Let’s start off by awarding the points! With the passing of Olivia De Havilland – Nickie, Laura, Dave J, Paul G, Paul C, and Sylvia each get 46 points; and not to be outdone – Liz, Mark, Shân, and Doug each get a whopping 146 points for listing her as one of their Big Three. Well done all of you, it’s certainly shook up the leaderboard somewhat.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Dame Olivia de Havilland, 104, French-British-American actress (Gone with the Wind, The Adventures of Robin Hood, To Each His Own), Oscar winner (1947, 1950).
- Chris Needs, 66, Welsh radio broadcaster (BBC Radio Cymru), heart condition.
- Andy Haden, 69, New Zealand rugby union player (Auckland, national team), chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.
- Malik B., 47, American rapper (The Roots).
- Sir Alan Parker, 76, English film director (Midnight Express, Pink Floyd – The Wall, Mississippi Burning).
- Wilford Brimley, 85, American actor (The China Syndrome, The Thing, Cocoon) and singer, kidney disease.
In Other News
Elton John has claimed he’d “be dead” if he hadn’t quit drugs and alcohol 30 years ago. The singer celebrated his 30th year of sobriety with a touching Instagram post, in which he showed the many cards sent to him by family and friends to mark his anniversary. “Reflecting on the most magical day having celebrated my 30th Sobriety Birthday,” John wrote in a caption. “So many lovely cards, flowers and chips from my sons, David, friends in the Program, staff at the office and in our homes. I’m truly a blessed man,” he continued. “If I hadn’t finally taken the big step of asking for help 30 years ago, I’d be dead. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all the people who have inspired and supported me along the way.” He also uploaded a picture of himself cutting into a cake shaped like the number 30, and one showing off his 30-year sobriety coin. Coincidently, it’s also thirty years since he wrote a good song. So, if you see the little fella one evening in London town, buy him a drink, set him up a line of coke and see if he helps one of us on the Pool to score some points.
Tamar Braxton has confirmed that she attempted suicide in early July, while calling out reality television for “toxic exploitation”. The musician, reality TV star and sister of singer Toni, was taken to hospital on 16th July after being found unresponsive in a Los Angeles hotel suite by her boyfriend. In an Instagram post, accompanied by a photograph of her and son Logan, Braxton said that she had tried to take her own life. “Mental illness is real,” she wrote. “We have to normalise acknowledging it and stop associating it with shame and humiliation. The pain that I have experienced over the past 11 years has slowly eaten away at my spirit and my mental health … It was only God’s grace and His mercy on my attempt to end my pain and my life that I am here to utilise my voice.” Braxton also wrote that she had been “betrayed, taken advantage of, overworked and underpaid” throughout her time on reality television. She cited it as the source of her mental illness, and pledged to help “those who suffer from mental illness, including those of us whose mental illness was only a result from the toxic, systematic bondage that dwells in television.” She claimed that attempts to change her work circumstances had been ignored.
The ongoing car crash known as Katie Price has confirmed she’s broken both her feet and ankles in a post on Instagram. Sharing a photo of both her legs encased in bandaging, Katie said: “Yes it’s true I have broken my ankles and my feet, I have to have both feet operated on and pins put in been told I won’t be able to walk for 3 to 6 months.” The mother-of-five, 42, is currently in Turkey on holiday but is expected to cut her holiday short in order to return home for further treatment. Katie is said to have spent the night in hospital on Wednesday after jumping off a wall at a theme park in Turkey and fracturing both heels in the process. Katie is on holiday with her boyfriend Carl Woods and two of her children, Junior and Princess, as well as Princess’ friend. Katie’s eldest son Harvey, 18, has recently experienced health issues which resulted in him having to miss the holiday to Turkey. So they basically left him in intensive care whilst they all fucked off on a jolly. Daughter Princess, 13, said: “I’m actually having the best holiday ever.”
Dame Barbara Windsor has been moved into a care home due to the worsening of her Alzheimer’s. Scott Mitchell, who has been married to the former EastEnders star for 20 years, said he made the decision after being advised by her neurologist. He told us: ”I feel I’m on an emotional rollercoaster. I walk around, trying to keep busy, then burst in to tears. It feels like a bereavement.” Mitchell added: ”It’s always been my biggest fear that one day I would have to take her somewhere and she’d be thinking: ‘Why would he do this to me?’” Back in June, he said Windsor, 82, would eventually need full-time care as she regularly feels “unsettled” and had trouble walking around their house. Mitchell revealed he took Windsor to the care home in mid-July, adding: “It feels like another chapter gone.” To occupy his time, Mitchell said he has decorated her room with pictures of their family, as well as the one of her receiving her Damehood from the Queen in 2016. Windsor was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2014.
Although not famous enough for our little game, for those of you who enjoy Deadliest Catch , star Mahlon Reyes has died at the age of 38. Reyes, who was a deckhand on a crab fishing boat featured in the Discovery Channel series, suffered a heart attack on 25th July. His wife confirmed the news, telling us he initially survived and was rushed to hospital. Reyes – real name Joseph – never regained consciousness and died surrounded by his loved ones the following day. Long-running reality series Deadliest Catch began in 2005, and follows fishermen aboard fishing vessels in the Bering Sea during the Alaskan king crab and snow crab fishing seasons. Some of Mahlon’s ashes will be placed in the Bering Sea by his fellow members. He is best known by viewers as the deckhand on boats, the Seabrooke and Cape Caution. He was also a part of the fishing team led by Captain ”Wild“ Bill Wichrowski. Mahlon, who last appeared in the series in 2015, is survived by his wife and four children.
On This Day
- 1870 – Tower Subway, the world’s first underground tube railway, opens in London, England, United Kingdom. Choo choo!
- 1939 – Albert Einstein and Leo Szilard write a letter to Franklin D. Roosevelt, urging him to begin the Manhattan Project to develop a nuclear weapon. Yay!
- 1990 – Iraq invades Kuwait, eventually leading to the Gulf War. That went well.
- 1788 – Thomas Gainsborough, English painter (b. 1727)
- 1876 – “Wild Bill” Hickok, American sheriff (b. 1837)
- 1921 – Enrico Caruso, Italian tenor and actor (b. 1873)
- 1922 – Alexander Graham Bell, Scottish engineer, invented the telephone (b. 1847)
- 1976 – Fritz Lang, Austrian-American director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1890)
- 1997 – William S. Burroughs, American novelist, short story writer, and essayist (b. 1914)
Raymond Fernandez and Martha Beck were an American serial killer couple. They were convicted of one murder, are known to have committed two more, and were suspected of having killed up to 20 victims during a spree between 1947 and 1949.
After their arrest and trial for serial murder in 1949, they became known as “The Lonely Hearts Killers” for meeting their unsuspecting victims through lonely hearts ads. They both met through a lonely hearts ad themselves, both coming from similar backgrounds of a tragic childhood and a difficult life.
Fernandez served in Spain’s Merchant Marine corps during WWII where a steel hatch fell on him, fracturing his skull and injuring his frontal lobe. The damage caused by this injury may well have affected his social and sexual behaviour. Beck, allegedly due to a glandular problem was overweight and underwent puberty prematurely. At her trial, she claimed to have been raped by her brother. She went on to claim that, when she had told her mother what happened, her mother had beaten her, claiming that she was responsible.
Once together she posed as Fernandez’s sister, giving him an air of respectability. Their victims, feeling more secure knowing there was another woman in the house, often agreed to stay with the pair. Beck also convinced some victims that she lived alone and that her “brother” was only a guest. Beck was extremely jealous and went to great lengths to make sure Fernandez and his “intended” never consummated their relationship. When he did have sex with a woman, Beck subjected both to her violent temper. In 1949, the pair committed the three murders for which they later were convicted. Janet Fay, 66, became engaged to Fernandez and went to stay at his Long Island apartment. When Beck caught her in bed with Fernandez, she brutally attacked Fay’s head with a hammer in a murderous rage. Fernandez then strangled Fay. Fay’s family became suspicious when she disappeared, so Fernandez and Beck fled.
Beck and Fernandez traveled to Byron Center Road in Wyoming Township, Michigan, a suburb of Grand Rapids, where they met and stayed with Delphine Downing, a 28-year-old widow with a two-year-old daughter. On February 28th, Downing became agitated, and Fernandez gave her sleeping pills to calm her. The daughter witnessed Downing’s resulting stupor and began to cry, which enraged Beck. Panicked, Beck choked the child but didn’t kill her. Fernandez thought Downing would become suspicious if she saw her bruised daughter, so he shot the unconscious woman. The couple then stayed for several days in Downing’s house. Again enraged by the daughter’s crying, Beck drowned her in a basin of water. They buried the bodies in the basement, but suspicious neighbours reported the Downings’ disappearances, leading the police to arrive at the door on March 1st, 1949 and arrested Beck and Fernandez.
Fernandez quickly confessed. The pair vehemently denied committing 17 murders that were attributed to them, and Fernandez tried to retract his confession, saying he made it only to protect Beck. Their trial was sensationalised, with lurid tales of sexual perversity. Newspaper reporters described Beck’s appearance with derision, and she wrote protesting letters to the editors. Fernandez and Beck were convicted of Janet Fay’s murder—the only one for which they were tried—and sentenced to death. They were both executed by electrocution on March 8th, 1951. Prior to their deaths, Beck enjoyed fried chicken, fried potatoes and salad and Fernandez ate an onion omelet, french fries, chocolate candy, and a Cuban cigar.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Sam Worthington (44), Edward Furlong (43), Kevin Smith (50), Joanna Cassidy (75), Jason Momoa (41), Michael Biehn (64), Wesley Snipes (58), Emilia Fox (46), Dean Cain (54), Rico Rodriguez (22), J.K. Rowling (55), Christopher Nolan (50), Arnold Schwarzenegger (73), Hilary Swank (46), Terry Crews (52), Lisa Kudrow (57), Laurence Fishburne (59), Jean Reno (72), Carel Struycken (72), Frances de la Tour (76), Sian Gibson (44), Wil Wheaton (48), Leslie Easterbrook (71), Rachel Miner (40), David Warner (79), Elizabeth Berkley (48), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (50), Donnie Yen (57), and Taylor Schilling (36).
Let’s begin by congratulating Sarai for scoring on what had to be the dullest week of the year until yesterday! She correctly guessed that Regis Philbin would depart this year, so 62 points awarded! Apologies for the lack of interesting content this week, by Thursday I started listing people with silly names, like Dick Bond… Yeah… I know…
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Josephine Cox, 82, English author.
- Peter Green, 73, English Hall of Fame blues rock singer-songwriter and guitarist (Fleetwood Mac).
- Dick Bond, 84, American politician, member of the Kansas Senate (1987–2001).
- Dobby Dobson, 78, Jamaican reggae singer and record producer, COVID-19.
- Annie Ross, 89, British-American jazz singer (Lambert, Hendricks & Ross), and actress (Superman III), complications from emphysema and heart disease.
- Regis Philbin, 88, American entertainer and television personality (The Joey Bishop Show, Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire).
- Bo Black, 74, American festival director (Summerfest) and Playboy cover girl.
- John Saxon, 83, American actor (A Nightmare on Elm Street, Enter the Dragon, The Girl Who Knew Too Much), pneumonia.
In Other News
RuPaul’s Drag Race star Chi Chi DeVayne has provided an update on his health after being hospitalised with suspected kidney failure. DeVayne – an American drag queen and reality star – said he is “better” but “drugged out” after undergoing a biopsy. Speaking to his fans on Instagram Live, DeVayne said: “I told them I need some of that shit they put me on so I can take it home.” DeVayne spent three hours on dialysis “to see if they can get his kidneys back functioning”. “It went by smooth – they injected me with some stuff before I went in and I didn’t feel a thing,” he said. DeVayne – whose real name is Zavion Davenport – rose to fame in the eighth season of RuPaul Drag Race, and also appeared on the third All Stars outing. He told his fans he is “ready to get back to doing what I love”, adding: ”I’m gonna fight to survive of course but I’ve been fighting too mentally, because this is a new experience for me. But I got it under control. I’m gonna be okay.” Upon being admitted to hospital, DeVayne had said: “I let it go too long without going to the doctor and these are the consequences. Take care of your body.”
Australian actor Mel Gibson was admitted to hospital in April after contracting coronavirus, it has emerged. A representative for the 64-year-old Braveheart star confirmed that Gibson had been in private hospital care for at least one week. He has since tested negative for the virus several times. “He tested positive in April and spent a week in the hospital,” said Gibson’s rep, who also revealed that Gibson had been treated with the drug Remdesivir while in hospital. “He has tested negative numerous times since then as well as positive for the antibodies,” they continued. Gibson is the latest celebrity to have been reported as contracting the virus, which can be deadly. Gibson was at the centre of a controversy last month, when actor Winona Ryder alleged that Gibson referred to her as an “oven dodger”, in an anti-semitic reference to her Jewish heritage. A representative for Gibson denied the allegations, stating that they were “100 per cent untrue” and accused Ryder of continuously lying about the encounter.
All Blacks great Andy Haden is battling a cancer relapse and is “gravely ill”. The former lock, who played 117 matches and 41 tests for the All Blacks between 1972 and 1985, is considered one of the greats of the game. He also captained the All Blacks on eight occasions. A spokesperson for the family told us: “Andy is gravely ill and the family would appreciate that their privacy is respected at this difficult time”. In 2003 Haden, now 69, confirmed he had chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and was undergoing treatment. Haden played a part in one the All Blacks’ most controversial wins in the 1978 test against Wales in Cardiff when he dived out of the line-out and gained a penalty for Brian McKechnie to kick the winning goal. After his rugby career he ran a celebrity management service, with clients including Kiwi supermodel Rachel Hunter.
On This Day
- 1745 – The first recorded women’s cricket match takes place near Guildford, England.
- 1803 – The Surrey Iron Railway, arguably the world’s first public railway, opens in south London, United Kingdom.
- 1989 – A federal grand jury indicts Cornell University student Robert T. Morris, Jr. for releasing the Morris worm, thus becoming the first person to be prosecuted under the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
- 1919 – Edward Poynter, English painter and illustrator (b. 1836)
- 1952 – Eva Perón, Argentinian politician, 25th First Lady of Argentina (b. 1919)
- 1984 – Ed Gein, American serial killer (b. 1906)
A Sad Comic Strip About Death
Last Week’s Birthdays
Kate Beckinsale (47), Jason Statham (53), Sandra Bullock (56), Helen Mirren (75), Kevin Spacey (61), Nana Visitor (63), Eve Myles (42), Mick Jagger (77), Matt LeBlanc (53), Iman (64), Elisabeth Moss (38), Anna Paquin (38), Summer Glau (39), Jennifer Lopez (51), Lynda Carter (69), Danny Dyer (43), Daniel Radcliffe (31), Woody Harrelson (59), Charisma Carpenter (50), Ronny Cox (82), Slash (55), Willem Dafoe (65), Danny Glover (74), Rhys Ifans (53), Terence Stamp (82), Louise Fletcher (86), Alex Trebek (80), Paloma Faith (39), Ross Kemp (56), John Woodvine (91), Diana Rigg (82), John Francis Daley (35), and Gisele Bündchen (40).
Another exceptionally busy week for the evil flying monkeys, it’s not every week the list of deaths rolls onto two pages; also some very surprising deaths and tragic losses. An interesting expiration was that of Emmerdale’s Paula Tilbrook, who died in December last year but has only just announced last week. That one is a point award quandary for sure, luckily nobody listed her so I dodged a bullet there. But your thoughts on the subject would be greatly appreciated and probably ignored. So, onto points! With the tragic passing of John Lewis, our Lee scores 70 points, however Louise scores a fantastic 170 points as she listed him as her Cert. Well done both of you!
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Kelly Preston, 57, American actress (Jerry Maguire, Twins, Sky High), breast cancer.
- Benjamin Keough, 27, grandson of Elvis Presley and son of Lisa Marie Presley, self-inflicted gunshot wound.
- Joanna Cole, 75, American children’s writer (The Magic School Bus), idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
- Grant Imahara, 49, American electrical engineer (Star Wars, The Matrix) and television host (MythBusters), brain aneurysm.
- Judy Dyble, 71, English singer-songwriter (Fairport Convention, Trader Horne), lung cancer.
- Lil Marlo, 30, American rapper, shot.
- Naya Rivera, 33, American actress (Glee, The Royal Family, At the Devil’s Door), model and singer, drowned.
- Maurice Roëves, 83, Scottish actor (Oh! What a Lovely War, Escape to Victory, Judge Dredd).
- Daniel Lewis Lee, 47, American white supremacist and convicted triple murderer, execution by lethal injection.
- Paula Tilbrook, 89, English actress (Emmerdale Farm). Death announced 15th July although she died on 1st December 2019.
- Galyn Görg, 55, American actress (RoboCop 2, M.A.N.T.I.S., Point Break) and dancer, cancer.
- Nicole Thea, 24, British social media personality.
- Tony Elliott, 73, English publisher, founder of Time Out Group, ex-husband of Janet Street-Porter.
- John Lewis, 80, American civil rights leader and politician, member of the U.S. House of Representatives (since 1987), pancreatic cancer.
- Haruma Miura, 30, Japanese actor (Spellbound, Crows Zero 2, Attack on Titan) and singer, suicide by hanging.
- Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya, 20, Russian-Australian Olympic pair skater (2018), junior world champion (2017), suicide by jumping.
In Other News
Katie Price has confirmed her son Harvey is in intensive care, expressing her gratitude for hospital workers who are looking after the 18-year-old. On Sunday evening, Price shared a tweet informing her 1.9m Twitter followers of her son’s condition. Harvey, who was born in May 2002, has partial blindness, autism and Prader-Willi syndrome, a rare genetic condition that can cause physical issues and behavioural difficulties. In her tweet, Price wrote: “I can confirm that Harvey is in intensive care and in the best hands. “I would like to thank the ambulance services and the hospital staff for the quick response and making him stable.” Price did not confirm why her son had been admitted to hospital. Harvey’s father is retired footballer Dwight Yorke, who Price dated in the early 2000s. The former Loose Women panellist has five children in total, of which Harvey is the eldest. The 42-year-old shares two children with ex-husband Peter Andre and two children with ex-spouse Kieran Hyler. Earlier this month, Price announced an upcoming BBC film about her son Harvey which would see her “open up about what it’s really like to be a mum of a disabled child approaching adulthood”. In June, the media personality gave evidence in a parliamentary inquiry about online abuse, speaking about the impact social media abuse has had on Harvey.
It truly is the end times! A teenager has died after contracting bubonic plague in Mongolia, according to the country’s health ministry. Officials said a 15-year-old boy living in the Govia-Altai province in western Mongolia became unwell on Sunday. He died on the way to hospital in the Tugrug district of the province. Officials suspected he was killed by the Black Death. This was confirmed by lab tests conducted on Monday. “The result of a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test revealed on Monday night that bubonic plague caused the death of a 15-year-old boy,” Dorj Narangerel, Mongolia health ministry spokesperson, said at a news conference on Tuesday. Health authorities said the boy had eaten marmot meat with two friends three days before his death. The two friends and 15 others the boy came into contact with have been placed in isolation, officials added. It comes a week after the World Health Organisation said it was monitoring another case of bubonic plague in the Inner Mongolia region, which is part of China. Officials in the city of Bayan Nur issued an early epidemic warning on 5th July, one day after a hospital in the region reported that a man had displayed symptoms of the disease. Health officials later confirmed that the unidentified herdsman had tested positive for the illness and was placed in quarantine, where he recovered. It was not immediately known at the time how the man contracted the disease. The WHO said it was not treating the outbreak as high risk. “We are monitoring the outbreaks in China, we are watching that closely and in partnership with the Chinese authorities and Mongolian authorities,” WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris told a UN press briefing in Geneva. The bubonic plague is a highly infectious disease that killed up to 200 million people during the Middle Ages and is spread mostly by rodents infected by fleas. Without prompt and effective treatment, up to 60 per cent of cases of bubonic plague are fatal, while untreated septicaemia and pneumonic plague are invariably fatal, according to the WHO.
The United States government on Tuesday carried out the first federal execution in 17 years, putting to death a man who killed an Arkansas family in a 1990’s plot to build a whites-only nation in the Pacific Northwest. The execution came despite the objection of the victims’ family. Daniel Lewis Lee, 47, of Yukon, Oklahoma, died by lethal injection at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana. “I didn’t do it,” Lee said before he was executed. “I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life, but I’m not a murderer … You’re killing an innocent man.” The decision to move forward with the execution – the first by the Bureau of Prisons since 2003 – drew scrutiny from civil rights groups and the relatives of Lee’s victims, who had sued to try to halt it, citing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. Critics argued that the government was creating an unnecessary and manufactured urgency for political gain. “The government has been trying to plough forward with these executions despite many unanswered questions about the legality of its new execution protocol,” said Shawn Nolan, one of the attorneys for the men facing federal execution. Lee’s execution took place after a series of legal volleys that ended when the Supreme Court stepped in early on Tuesday in a 5-4 ruling and allowed it to move forward. Four scheduled federal executions had been suspended by Judge Tanya Chutkan of the US district court in Washington, DC, on Monday to allow for legal challenges to the lethal injection that was to be used. In staying the executions, Chutkan ruled that the use of a single drug, pentobarbital, to carry out the executions could cause “extreme pain and needless suffering” and may violate a constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Lee became the first federal inmate to be executed in the US since 2003 and the first since President Donald Trump announced plans to resume federal executions.
On This Day
- 1545 – The Tudor warship Mary Rose sinks off Portsmouth.
- 1843 – Brunel’s steamship the SS Great Britain is launched, becoming the first ocean-going craft with an iron hull and screw propeller, becoming the largest vessel afloat in the world.
- 1969 – Chappaquiddick incident: U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy crashes his car into a tidal pond at Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts, killing his passenger Mary Jo Kopechne.
- 1543 – Mary Boleyn, English daughter of Elizabeth Boleyn (b. 1499)
- 2013 – Mel Smith, English actor, director, and screenwriter (b. 1952)
- 2019 – Rutger Hauer, Dutch actor, director, and producer (b. 1944)
Following on from the pervious article, Death Row inmate Daniel Lewis Lee wanted three last meals — but what he ate may remain a mystery. Before his execution, the triple murderer rambled about his first, second and final meal and said his order request “should speak for itself.” But the Bureau of Prisons declined to comment on what the 47-year-old white supremacist chowed down before he died by lethal injection on Tuesday at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana. “We will not be providing details of Mr. Lee’s last meal,” a BOP spokesperson said. Lee was convicted of killing guns dealer William Mueller, his wife, Nancy, and her 8-year-old daughter, Sarah Powell, in 1996 in Tilly, Arkansas. He implored the media at his execution to ask the judge about DNA evidence that was left out of the trial. “I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life, but I’m not a murderer. You’re killing an innocent man,” said Lee, who was a member of the Aryan People’s Republic.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Benedict Cumberbatch (43), Jared Padalecki (37), Ramin Djawadi (45), Kristen Bell (39), Vin Diesel (52), Elizabeth McGovern (58), Priyanka Chopra (37), Donald Sutherland (84), Alex Winter (54), Eric Winter (43), David Hasselhoff (67), Will Ferrell (52), Phoebe Cates (56), Corey Feldman (48), Travis Fimmel (41), Diane Kruger (44), Brigitte Nielsen (57), Forest Whitaker (59), Terry O’Quinn (68), Celia Imrie (68), Jesse Ventura (69), Adam Savage (53), Phoebe Waller-Bridge (35), Jackie Earle Haley (59), David Mitchell (46), Simon Merrells (55), Kyle Gass (60), Harrison Ford (78), Patrick Stewart (80), Ken Jeong (51), and Cheech Marin (74).
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Ronnie and Donnie Galyon, 68, American sideshow attractions and documentary subjects, world’s oldest conjoined twins.
- Nick Cordero, 41, Canadian actor and singer (Bullets Over Broadway, A Bronx Tale, Waitress), COVID-19.
- Charlie Daniels, 83, American country singer-songwriter and musician (“The Devil Went Down to Georgia“), hemorrhagic stroke.
- Ennio Morricone, 91, Italian film composer (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Once Upon a Time in the West, The Hateful Eight), complications from a fall.
- Mary Kay Letourneau, 58, American teacher and convicted rapist, cancer.
- Alex Pullin, 32, Australian Olympic snowboarder, snowboard cross world champion, drowned.
- Jack Charlton, 85, English football player (Leeds United, national team) and manager (Republic of Ireland national team), world champion (1966), lymphoma and dementia.
- Lara van Ruijven, 27, Dutch short track speed skater, Olympic bronze medallist (2018) and world champion (2019), autoimmune disease.
The Newly Infected
- Kimberly Guilfoyle, 51, the girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr. who also worked on President Donald Trump‘s campaign has tested positive for coronavirus.
- Rihanna‘s dad Ronald Fenty, 66, revealed that he contracted the coronavirus and thought he was doing to die.
- Jair Bolsonaro, the President of Brazil, has said in a television interview that he has tested positive for coronavirus.
- Amitabh Bachchan, 77. the Bollywood megastar has been admitted to hospital with coronavirus.
In Other News
The world’s oldest set of conjoined twins, Ronnie and Donnie Gaylon, 68, died on July 4, in their hometown of Dayton, Ohio. Ronnie and Donnie Galyon have been turning heads since they were born on October 28th 1951 to parents Eileen and Wesley Gaylon, who were not expecting twins, much less conjoined twins. They were born healthy, weighing 11 pounds, 11.5 ounces, but they spent the first two years of their life in the hospital as doctors struggled to figure out a way to safely separate them. When they were told there was no guarantee that both boys would survive the surgery, Wesley and Eileen refused to operate on their sons. For 68 years, the brothers lived face-to-face, fused from the sternum to the groin with one set of lower digestive organs. They were each born with separate hearts and stomachs and had their own set of arms and legs. When the boys turned three, their father made the decision to take them on the carnival circuit as a way to support his growing family of nine children. They were managed by Ward Hall, the legendary carnival impresario, and traveled around Canada and the United States in Hall’s infamous ‘World of Wonders’ sideshow under the marquis: ‘Alive in person – Galyon Siamese twins!’ According to Ward Hall’s biography, the twins mother rejected them when they were born – leaving them primarily to be raised by their father, Wesley and later their stepmother Mary. Burdened by colossal medical bills that racked up from the twins first two years spent in the hospital and pressure to raise his family, Wesley decided to enter Donnie and Ronnie in the carnival where they had a lucrative career until they retired in 1991. Donnie and Ronnie were denied from attending the local school because officials said they would be too distracting to other students. ‘It was a different era,’ said their brother Jim. Their IQs were determined to be in the average range, but according to J. David Smith’s book, Psychological Profiles of Conjoined Twins, they seemed slower due to a lack of formal education. The twins exhibited themselves in an air-conditioned trailer for most of their carnival show careers. They lounged about watching television while spectators paid to peer in the window to observe them conduct daily life. Old advertisements read: ‘Still a sensation! The Gaylon Siamese twins, the U.S.’s most visited attraction on any Midway.’
Though Donnie and Ronnie mastered the art of compromise over the years, it wasn’t always easy. Some arguments even escalated to fisticuffs, especially when they were teenagers. At the age of 14, one twin broke his foot after kicking a trailer in a fit of anger. The physical blows stopped when the brothers began taking blood thinners and realised that a fight could easily turn fatal. The brothers always insisted they were best friends. They both shared a love for fishing, camping, collecting baseball cards, the Dallas Cowboys and the Cincinnati Reds. Never married, Donnie did most of the cooking, dishes and laundry while Ronnie cleaned the bathroom and did most of the talking. The brothers cast two votes, had two Social Security numbers but traveled under only one passport. The survival rate for conjoined twins can be anywhere between 5-25%. For the Gaylon twins, the biggest health scare they suffered happened in 2009 and 2010. Ronnie developed blood clots in his lungs as the result of a viral infection. Donnie too was infected and both were left weak. They also began to suffer from debilitating arthritis that made it difficult and unsafe for them to live alone in their Dayton home. In 2014, Donnie and Ronnie celebrated their longevity when they became the oldest living set of conjoined twins in the Guinness Book of World Records. The prior record holders were Chang and Eng Bunker, Chinese brothers that were born in Thailand in 1811 and lived to the age of 62. Despite their unconventional life, Donnie and Ronnie were clear that they lived their life with no regrets. ‘We had fun when we were growing up,’ said Ronnie. Donnie echoed the sentiment, ‘We’ve had a nice life.’
The ex of former EastEnders star Gillian Taylforth was shot confronting gangsters threatening to burn her house down while he was on bail over a huge £850,000 cannabis factory. Dave Fairbairn, 64, who is stable in hospital after being gunned down in the stomach, had been arrested three months ago over a drugs farm found in Arrington, Cambridgeshire, by police. He was detained by officers at the time on suspicion of cultivation of cannabis and handling stolen goods. Two other man aged 32 and 37 attempted to run off when police arrived but were stopped and arrested on suspicion of cultivation as well as immigration offences. Authorities confirmed to Dead Pool Towers that all three have now been bailed until later this month. Fairbairn was shot on Sunday at close range near a Toby Carvery car park in Enfield, North London, but the bullet missed his major organs. Ms Taylforth, 64, is said to be in shock following news of the shooting. She and Fairbarn have remained close despite calling off their wedding in December. Ms Taylforth split from fiancé Fairbairn after six years together in late 2019 after their relationship came under strain following a ‘string of disagreements’, reports at the time claimed. The pair were together since 2013 and Ms Taylforth, who is best known for playing Kathy Beale in EastEnders, originally parted ways with Dave two years earlier due to ‘fiery rows’ between the pair, but later rekindled their romance.
The search for Glee actress Naya Rivera continues, after she went missing on a California lake that is known for rip currents and having cold, deep waters that at least eight people have drowned in but that she’d been visiting for years. The Glee star and her son Josey rented a pontoon boat on Lake Piru, which is 60 miles from Rivera’s Los Angeles home and around 20 miles from where she grew up in Valencia, on Wednesday afternoon. They were alone and their car was parked nearby. Three hours after they took the boat out, another boater saw their pontoon drifting. When they approached it, they found Josey on board, asleep, but there was no sign of Rivera. Josey was wearing his life-vest but an adult life-vest was found on the boat, suggesting Rivera was not wearing hers. The boy later told investigators that he climbed back on the boat and his mother did not, but the circumstances are unclear and cops say it is ‘challenging’ to interrogate a toddler. According to the boy, his mother ‘jumped in the water and didn’t come back up’. Ventura County Deputy Sheriff Chris Dyer said on Thursday that Lake Piru was a ‘sanctuary’ for Naya, she was familiar with the lake and has been going there for years. He added: ‘We’re not presuming her dead and right now it’s still a search and rescue operation, we’re searching not only the water but the shoreline. We hope for the best and prepare for the worst.’
Alex Zanardi has had a third operation to treat severe head injuries sustained in a hand cycle accident last month. The 53-year-old Italian, a former Formula 1 driver turned four-time Paralympic gold medallist, had a five-hour operation to reconstruct and stabilise his injuries. Zanardi collided with a lorry during a race in Pienza, Italy, on 19th June. His neurological condition remained “severe” and he is sedated and ventilated in intensive care. Zanardi’s cardio-respiratory and metabolic condition is “stable”, a hospital statement said. The statement described the cranial and facial fractures Zanardi had suffered as “complex”. The operation “required careful programming that made use of computerised, digital and three-dimensional technologies, made to measure for the patient,” according to Professor Paolo Gennaro, director of maxillofacial surgery at Siena University Hospital. The statement added that the next update on Zanardi would be “issued as soon as there are significant changes in the athlete’s clinical picture”. Zanardi has become a global sporting icon for the strength of will and determination he has shown in overcoming adversity in his career, after he lost both legs in an accident while racing in a Champ Car event in Germany in 2001.
A 30-year-old man died of coronavirus in Texas this week after attending a “Covid party”. Dr Jane Appleby, chief medical officer for Methodist Hospital in San Antonio, said that the unidentified man’s last words were: “I think I made a mistake. I thought this was a hoax, but it’s not.” In a recorded statement, Dr Appleby said that the patient told nurses about the party which she said was hosted by someone diagnosed with coronavirus. “The thought is people get together to see if the virus is real and if anyone gets infected,” she said. Dr Appleby decided to share the story with other stupid Americans to get the message across that the virus can affect anyone. Dr Appleby said that while some patients can be treated and discharged, others become seriously ill and she wants everyone, especially young people, to realise that they are not invincible.
On This Day
- 1543 – King Henry VIII of England marries his sixth and last wife, Catherine Parr, at Hampton Court Palace.
- 1961 – Indian city Pune floods due to failure of the Khadakwasla and Panshet dams, killing at least two thousand people.
- 1963 – Pauline Reade, 16, disappears in Gorton, England, the first victim in the Moors murders.
- 1910 – Charles Rolls, English engineer, co-founded Rolls-Royce Limited (b. 1887)
- 1973 – Lon Chaney, Jr., American actor (b. 1906)
- 2013 – Alan Whicker, Egyptian-English journalist (b. 1925)
Last Week’s Birthdays
Anna Friel (43), Michelle Rodriguez (41), Cheryl Ladd (68), Tamsin Greig (53), Bill Cosby (82), Stephen Lang (67), Caroline Quentin (59), Craig Charles (55), Sofía Vergara (47), Chiwetel Ejiofor (42), Peter Serafinowicz (47), Tom Hanks (63), Pamela Adlon (53), Kelly McGillis (62), Fred Savage (43), Scott Grimes (48), Courtney Love (55), Richard Roundtree (77), O.J. Simpson (72), Richard Wilson (83), Kevin Bacon (61), Billy Crudup (51), Anjelica Huston (68), Jaden Smith (21), Jeffrey Tambor (75), Pauline Quirke (60), Shelley Duvall (71), Jack Whitehall (32), Ringo Starr (80), Eva Green (40), Sylvester Stallone (74), Kevin Hart (41), Geoffrey Rush (69), Jennifer Saunders (62), Ned Beatty (83), 50 Cent (45), and Burt Ward (75).
A good mix of celebrities kicking the bucket over the last week, strangely I believed some of you had Carl Reiner, but it turns out none of you did. Must have been a leftover from a list or two from years past.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Johnny Mandel, 94, American composer (“Suicide Is Painless“, “Emily“).
- Carl Reiner, 98, American actor, comedian, film director and writer (The Dick Van Dyke Show, Ocean’s Eleven, The Jerk).
- Louis Mahoney, 81, Gambian-born British actor (Omen III: The Final Conflict, Doctor Who, Captain Phillips).
- Dan Hicks, 68, American actor (Evil Dead II, Darkman, Intruder), cancer.
- Reckful, 31, Israeli-American Twitch streamer, suicide.
- Earl Cameron, 102, Bermudian-born British actor (Doctor Who, Pool of London, The Interpreter).
- Scott Erskine, 57, American serial killer, COVID-19.
- Rubble, 31, British cat, world’s oldest cat.
In Other News
Robbie Williams and his wife Ayda Field were threatened with being beheaded while doing charity work in Haiti. The entitled “Rock DJ” singer visited Haiti with children’s charity Unicef in the wake of the 2010 earthquake, which left an estimated 250,000 dead and 1.5 million without homes. Speaking about the trip on Field’s Postcards from the Edge podcast, Williams recalled the incident, saying: “I got threatened to be beheaded in Haiti. We were going out there to help! “I was like, ‘Should we go to the next street then?’, and looking back, it was scary.” Not to be outdone, Field, who has four children with Williams, added: “I was with you. I too was being threatened to be beheaded as well.” In an interview at the time, Williams discussed seeing the magnitude of the earthquake, saying: “As we walked around Jacmel on the first day, it’s hard to explain in words the massive and devastating impact that the earthquake clearly had – it’s a whole different league from what I had imagined I would see. “It was almost unbelievable, like a movie set. Cars completely crushed – some still poking out from underneath the buildings that have fallen on top of them.”
Thanks to Nickie for bringing this one into my radar, as you might have noticed above, a Twitch streamer called Byron ‘Reckful’ Berstein committed suicide this week at the age of 31. Apparently he was a legend in the World of Warcraft Twitch community. As an avid WoW player since its inception in 2004 myself, I’d never heard of the chap. Which now begs the question of how loosely do we consider someone to be a ‘celebrity’? I think we have a good rule that they have to have a Wiki page to be considered for point scoring, but does someone who records himself playing a computer game that barely 100,000 people worldwide follow, make a celebrity that is worthy of a Wiki page? Most murderers on Death Row don’t make it and their actions will have made them national, if not international news stories! I believe we have reached peak media saturation, or maybe I’m wistfully dreaming of times when we only had three TV channels and the cinema to choose from.
Bradley Walsh was warned that he was at risk of dying from heart disease, which has made him a ‘ticking time bomb’. The Chase host, who has just turned 60, is at high risk of getting the deadly condition as his own father Daniel died of it when he was just 59-years-old. After getting the dire warning from his cardiologist he was shocked into quitting booze and carbs, which has helped him lose 10 lbs. He told us: “I was a time bomb. I produce too much cholesterol. It;s a silent killer. My heart guy said, ‘Look, Brad, you need to get fit.’” Bradley revealed that he gets his heart tested every couple of years. He has a carotid artery test which he says tell you how much furring you’ve got in the artery. This is an “accurate predictor” of whether you’ll then have furring in your heart. Tests found that he had too much cholesterol in his blood and he was motivated to get healthy. Bradley added: “I had a hang-up because my father, Daniel, died at the age of 59. “I had it in the back of my mind that I just had to get past my dad’s age. So turning 60 was a bit of milestone.”
On This Day
- 1687 – Isaac Newton publishes Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica.
- 1841 – Thomas Cook organises the first package excursion, from Leicester to Loughborough.
- 1937 – Spam, the luncheon meat, is introduced into the market by the Hormel Foods Corporation.
- 1946 – The bikini goes on sale after debuting during an outdoor fashion show at the Molitor Pool in Paris, France.
- 1954 – Elvis Presley records his first single, “That’s All Right,” at Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee.
- 1975 – Arthur Ashe becomes the first black man to win the Wimbledon singles title.
- 1996 – Dolly the sheep becomes the first mammal cloned from an adult cell.
- 1833 – Nicéphore Niépce, French inventor, created the first known photograph (b. 1765)
- 1948 – Carole Landis, American actress (b. 1919)
- 2007 – George Melly, English singer-songwriter and critic (b. 1926)
Thank You NHS!
Robert Liston was a pioneering Scottish surgeon. Liston was noted for his skill in an era prior to anaesthetics, when speed made a difference in terms of pain and survival. Liston’s legacy comprises both that which has made its way into the popular culture, and that found primarily within the medical fraternity and related disciplines. His biographer Richard Gordon describes Liston as “the fastest knife in the West End. He could amputate a leg in 2 1⁄2 minutes”. Indeed, he is reputed to have been able to complete operations in a matter of seconds, at a time when speed was essential to reduce pain and improve the odds of survival of a patient; he is said to have been able to perform the removal of a limb in an amputation in 28 seconds. Gordon described the scene thus:
He was six foot two, and operated in a bottle-green coat with wellington boots. He sprung across the blood-stained boards upon his swooning, sweating, strapped-down patient like a duelist, calling, ‘Time me gentlemen, time me!’ to students craning with pocket watches from the iron-railinged galleries. Everyone swore that the first flash of his knife was followed so swiftly by the rasp of saw on bone that sight and sound seemed simultaneous. To free both hands, he would clasp the bloody knife between his teeth.
Although Richard Gordon’s 1983 book pays tribute to other aspects of Liston’s legacy, it is his description of some of Liston’s most famous cases which has primarily made its way into what is known of Liston in popular culture. Gordon describes Liston’s four most famous cases in his book, as quoted verbatim below.
- Removal in 4 minutes of a 45-pound scrotal tumour, whose owner had to carry it round in a wheelbarrow.
- Argument with his house-surgeon. Was the red, pulsating tumour in a small boy’s neck a straightforward abscess of the skin, or a dangerous aneurism of the carotid artery? ‘Pooh!’ Liston exclaimed impatiently. ‘Whoever heard of an aneurism in one so young?’ Flashing a knife from his waistcoat pocket, he lanced it. Houseman’s note – ‘Out leaped arterial blood, and the boy fell.’ The patient died but the artery lives, in University College Hospital pathology museum, specimen No. 1256.
- Amputated the leg in 2 1⁄2 minutes, but in his enthusiasm the patient’s testicles as well.
- Amputated the leg in under 2 1⁄2 minutes (the patient died afterwards in the ward from hospital gangrene; they usually did in those pre-Listerian days). He amputated in addition the fingers of his young assistant (who died afterwards in the ward from hospital gangrene). He also slashed through the coat tails of a distinguished surgical spectator, who was so terrified that the knife had pierced his vitals he died from fright. To this day the only surgical operation with a 300% fatality rate!
Last Weeks Birthdays
Edie Falco (56), Huey Lewis (69), Blu Mankuma (71), Eva Marie Saint (95), Post Malone (24), Gina Lollobrigida (92), Neil Morrissey (57), Ronni Ancona (51), Tom Cruise (57), Connie Nielsen (54), Patrick Wilson (46), Kurtwood Smith (76), Yeardley Smith (55), Margot Robbie (30), Lindsay Lohan (34), Saul Rubinek (72), Larry David (73), Jerry Hall (64), Peter Kay (47), Liv Tyler (43), Pamela Anderson (53), Olivia de Havilland (104), Dan Aykroyd (68), Jean Marsh (86), Geneviève Bujold (78), David Prowse (85), Jamie Farr (86), Debbie Harry (75), Marton Csokas (54), Vincent D’Onofrio (61), Mike Tyson (54), Katherine Ryan (37), Cheryl Cole/Tweedy/Fernandez-Versini?(37), Gary Busey (76), Amanda Donohoe (58), Aleks Paunovic (51), and Katherine Jenkins (40).
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Steve Bing, 55, American entertainment executive (Shangri-La Entertainment), screenwriter and film producer (Kangaroo Jack, Rules Don’t Apply), suicide by jumping.
- Joel Schumacher, 80, American film director (The Lost Boys, Falling Down, Batman Forever), cancer.
- Liam Treadwell, 34, English National Hunt jockey.
- Margarita Pracatan, 89, Cuban novelty singer.
- Erminia Bianchini, 112, Italian supercentenarian, nation’s oldest woman (since 2020).
- Dumitru Comănescu, 111, Romanian supercentenarian, oldest living man (since 2020).
- Kelly Asbury, 60, American animator and film director (Shrek 2, Gnomeo & Juliet), abdominal cancer
In Other News
Yet another young ‘inspirational’ online influencer, who became a millionaire at 15, has died. Russian Anastasia Tropitsel, 18, suffered head injuries when she crashed on her Kawasaki on the Indonesian island of Bali. Her bad influence boyfriend Viktor Maydanovich, 30, who was on a bike next to her said she began to ‘wobble’ at around 60 mph and lost control, colliding with a roadside fence. Footage shows her last moments just before she set off on the bike as she filmed herself in the vehicle’s mirror and the surrounding beach views. Anastasia had been a blogger since the age of 12 and bragged about how she ‘became a millionaire at 15’ from her successful internet presence, although her fame and money didn’t bestow upon her enough common sense to not ride a powerful motorbike whilst using a phone. She told her million-plus young followers: ‘I inspire you to do what you can’t.’ Like buy a £10k Superbike and crash it straight away! Tropitsel – whose real name is Anastasia Zubrina – died soon after buying a new Kawasaki Ninja 250 motorbike and immediately following a public row with her doctor father who warned her that her online success story was turning to failure. She had stayed in Bali for lockdown after a trip to the island to boost her Instagram. Everyones a winner!
Janet Street-Porter has revealed that she’s been diagnosed with a form of skin cancer. The outspoken Loose Women panellist said on the show that she originally thought she’d been bitten on the nose by a mosquito over Christmas when she went to Australia. “I showed this tiny spot on my nose to a dermatologist and he immediately referred me to a consultant and they said I’ve got a basal cell carcinoma, which is a form of skin cancer,” she said. “If untreated it could grow. It has to be removed otherwise it’s going to get bigger and bigger. Also, I could be left with a very big scar. “I was about to have it removed then lockdown happened three days before I was supposed to have it removed.” The 73-year-old added: “I’ve spent the whole of lockdown getting more and more anxious about it. “Although it doesn’t look any bigger on top of my skin, this kind of cancer grows under the skin. You can’t see it and that’s what they’ve got to cut out.”
Roberto Duran, the Panamanian six-time boxing world champion has been hospitalised after testing positive for coronavirus, his children have said on the same day that Panama hit a new record of daily cases. “Test results have just arrived for my dad, and they confirm he is positive for COVID-19,” the legendary fighter’s son Robin Duran said on Instagram. “Thank God for now he doesn’t have symptoms beyond a cold. He is not in intensive care nor on a respirator, just under observation,” he added. Robin Duran had posted hours before that the 69-year-old had been hospitalised as a precaution for a “respiratory virus,” which turned out to be COVID-19. “We just spoke to the doctor who told us that his lungs are fine and there are no indications of severe (illness),” Robin Duran said. “We continue to have faith that everything will be OK.” Duran fought in 119 bouts between the ages of 16 and 50 — with 103 wins and 16 losses. He was knocked out four times, but did the same to his opponents 70 times, earning him the “Hands of Stone” nickname. Duran is a national hero in Panama as one of the country’s most famous athletes along with former New York Yankees baseball player Mariano Rivera, former Olympic long-jump champion Irving Saladino and former soccer players the late Rommel Fernandez and Julio Dely Valdes.
On This Day
- 1838 – Coronation of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom.
- 1846 – Adolphe Sax patents the saxophone.
- 1880 – Australian bushranger Ned Kelly is captured at Glenrowan.
- 1914 – Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Sophie are assassinated in Sarajevo; this is the casus belli of World War I.
- 1969 – Stonewall riots begin in New York City, marking the start of the Gay Rights Movement.
- 1987 – For the first time in military history, a civilian population is targeted for chemical attack when Iraqi warplanes bombed the Iranian town of Sardasht.
- 1997 – Holyfield–Tyson II: Mike Tyson is disqualified in the third round for biting a piece off Evander Holyfield‘s ear.
- 1889 – Maria Mitchell, American astronomer and academic (b. 1818)
- 1914 – Franz Ferdinand, archduke of Austria (b. 1863) and Sophie, duchess of Hohenberg (b. 1868)
- 1975 – Rod Serling, American screenwriter and producer (b. 1924)
- 2018 – Harlan Ellison, American writer (b. 1934)
It was the great flash point of the 20th century, an act that set off a chain reaction of calamity: two World Wars, 80 million deaths, the Russian Revolution, the rise of Hitler, the atomic bomb. Yet it might never have happened–we’re now told– had Gavrilo Princip not got hungry for a sandwich.
We’re talking the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, of course—the murder that set the crumbling Austro-Hungarian Empire on a collision course with Serbia, and Europe down the slippery slope that led to the outbreak of the First World War a month after Princip pulled the trigger on June 28, 1914. More specifically, though, we’re talking the version of events that’s being taught in many schools today. It’s an account that, while respectful of the significance of Franz Ferdinand’s death, hooks pupils’ attention by stressing a tiny, awe-inspiring detail: that if Princip had not stopped to eat a sandwich where he did, he would never have been in the right place to spot his target. No sandwich, no shooting. No shooting, no war.
It is the summer of 1914, and Bosnia has just become part of the Austro-Hungarian empire. A handful of young Bosnian-born Serbs decide to strike a blow for the integration of their people into a Greater Serbia by assassinating the heir to the Austrian throne. Their opportunity comes when it is announced that Franz Ferdinand will be making a state visit to the provincial capital, Sarajevo.
Armed with bombs and pistols supplied by Serbian military intelligence, seven conspirators position themselves at intervals along the archduke’s route. The first to strike is Nedeljko Cabrinovic, who lobs a hand grenade toward Franz Ferdinand’s open touring car. But the grenade is an old one, with a 10-second fuse. It bounces off the limo and into the road, where it explodes under the next vehicle in the motorcade. Although several officers in that car are hurt, Franz Ferdinand remains uninjured. To avoid capture, Cabrinovic drains a vial of cyanide and throws himself into a nearby river—but his suicide bid fails. The cyanide is past its sell-by date, and the river is just four inches deep.
The bombing throws the rest of the day’s plans into disarray. The motorcade is abandoned. Franz Ferdinand is hurried off to the town hall, where he is due to meet with state officials. Disconsolate, the remaining assassins disperse, their chance apparently gone. One of them, Gavrilo Princip, heads for Moritz Schiller’s delicatessen, on Franz Joseph Street. It’s one of Sarajevo’s smartest shopping destinations, just a few yards from the bustling through road known as Appel Quay.
As Princip queues to buy a sandwich, Franz Ferdinand is leaving the town hall. When the heir gets back into his limousine, though, he decides on a change of plan—he’ll call at the hospital to visit the men injured in the grenade blast. There’s just one problem: the archduke’s chauffeur, a stranger to Sarajevo, gets lost. He swings off Appel Quay and into crowded Franz Joseph Street, then drifts to a stop right in front of Schiller’s.
Princip looks up from his lunch to find his target sitting just a few feet away. He pulls his gun. Two shots ring out, and the first kills Franz Ferdinand’s wife, Sophie. The second hits the heir in the neck, severing his jugular vein. The archduke slumps back, mortally wounded. His security men hustle Princip away. Inside Schiller’s deli, the most important sandwich in the history of the world lies half-eaten on a table. What sort of sandwich the killer ordered? (Consensus answer: cheese.)
Last Week’s Birthdays
John Cusack (53), Kathy Bates (71), Mel Brooks (93), Alice Krige (65), Felicia Day (40), Elon Musk (48), Courtney Ford (41), Tobey Maguire (44), J.J. Abrams (53), Meera Syal (58), Nick Offerman (49), Ariana Grande (26), Chris Isaak (63), Ricky Gervais (59), Carly Simon (75), Peter Weller (73), Iain Glen (59), Nancy Allen (70), Mick Fleetwood (73), Selma Blair (48), Frances McDormand (63), Joss Whedon (56), Bryan Brown (73), Meryl Streep (71), Bruce Campbell (62), Lindsay Wagner (71), Kris Kristofferson (84), Stephen Chow (58), Tim Russ (64), Prunella Scales (88), and Cyndi Lauper (67).
What a week! The Evil Flying Monkeys didn’t disappoint! It’s the first week in what seems like ages that some well known celebrities have bitten the dust! And a very big hitter for us: Vera Lynn! With her sad passing I can award the following 47 points each: Neil, Gwenan, Paul C, Lee, Laura, Shan, and Dave! Also Big Three points of 147 to Ron, Martin, Christine, and Paul G. Well done all of you and a bit of a change at the top of the leader board too.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Willie Thorne, 66, English snooker player and commentator, leukaemia.
- Luce Douady, 16, French climber, world youth champion and European championships bronze medalist (2019), fall.
- Dame Vera Lynn, 103, British singer (“We’ll Meet Again“, “The White Cliffs of Dover“).
- Sir Ian Holm, 88, English actor (Alien, Chariots of Fire, The Lord of The Rings), complications from Parkinson’s disease.
- Carlos Ruiz Zafón, 55, Spanish novelist (The Prince of Mist, The Shadow of the Wind, The Prisoner of Heaven), colon cancer.
- Katie Hopkins’ Twitter Feed, 13, Hive of hatred and nonsense, killed by Jack Dorsey for malicious abuse and hateful conduct.
In Other News
Alex Zanardi, the ex-Formula One driver-turned Paralympic champion who lost both legs in a motor racing accident 19 years ago, has been taken to hospital by helicopter after being involved in a serious accident. The 53-year-old Italian was airlifted to a hospital in Siena, with police confirming that he was involved in a “serious accident” with a “heavy vehicle”. A Carabinieri police official in Montepulciano confirmed that it was Zanardi involved in the accident, and that he believed the Italian was still alive. Zanardi, a two-time Champ Car champion and 41-race F1 driver, was competing in the ‘Obiettivo tricolore’ national road race for Paralympic athletes on hand-bikes on Friday when the accident occurred. Italian newspaper La Repubblica reports that Zanardi was travelling on Highway 146 between Pienza and San Quirico at the time of the crash. According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Zanardi was descending down a hill when he lost control of his hand-bike and veered into oncoming traffic. Emergency services were able to attend the scene after his fellow competitors helped to raise the alarm of the accident. Zanardi won the 1997 and 1998 CART Championship, which earned him a return to F1 with Williams in 1999, but following a disappointing season that included 10 retirements he returned to American open-wheel racing the following year. However, Zanardi had both of his legs amputated following a horrific crash during the 2001 American Memorial CART race at Lausitzring in Germany, though in 2005 he was able to resume his motorsports career in World Touring Cars and the Blancpain Endurance Series thanks to modified hand-controlled vehicles. His finest sporting achievement came outside of motorsports though as he won four gold medals in hand-bike at the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics.
One of Britain’s top pole dancers has died suddenly at the age of just 27 after posting that she was finding lockdown ‘so hard’. Jess Leanne Norris, from Bolton in Lancashire, was a two-time winner of Miss Pole Dance UK. Details of how Ms Norris died have not been revealed, but last year she launched a fundraising drive in aid of mental health charities. In April she also put up an emotional post on Facebook saying she was finding lockdown ‘so so hard’ and that a lot of us are feeling ‘stressed, lost and lonely’. The post on April 4 read: ‘I myself am finding this so so hard…it always takes me time to adapt to ‘change’ mentally as I’m one to need structure to cope with mind! ‘A lot of us are all feeling stressed, lost & lonely… but please don’t feel alone… We’re all in this together.’ Ms Norris also has a separate ‘health and wellness’ Facebook page called ‘You Matter’ where she posted about her depression and anxiety as well as sharing quotes about mental health. Friends said she had a huge influence on the pole dancing industry, setting up her first pole dancing studio at the age of 15. She won her first Miss Pole Dance UK title in 2011, and claimed the crown for a second time in 2015.
The pet that inspired the book series and film A Street Cat Named Bob has died aged 14. James Bowen met Bob in 2007 during his battle with drug addiction when he found the cat abandoned and injured and decided to look after him. He began taking the ginger cat, often seen wearing a scarf, with him when busking or selling The Big Issue in London. Bowen then wrote a book about their relationship, titled A Street Cat Named Bob, which became a smash hit and was made into a film in 2016 in which Bob played himself alongside six lookalikes. In a statement on the official Facebook page for Bowen’s books, the author said Bob had saved his life. He added: “It’s as simple as that. He gave me so much more than companionship. With him at my side, I found a direction and purpose that I’d been missing.” He said the success they found together was “miraculous”, adding: “He’s met thousands of people, touched millions of lives. “There’s never been a cat like him. And never will again. I feel like the light has gone out in my life. I will never forget him.”
On This Day
- 1734 – In Montreal, a slave known by the French name of Marie-Joseph Angélique is put to death, having been convicted of setting the fire that destroyed much of the city.
- 1919 – Admiral Ludwig von Reuter scuttles the German fleet at Scapa Flow, Orkney. The nine sailors killed are the last casualties of World War I.
- 1964 – Three civil rights workers, Andrew Goodman, James Chaney and Michael Schwerner, are murdered in Neshoba County, Mississippi, United States, by members of the Ku Klux Klan.
- 1982 – John Hinckley is found not guilty by reason of insanity for the attempted assassination of U.S. President Ronald Reagan.
- 2004 – SpaceShipOne becomes the first privately funded spaceplane to achieve spaceflight.
- 2005 – Edgar Ray Killen, who had previously been unsuccessfully tried for the murders of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Mickey Schwerner, is convicted of manslaughter 41 years afterwards.
- 1377 – Edward III of England (b. 1312)
- 1652 – Inigo Jones, English architect, designed the Queen’s House (b. 1573)
- 1954 – Gideon Sundback, Swedish-American engineer, developed the zipper (b. 1880)
- 2001 – John Lee Hooker, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1917)
The Rise of Non-painful Execution
Trends in most of the world have long been to move to private and less painful executions. France developed the guillotine for this reason in the final years of the 18th century, while Britain banned hanging, drawing, and quartering in the early 19th century. Hanging by turning the victim off a ladder or by kicking a stool or a bucket, which causes death by suffocation, was replaced by long drop “hanging” where the subject is dropped a longer distance to dislocate the neck and sever the spinal cord. Mozaffar ad-Din Shah Qajar, Shah of Persia (1896–1907) introduced throat-cutting and blowing from a gun (close-range cannon fire) as quick and relatively painless alternatives to more torturous methods of executions used at that time. In the United States, electrocution and gas inhalation were introduced as more humane alternatives to hanging, but have been almost entirely superseded by lethal injection. A small number of countries still employ slow hanging methods, decapitation, and stoning.
A study of executions carried out in the United States between 1977 and 2001 indicated that at least 34 of the 749 executions, or 4.5%, involved “unanticipated problems or delays that caused, at least arguably, unnecessary agony for the prisoner or that reflect gross incompetence of the executioner”. The rate of these “botched executions” remained steady over the period of the study. A separate study published in The Lancet in 2005 found that in 43% of cases of lethal injection, the blood level of hypnotics was insufficient to guarantee unconsciousness. However, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2008 (Baze v. Rees) and again in 2015 (Glossip v. Gross) that lethal injection does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Chris Pratt (40), Juliette Lewis (46), Lana Wachowski (54), David Morrissey (55), Lana Del Rey (34), Nicole Kidman (52), John Goodman (67), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (30), Miles O’Keeffe (65), Lionel Richie (70), Brian Wilson (77), Zoe Saldana (41), Aidan Turner (36), Kathleen Turner (65), Paula Abdul (57), Richard Madden (33), Carol Kane (67), Isabella Rossellini (67), Paul McCartney (77), Jodie Whittaker (38), Will Forte (50), Arnold Vosloo (58), John Cho (48), James Bolam (85), Helen Hunt (57), Courteney Cox (56), Neil Patrick Harris (47), Ice Cube (51), and Jim Belushi (66).
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Corey Fischer, 75, American actor (M*A*S*H, Brewster McCloud, McCabe & Mrs. Miller), complications from a brain aneurysm.
- Bonnie Pointer, 69, American singer (The Pointer Sisters), cardiac arrest.
- Paul Chapman, 66, Welsh rock guitarist (UFO, Lone Star).
- Michel Bellen, 74, Belgian serial killer.
- Ricky Valance, 84, Welsh singer (“Tell Laura I Love Her“).
In Other News
If anybody gives a shit, the royal family has been paying tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh on his 99th birthday. While Prince Philip’s birthday celebrations are likely to be low-key this year due to the ongoing coronavirus lockdown, several members of the family have publicly marked the milestone occasion by posting online tributes. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were among the first to share a message of celebration on their Kensington Royal social media accounts. “Wishing a very happy 99th Birthday to His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh!”, Prince William and Kate Middleton wrote alongside two photos of them with the royal. The duke’s eldest son and heir to the throne, Prince Charles, also shared a tribute to his father on social media. “Wishing The Duke of Edinburgh a very happy 99th birthday!” a message from the Clarence House Instagram account read. In a recent interview Prince Charles said he was missing his family and revealed that he hasn’t seen his father for months. “Well I haven’t seen my father for a long time. He’s going to be 99 next week…it’s terribly sad,” Charles said. We’re not sure why he thinks his father turning 99 is sad, maybe he’s still pining for that throne. To mark Prince Philip’s birthday, the royal family released an official photo of the duke and The Queen posing side-by-side outside Windsor Castle. The portrait was the first public image of the duke for nearly six months as he was last seen leaving hospital on Christmas Eve following a four-night admission for an undisclosed but “pre-existing condition”.
BBC journalist George Alagiah has confirmed his bowel cancer has spread to his lungs. The 64-year-old newsreader, who joined the BBC in 1989, was first diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2014 and later said it spread to his liver and lymph nodes. After 17 courses of chemotherapy and five operations, it appeared the cancer had cleared – but it returned in 2018. He revealed doctors told him at the end of April the cancer has now spread to his lungs in an interview with The Times. Mr Alagiah also spoke about testing positive for coronavirus after he developed a fever on 17th March. “My doctors have never used the word ‘chronic’ or ‘cure’ about my cancer,” he said. “They’re never used the word ‘terminal’ either. “I’ve always said to my oncologist, ‘Tell me when I need to sort my affairs out’, and he’s not told me that, but what he did tell me is that the cancer is now in a third organ. It is in my lungs.” Mr Alagiah said his previously low dose of chemotherapy has been increased to “the grown-up stuff”. “I said to my doctor, ‘You’re going to have to do the worrying for me’. I don’t want to fill my mind with worry. I just know that he’s a clever guy, doing everything he can.”
Shaun Ryder has opened up about his cancer scare after he discovered a painful growth in his testicle during lockdown. The Celebrity Gogglebox and The Happy Mondays frontman, 57, immediately thought the worst after finding the uncomfortable lump. It turned out the sudden growth was non-cancerous. But in spite of the good news, the medical issue has left Shaun in constant pain amid the coronavirus pandemic. Due to health service restrictions, the star has been unable to receive surgery to remove the growth which is situated in his testicle. Instead, the much-loved star has had to put up with the pains it has caused him over the past number of months. Shaun admitted he wasn’t too worried as he can have the lump removed when hospitals revert to normality again. He told us: “This non-malignant growth in my testicle is pressing on a nerve. It’s like having really bad toothache in your b***s. “I can have the growth chucked out but I should’ve gone before lockdown started.” Despite the ongoing pain and the shock of his circumstances, his cancer scare has made Shaun realise the value of life. The star – who became famous for his love of sex, drugs and rock and roll – has been hit with the reality he is not invinsible. Father-of-six Shaun admitted that he’s not afraid of dying but he is afraid of leaving his young children behind. “I now think I’m not invincible. It doesn’t worry me about dying, it’s just that because I’ve got young kids. I don’t want to go because of them. That’s what I panic about the most.” The Celebrity Gogglebox star has suffered a long list of health problems over the past number of years. Shaun has dealt with fighting severe pain due to arthritis, as well as battling a thyroid problem and enduring panic attacks.
On This Day
- 1789 – Mutiny on the Bounty: HMS Bounty mutiny survivors including Captain William Bligh and 18 others reach Timor after a nearly 7,400 km (4,600 mi) journey in an open boat.
- 1822 – Charles Babbage proposes a difference engine in a paper to the Royal Astronomical Society.
- 1962 – The European Space Research Organisation is established in Paris – later becoming the European Space Agency.
- 1966 – The Vatican announces the abolition of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (“index of prohibited books”), which was originally instituted in 1557.
- 1927 – Jerome K. Jerome, English author (b. 1859)
- 1928 – Emmeline Pankhurst, English activist and academic (b. 1857)
- 1946 – John Logie Baird, Scottish-English physicist and engineer (b. 1888)
- 1977 – Alan Reed, American actor, original voice of Fred Flintstone (b.1907)
To be hanged, drawn and quartered was, from 1352, a statutory penalty in England for men convicted of high treason, (Boris?) although the ritual was first recorded during the reign of King Henry III (1216–1272). The convicted traitor was fastened to a hurdle, or wooden panel, and drawn by horse to the place of execution, where he was then hanged (almost to the point of death), emasculated, disembowelled, beheaded, and quartered (chopped into four pieces). His remains would then often be displayed in prominent places across the country, such as London Bridge, to serve as a warning of the fate of traitors. For reasons of public decency, women convicted of high treason were instead burned at the stake.
The severity of the sentence was measured against the seriousness of the crime. As an attack on the monarch’s authority, high treason was considered a deplorable act demanding the most extreme form of punishment. Although some convicts had their sentences modified and suffered a less ignominious end, over a period of several hundred years many men found guilty of high treason were subjected to the law’s ultimate sanction. They included many English Catholic priests executed during the Elizabethan era, and several of the regicides involved in the 1649 execution of Charles I.
Although the Act of Parliament defining high treason remains on the United Kingdom’s statute books, during a long period of 19th-century legal reform the sentence of hanging, drawing, and quartering was changed to drawing, hanging until dead, and posthumous beheading and quartering, before being abolished in England in 1870. Sadly, the death penalty for treason was abolished in 1998, so lying to The Queen won’t get you into trouble Boris…
Last Week’s Birthdays
Will Patton (65), Donald Trump (73), Yasmine Bleeth (51), Boy George (58), Alan Carr (43), Steffi Graf (50), Chris Evans (38), Ally Sheedy (57), Stellan Skarsgård (68), Malcolm McDowell (76), Richard Thomas (68), Tim Allen (66), Simon Callow (70), Kathy Burke (55), Shia LaBeouf (34), Joshua Jackson (42), Hugh Laurie (61), Peter Dinklage (51), Adrienne Barbeau (75), Jane Goldman (50), Elizabeth Hurley (55), Jürgen Prochnow (79), Johnny Depp (57), Natalie Portman (39), Michael J. Fox (59), Eddie Marsan (52), Griffin Dunne (65), Nancy Sinatra (80), and Kanye West (43).
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Chris Trousdale, 34, American actor and singer (Dream Street), COVID-19.
- Dan van Husen, 75, German actor (Salon Kitty, Nosferatu the Vampyre), COVID-19.
- Steve Priest, 72, British bassist and singer (The Sweet).
- Rupert Hine, 72, English musician (Quantum Jump), songwriter and record producer (The Fixx, Howard Jones), cancer.
In Other News
The White House has released information about President Donald Trump‘s annual physical, including him experiencing no side effects while taking anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a preventative measure against Covid-19. Lumpy Trumpy weighs 17½ stone and stands at 6ft 3in tall, according a summary of the annual physical. The president made an unannounced visit to Walter Reed Army Medical Centre in November for a little over two hours to perform tests necessary for the physical. Subsequent tests then happened later at the White House. “Sadly there were no findings of significance or changes to report,” Dr Sean Conely, the president’s physician, wrote in a memo about the president’s physical. Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany described Mr Trump as “healthy” after the summary report was released. After Mr Trump’s first physical, it was indicated the president had a common form of heart disease, CNN reported. The president’s doctor recommended a higher dose of medication that would help lower his cholesterol and lifestyle changes. The latest annual physical showed Mr Trump’s cholesterol was now at 167 with an LDL, low-density lipoprotein, below 100, indicating a healthy level. Results are still pending on his psychological tests.
Australian actress Cate Blanchett is lucky to be alive after a DIY accident with a chainsaw at her country estate in East Sussex, England. The two-time Oscar winner, 51, took a ‘little nick to the head’ while using the mechanical saw, but fortunately avoided a serious injury. She casually revealed her brush with death in a podcast interview with former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard last week. Cate mentioned the incident in passing, telling Gillard it wasn’t very ‘exciting’. She said: ‘I’m fine. I had a bit of a chainsaw accident yesterday, which sounds very, very exciting, but it wasn’t. Apart from the little nick to the head, I’m fine.’ Gillard replied: ‘Be very careful with that chainsaw. You’ve got a very famous head, I don’t think people would like to see any nicks taken out of it.’ Cate, who was born and raised in Melbourne, lives in a $6.25million manor called Highwell House near Crowborough, about an hour south of London. Obviously can’t afford a gardener…
Bhad Barbie has entered rehab to seek treatment for childhood trauma and prescription pills abuse, her management has confirmed. The “These Heaux” rapper, real name Danielle Bregoli, has been in the facility for several weeks now and sources told TMZ that they expect her to stay there for 30 to 90 days. In a statement, Bregoli’s management said: “We are very proud of Danielle for recognising that she needed help and seeking it out.” A further statement on her Instagram read: “Danielle has been working hard for the past few years and made a positive decision to take some much-needed time off to attend to some personal issues. “For the past weeks, she has been in a treatment centre receiving and continuing to receive professional support. “She loves her fans, and has promised to return better, and healthier than ever.” Bregoli has been quiet on social media lately, which caught the attention of fellow rapper Chika who called her out for her silence on the death of George Floyd.
On This Day
- 1692 – Port Royal, Jamaica, is hit by a catastrophic earthquake; in just three minutes, 1,600 people are killed and 3,000 are seriously injured.
- 1938 – Second Sino-Japanese War: The Chinese Nationalist government creates the Yellow River flood to halt Japanese forces. Five hundred to nine hundred thousand civilians are killed.
- 1977 – Five hundred million people watch the high day of the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II begin on television. Kids enjoy a street party where mugs are given out. Yay!
- 1329 – Robert the Bruce, Scottish king (b. 1274)
- 1937 – Jean Harlow, American actress and singer (b. 1911)
- 1954 – Alan Turing, English mathematician and computer scientist (b. 1912)
- 1970 – E. M. Forster, English novelist, short story writer, essayist (b. 1879)
- 1980 – Henry Miller, American novelist and essayist (b. 1891)
- 2015 – Christopher Lee, English actor (b. 1922)
The Youngest British Executions
Alice Glaston was an 11-year-old English girl from Little Wenlock who was hanged in Much Wenlock, Shropshire, England. She is likely the youngest girl ever to be legally executed in England. The crime for which she was hanged is unknown, but she was hanged with two other people. A note of the incident from 1545 in the parish register of Sir Thomas Butler, vicar of Much Wenlock in Shropshire reads:
Here was buried John Dod of the parish of Little Wenlock, who was hanged here, as also Alice Glaston, 11 yrs of age, of the parish of Little Wenlock, and Wm. Harper, a tailor. Three Convicts buried one a girl of 11 years old.
However, this is not the youngest reference to a child who was hanged, a John Dean from Oxfordshire was not even 10 when he was executed for arson:
At Abingdon assizes Feb 23 1629 before Whitlock justice one John Dean an infant between eight and nine years was indicted arraigned and found guilty of burning two barns in the town of Windsor and it appearing upon examination that he had malice revenge craft and cunning lie had judgment to be hanged and was hanged accordingly.
But, such cruelty can be topped! The Guernsey Martyrs were three women who were burned at the stake for their Protestant beliefs during the Marian Persecutions, in 1556 Guernsey, Channel Islands. The execution was carried out on or around 18th July. All three were burnt on the same fire; they ought to have been strangled beforehand, but the rope broke before they died and they were thrown into the fire alive. John Foxe recorded that one of the women was “great with child” and that “the belly of the woman burst asunder by the vehemence of the flame, the infant, being a fair man-child, fell into the fire”. The baby was rescued and laid on the grass, taken by the Provost to the Bailiff, Hellier Gosselin who took the advice of Roman Catholic priests nearby who said the boy should burn due to having inherited moral stain from his mother, Gosselin ordered that “it should be carried back again, and cast into the fire”. Burn Baby Burn, 1556 Disco Inferno!
Last Week’s Birthdays
Karl Urban (47), Liam Neeson (67), Anna Torv (40), Michael Cera (31), Lance Reddick (57), Bill Hader (41), Helen Baxendale (49), Iggy Azalea (29), Jason Isaacs (56), Paul Giamatti (52), Robert Englund (72), Sandra Bernhard (64), Josie Lawrence (60), Mark Wahlberg (48), Mel Giedroyc (51), Angelina Jolie (44), Bruce Dern (83), Noah Wyle (48), Sean Pertwee (55), Russell Brand (44), Geoffrey Palmer (92), Bradley Walsh (59), Imogen Poots (31), Penelope Wilton (74), James Purefoy (56), Clive Mantle (63), Bill Paterson (75), Suzi Quatro (70), Morena Baccarin (41), Awkwafina (32), Jewel Staite (38), Justin Long (42), Zachary Quinto (43), Dominic Cooper (42), Liam Cunningham (59), Dana Carvey (65), Sally Kellerman (83), Tom Holland (24), Morgan Freeman (83), Brian Cox (74), Jonathan Pryce (73), Amy Schumer (39), Heidi Klum (47), Alanis Morissette (46), and Robert Powell (76).
Strangely enough, no points this week, even with record numbers of people dying and a gimme like the oldest man in the world passing away, although in fairness he wasn’t the oldest until fairly recently.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Richard Herd, 87, American actor (Seinfeld, All the President’s Men, The China Syndrome), cancer.
- Anthony James, 77, American actor (In the Heat of the Night, High Plains Drifter, Unforgiven), cancer.
- Tony Scannell, 74, Irish actor (Flash Gordon, The Bill).
- David Owen Brooks, 65, American serial killer.
- Robert Weighton, 112, English supercentenarian, world’s oldest man (since 2020), cancer.
- Michael Angelis, 76, British actor (Boys from the Blackstuff, The Liver Birds, Thomas & Friends), heart attack.
In Other News
Brian May has said he was recently taken to hospital after suffering a heart attack. The Queen guitarist revealed that doctors found him to be “very near death” after discovering three blocked arteries, which caused a pain in his chest that lasted 40 minutes. May, 72, told his Instagram followers that the pain began shortly after ripping his buttock muscles in a gardening accident a few weeks back. “In the middle of the whole saga of the painful backside, I had a small heart attack,” he said. “I say small – it’s not something that did me any harm. It was about 40 minutes of pain in the chest and tightness and that feeling in the arms and sweating.” May continued: “To cut a long story short, my wonderful doctor drove me to the hospital himself and I went straight into what they call the ‘CAT room’ I think and I had an angiogram, and that’s when they stick something in your wrist and it goes all the way up to your heart and into arteries in your heart, and it can find out in a way that nothing else can.” During the angiogram, doctors found the arteries “that were congested and in danger of blocking the supply of blood” to his heart. May said he turned down open heart surgery and instead opted to have three stents put in. Speaking about the many headlines and Twitter jokes made about his buttock injury, May said: “I didn’t realise that was amusing really. “I kind of forgot that anything to do with the bum people find amusing, so I got a bit pissed off with all the ‘Brian May gets a pain in the bum’ kind of stuff.”
A Belgian prince has tested positive for coronavirus after attending a party in Spain during lockdown. Prince Joachim, a nephew of Belgium‘s King Philippe, contracted Covid-19 after going to the gathering in Cordoba on 26 May, a spokesperson for the Belgian Royal Palace said. The party breached lockdown rules because of how many people were there, according to Spanish media. The royal spokesperson said the palace could not confirm the number of people in attendance. The 28-year-old prince travelled to Spain from Belgium on May 24 for an internship – two days before the party took place. He is still in Spain, the palace said on Saturday. El Pais newspaper said the prince, who is tenth in line to the Belgian throne, attended the party along with 26 other people. This would go against lockdown rules in the province of Cordoba, where a maximum of 15 people are allowed to meet up. Spanish police said they had launched an investigation into the incident and those who breached restrictions could face fines of between €600 and €10,000. All 27 people who attended the party are now in quarantine, Rafaela Valenzuela, the Spanish government’s regional envoy in Cordoba, said on Saturday. She called the gathering “completely irresponsible” and said it could have caused an outbreak of infections, triggering a return to a stricter lockdown. “I feel surprised and angry. An incident of this type stands out at a moment of national mourning for so many dead,” she said.
On This Day
- 455 – Emperor Petronius Maximus is stoned to death by an angry mob while fleeing Rome. One wonders why we don’t do this today.
- 1669 – Citing poor eyesight as a reason, Samuel Pepys records the last event in his diary. Maybe he should have driven his cart to Barnard Castle.
- 1911 – The RMS Titanic is launched in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
- 1970 – The 7.9 Mw Ancash earthquake shakes Peru with a maximum Mercalli intensity of VIII (Severe) and a landslide buries the town of Yungay, Peru. Between 66,794–70,000 were killed and 50,000 were injured.
- 1983 – Jack Dempsey, American boxer and lieutenant (b. 1895)
- 2009 – Danny La Rue, Irish-British drag queen performer and singer (b. 1927)
- 2016 – Carla Lane, English television writer (b. 1928)
The Last British Executions
Henry John Burnett was the last man to be hanged in Scotland, and the first in Aberdeen since 1891. He was tried at the high court in Aberdeen from 23–25 July 1963 for the murder of merchant seaman Thomas Guyan, who was the husband of Margaret May, Burnett’s mistress.
Burnett came to believe that, given the chance, Margaret would leave him, so he took to locking her in the house whenever he went out. This was not a state of affairs which Margaret relished so when by chance she met her estranged husband on 31st May, she agreed to go back to him. As soon as Margaret announced her intention to go back to her husband, Burnett cried “Margaret, Margaret, you are not going to leave me!” He then drew a knife to Margaret’s throat. A family friend banged repeatedly on the front door and demanded the release of Margaret. Minutes later, Burnett threw open the door and ran off down the street. Margaret was shaken, but relatively unhurt.
Burnett went to his brother Frank’s workplace and told him what had happened, but Burnett, still set on revenge, went to Frank’s house in the city’s Bridge of Don area to borrow his brother’s shotgun. He arrived at Guyans’ flat and forced his way in. Thomas Guyan jumped to his feet to see what the problem was. As he opened the kitchen door, he was met by Burnett, carrying the gun. A shot rang out and Guyan fell dead, having been shot in the face at close range. Burnett then took Margaret out of the flat at gun point; on the way down the stairs, he threatened a young boy from a neighbouring flat.
Burnett dragged Margaret down a lane and as far as a garage on Seaforth Road, near the main route north out of Aberdeen. John Innes Irvine was filling his car with petrol at the garage when Burnett demanded his car. Irvine tried to stop Burnett from stealing the car, but was threatened with the shotgun. The police were soon notified of the theft and began following the car, after driving for about 15 miles, Burnett pulled the car over near the town of Ellon and offered no resistance as he was arrested.
At his trial, Burnett’s defence was that at the time of the crime he was insane or alternatively, that this was a case of diminished responsibility. Both defences failed after the jury had considered the evidence for 25 minutes. After he was sentenced to death, both his own family and that of the victim petitioned for his reprieve. However, there was no appeal from Burnett and at 8.00am on Thursday, 15th August 1963, the 21-year-old was executed on Britain’s newest gallows (built in 1962 to Home Office-approved specifications) as a crowd of 200 people gathered outside the prison. Executioner Harry Allen and his assistant Samuel Plant performed the hanging. Shortly afterwards, Burnett’s body was buried in an unmarked grave within the walls of the prison, as was customary. Craiginches Prison closed permanently in January 2014 and the grounds were ear-marked for redevelopment. In early August 2014 the remains of Burnett were exhumed from the prison and taken to Aberdeen Crematorium, where a private ceremony was held on 7th August.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Clint Eastwood (89), Lea Thompson (58), Colin Farrell (43), Brooke Shields (54), Tom Berenger (70), Sharon Gless (76), Colm Meaney (66), Mark Sheppard (55), Stephen Tobolowsky (68), Keir Dullea (83), Harry Enfield (58), Jake The Snake Roberts (64), Leigh Francis (46), Jennifer Ellison (36), Annette Bening (61), Danny Elfman (66), Laverne Cox (47), Mel B (44), Nanette Newman (85), Jake Johnson (41), Kylie Minogue (51), Michelle Collins (57), Paul Bettany (49), Louis Gossett Jr. (84), André Benjamin (45), Helena Bonham Carter (54), Pam Grier (71), Bobcat Goldthwait (58), Philip Michael Thomas (71), Lenny Kravitz (56), Stevie Nicks (72), Cillian Murphy (44), Mike Myers (57), Ian McKellen (81), and Frank Oz (76).
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Michel Piccoli, 94, French actor (La Grande Bouffe, A Leap in the Dark, We Have a Pope).
- Wilson Roosevelt Jerman, 91, American White House butler and staffer (1957–2012), COVID-19.
- Shad Gaspard, 39, American professional wrestler (WWE) and actor (Get Hard, From Dusk till Dawn: The Series), drowning.
- Ken Osmond, 76, American actor (Leave It to Beaver, The New Leave It to Beaver), complications from COPD.
- Ken Nightingall, 92, British film sound engineer (For Your Eyes Only, A View to a Kill, Octopussy), COVID-19.
- Heather Chasen, 92, British actress (Crossroads, Cat Run, Les Misérables).
- Hana Kimura, 22, Japanese professional wrestler (Stardom, Wrestle-1) and reality TV personality (Terrace House: Tokyo 2019–2020).
- Saturn, 83–84, American-born German-Russian alligator (Berlin Zoological Garden, Battle of Berlin, Moscow Zoo).
In Other News
A former White House employee who worked with 11 presidents, from Dwight Eisenhower to Barack Obama, died over the weekend after contracting the coronavirus. He was 91. Wilson Roosevelt Jerman, who appeared alongside the Obamas in a photograph published in former first lady Michelle Obama’s bestselling memoir “Becoming,” retired in 2012 following 55 years of service. He began his White House career in 1957 as a cleaner, gaining promotion to the role of butler during the Kennedy administration, his granddaughter, Jamila Garrett, told us that the father of five “always taught us that there will be obstacles in your life, they will not disappear, but keep pushing forward.” Former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush paid tribute to Jerman, describing him as “a lovely man.” “He was the first person we saw in the morning when we left the Residence and the last person we saw each night when we returned,” they said in a statement.
Former Kent and England batsman Rob Key has revealed he is recovering after suffering a ‘mini stroke’. The 41-year-old, who is now a TV pundit, says he has had a “long weekend” after being treated at Kent and Canterbury Hospital. He posted a picture of himself in a hospital bed on Instagram. Key thanked his doctor and added: “Turns out I’ve had a mini stroke. Now got to eat food with no flavour and take pills, #triffic,”. Key played in 15 Tests for England, five one-day internationals and one Twenty20 match, with his stand-out international performance the 221 against the West Indies in July 2004. He was prolific on the County scene, scoring almost 20,000 first-class runs between 1998 and 2015 for Kent. His former club tweeted a “get well soon” message on Monday.
Amanda Kloots, the wife of Broadway star Nick Cordero, broke down in tears as she revealed that her husband’s health had taken a turn for the worse. Things had been looking up for the family, with Cordero waking up from his coronavirus-induced coma last week and Kloots celebrating a “small win” on Monday after doctors pulled out fewer secretions from his lungs than they had previously found. However, on Wednesday, dancer Kloots admitted that things had got worse in an emotional Instagram Story video filmed in her car. “Nick has had a bad morning. Unfortunately, things are going a little downhill at the moment, so I am asking again for all the prayers, mega-prayers, right now,” she said. “Please cheer and please pray for Nick today, and I know that this virus is not going to get him down.” Kloots, who has a 10-month-old son with the actor, continued: “It’s not how his story ends, so just keep us in your thoughts and prayers today. Thank you.” In a separate Instagram post, she wrote: “Mega prayers for this special man right now. God continue to grant miracles.” Cordero was admitted to hospital on 30 March after being diagnosed with pneumonia, testing positive for coronavirus and being put on a ventilator just two days later. The actor then faced a number of complications, including septic shock and two “mini strokes”, with his right leg needing to be amputated due to blood clotting.
On This Day
- 1487 – The ten-year-old Lambert Simnel is crowned in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, Ireland, with the name of Edward VI in a bid to threaten King Henry VII‘s reign.
- 1930 – Amy Johnson lands in Darwin, Northern Territory, becoming the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia (she left on May 5 for the 11,000 mile flight).
- 1956 – The first Eurovision Song Contest is held in Lugano, Switzerland.
- 1976 – The Judgment of Paris takes place in France, launching California as a worldwide force in the production of quality wine.
- 1543 – Nicolaus Copernicus, Polish mathematician and astronomer (b. 1473)
- 1963 – Elmore James, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1918)
- 1974 – Duke Ellington, American pianist and composer (b. 1899)
- 1995 – Harold Wilson, English academic and Prime Minister of the U.K. (b. 1916)
- 2010 – Ray Alan, English ventriloquist, actor, and screenwriter (b. 1930)
The Last British Executions
Catherine Murphy and her husband, Hugh Murphy, were convicted for coining at the Old Bailey in London and sentenced to death on 18th September 1788. She and her husband were executed on the morning of 18th March 1789 at Newgate prison along with seven other men who had been convicted of various offences.
The eight men were executed by hanging. But as a woman, the law provided that Murphy should be burnt at the stake. She was brought out past the hanging bodies of the others, and made to stand on a foot high, 10-inch-square platform in front of the stake. She was secured to the stake with ropes and an iron ring. When she finished her prayers, her executioner, William Brunskill, piled faggots of straw around the stake and lit them. According to testimony given by Sir Benjamin Hammett, the Sheriff of London, he gave instructions that she should be strangled before being burned. She was, reportedly, tied with one rope around her neck, after which the platform was removed from under her feet and 30 minutes passed before the fire was lit, and thus, she was not actually burned alive. Whatever the case, Catherine Murphy remains the last person to have been sentenced and at least officially executed by the method of burning. In part through the efforts of Sir Benjamin Hammett, who took the execution of Murphy as an example when he criticised this form of punishment, burning as a method of execution was abolished the next year, by the Treason Act 1790.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Doug Jones (59), Alfred Molina (66), John C. Reilly (54), Jim Broadbent (70), Priscilla Presley (74), Gary Burghoff (76), Tommy Chong (81), Eric Cantona (53), Bob Dylan (78), Richard Ayoade (42), Joan Collins (86), Melissa McBride (54), Maggie Q (41), Ginnifer Goodwin (42), Graham Linehan (52), Naomi Campbell (50), Judge Reinhold (63), Noel Fielding (47), Mr. T (68), Cher (74), Jack Gleeson (28), John Billingsley (60), Louis Theroux (50), James Fox (81), Grace Jones (72), Amanda De Cadenet (48), Tina Fey (50), Miriam Margolyes (79), Yun-Fat Chow (65), and Toyah Willcox (62).
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Jerry Stiller, 92, American actor (Seinfeld, The King of Queens) and comedian (Stiller and Meara).
- Nigel, 11, British golden retriever dog (Gardeners’ World).
- Phil May, 75, English singer (The Pretty Things), complications following hip surgery.
- Fred Willard, 86, American actor (Best in Show, Fernwood 2 Night, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy) and comedian.
In Other News
The Bachelor’s Sophie Tieman has revealed she is being tested for viral meningitis. The 27-year-old shared a shocking image of herself lying in a hospital bed wearing a gown and face mask, with a nasogastric tube inserted into her nose on Tuesday. Sophie explained in a post to her Instagram Stories she had been unwell for a week but was initially diagnosed with ‘influenza’. Following several days of treatment, her condition failed to improve and Sophie felt like her ‘head was going to explode’. She had also been suffering from other symptoms including lethargy and neck aches. The reality star was admitted to hospital on Tuesday to undergo tests including pathology, a chest x-ray and an MRI scan. Sophie also revealed she would be undergoing a spinal tap, which she was ‘dreading’. Meningitis is a serious illness which causes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord membranes. It is usually caused by a viral infection but can also be bacterial or fungal. Sophie rose to fame on the 2018 season of The Bachelor where she dated Nick ‘The Honey Badger’ Cummins. She made it to the final rose ceremony along with co-star Brittany Hockley.
As you saw above, an emotional Gardeners World paid tribute to Monty Don’s dog Nigel, who sadly died earlier this week. A poignant package of clips aired during the show saw the beautiful golden retriever scampering through daffodils and ‘helping’ his human by dropping filthy tennis balls in his freshly planted pots. Taken from previous episodes, each clip proved how strong Monty and Nigel’s bond was, as the cheeky pooch’s tail wagged like mad whenever he looked at his master. Sobbing viewers were treated to the sight of Nigel prancing through the flowers, tearing through Monty’s garden, and patiently waiting for his beloved ball to be thrown by dropping it right where Monty needed to be to talk to the camera. One old clip showed Monty standing by a wheelbarrow piled high with soil. “Now this is crushed bark with a little addition of tennis ball,” Monty explains as he holds up a dirty old ball that has somehow fallen in. “Now tennis ball, of course, is a magical horticultural ingredient… according to Nigel.” Another clip saw the gardening expert reach all the way up to his shoulder inside an enormous plant pot, just to fish out Nigel’s ball. Do you want to see what’s in there? Look. Why did you put it in? He’s going to put it back in now,” he chuckled as Nigel predictably nudged the ball straight back inside. Nigel was well known to fans thanks to his appearances on the BBC Two gardening programme, where he was often seen with Monty’s other dog Nellie.
The Newly Infected
- Justin Long: The actor revealed he believed he and his brother, Christian, contracted the virus. He said he symptoms included “achingness, some nausea, headaches and then the tightness in the chest.”
- Tony Shalhoub: revealed that he and his wife Brooke Adams have recovered from coronavirus.
On This Day
- 1536 – Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn‘s marriage is annulled.
- 1900 – The children’s novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum, is first published in the United States. The first copy is given to the author’s sister.
- 1902 – Greek archaeologist Valerios Stais discovers the Antikythera mechanism, an ancient mechanical analog computer.
- 1990 – The General Assembly of the World Health Organisation eliminates homosexuality from the list of psychiatric diseases.
- 1995 – Shawn Nelson steals an M60 tank from the California Army National Guard Armory in San Diego and proceeds to go on a rampage.
- 1886 – John Deere, American blacksmith, founded the Deere & Company (b. 1804)
- 1922 – Dorothy Levitt, English racing driver and journalist (b. 1882)
- 2005 – Frank Gorshin, American actor (b. 1934)
- 2012 – Donna Summer, American singer-songwriter (b. 1948)
The Last British Executions
James Smith was the sixth-to-last criminal to be executed in a British prison. He was hanged for the murder of Mrs. Sarah Isabella Cross in her sweetshop at the corner of Hulme Hall Lane and Iron Street, Miles Platting, Manchester.
Smith, born in Edinburgh in 1936, had entered the shop on Friday 4th May 1962 and battered 58-year-old Mrs Cross to death in order to rob her of around £6 from the till. A total of 5 glass screw-top orangeade and cherryade bottles were used to club the victim, each of which shattered to pieces as a result. Smith left coins scattered on the shop floor as he made his escape through the rear exit. The victim’s body was subsequently found lying behind the counter.
Forensic experts discovered Smith’s fingerprint on a door frame which had been painted two days earlier by Mrs Cross’s husband, a factory worker, and was still slightly tacky. Smith’s fingerprints were already on file because of a previous conviction. As a result, Smith was quickly arrested at his home on Corfe Street, Beswick by Detective Chief Superintendent Eric Cunningham and Detective Inspector Tommy Butcher. The broken glass bottles from the murder scene were sent to the North West Forensic Science Laboratory at Preston, where they were carefully reassembled using a tube of glue. Smith’s house was searched and microscopic particles of glass (recovered using a modified vacuum cleaner) were found on Smith’s clothing and also down the sides of a settee. The tiny fragments of glass recovered from Smith’s home fitted perfectly into the reassembled bottles from the murder scene.
The 26-year-old father of two, who worked as a £15-per-week rubber moulder at Failsworth, went on trial for Mrs Cross’s murder on 15th October 1962. The hearing lasted three days and it took the jury just 20 minutes to find him guilty. This verdict automatically resulted in him being sentenced to death on 17th October 1962, because under the terms of the Homicide Act 1957 killing in the course or furtherance of theft or robbery was a capital offence.
Smith was subsequently hanged on the gallows at Strangeways prison, on the morning of Wednesday, 28th November 1962. The executioners were Harry Allen and his assistant. A few hours later, on the same day that he was executed, Smith’s body was buried in an unmarked grave in Manchester prison cemetery. This practice was standard procedure because bodies of executed prisoners were regarded as property of the British government, and therefore remained in the custody of the prison where they had been executed. Because the prison cemetery was located inside the prison walls, there was no access for the general public. Smith’s body remained in the prison cemetery until many years later when (in 1991 and again in 1993) the remains of all the executed prisoners were exhumed, cremated and the ashes interred in plots C2710 and C2711 at Blackley Cemetery, Manchester.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Erin Richards (33), Paul Whitehouse (61), Megan Fox (33), Pierce Brosnan (66), David Boreanaz (50), Danny Trejo (75), Stephen Mangan (51), Janet Jackson (53), Cate Blanchett (50), Tim Roth (58), Francesca Annis (74), George Lucas (75), Danny Huston (57), Martine McCutcheon (43), Greg Davies (51), Siân Phillips (86), Robert Pattinson (33), Samantha Morton (42), Harvey Keitel (80), Dennis Rodman (58), Iwan Rheon (34), Mark Heap (62), Zoë Wanamaker (70), Stephen Colbert (55), Stevie Wonder (69), Malin Akerman (41), Rami Malek (38), Emilio Estevez (57), Gabriel Byrne (69), Jason Biggs (41), Catherine Tate (51), Ving Rhames (60), Stephen Baldwin (53), Jeffrey Donovan (52), Tim Blake Nelson (56), Pam Ferris (72), and Holly Valance (37).
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Dave Greenfield, 71, English keyboardist (The Stranglers), COVID-19.
- Brian Howe, 66, English rock singer (Bad Company), heart attack.
- Florian Schneider, 73, German electronic musician (Kraftwerk), cancer.
- Ty, 47, British rapper, complications of COVID-19.
- Millie Small, 72, Jamaican singer (“My Boy Lollipop“), stroke.
- Eelke Bakker, 109, Dutch centenarian, oldest man in Benelux.
- Roy Horn, 75, German-American magician (Siegfried & Roy), complications from COVID-19.
- Little Richard, 87, American Hall of Fame rock and roll singer (“Tutti Frutti“, “Long Tall Sally“, “Lucille“), pianist and songwriter, bone cancer.
In Other News
Brian May has been hospitalised after “ripping his Gluteus Maximus to shreds” in a mystery gardening accident, he has revealed. The Queen guitarist shared to Instagram an image of himself wearing a face mask, before clarifying to fans that he hadn’t experienced anything coronavirus-related. “The Virus didn’t get me yet – thank God,” the 72-year-old wrote in his caption. “I managed to rip my Gluteus Maximus to shreds in a moment of over-enthusiastic gardening. So suddenly I find myself in a hospital getting scanned to find out exactly how much I’ve actually damaged myself. He continued: “Turns out I did a thorough job – this is a couple of days ago – and I won’t be able to walk for a while … or sleep, without a lot of assistance, because the pain is relentless.” May did not specify what had occurred in his garden that had led to his injuries. May said that he was sent home after being looked at by doctors, and that he was asked to “go dark for a while” and “get some complete rest”. He added that he didn’t need sympathy, but rather some “healing silence for a while”. May, who is also an astrophysicist, said in April that he believed coronavirus was caused by too many people eating meat. “I think it’s time to re-examine our world in a way that doesn’t abuse other species,” he said.
Radio 1Xtra DJ Yasmin Evans was hospitalised following her brutal involvement on Channel 4 reality show Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins. The 29-year-old watched her toenails turn black and her feet bleed after she caught trench foot following her involvement on the show. Yasmin – who was booted from the armed forces themed reality show on Monday night – was physically ravaged by the intense trials she was put though, and her feet were infected after enduring tasks that left her drenched in rain and water. After filming the show in the Scottish wilds, Yasmin was rushed to hospital and says she couldn’t walk for days as her feet swelled up and were left seeping. She explained how she began to feel unwell while taking part in a task on the show – and gave a graphic description of the effect on her body. She said: “I looked down at my feet and I just thought, ‘This is not OK’. My toenails were almost hanging off.” “I really suffered from having two major infections in my feet,” she said – revealing she was diagnosed with trench foot, an infection that was prevalent among soldiers in World War I after they were left standing around in waterlogged trenches. She explained: “Your socks are constantly wet. It’s a World War injury. The boots are really hard. Basically my toenail was black and one of them was split in the middle and was constantly bleeding.” She also said she would do the show again – but: “I would rip off my toenails before I went in there. They’re going to fall out anyway.” What a trooper!
A woman was killed by an alligator as she attempted to touch the animal after spotting it in a nearby pond, authorities have said. Cynthia Covert, 58, was at her friend’s home on Kiawah Island, South Carolina, painting her nails. According to the police report, the friend said Ms Covert was “very talkative and strange”. “She was very relaxed and excited that her boyfriend was coming from Tennessee to visit,” the friend said. Ms Covert had one glass of wine during the interaction but the friend did not know if she was on other substances. After doing the woman’s nails, Ms Covert reportedly spotted the alligator in the pond and was “fascinated” by the animal. Ms Covert walked over to the pond and started taking pictures of the animal, at which point the friend warned about how she saw a deer getting attacked by the alligator at that same location. “I don’t look like a deer.” Ms Covert responded before she reportedly reached out to touch the animal. It then attacked and grabbed the woman’s leg, pulling her into the water. “I guess I won’t do this again,” Ms Covert was heard saying after the alligator grabbed her, according to the police report. The friend’s husband and a nearby neighbour ran out and attempted to pull Ms Covert back to shore by tossing her a rope. But then the alligator rolled over onto Ms Covert and she disappeared into the water. Deputies and firefighters arrived on the scene and searched for Ms Covert for 10 to 15 minutes before her body resurfaced. But the alligator was still holding onto the woman’s leg. A deputy shot at the animal with a 9 mm handgun so it would release the woman’s leg. The alligator was shot several times before it died. Ms Covert’s leg was severely damaged after her body was brought to shore, but it was determined by the Charleston County Coroner’s office she died by drowning. She is the third person to die in the state from an alligator encounter, according to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
The Newly Infected
- Piers Morgan said he would not host Good Morning Britain on Monday 4th May because he was presenting mild symptoms of coronavirus. Turns out he tested negative, no surprise for such a cry baby.
On This Day
- 1849 – Astor Place Riot: A riot breaks out at the Astor Opera House in Manhattan, New York City over a dispute between actors Edwin Forrest and William Charles Macready, killing at least 22 and injuring over 120.
- 1908 – Mother’s Day is observed for the first time in the United States, in Grafton, West Virginia. Billions of flowering plants have died for the cause.
- 1941 – World War II: Rudolf Hess parachutes into Scotland to try to negotiate a peace deal between the United Kingdom and Nazi Germany.
- 1960 – The nuclear submarine USS Triton completes Operation Sandblast, the first underwater circumnavigation of the earth.
- 1962 – Marvel Comics publishes the first issue of The Incredible Hulk.
- 1967 – The Northrop M2-F2 crashes on landing, becoming the inspiration for the novel Cyborg and TV series The Six Million Dollar Man.
- 1975 – Sony introduces the Betamax videocassette recorder in Japan.
- 1863 – Stonewall Jackson, American general (b. 1824)
- 1977 – Joan Crawford, American actress (year of birth disputed)
- 1994 – John Wayne Gacy, American serial killer (b. 1942)
- 2010 – Frank Frazetta, American illustrator and painter (b. 1928)
Liberace was an American pianist, singer and actor. ultimately becoming better known for his lavish lifestyle and extravagant wardrobe than for his not-inconsiderable prowess on the keyboard. At the height of his fame, from the 1950s to the 1970s, Liberace was the highest-paid entertainer in the world, however in 1987 Liberace — whose real name was Władziu Valentino Liberace — passed away at the age of 67.
A devout Roman Catholic to the end, he had a priest administer the last rites to him the day before his death. His death was initially attributed variously to anaemia (due to a diet of watermelon), emphysema, and heart disease, the last of which was attested to by Liberace’s personal physician, Dr. Ronald Daniels. However, the Riverside County coroner – against the advice of Dr. Daniels – performed an autopsy and later stated that “a deliberate attempt” had been made to hide the actual cause of Liberace’s death by his doctors, his manager, and Liberace’s entire immediate family. The post mortem discovered that Liberace had emphysema and coronary artery disease from years of chain smoking, but the real cause was pneumonia due to complications from AIDS. Liberace was secretly diagnosed HIV positive in August 1985 by his private physician in Las Vegas, 18 months before his death.
Gladys Luckie was arguably one of the people who knew him best, working for the entertainer for 40 years in a loosely defined role Liberace jokingly described as “a second mother.” Following Liberace’s death, Luckie told the Las Vegas Sun about Liberace’s final days, recalling that few weeks before his death that she thought his condition was improving “because he was eating so well.”
On his final day, Luckie served him a porridge-like breakfast cereal that was a Liberace favourite. “That last day I made him Cream of Wheat. He gave me a smile and a wink,” she told the newspaper. “And that was the last thing. He died.” According to Luckie, Liberace “always said I was the only one who made Cream of Wheat the way he liked it — with sugar and lots of butter.”
Liberace was said to be worth over $110 million at the time of his death, and to have bequeathed $88 million to the Liberace Foundation. Only in 2015 did Liberace Foundation Chairman Jonathan Warren reveal in a lecture at the Mob Museum in Las Vegas that these figures were all part of the showmanship of Liberace, and that the real figures were closer to one tenth those amounts. Liberace’s body is entombed with those of his mother and brother, at Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Maureen Lipman (73), Marion Ramsey (72), Rosario Dawson (40), Glenda Jackson (83), Billy Joel (70), Alan Bennett (85), Matthew Kelly (69), Stephen Amell (38), David Attenborough (93), Enrique Iglesias (44), Alexander Ludwig (27), Richard O’Sullivan (75), Naomi Scott (26), Adrianne Palicki (36), George Clooney (58), Henry Cavill (37), Zach McGowan (40), John Rhys-Davies (76), Lance Henriksen (80), Richard E. Grant (63), Michael Palin (77), and Will Arnett (50).
Sadly we have points to hand out this week, with the death of the pioneering actress Jill Gascoine I can award Louise, Paul & Ashley 67 points each, and a special well done to Abi who had her listed as her Woman, so 167 points! Well done all. This has changed the leader board somewhat as we now have a new pooler in pole position.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Michael Robinson, 61, English footballer (Brighton & Hove Albion, Liverpool, Republic of Ireland national team) and sports commentator, melanoma.
- Jill Gascoine, 83, British actress (The Gentle Touch, C.A.T.S. Eyes, The Onedin Line).
- Irrfan Khan, 53, Indian actor (Slumdog Millionaire, Life of Pi, The Lunchbox), colon infection.
- Rishi Kapoor, 67, Indian actor (Bobby, Do Dooni Chaar, Kapoor & Sons), complications from bone marrow cancer.
- Sam Lloyd, 56, American actor (Scrubs, Galaxy Quest) and musician (The Blanks), brain tumour.
In Other News
Sir Michael Palin was saved by an elderly neighbour after accidentally starting a fire in his home while recovering from surgery, he has claimed. The Monty Python star says he was relaxing after having open-heart surgery in September when he blew some kitchen roll into a naked flame while doing his breathing exercises. “I leapt up and grasped a hand towel, which briefly smothered the flames before itself catching alight,” Palin said. “In some alarm now, as flames licked up towards the ceiling, I dialled the emergency services – but the moment we connected, the smoke alarm went off and I couldn’t hear a word they were saying. Palin continued: “I just caught something about washing my hands which made me realise that, without my glasses on, I’d rung 111 instead of 999. But I washed my hands anyway, and by a fantastic stroke of luck, the loose tap that we never had fixed finally came apart, dousing the ceiling and partially extinguishing the fire.” His 86-year-old neighbour broke into his house via a window and saved him, he claims. Palin notes that the neighbour had also had heart surgery the week before, adding: ”Thank God he’d been told to take it easy, otherwise he’d have been out playing golf and my house would have been a write-off.” Palin underwent open-heart surgery to fix his mitral valve, a small flap that prevents blood from flowing in the wrong direction around the heart.
Sopranos and Bad Boys actor Joe Pantoliano is recovering from “a severe head injury” after being hit by a car. The actor, who also played Cypher in 1999 film The Matrix , was taking a walk with his family in Connecticut when a Porsche ran into him after avoiding a collision with another car. Pantoliano’s wife Nancy said that he was “sent flying a couple feet backwards”. He was rushed to hospital, but is now recovering from the head injury and “some chest trauma” at home. His family shared a photo of the actor and his head injury on Instagram, writing: “Joey is home recovering. He has a severe head injury and some chest trauma. He is going to be dark for a couple days while recovering. “Thank you for all the well wishes and positive vibes. Keep them coming! We’ll reading them to him to help him get better!”
James Corden has reached out to fans to reveal that he has undergone minor surgery and won’t be able to film his show whilst he recovers. Taking to Twitter, the ‘star’ told his nearly 11 million deluded followers: “Hey all. I had to have minor surgery on my eye yesterday. I am doing well and recovering, but won’t be able to film new episodes for a few nights.” He added: “Thank you to everyone who has been watching the Late Late Shows from my garage. I’ll be back soon. Stay safe and well everybody. X.” Last month, the annoying cunt was close to tears as he admitted that the global pandemic had left him feeling “anxious and sad” and he wasn’t finding it easy to adjust. Speaking from his garage, where he has been filming his show, the 41-year-old told viewers: “I’ve found it tougher than I ever thought I would. I’ve found myself having these incredible spikes of anxiety and sadness when I’ve allowed myself to think about my family back home in England, or my friends or the people I love.” He then added that he’s realised it’s “OK” to feel such emotions. “It’s all right to feel a bit sad,” he said. “It’s OK to feel anxious, and the best thing we can all do is try and breathe through that and try and put our minds in a positive place.” Toughen up Tinkerbell, this rollercoaster has only just begun!
The Newly Infected
- Andy Murray: has revealed that he believes he contracted coronavirus before the UK went into lockdown.
- Madonna: revealed that she has tested positive for coronavirus antibodies.
- Mikhail Mishustin: The Russian Prime Minister said that he has been tested positive, becoming the highest-ranking Russian official known to have gotten infected.
- J.K. Rowling: The Harry Potter author revealed on Twitter that she had symptoms of the coronavirus but never got tested.
On This Day
- 1978 – The first unsolicited bulk commercial email (which would later become known as “spam”) is sent by a Digital Equipment Corporation marketing representative to every ARPANET address on the west coast of the United States.
- 2000 – The sport of geocaching begins, with the first cache placed and the coordinates from a GPS posted on Usenet.
- 2007 – The 3-year-old British girl Madeleine McCann disappears in Praia da Luz, Portugal, starting “the most heavily reported missing-person case in modern history”. Kate and Gerry McCann were never arrested.
- 1972 – Bruce Cabot, American actor (b. 1904)
- 2003 – Suzy Parker, American model and actress (b. 1932)
- 2011 – Jackie Cooper, American actor, director, producer and executive (b. 1922)
John Candy was a Canadian actor and comedian is known mainly for his work in Hollywood films. Candy rose to fame through his appearances in such comedy films as Stripes, Splash, Cool Runnings, Summer Rental, Home Alone, The Great Outdoors, Spaceballs, and Uncle Buck, as well as more dramatic roles in Only the Lonely and JFK. One of his most renowned onscreen performances was as Del Griffith, the talkative shower-curtain ring salesman in the John Hughes comedy Planes, Trains and Automobiles.
On March 3rd 1994, the comic actor was in Durango, Mexico, working on the movie “Wagons East.” His final movie, was his least enjoyable experience in film. Richard Lewis, who worked with him on the movie, said he was so much fun and so funny, but when he looked at him, he looked so tired. Although Candy complained about the 90-degree heat, he shot a series of exhausting action shots until 10 p.m. He then retired to his room and ordered Mexican spaghetti — pasta with a salsa-based sauce.
He ate alone and told his bodyguard he planned to shower and go to sleep. The next morning around 8 a.m., Candy’s body was found in bed, clad in a long red-and-black nightshirt. The body remained in bed until 4 p.m., until four strong men could be found to carry the overweight actor to an ambulance. There was no sign of drugs, alcohol or foul play, and a doctor declared the cause of death a heart attack. The exact cause is uncertain, as no autopsy was performed however he was a heavy smoker, obese and had history of cocaine use. Wagons East was completed using a stunt double and special effects and released five months after Candy’s death. He was 43 years old.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Christina Hendricks (44), Rob Brydon (54), Sandi Toksvig (61), Dwayne Johnson (47), Ellie Kemper (39), Matt Berry (45), David Suchet (73), David Beckham (44), Lily Allen (34), Jamie Dornan (37), Julie Benz (47), Joanna Lumley (73), Una Stubbs (82), Sam Heughan (39), Kirsten Dunst (37), Gal Gadot (34), Burt Young (79), Daniel Day-Lewis (62), Michelle Pfeiffer (61), Uma Thurman (49), Kate Mulgrew (64), Jerry Seinfeld (65), Willie Nelson (86), Anita Dobson (70), Jessica Alba (39), Ann-Margret (79), Penélope Cruz (46), Jay Leno (70), and Sheena Easton (61).
Yay, a viable cure to the virus has been found, just inject 300mm of Domestos up your arse for a cough free poo! Extra points if you leave said white poos in the park for kids to play with, like we all used to back in the 80’s.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Tom Lester, 81, American actor (Green Acres, Benji, Gordy), complications from Parkinson’s disease.
- Sir Peter Jonas, 73, British arts administrator and opera director.
- Shirley Knight, 83, American actress (The Dark at the Top of the Stairs, Sweet Bird of Youth, As Good as It Gets).
- Lynn Faulds Wood, 72, Scottish television presenter (Watchdog) and journalist, stroke.
In Other News
The South Korean government says it is investigating reports that North Korea’s Kim Jong-un is in a “fragile” condition after undergoing an unspecified surgical operation. Officials from the South Korean intelligence services said they were looking into a CNN report that said the North’s leader was “in grave danger”, citing unnamed US intelligence sources. An earlier report by Seoul-based news outlet Daily NK said Mr Kim was staying at a countryside villa outside Pyongyang while he recovered from heart surgery, and that his condition was improving. The South’s Unification Ministry, which handles affairs relating to North Korea, said it could not confirm either report but was investigating the matter. But a government source told the Yonhap news agency that South Korea was yet to see any “unusual signs” coming from the North regarding Mr Kim’s health condition. Speculation about the state of Mr Kim’s health has grown since he was conspicuously absent from events on 15 April commemorating the birth of his grandfather Kim Il-sung, the founder of the nation. The date is a national holiday and one of the most important in the North Korean calendar. Dozens of top officials attended a flamboyant military parade at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, Kim Il-sung’s mausoleum, but Mr Kim was nowhere to be seen. His absence from the 15 April events led to speculation at the time that he might be attempting to distance his own rule from the legacy of his grandfather – or perhaps that he had been struck down with coronavirus. North Korea has officially declared zero Covid-19 cases, a claim met with scepticism by experts. It is not the first time Mr Kim’s health has been a matter of speculation. In 2014, he disappeared from the public eye for more than a month – and then was pictured using a cane on his return. South Korea’s spy agency said he had undergone an operation to remove a cyst from his foot.
Tom Hanks has detailed what it was like being in hospital with coronavirus. The actor and his wife Rita Wilson tested positive for Covid-19 in March. They were in Australia at the time, where Hanks was filming Baz Luhrmann’s biopic on Elvis Presley. Speaking on The National Defense Radio Show, Hanks said he had “bad body aches and was very fatigued”, and he was exhausted after just a 12 minutes of exercise; dunno about you, but I’d be exhausted under normal conditions… “I was wiped” he said. “Whoever it was, a doctor or nurse, would come into our air pressurised isolation rooms. She said, ‘How are you feeling?’ and I said, ‘I just had the weirdest thing. I just tried to do basic stretches and exercises on the floor and I couldn’t even get halfway through.’ “And she looked at me through her glasses like she was talking to the dumbest human being. And she said, ‘You have COVID-19.’” Discussing the differences between his and Wilson’s symptoms, Hanks added: “Rita went through a tougher time than I did. She had a much higher fever. She had lost her sense of taste and sense of smell. She got absolutely no joy from food for a better part of three weeks.” He said at one point, Wilson “was so nauseous, she had to crawl on the floor from the bed to the facilities”. The couple have recovered and returned back home to Los Angeles. Having been told they are now immune from the virus, Hanks and Wilson have donated their blood as part of a study to see whether their antibodies can help develop a vaccine.
Peter Kay fans have expressed their concerns for the comedian after his first TV appearance in two years. The beloved standup was introducing a new version of his charity single “Amarillo” as part of the BBC’s Big Night In on Thursday evening. Kay, who has stayed out of the public eye since the final episode of his sitcom Car Share in 2018, was shown sat in the sunshine wearing glasses and a hat and eating an ice lolly. However, while many heralded the comic’s return to TV screens, they also expressed their concern for his health. “GREAT to see Peter Kay make an appearance on our screens tonight” said one user. “Poor bloke didn’t look or sound well, but still able to maintain his comedic heart licking on a solero! Hope whatever he’s going through he comes through the other end. Truly one of a kind.” “Great to see Peter Kay, although the legend is obviously far from 100 per cent. Whatever he’s battling, I and I’m sure the rest of the country wish him to get well very soon!” added another fan. “Hope Peter Kay gets through whatever he’s going through. The world’s a better place with him in it” said someone else. The 46-year-old cancelled his long-awaited UK and Ireland last year citing “unforeseen circumstances”. Other’s watching Big Night In praised how Kay had not lost touch with normal people, emphasising that some people cannot afford a charity donation. “Peter Kay ‘if you can give something, good, if you can’t then don’t worry, you’ve enough on your minds’” said one fan quoting the standup. “It is very nice to see a celeb who hasn’t lost touch with the ordinary people”.
The odds of being struck and killed by a meteorite are said to be as low as one in 250,000. There has been no credible and well-documented evidence of any human being befalling this unfortunate fate. But researchers now say they have found three separate official papers describing a fatal encounter with an extra-terrestrial object more than 130 years ago. At around 8.30pm on 22 August, 1888, a fireball was seen in the sky shortly before a shower of meteorite pieces fell “like rain” on a village in Sulaymaniyah, Iraq, then part of the Ottoman Empire. One man died after being struck, while a second was left paralysed, according to the manuscripts stored in Turkish government archives. The event appears to have been confirmed by a report to the sultan, Abdul Hamid II. “Due to the fact that these documents are from official government sources and written by the local authorities… we do not have any suspicion on their reality,” the researchers say in an academic paper describing their findings. They say it is the “first proof of an event ever of an event that a meteorite hit and killed a man”. If accepted as sufficiently verified, it would also become the earliest documented incident of a meteor hitting a person. Previously that notoriety was held by the Sylacauga meteorite, which struck Ann Elizabeth Fowler Hodges as she slept on a sofa in a farmhouse in Alabama, USA, in November 1954. Hodges was bruised by the fragment, which appears to have bounced off a radio set before hitting her leg, but survived. Other less well-documented contenders include a report said to date back to 1677, when a friar was supposedly hit and killed by a sulphurous “stone from the clouds” which lodged in his thigh.
The Newly Infected
Well, who’d have thought it. Barely three weeks into this new section and no new celebrities have admitted to having caught the virus. Does this mean we have reached peak infection around the world? I doubt it….
On This Day
- 1865 – Union cavalry troopers corner and shoot dead John Wilkes Booth, assassin of President Abraham Lincoln, in Virginia.
- 1933 – The Gestapo, the official secret police force of Nazi Germany, is established.
- 1986 – A nuclear reactor accident occurs at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Soviet Union, creating the world’s worst nuclear disaster.
- 1989 – The deadliest known tornado strikes Central Bangladesh, killing upwards of 1,300, injuring 12,000, and leaving as many as 80,000 homeless.
- 1865 – John Wilkes Booth, American actor, assassin of Abraham Lincoln (b. 1838)
- 1970 – Gypsy Rose Lee, American actress, striptease dancer, and writer (b. 1911)
- 1976 – Sid James, South African-English actor (b. 1913)
- 1989 – Lucille Ball, American model, actress, comedian, and producer (b. 1911)
- 1999 – Jill Dando, English journalist and television personality (b. 1961)
- 2017 – Jonathan Demme, American filmmaker, producer and screenwriter (b. 1944)
Adolf Hitler was a German politician and leader of the Nazi Party. He rose to power as the chancellor of Germany in 1933 and then as Führer in 1934. During his dictatorship from 1933 to 1945, he initiated World War II in Europe by invading Poland on 1st September 1939. He was closely involved in military operations throughout the war and was central to the perpetration of the Holocaust.
Since we all know the mans history we’ll only cover his last moments. With The War coming to an end with the Allies capturing Berlin, Hitler was holed up in his Führerbunker, still giving out orders to his armies and arrest warrants for the colleagues who had deserted him. After midnight on the night of 28-29th April, Hitler married Eva Braun in a small civil ceremony in the bunker. Later that afternoon, Hitler was informed that Mussolini had been executed. By April 30th, 1945, he finally realised he had lost the war.
The German dictator’s last meal was eaten holed up in his bunker, he ate spaghetti with “light sauce” (although some biographers say he had lasagna). Hitler wanted a simple meal without any mention of the fall of Berlin, so the conversation consisted of dog breeding methods and “how lipstick was made from sewer grease.” Shortly after the meal, Hitler and Eva Braun, whom he had married less than 40 hours earlier, went into a private room and took their own lives. Hitler shot himself in the head and Braun bit into a cyanide capsule. Their bodies were carried outside to the garden behind the Reich Chancellery, where they were placed in a bomb crater, doused with petrol, and set on fire as the Red Army shelling continued.
Records in the Soviet archives obtained after the fall of the Soviet Union state that the remains of Hitler, Braun, Joseph and Magda Goebbels, the six Goebbels children, General Hans Krebs, and Hitler’s dogs were repeatedly buried and exhumed. On 4th April 1970, a Soviet KGB team used detailed burial charts to exhume five wooden boxes at the SMERSH facility in Magdeburg. The remains from the boxes were burned, crushed, and scattered into the Biederitz river, a tributary of the Elbe. The corpses of Braun and Hitler were fully burned when the Red Army found them, and only a lower jaw with dental work could be identified as Hitler’s remains.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Channing Tatum (39), Giancarlo Esposito (61), Pablo Schreiber (41), Jet Li (56), Joan Chen (58), Kevin James (54), Melania Trump (49), Al Pacino (79), Renée Zellweger (50), Hank Azaria (55), Gina Torres (50), Talia Shire (73), William Roache (87), Rory McCann (50), Aidan Gillen (51), Kelly Clarkson (37), Barbra Streisand (77), Djimon Hounsou (55), Shirley MacLaine (85), Dev Patel (29), John Cena (42), John Oliver (42), Gemma Whelan (38), John Hannah (57), Lee Majors (80), Michael Moore (65), Blair Brown (73), Amber Heard (33), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (53), Jack Nicholson (82), Michelle Ryan (35), Sheryl Lee (52), John Waters (73), James McAvoy (41), Toby Stephens (51), Andie MacDowell (62), Tony Danza (69), Iggy Pop (73), Queen Elizabeth II (94), Andy Serkis (56), Jessica Lange (71), Ryan O’Neal (79), Clint Howard (61), Veronica Cartwright (71), Carmen Electra (48), Ruth Connell (41), George Takei (83), Leslie Phillips (96), Nicholas Lyndhurst (59), and Michael Brandon (75).
Last week we saw three Doctors of the Who variety have their birthdays and a few well loved celebrities meeting their makers. I was due to work with Tim Brooke-Taylor next month, but along with all kinds of events it was cancelled due to the virus, sadly now that particular event will never be rescheduled.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Peter Bonetti, 78, English footballer (Chelsea, Dundee United, national team), world champion (1966).
- Tim Brooke-Taylor, 79, English comedian (The Goodies) and panellist (I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue), COVID-19.
- Brian Dennehy, 81, American actor (First Blood, Tommy Boy, Cocoon), cardiac arrest due to sepsis.
- Eddie Cooley, 87, American songwriter (“Fever“) and singer (“Priscilla“).
- Howard Finkel, 69, American Hall of Fame professional wrestling ring announcer (WWE).
- Norman Hunter, 76, English football player (Leeds United, Bristol City, national team) and manager, world champion (1966), COVID-19.
In Other News
Chadwick Bosemen’s appearance in a recent Instagram video has left fans concerned about the Avengers star. The actor, who plays the Black Panther, showcased a much slimmer physique as he shared a charity message about a new initiative to help battle the current coronavirus pandemic. Fans immediately flocked to the comments to note the change in how Chadwick, 42, appeared on screen as he rocked a purple cap and displayed a slightly scruffy beard. One fan asked, ‘Did you loose weight for a movie role ?????’ before another wrote: ‘Anyone in shock by how he look?’ While another concerned fan added: ‘I hope your okay, your appearance has changed.’ Chadwick’s weight loss may be down to his latest role in the TV series The Black Child, based on the book of the same name in which he plays a slave.
Gogglebox star Jonathan Tapper was left “fighting for his life” as he battled coronavirus, his wife has revealed. The patriarch of the Tapper family, who appeared on the series for five years, struggled to breathe and was unable to move after being struck by the illness. Jonathan’s wife Nikki said: “One night Jonathan came home from work and was unable to move. He had a cough and high temperature. He laid down on the sofa and – with no exaggeration – he stayed there for two weeks in our lounge room.” She continued: “We tended to him as best we could, but at times he seemed unable to breathe. Having spoken to the doctors, they urged us to stay home, but they said to quickly get an oxygen monitor, which fixed to his finger.” 52-year-old Jonathan was particularly at risk for coronavirus due to his age, as well as underlying health conditions. In 2019, he lost three stone in 12 weeks to combat a diagnosis of diabetes. Two weeks after first coming down with the illness, Jonathan is said to still be resting, and his health is improving.
Broadway star Nick Cordero is to have his leg amputated after suffering complications from coronavirus, his wife has confirmed. Yesterday, Cordero’s wife Amanda Kloots explained on her Instagram Story that she and her husband had received “difficult news”. She said that blood thinners doctors were using to help clotting in Cordero’s leg had sparked internal bleeding in his intestines. “We took him off blood thinners but that again was going to cause some clotting in the right leg, so the right leg will be amputated today,” Kloots said. The actor, who is best known for his work in Broadway productions of Waitress and Bullets Over Broadway, was initially diagnosed with pneumonia, before testing positive for coronavirus. While being treated in intensive care for a lung infection and fever, which caused a dangerous drop in blood pressure, he was placed on life support. He has remained unconscious in recovery since.
A pensioner who was given a surprise flight in a £70million fighter jet as a retirement present was flung out at 2500ft after grabbing the ejector seat handle to ‘steady himself’. The astonishing drama is outlined in a newly released report by French aviation investigators who have stern words for their country’s Airforce and government throughout. At times, it reads like a dark comedy film script, as it describes how the unidentified 64-year-old panicked and screamed with fear during his first flight in the Rafale-B which took off from Saint-Dizier airforce base, in north-west France last March. Then he shot out at high speed, losing his helmet that had not been fastened round his chin properly, before landing in a field close to the German border. His anti-g force suit, worn by aviators who are subject to high acceleration forces and designed to prevent a blackout, had also become loose around the trousers. It was only through good fortune that the pilot was not ejected by his passenger’s actions too – which could have led to a very serious crash. The pensioner had ‘never expressed a desire to take part in a flight like this, and especially not in a Rafale,’ reads the report by the Paris-based BEA (Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis). Despite this, his colleagues at the defence contractor where he had worked for most of his career set up the flight. ‘The need to keep the surprise until the moment of the flight,’ had hugely risky consequences, especially as regards ‘preparation for the flight,’ reads the report. It continues: ‘This situation generated a feeling of stress for the passenger, and this was particularly felt during the ejection seat briefing where he had to assimilate a large amount of information in a very short time. ‘The passenger said he had a complete lack of knowledge of the aeronautical environment and its constraints, having never flown on a military aircraft.’ Four of the pensioner’s colleagues had turned up with a professional photographer, and they placed a Go-Pro camera on their friend’s helmet to film the afternoon flight. ‘Faced with a fait accompli on the day of the flight, it was very difficult for him to refuse to participate in the flight,’ says the report. The flight had also been authorised by the French Air Force staff at the request of the Defence Ministry, which also piled pressure on the pensioner. The pensioner, had expected a gentle ascent, but the plane ‘climbed at 47 degrees’, compared to around 10 to 15 degrees for a standard passenger plane. This was when the Frenchman reached out to hang on to anything he could, and pulled the ejector handle. There was then a loud bang, with the force of the ejection tearing his unsecured mask and oxygen mask from his face. The Rafele-B’s command ejection system is meant to fire both seats at once – meaning the pilot feared his seat would fly out at any moment. Analysis of radio recordings show that the pilot was in control of the situation. Once informed that his passenger had ejected, the pilot realises that he should have been ejected too. ‘He then demonstrated a certain calm following the loss of the rear seat and the canopy.’ The pensioner managed to land with the use of his parachute and ended up in a field, shocked and with minor injuries.
The Newly Infected
- DJ Jazzy Jeff: says coronavirus-like symptoms caused him to forget 10 days of his life.
- John Taylor: Duran Duran’s bassist, tested positive for COVID-19 three weeks ago.
- Danny Burstein: The Moulin Rouge! star admitted to “coughing up blood for two to three days,” before being going to hospital.
- Sam Smith: Despite never getting tested, the Grammy-winner is convinced that it had coronavirus.
- Kalie Shorr: The country music singer has been diagnosed with coronavirus, despite being in quarantine for three weeks.
- Sinitta: The singer said she felt like she’d ‘swallowed a packet of razor blades’ after contracting the virus.
On This Day
- 1770 – Captain James Cook, still holding the rank of lieutenant, sights the eastern coast of what is now Australia.
- 1927 – Mae West is sentenced to ten days in jail for obscenity for her play Sex.
- 1943 – Albert Hofmann deliberately doses himself with LSD for the first time, three days after having discovered its effects.
- 1971 – Charles Manson is sentenced to death (later commuted to life imprisonment) for conspiracy in the Tate–LaBianca murders.
- 1987 – The Simpsons first appear as a series of shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show, first starting with Good Night.
- 1993 – The 51-day FBI siege of the Branch Davidian building in Waco, Texas, USA, ends when a fire breaks out. 76 Davidian’s, including eighteen children under the age of ten, died in the fire.
- 1824 – Lord Byron, English-Scottish poet and playwright (b. 1788)
- 1881 – Benjamin Disraeli, English journalist and politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (b. 1804)
- 1882 – Charles Darwin, English biologist and theorist (b. 1809)
- 1906 – Pierre Curie, French physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1859)
- 1989 – Daphne du Maurier, English novelist and playwright (b. 1907)
- 1992 – Frankie Howerd, English actor and screenwriter (b. 1917)
- 2004 – Norris McWhirter, English author and activist co-founded the Guinness World Records (b. 1925)
Peter Kürten was a German serial killer known as “The Vampire of Düsseldorf” and the “Düsseldorf Monster“. He committed a series of murders and sexual assaults between February and November 1929 in the city of Düsseldorf. In the years before these assaults and murders, Kürten had amassed a lengthy criminal record for offences including arson and attempted murder. He also confessed to the 1913 murders of a nine-year-old girl in Mülheim am Rhein and a 17-year-old girl in Düsseldorf. Described as “the king of the sexual perverts,” Kürten was found guilty of nine counts of murder and seven counts of attempted murder for which he was sentenced to death by beheading in April 1931. He was executed in July 1931 at age 48. Kürten became known as the “Vampire of Düsseldorf” because he occasionally made attempts to drink the blood from his victims’ wounds, and the “Düsseldorf Monster” both because the majority of his murders were committed in and around the city of Düsseldorf, and the savagery he inflicted upon his victims’ bodies.
On the evening of 1st July 1931, Kürten received his last meal. He ordered Wiener Schnitzel, a bottle of white wine, and fried potatoes. Kürten devoured the entire meal before requesting a second helping. Prison staff decided to grant his request. At 6 o’clock on the morning of 2nd July, Peter Kürten was beheaded by guillotine in the grounds of Klingelputz Prison, Cologne. He walked unassisted to the guillotine, flanked by the prison psychiatrist and a priest. Shortly before his head was placed on the guillotine, Kürten turned to the psychiatrist and asked the question: “Tell me… after my head is chopped off, will I still be able to hear, at least for a moment, the sound of my own blood gushing from the stump of my neck? That would be the pleasure to end all pleasures.” When asked whether he had any last words to say, Kürten simply smiled and replied, “No.”
Following Kürten’s 1931 execution, his head was bisected and mummified; the brain was removed and subjected to forensic analysis in an attempt to explain his personality and behaviour. The examinations of Kürten’s brain revealed no abnormalities. Shortly after World War II, Kürten’s head was transported to the United States. It is currently on display at the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museum in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Hayden Christensen (38), James Franco (41), Tim Curry (73), Kate Hudson (40), Maria Sharapova (32), David Tennant (48), Hayley Mills (73), Edgar Wright (45), Rick Moranis (66), Eli Roth (47), James Woods (72), Conan O’Brien (56), Rooney Mara (35), Sean Bean (61), Jennifer Garner (48), David Bradley (78), Victoria Beckham (46), Claire Foy (36), Martin Lawrence (55), Ellen Barkin (66), Emma Watson (30), Luke Evans (41), Seth Rogen (38), Emma Thompson (61), Maisie Williams (23), Samantha Fox (54), Sarah Michelle Gellar (43), Adrien Brody (47), Robert Carlyle (59), Julie Christie (80), Peter Capaldi (62), Ron Perlman (70), William Sadler (70), Erick Avari (68), Edward Fox (83), and Peter Davison (69).
We have a winner! With the sad passing of Sir Stirling Moss, Ashley has scored 60 points! Well done that man! I don’t know if you’ve heard, but the overriding news of the week is this rather nasty flu that’s going around! Apparently it’s killing off thousands of people a day, barely any celebrities though… Even Boris is getting better :/
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Alexander Thynn, 7th Marquess of Bath, 87, English politician and artist, Lord Temporal (1992–1999), COVID-19.
- Honor Blackman, 94, English actress (The Avengers, Goldfinger, Jason and the Argonauts).
- Shirley Douglas, 86, Canadian actress (Wind at My Back, Lolita, Barney’s Great Adventure) and civil rights activist, complications from pneumonia.
- Black the Ripper, 32, British grime MC, rapper and cannabis activist.
- Allen Garfield, 80, American actor (The Conversation, Nashville, Beverly Hills Cop II), COVID-19.
- John Prine, 73, American singer-songwriter (“Sam Stone“, “Angel from Montgomery“), Grammy winner (1992, 2006), COVID-19.
- Linda Tripp, 70, American civil servant and whistleblower (Clinton–Lewinsky scandal), pancreatic cancer.
- Malcolm Dixon, 66, English actor (Time Bandits, Return of the Jedi, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory).
- Hilary Dwyer, 74, British actress (Witchfinder General, Cry of the Banshee, Wuthering Heights), COVID-19.
- Sir Stirling Moss, 90, British Hall of Fame Formula One driver.
In Other News
Promoter Barry Hearn is recovering after suffering a minor heart attack, his son and fellow promoter Eddie Hearn has confirmed. Hearn is the chairman of Matchroom Sport, World Snooker and professional darts organisation PDC. His son, who leads Matchroom Boxing, confirmed the news with a tribute to the NHS and an update on his father’s health. He wrote: “As if we can’t thank the NHS enough, I want to particularly thank the staff at Broomfield and Basildon. “My dad Barry Hearn was taken to hospital on Sunday after a minor heart attack and was operated on yesterday. He is up and well and returns home today in good spirits! Thank you.” Hearn has been active on Twitter despite recovering in hospital, even reaching out to a fan to thank him for his fiancée’s work for the NHS.
Jimmy Greaves spent a comfortable night in hospital on Tuesday and is awaiting the outcome of tests. Tottenham announced on Tuesday night that their record goalscorer, who turned 80 in February, was receiving treatment in hospital. Greaves suffered a severe stroke in May 2015, which left him wheelchair-bound. A statement on his Facebook page, run by his friend and agent Terry Baker, read: “I did promise a statement mid-morning today when I posted a statement last night. “All I can say is no news is good news at the moment. Jimmy has spoken to his wife Irene by phone. “During the course of the day he will be having tests and when we find out the results I will post them on here. So watch this space and have a good thought for Jimmy as you go about your current daily routine. “His problem isn’t coronavirus-related and doesn’t seem to be related to his previous illness. Hopefully he won’t be in hospital for too long. “Thanks for the 1000s of you showing concern. England’s greatest ever goalscorer is still with us and here’s hoping he’s home soon.”
Former Liverpool defender John Arne Riise and his daughter have been hospitalised in Norway after being involved in a car accident in Norway in the early hours of the morning. The 39-year-old was understood to be driving his 19-year-old daughter Ariana home to Alesund from Tonsberg in the middle of the night when he was forced to swerve in an effort to avoid something in the road, causing the vehicle to slide off the side-verge and into a guard rail. Police found the car stranded at the side of the road in Erstad, around five miles from Alesund, and both occupants were taken to hospital, though this is reported to have been a precautionary measure. Riise’s agent, Erland Bakke, confirmed the accident involved the former footballer and his daughter, and said that both were conscious as they were taken to hospital for medical checks. Police have confirmed that there is no suspicion of criminal circumstances.
The Newly Infected
- Karl von Habsburg, the Archduke of Austria: The 59-year-old has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and is now being quarantined.
- George Alagiah: The BBC newsreader confirmed he had tested positive for the virus but said he thought he had had a “mild dose”.
- Alister Jack: Scottish Secretary and member of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s cabinet has developed symptoms of COVID-19.
- Chris Whitty: England’s Chief Medical Officer announced he was in self-isolation at home after experiencing coronavirus symptoms.
- Sir Kenny Dalgish: The former Liverpool player and manager tested positive after being admitted to hospital.
On This Day
- 1606 – The Union Flag is adopted as the flag of English and Scottish ships.
- 1934 – The strongest surface wind gust in the world at the time of 231 mph, is measured on the summit of Mount Washington, New Hampshire. It has since been surpassed.
- 1945 – U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies in office; Vice President Harry S. Truman becomes President upon Roosevelt’s death.
- 1961 – The Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becomes the first human to travel into outer space and perform the first manned orbital flight, Vostok 1.
- 1981 – The first launch of a Space Shuttle (Columbia) takes place: The STS-1 mission.
- 1817 – Charles Messier, French astronomer and academic (b. 1730)
- 1945 – Franklin D. Roosevelt, American lawyer and politician, 32nd President of the United States (b. 1882)
- 1981 – Joe Louis, American boxer and wrestler (b. 1914)
- 1989 – Sugar Ray Robinson, American boxer (b. 1921)
Aileen Wuornos was an American serial killer and prostitute who murdered seven men in Florida in 1989 and 1990 by shooting them at point-blank range. Wuornos claimed that her victims had either raped or attempted to rape her while she was servicing them, and that all of the homicides were committed in self-defense. She was sentenced to death for six of the murders and was executed by lethal injection on October 9, 2002. The 2003 film Monster chronicles Wuornos’ story from childhood until her first murder conviction. It stars Charlize Theron as Wuornos, a performance that earned Theron an Academy Award for Best Actress. Wuornos was incarcerated at the Florida Department of Corrections Broward Correctional Institution death row for women, then transferred to the Florida State Prison for execution. Her appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was denied in 1996. In a 2001 petition to the Florida Supreme Court, she stated her intention to dismiss her legal counsel and terminate all pending appeals. “I killed those men,” she wrote, “robbed them as cold as ice. And I’d do it again, too. There’s no chance in keeping me alive or anything, because I’d kill again. I have hate crawling through my system…I am so sick of hearing this ‘she’s crazy’ stuff. I’ve been evaluated so many times. I’m competent, sane, and I’m trying to tell the truth. I’m one who seriously hates human life and would kill again.” While her attorneys argued that she was not mentally competent to make such a request, Wuornos insisted that she knew what she was doing, and a court-appointed panel of psychiatrists agreed. Wuornos’s execution took place on October 9, 2002. She died at 9:47 a.m. EDT. She declined her last meal which could have been anything under $20 and opted for a cup of coffee instead. Her last words were, “Yes, I would just like to say I’m sailing with the rock, and I’ll be back, like Independence Day, with Jesus. June 6, like the movie. Big mother ship and all, I’ll be back, I’ll be back.” She was the tenth woman in the United States and the second in Florida to be executed since the 1976 United States Supreme Court decision restoring capital punishment.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Saoirse Ronan (25), Claire Danes (40), Jennifer Morrison (40), Andy Garcia (63), Ed O’Neill (73), Shannen Doherty (48), David Letterman (72), Tricia Helfer (45), Matt Ryan (38), Jeremy Clarkson (59), Joss Stone (32), Jill Gascoine (82), Charlie Hunnam (39), Daisy Ridley (27), Haley Joel Osment (31), David Harbour (44), Steven Seagal (67), Peter MacNicol (65), Kristen Stewart (30), Elle Fanning (22), Dennis Quaid (66), Robin Wright (54), Patricia Arquette (52), Dean Norris (57), Jackie Chan (66), Russell Crowe (56), Francis Ford Coppola (81), Paul Rudd (51), John Ratzenberger (73), Michael Rooker (65), Zach Braff (45), and Billy Dee Williams (83).
Here we go again, yet more deathly news. Surprisingly, still no scoring even though the world is currently experiencing an apocalypse of sorts. Maybe we’ll see more deaths when the toilet roll runs out.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Andrew Jack, 76, British dialect coach (The Lord of the Rings, Sherlock Holmes) and actor (Star Wars), COVID-19.
- Bill Withers, 81, American Hall of Fame singer-songwriter (“Lean on Me“, “Ain’t No Sunshine“, “Lovely Day“), heart disease.
- Julie Bennett, 88, American actress (What’s Up, Tiger Lily?, The Yogi Bear Show, Sole Survivor), COVID-19.
- Logan Williams, 16, Canadian actor (The Flash, When Calls the Heart).
- Eddie Large, 78, British comedian (Little and Large), COVID-19.
In Other News
Celebrities have been criticised for “fanning the flames” of conspiracy theories linking 5G technology to coronavirus after several videos claiming to show 5G towers on fire emerged on social media. A Facebook page, which was created on Thursday, encouraged people to set fire to the towers due to baseless claims about the health risks posed by 5G technology, before the social media company took down the page on Friday morning. Amanda Holden, reality TV star Calum Best, Actor Woody Harrelson, Blue singer Lee Ryan and former Dancing on Ice judge Jason Gardiner were among the celebrities who shared theories connecting 5G to the Covid-19 pandemic. Perhaps it’s at times like these we should take the opportunity to thin the herd and relive us of the stupid to decrease the surplus population, or perhaps just remove the ‘Do not drink’ label on bottles of bleach and see what happens.
Comedian Eddie Large, best known for being part of double act Little and Large, has died with a very dubious case of the coronavirus. The star, 78, was a well known face on TV in the 1970s and 80s and was famous for his partnership with Syd Little. His family confirmed the news “with great sadness” on Facebook, saying he had been suffering with heart failure and then contracted the virus in hospital. Little said he was “devastated” by the news. “He had been ill for a while but when it happens, it hits you,” he said. His death leaves us with the question, what finally killed off Eddie Large? The fact that his heart was fucked for a long time or catching the lurgy whilst in hospital? I doubt he was in hospital if he was able to do cartwheels down the corridors, so to publicise his death, they stuck the C-19 label on him. Large stepped away from the limelight when the Little & Large Show ended in 1991, after doctors told Large his heart couldn’t stand the rigours of the live show. “That phone call to Syd was the most painful I’ve ever had to make,” he told the Mirror in 2017. “I was crying my eyes out because I knew I was putting him out of work. He had bills to pay. “I felt horrible. We weren’t just a double act. We were mates, right from the start.” Large had a heart transplant in 2003, and became a spokesman for the British Heart Foundation. Little said he had remained in almost daily contact with his stage partner, and spoke to him on Wednesday night, shortly before he died. “He was in pain, bless him, but he even asked me how we were,” he said. “He was so thoughtful to everybody.”
The Newly Infected
- Dominic Cummings: is self-isolating at home after showing symptoms Downing Street has confirmed.
- Dynamo: has revealed he has tested positive after experiencing “severe” symptoms.
- Ali Wentworth: said on April 1st that she’s “never been sicker” after testing positive. “High fever. Horrific body aches. Heavy chest. I’m quarantined from my family,” she said on Instagram. “This is pure misery.”
- Debi Mazar: took to Instagram to reveal that she tested positive for the disease. “I have just tested positive for Covid-19. I AM OK!”
- Indira Varma: appeared to confirm that she tested positive for coronavirus. The “Game of Thrones” and “Carnival Row” star said I’m in bed with it and it’s not nice. Stay safe and healthy and be kind to your fellow people.”
- Pink: announced she tested positive for coronavirus, in an Instagram post that criticised the US government’s handling of the crisis.
- Greta Thunberg: the teenage climate change activist, has revealed that she has self-isolated after showing coronavirus symptoms.
- Lee Mack: the comedian said on March 26th that he was self-isolating at home after developing symptoms.
- Paul Chuckle: is currently recovering from having contracted Covid-19.
- Robbie Williams: he believes he had coronavirus while he was self-isolating away from his family for three weeks.
- Marianne Faithfull: the singer, who also has pneumonia, is “stable and responding to treatment”, according to her agent.
On This Day
- 1722 – The Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen discovers Easter Island.
- 1951 – Cold War: Ethel and Julius Rosenberg are sentenced to death for spying for the Soviet Union.
- 1998 – In Japan, the Akashi Kaikyō Bridge opens to traffic, becoming the longest bridge span in the world.
- 1923 – George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon, English archaeologist and businessman (b. 1866)
- 1964 – Douglas MacArthur, American general (b. 1880)
- 1976 – Howard Hughes, American pilot, engineer, and director (b. 1905)
- 1994 – Kurt Cobain, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1967)
- 2006 – Gene Pitney, American singer-songwriter (b. 1941)
- 2008 – Charlton Heston, American actor, director, and political activist (b. 1923)
- 2012 – Jim Marshall, English businessman, founded Marshall Amplification (b. 1923)
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were American citizens who were convicted of spying on behalf of the Soviet Union. The couple were accused of providing top-secret information about radar, sonar, jet propulsion engines, and valuable nuclear weapon designs; at that time the United States was the only country in the world with nuclear weapons. Convicted of espionage in 1951, they were executed by the federal government of the United States in 1953 in the Sing Sing correctional facility in Ossining, New York.
The trial of the Rosenbergs on federal espionage charges began on March 6th, 1951. The prosecution’s primary witness, David Greenglass, said that he turned over to Julius Rosenberg a sketch of the cross-section of an implosion-type atom bomb. This was the “Fat Man” bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, as opposed to a bomb with the “gun method” triggering device used in the “Little Boy” bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The Rosenbergs both remained defiant as the trial progressed. During testimony, they asserted their right under the US Constitution’s Fifth Amendment not to incriminate themselves when asked about their involvement in the Communist Party or their activities with its members. On March 29th, 1951, the Rosenbergs were convicted of espionage. They were sentenced to death on April 5th under Section 2 of the Espionage Act of 1917, which provides that anyone convicted of transmitting or attempting to transmit to a foreign government “information relating to the national defence” may be imprisoned for life or put to death. They were transferred to New York State’s Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining, New York, for execution. The execution was delayed from the originally scheduled date of June 18th, because Supreme Court Associate Justice William O. Douglas had granted a stay of execution on the previous day. The execution was scheduled for 11 p.m. that evening, during the Jewish Sabbath, which begins and ends around sunset. Their attorney asked for more time, filing a complaint that execution on the Sabbath offended the defendants’ Jewish heritage. Rhoda Laks, another attorney on the Rosenbergs’ defence team, also made this argument before the Judge. The defence’s strategy backfired. The Judge, who also stated his concerns about executing the Rosenbergs on the Jewish Sabbath, rescheduled the execution for 8 p.m. before sunset and the Jewish Sabbath and before 11 p.m., the regular time for executions at Sing Sing, thus not allowing for the Rosenbergs time to have a last meal.
Julius died after the first electric shock. Ethel’s execution did not go smoothly. After she was given the normal course of three electric shocks, attendants removed the strapping and other equipment only to have doctors determine that Ethel’s heart was still beating. Two more electric shocks were applied, and at the conclusion, eyewitnesses reported that smoke rose from her head. The Rosenbergs were the only two American civilians to be executed for espionage-related activity during the Cold War.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Lily James (30), Mitch Pileggi (67), Jane Asher (73), Agnetha Fältskog (69), Pharrell Williams (46), Robert Downey Jr. (54), Hugo Weaving (59), Natasha Lyonne (40), Cherie Lunghi (67), Xenia Seeberg (51), Amanda Bynes (34), Eddie Murphy (59), Alec Baldwin (62), Paris Jackson (22), Pedro Pascal (45), Michael Fassbender (43), Clark Gregg (58), Penelope Keith (80), Mackenzie Davis (33), Ali MacGraw (81), Michael Praed (60), Ewan McGregor (49), Christopher Walken (77), Rhea Perlman (72), Daniel Mays (42), Richard Chamberlain (86), Robbie Coltrane (70), Warren Beatty (83), Eric Clapton (75), and Céline Dion (52).
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).