Covid.” She ends the video by showing the hair that has come out to the camera and said: “One brushing. This is my hair loss from Covid-19. Wear a damn mask.” Whilst not enough to make a merkin, one look at her ‘hair loss’ confirms she’s being overly dramatic. Milano has previously said she felt like she was dying while suffering from coronavirus. She revealed on Instagram that she has tested positive for Covid-19 antibodies after three earlier tests suggested she had not contracted the virus. She shared the message alongside an image of herself using breathing equipment after she fell ill in March. “I had never been this kind of sick,” she wrote. “Everything hurt. Loss of smell. It felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest. “I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t keep food in me. I lost 9 pounds in 2 weeks. I was confused. Low grade fever. And the headaches were horrible.” She added: “I also want you to know this illness is not a hoax.
Simon Cowell is recovering from a six-hour surgery after breaking his back. The 60-year-old star was rushed to hospital last week after falling off his new electric bicycle in Malibu, California, and he has now emerged from a successful surgery but will require a few months to fully recover. A source told the New York Post’s Page Six: “It was a long surgery, they had to fuse his bones and implant a rod. But thank goodness he’s going to be okay and will have a few months of recovery.” Simon’s representatives previously confirmed he had broken his back in the fall. However, nobody checked on the bike and I’m sure all of you would like to know if its ok. At the time of writing, nobody is sure, but the said bike wasn’t all it seemed to be. The $21,500 machine is capable of 60mph and has a 20,000 watt motor, whereas the legal limit in the UK is 250w. So this is a tale of a man who thought he could handle a beast and it bit him.
Antonio Banderas is celebrating a big birthday in a slightly different way this year. On Monday, the Spanish actor shared a post on social media in which he revealed he is recovering from a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. As it is also his 60th birthday, the Pain and Glory star accompanied the statement with what appears to be one of his own baby photos from some six decades ago. Banderas wrote in the post that he was doing well, aside from feeling more tired than normal, and that is confident that, by following medical advice, he’ll recover soon. He went on to add that he’s been making the most of the isolation, reading, writing, resting and making plans to commemorate his 60s — something he’s looking forward to and hopeful about. The actor was in the middle of filming the comedy Official Competition with Penélope Cruz earlier this year, when shooting was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
On This Day
- 1819 – Peterloo Massacre: Seventeen people die and over 600 are injured in cavalry charges at a public meeting at St. Peter’s Field, Manchester, England.
- 1858 – U.S. President James Buchanan inaugurates the new transatlantic telegraph cable by exchanging greetings with Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. However, a weak signal forces a shutdown of the service in a few weeks. Nothing new there then…
- 1906 – The 8.2 Mw Valparaíso earthquake hits central Chile, killing 3,882 people.
- 1930 – The first colour sound cartoon, Fiddlesticks, is released by Ub Iwerks.
- 1946 – Mass riots in Kolkata begin; more than 4,000 people would be killed in 72 hours.
- 1960 – Joseph Kittinger parachutes from a balloon over New Mexico at 102,800 feet (31,300 m), setting three records that held until 2012: High-altitude jump, free fall, and highest speed by a human without an aircraft.
- 1888 – John Pemberton, American pharmacist & chemist, invented Coca-Cola (b. 1831)
- 1899 – Robert Bunsen, German chemist and academic (b. 1811)
- 1938 – Robert Johnson, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1911)
- 1948 – Babe Ruth, American baseball player and coach (b. 1895)
- 1956 – Bela Lugosi, Hungarian-American actor (b. 1882)
- 1977 – Elvis Presley, American singer, guitarist, and actor (b. 1935)
- 2003 – Idi Amin, Ugandan politician and despot, 3rd President of Uganda (b. 1928)
- 2018 – Aretha Franklin, American singer-songwriter (b. 1942)
- 2019 – Peter Fonda, American actor, director, and screenwriter. (b. 1940)
Last Week’s Birthdays
Taika Waititi (45), Steve Carell (58), James Cameron (66), Julie Newmar (87), Madonna (62), Jennifer Lawrence (30), Ben Affleck (48), Natasha Henstridge (46), Joe Jonas (31), Jim Dale (85), Tony Robinson (74), Mila Kunis (37), Halle Berry (54), Steve Martin (75), Joseph Marcell (72), Sarah Brightman (60), Cara Delevingne (28), Bruce Greenwood (64), Chris Hemsworth (37), Anna Gunn (52), Ian McDiarmid (76), Hulk Hogan (67), Antonio Banderas (60), and Rosanna Arquette (61).