As some of you who pay attention to the emails may have seen, I missed a death last week!!! Yup, great start to the year from me! Just to officially state, Chrissy did get the first death of the year for Qaboos bin Said Al Said, 79, Omani royal, Sultan (since 1970) who died of colon cancer. And a massive 221 points too as she had him listed as her Cert and an extra 50 points for getting the first death of the year!!
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Stan Kirsch, 51, American actor (Highlander: The Series), suicide by hanging.
- Norma Michaels, 95, American actress (The King of Queens, Mind of Mencia, Easy A).
- Rocky Johnson, 75, Canadian Hall of Fame professional wrestler (WWF, Big Time Wrestling, CWF) and trainer, pulmonary embolism.
- Christopher Tolkien, 95, British academic and editor (The Silmarillion, The History of Middle-earth).
- Derek Fowlds, 82, British actor (Yes Minister, Heartbeat, East of Sudan), heart failure from sepsis.
In Other News
Let’s begin the news section with an award ceremony! Yes, for the first time in Dead Pool history I’ve managed to motivate myself enough to actually go out and get a trophy made. This of course would not have been possible without the kind donations that many of you have provided. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get a similar trophy made each year from now on, so there is actually something to play for!!
Without further ado, let’s congratulate Paul C on his amazing win! He’s officially The Angel of Death 2019!!! Paul has been a stalwart of the Pool for many years and has consistently been at the top end of the league table, so it’s only fitting he be the first recipient of a Dead Pool Trophy. I know he’s very pleased with his trophy and I would like to thank him and Liz C for providing a photo for us.
Now you know the amazingness that you are playing for, I’ll have to reiterate that you are not allowed to skew the results of the Dead Pool by killing the people on your list. Luckily there’s no provision here for a blubbering speech, so we’ll just assume Paul would like to thank his parents, his wife and all the dead people, whilst crying and thanking the audience. Well done Paul, Angel of Death 2019!
The world’s shortest man has died at the age of 27. Khagendra Thapa Magar, from Nepal, measured 67.08cm (2ft 2.41in) and weighed just 6kg and was recognised as the world’s shortest man who could walk by Guinness World Records. Magar had been suffering from heart problems, asthma and pneumonia. He was admitted to hospital in Nepal on Thursday and died on Friday. Sadly, not famous enough to be listed, but he’s worthy of a small footnote. The Guinness World Records recognises two categories for people of short stature: mobile and non-mobile. Magar’s height made him the shortest mobile man on the planet, at 7cm taller than Philipino Junrey Balawing, who measures 59.93cm (1ft 11.5in) and who is unable to walk or stand unaided due to the medical condition osteogenesis imperfecta. Magar was born in the Baglung district of Nepal on 14th October 1992, and was confirmed to be the shortest male teenager in early 2010. He was officially measured at Fewa City Hospital on his 18th birthday in 2010, when he became the world’s shortest mobile man. His father remembered: “He was so tiny when he was born that he could fit in the palm of your hand, and it was very hard to bathe him because he was so small.” As Magar became famous he was appointed as a Nepalese goodwill ambassador for tourism. The record for world’s shortest living mobile man has reverted back to Edward Hernandez, who measures 70.21cm (2ft 3.46in).
The husband of TV’s Dame Barbara Windsor today reveals his heartache at her decline – and the treasured moments which keep them going. Devoted Scott Mitchell tells the us that the actress’s Alzheimer’s has worsened to the point where she doesn’t recognise her own home. Scott says Barbara, 82, forgets who he is, regularly asks for her long-departed mum Rose and at times thinks she is living in her parents’ house. But the Carry On and EastEnders legend retains a “wonderful” humour, they still share a laugh – and watching her old shows stirs happy memories. Scott, 56, says: “I’ve definitely seen a progression in the last year. Barbara’s symptoms have deepened, especially where her confusion is concerned. “Constantly, she does not realise where we are, even in the house. She will ask me, ‘When are we going home?’ “Sometimes she will ask me about people who have already passed away, as if they are still here. That is something she does regularly about her own parents. It is a very difficult one. “Barbara will often say to me, ‘Do you know how to get in touch with my mum? I’d like to have a chat with her. I haven’t seen her for ages, I need to see her.’ “It’s heartbreaking. They are very difficult situations to be faced with. Short-term memory is the hardest, so Barbara won’t remember if she had dinner 20 minutes ago. If I say someone is popping in, she will forget that instantly. “The things she remembers are more long-term memories, so things about her childhood and early career.”
On This Day
- 1764 – Bolle Willum Luxdorph records in his diary that a mail bomb, possibly the world’s first, has severely injured the Danish Colonel Poulsen, residing at Børglum Abbey.
- 1883 – The first electric lighting system employing overhead wires, built by Thomas Edison, begins service at Roselle, New Jersey.
- 1983 – The Apple Lisa, the first commercial personal computer from Apple Inc. to have a graphical user interface and a computer mouse, is announced.
- 1986 – The first IBM PC computer virus is released into the wild. A boot sector virus dubbed (c)Brain, it was created by the Farooq Alvi Brothers in Lahore, Pakistan, reportedly to deter unauthorised copying of the software they had written.
- 2000 – Hedy Lamarr, Austrian-American actress, singer, and mathematician (b. 1913)
- 2006 – Wilson Pickett, American singer-songwriter (b. 1941)
- 2017 – Miguel Ferrer, American actor (b. 1955)
A Texas inmate with a history of violence against women was executed on Wednesday evening for fatally shooting his wife, who had feared she would never get out of her marriage alive. John Gardner, 64, received a lethal injection at the state penitentiary in Huntsville for the January 2005 slaying of Tammy Gardner. Prosecutors said the couple was getting divorced when Gardner broke into his wife’s North Texas home and shot her in the head as she was sitting in bed. She died two days later at a hospital. Asked by the warden if he had a final statement, Gardner, strapped to the death chamber gurney, turned his head and apologised several times to his wife’s son, daughter and mother, who watched through a window a few feet away. ‘I would like to say sorry for your grief,’ he said. ‘I hope what I’m doing today will give you peace, joy, closure, whatever it takes to forgive. I am sorry. I know you cannot forgive me, but I hope one day you will.’ After telling several friends watching through an adjacent window that he loved them, he apologised again, adding that he didn’t want to talk a lot and would ask the warden to go forward with his punishment because ‘I want to see the Lord Jesus so bad.’
Shortly after the lethal dose of the powerful sedative pentobarbital began, Gardner took three deep breaths and then began snoring. Within seconds, all movement stopped. He was pronounced dead 16 minutes later. Texas has abolished the practice of allowing death row inmates a final meal request prior to execution, and Gardner would have eaten whatever was being served to the inmate population as his last meal. Gardner became the first inmate put to death this year in the U.S. Seven other executions are scheduled in the next few months in Texas, the nations busiest capital punishment state. Last year, 22 inmates were executed in the U.S., with nine inmates being put to death in Texas, the most of any state. Sadly for Laura, who listed Gardner, he hasn’t got his own Wiki page! Although she correctly guessed his timely death, she’ll not score any points. This is the risk of listing Death Row inmates, most of the time they will not have their own listing outside of the crime they have committed.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Katey Sagal (65), Dolly Parton (73), Rob Delaney (42), Tippi Hedren (89), Michael Crawford (77), Kevin Costner (64), Dave Bautista (50), Jason Segel (39), Mark Rylance (59), Jane Horrocks (55), Samantha Mumba (36), Jim Carrey (57), Zooey Deschanel (39), Kelly Marie Tran (30), James Earl Jones (88), Betty White (97), James May (56), Kate Moss (45), James Nesbitt (55), Claudia Winkleman (48), DJ Jazzy Jeff (55), Jason Bateman (51), Carl Weathers (72), Kevin Durand (46), Mark Addy (56), Faye Dunaway (79), Dave Grohl (51), Ruth Wilson (38), Orlando Bloom (43), Liam Hemsworth (30), Michael Peña (44), Bill Bailey (55), and William B. Davis (82).
Afternoon Poolers, unsurprisingly, a week after his death, Derek Acorah has still to make an appearance on This Morning with Schofield and Willoughby…. I believe we might be waiting for some time for his apparition to talk to us since we no longer have a psychic of his calibre available to us, or perhaps he was talking bollocks since he was a knee high to a grasshopper.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Christopher Beeny, 78, English actor (Upstairs, Downstairs, In Loving Memory, Last of the Summer Wine).
- Martin Griffin, English rock drummer (Hawkwind, Hawklords).
- Neil Peart, 67, Canadian Hall of Fame drummer (Rush) and lyricist (“The Spirit of Radio“, “Tom Sawyer“), glioblastoma.
- Mike Resnick, 77, American science fiction writer (The Goddess of Ganymede, Stalking the Unicorn, Kirinyaga), cancer.
In Other News
Fans have worried about Justin Bieber’s wellbeing for a long time. The first half of the 2010s were raucous for the Beebs, in the worst ways. Remember the DUI charges and assault conviction? And that “parody” video that surfaced in 2014, of 14-year-old Bieber changing the lyrics of “One Less Lonely Girl” to include the “N-word”? And when he said he hoped Anne Frank would’ve been a Belieber? And the time his pet capuchin monkey was confiscated by German officials? Seems like a truly dark time. In the latter part of the decade, the singer opened up about his struggles. In 2016, he told GQ he’d been diagnosed with ADHD and was taking Adderall — but got a ton of blowback for his honesty, even from some of his biggest fans. He largely went quiet about his health after that. The singer embraced religion and got married to Hailey Bieber. But things weren’t all gravy: The couple were photographed crying together all over Los Angeles in 2018 and 2019. Last March, Bieber announced he was taking a break from music (YAY!) to focus on his mental health. And in September, he stoked speculation that he was seriously ill, after being photographed with an IV-drip in his arm. He also came clean about his heavy drug use in his younger days in an Instagram post that month. On Wednesday, TMZ revealed what’s really been going on: Bieber was diagnosed with Lyme disease in late 2019, after doctors spent most of the last year struggling to figure out what was wrong with him, other than the obvious. So some good news for those of you who have listed Bieber as a Maverick, with any luck this stain on humanity will score you some points!
On This Day
- 1908 – A long-distance radio message is sent from the Eiffel Tower for the first time.
- 1967 – Dr. James Bedford becomes the first person to be cryonically preserved with intent of future resuscitation.
- 1998 – Nineteen European nations agree to forbid human cloning. Luckily, after Brexit we can!
- 2006 – A stampede during the Stoning of the Devil ritual on the last day at the Hajj in Mina, Saudi Arabia, kills at least 362 Muslim pilgrims.
- 2010 – An earthquake in Haiti occurs, killing over 100,000 people and destroying much of the capital Port-au-Prince.
- 1665 – Pierre de Fermat, French mathematician and lawyer (b. 1601)
- 1976 – Agatha Christie, English crime novelist, short story writer, and playwright (b. 1890)
- 2003 – Maurice Gibb, Manx-Australian singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer (b. 1949)
- 2017 – William Peter Blatty, American writer and filmmaker (b. 1928)
- 2017 – Graham Taylor, former Grimsby Town player and former manager of the England football team. (b. 1944)
John Belushi was an American comedian, actor, singer, and one of the seven original cast members of the NBC sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live. Throughout his career, Belushi had a close personal and artistic partnership with his fellow SNL star Dan Aykroyd, whom he met while they were both working at Chicago’s The Second City comedy club.
Belushi spent his final week in the environs of Hollywood’s Sunset Strip. By the time he checked in at the front desk of the Chateau Marmont on the night of February 28th, 1982, Belushi was ‘a time bomb, a waste site, a mess. Sweaty, flabby, edgy, pale, dishevelled, worn to a stump at 33,’ author Shawn Levy writes in The Castle on Sunset: Life, Death, Love, Art and Scandal at Hollywood’s Chateau Marmont. Struggling to get his movie career back on track following lacklustre critical and box office reception to recent roles in Continental Divide and Neighbours, Belushi had ensconced himself in bungalow number three in order to work on the script for, and take meetings about Noble Rot, a romantic comedy set in the early years of the California wine industry. But the work was not going well, according to Levy’s book, and Paramount was keen for him to do a film based on The Joy of Sex before Noble Rot. Belushi’s attention span was limited and his speech often incoherent, his clothes were dirty and he appeared unbathed, his bungalow was in a constant state of disarray. At approximately noon Pacific Standard Time on Friday, March 5th, 1982, Belushi’s fitness trainer and occasional bodyguard Bill Wallace arrived at bungalow number three of the Chateau Marmont to deliver a typewriter and audiocassette recorder to Belushi. Wallace found him dead, with no one else present in the bungalow. The cause of death was combined drug intoxication involving cocaine and heroin, a drug combination known as a speedball.
In the early morning hours on the day of his death, he was visited separately by friends Robin Williams and Robert De Niro, as well as Catherine Evelyn Smith. She was kind enough to take him to L.A.’s Rainbow Bar and forced him to eat a bowl of the restaurant’s famous lentil soup, hoping it would calm him down. However he was found dead the following day.
His death was investigated by forensic pathologist Michael Baden, among others, and, while the findings were disputed, it was officially ruled a drug-related accident. In an interview with the National Enquirer two months later, Smith admitted that she had been with Belushi the night of his death and had given him the fatal speedball shot. After the appearance of the article “I Killed Belushi” in the National Enquirer edition of June 29th, 1982, the case was reopened. Smith was arrested, extradited from Ontario, Canada, and charged with first-degree murder. A plea bargain reduced the charge to involuntary manslaughter, and she served 15 months in prison.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Rachael Harris (51), Kirstie Alley (68), Rob Zombie (54), Howard Stern (65), Melanie C (45), Zayn Malik (26), Pixie Lott (28), Jeff pay your taxes Bezos (55), Amanda Peet (47), Jason Connery (56), Mary J. Blige (48), Rachel Riley (33), John Sessions (66), Jemaine Clement (45), Evan Handler (58), Rod Stewart (74), Joely Richardson (54), Imelda Staunton (63), Catherine Duchess of Cambridge (37), Michelle Forbes (54), Nicolas Cage (56), Jeremy Renner (49), Erin Gray (70), Helen Worth (69), Eddie Redmayne (38), Kate McKinnon (36), Norman Reedus (51), Rowan Atkinson (65), and Angus Deayton (64).
Welcome all to the first newsletter of 2020. Nice to see confidence trickster and fake ‘medium’ Derek Acorah proving there’s no afterlife by failing to reappear after his own death. Personally I couldn’t stand him, I found him and people like him despicable to say the least; to take advantage and monetise people’s grief is rather beyond me…
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Lexii Alijai, 21, American rapper.
- Derek Acorah, 69, English self-styled spiritual medium and television personality (Most Haunted, Derek Acorah’s Ghost Towns), sepsis.
- Qasem Soleimani, 62, Iranian major general, commander of the Quds Force (since 1998).
In Other News
Alex Trebek received a huge outpouring of support since revealing he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March. The longtime Jeopardy! host, 79, opened up about facing his battle with stage IV cancer. Trebek first announced his diagnosis to the world in a YouTube video in March, when he vowed that he would continue working while he fought and received treatment. Shortly after giving the emotional update on his health, the pop culture icon thanked the “hundreds of thousands” of fans who sent their love and prayers to him and his family. Fans aren’t the only ones supporting Trebek as he continues his battle with pancreatic cancer. Fellow game show mainstay Vanna White commended the Jeopardy! host for his bravery and gave a promising update on her friend’s health. “He looks good. I talked to him recently and he’s got a very positive attitude, He’s still working, he’s obviously doing chemotherapy but working through it, and has that strong will to, as we say, the show must go on.”
Actress Pam Grier has shot down rumours that she’s battling stage four cancer. A rep for the 70-year-old screen legend told TMZ that she’s “as healthy as ever,” and is slated to return to the set of Bless This Mess for its third season. The comment came in response so some (unfounded) speculation on social media that suggested otherwise. Back in 1988, Grier had been diagnosed with stage four cervical cancer. Though she was only given 18 months to live at the time, she managed to pull through, and her cancer’s been in remission ever since. Grier made her first big splash in showbiz in the early 1970s starring in schlock films like The Big Doll House and The Big Bird Cage. Throughout the rest of the decade, she became a staple of blaxploitation cinema, a movement that featured an anti-establishment with mostly black casts that were aimed at black audiences. While she maintained regular work in front of the camera in film and TV in the years that followed, it was her role as the title character in Quentin Tarantino’s blaxploitation homage Jackie Brown that gave her something of a career resurgence.
Former England footballer Paul Merson has revealed how close he came to taking his own life last year during a battle with depression. The 51-year-old is best known for his professional career with Arsenal, Aston Villa and Portsmouth among many other clubs, as well as winning 21 caps for the international team between 1991 and 1998. But he has also been blighted by alcohol and gambling addictions in the past, and with this weekend’s FA Cup third-round fixtures kicking off a minute later than normal as part of the Football Association’s mental health campaign, Merson has opened up on his own illness that nearly ended with him killing himself at the start of 2019. “On Monday I’ll have been sober for a year. But this time last year, I wanted to kill myself,” Merson wrote in a revealing column for the Daily Star. “I couldn’t go on any more. I just couldn’t see a way out. I had the tablets in my hand. I didn’t take enough to do anything but I had them there. With vodka. It was scary.” I think we all know how he feels, I also own 20 paracetamol and a litre of vodka, although I don’t find it that scary. He continued, “It was only because of the kids really, and my wife, and a little bit of consciousness, that I didn’t. Fear probably as well. I was scared to do it. When you’re in that place, you don’t see how it’s ever going to pass. But I have the tools now. If I get into a real down situation, I know it will pass.
On This Day
- 1757 – Louis XV of France survives an assassination attempt by Robert-François Damiens, the last person to be executed in France by drawing and quartering, the traditional and gruesome form of capital punishment used for regicides.
- 1919 – The German Workers’ Party, which would become the Nazi Party, is founded in Munich. We all know how well that went.
- 1941 – 37-year-old pilot Amy Johnson, the first woman to fly solo from London to Australia, disappears after bailing out of her plane over the River Thames, and is presumed dead.
- •1066 – Edward the Confessor, English king (b. 1004)
- •1922 – Ernest Shackleton, Anglo-Irish sailor and explorer (b. 1874)
- •1933 – Calvin Coolidge, American lawyer and politician, 30th President of the United States (b. 1872)
- •1998 – Sonny Bono, American singer-songwriter, producer, actor, and politician (b. 1935)
When amazing aviator Amy Johnson bailed out of her plane and vanished beneath the icy waves Britain lost an icon. The fisherman’s daughter had become a global superstar by being the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia. The intrepid adventurer followed up her astounding 1930 feat in a biplane by setting records for the fastest flights from Britain to Japan, South Africa, and India. She also became the first person to fly from London to Moscow in a single day. Amy was beacon to generations of girls who dreamed of breaking free from domestic drudgery for a life of romance and adventure. And her legacy lives on, even 75 years after death. Budget airline easyJet has named a plane after her and doubled the number of female pilots this year at its Amy Johnson Flying Initiative.
Using little more than makeshift maps and a compass, daring Amy had completed incredible journeys. But she ran out of records to set and decided to serve Britain in the Second World War by delivering planes around the country for the RAF. It was a decision that cost Amy her life, sparking a mystery that still persists today. Her body was never found and historian Dr Alec Gill believes the evidence points to a grisly end for Amy, chopped up by the propeller blades of the ship sent to rescue her from perishing cold Thames Estuary. Amy was 37 when, on January 5, 1941, she flew through snow and freezing fog, with a broken compass, to deliver a new Airspeed Oxford plane from Blackpool to Oxfordshire. She had defied orders to stay put. The flight should have taken 90 minutes but four hours later she crashed off the Kent coast near Herne Bay. Most historians believe she got lost in the thick cloud and was blown badly off-course. When her plane ran critically short of fuel she spotted the Royal Navy convoy in the Thames and bailed out, for the first and last time in her glittering career, hoping to be rescued. It was presumed she had drowned but fresh evidence may finally explain why her body was never found. It is claimed she was accidentally killed by her rescue ship. The revelation comes from Harry Gould, 84, whose father, also called Harry, was a Naval reservist on HMS Haslemere. Harry says the ship had hit a sandbank and was put in reverse to break free. He says: “So many of the crew were trying to help Amy, but with the ship moving they couldn’t reach her. “My father saw she was getting too close to the stern and shouted up to the bridge, telling them to cut the engines because they were going the wrong way. But they didn’t listen. “One of the officers shouted back, ‘Don’t you tell me what to do!’ If they had listened to him Amy might have survived. “A few seconds later she was dragged under the boat. Everyone thought she had been cut to pieces by the propellers. It’s an awful way for such a special person to die.”
Harry and his crew mates were not called to give evidence at the 1943 inquiry into Amy’s death. But hidden in the official report there is support for his story, from RAF clerk Derek Roberts, whose friend Cpl Bill Hall was also on HMS Haslemere. It reveals how Amy drifted near the ship, identified herself and complained the water was “bitterly cold”, urging the crew to “get her out as soon as possible”. “They threw her a rope but she couldn’t get hold if it. Then someone dashed up to the bridge and reversed the ship’s engines. As a result, she was drawn into the propeller and chopped into pieces.” The ship’s captain Lt Cdr Walter Fletcher dived into the water, with a rope tied around his waist, to search for her. He had to be pulled from the river and died of hypothermia later that day. He was awarded the Albert Medal for his courage. Dr Gill says a sailor “was within five feet of reaching Amy’s hand. They must have looked into each other’s eyes. It’s tragic. “This ship should have gone down in history as the ship that saved Amy’s life. Instead, historians are beginning to conclude that the propellers of the Haslemere killed her and that’s why her body was never found. That wasn’t even mentioned when her parents were still alive.” “This is still speculation as without a body there is no evidence. But it seems possible the Royal Navy would cover up what happened as they didn’t want to admit they had killed the most popular female pilot in the world.”
Last Week’s Birthdays
Clancy Brown (60), January Jones (41), Bradley Cooper (44), Diane Keaton (73), Robert Duvall (88), Hayao Miyazaki (78), Vinnie Jones (54), Marilyn Manson (50), Julia Ormond (54), Matt Frewer (61), Julian Sands (61), Mel Gibson (64), Victoria Principal (70), Sarah Alexander (49), Greta Thunberg (17), Kate Bosworth (37), Tia Carrere (53), Cuba Gooding Jr. (52), and Frank Langella (82).