As the ongoing viral infection is taking over the news, I’d hoped not to have to mention it here, but alas that’s nigh on impossible. All news that isn’t Coronavirus related has been binned and anything and everything is now associated with said infection. This is the first week that I have noticed a rise in notable deaths from the virus, mainly celebrities in Spain and Italy and a few in America, however, since Trump is mishandling the situation more than Boris is, I suspect a few of us will be scoring quite soon.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Eric Weissberg, 80, American folk musician (“Dueling Banjos“, The Tarriers), complications from Alzheimer’s disease.
- David Collings, 79, British actor (Scrooge, The Thirty Nine Steps, The Invisible Woman).
- John Campbell-Jones, 90, British Formula One driver.
- Albert Uderzo, 92, French comic book artist (Asterix, Oumpah-pah), heart attack.
- Mark Blum, 69, American actor (Crocodile Dundee, Mozart in the Jungle, Desperately Seeking Susan), COVID-19.
- Bob Andy, 75, Jamaican reggae singer (The Paragons, Bob and Marcia), songwriter and actor (The Mighty Quinn).
- John Callahan, 66, American actor (All My Children, Falcon Crest, Days of Our Lives), stroke.
- Matthew Faber, 47, American actor (Welcome to the Dollhouse, The Pallbearer, Natural Born Killers).
In Other News
First the coronavirus outbreak shuttered entertainment venues and events around the world. And now it is starting to claim the lives of artists, entertainers and other celebrated figures. First to succumb is actor Mark Blum, known for roles in “‘Crocodile’ Dundee” and “Desperately Seeking Susan,” who died on March 25th from complications of COVID-19. He was 69. Terrence McNally, a four-time Tony Award-winning playwright, died on March 24th at the age of 81 of complications from the coronavirus. His works included “Master Class,” “Love! Valour! Compassion!” and “Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune,” which later became a film with Michelle Pfeiffer and Al Pacino. Italian actress Lucia Bosè, who starred in such films as Michelangelo Antonioni’s “Story of a Love Affair” (1950) and Juan Antonio Bardem’s “Death of a Cyclist” (1955), died on March 23rd of pneumonia after contracting COVID-19. She was 89. Chef Floyd Cardoz, winner of “Top Chef Masters” Season 3, died at the age of 59 of coronavirus complications on March 25th. I suspect this section of The Dead Pool to take over the newsletter, if I’m still here to write it…
The Newly Infected
- Boris Johnson: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he tested positive for coronavirus. In a video posted to Twitter Friday, the conservative leader said he was tested after showing mild symptoms, including a cough.
- Harvey Weinstein: The 68-year-old former film producer tested positive for the coronavirus at a state prison in New York while serving a 23-year sentence for rape and sexual assault, the head of the state correctional officers union said March 23rd.
- Prince Charles: the Prince of Wales and heir to the British throne tested positive for the coronavirus on March 25th. The 71-year-old is displaying mild symptoms “but otherwise remains in good health”.
- Rand Paul: The Republican of Kentucky is first United States senator to test positive for coronavirus.
- Matthew Hancock: Britain’s Health Secretary Matthew Hancock announced on March 27th he tested positive for the coronavirus.
- Alister Jack: Scottish Secretary and member of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Cabinet has developed symptoms of COVID-19.
- Placido Domingo: On March 22nd, the Spanish opera singer said he had tested positive for coronavirus and had gone into self-isolation with his family.
- David Bryan: The Bon Jovi keyboardist announced that he tested positive for COVID-19 after feeling sick for a week.
On This Day
- 845 – Paris is sacked by Viking raiders, probably under Ragnar Lodbrok, who collects a huge ransom in exchange for leaving.
- 1886 – John Pemberton brews the first batch of Coca-Cola in a backyard in Atlanta.
- 1974 – Terracotta Army was discovered in Shaanxi province, China.
- 2014 – The first same-sex marriages in England and Wales are performed.
- 1891 – Georges Seurat, French painter (b. 1859)
- 1972 – J. Arthur Rank, English businessman, founded Rank Organisation (b. 1888)
- 1982 – Carl Orff, German composer and educator (b. 1895)
John Spenkelink was a convicted American murderer. He was executed in 1979, the first convicted criminal to be executed in Florida after capital punishment was reinstated in 1976. Spenkelink was a drifter who was convicted in California for armed robbery and had been sentenced to five years-to-life. He had just escaped from the Slack Canyon Conservation Camp when he shot and killed a small-time criminal named Joseph Szymankiewicz in Tallahassee, Florida, in 1973. He claimed that he acted in self-defence —that Szymankiewicz had stolen his money, forced him to play Russian roulette, and sexually assaulted him. However, evidence and witness testimony from a co-defendant indicated that Spenkelink left their shared motel room, returned with a gun, and shot Szymankiewicz in the back. He turned down a plea bargain to second-degree murder that would have resulted in a life sentence. In 1976 he was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death.
Spenkelink’s case became a national cause célèbre, encompassing both the broader debate over the morality of the death penalty and the narrower question of whether the punishment fitted Spenkelink’s crime. His cause was taken up by former Florida Governor LeRoy Collins, actor Alan Alda, and singer Joan Baez, among many others. Also at issue was the assertion that capital punishment discriminated against the poor and underprivileged — Spenkelink often signed his prison correspondence with the epigram, “capital punishment means those without capital get the punishment.”
Prior to his execution Spenkelink split a flask of Jack Daniel’s whiskey with his prison superintendent. The execution was carried out on May 25th, 1979, on “Old Sparky”, the Florida State Prison electric chair. That morning, Doug Tracht, a popular Jacksonville disc jockey, aired a recording of sizzling bacon on his radio program and dedicated it to Spenkelink.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Ed Skrein (36), Marina Sirtis (64), Lucy Lawless (51), Brendan Gleeson (64), Christopher Lambert (62), Elle Macpherson (55), Eric Idle (76), Julia Stiles (38), Vince Vaughn (49), Orla Brady (51), Nick Frost (47), Lady Gaga (33), Dianne Wiest (71), Chris Barrie (59), Quentin Tarantino (56), Nathan Fillion (48), Julian Glover (84), Fergie (44), Mariah Carey (49), Jessie J (31), Keira Knightley (35), Jennifer Grey (60), James Caan (80), Martin Short (70), Diana Ross (76), Steven Tyler (72), Lee Pace (41), Sarah Jessica Parker (55), Elton John (73), Paul Michael Glaser (77), Richard O’Brien (78), Jessica Chastain (43), Alyson Hannigan (46), Lara Flynn Boyle (50), Jim Parsons (47), Kelly LeBrock (60), Mary Berry (85), Amanda Plummer (63), and Joanna Page (42).
As the whole world is dying around us, or so we are led to believe, I still have no points to award you. However, to lighten things up a bit, Doug came up with an idea that I rather liked, so we’re going to go with it. If any of your listed die of COVID-19, you will get an extra 19 points! I don’t expect to be handing out many 19 point bundles, but who knows, this could be the end of times! Although, if this was the case Tom Hanks would have pegged it already? Perhaps it calls for a flight of evil monkeys?
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Roy Hudd, 83, English actor (The Blood Beast Terror, Up the Chastity Belt, Coronation Street) and comedian.
- Stuart Whitman, 92, American actor (The Mark, The Comancheros, Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines), skin cancer.
- Roger Mayweather, 58, American boxer and boxing trainer, WBA super featherweight and WBC super lightweight champion.
- Alfred Worden, 88, American astronaut (Apollo 15), stroke.
- Peter Whittingham, 35, English footballer (Cardiff City, Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers), complications of traumatic brain injury.
- Kenny Rogers, 81, American singer (“The Gambler“, “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)“, “Islands in the Stream“), songwriter and actor.
In Other News
Mike Tyson has said that he is looking forward to his own death because “living might be more complicated than dying to me”. Tyson, 53, is regarded as one of the greatest heavyweights in the history of boxing. He became the first heavyweight to hold the WBA, WBC and IBF belts and later became the lineal champion. However, he has a controversial past and in 1992, he was convicted of rape and sentenced to six years in prison. He was eventually released on parole after serving three years. Since his retirement from boxing he has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and, reflecting on both his career and his life in an interview with The Sportsman, Tyson said that he does not fear death. “From my experience, from what I believe, the more I know about not existing, the more willing I am to die,” he said. “Yeah [I look forward to it], I don’t fear it. Living might be more complicated than dying to me… because living takes a lot of courage. “Without the courage, you can’t handle living. Living is a journey; living is a struggle. People have everything and they still can’t do it, they struggle. “We take ourselves too seriously; we think we’re somebody. Who the fuck, we’re nothing! We come from shit; we think we’re special [but] fame is shit. “You find out you’re not [special]. You’re capable of going to jail, you’re capable of dying, you’re capable of being mistreated. “I don’t really expect bad things to happen to me, but when they do happen to me, I understand it and I’m able to handle it. I’ve handled bad stuff before, that’s been my life. I don’t trip over bad things, I know shit happens. When bad things happen, I will be still striving to do something. I won’t be discouraged.” Good old Mike!
The Notably Newly Infected
Michel Barnier: The European Union’s chief negotiator for its future relationship with Britain after Brexit.
Idris Elba: The British actor confirmed he had contracted COVID-19 on Twitter on Tuesday 17th March.
Mikel Arteta: Arsenal’s head coach tested positive for the coronavirus and self-isolated in line with government guidelines.
Kristofer Hivju: Games of Thrones star Hivju, who played the wildling warrior Tormund Giantsbane, self-isolated with his family after contracting the illness.
Linda Lusardi: The actress and former model said she had “never felt this ill” after contracting the virus.
Fiona Phillips: The former GMTV host said she had symptoms including a sore throat and dry cough but was “fine” and “not suffering”.
On This Day
- 1906 – The first England vs France rugby union match is played at Parc des Princes in Paris.
- 1972 – In Eisenstadt v. Baird, the United States Supreme Court decides that unmarried persons have the right to possess contraceptives.
- 1978 – Karl Wallenda of The Flying Wallendas dies after falling off a tight-rope suspended between two hotels in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
- 1995 – Cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov returns to earth after setting a record of 438 days in space.
- 1772 – John Canton, English physicist and academic (b. 1718)
- 2001 – William Hanna, American animator, director, producer, and voice actor, co-founded Hanna-Barbera (b. 1910)
- 2003 – Terry Lloyd, English journalist (b. 1952)
Oba Chandler was an American Serial Killer who was convicted and executed for the June 1989 murders of Joan Rogers and her two daughters, whose bodies were found floating in Tampa Bay, Florida, with their hands and feet bound. Autopsies showed the victims had been thrown into the water while still alive, with ropes tied to a concrete block around their necks. The case became high-profile in 1992 when local police posted billboards bearing enlarged images of the suspect’s handwriting recovered from a pamphlet in the victims’ car. Chandler was identified as the killer when his neighbour recognised the handwriting. This was the first use of billboards by law enforcement in the US. Billboards then became useful tools in searches for missing people. Against the advice of his attorneys, he testified in his own defence, saying he had met the Ohio women and had given them directions. Chandler said he never saw them again, except in newspaper coverage and on the billboards set up by authorities. Police originally theorised that two men were involved in the murders, but this was discounted once Chandler was arrested. Chandler was found guilty of the murders and was sentenced to death on November 4, 1994. He maintained his innocence and continued to pursue legal appeals while on Florida’s death row. During his seventeen years of incarceration until his execution, he was notable for not having a single visitor. On November 15, prior to his execution, Chandler requested two salami sandwiches on white bread with mustard, peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich on white bread, iced tea and coffee as his last meal. He was executed at 4:08 pm but declined to make a last statement before being injected but left a written statement with prison officials stating: “You are killing a innocent man today.” On February 25, 2014, investigators revealed that DNA evidence identified Chandler as the murderer of Ivelisse Berrios-Beguerisse, who was raped and strangled in Coral Springs, Florida, on November 27, 1990. Chandler was living two miles from her workplace and abandoned his apartment two days after murdering her, leaving everything including his furniture behind. So not so innocent after all…
Last Week’s Birthdays
Lena Olin (64), Reese Witherspoon (43), William Shatner (88), Andrew Lloyd Webber (71), Gary Oldman (62), Rhys Darby (46), Matthew Broderick (58), Timothy Dalton (74), Sonequa Martin-Green (35), Jaye Davidson (52), Ruby Rose (34), Holly Hunter (62), Freema Agyeman (41), David Thewlis (57), William Hurt (70), Spike Lee (63), Carl Reiner (98), Harvey Weinstein (68), Bruce Willis (65), Ursula Andress (84), Glenn Close (73), Brad Dourif (70), Irene Cara (61), Rob Lowe (56), Kurt Russell (69), Gary Sinise (65), John Boyega (28), Alexandra Daddario (34), Alan Tudyk (49), Victor Garber (71), Jerome Flynn (57), Erik Estrada (71), and Jimmy Nail (66).
Ironically, even with all the scaremongering from the media, we are struggling to find dead people to list on the Dead Pool this week, and those who have died have died from other issues. Maybe next week eh?
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Max von Sydow, 90, Swedish-born French actor (The Seventh Seal, The Exorcist, Pelle the Conqueror).
- Pete Mitchell, 61, English radio DJ and presenter (BBC Radio 2, Virgin Radio).
- Michel Roux, 78, French-born British chef and restaurateur (Le Gavroche, The Waterside Inn), idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
- Genesis P-Orridge, 70, English musician (Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV) and performance artist (COUM Transmissions), leukaemia.
In Other News
Tom Hanks has urged fans to take care of themselves and each other in his latest Instagram post, after testing positive for Coronavirus this week. The actor and his wife Rita Wilson, both 63, are currently recovering from the disease in hospital isolation after falling ill while filming in Australia. The couple, who have been married for more than 30 years, had been Down Under filming for an upcoming Elvis Presley biopic Tom is starring in. On Sunday, Tom shared an update with fans as he and Rita remain in isolation. The Oscar winner shared a picture of his Vegemite on toast breakfast and a glass of water, hinting that he’s over the worst. He also included a little toy kangaroo and a cute koala bear in the picture in homage to those who have helped take care of him. Alongside the snap, he wrote: “Thanks to the Helpers. Let’s take care of ourselves and each other. Hanx” Fans responded to wish him and Rita well while others joked about the generous helping of spread on his toast. Earlier in the week, Tom and his wife Rita posed for a smiling selfie as they remained in isolation. Tom wrote: “Rita Wilson and I want to thank everyone here Down Under who are taking such good care of us. We have Covid-19 and are in isolation so we do not spread it to anyone else. “Remember, despite all the current events, there is no crying in baseball. Hanx” Hanks announced that the pair had contracted the virus in a statement, as they became the highest profile celebrities to have fallen ill with the virus. He wrote: “Hello, folks. Rita and I are down here in Australia. We felt a bit tired, like we had colds, and some body aches. Rita had some chills that came and went. Slight fevers too. “To play things right, as is needed in the world right now, we were tested for Coronavirus, and were found to be positive. “We Hanks’ will be tested, observed, and isolated for as long as public health and safety requires. Not much more to it than a one-day-at-a-time approach, no?” But what about Wilson???
- We obviously know of Tom Hanks and his wife as they were the first to go public.
- Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, wife of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
- Quite a few NBA players that I won’t bother listing as barely any of us would know who they are.
And Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi tested positive. “I had the virus for the last couple of days, which I’ve recovered from,” Hudson-Odoi said in a video posted on social media. “I’m following the health guidelines and self-isolating myself from everybody for the week. I hope to see everybody soon and hopefully be back on the pitch very soon. Take care.” And that’s about it so far, they all seem to be fairly healthy and will survive, shame that…
Floyd Mayweather’s ex-girlfriend and the mother of his three children, Josie Harris, has been found dead in her car by police in California. She was 40 years old. Harris was found outside her home in Valencia, Los Angeles County, on Tuesday night. Authorities do not suspect foul play and are treating the case like a death investigation. Mayweather and Harris had a tumultuous relationship when they dated between 1995 and 2010. The boxing icon served two months in prison when he was convicted in 2010 of domestic violence against her. The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department said in a statement on Wednesday: ‘Homicide investigators have responded to the death of a woman. ‘The incident was reported Tuesday, March 10, 2020, at approximately, 10pm, on the 25,700 block of Oak Meadow Drive, Valencia. ‘The woman was pronounced dead at the scene. There is no additional information available at this time.’ Harris claimed that she was abused by Mayweather on six different occasions and was in the process of writing a book about domestic violence survivors when she died.
On This Day
- 44 BC – The assassination of Julius Caesar.
- 1917 – Tsar Nicholas II of Russia abdicates the Russian throne ending the 304-year Romanov dynasty.
- 1990 – Mikhail Gorbachev is elected as the first President of the Soviet Union.
- 44 BC – Julius Caesar, Roman general and statesman (b. 100 BC)
- 1891 – Joseph Bazalgette, English engineer and academic (b. 1819)
- 1937 – H. P. Lovecraft, American short story writer, editor, and novelist (b. 1890)
- 1998 – Benjamin Spock, American paediatrician and author (b. 1903)
- 2003 – Thora Hird, English actress (b. 1911)
- 2014 – Clarissa Dickson Wright, English chef, author, and television personality (b. 1947)
A convicted killer sentenced to death for slaying three police officers took only one bite of his last meal before being executed by lethal injection. There was some hope death row inmate Nathaniel Woods’ execution may have been called off after the US Supreme Court granted a last minute stay, but this was lifted hours later. The 44-year-old dad had requested sweet potatoes, spinach, chicken patty and leg quarter, cooked apples, fries, two oranges and an orange-flavoured drink. However, he only had a bite of the chicken before leaving the rest of the meal untouched, according to a statement from Alabama Department of Corrections. Woods had made calls to his father, sister, daughter and mother, as well as friends, in the hours before his execution on Thursday evening at William C. Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore.
Woods was convicted for his part in what became known as the ‘deadliest day’ in the history of Alabama’s Birmingham Police Department in 2004. Officers Carlos Owen, Harley A. Chisholm III and Charles R. Bennett were shot dead by Kerry Spencer at an apartment in Birmingham where Woods was also present but didn’t pull the trigger. Prosecutors, however, said Woods had lured the three law enforcers into the home where they were killed – but supporters claim the evidence against him doesn’t stack up. During his trial – in a practice abandoned by every other US state except Alabama – the jury could not even come to a unanimous decision on his sentencing, with two opposed to the death penalty. The decision to press on with the execution came after Alabama Governor Kay Ivey reviewed a letter from Woods’ legal team requesting a reprieve from the death sentence, but said she would allow the execution to proceed. In a lengthy statement, the governor said: “There is no evidence, and no argument has been made, that Nathaniel Woods tried to stop the gunman from committing these heinous crimes. “In fact, he later bragged about his participation in these horrific murders.” Alabama State Attorney General Steve Marshall agreed in a statement on Wednesday that Woods was “correctly found guilty and sentenced to death by a jury of his peers”. Woods became the first person executed in Alabama in 2020 and the 67th since the state reinstated the death penalty in 1976.
Last Week’s Birthdays
David Cronenberg (76), Will.i.am (44), Jamie Bell (33), Jaimie Alexander (35), Michael Caine (86), Billy Crystal (71), Quincy Jones (86), Annabeth Gish (48), William H. Macy (69), Aaron Eckhart (51), Liza Minnelli (73), Thora Birch (37), John Barrowman (52), Johnny Knoxville (48), Nancy Kovack (84), Olivia Wilde (36), Sharon Stone (62), Jon Hamm (49), Chuck Norris (80), Robert Llewellyn (64), Juliette Binoche (56), Freddie Prinze Jr. (44), and Aidan Quinn (61).
Nil points to award this week, just goes to show that the coronavirus isn’t that bad. Although, just to put the willies up some people, three politicians in Iran have died of Corvid-19, at least we can all agree that if it targets politicians, we will welcome the virus with open arms…
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Stefan Lindqvist, 52, Swedish footballer (Halmstad, IFK Göteborg, national team), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
- James Lipton, 93, American television host (Inside the Actors Studio), actor (Arrested Development) and writer (Guiding Light), bladder cancer.
- CC, 18, American tabby cat, first cloned pet, kidney failure.
- Barbara Martin, 76, American singer (The Supremes).
- Alexey Sorokin, 97, Russian military officer and politician, Admiral of the Fleet (1988–1992) and Deputy (1989–1991).
- David Paul, 62, American actor, producer, television personality and bodybuilder (The Barbarians, Double Trouble, Twin Sitters).
- David Rainford, 51, British quiz contestant (Eggheads).
- Matthew Watkins, 41, Welsh rugby union player (Newport, Scarlets, national team), pelvic cancer.
In Other News
A Ukrainian chess grandmaster once ranked eighth in the world and his teenage girlfriend, who also played professionally, have died. Investigators claimed the pair may have choked to death after inhaling nitrous oxide. Stanislav Bogdanovich, 27, and 19-year-old Alexandra Vernigora, both from the Odessa region, were found dead in their adoptive home of Moscow, according to industry publication chess-news.ru. The couple, who had been together for a year, were initially claimed to have been found alongside balloons used to inhale the gas, which is legally available in the country. However Russian broadcaster Ren TV, citing Russian investigators, later said the couple had been found with bags over their heads. The supply of nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, was outlawed for recreational purposes in the UK in 2016 – however, the death rate associated with its use is relatively low. Between 2010 and 2016, 25 people were confirmed to have died as a result of inhaling the gas in Britain. Investigators reportedly said there was no evidence of foul play.
Jared Leto has revealed he “nearly died” while rock climbing in Nevada. Leto shared photos and videos of the incident on Instagram, which occurred while he was climbing with Alex Honnold, who is famous for his free solo ascents. Leto and Honnold were climbing at the Red Rock canyon in Nevada when the actor “took a pretty good fall”. “Not to sound dramatic, but this is the day I nearly died,” wrote Leto in the Instagram caption. “Took a pretty good fall climbing with @alexhonnold at Red Rock. Looked up and within seconds the rope was being cut by the rock while I dangled some 600 ft in the air. “I remember looking down at the ground below. It was a strange moment – less fear, more matter of fact, and slightly melancholy. The adrenaline came after, when I got back on the wall. But we made it through and lived to see another day. “Overall it was actually quite fun. we continued climbing into the night…”
Post Malone has spoken out to reassure fans that he is not taking drugs, after many expressed concerns for his health following bizarre live shows. The rapper, who is currently out on the second leg of his Runaway tour, was filmed stumbling across the stage, slurring his words and rolling his eyes back while performing. After fans took to social media to say they were worried he might be taking drugs, Malone used his concert in Memphis, Tennessee to deny these claims. “I’m not on drugs,” he told the crowd. “I feel the best I’ve ever fucking felt in my life. And that’s why I can bust my ass for these shows and fucking fall on the floor and do all that fun shit.” He added: “But for anyone that’s concerned here, I appreciate the love and the support, but I feel fucking fantastic and I’m not doing drugs.”
On This Day
- 1618 – Johannes Kepler discovers the third law of planetary motion.
- 1979 – Philips demonstrates the compact disc publicly for the first time.
- 2014 – Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, carrying a total of 239 people, disappears en-route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
- 1723 – Christopher Wren, English architect, designed St. Paul’s Cathedral (b. 1632)
- 1930 – William Howard Taft, American lawyer, 27th President of the U.S. (b. 1857)
- 1971 – Harold Lloyd, American actor, director, and producer (b. 1893)
- 2003 – Adam Faith, English singer (b. 1940)
- 2007 – John Inman, English actor (b. 1935)
Last Week’s Birthdays
Cynthia Rothrock (62), Micky Dolenz (74), Rachel Weisz (49), Bryan Cranston (63), Shaquille O’Neal (47), Tom Arnold (60), Alan Davies (53), Jolene Blalock (44), Eva Mendes (45), Dean Stockwell (83), Jake Lloyd (30), Matt Lucas (45), Paul Blackthorne (50), Fred Williamson (81), Aasif Mandvi (53), Penn Jillette (64), Murray Head (73), Catherine O’Hara (66), Patsy Kensit (52), Jessica Biel (38), Julie Bowen (50), Miranda Richardson (62), Charlie Brooker (49), Brian Cox (52), Bryce Dallas Howard (39), Daniel Craig (52), Rebel Wilson (40), Nathalie Emmanuel (31), Gates McFadden (71), Jon Bon Jovi (58), Chris Martin (43), and Alexander Armstrong (50).
Somewhat surprisingly, we’re not dishing out any points this week. Even though the oldest man on the planet has died and the last film star of the silent era also passed away. I’m expecting the following weeks to be busy with hordes of stars dying of Coronavirus, any bets on Jon Snow?
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Simon Warr, 66, British broadcaster & actor (That’ll Teach ‘Em), pancreatic & liver cancer.
- Chitetsu Watanabe, 112, Japanese supercentenarian, world’s oldest living man.
- Diana Serra Cary, 101, American actress (The Darling of New York, Captain January, The Family Secret).
- Ben Cooper, 86, American actor (Johnny Guitar, Gunfight at Comanche Creek, Rebel in Town).
- Clive Cussler, 88, American adventure novelist (Raise the Titanic!, Sahara) and underwater explorer, founder of the NUMA.
- Katherine Johnson, 101, American mathematician (NASA).
- Hosni Mubarak, 91, Egyptian military officer and politician, kidney failure.
- Michael Medwin, 96, English actor (Shoestring, Scrooge, The Army Game).
- Sudhakar Chaturvedi, 122 (claimed), Indian Vedic scholar and courier.
- Freeman Dyson, 96, British-born American physicist and mathematician (Dyson’s transform, Rank of a partition, Dyson series), fall.
In Other News
In what can only be described as an amazing case of Darwinism in action, three people have been killed after dry ice was poured into a swimming pool during a birthday party in Moscow. The victims had been celebrating the 29th birthday of Instagram influencer Yekaterina Didenko at a pool complex in the Russian capital. About 25kg of dry ice was tipped into the pool with the intention of creating a “visual effect” to impress guests. But people inside the pool reportedly instantly began to choke and lose consciousness. Several people were injured during the stunt, including Ms Didenko’s husband, 32-year-old Valentin Didenko, who is reportedly among the dead. The mother-of-two had earlier posted a video message telling her one million followers he had been rushed to intensive care. Dry ice, which is frozen carbon dioxide, produces a heavy vapour when put into water. The cause of the deaths is not yet known, but the vapour can cause an elevated level of carbon dioxide in blood when released in an inadequately ventilated space.
Britain’s oldest man is now the oldest man in the world following the death of the previous record holder in Japan – but it’s not an achievement he seems too enamoured with. Born on 29th March 1908, Bob Wighton has been the oldest man in the UK since last summer and took the global title after Chitetsu Watanabe died aged 112 on Sunday – days after receiving a Guinness World Record certificate. Mr Weighton, who turns 112 next month, can now expect to receive a certificate of his own, although he says he takes no satisfaction from the milestone. “Well, I don’t really feel satisfied because it means someone else has died,” said the former teacher and engineer. Mr Weighton, who still lives in his own flat in Alton, Hampshire, said living to such an age was “not something I ever intended, wanted or worked for – it’s just one of those facts of life”. “It’s good genes I guess – taking things as they come instead of worrying about them for months”. Upon celebrating his 111th birthday last year, Mr Weighton put his long life down to “avoiding dying”. He said: “I have had the usual scares, flu, influenza, malaria, two or three operations; I ought to be dead but I am a survivor, if you like.”
Prison bosses are reportedly worried about how to handle Harvey Weinstein while he is in jail, fearing he may commit suicide, or as it’s now called, doing an Epstein. Weinstein was convicted of rape and sexual assault on Monday and officials at New York prisons are said to be concerned another high-profile inmate could take his own life. Billionaire Epstein hanged himself last August in his cell at Metropolitan Correctional Centre in Manhattan while awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges. Now it is feared Weinstein may have to be kept in a private section of Rikers Island’s North Infirmary Command, which is for high-risk inmates, for his own safety. However, according to his attorney, Weinstein is as happy as can be — despite the looming possibility of nearly 30 years in prison. While Weinstein’s hospitalised at the moment due to chest pains, his attorney also doesn’t think his client will need extra protection from other inmates. Nothing like a bit of optimism.
On This Day
- 1692 – Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne and Tituba are brought before local magistrates in Salem Village, Massachusetts, beginning what would become known as the Salem witch trials.
- 1953 – Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin suffers a stroke and collapses; he dies four days later.
- 1983 – First collection of twelve Swatch models was introduced in Zürich, Switzerland.
- 589 – David, Welsh bishop and saint
- 1244 – Gruffydd ap Llywelyn Fawr, Welsh noble, son of Llywelyn the Great (b. 1200)
- 2006 – Jack Wild, Actor (b.1952)
Last Week’s Birthdays
John Turturro (62), Rae Dawn Chong (58), Mercedes Ruehl (71), Kate Mara (36), Adam Baldwin (57), Richard Coyle(47), Timothy Spall (62), Chase Masterson (56), Bill Duke (76), Michael Bolton (66), Téa Leoni (54), Jameela Jamil (34), Sean Astin (49), Lee Evans (56), Daniel Kaluuya (31), Edward James Olmos (73), and Dennis Waterman (72).
I’m not going to lie to you, this one is going to take a little while to read; I blame Nickie for sending too many stories… Luckily none of you chose Britain’s Oldest Living Person as she died last year, so any points you would have scored would have been nullified.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Frances Cuka, 83, British actress (Scrooge, The Watcher in the Woods, Snow White: A Tale of Terror).
- Harry Gregg, 87, Northern Irish footballer (Manchester United), Munich air disaster survivor.
- Kellye Nakahara, 72, American actress (M*A*S*H, Clue, 3 Ninjas Kick Back) and artist, cancer.
- Larry Tesler, 74, American computer scientist (Apple Corps, Xerox), designer of cut, copy, and paste.
- Heather Couper, 70, British astronomer and broadcaster, President of the British Astronomical Association (1984–1986).
In Other News
A daredevil pilot who believed the Earth was flat has been killed after his homemade rocket crashed shortly after take-off in California. “Mad” Mike Hughes, who hoped to prove the Earth was flat by going into space, died on Saturday near Barstow, California, after attempting to launch his steam-powered rocket for a new television series called Homemade Astronauts on the US Science Channel. In a statement, the Science Channel said: “Our thoughts & prayers go out to his family & friends during this difficult time. It was always his dream to do this launch & Science Channel was there to chronicle his journey.” A video of the launch, posted by a witness on Twitter, shows a parachute trailing behind the rocket immediately after take-off. The rocket is then depicted hurtling down to earth before crashing into the desert. With the help of his partner Waldo Stakes, Hughes wanted to reach 5,000 feet (1524m) in his rocket, according to space.com. Obviously nobody told him that commercial flights fly at 35,000 feet…
Dame Julie Walters has revealed that she was diagnosed with stage three bowel cancer 18 months ago. Walters said she had two primary tumours in her large intestine, and was so shocked when she was diagnosed that she thought doctors “must have made a mistake”. She was filming her new movie The Secret Garden when she was diagnosed. “I was still thinking, ‘That’s ridiculous, he must have made a mistake,’” she said. “I couldn’t believe it.” Walters described the reaction of her husband, Grant Roffey. “I’ll never forget his face,” she said. “Tears came into his eyes.” The actor said that while she had always been optimistic that she would recover, she worried about not coming round from anaesthetic after surgery. She said that she had “30cm taken out of my colon” in hospital. Walters had chemotherapy, which she said was “fine” and had not caused hair loss. She added: “I’ve just had a scan, and I know that I’m clear.”
Larry Tesler, the mind behind cut, copy and paste has died aged 74. Tesler played a key role in the development of a range of Apple products, serving as VP of AppleNet and Apple’s Advanced Technology Group. Prior to this the computer scientist had a pioneering career in technology. After studying the subject at Stanford University he went on to work for the legendary R&D facility, Xerox PARC. However, Tesler’s crowning achievement was the invention of cut, copy and paste, a function that is now taken for granted in modern computers. Tesler is fondly regarded as an encapsulation of hippie and high-tech culture that helped create Apple as a company.
Liverpool comedian, Jimmy Tarbuck, has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. The veteran comedian, 80, said that he is going to “try and beat it”. He said men can be too “shy” to get tested as he urged viewers: “All men out there watching, and all wives, get your husbands to go for the tests. I think after 50, just have a test, let them have a look at you. “You will be relieved and be with your families for extra years.” He added: “I feel great. I’m on the telly and I’m having a good time. Tarbuck said Sir Tom Jones has been his “mentor”, and had advised him to see a doctor when he told him about his symptoms. “Tom told me what was going to happen, all the tests,” Tarbuck said. He added: “Boys, go. It is embarrassing. The fella said to me ‘We’re going to give you the thumbs up’. I said ‘I hope not’. He roared laughing.” Tarbuck, who said the cancer has not spread, added: “I’m having injections and taking tablets and then I take a yearly cycle.”
The oldest person in Britain has died at the age of 111, it was announced last Wednesday. Hilda Clulow passed away peacefully on Christmas Eve with her family and friends by her side at the care home where she was staying in Redditch, Worcestershire. She was born on March 15, 1908, when a loaf of bread cost just 1p and London hosted its first Olympic Games. Hilda lived through 27 prime ministers, five monarchs, and survived both world wars. The retired dress worker celebrated her 111th birthday with a 1940s-themed party last March. Speaking of her longevity on her previous birthday, Hilda said: “When you get to my age, it’s just a number isn’t it? “I’ve had a lovely day and seen lots of old photos, my memory isn’t quite what it was, but I don’t do too bad! The oldest person in the UK now is believed to be 111-year-old Bob Weighton who was born in Hull on March 29, 1908.
On This Day
- 1455 – Traditional date for the publication of the Gutenberg Bible, the first Western book printed with movable type.
- 1739 – At York Castle, the outlaw Dick Turpin is identified by his former schoolteacher. Turpin had been using the name Richard Palmer.
- 1927 – German theoretical physicist Werner Heisenberg writes a letter to fellow physicist Wolfgang Pauli, in which he describes his uncertainty principle for the first time.
- 1821 – John Keats, English poet (b. 1795)
- 1848 – John Quincy Adams, 6th President of the United States (b. 1767)
- 1931 – Nellie Melba, Australian soprano and actress (b. 1861)
- 1934 – Edward Elgar, English composer and academic (b. 1857)
- 1965 – Stan Laurel, English actor and comedian (b. 1890)
- 1976 – L. S. Lowry, English painter (b. 1887)
- 1995 – James Herriot, English veterinarian and author (b. 1916)
The final words of a death row inmate who was executed for stabbing a child rapist to death in prison have been revealed. Nicholas Todd Sutton was given a death sentence after being convicted of murdering fellow inmate Carl Estep in 1985. The 58-year-old had eaten his last meal– fried pork chops, mashed potatoes with gravy, biscuits and peach pie with vanilla ice cream, saying in his last words that he hopes he does better in his next time.
Sutton – who choose to die by electric chair rather than lethal injection – also paid tribute to his faith in God. Supporters had been attempting to overturn his death sentence, arguing he was a changed man.
He was originally locked up for killing his grandma, and later confessed to two more murders before stabbing Estep to death while in jail. In a statement, Sutton said: “I have made a lot of friends along the way and a lot of people have enriched my life. “They have reached out to me and pulled me up and I am grateful for that. “I have had the privilege of being married to the finest woman, who is a great servant to God. “Without her, I would not have made the progress that I have made. I hope I do a much better job in the next life than I did in this one. “If I could leave one thing with all of you, it is, don’t ever give up on the ability of Jesus Christ to fix someone or a problem. “He can fix anything. Don’t ever underestimate His ability. He has made my life meaningful and fruitful through my relationships with family and friends. “So, even in my death, I am coming out a winner. God has provided it all to me.”
Sutton is the fourth inmate the US to executed in 2020, and the first in Tennessee. He was in prison when he killed child rapist Estep back in 1985 and was sentenced to death in 1986 – serving 34 years on death row. During a guard shift change, Sutton and his accomplice Thomas Street entered Estep’s cell and stabbed him 38 times in the chest and neck with homemade knives. Inmates said Estep was a drug dealer behind bars and had sold the men “bad merchandise”. It is claimed the paedophile refused to refund their money, so the men stole his watch. But then he threatened to kill Sutton, leading to the murder in which four inmates saw the men enter his cell and heard screams.
Sutton killed his grandmother Dorothy by knocking out and throwing her into a river in Tennessee’s Hamblen County. He was convicted of murder and then confessed to beating to death his high school friend John Large, 19, and fatally shooting Charles Almon, 46. Such a nice man!
Last Week’s Birthdays
Emily Blunt (36), Dakota Fanning (25), Josh Gad (38), Kelly Macdonald (43), Aziz Ansari (36), Jeri Ryan (51), Drew Barrymore (44), Thomas Jane (50), Kyle MacLachlan (60), Julie Walters (69), Nigel Planer (66), Sophie Turner (23), Ellen Page (32), Tuppence Middleton (32), Kelsey Grammer (64), Tyne Daly (73), Anthony Daniels (73), Charlotte Church (33), Anthony Head (66), Brenda Blethyn (74), Sidney Poitier (93), Rihanna (32), Cindy Crawford (54), Trevor Noah (36), Millie Bobby Brown (16), Ophelia Lovibond (34), Benicio Del Toro (53), Jeff Daniels (65), Ray Winstone (63), Seal (57), John Travolta (66), Molly Ringwald (52), Matt Dillon (56), Cybill Shepherd (70), Greta Scacchi (60), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (39), Rene Russo (66), Lou Diamond Phillips (58), Bonnie Wright (29), Dominic Purcell (50), Rory Kinnear (44), Paris Hilton (39), Michael Jordan (57), Patricia Routledge (91), Ed Sheeran (29), Brenda Fricker (75), and Barry Humphries (86).
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Paula Kelly, 77, American actress (Night Court, Santa Barbara, Soylent Green) and dancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
- Joseph Shabalala, 78, South African musician (Ladysmith Black Mambazo).
- Lynn Cohen, 86, American actress (Law & Order, Sex and the City, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire).
- Caroline Flack, 40, English television and radio presenter (The X Factor, Love Island, I’m a Celebrity: Extra Camp), suicide.
In Other News
Legendary Brazil forward Pele is reluctant to leave his house because he cannot walk unaided, his son has said. Pele, 79, has had problems with his hip for some time and now needs a frame to walk, with many of his recent public appearances in a wheelchair. “He is very sheepish, reclusive,” his son Edinho told us. His health has been a concern in recent years and he had prostate surgery in 2015 after he was admitted to hospital for the second time in six months. “Imagine, he’s the King, he was always such an imposing figure and today he can’t walk properly,” Edinho explained. “He’s embarrassed, he doesn’t want to go out, be seen, or do practically anything that involves leaving the house. “He’s pretty fragile. He had a hip replacement and didn’t have an adequate or ideal rehabilitation. So he has this problem with mobility and that has set off a kind of depression.” This June marks the 50th anniversary of Pele’s final World Cup title, won in Mexico with what many believe to be the greatest team of all time.
Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh announced that he has been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. The 69-year-old told listeners that he began to experience shortness of breath earlier this month. This ultimately led to his diagnosis, which was confirmed by two medical institutions. “I have to tell you something today that I wish I didn’t have to tell you,” Limbaugh told his listeners. “But it is what it is. And you know me, I’m the mayor of Realville.” Although I will have to miss some of my shows to undergo tests and treatment, “my intention is to come here every day I can. And to do this program as normally and competently … as I do each and every day.” Limbaugh is a longtime cigar smoker and smoking advocate. In e, he told a caller that Americans should thank smokers because of the money they add to the economy. He also denied that second-hand smoke caused illness, and that it took 50 years for first-hand smoke to cause cancer. Let’s see how his views help him with his recovery.
As we’re all about to die of the coronavirus, I thought you all might like to know why. Like so many deadly outbreaks before it, the new coronavirus likely emerged from bats. Since the first patients were infected at a seafood and live animal market in the Chinese city Wuhan at the end of last year, the previously unknown strain has spread to at least 27 countries. Authorities have confirmed more than 43,000 cases, of which 42,655 are in mainland China. One death has been reported in Europe, but luckily we’re not part of the EU anymore, so our gammons are safe. The new coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, is far from the only outbreak with bats behind it. Coronaviruses are a class, with seven strains known to infect humans. One of which is severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars), which killed 774 people during its 2004 outbreak. Mers and Ebola also fall into the same class. But why are bat viruses are so deadly? It’s all down to flying. The bat is thought to have evolved to release high amounts of the protein to “mop up” inflammatory damage caused by flying. The nocturnal creatures may therefore be “primed” to defend themselves against viruses. Viruses may then evolve to reproduce quickly within the animal before a defence response is initiated. “When you have a higher immune response, you get these cells that are protected from infection, so the virus can actually ramp up its replication rate without causing damage to its host,” said study author Cara Brook. While bats can tolerate this, if the virus moves into a creature without the same immune response, it can be deadly. “Our immune system would generate widespread inflammation if attempting this same antiviral strategy,” said Brook. While little is known about exactly where the virus came from or how long it takes to cause symptoms, Chinese authorities have confirmed it spreads via droplets expelled while sneezing or coughing. It is unknown whether the virus “floats” in the air or survives on hard surfaces. Infected patients develop flu-like symptoms, such as fever and breathlessness. In the most severe cases, victims succumb to pneumonia.
On This Day
- 1923 – Howard Carter unseals the burial chamber of Pharaoh Tutankhamun.
- 1937 – Wallace H. Carothers receives a United States patent for nylon.
- 1998 – China Airlines Flight 676 crashes into a road and residential area near Chiang Kai-shek International Airport in Taiwan, killing all 196 aboard and seven more on the ground.
- 2006 – The last Mobile army surgical hospital (MASH) is decommissioned by the United States Army.
- 1992 – Angela Carter, English novelist, short story writer (b. 1940)
- 2015 – Lesley Gore, American singer-songwriter (b. 1946)
- 2016 – Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Egyptian politician and diplomat, 6th Secretary-General of the United Nations (b. 1922)
At the age of 13, Dodd began exposing himself to children in his neighbourhood. His father eventually told an Oregon newspaper that he was aware of the boy’s behaviour but largely ignored it, since he felt his son was otherwise “a well-behaved child who never had problems with drugs, drinking, or smoking.” By the time he entered high school, Dodd had progressed to molestation, beginning with his younger cousins, and then neighbourhood children he offered to babysit, as well as the children of a woman his father was dating. The ongoing pattern din not stop and each time he was caught he was given a slap on the wrist and he just carried on.
On September 4, 1989, Dodd went to Vancouver’s David Douglas Park, with a fish fillet knife and shoelaces, and sought out young boys to kill. He lured two brothers, 11- and 10-year-old Cole and William Neer, to a secluded area, where he forced them to undress, tied them to a tree and performed sex acts on them both. When he was done, he stabbed them repeatedly with a knife and fled the scene. The boys were soon discovered in the park. Cole was dead at the scene, while William died en-route to the hospital.
After the murders of the two brothers, Dodd started a scrapbook with newspaper clippings and other facts about the murders. On October 29, Dodd drove to Portland, Oregon and there he encountered four-year-old Lee Iseli and his nine-year-old brother Justin at a local park. The younger boy was playing alone on a slide, and Dodd succeeded in convincing the boy to come with him. Justin had gone home, so Dodd told Lee that he “would drive him back to his house”. He managed to bring Lee to his apartment in Vancouver apparently unnoticed, and he ordered the boy to undress. Dodd then tied Lee to his bed and molested him, taking photographs of the abuse. Dodd kept Lee overnight while he continued to molest him, all the while jotting down every detail in his diary. The next morning, he strangled Lee to death with a rope and hung his body in the closet, photographing it as a macabre “trophy”. He would later confess to police that he had not originally planned to kill the boy, but eventually decided that it was necessary to keep him from telling anyone. Dodd stuffed Lee’s nude body in trash bags and threw it in some bushes near Vancouver Lake. He burned Lee’s clothing in a trash barrel except for the boy’s underwear, which he kept as a souvenir of the crime. One day later, Lee’s body was discovered, which sparked a manhunt for the killer.
On November 13, 1989, Dodd attempted to abduct 6-year-old James Kirk II from the restroom of the New Liberty Theatre in Camas, Washington, but the child began fighting and crying as Dodd was leaving the theatre through the lobby, carrying the boy in his arms. Despite Dodd’s attempts to calm the boy, theatre employees became suspicious. Once outside, Dodd released his victim before getting into his car and driving away. The boyfriend of the boy’s mother, William “Ray” Graves, came to the theatre lobby and was told that the boy had nearly been abducted. Graves went outside the theatre in the direction where Dodd was last seen. Dodd’s car had broken down a short distance away from the theatre and he was attempting to start the motor. In order not to raise Dodd’s suspicion and to stall for time, Graves offered to help him. He then put Dodd into a headlock and brought him back to the theatre, where employees called the police.
During the search of Dodd’s home, police discovered a homemade torture rack, along with newspaper clippings about his crimes, a briefcase containing Lee Iseli’s underwear, a photo album containing pictures of Lee Iseli, and assorted photographs of children in newspaper and store catalogue underwear advertisements. They also discovered Dodd’s diary, in which he wrote in detail about the murders. Dodd was charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of the Neer brothers and Lee Iseli, plus attempted kidnapping of another child. He initially pleaded not guilty to all charges, but later changed his plea to guilty.
Less than four years elapsed between the murders and Dodd’s execution. He refused to appeal his case or the capital sentence. He insisted that he was uncontrollable and would kill again, stating in one court brief: “I must be executed before I have an opportunity to escape or kill someone else. If I do escape, I promise you I will kill and rape again, and I will enjoy every minute of it.” He also said in some interviews that death would give him relief from guilt over the murders. During his trial, he wrote a pamphlet on how parents could protect children from child molesters such as himself. Washington state law gave Dodd the choice of either lethal injection or hanging for his execution. He chose hanging, later stating in interviews that he preferred that method “because that’s the way Lee Iseli [his final victim] died”. Dodd’s execution was witnessed by 12 members of local and regional media, prison officials, and family members of the three victims. Dodd ordered broiled salmon and fried potatoes for his last meal. His last words, spoken from the second floor of the indoor gallows, were recorded by the media witnesses as: I was once asked by somebody, I don’t remember who, if there was any way sex offenders could be stopped. I said, ‘No.’ I was wrong. I was wrong when I said there was no hope, no peace. There is hope. There is peace. I found both in the Lord, Jesus Christ. Look to the Lord, and you will find peace.
Dodd was executed by hanging at 12:05 a.m. on January 5, 1993 at Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla. He was pronounced dead by the prison doctor and his body transported to Seattle for autopsy. The witnesses said that the King County Medical Examiner, Donald Reay, found that Dodd had died quickly, within two to three minutes, though not from a broken neck, which is the usual cause of death from hanging. Reay stated that Dodd’s death had likely not been very painful.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Christopher Eccleston (55), LeVar Burton (62), Amanda Holden (48), John McEnroe (60), Jane Seymour (69), Simon Pegg (50), Andrew Robinson (78), Mena Suvari (41), Neal McDonough (54), Kim Novak (87), Christina Ricci (40), Josh Brolin (52), Michael Ironside (70), Arsenio Hall (64), Jennifer Aniston (51), Natalie Dormer (38), Damian Lewis (49), Taylor Lautner (28), Sheryl Crow (58), Laura Dern (53), Chloë Grace Moretz (23), Elizabeth Banks (46), Keeley Hawes (44), Robert Wagner (90), Philip Glenister (57), and Holly Willoughby (39).
A very busy points week with the long anticipated death of Kirk Douglas! 21 of us have scored some points! I’ll not list you all, but take a quick look at the league table and you’ll see most have now scored some points already, well done everyone, especially those of you who listed him as a Cert.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Terry Hands, 79, British theatre director (Royal Shakespeare Company).
- Kevin Conway, 77, American actor (Star Trek – The Next Generation, Gettysburg, Thirteen Days, Invincible), heart attack.
- Kirk Douglas, 103, American actor (Spartacus, Paths of Glory, Seven Days in May).
- Raphaël Coleman, 25, British actor (Nanny McPhee, The Fourth Kind).
- Orson Bean, 91, American actor (Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, Being John Malkovich), traffic collision.
- Robert Conrad, 84, American actor (Hawaiian Eye, The Wild Wild West, Baa Baa Black Sheep), heart failure.
In Other News
Shannen Doherty has been diagnosed with stage four breast cancer. The Charmed and 90210 star revealed the diagnosis on Good Morning America on Tuesday morning. “It’s going to come out in a matter of days or a week that I have stage four [cancer],” she told host Amy Robach. “My cancer came back and… that’s why I’m here.” Doherty kept the diagnosis private for a year. She said she chose to discuss it now because the condition will soon be made public in court documents. “I don’t think that I’ve processed it,” she added of the diagnosis. “It’s a bitter pill to swallow in a lot of ways.” Doherty was originally diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 and announced that the illness was in remission in April 2017.
Infamous Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff has asked a judge to grant him a “compassionate release” from his 150-year prison sentence, saying he has terminal kidney failure and barely 18-months to live. In 2009, the financier was sent to jail after pleading guilty to more than 10 federal charges relating to a Ponzi scheme involving hundreds of his clients. But lawyers for the New York-born financial adviser have filed court papers to say the 81-year-old has end-stage kidney disease and other “chronic, serious medical conditions”. including hypertension and cardiovascular disease. “There’s no cure for my type of disease,” Madoff told the Washington Post in a phone interview, expressing remorse for orchestrating the largest Ponzi scheme in history. After spending more than a decade behind bars, Madoff said his dying wish was to salvage his relationships with his grandchildren. He said; “I’ve served 11 years already and, quite frankly, I’ve suffered through it.” Madoff pleaded guilty in 2009 to 11 federal counts in a fraudulent investment scheme involving billions of dollars, admitting he swindled thousands of clients over decades. The rich and famous were among his victims, as well as people of lesser means who had invested with him unknowingly through feeder funds. The Bureau of Prisons denied Madoff’s request for release last December, according to court papers, saying it would “minimise the severity of his offence”. The agency lists Madoff’s release date as November 14th 2139.
The ever attention seeking Katie Price was forced to cancel a recent gig after coming down with a mystery illness, (cough, hangover, cough) and it’s claimed the former glamour model is worried it’s something serious. She is said to be concerned that it’s coronavirus, a contagious condition that has killed 565 people worldwide. According to The Scum, the mum-of-five has been texting her friends to ask what the symptoms are as she fears she picked it up from either her New Year’s break to Thailand or a recent trip to New York. A source told the paper: “Katie’s been feeling so bad she’s convinced it’s more than the flu. Yesterday Katie recorded a video from her bed saying she was feeling ill, but not too ill to take a selfie video. She lay in bed with no makeup on and her hair down and laying unbrushed around her, like us normal people do. “I’ve been really ill and I’ve been in bed all night and I’m staying in bed all day,” Katie said. No change there then…
On This Day
- 1959 – The R-7 Semyorka, the first intercontinental ballistic missile, becomes operational at Plesetsk, USSR.
- 1964 – The Beatles make their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, performing before a “record-busting” audience of 73 million viewers across the USA.
- 1996 – The Provisional Irish Republican Army declares the end to its 18-month ceasefire and explodes a large bomb in London’s Canary Wharf, killing two people.
- 1981 – Bill Haley, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1925)
- 1984 – Yuri Andropov, Russian lawyer and politician (b. 1914)
- 2005 – Robert Kearns, American engineer, invented the windscreen wiper (b. 1927)
- 2002 – Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon (b. 1930)
- 2007 – Ian Richardson, Scottish actor (b. 1934)
Coy Wayne “Elvis” Wesbrook was an American mass murderer, convicted for the killing of 5 people in Channelview, Texas on November 13, 1997. Wesbrook fatally shot his ex-wife Gloria Jean Coons, her female roommate, and three men during a party at Coons’ home in an apparent fit of jealous rage. Wesbrook was sentenced to death in 1998, and was executed by lethal injection in 2016. The case was controversial due to questions about Wesbrook’s intelligence being low enough that a death sentence was improper. According to his testimony, Wesbrook went to visit his ex-wife, Gloria Jean Coons, at her home in Channelview, Texas, in the Greater Houston area. He was invited to a party at Coons’ apartment along with other friends Diana Ruth Money, and three other males. Wesbrook had gone there with hopes of rebuilding the relationship with Coons, but went into a rage when the party’s attendees began to mock him because Coons had cheated on him in the bedroom. At some point in the evening, Wesbrook noticed that his ex-wife and two of the men had slipped away, and when he went into the bedroom, he found Coons having sex with both of the men. While they were mocking him they were playing “keep away” with his keys, tossing them back and forth to each other, preventing him from leaving. He was able to get his keys back and he left. A very short time later he returned in his truck and pulled out his .30-06 hunting rifle and returned to the residence, where he then fatally shot his ex-wife, all three of the males, and Money in the residence. At about 2 a.m., a neighbour heard the gunfire, grabbed a cell phone, went next door, saw the corpses, and called 911. Wesbrook was arrested at the scene. In 1998, Wesbrook’s trial began, and due to his low IQ the defence asked the jury to show mercy for Wesbrook. However, the prosecution said that Wesbrook had been fully aware that what he was doing was wrong and that made him fully responsible for his actions. The prosecution immediately sought the death penalty. The jury found Wesbrook guilty and fully responsible for his actions and recommended the death sentence, and on September 2, 1998, Wesbrook was sentenced to death, being placed on death row the same day. Despite his low IQ and the disputed testimony of Dr. George Denkowski, Wesbrook was not granted another trial. On March 9, 2016, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals rejected a last-minute appeal that had been filed because of concerns over Wesbrook’s possible mental impairment. For his last meal, Wesbrook ate baked chicken, mashed potatoes, country gravy, green beans, black-eyed peas, sliced bread and mandarin orange cake. He was given a choice of water, tea or punch to drink. Wesbrook was executed by lethal injection that evening, and was pronounced dead at 8:04 PM.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Joe Pesci (76), Michael B. Jordan (32), Rose Leslie (32), Tom Hiddleston (38), Ciarán Hinds (66), Mia Farrow (74), Jim Parrack (38), Mary Steenburgen (66), Nick Nolte (78), Ethan Phillips (64), Seth Green (45), John Grisham (64), Tina Majorino (35), Ashton Kutcher (42), James Spader (60), Deborah Ann Woll (35), Chris Rock (55), Eddie Izzard (58), Mike Farrell (81), Kevin Whately (69), Axl Rose (58), Jennifer Jason Leigh (58), Michael Sheen (51), Charlotte Rampling (74), Christopher Guest (72), Gabrielle Anwar (50), Jim Jefferies (43), Alice Cooper (72), Isla Fisher (44), Warwick Davis (50), and Morgan Fairchild (70).
Surprisingly we only have one person who listed Nicholas Parsons this year, at one point it seemed like he was on everyones list! However, points are points and Ron has made 54 of them! Well done that man! Shall we get on with it?
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Kobe Bryant, 41, basketball player (Los Angeles Lakers), Olympic champion (2008, 2012) and Oscar winner (2018).
- Nicholas Parsons, 96, British actor (Four Feather Falls), radio and television presenter (Just a Minute, Sale of the Century).
- John Andretti, 56, American racing driver (NASCAR Cup Series, CART), colon cancer.
- Fred Silverman, 82, American Hall of Fame television programmer (CBS, ABC, NBC) and producer, cancer.
In Other News
Olivia Newton-John says she is winning her third battle with breast cancer, thanks to medicinal cannabis. The 71-year-old told how the herbal treatment has helped contain the stage four disease, which returned three years ago in her lower back. Olivia looked fit and healthy as she appeared on the red carpet with Grease co-star John Travolta, 65, at the G’day USA gala in Beverly Hills on Saturday. The actress and singer said: “My tumours are receding or they’re going away or they’re staying the same. On a stage four metastatic breast cancer that’s pretty amazing. I don’t see it as a battle. I am winning.” Olivia is pushing for the wider use of cannabis as a medicine. She added: “For me the proof is in the pudding and I’m the pudding. “If I hadn’t had the experience I’m having with cannabis I wouldn’t be able to talk about it.” The mum-of-one’s Cancer & Wellness Centre in her native Australia is launching trials of cannabis as a medicine. She has also lobbied the government there to approve its use. The cannabis she uses is grown by husband John Easterling at their Santa Barbara home in California. She claimed doctors were supportive of the treatment. Olivia added: “It’s not a drug. It’s a herb and a plant.”
Comedy legend Jimmy Tarbuck has revealed he is having a cancer test the day after he turns 80 this week – but best pal Sir Tom Jones will help keep him laughing. The star started to fear he might have prostate cancer after suffering some of the telltale symptoms. And he credits rocker Rod Stewart – who has survived the disease – with giving him the courage to finally go and get tested. But it’s The Voice star Tom, 79, who will support him through his ordeal. Jimmy, whose birthday is on Wednesday, said: “The day after, I am going in for an operation and I will be getting myself right again. “They need to do a biopsy to find out if I have got prostate cancer. He added: “The thought of having prostate cancer is scary but I am determined to face it head on – and that’s because of learning that Rod Stewart has gone through it too.” Jimmy saw the rocker at a charity event in November when Rod first publicly announced he had been diagnosed with the disease. At the time Jimmy was experiencing symptoms, including blood in his urine and the frequent need to urinate. Of this week’s test. He said: “It’s best to know now because I want to grab another few years. My health has been fine since I had the stents put in and, please God, I’m still here. “I will make a deal with Him. I want a few more years and a bit of fun. And then I will say, ‘Thanks very much you have given me a great life.’
Madonna has cancelled two more shows in London, but said she was defying the orders of doctors who have told her she should be playing even fewer nights. The star, 61, said she has “multiple injuries”, meaning she has to do six hours’ of rehab every day she performs. She is currently doing a residency at the London Palladium, but has called off the shows on 4th and 11th February. That means she will not have three gigs in a row – but doctors told her two consecutive nights were still too much. She had previously cancelled her first London show on Monday after also calling off performances in Portugal. In a statement on Instagram on Friday, she wrote: “As you all know I have multiple injuries and have had to cancel shows to give me time to recover. “So as not to surprise you I want to let you know ahead of time that I will be cancelling 2 shows – on Feb 4th and Feb 11th at the Palladium in London because doing 3 shows in a row is too much on my body and in fact my doctors insist I take a day off after every show but I believe can manage if I do 2 shows then I rest! “It’s a miracle I have gotten this far but a lot has to do with the fact that I do 6 hours of rehab every day. 3 hours before show and 3 after with multiple therapies. “I have also switched to flat shoes and modified difficult parts of the show. This has helped enormously but I still need to be careful and of course rest is the best medicine. “Of course I never want to cancel any show and I’m determined that I will make it to the end if I pace myself. God Willing.” On Wednesday, she took to the Palladium stage wearing knee supports, but still performed high kicks, yoga poses and even the splits during a two-and-a-half-hour show.
On This Day
- 1709 – Alexander Selkirk is rescued after being shipwrecked on a desert island, inspiring Daniel Defoe‘s adventure book Robinson Crusoe.
- 1887 – In Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania the first Groundhog Day is observed.
- 1887 – In Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania the first Groundhog Day is observed.
- 1901 – Funeral of Queen Victoria.
- 1959 – Nine experienced ski hikers in the northern Ural Mountains in the Soviet Union die under mysterious circumstances.
- 1237 – Joan, Lady of Wales
- 1461 – Owen Tudor, Welsh founder of the Tudor dynasty
- 1969 – Boris Karloff, English actor (b. 1887)
- 1970 – Bertrand Russell, English mathematician & philosopher, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1872)
- 1979 – Sid Vicious, English singer and bass player (b. 1957)
- 1995 – Fred Perry, English-Australian tennis player (b. 1909)
- 1995 – Donald Pleasence, English-French actor (b. 1919)
- 1996 – Gene Kelly, American actor, singer, dancer, and director (b. 1912)
- 2011 – Margaret John, Welsh actress (b. 1926)
- 2014 – Philip Seymour Hoffman, American actor, director, and producer (b. 1967)
Donnie Cleveland Lance was executed by lethal injection at 7pm on Wednesday in Georgia, USA, having been convicted of the murders of Sabrina ‘Joy’ Lance and Dwight ‘Butch’ Wood Jr in November 1997. Having been convicted in 1999, the murderer went on to exhaust his standard appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear his case last year. The bodies of Lance’s victims were found at Butch’s home in Jackson on November 9, 1997 – with the murders estimated to have taken place between midnight and 5am, a court summary details. Butch had been shot at least twice with a shotgun and Joy had been beaten to death by repeated blows to her face, while the front door had imprints matching Lance’s size 7-and-a-half work boots. A police officer saw Lance’s car leave the scene near midnight and Joy’s dad testified he told the convicted man she was not home when he called hoping to speak to her at 11.55pm. Associate Joe Moore assisted Lance in disposing of shotgun shells and the killer told him the pair were dead, adding Butch’s “daddy could buy him out of a bunch of places, but he can’t buy him out of Hell”.
Lance had a long history of abuse against his ex-wife, both during and after they were married, including kidnapping, beatings with his fist, a belt, and a handgun, strangulation, and electrocution or the threat of electrocution. He had also threatened to burn her with flammable liquid and kill her with a handgun and a chainsaw, as well firing a handgun at or near her, and other forms of physical abuse. Several witnesses also testified that Lance had repeatedly threatened to kill Joy if she tried to divorce him or became involved with Butch, and had threatened to kill Butch’s wife and other people related to his ex. So, the police were a bit a slow on the uptake here and maybe could have prevented the double murder.
Lance requested a last meal of two chilli steak burgers, French fries, onion rings, mustard, ketchup, and a soda. Lance said nothing when he was given a chance to make a final statement and declined to have a chaplain say a prayer. Strapped to a gurney, he lay mostly still but wiggled his feet. The warden left the execution chamber at 8:54 p.m. Records from previous executions show that the lethal drug generally begins flowing within a minute or two of the warden’s exit. Lance took about a dozen deep breaths and then became completely still about three minutes after the warden left and was pronounced dead at 9:05 p.m. thus becoming the first man to be executed in Georgia in 2020.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Gemma Arterton (33), Brent Spiner (70), Shakira (42), David Jason (79), Duane ‘Dog’ Chapman (66), Sherilyn Fenn (54), Harry Styles (25), Lisa Marie Presley (51), Dexter Fletcher (53), Minnie Driver (49), Jonathan Banks (72), Justin Timberlake (38), Christian Bale (46), Olivia Colman (46), Gene Hackman (90), Vanessa Redgrave (83), Phil Collins (69), Tom Selleck (75), Heather Graham (50), Katharine Ross (80), Marc Singer (72), Oprah Winfrey (66), Adam Lambert (38), Tim Healy (68), Ariel Winter (22), Will Poulter (27), Elijah Wood (39), Tom Hopper (35), Alan Alda (84), Frank Darabont (61), Frank Skinner (63), Rosamund Pike (41), Alan Cumming (55), Patton Oswalt (51), James Cromwell (80), and Bridget Fonda (56).
Welcome Poolers, to a slightly tardy edition this week, my apologies, I was away for the weekend at a school reunion. However, as we all know from the emails last week, there are points to be awarded. With the tragic demise of Terry Jones, I can fork out 73 points to Paul C, Abi FB, & Lee U, and a whopping 173 points to Neil G for listing him as his Cert. So! The game is certainly afoot!
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Peter Hobday, 82, British news presenter (Today, Newsnight, World at One).
- Terry Jones, 77, Welsh comic actor, screenwriter and film director (Monty Python), frontotemporal dementia.
- John Karlen, 86, American actor (Daughters of Darkness, Dark Shadows, Cagney & Lacey), heart failure.
In Other News
Nashville singer-songwriter David Olney has died during a performance on stage. The Americana artist, whose music was recorded by Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Steve Young and others, died of an apparent heart attack while performing at the 30A Songwriters Festival in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. According to fellow singer-songwriter Scott Miller, who was performing with Olney, the 71-year-old stopped in the middle of a song, said “I’m sorry”, and “put his chin to his chest”. “He never dropped his guitar or fell [off] his stool,” Miller wrote on Facebook. “It was as easy and gentle as he was.” Amy Rigby, who was also on stage with Olney at the time, wrote a separate Facebook post with her own moving account of what happened. “He was very still, sitting upright with his guitar on, wearing the coolest hat and a beautiful rust suede jacket… I just want the picture to be as graceful and dignified as it was, because it at first looked like he was just taking a moment,” she wrote. Olney became a key member of Nashville’s music scene after moving from his native Rhode Island in 1973. Regarded as an “Americana pioneer”, he produced more than 20 albums, including 2018’s This Side or the Other.
Serial sock sex pest James Arthur has had to cancel another gig as his health has deteriorated due to an unknown illness. The 31-year-old singer is currently on his world tour, and has had to pull out of his Zurich gig tonight after dropping his Barcelona show on Wednesday. Middlesbrough-born James admitted he was “gutted” on Wednesday after doctors urgently advised him to rest, but his health has not improved since. The cause of James’ illness is unknown, but he told followers on social media “I’ve become really unwell”. An Instagram post on the singer’s account stated: “Unfortunately James’ health has not improved in the past couple of days and therefore we are sad to say that he will not be able to perform in Zurich this evening.” The post continued: “James is very sorry for any disappointment this may cause and really hopes to get to see you all again soon.” The star, who became famous from his X Factor appearance in 2012, is set to perform in Vienna on Monday and Czechia on Tuesday if his illness gets better or if it gets worse, our ears will be saved and he might die.
Formula One legend Michael Schumacher is likely “very altered and deteriorated” six years on from suffering serious head injuries after a skiing accident in 2013 and will be a “very different person from who we remember”, according to a leading neurosurgeon. Schumacher, 51, has not been seen in public since suffering a traumatic brain injury while skiing off-piste in the French Alps. He was placed in a medically induced coma for six months until June 2014 and has since been treated privately at his home in Switzerland. Little is known about his recovery. However, leading surgeon Nicola Acciari, who is based in Bologna, has told an Italian newspaper that the seven-time Formula One world champion will now be a completely different man and is unlikely to truly recover from his injuries. “We must imagine a person very different from the one we remember on the track, with a very altered and deteriorated organic, muscular and skeletal structure,” she told Contro Copertina. “All as a result of the brain trauma he suffered.” The neurosurgeon’s warning comes after Jean Todt, his former manager at Ferrari, last year assured fans that Schumacher was “still fighting”. “I’m always careful with such statements, but it’s true. Michael is in the best hands and is well looked after in his house. He does not give up and keeps fighting. His family is fighting just as much and of course our friendship cannot be the same as it once was just because there’s no longer the same communication as before.”
On This Day
- 1905 – The world’s largest diamond ever, the Cullinan weighing 3,106.75 carats, is found at the Premier Mine near Pretoria in South Africa.
- 1926 – The first demonstration of the television by John Logie Baird.
- 1972 – JAT Fight 367 is destroyed by a terrorist bomb, killing 27 of the 28 people on board the DC-9. Flight attendant Vesna Vulović survives with critical injuries.
- 1998 – On American television, U.S. President Bill Clinton denies having had “sexual relations” with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
- 1823 – Edward Jenner, English physician and immunologist (b. 1749)
- 1973 – Edward G. Robinson, Romanian-American actor (b. 1893)
- 1992 – José Ferrer, Puerto Rican-American actor (b. 1912)
Last Meals? No, Something Else…
I thought we’d try something a little different this week, since we have Vesna Vulović mentioned above. As you saw, she’s quite a survivor, she holds the Guinness world record for surviving the highest fall without a parachute: 10,160m (33,330ft; 6.31mi)!!!
Vulović was born in Belgrade on 3rd January 1950. Her father was a businessman and her mother was a fitness instructor. Driven by her love of the Beatles, Vulović travelled to the United Kingdom after completing her first year of university, hoping to improve her English-language skills. “I initially stayed with my parents’ friends in Newbury,” she recalled, “but wanted to move to London. It was there that I met up with a friend who suggested we go to Stockholm. When I told my parents I was living in the Swedish capital, they thought of the drugs and the sex and told me to come home at once.” Upon returning to Belgrade, Vulović decided to become a flight attendant after seeing one of her friends in a flight attendant’s uniform. “She looked so nice and had just been to London for the day,” Vulović recalled. “I thought, ‘Why shouldn’t I be an air hostess? I could go to London once a month’.” She joined JAT, Yugoslavia’s national flag carrier and largest airline, in 1971.
The fateful Flight 367 departed from Stockholm Arlanda Airport at 1:30p.m. on 26th January. The aircraft, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9, landed at Copenhagen Airport at 2:30p.m., whereupon Vulović and her colleagues boarded the plane. “As it was late, we were in the terminal and saw it park,” Vulović said. “I saw all the passengers and crew deplane. One man seemed terribly annoyed. It was not only me that noticed him either. Other crew members saw him, as did the station manager in Copenhagen. I think it was the man who put the bomb in the baggage. I think he had checked in a bag in Stockholm, got off in Copenhagen and never re-boarded the flight.”
Flight 367 departed from Copenhagen Airport at 3:15p.m. At 4:01p.m., an explosion tore through the DC-9’s baggage compartment. The explosion caused the aircraft to break apart over the Czechoslovak village of Srbská Kamenice. Vulović was the only survivor of the 28 passengers and crew.
She was discovered by villager Bruno Honke, who heard her screaming amid the wreckage. Her turquoise uniform was covered in blood and her 3-inch stiletto heels had been torn off by the force of the impact. Honke had been a medic during World War II and was able to keep her alive until rescuers arrived. Air safety investigators attributed Vulović’s survival to her being trapped by a food cart in the DC-9’s fuselage as it broke away from the rest of the aircraft and plummeted towards the ground. When the cabin depressurised, the passengers and other flight crew were blown out of the aircraft and fell to their deaths. Investigators believed that the fuselage, with Vulović pinned inside, landed at an angle in a heavily wooded and snow-covered mountainside, which cushioned the impact. Vulović’s physicians concluded that her history of low blood pressure caused her to pass out quickly after the cabin depressurised and kept her heart from bursting on impact. Vulović said that she was aware of her low blood pressure before applying to become a flight attendant and knew that it would result in her failing her medical examination, but she drank an excessive amount of coffee beforehand and was accepted. Following the crash, Vulović spent days in a coma, having fractured her skull which then haemorrhaged. She also suffered two broken legs and three broken vertebrae, one of which was crushed completely. Her pelvis was fractured and several ribs broken. Her injuries resulted in her being temporarily paralysed below the waist. She had total amnesia from the hour preceding her fall until one month afterwards. Vulović’s parents told her that she first learned of the crash about two weeks after it occurred. She fainted upon being shown a newspaper headline by her doctor and then had to be tranquillised. The last thing that Vulović could remember from before the crash was greeting passengers as they boarded. The next thing she remembered was seeing her parents in her hospital room about one month later. Within ten months of her fall, Vulović had regained the ability to walk, but limped for the rest of her life, her spine permanently twisted. In total, she spent 16 months recuperating. “Nobody ever expected me to live this long,” she recounted in 2008. Vulović attributed her recovery to her “Serbian stubbornness” and “a childhood diet that included chocolate, spinach, and fish oil”. Sadly she died in anonymity and rather poor in 2016.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Scott Glenn (80), Ellen DeGeneres (61), Eddie Van Halen (64), Kristen Schaal (41), Nastassja Kinski (58), Ade Edmondson (62), Neil Diamond (78), Gil Gerard (76), Linda Blair (61), Piper Laurie (88), Rainn Wilson (54), David Lynch (74), Tom Baker (86), Bill Maher (64), Katey Sagal (66), Dolly Parton (74), Tippi Hedren (90), and Michael Crawford (78).
As some of you who pay attention to the emails may have seen, I missed a death last week!!! Yup, great start to the year from me! Just to officially state, Chrissy did get the first death of the year for Qaboos bin Said Al Said, 79, Omani royal, Sultan (since 1970) who died of colon cancer. And a massive 221 points too as she had him listed as her Cert and an extra 50 points for getting the first death of the year!!
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Stan Kirsch, 51, American actor (Highlander: The Series), suicide by hanging.
- Norma Michaels, 95, American actress (The King of Queens, Mind of Mencia, Easy A).
- Rocky Johnson, 75, Canadian Hall of Fame professional wrestler (WWF, Big Time Wrestling, CWF) and trainer, pulmonary embolism.
- Christopher Tolkien, 95, British academic and editor (The Silmarillion, The History of Middle-earth).
- Derek Fowlds, 82, British actor (Yes Minister, Heartbeat, East of Sudan), heart failure from sepsis.
In Other News
Let’s begin the news section with an award ceremony! Yes, for the first time in Dead Pool history I’ve managed to motivate myself enough to actually go out and get a trophy made. This of course would not have been possible without the kind donations that many of you have provided. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get a similar trophy made each year from now on, so there is actually something to play for!!
Without further ado, let’s congratulate Paul C on his amazing win! He’s officially The Angel of Death 2019!!! Paul has been a stalwart of the Pool for many years and has consistently been at the top end of the league table, so it’s only fitting he be the first recipient of a Dead Pool Trophy. I know he’s very pleased with his trophy and I would like to thank him and Liz C for providing a photo for us.
Now you know the amazingness that you are playing for, I’ll have to reiterate that you are not allowed to skew the results of the Dead Pool by killing the people on your list. Luckily there’s no provision here for a blubbering speech, so we’ll just assume Paul would like to thank his parents, his wife and all the dead people, whilst crying and thanking the audience. Well done Paul, Angel of Death 2019!
The world’s shortest man has died at the age of 27. Khagendra Thapa Magar, from Nepal, measured 67.08cm (2ft 2.41in) and weighed just 6kg and was recognised as the world’s shortest man who could walk by Guinness World Records. Magar had been suffering from heart problems, asthma and pneumonia. He was admitted to hospital in Nepal on Thursday and died on Friday. Sadly, not famous enough to be listed, but he’s worthy of a small footnote. The Guinness World Records recognises two categories for people of short stature: mobile and non-mobile. Magar’s height made him the shortest mobile man on the planet, at 7cm taller than Philipino Junrey Balawing, who measures 59.93cm (1ft 11.5in) and who is unable to walk or stand unaided due to the medical condition osteogenesis imperfecta. Magar was born in the Baglung district of Nepal on 14th October 1992, and was confirmed to be the shortest male teenager in early 2010. He was officially measured at Fewa City Hospital on his 18th birthday in 2010, when he became the world’s shortest mobile man. His father remembered: “He was so tiny when he was born that he could fit in the palm of your hand, and it was very hard to bathe him because he was so small.” As Magar became famous he was appointed as a Nepalese goodwill ambassador for tourism. The record for world’s shortest living mobile man has reverted back to Edward Hernandez, who measures 70.21cm (2ft 3.46in).
The husband of TV’s Dame Barbara Windsor today reveals his heartache at her decline – and the treasured moments which keep them going. Devoted Scott Mitchell tells the us that the actress’s Alzheimer’s has worsened to the point where she doesn’t recognise her own home. Scott says Barbara, 82, forgets who he is, regularly asks for her long-departed mum Rose and at times thinks she is living in her parents’ house. But the Carry On and EastEnders legend retains a “wonderful” humour, they still share a laugh – and watching her old shows stirs happy memories. Scott, 56, says: “I’ve definitely seen a progression in the last year. Barbara’s symptoms have deepened, especially where her confusion is concerned. “Constantly, she does not realise where we are, even in the house. She will ask me, ‘When are we going home?’ “Sometimes she will ask me about people who have already passed away, as if they are still here. That is something she does regularly about her own parents. It is a very difficult one. “Barbara will often say to me, ‘Do you know how to get in touch with my mum? I’d like to have a chat with her. I haven’t seen her for ages, I need to see her.’ “It’s heartbreaking. They are very difficult situations to be faced with. Short-term memory is the hardest, so Barbara won’t remember if she had dinner 20 minutes ago. If I say someone is popping in, she will forget that instantly. “The things she remembers are more long-term memories, so things about her childhood and early career.”
On This Day
- 1764 – Bolle Willum Luxdorph records in his diary that a mail bomb, possibly the world’s first, has severely injured the Danish Colonel Poulsen, residing at Børglum Abbey.
- 1883 – The first electric lighting system employing overhead wires, built by Thomas Edison, begins service at Roselle, New Jersey.
- 1983 – The Apple Lisa, the first commercial personal computer from Apple Inc. to have a graphical user interface and a computer mouse, is announced.
- 1986 – The first IBM PC computer virus is released into the wild. A boot sector virus dubbed (c)Brain, it was created by the Farooq Alvi Brothers in Lahore, Pakistan, reportedly to deter unauthorised copying of the software they had written.
- 2000 – Hedy Lamarr, Austrian-American actress, singer, and mathematician (b. 1913)
- 2006 – Wilson Pickett, American singer-songwriter (b. 1941)
- 2017 – Miguel Ferrer, American actor (b. 1955)
A Texas inmate with a history of violence against women was executed on Wednesday evening for fatally shooting his wife, who had feared she would never get out of her marriage alive. John Gardner, 64, received a lethal injection at the state penitentiary in Huntsville for the January 2005 slaying of Tammy Gardner. Prosecutors said the couple was getting divorced when Gardner broke into his wife’s North Texas home and shot her in the head as she was sitting in bed. She died two days later at a hospital. Asked by the warden if he had a final statement, Gardner, strapped to the death chamber gurney, turned his head and apologised several times to his wife’s son, daughter and mother, who watched through a window a few feet away. ‘I would like to say sorry for your grief,’ he said. ‘I hope what I’m doing today will give you peace, joy, closure, whatever it takes to forgive. I am sorry. I know you cannot forgive me, but I hope one day you will.’ After telling several friends watching through an adjacent window that he loved them, he apologised again, adding that he didn’t want to talk a lot and would ask the warden to go forward with his punishment because ‘I want to see the Lord Jesus so bad.’
Shortly after the lethal dose of the powerful sedative pentobarbital began, Gardner took three deep breaths and then began snoring. Within seconds, all movement stopped. He was pronounced dead 16 minutes later. Texas has abolished the practice of allowing death row inmates a final meal request prior to execution, and Gardner would have eaten whatever was being served to the inmate population as his last meal. Gardner became the first inmate put to death this year in the U.S. Seven other executions are scheduled in the next few months in Texas, the nations busiest capital punishment state. Last year, 22 inmates were executed in the U.S., with nine inmates being put to death in Texas, the most of any state. Sadly for Laura, who listed Gardner, he hasn’t got his own Wiki page! Although she correctly guessed his timely death, she’ll not score any points. This is the risk of listing Death Row inmates, most of the time they will not have their own listing outside of the crime they have committed.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Katey Sagal (65), Dolly Parton (73), Rob Delaney (42), Tippi Hedren (89), Michael Crawford (77), Kevin Costner (64), Dave Bautista (50), Jason Segel (39), Mark Rylance (59), Jane Horrocks (55), Samantha Mumba (36), Jim Carrey (57), Zooey Deschanel (39), Kelly Marie Tran (30), James Earl Jones (88), Betty White (97), James May (56), Kate Moss (45), James Nesbitt (55), Claudia Winkleman (48), DJ Jazzy Jeff (55), Jason Bateman (51), Carl Weathers (72), Kevin Durand (46), Mark Addy (56), Faye Dunaway (79), Dave Grohl (51), Ruth Wilson (38), Orlando Bloom (43), Liam Hemsworth (30), Michael Peña (44), Bill Bailey (55), and William B. Davis (82).
Afternoon Poolers, unsurprisingly, a week after his death, Derek Acorah has still to make an appearance on This Morning with Schofield and Willoughby…. I believe we might be waiting for some time for his apparition to talk to us since we no longer have a psychic of his calibre available to us, or perhaps he was talking bollocks since he was a knee high to a grasshopper.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Christopher Beeny, 78, English actor (Upstairs, Downstairs, In Loving Memory, Last of the Summer Wine).
- Martin Griffin, English rock drummer (Hawkwind, Hawklords).
- Neil Peart, 67, Canadian Hall of Fame drummer (Rush) and lyricist (“The Spirit of Radio“, “Tom Sawyer“), glioblastoma.
- Mike Resnick, 77, American science fiction writer (The Goddess of Ganymede, Stalking the Unicorn, Kirinyaga), cancer.
In Other News
Fans have worried about Justin Bieber’s wellbeing for a long time. The first half of the 2010s were raucous for the Beebs, in the worst ways. Remember the DUI charges and assault conviction? And that “parody” video that surfaced in 2014, of 14-year-old Bieber changing the lyrics of “One Less Lonely Girl” to include the “N-word”? And when he said he hoped Anne Frank would’ve been a Belieber? And the time his pet capuchin monkey was confiscated by German officials? Seems like a truly dark time. In the latter part of the decade, the singer opened up about his struggles. In 2016, he told GQ he’d been diagnosed with ADHD and was taking Adderall — but got a ton of blowback for his honesty, even from some of his biggest fans. He largely went quiet about his health after that. The singer embraced religion and got married to Hailey Bieber. But things weren’t all gravy: The couple were photographed crying together all over Los Angeles in 2018 and 2019. Last March, Bieber announced he was taking a break from music (YAY!) to focus on his mental health. And in September, he stoked speculation that he was seriously ill, after being photographed with an IV-drip in his arm. He also came clean about his heavy drug use in his younger days in an Instagram post that month. On Wednesday, TMZ revealed what’s really been going on: Bieber was diagnosed with Lyme disease in late 2019, after doctors spent most of the last year struggling to figure out what was wrong with him, other than the obvious. So some good news for those of you who have listed Bieber as a Maverick, with any luck this stain on humanity will score you some points!
On This Day
- 1908 – A long-distance radio message is sent from the Eiffel Tower for the first time.
- 1967 – Dr. James Bedford becomes the first person to be cryonically preserved with intent of future resuscitation.
- 1998 – Nineteen European nations agree to forbid human cloning. Luckily, after Brexit we can!
- 2006 – A stampede during the Stoning of the Devil ritual on the last day at the Hajj in Mina, Saudi Arabia, kills at least 362 Muslim pilgrims.
- 2010 – An earthquake in Haiti occurs, killing over 100,000 people and destroying much of the capital Port-au-Prince.
- 1665 – Pierre de Fermat, French mathematician and lawyer (b. 1601)
- 1976 – Agatha Christie, English crime novelist, short story writer, and playwright (b. 1890)
- 2003 – Maurice Gibb, Manx-Australian singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer (b. 1949)
- 2017 – William Peter Blatty, American writer and filmmaker (b. 1928)
- 2017 – Graham Taylor, former Grimsby Town player and former manager of the England football team. (b. 1944)
John Belushi was an American comedian, actor, singer, and one of the seven original cast members of the NBC sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live. Throughout his career, Belushi had a close personal and artistic partnership with his fellow SNL star Dan Aykroyd, whom he met while they were both working at Chicago’s The Second City comedy club.
Belushi spent his final week in the environs of Hollywood’s Sunset Strip. By the time he checked in at the front desk of the Chateau Marmont on the night of February 28th, 1982, Belushi was ‘a time bomb, a waste site, a mess. Sweaty, flabby, edgy, pale, dishevelled, worn to a stump at 33,’ author Shawn Levy writes in The Castle on Sunset: Life, Death, Love, Art and Scandal at Hollywood’s Chateau Marmont. Struggling to get his movie career back on track following lacklustre critical and box office reception to recent roles in Continental Divide and Neighbours, Belushi had ensconced himself in bungalow number three in order to work on the script for, and take meetings about Noble Rot, a romantic comedy set in the early years of the California wine industry. But the work was not going well, according to Levy’s book, and Paramount was keen for him to do a film based on The Joy of Sex before Noble Rot. Belushi’s attention span was limited and his speech often incoherent, his clothes were dirty and he appeared unbathed, his bungalow was in a constant state of disarray. At approximately noon Pacific Standard Time on Friday, March 5th, 1982, Belushi’s fitness trainer and occasional bodyguard Bill Wallace arrived at bungalow number three of the Chateau Marmont to deliver a typewriter and audiocassette recorder to Belushi. Wallace found him dead, with no one else present in the bungalow. The cause of death was combined drug intoxication involving cocaine and heroin, a drug combination known as a speedball.
In the early morning hours on the day of his death, he was visited separately by friends Robin Williams and Robert De Niro, as well as Catherine Evelyn Smith. She was kind enough to take him to L.A.’s Rainbow Bar and forced him to eat a bowl of the restaurant’s famous lentil soup, hoping it would calm him down. However he was found dead the following day.
His death was investigated by forensic pathologist Michael Baden, among others, and, while the findings were disputed, it was officially ruled a drug-related accident. In an interview with the National Enquirer two months later, Smith admitted that she had been with Belushi the night of his death and had given him the fatal speedball shot. After the appearance of the article “I Killed Belushi” in the National Enquirer edition of June 29th, 1982, the case was reopened. Smith was arrested, extradited from Ontario, Canada, and charged with first-degree murder. A plea bargain reduced the charge to involuntary manslaughter, and she served 15 months in prison.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Rachael Harris (51), Kirstie Alley (68), Rob Zombie (54), Howard Stern (65), Melanie C (45), Zayn Malik (26), Pixie Lott (28), Jeff pay your taxes Bezos (55), Amanda Peet (47), Jason Connery (56), Mary J. Blige (48), Rachel Riley (33), John Sessions (66), Jemaine Clement (45), Evan Handler (58), Rod Stewart (74), Joely Richardson (54), Imelda Staunton (63), Catherine Duchess of Cambridge (37), Michelle Forbes (54), Nicolas Cage (56), Jeremy Renner (49), Erin Gray (70), Helen Worth (69), Eddie Redmayne (38), Kate McKinnon (36), Norman Reedus (51), Rowan Atkinson (65), and Angus Deayton (64).
Welcome all to the first newsletter of 2020. Nice to see confidence trickster and fake ‘medium’ Derek Acorah proving there’s no afterlife by failing to reappear after his own death. Personally I couldn’t stand him, I found him and people like him despicable to say the least; to take advantage and monetise people’s grief is rather beyond me…
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Lexii Alijai, 21, American rapper.
- Derek Acorah, 69, English self-styled spiritual medium and television personality (Most Haunted, Derek Acorah’s Ghost Towns), sepsis.
- Qasem Soleimani, 62, Iranian major general, commander of the Quds Force (since 1998).
In Other News
Alex Trebek received a huge outpouring of support since revealing he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March. The longtime Jeopardy! host, 79, opened up about facing his battle with stage IV cancer. Trebek first announced his diagnosis to the world in a YouTube video in March, when he vowed that he would continue working while he fought and received treatment. Shortly after giving the emotional update on his health, the pop culture icon thanked the “hundreds of thousands” of fans who sent their love and prayers to him and his family. Fans aren’t the only ones supporting Trebek as he continues his battle with pancreatic cancer. Fellow game show mainstay Vanna White commended the Jeopardy! host for his bravery and gave a promising update on her friend’s health. “He looks good. I talked to him recently and he’s got a very positive attitude, He’s still working, he’s obviously doing chemotherapy but working through it, and has that strong will to, as we say, the show must go on.”
Actress Pam Grier has shot down rumours that she’s battling stage four cancer. A rep for the 70-year-old screen legend told TMZ that she’s “as healthy as ever,” and is slated to return to the set of Bless This Mess for its third season. The comment came in response so some (unfounded) speculation on social media that suggested otherwise. Back in 1988, Grier had been diagnosed with stage four cervical cancer. Though she was only given 18 months to live at the time, she managed to pull through, and her cancer’s been in remission ever since. Grier made her first big splash in showbiz in the early 1970s starring in schlock films like The Big Doll House and The Big Bird Cage. Throughout the rest of the decade, she became a staple of blaxploitation cinema, a movement that featured an anti-establishment with mostly black casts that were aimed at black audiences. While she maintained regular work in front of the camera in film and TV in the years that followed, it was her role as the title character in Quentin Tarantino’s blaxploitation homage Jackie Brown that gave her something of a career resurgence.
Former England footballer Paul Merson has revealed how close he came to taking his own life last year during a battle with depression. The 51-year-old is best known for his professional career with Arsenal, Aston Villa and Portsmouth among many other clubs, as well as winning 21 caps for the international team between 1991 and 1998. But he has also been blighted by alcohol and gambling addictions in the past, and with this weekend’s FA Cup third-round fixtures kicking off a minute later than normal as part of the Football Association’s mental health campaign, Merson has opened up on his own illness that nearly ended with him killing himself at the start of 2019. “On Monday I’ll have been sober for a year. But this time last year, I wanted to kill myself,” Merson wrote in a revealing column for the Daily Star. “I couldn’t go on any more. I just couldn’t see a way out. I had the tablets in my hand. I didn’t take enough to do anything but I had them there. With vodka. It was scary.” I think we all know how he feels, I also own 20 paracetamol and a litre of vodka, although I don’t find it that scary. He continued, “It was only because of the kids really, and my wife, and a little bit of consciousness, that I didn’t. Fear probably as well. I was scared to do it. When you’re in that place, you don’t see how it’s ever going to pass. But I have the tools now. If I get into a real down situation, I know it will pass.
On This Day
- 1757 – Louis XV of France survives an assassination attempt by Robert-François Damiens, the last person to be executed in France by drawing and quartering, the traditional and gruesome form of capital punishment used for regicides.
- 1919 – The German Workers’ Party, which would become the Nazi Party, is founded in Munich. We all know how well that went.
- 1941 – 37-year-old pilot Amy Johnson, the first woman to fly solo from London to Australia, disappears after bailing out of her plane over the River Thames, and is presumed dead.
- •1066 – Edward the Confessor, English king (b. 1004)
- •1922 – Ernest Shackleton, Anglo-Irish sailor and explorer (b. 1874)
- •1933 – Calvin Coolidge, American lawyer and politician, 30th President of the United States (b. 1872)
- •1998 – Sonny Bono, American singer-songwriter, producer, actor, and politician (b. 1935)
When amazing aviator Amy Johnson bailed out of her plane and vanished beneath the icy waves Britain lost an icon. The fisherman’s daughter had become a global superstar by being the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia. The intrepid adventurer followed up her astounding 1930 feat in a biplane by setting records for the fastest flights from Britain to Japan, South Africa, and India. She also became the first person to fly from London to Moscow in a single day. Amy was beacon to generations of girls who dreamed of breaking free from domestic drudgery for a life of romance and adventure. And her legacy lives on, even 75 years after death. Budget airline easyJet has named a plane after her and doubled the number of female pilots this year at its Amy Johnson Flying Initiative.
Using little more than makeshift maps and a compass, daring Amy had completed incredible journeys. But she ran out of records to set and decided to serve Britain in the Second World War by delivering planes around the country for the RAF. It was a decision that cost Amy her life, sparking a mystery that still persists today. Her body was never found and historian Dr Alec Gill believes the evidence points to a grisly end for Amy, chopped up by the propeller blades of the ship sent to rescue her from perishing cold Thames Estuary. Amy was 37 when, on January 5, 1941, she flew through snow and freezing fog, with a broken compass, to deliver a new Airspeed Oxford plane from Blackpool to Oxfordshire. She had defied orders to stay put. The flight should have taken 90 minutes but four hours later she crashed off the Kent coast near Herne Bay. Most historians believe she got lost in the thick cloud and was blown badly off-course. When her plane ran critically short of fuel she spotted the Royal Navy convoy in the Thames and bailed out, for the first and last time in her glittering career, hoping to be rescued. It was presumed she had drowned but fresh evidence may finally explain why her body was never found. It is claimed she was accidentally killed by her rescue ship. The revelation comes from Harry Gould, 84, whose father, also called Harry, was a Naval reservist on HMS Haslemere. Harry says the ship had hit a sandbank and was put in reverse to break free. He says: “So many of the crew were trying to help Amy, but with the ship moving they couldn’t reach her. “My father saw she was getting too close to the stern and shouted up to the bridge, telling them to cut the engines because they were going the wrong way. But they didn’t listen. “One of the officers shouted back, ‘Don’t you tell me what to do!’ If they had listened to him Amy might have survived. “A few seconds later she was dragged under the boat. Everyone thought she had been cut to pieces by the propellers. It’s an awful way for such a special person to die.”
Harry and his crew mates were not called to give evidence at the 1943 inquiry into Amy’s death. But hidden in the official report there is support for his story, from RAF clerk Derek Roberts, whose friend Cpl Bill Hall was also on HMS Haslemere. It reveals how Amy drifted near the ship, identified herself and complained the water was “bitterly cold”, urging the crew to “get her out as soon as possible”. “They threw her a rope but she couldn’t get hold if it. Then someone dashed up to the bridge and reversed the ship’s engines. As a result, she was drawn into the propeller and chopped into pieces.” The ship’s captain Lt Cdr Walter Fletcher dived into the water, with a rope tied around his waist, to search for her. He had to be pulled from the river and died of hypothermia later that day. He was awarded the Albert Medal for his courage. Dr Gill says a sailor “was within five feet of reaching Amy’s hand. They must have looked into each other’s eyes. It’s tragic. “This ship should have gone down in history as the ship that saved Amy’s life. Instead, historians are beginning to conclude that the propellers of the Haslemere killed her and that’s why her body was never found. That wasn’t even mentioned when her parents were still alive.” “This is still speculation as without a body there is no evidence. But it seems possible the Royal Navy would cover up what happened as they didn’t want to admit they had killed the most popular female pilot in the world.”
Last Week’s Birthdays
Clancy Brown (60), January Jones (41), Bradley Cooper (44), Diane Keaton (73), Robert Duvall (88), Hayao Miyazaki (78), Vinnie Jones (54), Marilyn Manson (50), Julia Ormond (54), Matt Frewer (61), Julian Sands (61), Mel Gibson (64), Victoria Principal (70), Sarah Alexander (49), Greta Thunberg (17), Kate Bosworth (37), Tia Carrere (53), Cuba Gooding Jr. (52), and Frank Langella (82).
- Emiliano Sala – The Argentinian footballer died in a plane crash over the English Channel alongside pilot David Ibbotson. The 28-year-old has signed for Cardiff City for £15m from French club Nantes just days before.
- Lady Rothschild – Known for her sense of style, the racehorse owner whose colt Nathaniel enjoyed a string of wins died aged 84.
- Andre Previn – A charismatic pianist and conductor, he served as principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra and was regarded as one of the most versatile musicians of his generation. He died aged 89.
- Albert Finney – The actor, whose films include Erin Brockovich and Skyfall, also enjoyed a successful stage career. He has been credited with helping transform British film and theatre in the 1960s. He died aged 82.
- Gordon Banks – The former England goalkeeper, who helped his team to World Cup victory in 1966, has been hailed as the best goalkeeper England has ever had. He died aged 81.
- Karl Lagerfeld – Instantly recognisable from his signature white ponytail, dark glasses and high-collared white shirts, the fashion designer was creative director at Chanel for more than 30 years. He died aged 85.
- Peter Tork – bassist and singer for 1960s rock band the Monkees, died aged 77. With hits including Last Train to Clarksville, I’m a Believer and Daydream Believer, the Monkees were one of the highest-charting acts of the late ‘60s.
- Jan-Michael Vincent – star of the hit series Airwolf and ‘80s hunk. He made headlines as the highest-paid American television actor, receiving $200,000 an episode during the filming of Airwolf. He was 73.
- Keith Flint – The Prodigy frontman became one of the most recognisable musicians in the industry thanks to his high energy performances and signature look of spiky hair, piercings and tattoos. He died aged 49.
- Luke Perry – the beloved Beverly Hills 90210 actor for his role as Dylan McKay, died days after suffering a massive stroke aged 52. The actor most recently starred in Riverdale, playing Fred Andrews.
- Ian Cognito – The comedian died aged 60 after falling ill on stage in front of a live audience during a stand-up performance in Bicester.
- Peter Mayhew – The actor claimed his place in film history for his portrayal of Han Solo’s furry sidekick Chewbacca in the Star Wars series. The 7ft 3in thespian, who died aged 74, prepared for the role by studying the movements of bears, monkeys and gorillas.
- Bibi Andersson – Known for her roles in the films of Ingmar Bergman, the Swedish actress featured in films such as The Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries. She died aged 83.
- Judith Kerr – The much-loved author and illustrator, who continued working well into her 90s, was one of the UK’s most successful children’s authors thanks to her tales of Mog the Cat and The Tiger Who Came to Tea. She died 95.
- Doris Day – The actor and singer, who became one of Hollywood’s top stars during the 40s and 50s, starred in several hit films including Calamity Jane. She died aged 97.
- Freddie Starr – The comedian, who died in Spain aged 76, rose to prominence in the 1970s. He famously featured in the Sun’s front page story “Freddie Starr ate my hamster”, whose veracity has since been disputed.
- Mohamed Morsi – The Egyptian politician who served as the nation’s fifth president before being overthrown by the military and being held in prison on a number of charges. He died aged 67 after collapsing in court.
- John McCririck – Instantly recognisable from his cigar, deerstalker hat and long, ginger sideburns, the flamboyant pundit became one of the best known figures in horse racing. Stints on Celebrity Wife Swap and Celebrity Big Brother followed. He died aged 79.
- Rutger Hauer – whose murderous replicant Roy Batty famously fought Harrison Ford’s Rick Deckard in 1982’s Blade Runner, died at home in the Netherlands at the age of 75. The Dutch actor also had memorable roles as the ex-CEO of Wayne Enterprises in 2005’s Batman Begins and the vampire master Lothos in 1992’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie.
- Hans Rausing – The Swedish billionaire, who was the head of the Tetra Pak empire, amassed a vast fortune through his drinks pack enterprise and was at one point richer than the Queen. He died aged 93.
- Valerie Harper – star of the iconic sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its spinoff Rhoda, died just eight days after her 80th birthday following a battle with cancer.
- Peter Fonda – the actor son of movie titan Henry Fonda and brother to Jane Fonda, died in Los Angeles of respiratory failure from lung cancer. He was 79. Fonda was best known for 1969’s groundbreaking counterculture classic Easy Rider.
- Jacques Chirac – The French politician, who served two terms as the country’s president, had one of the longest continuous political careers in Europe. He died aged 86.
- Leah Bracknell – The actress, who starred as Zoe Tate in Emmerdale, played the first lesbian character in a British soap opera. She died aged 55.
- Robert Mugabe – The politician, who served as president of Zimbabwe from 1987 until 2017, died aged 95 in Singapore. A controversial figure, he was held up by some as a hero of African liberation and condemned by others for his brutal treatment of opponents and economic mismanagement.
- Peter Sissons – The veteran newsreader and former host of BBC Question Time, who was on air for more than 10 hours on the day of Princess Diana’s death, died aged 77.
- Alexei Leonov – The Soviet cosmonaut, who died aged 85, became the first person to walk in space in 1965 but almost lost his life in the struggle to return to the spacecraft.
- Gary Rhodes – The celebrity chef, recognisable from his trademark spiky hair, was working on a new television show in Dubai when he died suddenly during a break in filming aged 59.
- Frank Dobson – The Labour former health secretary, who was also a candidate in the 2000 London mayoral election, was MP for Holborn and St Pancras for 36 years. He died aged 79.
- Clive James – The Australian writer, critic and broadcaster, who also wrote poetry, was known all over the world for his wry wit and humour. He died aged 80.
- Marie Fredriksson – The singer with the Swedish pop duo Roxette was one of the most recognisable voices in pop music in the 1980s and 90s. She died aged 61.
- David Bellamy – The naturalist and television presenter, who co-founded the Conservation Foundation, became a household name and is credited with inspiring a “whole generation”. He died aged 86.
- Anna Karina – The French new wave star, who appeared in films including A Woman Is a Woman and Pierrot le Fou, died aged 79.
- Danny Aiello – the blue-collar character actor whose long career playing tough guys included roles in Moonstruck and Once Upon a Time in America and his Oscar-nominated performance as a pizza man in Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, died after a brief illness. He was 86.
- René Auberjonois – A prolific actor best known for his roles on the television shows Benson and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and his part in the 1970 film M.A.S.H. playing Father Mulcahy, died aged 79 of metastatic lung cancer.
Good afternoon all, apologies for last week’s email, I was away from my computer and struggled immensely to produce a newsletter from my phone, hopefully all of you were able to visit the website to keep up to date.
We’re into the last days of the year, things are still fairly tight at the top of the table, so anything could happen between now and the end of the year. The winner will be announced on the 1st January along with the new 2020 lists. I have already received quite a few lists, but many of you are still holding on for that last minute piece of deadly news before submitting them for that ultimate advantage.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Tony Britton, 95, British actor (Operation Amsterdam, Sunday Bloody Sunday, The Day of the Jackal).
- Allee Willis, 72, American Hall of Fame songwriter (“I’ll Be There for You“, “September“) and lyricist (The Color Purple), cardiac arrest.
- Jerry Herman, 88, American composer (Hello, Dolly!, Mame, La Cage aux Folles) and lyricist, pulmonary disease.
- Sue Lyon, 73, American actress (Lolita, The Night of the Iguana, 7 Women).
- Don Imus, 79, American radio personality (Imus in the Morning).
- Alasdair Gray, 85, Scottish artist and author (Lanark).
In Other News
Zac Efron was rushed to hospital after suffering a medical emergency, it has been reported. Zac, 32, is thought to have been flown to Australia from Papua New Guinea by a medical evacuation crew after battling ‘a form of typhoid or similar bacterial infection.’ Efron was in a ‘stable’ condition when he admitted to the hospital, believed to be St Andrews War Memorial Hospital where he stayed for seven days. Ironically, Zac had jetted out to Papua New Guinea to film new reality TV show: Killing Zac Efron. The High School Musical star has since been ‘given the all clear’ according to The Sunday Telegraph, which allowed him to fly home to the U.S. on Christmas Eve. Dr Glenn McKay, Director of Medical Rescue, told the newspaper he could not discuss patient information but he did confirm they “retrieved a US citizen in his 30s from PNG to Brisbane for medical attention in Australia.” Efron’s series will see him journeying deep into the jungle of an island and, according to The Hollywood Reporter, ‘falling off the grid for 21 days.’ “I tend to thrive under extreme circumstances and seek out opportunities that challenge me on every level,” Efron said in a statement in November.
TOWIE star Lauren Goodger has been rushed to hospital. In a series of attention seeking Instagram posts, the 33 year old revealed that paramedics had been round at her house and taken her to the hospital. While she didn’t identify exactly what was wrong, Lauren urged fans never to drink again as she had the worst hangover of her life. “Never drink again,” she penned, “Worst hangover to date I feel like I’m dying.” She added with a picture from the ambulance: “Under a lot of stress lately had paramedics at mine now on way to hospital…really not good way lately…I need a break.” She followed with snaps of her in a hospital bed, hooked up to a drip. Lauren also shared a picture of her legs under a blanket, writing: “Can’t stop shaking.” Later Lauren revealed that she was being kept in the hospital, alongside a breaking heart emoji and a picture of her in a wheelchair. It’s unclear whether she’s still in the hospital, or how long she’ll be there for. Let’s hope she gets charged for wasting NHS resources.
Since our last newsletter, Prince Philip has been released from the hospital. On Tuesday, the royal was seen leaving King Edward VII hospital in London around 9 a.m. after spending four nights in the facility to undergo precautionary treatment for a “pre-existing condition.” Upon being discharged, Philip took a helicopter to Sandringham House in Norfolk, England, to join his wife, Queen Elizabeth, for the holidays. “The Duke of Edinburgh has today left hospital after being discharged by his Doctor and is now back at Sandringham,” the palace said in a statement. “His Royal Highness would like to thank everyone who sent their good wishes.” Palace officials didn’t give details about the condition the 98-year-old royal needed treatment for. However, his son, Prince Charles, told reporters that it was an age-related issue. “When you get to that age, things don’t work so well,” he said.
On This Day
- 1170 – Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, is assassinated inside Canterbury Cathedral by followers of King Henry II; he subsequently becomes a saint and martyr in the Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church.
- 1890 – Wounded Knee Massacre on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, 300 Lakota are killed by the United States 7th Cavalry Regiment.
- 1997 – Hong Kong begins to kill all the city’s 1.25 million chickens to stop the spread of a potentially deadly influenza strain.
- 1170 – Thomas Becket, English archbishop and saint (b. 1118)
- 1926 – Rainer Maria Rilke, Austrian poet and author (b. 1875)
- 1986 – Harold Macmillan, English captain and politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (b. 1894)
- 2003 – Bob Monkhouse, English comedian, actor, and game show host (b. 1928)
Last Week’s Birthdays
Jude Law (47), Charlotte Riley (38), Jon Voight (81), Lilly Wachowski (52), Ted Danson (72), Danny McBride (43), Patrick Fischler (50), Bernard Cribbins (91), Marianne Faithfull (73), Denzel Washington (65), Noomi Rapace (40), Sienna Miller (38), Maggie Smith (85), Joe Manganiello (43), Nichelle Nichols (87), Timothée Chalamet (24), John Amos (80), Gérard Depardieu (71), Jared Leto (48), Kit Harington (33), Temuera Morrison (59), Phil Spector (80), Sissy Spacek (70), Helena Christensen (51), Annie Lennox (65), Shane MacGowan (62), Harry Shearer (76), and Carla Bruni (52).
A quick roundup this week, I’m sure you’re all very busy with your Christmas preparations and compiling your lists. If any of you want to email them in, please send your 13 names to firstname.lastname@example.org, I shall try to respond as soon as I can to confirm your entry. If you haven’t had a response within 24 hours, I might have died or I didn’t get your email.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Nicky Henson, 74, English actor (EastEnders, Syriana, Shine on Harvey Moon), cancer.
- Claudine Auger, 78, French actress (Thunderball, Le Masque de fer) and model (Miss France Monde, 1958).
- Kenny Lynch, 81, English singer (“You Can Never Stop Me Loving You“), actor (Carry On Loving, The Playbirds) and entertainer.
In Other News
The Duke of Edinburgh has been taken to hospital for treatment for a ‘pre-existing condition’, Buckingham Palace has said. Prince Philip, 98, travelled from Sandringham, where he spends much of his time since retiring, to the King Edward VII Hospital in London on Friday morning as a precautionary measure on advice of his doctor. He was not taken by ambulance and it was a planned admission, right before Christmas, yeah… The palace announcement came as the uncaring Queen arrived at the Norfolk estate for her Christmas break after carrying out her duties at the State of Opening of Parliament on Thursday, telling journalists to ‘Fuck orf! I can’t stand the doddering old twat….’
A Buckingham Palace statement said: “The Duke of Edinburgh travelled from Norfolk this morning to the King Edward VII Hospital in London for observation and treatment in relation to a pre-existing condition. “The admission is a precautionary measure, on the advice of His Royal Highness’ Doctor.” The duke is expected to be in hospital for a few days. “The palace will not give details about the condition he’s being treated for, but the decision to send him to hospital in London may be related to where his consultants are based, the KEVII Hospital is particularly well known for their seamless lizard eye reduction therapy. The prince has suffered quite a few bouts of ill health in recent years:
- 2008: Philip was admitted to hospital for a chest infection and was discharged three days later.
- 2011: Two days before Christmas, Philip was taken to hospital from Sandringham with chest pains. He had surgery and was discharged four days later.
- 2012: During the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations Philip was taken to hospital with a bladder infection and discharged five days later. Two months later the infection recurred and he was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure.
- 2013: Philip had an exploratory operation on his abdomen, spending 11 days in hospital.
- 2014: Philip appeared in public with a bandaged right hand after a “minor procedure”.
- 2017: The Prince was taken to hospital with an infection.
- 2018: The Duke of Edinburgh was admitted to hospital for a planned operation on his hip.
Not to mention his recent car crash. If I were a betting man, I’d give you 2/1 on a bucket kicking by the New Year.
This week saw the attention seeking Jaden Smith forcibly sat down in a TV studio whilst his family addressed concerns over his vegan diet. The 21-year-old admitted he has intense stomach issues and wanted to get to the bottom of it, so the family hired Dr. Mark Hyman and nutritionist Mona Sharma to perform an in-depth analysis. Jaden said he was apprehensive about partaking because of some backlash he got for going vegan, not because this should have been a private intervention, or the good punch in the face he needs. Dr. Hyman explained that Jaden’s nutritional deficiencies were from eating the wrong types of food and his health status can be adjusted by switching up his diet and taking supplements. Specifically, he was told that gluten and dairy were both “big problems” for him. Also, because Jaden doesn’t eat meat, he has vitamin and omega-3 deficiencies. Will and Jada were concerned over his extreme diet after he was hospitalised for nausea and dizziness. “Will and I had a bit of an intervention with Jaden because he’s a vegan now, but we realised he wasn’t getting enough protein,” Jada said at the time. “So he was wasting away. He just looked drained, he was just depleted. He wasn’t getting the nutrients.” “He had the dark circles under his eyes, there was even a little greyness to his skin. And we got really nervous,” Will said.
Well, stop enabling your son and send him out into the real world to find a job and earn his way through life, perhaps he’ll then spend less time wearing dresses and reciting shit poetry and eating a balanced diet.
On This Day
- 856 – An earthquake near the Persian city of Damghan kills an estimated 200,000 people, the sixth deadliest earthquake in recorded history.
- 1989 – Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate re-opens after nearly 30 years, effectively ending the division of East and West Germany.
- 2001 – Richard Reid attempts to destroy a passenger airliner by igniting explosives hidden in his shoes aboard American Airlines Flight 63.
- 1880 – George Eliot, English novelist and poet (b. 1819)
- 1943 – Beatrix Potter, English children’s book writer and illustrator (b. 1866)
- 1965 – Richard Dimbleby, English journalist (b. 1913)
- 1989 – Samuel Beckett, Irish author, poet, and playwright, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1906)
- 2014 – Joe Cocker, English singer-songwriter (b. 1944)
Last Week’s Birthdays
Ralph Fiennes (56), Vanessa Paradis (46), Samuel L. Jackson (70), Jane Fonda (81), Kiefer Sutherland (52), Julie Delpy (49), Phil Donahue (83), Jonah Hill (35), Jenny Agutter (66), Nicole de Boer (48), Jake Gyllenhaal (38), Jennifer Beals (55), Kristy Swanson (49), Alyssa Milano (46), Richard Hammond (49), Brad Pitt (55), Steven Spielberg (72), Ray Liotta (64), Katie Holmes (40), Casper Van Dien (50), Billie Eilish (17), Christina Aguilera (38), Steve Austin (54), Robson Green (54), Sia (43), Keith Richards (75), Katheryn Winnick (42), Ernie Hudson (74), Milla Jovovich (44), Bill Pullman (66), Eugene Levy (73), Laurie Holden (50), Bernard Hill (75), Krysten Ritter (38), Miranda Otto (52), Billy Gibbons (70), and Christopher Biggins (71).
A slightly shorter edition this week as we’re only just two weeks away from the 2019 finale. With this in mind I thought it prudent to remind you to get working on your lists and email them in. I’m not bothering with the forms this year, just email 13 names and state which of them is your Cert, Woman and Maverick to email@example.com. The rules can be seen here.
As always, try to think of those not-so obscure names and try to balance your list so it’s not full of dodgy Death Row inmates or Supercentenarian’s that might score you small and often but mostly might not score you at all.
Feel free to ask any questions or if you need any obscure name judgements.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- René Auberjonois, 79, American actor (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, MASH, Benson), Tony winner (1970), lung cancer.
- Marie Fredriksson, 61, Swedish singer-songwriter (Roxette) and musician, complications from a brain tumour.
- Nell Gifford, 46, British circus owner (Giffords Circus), cancer.
- Juice Wrld, 21, American rapper (“All Girls Are the Same“, “Lucid Dreams“, “Bandit“).
- Caroll Spinney, 85, American puppeteer (Sesame Street, Shalom Sesame, Follow That Bird), cartoonist and author.
- Natalie Harrowell, 29, English rugby league player (Featherstone Rovers, national team).
- David Bellamy, 86, English naturalist (Bellamy’s Backyard Safari) and author.
- Danny Aiello, 86, American actor (Do the Right Thing, The Godfather Part II, Moonstruck).
- Sheila Mercier, 100, English actress (Emmerdale).
- Anna Karina, 79, Danish-born French actress (Little Soldier, A Woman Is a Woman, Alphaville), cancer
In Other News
Harvey Weinstein has been reduced to releasing a photo of himself in hospital in an attempt to distance himself from rumours he is faking illness ahead of trial. Some have accused the disgraced former film exec of trying to gain sympathy. Weinstein, 67, was in court last week using a walking frame to help him keep his balance – and it didn’t go down well online. The disgraced Hollywood boss is accused of five counts of rape and sexual assault. His trial commences in the New Year but he has moved to publicly cast aside suggestions he is putting it all on. Weinstein’s spokesman said he underwent a three-hour back operation in New York on Thursday. They added he needed to to fix the problem after injuries from a summer a car accident. His spokesman said. ‘Harvey has been in agony and underwent surgery on Thursday. We don’t know if he will need further surgeries. “The idea he is faking his illness is ridiculous.” The movie mogul’s trial is due to start on January 6. He could be jailed for life if convicted on all charges. Last week he reached out-of-court settlements with an unnamed number of people. Lawyer Donna Rotunno said last week that his health is getting worse. “Mr Weinstein’s health has been deteriorating since August when he had the unfortunate accident,” she said. “He had tried to manage the discomfort, but as the pain got worse and the various different courses of treatment failed to remedy the problem, he began to rely on a cane and a walker.
Something very strange happened in November. You would be forgiven for not having noticed, after all, it was a month during which Prince Andrew, Duke of York ingloriously made royal history after being essentially banished from official duties over his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein. He now has the highly dubious honour of being the first member of the family to walk away from their HRH responsibilities in 83 years when they are still fit and able-bodied. However, while this particular maelstrom was brewing, something else potentially momentous has been going on. Namely, the Queen has quietly taken a huge step back and nearly halved her workload. Like pretty much everything to do with the royal family, this was not by chance or circumstance. Instead, in November, she logged only 30 official events in contrast to November last year when she hit 50. Yes, she is a 93-year-old and has every right to perhaps pop her feet up a bit more and catch Coronation Street once in a while. But for a monarch whose life has been driven by a powerful sense of duty, this carries serious meaning. In recent weeks, with Prince Charles coming to the fore in the Andrew debacle and reportedly playing a decisive role in officially sidelining his little brother, so to have reports that he is preparing to assume the throne in all but name. While Buckingham Palace courtiers were quick to put down their china cups of Earl Grey and quash this rumour fast, it did highlight the issue of how practically the Queen will continue to reign as she pluckily works her way towards 100.
On This Day
- 1890 – Hunkpapa Lakota leader Sitting Bull is killed on Standing Rock Indian Reservation, leading to the Wounded Knee Massacre.
- 1914 – A gas explosion at Mitsubishi Hōjō coal mine, in Kyushu, Japan, kills 687.
- 1941 – The Holocaust in Ukraine: German troops murder over 15,000 Jews at Drobytsky Yar, a ravine southeast of the city of Kharkiv. Jeremy Corbyn still hasn’t apologised for this.
- 1970 – Soviet spacecraft Venera 7 successfully lands on Venus. It is the first successful soft landing on another planet.
- 1890 – Sitting Bull, Hunkpapa Lakota tribal chief (b. 1831)
- 1944 – Glenn Miller, American bandleader and composer (b. 1904)
- 1966 – Walt Disney, American animator, director, producer, and screenwriter, co-founded The Walt Disney Company (b. 1901)
- 2013 – Joan Fontaine, British-American actress (b. 1917)
- 2017 – Heinz Wolff, scientist and TV presenter (b. 1928)
Last Week’s Birthdays
Don Johnson (69), Helen Slater (55), Charlie Cox (36), Garrett Wang (50), Natascha McElhone (49), Miranda Hart (46), Ted Raimi (53), Vicki Michelle (68), Christopher Plummer (90), Jamie Foxx (52), Taylor Swift (30), Steve Buscemi (62), Dick Van Dyke (94), Robert Lindsay (70), Jennifer Connelly (49), Mädchen Amick (49), Bill Nighy (70), Sarah Douglas (67), Kenneth Cranham (75), Dionne Warwick (79), Connie Francis (81), Kenneth Branagh (59), Susanna Reid (49), Kirk Douglas (103), Judi Dench (85), John Malkovich (66), Michael Dorn (67), Beau Bridges (78), Donny Osmond (62), and Kim Basinger (66).
Well done to me! I finally scored with my list of Star Trek veterans with the sad passing of D.C. Fontana, however I missed out on Robert Walker though… I am a bit surprised that the media haven’t made more of her death as she was a trailblazer in her industry and that it’s the 40th anniversary of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Anyhow, less nerdiness, on with the show.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- D. C. Fontana, 80, American television writer (Star Trek, The Streets of San Francisco, The Waltons).
- Robert Walker, 79, American actor (Ensign Pulver, The Ceremony, Star Trek).
- Rosa Morena, 78, Spanish flamenco pop singer and actress, cancer.
In Other News
John Barrowman has had a series of spinal injections after he was rushed to hospital with a neck injury. He said before the procedure that he was to have “some small needles then some very big ones put into my neck”. The star of Doctor Who updated fans on social media after he was taken to hospital in Bristol on Saturday. Barrowman, 52, had been due to start his ‘Fabulous Christmas Tour’ at the city’s Hippodrome that day, but the show was cancelled. He posted a short video on Instagram at 02:00am saying he would be having the injections at the base of the neck to help support the head. Obviously his ego has grown out of all proportions. He then posted an update to say the injections were finished and they were “a bit uncomfortable”. Barrowman said the injury had made it “impossible to sing and move” in an Instagram message to fans on Saturday afternoon. Such a shame that the NHS is available to anyone.
Troubled TV star James ‘Arg’ Argent has reportedly been hospitalised after suffering a second drug overdose in just two months. It has been claimed paramedics rushed to his lavish Essex home on Wednesday evening, after worried pals feared the worst as the ex-TOWIE star has been missing for 48 hours. This health scare comes just months after TOWIE veteran Gemma Collins was forced to call 999 over fears her on/off boyfriend had collapsed while alone in his home. Arg was “disorientated” and “out of it”, but initially refused to get in the ambulance after medics decided he need to be hospitalised. The source told the publication: “Arg was disorientated and looked like he hadn’t eaten in days. “He has been in denial of how bad it’s got and convinced everyone he’s fine but that couldn’t be further from the truth- he’s been suffering with depression and has been in a bad place for years.” After failing to turn up at events booked into his schedule this week, fears for the state of his welfare began to grow. Having spent the night in hospital, Arg discharged himself as he had plans to fly to Belfast for a PA with former Westlife star Brian McFadden.
On This Day
- 1660 – A woman (either Margaret Hughes or Anne Marshall) appears on an English public stage for the first time, in the role of Desdemona in a production of Shakespeare’s play Othello.
- 1963 – Pan Am Flight 214, a Boeing 707, is struck by lightning and crashes near Elkton, Maryland, killing all 81 people on board.
- 1966 – The Greek ship SS Heraklion sinks in a storm in the Aegean Sea, killing over 200.
- 1969 – Olympic Airways Flight 954 strikes a mountain outside of Keratea, Greece, killing 90 people in the worst crash of a Douglas DC-6 in history.
- 1972 – United Airlines Flight 553, a Boeing 737, crashes after aborting its landing attempt at Chicago Midway International Airport, killing 45. This is the first-ever loss of a Boeing 737.
- 1980 – Former Beatle John Lennon is murdered in front of The Dakota in New York City.
- 1988 – A United States Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II crashes into an apartment complex in Remscheid, Germany, killing 5 people and injuring 50 others.
- 2010 – With the second launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 and the first launch of the SpaceX Dragon, SpaceX becomes the first private company to successfully launch, orbit and recover a spacecraft.
- 2013 – Metallica performs a show in Antarctica, making them the first band to perform on all 7 continents.
- 1980 – John Lennon, English singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1940)
- 1983 – Slim Pickens, American actor (b. 1919)
- 2008 – Oliver Postgate, English voice actor, director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1925)
- 2016 – John Glenn, American astronaut and senator, first American to go into orbit (b. 1921)
THE FINAL HOURS OF JOHN LENNON December 8th, 1980. Five gunshots ring out in New York, ending the life of one of the world’s most influential musicians and sending millions of fans into mourning. John Lennon had been living quietly in the city and had just made his comeback after five years away from the studio. “John and I were gloriously happy in the first week of December,” his widow later recalled. “In our minds, we were a team – old soldiers.” So exactly what happened on that fateful day?
In the morning, John and Yoko leave their apartment and have breakfast at the Cafe La Fortuna, on West 71st Street. John eats Eggs Benedict and follows it with a cappuccino and Gitane cigarette. He then decides to get a haircut, after which the couple return to their sprawling 34-room apartment and welcome photographer Annie Leibovitz inside to undertake a photoshoot for Rolling Stone. Lennon wants to be photographed naked, clinging to a clothed Yoko. Leibovitz has no problem with that, and the photos are taken. The resulting picture makes the cover of Rolling Stone magazine weeks later.
After the shoot, San Francisco radio producer Dave Sholin arrives to conduct what becomes John’s last interview. During the three-hour session, the musician poignantly says: “We’re either going to live or we’re going to die. I consider that my work won’t be finished until I’m dead and buried – and I hope that’s a long time.” Following the interview Sholin offers John and Yoko a lift to the recording studio.
Outside the apartment, the pavement teems with office workers heading for the subway. Among them is Mark Chapman, 25, determined to kill Lennon, who he sees as a “phony” – a left-wing activist with a millionaire lifestyle. Despite the mild weather, Chapman wears thermal underwear, green trousers, a shirt and sweater, and a long green overcoat, complete with a fake fur hat, gloves and a green scarf. A Charter Arms .38 snub-nosed revolver is concealed in the inside pocket of his coat. He hands John a copy of “Double Fantasy” to sign. John writes: John Lennon 1980. Handing it back, he looks his killer in the eye and asks: “Here, is that what you want?” before hopping into the car. John and Yoko then spend four-and-a-half hours working at The Record Factory. Before leaving the studio, Lennon enjoyed a corned beef sandwich with the plan to have a larger meal once he got home.
The couple take a short limousine drive back to their apartment, however there is a vehicle parked directly in front of the entrance to the block, so John’s limo stops outside the building’s gateway and Yoko climbs out, followed by John carrying a tape recorder and cassettes. John stares at Chapman as he passes by and, as he moves off, the killer springs into action. As John walks by, Chapman says, “Mr. Lennon.” John starts to turn just as Chapman, dropping into a combat stance, pulls out the gun. The first two shots hit John in the back, spinning him around, while another two hit him in the shoulder. A fifth misses. Each bullet passes through the body and slams into a wood and glass windbreak behind him. As Chapman looks on in silence, Lennon staggers up the five steps into the building’s office, mumbling “I’m shot” before falling face-down. Night man Jay Hastings had been reading a magazine but, when John stumbles in, he hits the alarm button under the desk, summoning police. Yoko rushes to cradle her dying husband and screams for a doctor. Outside, Chapman removes his coat – so police will see he isn’t armed – and begins flicking through a copy of JD Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. Within two minutes, the street is full of sirens. As Chapman is cuffed, two officers hoist the musician on to their shoulders and place him in the back of a squad car. Jay remembers hearing John’s bones creak as they pick him up. As his partner runs red lights heading to St Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center, Officer James Moran turns and asks John, “Are you John Lennon?” As he slips away, John nods slightly and moans: “Yes.” It is the last thing he ever says.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Teri Hatcher (54), Dominic Monaghan (42), Nicki Minaj (36), David Harewood (53), C. Thomas Howell (53), Jeffrey Wright (54), Ellen Burstyn (87), Kristofer Hivju (41), Tom Hulce (66), Nick Park (61), Frankie Muniz (34), Margaret Cho (51), Marisa Tomei (55), Jeff Bridges (70), Tony Todd (65), Tyra Banks (46), Pamela Stephenson (70), Jay-Z (50), Brendan Fraser (51), Julianne Moore (59), Amanda Seyfried (34), Daryl Hannah (59), Jean-Luc Godard (89), Ozzy Osbourne (71), Paul Nicholas (75), Lucy Liu (51), Britney Spears (38), and Nelly Furtado (41).
With the sad passing of Clive James, quite a few of you have scored; Christine and Martin both had him down as their Cert, so 170 points each, and Debbie, Julie, Ashley, Shan and Julia also had him listed, so 70 points each also. Well done everyone! This has tightened the league table somewhat, who know what will happen in the next four weeks! Anyone at the top end of the table could win if one of their Big Three decide to succumb to the cold weather, it’s that close! And to anyone who’s a bit miffed about being at the bottom end of the table, don’t worry, I’m there too.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Nick Clifford, 98, American construction worker, last surviving Mount Rushmore carver.
- Goo Hara, 28, South Korean singer (Kara) and actress (City Hunter), suicide.
- Clive James, 80, Australian author (Cultural Amnesia), broadcaster (Fame in the 20th Century) and critic (The Observer), leukaemia.
- Gary Rhodes, 59, English chef (Rhodes W1) and television personality (MasterChef, Local Food Hero), subdural haematoma.
- Godfrey Gao, 35, Taiwanese-Canadian model and actor (The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Love is a Broadway Hit, Legend of the Ancient Sword), cardiac arrest.
- Brad Gobright, 31, American rock climber, climbing fall.
- Sir Jonathan Miller, 85, English humourist (Beyond the Fringe), television presenter, and theatre director, Alzheimer’s disease.
- Lord Burgess, 95, American songwriter (“Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)“, “Jamaica Farewell“, “In Plenty and In Time of Need“).
- Iain Sutherland, 71, Scottish musician (The Sutherland Brothers) and songwriter (“(I Don’t Want to Love You But) You Got Me Anyway“, “Sailing”, “Arms of Mary“).
- Terry de Havilland, 81, British shoe designer.
In Other News
Music legend Tina Turner has spoken about turning 80 today, saying: “It’s like having a second chance at life.” The star has had a stellar 60-year career in which she has sold more than 200 million records. But in recent years the Queen of Rock and Roll has been dogged by ill health including a cancer fight and a kidney transplant. Tina said: “I’m 80. What do I think? How did I think I would be at 80? Not like this. “I look great. I feel good. I have gone through some very serious sicknesses that I am overcoming. It’s like having a second chance at life. “I am happy to be an 80-year-old.” Tina suffered a mild stroke after marrying German music executive Erwin Bach, 63, in 2013 and had to learn to walk again. Three years later she was diagnosed with kidney failure and intestinal cancer. Doctors treated the cancer by removing part of her intestine, but her kidney problems got worse and she considered assisted suicide. But then Erwin gave her one of his own kidneys, and Tina had a successful transplant operation in April 2017. She said: “I know that my medical adventure is far from over. There’s always another test, another doctor’s appointment or biopsy to get through.
Gray O’Brien has revealed on social media that he has been battling stage four tonsil cancer. The 51-year-old former Coronation Street star posted a video of him finishing his treatment and revealed that he had been “devastated” by the diagnosis. The actor, who played crooked businessman Tony Gordon in Corrie between 2007 and 2010, said he discovered that he had cancer after visiting his doctor with swollen glands. This was in August and since then Gray has had 30 rounds of radiotherapy, which has been done over a six week period. The Glasgow-born actor shared news of his diagnosis on Twitter but there was light at the end of the tunnel as he also announced that he had finished his treatment. Gray said: “When I received the diagnosis of tonsil cancer I was of course devastated – it’s cancer. “My reason for waiting to ring the bell before I mentioned it publicly is because I wasn’t sure how strong I would be in coping with the treatment, indeed could I cope with the treatment? “This is only the treatment finished. I now have a long way to go with my recovery. “I have been advised it will get worse before it gets better, and I have no reason to doubt this. “As long as I take it a day at a time as I have up until this point I am looking forward to coming through the other side.”
A tree surgeon was killed in a freak accident when he moved to avoid a falling trunk but was hit by a 16-stone branch from a neighbouring tree, an inquest has heard. Charley Purkiss-McEndoo, 27, was working in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park on May 23 this year, when the tragedy occurred. The highly regarded amateur rugby union player had felled a large oak tree before stepping to the side as it fell into what is known as ‘the safety zone.’ But in an unforeseeable tragedy, his textbook safety manoeuvre took him into the path of a falling branch from a neighbouring tree, an inquest heard. The branch belonged to a tree 20ft away which had rotted at its socket and was being held in place by the tree he was was felling as part of a five year forestry clearance plan on the estate. Mr Purkiss-McEndoo- described as a ‘wonderful, humble person’ and the ‘life and soul of his rugby team’ – had sent a text to his mother wishing her a happy birthday minutes before the tragedy. The inquest in Skipton found that he died an accidental death while following ‘correct safety procedures with correct safety equipment.’
On This Day
- 1919 – Lady Astor becomes the first female Member of Parliament to take her seat in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom.
- 1952 – The New York Daily News reports the news of Christine Jorgensen, the first notable case of sex reassignment surgery.
- 1955 – American Civil Rights Movement: In Montgomery, Alabama, seamstress Rosa Parks refuses to give up her bus seat to a white man and is arrested for violating the city’s racial segregation laws, an incident which leads to that city’s bus boycott.
- 1990 – Channel Tunnel sections started from the United Kingdom and France meet 40 metres beneath the seabed.
- 1135 – Henry I, king of England (b. 1068)
- 1866 – George Everest, Welsh geographer and surveyor (b. 1790)
- 1947 – Aleister Crowley, English magician, poet, and mountaineer (b. 1875)
- 2007 – Anton Rodgers, British actor (b. 1933)
Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin was a Russian mystic and self-proclaimed holy man who befriended the family of Tsar Nicholas II, the last monarch of Russia, and gained considerable influence in late imperial Russia. Born to a peasant family in the Siberian village of Pokrovskoye in the Tobolsk governorate, Rasputin had a religious conversion experience after taking a pilgrimage to a monastery in 1897. He has been described as a monk or as a “strannik” (wanderer, or pilgrim), though he held no official position in the Russian Orthodox Church.
After traveling to St. Petersburg, either in 1903 or the winter of 1904–05, Rasputin captivated some church and social leaders. He became a society figure, and met the Tsar in November 1905. In late 1906, Rasputin began acting as a healer for Alexei, the Tsar and his wife Alexandra‘s only son, who suffered from hemophilia. At court, he was a divisive figure, seen by some Russians as a mystic, visionary, and prophet, and by others as a religious charlatan. The high point of Rasputin’s power was in 1915, when Nicholas II left St. Petersburg to oversee Russian armies fighting World War I, increasing both Alexandra and Rasputin’s influence. As Russian defeats in the war mounted, however, both Rasputin and Alexandra became increasingly unpopular.
On 12 July 1914 a 33-year-old peasant woman named Chionya Guseva attempted to assassinate Rasputin by stabbing him in the stomach outside his home in Pokrovskoye. Rasputin was seriously wounded, and for a time it was not clear that he would survive. After surgery and some time in a hospital in Tyumen, however, he did recover.
Having decided that Rasputin’s influence over the Tsarina had made him a threat to the empire, a group of nobles led by Prince Felix Yusupov, the Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich, and the right-wing politician Vladimir Purishkevich concocted a plan to kill Rasputin in December 1916, apparently by luring Rasputin to the Yusupovs’ Moika Palace. Rasputin was murdered during the early morning on 30 December 1916, at the home of Felix Yusupov. He died of three gunshot wounds, one of which was a close-range shot to his forehead. Beyond this, little is certain about his death, and the circumstances of his death have been the subject of considerable speculation.
According to historian Douglas Smith, “what really happened at the Yusupov home on 17 December will never be known”. The story of Rasputin’s death that Yusupov recounted in his memoirs, however, has become the most frequently told version of events. According to Yusupov, he invited Rasputin to his home shortly after midnight and ushered him into the basement. Yusupov offered Rasputin tea and cakes which had been laced with cyanide. At first, Rasputin refused the cakes, but then began to eat them. To Yusupov’s surprise, Rasputin did not appear to be affected by the poison. Rasputin then asked for some Madeira wine (which had also been poisoned) and drank three glasses, but still showed no sign of distress. At around 2:30 am, Yusupov excused himself to go upstairs, where his fellow conspirators were waiting. Taking a revolver from Dmitry Pavlovich, Yusupov returned to the basement and, referring to a crucifix that was in the room, told Rasputin that he’d “better look at the crucifix and say a prayer”, then shot him once in the chest. Believing him to be dead, they then drove to Rasputin’s apartment, with Sukhotin wearing Rasputin’s coat and hat, in an attempt to make it look as though Rasputin had returned home that night. Upon returning to the Moika Palace, Yusupov went back to the basement to ensure that Rasputin was dead. Suddenly, Rasputin leapt up and attacked Yusupov, who – with some effort – freed himself and fled upstairs. Rasputin followed and made it into the palace’s courtyard before being shot by Purishkevich and collapsing into a snowbank. The conspirators then wrapped Rasputin’s body in cloth, drove it to the Petrovsky Bridge and dropped it into the Malaya Nevka River.
News of Rasputin’s murder spread quickly, even before his body was found. An investigation was launched the next morning and his body was found under the river ice, approximately 200 meters downstream from the bridge.
Rasputin was buried on the following day at a small church at Tsarskoye Selo. The funeral was attended only by the royal family and a few of their intimates. Rasputin’s wife, mistress, and children were not invited, although his daughters met with the Royal family at Vyrubova’s home later that day. His body was exhumed and burned by a detachment of soldiers shortly after the Tsar abdicated the throne in March 1917, in order to prevent his burial site from becoming a rallying point for supporters of the old regime.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Ridley Scott (82), Ben Stiller (54), Mandy Patinkin (67), Billy Idol (64), Chadwick Boseman (42), Gemma Chan (37), Diane Ladd (84), Don Cheadle (55), Jeff Fahey(67), Karen Gillan (32), Ed Harris (69), Aimee Garcia (41), Judd Nelson (60), Martin Clunes (58), Armando Iannucci (56), Jon Stewart (57), Robin Givens (55), Bill Nye (64), Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson (31), Tina Turner (80), Rita Ora (29), DJ Khaled (44), Christina Applegate (48), Bruno Tonioli (64), Sarah Hyland (29), Stephen Merchant (45), Conleth Hill (55), Billy Connolly (77), and Denise Crosby (62).
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Brad McQuaid, 51, American video game designer (EverQuest, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes).
- John Mann, 57, Canadian guitarist and singer (Spirit of the West), and actor (Underworld: Evolution).
- Michael J. Pollard, 80, American actor (Bonnie and Clyde, Scrooged, House of 1000 Corpses), cardiac arrest.
- Colin Skipp, 80, British actor (The Archers).
- Olly Croft, 90, British darts administrator, founder of the British Darts Organisation.
- Goo Hara, 28, South Korean singer (Kara) and actress (City Hunter).
In Other News
Actress Jane Galloway Heitz, best known for portraying show choir head Lillian Adler in the high school musical series Glee, has died aged 78. Although not famous enough for a wiki mention, we thought she was worthy of a small recognition. She died of congestive heart failure in an Illinois hospital last week, her daughter Amie Richardson confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter. She also appeared in shows like ER, Grey’s Anatomy and The Big Bang Theory. Alongside her own acting, she helped to nurture the talents of a young Steve Carell (well known for the US Office and films such as Foxcatcher, The Big Short and The 40-year-old Virgin), as well as chat show host Stephen Colbert. Her casting also helped launch the careers of actors Richard Kind, who starred in Mad About You and Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Modern Family star Eric Stonestreet. Stonestreet led the tributes, crediting Galloway Heitz for his success, while describing her as a “a great friend and mentor”.
Sir Elton John has said he was terrified he would not live to see his children grow up and had to learn to walk again after he contracted an infection following surgery for prostate cancer. The superstar musician previously revealed in his autobiography Me that he was successfully treated for cancer two years ago but then became ill with an infection. Speaking to Graham Norton in the BBC programme Elton John: Uncensored, Sir Elton said he has had an “annus horribilis” as he struggled with his health. He said: “I was on stage in Vegas in a lot of pain, fluid had built up under my colon. “I did the show and was wearing nappies shortly after the operation. I thought ‘If only they knew right now that I’m pissing myself’. The singer added that he was rushed to hospital in London, where he was “24 hours from snuffing it”, and continued: “I had to learn to walk again. I was extremely sick. “I said: ‘Don’t let me die, I want to see my children grow up.’” He joked there is “very little of me left” after having his prostate removed and losing his hair.
Sir Rod Stewart, 74, took to Instagram to tell fans he is “absolutely devastated” to have to pull out of the charity show in London. In view of his 347,000 followers, he wrote: “Due to a throat infection and on strict doctor’s orders, I’m absolutely devastated to say I’m unable to perform at the Royal Variety Performance, an amazing show which I love being a part of. He added: “It’s going to be a great evening with some fantastic talent and I’m very disappointed that I can’t be there to give my support. Many of the star’s loyal fans flocked to his post to send their well wishes to the star. One fan commented: “I hope you’re back to your best soon. We can’t have anything happen to that beautiful voice!” Rod is set to kick off his UK and Ireland tour later this week in Manchester ahead of his international tour next year. It is currently unknown if his throat infection will affect his tour. Back in September, Sir Rod Stewart opened up about his secret cancer battle as he issued a warning to others. “Guys, you’ve got to really go to the doctor,” he added. “Finger up the bum, no harm done.”
TV comic John Bishop has revealed how a terrifying cancer scare left him “contemplating death”. The 52-year-old Liverpudlian was sent for an X-ray after suffering a prolonged cough three years ago. He explained: “I was told that unless I heard anything, I should regard everything as normal and the cough would go. “I heard nothing and gradually my chest cleared, so I thought no more about it. “Three months later I received a call saying the results of the X-ray had been misreported by one of the junior staff. His GP said he needed an emergency CT scan – “and something in his tone suggested it needing doing sooner rather than later,” said John. “So I organised a private CT scan at the local hospital. I spent a few hours alone thinking it could be the start of the end. “This is because a Google search of ‘shadows on lungs’ does not make you believe the prognosis will be good.” John, who has three sons with wife Melanie, says: “It was the first time I had seriously contemplated my own death. I was filled with sadness for all the things I’d miss – my family, my sons getting married, my parents, becoming a grandparent, laughing, blue sky days when you are so happy that you almost feel guilty to be so lucky. Football, music, films. “Death takes away everything, although this isn’t all bad. I suddenly realised I did not have to care any more about what Donald Trump did, if the ice caps were going to melt and the Brexit vote. “I had seen this before with people facing terminal illness. There is a sense of contentment and balance hard to explain. All that matters are those you love.” “The GP called me as soon as he had the results. I had shadows on both lungs but it was nothing sinister and was caused by increased bone mass in my sternum. “I put the phone down grateful for the life I had ahead of me. “I embraced Melanie and then on the radio in the background I heard Trump was saying global warming was a myth, and I started worrying again.”
On This Day
- 1859 – Charles Darwin publishes On the Origin of Species.
- 1962 – The influential British satirical television programme That Was the Week That Was is first broadcast.
- 1963 – Lee Harvey Oswald, the assassin of President John F. Kennedy, is killed by Jack Ruby.
- 1963 – Lee Harvey Oswald, American assassin of John F. Kennedy (b. 1939)
- 1991 – Freddie Mercury, Tanzanian-English singer-songwriter, lead vocalist of Queen, and producer (b. 1946)
- 2008 – Kenny MacLean, Scottish-Canadian bass player and songwriter (b. 1956)
Rather than concentrate on murderers and rapists, I thought it might be a nice change to concentrate on some famous people’s last meals for a change. Let’s begin with the one and only Elvis Presley.
Born Elvis Aaron Presley on January 8th 1935 in Tupelo, Mississippi, Elvis Presley came from very humble beginnings and grew up to become one of the biggest names in rock ‘n’ roll. Regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century, he is often referred to as the “King of Rock and Roll” or simply “the King”. In 1955 Presley began to develop a following with fans being drawn to his unusual musical style, provocative gyrating hips and good looks. That same year, he signed with RCA Records, a deal worked out by his manager, Colonel Tom Parker. Presley was on a roll, scoring his first No.1 single with “Heartbreak Hotel,” as well as his first No.1 album, Elvis Presley, and signing a movie contract with Paramount Pictures — all in 1956. Despite the uproar that his sexy dance moves caused, he also became a popular guest on a number of television variety shows. Soon, Presley was everywhere — on the radio, television and the silver screen — working as a musician and actor. His first film, Love Me Tender (1956), was a box office hit. Even a stint in the U.S. military couldn’t put a damper on Presley’s thriving career.
After leaving the Army in 1960, Presley resumed his career and was soon back at the top of the charts with the soundtrack for his film GI Blues. He continued recording music and acting in such films as Blue Hawaii (1961), Girls! Girls! Girls! (1962) and Viva Las Vegas (1964). Though his films were often hit or miss with both critics and audiences, they brought in a profit and the soundtracks usually sold well. By the late 1960s, however, the enigmatic performer appeared to be losing his box office appeal.
Around this time, Presley’s personal life seemed to be on an upswing. He and Priscilla married in 1967 and had a daughter, Lisa Marie, the following year. Unfortunately, this joyous time would not last. By the early 1970s, Presley’s marriage was falling apart. The couple divorced in 1973, and Priscilla received custody of Lisa Marie. Presley was also wrestling with other personal problems, including a growing addiction to prescription drugs; the once-thin rock star was battling a weight problem, and his destructive lifestyle caught up with him that autumn, when he was hospitalised for drug-related health problems.
In the morning of August 16th, 1977, Presley died of heart failure, at the age of 42. It was later ruled that his death was related to his prescription drug use and it was rumoured that he’d died on the toilet eating a burger. However, the evening’s events were very different. Elvis had stayed up most of the night; he was restless. Between midnight and 6:00 a.m., he went to his dentist to have a cavity filled (he did this late at night to avoid the mobs), then he returned to Graceland and played racquetball with friends, talked over marriage plans with his 20-year-old fiancée, Ginger Alden, and belted out some gospel songs on the piano. Around sunrise, Ginger went to bed, but Elvis, still unable to sleep, ate one of his usual early-morning snacks: four scoops of ice cream and six chocolate chip cookies. After that, he went to bed, then got up a few hours later to go to the bathroom, where he suffered the fatal heart attack. Presley was buried on the Graceland property, near the gravesites of his mother, Gladys, father Vernon and grandmother Minnie Mae Hood Presley.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Kelly Brook (40), Miley Cyrus (27), Michelle Gomez (53), Ricky Whittle (38), Scarlett Johansson (35), Mads Mikkelsen (54), Jamie Lee Curtis (61), Mark Ruffalo (52), Terry Gilliam (79), Goldie Hawn (74), Alexander Siddig (54), Björk (54), Carly Rae Jepsen (34), Liza Tarbuck (55), Ming-Na Wen (56), Sean Young (60), Bo Derek (63), Adam Driver (36), Jodie Foster (57), Meg Ryan (58), Terry Farrell (56), Robert Beltran (66), Chloë Sevigny (45), Owen Wilson (51), Linda Evans (77), Delroy Lindo (67), Alan Moore (66), Anthony McPartlin (44), Martin Scorsese (77), Rachel McAdams (41), Tom Ellis (41), Danny DeVito (75), Sophie Marceau (53), Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (61), and RuPaul (59).
No movement in the table this week and with little over six weeks left to go, some of us are hoping that this cold weather will do the trick. I hope you’re all researching your lists for 2020 already and letting your friends know about our amazing little pool.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Frank Dobson, 79, British politician, MP (1979–2015), Secretary of State for Health (1997–1999).
- Jean Fergusson, 74, British actress (Last of the Summer Wine, Coronation Street).
- Terry O’Neill, 81, British photographer, prostate cancer.
- Niall Tóibín, 89, Irish comedian and actor (Ryan’s Daughter, Far and Away, Veronica Guerin).
In Other News
Jimmy Carter has been admitted to hospital for brain surgery following a number of recent falls. The former US president was due to undergo surgery on Tuesday morning to relieve pressure on his brain caused by bleeding, his spokeswoman said. Rev Tony Lowden, Mr Carter’s pastor, said the Democratic leader had had ”a rough day” on Monday. “We just need the whole country to be in prayer for him,” he said. Mr Carter is resting comfortably Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, and his wife Rosalynn is with him, his spokeswoman added. The 95-year-old former peanut farmer has fallen at least three times in 2019, with one incident necessitating hip replacement surgery. On 6 October Mr Carter needed 14 stitches after a fall and on 21 October he fractured his pelvis. He is the oldest living president, surviving longer after leaving the White House than any former president in US history.
Ariana Grande has reportedly been struggling on tour in recent weeks. The 26-year-old posted a message to her Instagram Story on Saturday, revealing that she’s been battling an illness for several weeks! Not only that but her message indicates that her future tour dates in jeopardy until she’s feeling better. “Hi my loves so I’m still very sick. I’ve been sick since the last London show. I don’t know how it’s possible but my throat and head are still in so much pain. I sound okay I’m just in a lot of pain and it’s difficult to breathe during the show,” Grande wrote. “I just really don’t know what’s happening with my body right now and need to figure it out.” From there, the singer expanded on her condition throughout several videos. “Hi everyone so I have a quick health update, I just finished my show in Charlottesville and I’ve been sick since the last show in London,” the video showed. “I’ve been coughing and had this like crazy sinus infection thing that has not gone away for a really long time. I haven’t been able to really get better and tonight during the show tonight my head was really splitting and heavy and my glands really hurt and I’m trying to figure out what’s going on.” Grande added that she’ll be going to a doctor soon and hopes to learn more about her condition and prompt a speedy recovery. Fans are likely hopeful she goes sooner than later, with Grande adding to fears with her confusion over the illness. “I’m scared that I might have to cancel some things, so this is kind just a heads up of like I don’t know what’s happening with my body, and I’m really disappointed and freaked out of why I can’t get better because it’s been over three weeks at this point,” Grande revealed to her fans. Pneumonia? Tuberculosis? Pleurisy? Over-reacting to a slight cold?
Dwayne Johnson has become the victim of another sick death hoax after a fake news story suggesting he’d died in a stunt accident went viral. The post purported to be from BBC News and featured the headline “Dwayne The Rock Johnson Dies at 47 after a terrible stunt attempted failed”. The link took social media users to a fake website rather than the legitimate BBC site and it horrified fans as it circulated online. The 47-year-old actor and wrestler has yet to comment on the hoax, but he has been active on social media since, so he is alive. This isn’t the first time The Rock has been a target for a death hoax. In 2011 and 2014, the Fast and Furious star was declared dead by online trolls. He responded to the 2011 rumours on his Facebook page, telling fans: “Rumours of my death are false. “I’m still ‘Bringin’ It’ 24hrs a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year – including leap year!” In 2014, trolls circulated a fake story suggested Johnson had been killed in an accident on a movie set in New Zealand. The fake report declared: “Actor Dwayne Johnson died while filming a movie in New Zealand early this morning – June 10, 2014. “Preliminary reports from New Zealand Police officials indicate that the actor fell more than 60 feet to his death on the Kauri Cliffs while on-set.” However, the movie star was very much alive and well at the time and went on to make several shit films.
On This Day
- 1558 – Elizabethan era begins: Queen Mary I of England dies and is succeeded by her half-sister Elizabeth I of England.
- 1603 – English explorer, writer and courtier Sir Walter Raleigh goes on trial for treason. It didn’t end well…
- 1894 – H. H. Holmes, one of the first modern serial killers, is arrested in Boston, Massachusetts.
- 1796 – Catherine the Great, of Russia (b. 1729)
- 1917 – Auguste Rodin, French sculptor and illustrator (b. 1840)
- 1940 – Eric Gill, English sculptor and typeface designer (b. 1882)
- 1968 – Mervyn Peake, English poet, author, and illustrator (b. 1911)
Herman Webster Mudgett, better known as Dr. Henry Howard Holmes or, more commonly, as H. H. Holmes, was an American serial killer. While he confessed to 27 murders, only nine could be plausibly confirmed and several of the people he claimed to have murdered were still alive. He is said to have killed as many as 200, though this figure is only traceable to 1940s pulp magazines. Many victims were said to have been killed in a mixed-use building which he owned, supposedly called the World’s Fair Hotel (informally called “The Murder Castle”. Besides being a serial killer, Holmes was also a con artist and a bigamist, the subject of more than 50 lawsuits in Chicago alone.
One of Holmes’ early murder victims was his mistress, Julia Smythe. She and her daughter disappeared on Christmas Eve of 1891, and Holmes later claimed she had died during an abortion, though what truly happened to the two was never confirmed. Another likely Holmes paramour, Emeline Cigrande, began working in the building in May 1892, and disappeared that December. Another woman who vanished, Edna Van Tassel, is also believed to have been among Holmes’ victims.
While working in Chicago, Holmes met and became close friends with Benjamin Pitezel. Holmes used Pitezel as his right-hand man for several criminal schemes; a district attorney later described Pitezel as “Holmes’ tool … his creature”. Holmes had an entrepreneurial spirit. Based on his former medical education and his connections, he was able to sell skeletons to medical labs and schools. “He, and his creature were accused of stripping the flesh off the bodies, dissecting them, and preparing the viable skeletons. The rest of the remains would be tossed in pits of lime or acid, effectively breaking down the remaining evidence.
Whilst briefly incarcerated for the first time, on the charge of selling mortgaged goods in St. Louis, he struck up a conversation with a convicted outlaw named Marion Hedgepeth, who was serving a 25-year sentence for fraud. Holmes had concocted a plan to swindle an insurance company out of $10,000 (equivalent to $300,000 today) by taking out a policy on Pitezel and then faking his death. Instead, Holmes killed Pitezel by knocking him unconscious with chloroform and setting his body on fire with the use of benzene. As with all good plans, he became rather unstuck when he was forced to take on Pitezel’s children, who he later confessed to murdering by forcing them into a large trunk and locking them inside. He drilled a hole in the lid of the trunk and put one end of a hose through the hole, attaching the other end to a gas line to asphyxiate the girls. Holmes buried their nude bodies in the cellar of his rental house. Frank Geyer, a Philadelphia police detective assigned to investigate the disappearance of the missing children found the decomposed bodies of the two Pitezel girls in the cellar of the Toronto home. And thus Holmes’ murder spree finally ended when he was arrested after Hedgepeth informed the police of Holmes’ prior intentions.
In October 1895, Holmes was put on trial for the murder of Benjamin Pitezel, and was found guilty and sentenced to death. By then, it was evident Holmes had also murdered the Pitezel children. Following his conviction, Holmes confessed to 27 murders in Chicago, Indianapolis, and Toronto, and six attempted murders. Holmes was paid $7,500 (worth $226,000 today) by the Hearst newspapers in exchange for his confession, which was quickly found to be mostly nonsense. Holmes gave various contradictory accounts of his life, initially claiming innocence and later that he was possessed by Satan. His propensity for lying has made it difficult for researchers to ascertain the truth on the basis of his statements.
On May 7, 1896, preceding his execution, Holmes was served boiled eggs, dry toast, and coffee as his last meal. He was then hanged at Moyamensing Prison, for the murder of Pitezel. Until the moment of his death, Holmes remained calm and amiable, showing very few signs of fear, anxiety or depression. Despite this, he asked for his coffin to be contained in cement and buried 10 feet deep, because he was concerned grave robbers would steal his body and use it for dissection. Holmes’ neck did not snap; he instead was strangled to death slowly, twitching for over 15 minutes before being pronounced dead 20 minutes after the trap had been sprung. In 2017, amid allegations Holmes had in fact escaped execution, Holmes’ body was exhumed for testing. Due to his coffin being contained in cement, his body was found not to have decomposed normally. His clothes were almost perfectly preserved and his mustache was found to be intact. The body was positively identified as being that of Holmes with his teeth. Holmes was then reburied.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Lisa Bonet (52), Missi Pyle (47), Maggie Gyllenhaal (42), Martha Plimpton (49), Beverly D’Angelo (68), Jonny Lee Miller (47), Petula Clark (87), Russell Tovey (38), Sandahl Bergman (68), Paul McGann (60), Gerard Butler (50), Whoopi Goldberg (64), John de Lancie (71), Jimmy Kimmel (52), Anne Hathaway (37), Ryan Gosling (39), Wallace Shawn (76), Max Grodénchik (67), Neil Young (74), Mariella Frostrup (57), Leonardo DiCaprio (45), Demi Moore (57), Stanley Tucci (59), Calista Flockhart (55), Taron Egerton (30), and Hugh Bonneville (56).
We begin this week by awarding 65 points to Sylvia for correctly guessing that Guy Byrne would kick the bucket this year. This leaves seven of us yet to score this year, and as always, one of the seven is me. You’d think I’d be good at this now, having run this thing for 28 years…
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Brian Tarantina, 60, American actor (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, City by the Sea, Gilmore Girls).
- Bob Norris, 90, American model (Marlboro Man).
- Gay Byrne, 85, Irish broadcaster (The Late Late Show, The Gay Byrne Show, The Meaning of Life).
- Tazeen Ahmad, 48, British journalist and broadcaster (NBC, BBC, Channel 4), cancer.
- Robert Freeman, 82, British photographer (With the Beatles, A Hard Day’s Night, Rubber Soul) and graphic designer.
- Nik Powell, 69, British film producer and record executive, co-founder of Virgin Records.
- Brian Mawhinney, 79, British politician, MP (1979–2005), Minister for Health (1992–1994) and Shadow Home Secretary (1997–1998).
In Other News
Donald Trump “stumbles, slurs and gets confused”, according to a new book by a senior White House official, who claims the US president “deserves to be fired”. The anonymous staff member questions Mr Trump’s fitness for office in a book published later this month under the title A Warning. “I am not qualified to diagnose the president’s mental acuity,” the author writes, according to a review by The Washington Post. “All I can tell you is that normal people who spend any time with Donald Trump are uncomfortable by what they witness. “He stumbles, slurs, gets confused, is easily irritated, and has trouble synthesising information, not occasionally but with regularity. “Those who would claim otherwise are lying to themselves or to the country.” Mr Trump is described variously as “a twelve-year-old in an air traffic control tower” and an “elderly uncle running pantsless across the courtyard” of a nursing home while “cursing loudly about the cafeteria food, as worried attendants tried to catch him”. “You’re stunned, amused, and embarrassed all at the same time,” the author adds. The anonymous official admits he sat in “uncomfortable silence” as the president made offensive jokes about a woman’s appearance or performance. The anonymous official says that “the last straw” which prompted his decision to speak out was the president’s attempt to prevent the White House flag being lowered to half-mast after the death of senator John McCain.
A woman nearly died from an allergic reaction after having sex with her husband! The 46-year-old from Baltimore, Maryland, suffered an anaphylactic reaction to a medication her husband was taking through exposure to her husband’s semen, according to the case report in the American Journal of Medicine. The report, titled “Almost Killed by Love: A Cautionary Coital Tale”, said she complained of dizziness, diarrhoea, itchy hands and feet, and severe sweating shortly afterwards. The woman went to A&E and doctors initially believed she was suffering from sepsis due to her low blood pressure and she was put on an IV drip and given various antibiotics. However, further tests revealed she was suffering from anaphylactic shock. It was found that her husband had been treating a bacterial infection with a course of an antibiotic called nafcillin, which contains penicillin. The woman had a history of penicillin allergy since she was a child and said she had not been exposed to penicillin since then. The authors said they believe the woman was “exposed to nafcillin concentrated in the seminal fluid”. After her blood pressure normalised and her symptoms improved, the woman was discharged from hospital with an epipen. She was instructed to abstain from sexual intercourse with her husband until at least one week after he completed his course of antibiotics.
A man has died attempting to eat 50 eggs to settle a dispute with a friend. The pair were visiting the Bibiganj market area in Uttar Pradesh’s Jaunpur district, in India, when they began arguing, police said. To settle the disagreement, they agreed on a Rs2,000 (£22) bet that each could be the first to eat 50 eggs in one sitting. Police say Subhash Yada had just begun eating his 42nd egg when he collapsed and fell unconscious. The 42-year-old was rushed to hospital but died just hours later. Doctors believe Mr Yada died from overeating, according to the Indo-Asian News Service. However his family has refused to comment on his death. But this eggy chap isn’;t the first to die stuffing his face! In August this year, Dana Hutchings died after choking and hitting his face on a table as he fell to the ground during a taco-eating contest in California. Medical staff attempted to clear airway of food but he died less than half an hour after arriving at hospital. Bethan Gaskin, 24, also choked to death in February while trying to see how many Jaffa Cakes she could fit inside her mouth. The young mother stopped breathing and suffered a heart attack after they became lodged in her throat. Student Caitlin Nelson, 22, collapsed just minutes into a pancake-eating contest during a charity fundraiser at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut, US, in 2017. She later died in hospital. Take this as a warning peeps, chew your food!
On This Day
- 1580 – After a three-day siege, the English Army beheads over 600 people, including papal soldiers and civilians, at Dún an Óir, Ireland.
- 1871 – Henry Morton Stanley locates missing explorer and missionary, Dr David Livingstone in Ujiji, near Lake Tanganyika, famously greeting him with the words, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”.
- 1944 – The ammunition ship USS Mount Hood explodes at Seeadler Harbour, Manus, Admiralty Islands, killing at least 432 and wounding 371.
- 1983 – Bill Gates introduces Windows 1.0.
- 1989 – Germans begin to tear down the Berlin Wall.
- 1982 – Leonid Brezhnev, Ukrainian-Russian general and politician, 4th Head of State of the Soviet Union (b. 1906)
- 2006 – Jack Palance, American boxer and actor (b. 1919)
- 2010 – Dino De Laurentiis, Italian-American, producer, and production manager (b. 1919)
Saddam Hussein was President of Iraq from 16th July 1979 until 9th April 2003. A leading member of the revolutionary Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party which espoused a mix of Arab nationalism and socialism. Saddam played a key role in the 1968 coup (later referred to as the 17th July Revolution) that brought him and the party to power in Iraq. He suppressed several movements, particularly Shi’a and Kurdish movements which sought to overthrow the government or gain independence, and maintained power during the Iran–Iraq War and the Gulf War. Whereas some in the Arab world lauded Saddam for opposing the United States and attacking Israel, he was widely condemned for the brutality of his dictatorship. The total number of Iraqis killed by the security services of Saddam’s government in various purges and genocides is conservatively estimated to be 250,000. Saddam’s invasions of Iran and Kuwait also resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths.
In 2003, a coalition led by the United States invaded Iraq to depose Saddam, in which U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair erroneously accused him of possessing weapons of mass destruction and having ties to al-Qaeda. Following the war, Saddam’s Ba’ath party was disbanded and elections were held. Saddam’s whereabouts remained in question during the weeks following the fall of Baghdad and the conclusion of the major fighting of the war. Various sightings of Saddam were reported in the weeks following the war, but none was authenticated. At various times Saddam released audio tapes promoting popular resistance to his ousting. On 13th December 2003, in Operation Red Dawn, Saddam Hussein was captured by American forces after being found hiding in a hole in the ground near a farmhouse in ad-Dawr, near Tikrit.
Following his capture, Saddam was transported to a U.S. base near Tikrit, and later taken to the American base near Baghdad. The trial of Saddam took place under the Iraqi Interim Government and he was found guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced to death by hanging. Saddam’s half brother, Barzan Ibrahim, and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, head of Iraq’s Revolutionary Court in 1982, were convicted of similar charges. The verdict and sentencing were both appealed, but subsequently affirmed by Iraq’s Supreme Court of Appeals.
Saddam was hanged on the first day of Eid ul-Adha, 30th December 2006, despite his wish to be executed by firing squad (which he argued was the lawful military capital punishment citing his military position as the commander-in-chief of the Iraqi military). In his final hours, he refused offers of cigarettes and a last meal of chicken and shawarma rice.” Other sources state Saddam ate his last meal of chicken and rice and had a cup of hot water with honey. The execution was carried out at Camp Justice, an Iraqi army base in Kadhimiya, a neighbourhood of northeast Baghdad. Saudi Arabia condemned Iraqi authorities for carrying on with the execution on a holy day. A presenter from the Al—Ikhbariya television station officially stated “There is a feeling of surprise and disapproval that the verdict has been applied during the holy months and the first days of Eid al-Adha. Leaders of Islamic countries should show respect for this blessed occasion … not demean it.” On his way to the gallows, Hussein never bowed his head, until his neck snapped that is… His last words were equally defiant. “Down with the traitors, the Americans, the spies and the Persians.” Video of the execution was recorded on a mobile phone and his captors could be heard insulting Saddam. The video was leaked and posted on the Internet within hours, becoming the subject of global controversy. It was later claimed by the head guard at the tomb where his remains lay that Saddam’s body had been stabbed six times after the execution. A second unofficial video, apparently showing Saddam’s body on a trolley, emerged several days later. It sparked speculation that the execution was carried out incorrectly as Saddam Hussein had a gaping hole in his neck. Saddam’s demeanour while being led to the gallows have been discussed by two witnesses, Iraqi Judge Munir Haddad and Iraqi national security adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie. The accounts of the two witnesses are contradictory as Haddad describes Saddam as being strong in his final moments whereas al-Rubaie says Saddam was clearly afraid. Saddam was buried at his birthplace of Al-Awja in Tikrit, Iraq, on 31st December 2006. He was buried 3 km (2 mi) from his sons Uday and Qusay Hussein. His tomb was reported to have been destroyed in March 2015. Before it was destroyed, a Sunni tribal group reportedly removed his body to a secret location.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Taron Egerton (29), Hugh Bonneville (55), Neil Gaiman (58), Ennio Morricone (90), Robert Duncan McNeill (54), Lou Ferrigno (67), Alfre Woodard (67), Matthew Rhys (45), Gretchen Mol (47), Richard Curtis (63), Gordon Ramsay (53), Adam Devine (36), Emma Stone (31), Ethan Hawke (49), Rebecca Romijn (47), Thandie Newton (47), Sally Field (73), Maria Shriver (64), Lori Singer (62), Nigel Havers (68), Famke Janssen (55), Sam Rockwell (51), Tilda Swinton (59), Robert Patrick (61), Tatum O’Neal (56), Armin Shimerman (70), Elke Sommer (79), Tamzin Outhwaite (49), Chris Addison (48), Art Garfunkel (78), Matthew McConaughey (50), Ralph Macchio (58), Olivia Taylor Dudley (34), and Loretta Swit (82).
A quiet week in the celebrity death circles. You are forgiven for not knowing anyone on the list below. However, an excellent time to remind you to start researching for next year, whether that be looking back through Dead Pool articles or hunting down those celebs who have been unwell for some reason or another.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- John Witherspoon, 77, American actor (Friday, The Wayans Bros., The Boondocks).
- Rudy Boesch, 91, American Navy SEAL, reality show contestant (Survivor: Borneo, Survivor: All Stars) and host (Combat Missions), complications from Alzheimer’s disease.
- Florence Giorgetti, 75, French actress (La Grande Bouffe, The Lacemaker, Pepe Carvalho).
- Annick Alane, 94, French actress (Hibernatus, Pour la peau d’un flic, Three Men and a Cradle).
- Geetanjali, 72, Indian actress (Seetharama Kalyanam, Murali Krishna, Kalam Marindi), cardiac arrest.
In Other News
Nigel Benn has been forced to call off his controversial comeback fight after sustaining a shoulder injury in training. The 55-year-old had been due to face Sakio Bika in a one-off contest at the Resort World Arena in Birmingham on November 23rd. But Benn, who last fought 23 years ago when he lost a rematch to Steve Collins, revealed the bout against Bika is now off. He said “I have been dreaming of a one-off fight for years and I’m heartbroken I’ve had to call it off.” Benn’s clash with Bika was to have been sanctioned by the British and Irish Boxing Authority. Although Benn did not formally apply for a licence to the British Boxing Board of Control, its general secretary Robert Smith indicated there was no chance of his request being considered. In his prime, Benn won middleweight and super-middleweight world titles and was involved in some of the defining fights of his generation against the likes of Chris Eubank, Michael Watson and, tragically, Gerald McClellan. Announcing his comeback in September, Benn said: “It is my decision to box again (although may be seen by some as ‘controversial’). “However, unlike many boxers, I have continued to maintain my fitness and healthy lifestyle since my last fight with Steve Collins. “I acknowledge the risks associated with the sport, and fully understand the importance of being fully assessed by medical professionals. “Therefore, I’ve welcomed the requirements of BIBA to clearly establish that I AM ‘fit to box’. There appears little chance of the contest being rescheduled for a later date.
Earlier this year the actor and comedian Kevin Hart was involved in a major car accident while in a car in Malibu, California. The Jumanji star suffered major injuries to his back after he was involved in the incident in September with friend Jared Black, who was driving the car, and his fiancée Rebecca Broxterman. And now, two months later, Kevin has spoken out the difficult accident, opening up to fans about his ‘world was changed forever’ after the crash and how he has moved on from it. Taking to his Instagram page, the comedian shared a video with his nearly 81 million followers that shows his intensive rehabilitation and recovery over the last couple of months. “Basically you realise you’re not in control,” he said. “No matter how much you think you’re in control, you’re not in control. And at the end of the day it can all be over.” In the video the star can be seen in a hospital, leaning on a frame to try and stand up. He also shared clips of him undergoing physical therapy at home and struggling through rehabilitation exercises. The dad-of-four also shared a series of clips that show him walking around the house and spending time with his wife and children while wearing a back brace. Saying that the accident was a “message from God”, the star added, “Life is funny, because some of the craziest things that happen to you end up being the things that you needed most. “In this case I feel that God told me to sit down. When you’re moving too fast and doing too much, sometimes you can’t see the things you’re meant to see.” “After my accident I see things differently” he continued. “I see life from a while new perspective. My appreciation for life is through the roof. “I’m thankful for my family, my friends, for the people who simply ride with me and have been with me, because you stood by me. My fans – thank you for all of your love and support.” Kevin also showed fans a clip of his meeting with a team of doctors, who say to him that will take a year to fully recover, to which the star replies, “I’m not in a rush. I’m thankful for simply still being here.”
On This Day
- 1936 – The British Broadcasting Corporation initiates the BBC Television Service, the world’s first regular, “high-definition” (then defined as at least 200 lines) service.
- 1947 – In California, designer Howard Hughes performs the maiden (and only) flight of the Hughes H-4 Hercules (also known as the “Spruce Goose”), the largest fixed-wing aircraft ever built.
- 1990 – British Satellite Broadcasting and Sky Television plc merge to form BSkyB as a result of massive losses.
- 1950 – George Bernard Shaw, author, playwright, and critic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1856)
- 1996 – Eva Cassidy, American singer (b. 1963)
- 2014 – Acker Bilk, English singer and clarinet player (b. 1929)
Ricky Ray Rector was executed for the 1981 murder of police officer Robert Martin in Conway, Arkansas. On March 21, 1981, Rector and some friends drove to a dance hall at Tommy’s Old-Fashioned Home-Style Restaurant in Conway. When one friend who could not pay the $3 cover charge was refused entry, Rector became incensed and pulled a .38 calibre pistol from his waist band. He fired several shots, wounding two and killing a third man named Arthur Criswell, who died almost instantly after being struck in the throat and forehead. Rector left the scene of the murder in a friend’s car and wandered the city for three days, staying in the woods or with relatives. On March 24, Rector’s sister convinced him to turn himself in. Rector agreed to surrender, but only to Officer Robert Martin, whom he had known since he was a child. Martin arrived at Rector’s mother’s home shortly after 3 p.m. and chatted with Rector’s mother and sister. Shortly thereafter, Rector arrived and greeted Martin. As Martin turned away to continue his conversation with Rector’s mother, Rector drew his pistol from behind his back and fired two shots into Martin, striking him in the jaw and neck. Rector then turned and walked out of the house. Once he had walked past his mother’s backyard, Rector put his gun to his own temple and fired. Rector was quickly discovered by other police officers and taken to the local hospital. The suicide attempt effectively resulted in a lobotomy. Rector survived the gunshot and was put on trial for the murders of Criswell and Martin. His defence attorneys argued that Rector was intellectually impaired and not competent to stand trial. However, after hearing conflicting testimony from several experts who had evaluated Rector, Judge George F. Hartje ruled that Rector was competent to stand trial. Rector was convicted on both counts and sentenced to death. Rector was subject to a unique overlap of controversies in 1992, during his execution in Arkansas. An oft-cited example of his mental insufficiency is his decision to save the dessert from his last meal “for later,” which would have been after his execution. In 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court banned the execution of people with mental retardation in Atkins v. Virginia, ruling that the practice constitutes cruel and unusual punishment; however, it is not clear that this ruling would have applied to Rector because his brain damage was caused by his suicide attempt after having committed the two murders for which he was convicted.
For his last meal, Rector requested and received a steak, fried chicken, cherry Kool-Aid, and pecan pie. As noted above, Rector left the pie on the side of the tray, telling the corrections officers who came to take him to the execution chamber that he was “saving it for later.” The slice of pecan pie was not disposed of until Rector had been executed. Rector was executed by lethal injection. It took medical staff more than fifty minutes to find a suitable vein. The curtain remained closed between Rector and the witnesses, but some reported they could hear Rector moaning. The administrator of the State Department of Corrections Medical Program said “the moans did come as a team of two medical people—that had grown to five—worked on both sides of his body to find a vein. That may have contributed to his occasional outbursts.” The state later attributed the difficulty in finding a suitable vein to Rector’s great weight and to his having been administered an antipsychotic medication. Unsurprisingly he didn’t leave any last words.
Last Week’s Birthdays
David Schwimmer (52), Stefanie Powers (76), k.d. lang (57), Toni Collette (46), Jenny McCarthy (46), Anthony Kiedis (56), Peter Jackson (57), Stephen Rea (72), Sanjeev Bhaskar (55), Michael J. Anderson (65), Vanilla Ice (51), Clémence Poésy (36), Henry Winkler (73), Jessica Hynes (46), Ivanka Trump (37), Winona Ryder (47), Rufus Sewell (51), Richard Dreyfuss (71), Dan Castellaneta (61), Joaquin Phoenix (44), Annie Potts (66), Julia Roberts (51), Matt Smith (36), Gwendoline Christie (40), and Bill Gates (63).
Thanks to some detective work from Doug, he’s found a couple of deaths I have missed. I’ve also run through everyones lists and found a few more, obviously I’ve scored you all accordingly. So, a few more points awarded to quite a few of you, which certainly makes things rather interesting at the top of the league table.
However Trish has lost the accolade of getting the first death of the year as Lee managed to trump her with Sayed Ashraful Islam by five days. Sorry Trish!
So, we’re pretty much up to date but I’d like to give an honourable mention to Abi, she’s listed quite a few Death Row inmates who have indeed been offed by the State, but alas they’ve not been listed on the Wiki page, thus not earning precious points. With five deaths under her belt she should be at the top of the table, but those pesky rules….
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Kathleen Blanco, 76, American politician, Governor (2004–2008) and Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana (1996–2004), member of the Louisiana House (1984–1989), ocular melanoma. Died on 18/10/2019
- Julie Gibson, 106, American actress (Nice Girl?, The Feminine Touch, Lucky Cowboy) and singer. Died on 02/10/2019
- Sayed Ashraful Islam, 67, Bangladeshi politician, MP (since 2008) and Minister of Public Administration (since 2009), lung cancer. Died 03.01.2019
- Qin Hanzhang, 111, Chinese engineer and food scientist, heart attack. Died 15/08/2019
- Josip Elic, 98, American actor (The Twilight Zone, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest), complications from a fall.
- Gustav Gerneth, 114, German supercentenarian, unvalidated world’s oldest man (since 2019).
- Chris, 9, Australian sheep, world record holder for heaviest fleece.
- Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, 48, leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), suicide by explosive device.
- Ivan Milat, 74, Australian serial killer (backpacker murders), oesophageal cancer.
In Other News
Krept, one half of Krept and Konan, has cancelled his shows in October after a warning from his doctor. The pair were due to do seven shows back-to-back in November performing songs from their newest album Revenge is Sweet. He says he has been “back and forth” from hospital since he was attacked backstage at the BBC’s 1Xtra Live event in October. The rapper says his plans for the tour “require 100% strength”. Krept was “slashed” in a backstage scuffle at the event in Arena Birmingham and treated on site. Following the assault, the concert was called off early and the headliners didn’t get to perform. West Midlands police told Newsbeat no arrests have been made but investigations are ongoing. Krept says he made the decision to postpone the tour because he didn’t want to “collapse on stage”. He said: “All tickets remain valid of course and I promise it will be worth the wait… health is priority and I’m sorry for any inconvenience.” The show in London’s O2 will go ahead as planned in December. Shall we remind this tough rapper that 53 year old President Theodore Roosevelt once read a 50 page speech which took over 90 minutes after he was shot in the chest.
Billy Connolly has opened up about some “awful” symptoms he has experienced after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, as the comedian admitted he recently “started to drool”. The 76 year old got candid about living with Parkinson’s disease in an interview with Chris Evans, 53, on Virgin Radio. The comedian, who was diagnosed with the condition six years ago, opened up about some “awful” symptoms he is currently dealing with. He told the presenter: “I’ve started to drool which is a new one on me. “This disease it gives you a new thing every now and again that you have to deal with and drooling is my latest.” Detailing other aspects of the disease, Billy added: “I walk unsteadily and my hearing is going and it’s bizarre that bits of me are fallen off but it’s interesting.” The Scottish performer went on to explain why he has been avoiding taking to the stage since his diagnosis. When Chris quizzed him on why he is reluctant to perform live, Billy admitted: “It would affect my performance. “I don’t think the way I used to, I don’t think at the same speed as I used to. And because I don’t need to. “I don’t really know if the performance bit has gone because I have to get into the performance mode to see that.” “And steadily more symptoms come and it’s incurable. It’s not going to end. “As a matter of fact I had a Russian doctor in New York who said, ‘You realise this is an incurable disease’. “And I said, ‘You’ve got to get a grip of yourself, stop calling it an incurable disease, say we have yet to find the cure’. Give the guy a light in the tunnel. Incurable is such an awful thing to say to somebody.”
As you will have seen from the lists above, Ivan Milat, the notorious Australian serial killer who kidnapped and murdered hitchhikers, has died aged 74. Milat had been serving a life sentence for killing seven backpackers between 1989 and 1992 and dumping their bodies in a New South Wales forest. He died of cancer in a Sydney hospital early on Sunday local time. Police said Milat’s lifelong refusal to admit his crimes had hampered further investigations into the killings and other unsolved cases. His murder victims were three Germans, two Britons and two Australians. All were aged between 19 and 22. Milat was arrested after targeting another backpacker, British man Paul Onions, who escaped and alerted police. The 2005 Australian film Wolf Creek is based on the backpacker murders of the two British females. It’s sequel was based on the murders of the two Germans.
On This Day
- 939 – Æthelstan, the first king of all England, dies and is succeeded by his half-brother, Edmund I.
- 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)
Brandon Astor Jones was an American criminal who was executed by lethal injection by the state of Georgia on February 3rd, 2016. Jones, aged 72, was the oldest person on Georgia’s death row at the time he was executed. He was first sentenced to death on October 17, 1979 for his involvement in the felony murder of Roger Tackett on June 17 of that year during a robbery of a Tenneco convenience store, of which Tackett was the manager. According to evidence at his trial, Jones and Van Roosevelt Solomon were arrested at the scene by a Cobb County policeman who had driven a stranded motorist to the convenience store to use a pay phone. The officer knew the store usually closed at midnight and was suspicious when he saw a car out front with the driver’s side door open and lights still on inside the store. In the storeroom, the officer found 29-year-old Tackett, the station manager, who had been shot in the legs and arms and beaten before the fatal contact shot was fired behind his left ear. Both Jones and Van Roosevelt Solomon were apprehended in the storeroom, literally caught red-handed. Tests showed each man had recently fired a gun or handled a recently fired gun. The cash drawer had been removed and was found wrapped in a plastic bag. Jones was convicted in relation to this murder along with Van Roosevelt Solomon who was executed in 1985 by electrocution at age 41. In 1989, a federal court ordered Jones to be re-sentenced because the jurors who had convicted him had improperly brought a Bible into the deliberation room. He was re-sentenced to death in 1997. e
Jones was to be executed early on February 3, 2016 by lethal IV injection, ten days before his 73rd birthday, he declined to make a final statement and did not make a special meal request so was given the standard issue menu of chicken and rice, rutabagas, seasoned turnip greens, dry white beans, cornbread, bread pudding and fruit punch. Following his meal, he waited in a holding cell a few steps from the death chamber as the appointed time came and went amid a flurry of last-minute court filings for mercy. The executioner team struggled for an hour to insert the IV into Jones’ veins, spending 24 minutes trying to get it into a vein in his left arm, another eight minutes trying his right arm and then they asked a doctor in attendance to insert it into Jones’ groin which took 13 minutes. Jones fought death. His eyes closed within a minute of the warden leaving the execution chamber, but 6 minutes later his eyes popped open. He looked at a clock on the wall, and then appeared to look at the man who prosecuted him in 1979, former Cobb County District Attorney Tom Charron, who was sitting on the front row. Jones was pronounced dead at 12:46 AM.
Last Week’s Birthdays
John Cleese (79), James Cosmo (71), Robert Picardo (65), Kelly Osbourne (34), Cary Elwes (56), Seth MacFarlane (45), Jon Heder (41), Roger Allam (65), Keith Urban (51), Nancy Cartwright (61), Katy Perry (34), Glynis Barber (63), Kevin Kline (71), F. Murray Abraham (79), Sarah Greene (61), Emilia Clarke (33), Ryan Reynolds (43), Ang Lee (65), Sam Raimi (60), ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic (60), Cat Deeley (43), Christopher Lloyd (81), Bob Odenkirk (57), Saffron Burrows (47), Jeff Goldblum (67), Derek Jacobi (81), Catherine Deneuve (76), Jesse Tyler Ferguson (44), Ken Watanabe (60), Kim Kardashian West (39), Everett McGill (74), Viggo Mortensen (61), Danny Boyle (63), and Snoop Dogg (48).