As the ongoing viral infection is taking over the news, I’d hoped not to have to mention it here, but alas that’s nigh on impossible. All news that isn’t Coronavirus related has been binned and anything and everything is now associated with said infection. This is the first week that I have noticed a rise in notable deaths from the virus, mainly celebrities in Spain and Italy and a few in America, however, since Trump is mishandling the situation more than Boris is, I suspect a few of us will be scoring quite soon.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Eric Weissberg, 80, American folk musician (“Dueling Banjos“, The Tarriers), complications from Alzheimer’s disease.
- David Collings, 79, British actor (Scrooge, The Thirty Nine Steps, The Invisible Woman).
- John Campbell-Jones, 90, British Formula One driver.
- Albert Uderzo, 92, French comic book artist (Asterix, Oumpah-pah), heart attack.
- Mark Blum, 69, American actor (Crocodile Dundee, Mozart in the Jungle, Desperately Seeking Susan), COVID-19.
- Bob Andy, 75, Jamaican reggae singer (The Paragons, Bob and Marcia), songwriter and actor (The Mighty Quinn).
- John Callahan, 66, American actor (All My Children, Falcon Crest, Days of Our Lives), stroke.
- Matthew Faber, 47, American actor (Welcome to the Dollhouse, The Pallbearer, Natural Born Killers).
In Other News
First the coronavirus outbreak shuttered entertainment venues and events around the world. And now it is starting to claim the lives of artists, entertainers and other celebrated figures. First to succumb is actor Mark Blum, known for roles in “‘Crocodile’ Dundee” and “Desperately Seeking Susan,” who died on March 25th from complications of COVID-19. He was 69. Terrence McNally, a four-time Tony Award-winning playwright, died on March 24th at the age of 81 of complications from the coronavirus. His works included “Master Class,” “Love! Valour! Compassion!” and “Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune,” which later became a film with Michelle Pfeiffer and Al Pacino. Italian actress Lucia Bosè, who starred in such films as Michelangelo Antonioni’s “Story of a Love Affair” (1950) and Juan Antonio Bardem’s “Death of a Cyclist” (1955), died on March 23rd of pneumonia after contracting COVID-19. She was 89. Chef Floyd Cardoz, winner of “Top Chef Masters” Season 3, died at the age of 59 of coronavirus complications on March 25th. I suspect this section of The Dead Pool to take over the newsletter, if I’m still here to write it…
The Newly Infected
- Boris Johnson: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he tested positive for coronavirus. In a video posted to Twitter Friday, the conservative leader said he was tested after showing mild symptoms, including a cough.
- Harvey Weinstein: The 68-year-old former film producer tested positive for the coronavirus at a state prison in New York while serving a 23-year sentence for rape and sexual assault, the head of the state correctional officers union said March 23rd.
- Prince Charles: the Prince of Wales and heir to the British throne tested positive for the coronavirus on March 25th. The 71-year-old is displaying mild symptoms “but otherwise remains in good health”.
- Rand Paul: The Republican of Kentucky is first United States senator to test positive for coronavirus.
- Matthew Hancock: Britain’s Health Secretary Matthew Hancock announced on March 27th he tested positive for the coronavirus.
- Alister Jack: Scottish Secretary and member of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Cabinet has developed symptoms of COVID-19.
- Placido Domingo: On March 22nd, the Spanish opera singer said he had tested positive for coronavirus and had gone into self-isolation with his family.
- David Bryan: The Bon Jovi keyboardist announced that he tested positive for COVID-19 after feeling sick for a week.
On This Day
- 845 – Paris is sacked by Viking raiders, probably under Ragnar Lodbrok, who collects a huge ransom in exchange for leaving.
- 1886 – John Pemberton brews the first batch of Coca-Cola in a backyard in Atlanta.
- 1974 – Terracotta Army was discovered in Shaanxi province, China.
- 2014 – The first same-sex marriages in England and Wales are performed.
- 1891 – Georges Seurat, French painter (b. 1859)
- 1972 – J. Arthur Rank, English businessman, founded Rank Organisation (b. 1888)
- 1982 – Carl Orff, German composer and educator (b. 1895)
John Spenkelink was a convicted American murderer. He was executed in 1979, the first convicted criminal to be executed in Florida after capital punishment was reinstated in 1976. Spenkelink was a drifter who was convicted in California for armed robbery and had been sentenced to five years-to-life. He had just escaped from the Slack Canyon Conservation Camp when he shot and killed a small-time criminal named Joseph Szymankiewicz in Tallahassee, Florida, in 1973. He claimed that he acted in self-defence —that Szymankiewicz had stolen his money, forced him to play Russian roulette, and sexually assaulted him. However, evidence and witness testimony from a co-defendant indicated that Spenkelink left their shared motel room, returned with a gun, and shot Szymankiewicz in the back. He turned down a plea bargain to second-degree murder that would have resulted in a life sentence. In 1976 he was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death.
Spenkelink’s case became a national cause célèbre, encompassing both the broader debate over the morality of the death penalty and the narrower question of whether the punishment fitted Spenkelink’s crime. His cause was taken up by former Florida Governor LeRoy Collins, actor Alan Alda, and singer Joan Baez, among many others. Also at issue was the assertion that capital punishment discriminated against the poor and underprivileged — Spenkelink often signed his prison correspondence with the epigram, “capital punishment means those without capital get the punishment.”
Prior to his execution Spenkelink split a flask of Jack Daniel’s whiskey with his prison superintendent. The execution was carried out on May 25th, 1979, on “Old Sparky”, the Florida State Prison electric chair. That morning, Doug Tracht, a popular Jacksonville disc jockey, aired a recording of sizzling bacon on his radio program and dedicated it to Spenkelink.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Ed Skrein (36), Marina Sirtis (64), Lucy Lawless (51), Brendan Gleeson (64), Christopher Lambert (62), Elle Macpherson (55), Eric Idle (76), Julia Stiles (38), Vince Vaughn (49), Orla Brady (51), Nick Frost (47), Lady Gaga (33), Dianne Wiest (71), Chris Barrie (59), Quentin Tarantino (56), Nathan Fillion (48), Julian Glover (84), Fergie (44), Mariah Carey (49), Jessie J (31), Keira Knightley (35), Jennifer Grey (60), James Caan (80), Martin Short (70), Diana Ross (76), Steven Tyler (72), Lee Pace (41), Sarah Jessica Parker (55), Elton John (73), Paul Michael Glaser (77), Richard O’Brien (78), Jessica Chastain (43), Alyson Hannigan (46), Lara Flynn Boyle (50), Jim Parsons (47), Kelly LeBrock (60), Mary Berry (85), Amanda Plummer (63), and Joanna Page (42).
As the whole world is dying around us, or so we are led to believe, I still have no points to award you. However, to lighten things up a bit, Doug came up with an idea that I rather liked, so we’re going to go with it. If any of your listed die of COVID-19, you will get an extra 19 points! I don’t expect to be handing out many 19 point bundles, but who knows, this could be the end of times! Although, if this was the case Tom Hanks would have pegged it already? Perhaps it calls for a flight of evil monkeys?
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Roy Hudd, 83, English actor (The Blood Beast Terror, Up the Chastity Belt, Coronation Street) and comedian.
- Stuart Whitman, 92, American actor (The Mark, The Comancheros, Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines), skin cancer.
- Roger Mayweather, 58, American boxer and boxing trainer, WBA super featherweight and WBC super lightweight champion.
- Alfred Worden, 88, American astronaut (Apollo 15), stroke.
- Peter Whittingham, 35, English footballer (Cardiff City, Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers), complications of traumatic brain injury.
- Kenny Rogers, 81, American singer (“The Gambler“, “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)“, “Islands in the Stream“), songwriter and actor.
In Other News
Mike Tyson has said that he is looking forward to his own death because “living might be more complicated than dying to me”. Tyson, 53, is regarded as one of the greatest heavyweights in the history of boxing. He became the first heavyweight to hold the WBA, WBC and IBF belts and later became the lineal champion. However, he has a controversial past and in 1992, he was convicted of rape and sentenced to six years in prison. He was eventually released on parole after serving three years. Since his retirement from boxing he has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and, reflecting on both his career and his life in an interview with The Sportsman, Tyson said that he does not fear death. “From my experience, from what I believe, the more I know about not existing, the more willing I am to die,” he said. “Yeah [I look forward to it], I don’t fear it. Living might be more complicated than dying to me… because living takes a lot of courage. “Without the courage, you can’t handle living. Living is a journey; living is a struggle. People have everything and they still can’t do it, they struggle. “We take ourselves too seriously; we think we’re somebody. Who the fuck, we’re nothing! We come from shit; we think we’re special [but] fame is shit. “You find out you’re not [special]. You’re capable of going to jail, you’re capable of dying, you’re capable of being mistreated. “I don’t really expect bad things to happen to me, but when they do happen to me, I understand it and I’m able to handle it. I’ve handled bad stuff before, that’s been my life. I don’t trip over bad things, I know shit happens. When bad things happen, I will be still striving to do something. I won’t be discouraged.” Good old Mike!
The Notably Newly Infected
Michel Barnier: The European Union’s chief negotiator for its future relationship with Britain after Brexit.
Idris Elba: The British actor confirmed he had contracted COVID-19 on Twitter on Tuesday 17th March.
Mikel Arteta: Arsenal’s head coach tested positive for the coronavirus and self-isolated in line with government guidelines.
Kristofer Hivju: Games of Thrones star Hivju, who played the wildling warrior Tormund Giantsbane, self-isolated with his family after contracting the illness.
Linda Lusardi: The actress and former model said she had “never felt this ill” after contracting the virus.
Fiona Phillips: The former GMTV host said she had symptoms including a sore throat and dry cough but was “fine” and “not suffering”.
On This Day
- 1906 – The first England vs France rugby union match is played at Parc des Princes in Paris.
- 1972 – In Eisenstadt v. Baird, the United States Supreme Court decides that unmarried persons have the right to possess contraceptives.
- 1978 – Karl Wallenda of The Flying Wallendas dies after falling off a tight-rope suspended between two hotels in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
- 1995 – Cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov returns to earth after setting a record of 438 days in space.
- 1772 – John Canton, English physicist and academic (b. 1718)
- 2001 – William Hanna, American animator, director, producer, and voice actor, co-founded Hanna-Barbera (b. 1910)
- 2003 – Terry Lloyd, English journalist (b. 1952)
Oba Chandler was an American Serial Killer who was convicted and executed for the June 1989 murders of Joan Rogers and her two daughters, whose bodies were found floating in Tampa Bay, Florida, with their hands and feet bound. Autopsies showed the victims had been thrown into the water while still alive, with ropes tied to a concrete block around their necks. The case became high-profile in 1992 when local police posted billboards bearing enlarged images of the suspect’s handwriting recovered from a pamphlet in the victims’ car. Chandler was identified as the killer when his neighbour recognised the handwriting. This was the first use of billboards by law enforcement in the US. Billboards then became useful tools in searches for missing people. Against the advice of his attorneys, he testified in his own defence, saying he had met the Ohio women and had given them directions. Chandler said he never saw them again, except in newspaper coverage and on the billboards set up by authorities. Police originally theorised that two men were involved in the murders, but this was discounted once Chandler was arrested. Chandler was found guilty of the murders and was sentenced to death on November 4, 1994. He maintained his innocence and continued to pursue legal appeals while on Florida’s death row. During his seventeen years of incarceration until his execution, he was notable for not having a single visitor. On November 15, prior to his execution, Chandler requested two salami sandwiches on white bread with mustard, peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich on white bread, iced tea and coffee as his last meal. He was executed at 4:08 pm but declined to make a last statement before being injected but left a written statement with prison officials stating: “You are killing a innocent man today.” On February 25, 2014, investigators revealed that DNA evidence identified Chandler as the murderer of Ivelisse Berrios-Beguerisse, who was raped and strangled in Coral Springs, Florida, on November 27, 1990. Chandler was living two miles from her workplace and abandoned his apartment two days after murdering her, leaving everything including his furniture behind. So not so innocent after all…
Last Week’s Birthdays
Lena Olin (64), Reese Witherspoon (43), William Shatner (88), Andrew Lloyd Webber (71), Gary Oldman (62), Rhys Darby (46), Matthew Broderick (58), Timothy Dalton (74), Sonequa Martin-Green (35), Jaye Davidson (52), Ruby Rose (34), Holly Hunter (62), Freema Agyeman (41), David Thewlis (57), William Hurt (70), Spike Lee (63), Carl Reiner (98), Harvey Weinstein (68), Bruce Willis (65), Ursula Andress (84), Glenn Close (73), Brad Dourif (70), Irene Cara (61), Rob Lowe (56), Kurt Russell (69), Gary Sinise (65), John Boyega (28), Alexandra Daddario (34), Alan Tudyk (49), Victor Garber (71), Jerome Flynn (57), Erik Estrada (71), and Jimmy Nail (66).
Ironically, even with all the scaremongering from the media, we are struggling to find dead people to list on the Dead Pool this week, and those who have died have died from other issues. Maybe next week eh?
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Max von Sydow, 90, Swedish-born French actor (The Seventh Seal, The Exorcist, Pelle the Conqueror).
- Pete Mitchell, 61, English radio DJ and presenter (BBC Radio 2, Virgin Radio).
- Michel Roux, 78, French-born British chef and restaurateur (Le Gavroche, The Waterside Inn), idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
- Genesis P-Orridge, 70, English musician (Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV) and performance artist (COUM Transmissions), leukaemia.
In Other News
Tom Hanks has urged fans to take care of themselves and each other in his latest Instagram post, after testing positive for Coronavirus this week. The actor and his wife Rita Wilson, both 63, are currently recovering from the disease in hospital isolation after falling ill while filming in Australia. The couple, who have been married for more than 30 years, had been Down Under filming for an upcoming Elvis Presley biopic Tom is starring in. On Sunday, Tom shared an update with fans as he and Rita remain in isolation. The Oscar winner shared a picture of his Vegemite on toast breakfast and a glass of water, hinting that he’s over the worst. He also included a little toy kangaroo and a cute koala bear in the picture in homage to those who have helped take care of him. Alongside the snap, he wrote: “Thanks to the Helpers. Let’s take care of ourselves and each other. Hanx” Fans responded to wish him and Rita well while others joked about the generous helping of spread on his toast. Earlier in the week, Tom and his wife Rita posed for a smiling selfie as they remained in isolation. Tom wrote: “Rita Wilson and I want to thank everyone here Down Under who are taking such good care of us. We have Covid-19 and are in isolation so we do not spread it to anyone else. “Remember, despite all the current events, there is no crying in baseball. Hanx” Hanks announced that the pair had contracted the virus in a statement, as they became the highest profile celebrities to have fallen ill with the virus. He wrote: “Hello, folks. Rita and I are down here in Australia. We felt a bit tired, like we had colds, and some body aches. Rita had some chills that came and went. Slight fevers too. “To play things right, as is needed in the world right now, we were tested for Coronavirus, and were found to be positive. “We Hanks’ will be tested, observed, and isolated for as long as public health and safety requires. Not much more to it than a one-day-at-a-time approach, no?” But what about Wilson???
- We obviously know of Tom Hanks and his wife as they were the first to go public.
- Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, wife of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
- Quite a few NBA players that I won’t bother listing as barely any of us would know who they are.
And Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi tested positive. “I had the virus for the last couple of days, which I’ve recovered from,” Hudson-Odoi said in a video posted on social media. “I’m following the health guidelines and self-isolating myself from everybody for the week. I hope to see everybody soon and hopefully be back on the pitch very soon. Take care.” And that’s about it so far, they all seem to be fairly healthy and will survive, shame that…
Floyd Mayweather’s ex-girlfriend and the mother of his three children, Josie Harris, has been found dead in her car by police in California. She was 40 years old. Harris was found outside her home in Valencia, Los Angeles County, on Tuesday night. Authorities do not suspect foul play and are treating the case like a death investigation. Mayweather and Harris had a tumultuous relationship when they dated between 1995 and 2010. The boxing icon served two months in prison when he was convicted in 2010 of domestic violence against her. The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department said in a statement on Wednesday: ‘Homicide investigators have responded to the death of a woman. ‘The incident was reported Tuesday, March 10, 2020, at approximately, 10pm, on the 25,700 block of Oak Meadow Drive, Valencia. ‘The woman was pronounced dead at the scene. There is no additional information available at this time.’ Harris claimed that she was abused by Mayweather on six different occasions and was in the process of writing a book about domestic violence survivors when she died.
On This Day
- 44 BC – The assassination of Julius Caesar.
- 1917 – Tsar Nicholas II of Russia abdicates the Russian throne ending the 304-year Romanov dynasty.
- 1990 – Mikhail Gorbachev is elected as the first President of the Soviet Union.
- 44 BC – Julius Caesar, Roman general and statesman (b. 100 BC)
- 1891 – Joseph Bazalgette, English engineer and academic (b. 1819)
- 1937 – H. P. Lovecraft, American short story writer, editor, and novelist (b. 1890)
- 1998 – Benjamin Spock, American paediatrician and author (b. 1903)
- 2003 – Thora Hird, English actress (b. 1911)
- 2014 – Clarissa Dickson Wright, English chef, author, and television personality (b. 1947)
A convicted killer sentenced to death for slaying three police officers took only one bite of his last meal before being executed by lethal injection. There was some hope death row inmate Nathaniel Woods’ execution may have been called off after the US Supreme Court granted a last minute stay, but this was lifted hours later. The 44-year-old dad had requested sweet potatoes, spinach, chicken patty and leg quarter, cooked apples, fries, two oranges and an orange-flavoured drink. However, he only had a bite of the chicken before leaving the rest of the meal untouched, according to a statement from Alabama Department of Corrections. Woods had made calls to his father, sister, daughter and mother, as well as friends, in the hours before his execution on Thursday evening at William C. Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore.
Woods was convicted for his part in what became known as the ‘deadliest day’ in the history of Alabama’s Birmingham Police Department in 2004. Officers Carlos Owen, Harley A. Chisholm III and Charles R. Bennett were shot dead by Kerry Spencer at an apartment in Birmingham where Woods was also present but didn’t pull the trigger. Prosecutors, however, said Woods had lured the three law enforcers into the home where they were killed – but supporters claim the evidence against him doesn’t stack up. During his trial – in a practice abandoned by every other US state except Alabama – the jury could not even come to a unanimous decision on his sentencing, with two opposed to the death penalty. The decision to press on with the execution came after Alabama Governor Kay Ivey reviewed a letter from Woods’ legal team requesting a reprieve from the death sentence, but said she would allow the execution to proceed. In a lengthy statement, the governor said: “There is no evidence, and no argument has been made, that Nathaniel Woods tried to stop the gunman from committing these heinous crimes. “In fact, he later bragged about his participation in these horrific murders.” Alabama State Attorney General Steve Marshall agreed in a statement on Wednesday that Woods was “correctly found guilty and sentenced to death by a jury of his peers”. Woods became the first person executed in Alabama in 2020 and the 67th since the state reinstated the death penalty in 1976.
Last Week’s Birthdays
David Cronenberg (76), Will.i.am (44), Jamie Bell (33), Jaimie Alexander (35), Michael Caine (86), Billy Crystal (71), Quincy Jones (86), Annabeth Gish (48), William H. Macy (69), Aaron Eckhart (51), Liza Minnelli (73), Thora Birch (37), John Barrowman (52), Johnny Knoxville (48), Nancy Kovack (84), Olivia Wilde (36), Sharon Stone (62), Jon Hamm (49), Chuck Norris (80), Robert Llewellyn (64), Juliette Binoche (56), Freddie Prinze Jr. (44), and Aidan Quinn (61).
Nil points to award this week, just goes to show that the coronavirus isn’t that bad. Although, just to put the willies up some people, three politicians in Iran have died of Corvid-19, at least we can all agree that if it targets politicians, we will welcome the virus with open arms…
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Stefan Lindqvist, 52, Swedish footballer (Halmstad, IFK Göteborg, national team), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
- James Lipton, 93, American television host (Inside the Actors Studio), actor (Arrested Development) and writer (Guiding Light), bladder cancer.
- CC, 18, American tabby cat, first cloned pet, kidney failure.
- Barbara Martin, 76, American singer (The Supremes).
- Alexey Sorokin, 97, Russian military officer and politician, Admiral of the Fleet (1988–1992) and Deputy (1989–1991).
- David Paul, 62, American actor, producer, television personality and bodybuilder (The Barbarians, Double Trouble, Twin Sitters).
- David Rainford, 51, British quiz contestant (Eggheads).
- Matthew Watkins, 41, Welsh rugby union player (Newport, Scarlets, national team), pelvic cancer.
In Other News
A Ukrainian chess grandmaster once ranked eighth in the world and his teenage girlfriend, who also played professionally, have died. Investigators claimed the pair may have choked to death after inhaling nitrous oxide. Stanislav Bogdanovich, 27, and 19-year-old Alexandra Vernigora, both from the Odessa region, were found dead in their adoptive home of Moscow, according to industry publication chess-news.ru. The couple, who had been together for a year, were initially claimed to have been found alongside balloons used to inhale the gas, which is legally available in the country. However Russian broadcaster Ren TV, citing Russian investigators, later said the couple had been found with bags over their heads. The supply of nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, was outlawed for recreational purposes in the UK in 2016 – however, the death rate associated with its use is relatively low. Between 2010 and 2016, 25 people were confirmed to have died as a result of inhaling the gas in Britain. Investigators reportedly said there was no evidence of foul play.
Jared Leto has revealed he “nearly died” while rock climbing in Nevada. Leto shared photos and videos of the incident on Instagram, which occurred while he was climbing with Alex Honnold, who is famous for his free solo ascents. Leto and Honnold were climbing at the Red Rock canyon in Nevada when the actor “took a pretty good fall”. “Not to sound dramatic, but this is the day I nearly died,” wrote Leto in the Instagram caption. “Took a pretty good fall climbing with @alexhonnold at Red Rock. Looked up and within seconds the rope was being cut by the rock while I dangled some 600 ft in the air. “I remember looking down at the ground below. It was a strange moment – less fear, more matter of fact, and slightly melancholy. The adrenaline came after, when I got back on the wall. But we made it through and lived to see another day. “Overall it was actually quite fun. we continued climbing into the night…”
Post Malone has spoken out to reassure fans that he is not taking drugs, after many expressed concerns for his health following bizarre live shows. The rapper, who is currently out on the second leg of his Runaway tour, was filmed stumbling across the stage, slurring his words and rolling his eyes back while performing. After fans took to social media to say they were worried he might be taking drugs, Malone used his concert in Memphis, Tennessee to deny these claims. “I’m not on drugs,” he told the crowd. “I feel the best I’ve ever fucking felt in my life. And that’s why I can bust my ass for these shows and fucking fall on the floor and do all that fun shit.” He added: “But for anyone that’s concerned here, I appreciate the love and the support, but I feel fucking fantastic and I’m not doing drugs.”
On This Day
- 1618 – Johannes Kepler discovers the third law of planetary motion.
- 1979 – Philips demonstrates the compact disc publicly for the first time.
- 2014 – Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, carrying a total of 239 people, disappears en-route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
- 1723 – Christopher Wren, English architect, designed St. Paul’s Cathedral (b. 1632)
- 1930 – William Howard Taft, American lawyer, 27th President of the U.S. (b. 1857)
- 1971 – Harold Lloyd, American actor, director, and producer (b. 1893)
- 2003 – Adam Faith, English singer (b. 1940)
- 2007 – John Inman, English actor (b. 1935)
Last Week’s Birthdays
Cynthia Rothrock (62), Micky Dolenz (74), Rachel Weisz (49), Bryan Cranston (63), Shaquille O’Neal (47), Tom Arnold (60), Alan Davies (53), Jolene Blalock (44), Eva Mendes (45), Dean Stockwell (83), Jake Lloyd (30), Matt Lucas (45), Paul Blackthorne (50), Fred Williamson (81), Aasif Mandvi (53), Penn Jillette (64), Murray Head (73), Catherine O’Hara (66), Patsy Kensit (52), Jessica Biel (38), Julie Bowen (50), Miranda Richardson (62), Charlie Brooker (49), Brian Cox (52), Bryce Dallas Howard (39), Daniel Craig (52), Rebel Wilson (40), Nathalie Emmanuel (31), Gates McFadden (71), Jon Bon Jovi (58), Chris Martin (43), and Alexander Armstrong (50).
Somewhat surprisingly, we’re not dishing out any points this week. Even though the oldest man on the planet has died and the last film star of the silent era also passed away. I’m expecting the following weeks to be busy with hordes of stars dying of Coronavirus, any bets on Jon Snow?
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Simon Warr, 66, British broadcaster & actor (That’ll Teach ‘Em), pancreatic & liver cancer.
- Chitetsu Watanabe, 112, Japanese supercentenarian, world’s oldest living man.
- Diana Serra Cary, 101, American actress (The Darling of New York, Captain January, The Family Secret).
- Ben Cooper, 86, American actor (Johnny Guitar, Gunfight at Comanche Creek, Rebel in Town).
- Clive Cussler, 88, American adventure novelist (Raise the Titanic!, Sahara) and underwater explorer, founder of the NUMA.
- Katherine Johnson, 101, American mathematician (NASA).
- Hosni Mubarak, 91, Egyptian military officer and politician, kidney failure.
- Michael Medwin, 96, English actor (Shoestring, Scrooge, The Army Game).
- Sudhakar Chaturvedi, 122 (claimed), Indian Vedic scholar and courier.
- Freeman Dyson, 96, British-born American physicist and mathematician (Dyson’s transform, Rank of a partition, Dyson series), fall.
In Other News
In what can only be described as an amazing case of Darwinism in action, three people have been killed after dry ice was poured into a swimming pool during a birthday party in Moscow. The victims had been celebrating the 29th birthday of Instagram influencer Yekaterina Didenko at a pool complex in the Russian capital. About 25kg of dry ice was tipped into the pool with the intention of creating a “visual effect” to impress guests. But people inside the pool reportedly instantly began to choke and lose consciousness. Several people were injured during the stunt, including Ms Didenko’s husband, 32-year-old Valentin Didenko, who is reportedly among the dead. The mother-of-two had earlier posted a video message telling her one million followers he had been rushed to intensive care. Dry ice, which is frozen carbon dioxide, produces a heavy vapour when put into water. The cause of the deaths is not yet known, but the vapour can cause an elevated level of carbon dioxide in blood when released in an inadequately ventilated space.
Britain’s oldest man is now the oldest man in the world following the death of the previous record holder in Japan – but it’s not an achievement he seems too enamoured with. Born on 29th March 1908, Bob Wighton has been the oldest man in the UK since last summer and took the global title after Chitetsu Watanabe died aged 112 on Sunday – days after receiving a Guinness World Record certificate. Mr Weighton, who turns 112 next month, can now expect to receive a certificate of his own, although he says he takes no satisfaction from the milestone. “Well, I don’t really feel satisfied because it means someone else has died,” said the former teacher and engineer. Mr Weighton, who still lives in his own flat in Alton, Hampshire, said living to such an age was “not something I ever intended, wanted or worked for – it’s just one of those facts of life”. “It’s good genes I guess – taking things as they come instead of worrying about them for months”. Upon celebrating his 111th birthday last year, Mr Weighton put his long life down to “avoiding dying”. He said: “I have had the usual scares, flu, influenza, malaria, two or three operations; I ought to be dead but I am a survivor, if you like.”
Prison bosses are reportedly worried about how to handle Harvey Weinstein while he is in jail, fearing he may commit suicide, or as it’s now called, doing an Epstein. Weinstein was convicted of rape and sexual assault on Monday and officials at New York prisons are said to be concerned another high-profile inmate could take his own life. Billionaire Epstein hanged himself last August in his cell at Metropolitan Correctional Centre in Manhattan while awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges. Now it is feared Weinstein may have to be kept in a private section of Rikers Island’s North Infirmary Command, which is for high-risk inmates, for his own safety. However, according to his attorney, Weinstein is as happy as can be — despite the looming possibility of nearly 30 years in prison. While Weinstein’s hospitalised at the moment due to chest pains, his attorney also doesn’t think his client will need extra protection from other inmates. Nothing like a bit of optimism.
On This Day
- 1692 – Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne and Tituba are brought before local magistrates in Salem Village, Massachusetts, beginning what would become known as the Salem witch trials.
- 1953 – Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin suffers a stroke and collapses; he dies four days later.
- 1983 – First collection of twelve Swatch models was introduced in Zürich, Switzerland.
- 589 – David, Welsh bishop and saint
- 1244 – Gruffydd ap Llywelyn Fawr, Welsh noble, son of Llywelyn the Great (b. 1200)
- 2006 – Jack Wild, Actor (b.1952)
Last Week’s Birthdays
John Turturro (62), Rae Dawn Chong (58), Mercedes Ruehl (71), Kate Mara (36), Adam Baldwin (57), Richard Coyle(47), Timothy Spall (62), Chase Masterson (56), Bill Duke (76), Michael Bolton (66), Téa Leoni (54), Jameela Jamil (34), Sean Astin (49), Lee Evans (56), Daniel Kaluuya (31), Edward James Olmos (73), and Dennis Waterman (72).
I’m not going to lie to you, this one is going to take a little while to read; I blame Nickie for sending too many stories… Luckily none of you chose Britain’s Oldest Living Person as she died last year, so any points you would have scored would have been nullified.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Frances Cuka, 83, British actress (Scrooge, The Watcher in the Woods, Snow White: A Tale of Terror).
- Harry Gregg, 87, Northern Irish footballer (Manchester United), Munich air disaster survivor.
- Kellye Nakahara, 72, American actress (M*A*S*H, Clue, 3 Ninjas Kick Back) and artist, cancer.
- Larry Tesler, 74, American computer scientist (Apple Corps, Xerox), designer of cut, copy, and paste.
- Heather Couper, 70, British astronomer and broadcaster, President of the British Astronomical Association (1984–1986).
In Other News
A daredevil pilot who believed the Earth was flat has been killed after his homemade rocket crashed shortly after take-off in California. “Mad” Mike Hughes, who hoped to prove the Earth was flat by going into space, died on Saturday near Barstow, California, after attempting to launch his steam-powered rocket for a new television series called Homemade Astronauts on the US Science Channel. In a statement, the Science Channel said: “Our thoughts & prayers go out to his family & friends during this difficult time. It was always his dream to do this launch & Science Channel was there to chronicle his journey.” A video of the launch, posted by a witness on Twitter, shows a parachute trailing behind the rocket immediately after take-off. The rocket is then depicted hurtling down to earth before crashing into the desert. With the help of his partner Waldo Stakes, Hughes wanted to reach 5,000 feet (1524m) in his rocket, according to space.com. Obviously nobody told him that commercial flights fly at 35,000 feet…
Dame Julie Walters has revealed that she was diagnosed with stage three bowel cancer 18 months ago. Walters said she had two primary tumours in her large intestine, and was so shocked when she was diagnosed that she thought doctors “must have made a mistake”. She was filming her new movie The Secret Garden when she was diagnosed. “I was still thinking, ‘That’s ridiculous, he must have made a mistake,’” she said. “I couldn’t believe it.” Walters described the reaction of her husband, Grant Roffey. “I’ll never forget his face,” she said. “Tears came into his eyes.” The actor said that while she had always been optimistic that she would recover, she worried about not coming round from anaesthetic after surgery. She said that she had “30cm taken out of my colon” in hospital. Walters had chemotherapy, which she said was “fine” and had not caused hair loss. She added: “I’ve just had a scan, and I know that I’m clear.”
Larry Tesler, the mind behind cut, copy and paste has died aged 74. Tesler played a key role in the development of a range of Apple products, serving as VP of AppleNet and Apple’s Advanced Technology Group. Prior to this the computer scientist had a pioneering career in technology. After studying the subject at Stanford University he went on to work for the legendary R&D facility, Xerox PARC. However, Tesler’s crowning achievement was the invention of cut, copy and paste, a function that is now taken for granted in modern computers. Tesler is fondly regarded as an encapsulation of hippie and high-tech culture that helped create Apple as a company.
Liverpool comedian, Jimmy Tarbuck, has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. The veteran comedian, 80, said that he is going to “try and beat it”. He said men can be too “shy” to get tested as he urged viewers: “All men out there watching, and all wives, get your husbands to go for the tests. I think after 50, just have a test, let them have a look at you. “You will be relieved and be with your families for extra years.” He added: “I feel great. I’m on the telly and I’m having a good time. Tarbuck said Sir Tom Jones has been his “mentor”, and had advised him to see a doctor when he told him about his symptoms. “Tom told me what was going to happen, all the tests,” Tarbuck said. He added: “Boys, go. It is embarrassing. The fella said to me ‘We’re going to give you the thumbs up’. I said ‘I hope not’. He roared laughing.” Tarbuck, who said the cancer has not spread, added: “I’m having injections and taking tablets and then I take a yearly cycle.”
The oldest person in Britain has died at the age of 111, it was announced last Wednesday. Hilda Clulow passed away peacefully on Christmas Eve with her family and friends by her side at the care home where she was staying in Redditch, Worcestershire. She was born on March 15, 1908, when a loaf of bread cost just 1p and London hosted its first Olympic Games. Hilda lived through 27 prime ministers, five monarchs, and survived both world wars. The retired dress worker celebrated her 111th birthday with a 1940s-themed party last March. Speaking of her longevity on her previous birthday, Hilda said: “When you get to my age, it’s just a number isn’t it? “I’ve had a lovely day and seen lots of old photos, my memory isn’t quite what it was, but I don’t do too bad! The oldest person in the UK now is believed to be 111-year-old Bob Weighton who was born in Hull on March 29, 1908.
On This Day
- 1455 – Traditional date for the publication of the Gutenberg Bible, the first Western book printed with movable type.
- 1739 – At York Castle, the outlaw Dick Turpin is identified by his former schoolteacher. Turpin had been using the name Richard Palmer.
- 1927 – German theoretical physicist Werner Heisenberg writes a letter to fellow physicist Wolfgang Pauli, in which he describes his uncertainty principle for the first time.
- 1821 – John Keats, English poet (b. 1795)
- 1848 – John Quincy Adams, 6th President of the United States (b. 1767)
- 1931 – Nellie Melba, Australian soprano and actress (b. 1861)
- 1934 – Edward Elgar, English composer and academic (b. 1857)
- 1965 – Stan Laurel, English actor and comedian (b. 1890)
- 1976 – L. S. Lowry, English painter (b. 1887)
- 1995 – James Herriot, English veterinarian and author (b. 1916)
The final words of a death row inmate who was executed for stabbing a child rapist to death in prison have been revealed. Nicholas Todd Sutton was given a death sentence after being convicted of murdering fellow inmate Carl Estep in 1985. The 58-year-old had eaten his last meal– fried pork chops, mashed potatoes with gravy, biscuits and peach pie with vanilla ice cream, saying in his last words that he hopes he does better in his next time.
Sutton – who choose to die by electric chair rather than lethal injection – also paid tribute to his faith in God. Supporters had been attempting to overturn his death sentence, arguing he was a changed man.
He was originally locked up for killing his grandma, and later confessed to two more murders before stabbing Estep to death while in jail. In a statement, Sutton said: “I have made a lot of friends along the way and a lot of people have enriched my life. “They have reached out to me and pulled me up and I am grateful for that. “I have had the privilege of being married to the finest woman, who is a great servant to God. “Without her, I would not have made the progress that I have made. I hope I do a much better job in the next life than I did in this one. “If I could leave one thing with all of you, it is, don’t ever give up on the ability of Jesus Christ to fix someone or a problem. “He can fix anything. Don’t ever underestimate His ability. He has made my life meaningful and fruitful through my relationships with family and friends. “So, even in my death, I am coming out a winner. God has provided it all to me.”
Sutton is the fourth inmate the US to executed in 2020, and the first in Tennessee. He was in prison when he killed child rapist Estep back in 1985 and was sentenced to death in 1986 – serving 34 years on death row. During a guard shift change, Sutton and his accomplice Thomas Street entered Estep’s cell and stabbed him 38 times in the chest and neck with homemade knives. Inmates said Estep was a drug dealer behind bars and had sold the men “bad merchandise”. It is claimed the paedophile refused to refund their money, so the men stole his watch. But then he threatened to kill Sutton, leading to the murder in which four inmates saw the men enter his cell and heard screams.
Sutton killed his grandmother Dorothy by knocking out and throwing her into a river in Tennessee’s Hamblen County. He was convicted of murder and then confessed to beating to death his high school friend John Large, 19, and fatally shooting Charles Almon, 46. Such a nice man!
Last Week’s Birthdays
Emily Blunt (36), Dakota Fanning (25), Josh Gad (38), Kelly Macdonald (43), Aziz Ansari (36), Jeri Ryan (51), Drew Barrymore (44), Thomas Jane (50), Kyle MacLachlan (60), Julie Walters (69), Nigel Planer (66), Sophie Turner (23), Ellen Page (32), Tuppence Middleton (32), Kelsey Grammer (64), Tyne Daly (73), Anthony Daniels (73), Charlotte Church (33), Anthony Head (66), Brenda Blethyn (74), Sidney Poitier (93), Rihanna (32), Cindy Crawford (54), Trevor Noah (36), Millie Bobby Brown (16), Ophelia Lovibond (34), Benicio Del Toro (53), Jeff Daniels (65), Ray Winstone (63), Seal (57), John Travolta (66), Molly Ringwald (52), Matt Dillon (56), Cybill Shepherd (70), Greta Scacchi (60), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (39), Rene Russo (66), Lou Diamond Phillips (58), Bonnie Wright (29), Dominic Purcell (50), Rory Kinnear (44), Paris Hilton (39), Michael Jordan (57), Patricia Routledge (91), Ed Sheeran (29), Brenda Fricker (75), and Barry Humphries (86).
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Paula Kelly, 77, American actress (Night Court, Santa Barbara, Soylent Green) and dancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
- Joseph Shabalala, 78, South African musician (Ladysmith Black Mambazo).
- Lynn Cohen, 86, American actress (Law & Order, Sex and the City, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire).
- Caroline Flack, 40, English television and radio presenter (The X Factor, Love Island, I’m a Celebrity: Extra Camp), suicide.
In Other News
Legendary Brazil forward Pele is reluctant to leave his house because he cannot walk unaided, his son has said. Pele, 79, has had problems with his hip for some time and now needs a frame to walk, with many of his recent public appearances in a wheelchair. “He is very sheepish, reclusive,” his son Edinho told us. His health has been a concern in recent years and he had prostate surgery in 2015 after he was admitted to hospital for the second time in six months. “Imagine, he’s the King, he was always such an imposing figure and today he can’t walk properly,” Edinho explained. “He’s embarrassed, he doesn’t want to go out, be seen, or do practically anything that involves leaving the house. “He’s pretty fragile. He had a hip replacement and didn’t have an adequate or ideal rehabilitation. So he has this problem with mobility and that has set off a kind of depression.” This June marks the 50th anniversary of Pele’s final World Cup title, won in Mexico with what many believe to be the greatest team of all time.
Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh announced that he has been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. The 69-year-old told listeners that he began to experience shortness of breath earlier this month. This ultimately led to his diagnosis, which was confirmed by two medical institutions. “I have to tell you something today that I wish I didn’t have to tell you,” Limbaugh told his listeners. “But it is what it is. And you know me, I’m the mayor of Realville.” Although I will have to miss some of my shows to undergo tests and treatment, “my intention is to come here every day I can. And to do this program as normally and competently … as I do each and every day.” Limbaugh is a longtime cigar smoker and smoking advocate. In e, he told a caller that Americans should thank smokers because of the money they add to the economy. He also denied that second-hand smoke caused illness, and that it took 50 years for first-hand smoke to cause cancer. Let’s see how his views help him with his recovery.
As we’re all about to die of the coronavirus, I thought you all might like to know why. Like so many deadly outbreaks before it, the new coronavirus likely emerged from bats. Since the first patients were infected at a seafood and live animal market in the Chinese city Wuhan at the end of last year, the previously unknown strain has spread to at least 27 countries. Authorities have confirmed more than 43,000 cases, of which 42,655 are in mainland China. One death has been reported in Europe, but luckily we’re not part of the EU anymore, so our gammons are safe. The new coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, is far from the only outbreak with bats behind it. Coronaviruses are a class, with seven strains known to infect humans. One of which is severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars), which killed 774 people during its 2004 outbreak. Mers and Ebola also fall into the same class. But why are bat viruses are so deadly? It’s all down to flying. The bat is thought to have evolved to release high amounts of the protein to “mop up” inflammatory damage caused by flying. The nocturnal creatures may therefore be “primed” to defend themselves against viruses. Viruses may then evolve to reproduce quickly within the animal before a defence response is initiated. “When you have a higher immune response, you get these cells that are protected from infection, so the virus can actually ramp up its replication rate without causing damage to its host,” said study author Cara Brook. While bats can tolerate this, if the virus moves into a creature without the same immune response, it can be deadly. “Our immune system would generate widespread inflammation if attempting this same antiviral strategy,” said Brook. While little is known about exactly where the virus came from or how long it takes to cause symptoms, Chinese authorities have confirmed it spreads via droplets expelled while sneezing or coughing. It is unknown whether the virus “floats” in the air or survives on hard surfaces. Infected patients develop flu-like symptoms, such as fever and breathlessness. In the most severe cases, victims succumb to pneumonia.
On This Day
- 1923 – Howard Carter unseals the burial chamber of Pharaoh Tutankhamun.
- 1937 – Wallace H. Carothers receives a United States patent for nylon.
- 1998 – China Airlines Flight 676 crashes into a road and residential area near Chiang Kai-shek International Airport in Taiwan, killing all 196 aboard and seven more on the ground.
- 2006 – The last Mobile army surgical hospital (MASH) is decommissioned by the United States Army.
- 1992 – Angela Carter, English novelist, short story writer (b. 1940)
- 2015 – Lesley Gore, American singer-songwriter (b. 1946)
- 2016 – Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Egyptian politician and diplomat, 6th Secretary-General of the United Nations (b. 1922)
At the age of 13, Dodd began exposing himself to children in his neighbourhood. His father eventually told an Oregon newspaper that he was aware of the boy’s behaviour but largely ignored it, since he felt his son was otherwise “a well-behaved child who never had problems with drugs, drinking, or smoking.” By the time he entered high school, Dodd had progressed to molestation, beginning with his younger cousins, and then neighbourhood children he offered to babysit, as well as the children of a woman his father was dating. The ongoing pattern din not stop and each time he was caught he was given a slap on the wrist and he just carried on.
On September 4, 1989, Dodd went to Vancouver’s David Douglas Park, with a fish fillet knife and shoelaces, and sought out young boys to kill. He lured two brothers, 11- and 10-year-old Cole and William Neer, to a secluded area, where he forced them to undress, tied them to a tree and performed sex acts on them both. When he was done, he stabbed them repeatedly with a knife and fled the scene. The boys were soon discovered in the park. Cole was dead at the scene, while William died en-route to the hospital.
After the murders of the two brothers, Dodd started a scrapbook with newspaper clippings and other facts about the murders. On October 29, Dodd drove to Portland, Oregon and there he encountered four-year-old Lee Iseli and his nine-year-old brother Justin at a local park. The younger boy was playing alone on a slide, and Dodd succeeded in convincing the boy to come with him. Justin had gone home, so Dodd told Lee that he “would drive him back to his house”. He managed to bring Lee to his apartment in Vancouver apparently unnoticed, and he ordered the boy to undress. Dodd then tied Lee to his bed and molested him, taking photographs of the abuse. Dodd kept Lee overnight while he continued to molest him, all the while jotting down every detail in his diary. The next morning, he strangled Lee to death with a rope and hung his body in the closet, photographing it as a macabre “trophy”. He would later confess to police that he had not originally planned to kill the boy, but eventually decided that it was necessary to keep him from telling anyone. Dodd stuffed Lee’s nude body in trash bags and threw it in some bushes near Vancouver Lake. He burned Lee’s clothing in a trash barrel except for the boy’s underwear, which he kept as a souvenir of the crime. One day later, Lee’s body was discovered, which sparked a manhunt for the killer.
On November 13, 1989, Dodd attempted to abduct 6-year-old James Kirk II from the restroom of the New Liberty Theatre in Camas, Washington, but the child began fighting and crying as Dodd was leaving the theatre through the lobby, carrying the boy in his arms. Despite Dodd’s attempts to calm the boy, theatre employees became suspicious. Once outside, Dodd released his victim before getting into his car and driving away. The boyfriend of the boy’s mother, William “Ray” Graves, came to the theatre lobby and was told that the boy had nearly been abducted. Graves went outside the theatre in the direction where Dodd was last seen. Dodd’s car had broken down a short distance away from the theatre and he was attempting to start the motor. In order not to raise Dodd’s suspicion and to stall for time, Graves offered to help him. He then put Dodd into a headlock and brought him back to the theatre, where employees called the police.
During the search of Dodd’s home, police discovered a homemade torture rack, along with newspaper clippings about his crimes, a briefcase containing Lee Iseli’s underwear, a photo album containing pictures of Lee Iseli, and assorted photographs of children in newspaper and store catalogue underwear advertisements. They also discovered Dodd’s diary, in which he wrote in detail about the murders. Dodd was charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of the Neer brothers and Lee Iseli, plus attempted kidnapping of another child. He initially pleaded not guilty to all charges, but later changed his plea to guilty.
Less than four years elapsed between the murders and Dodd’s execution. He refused to appeal his case or the capital sentence. He insisted that he was uncontrollable and would kill again, stating in one court brief: “I must be executed before I have an opportunity to escape or kill someone else. If I do escape, I promise you I will kill and rape again, and I will enjoy every minute of it.” He also said in some interviews that death would give him relief from guilt over the murders. During his trial, he wrote a pamphlet on how parents could protect children from child molesters such as himself. Washington state law gave Dodd the choice of either lethal injection or hanging for his execution. He chose hanging, later stating in interviews that he preferred that method “because that’s the way Lee Iseli [his final victim] died”. Dodd’s execution was witnessed by 12 members of local and regional media, prison officials, and family members of the three victims. Dodd ordered broiled salmon and fried potatoes for his last meal. His last words, spoken from the second floor of the indoor gallows, were recorded by the media witnesses as: I was once asked by somebody, I don’t remember who, if there was any way sex offenders could be stopped. I said, ‘No.’ I was wrong. I was wrong when I said there was no hope, no peace. There is hope. There is peace. I found both in the Lord, Jesus Christ. Look to the Lord, and you will find peace.
Dodd was executed by hanging at 12:05 a.m. on January 5, 1993 at Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla. He was pronounced dead by the prison doctor and his body transported to Seattle for autopsy. The witnesses said that the King County Medical Examiner, Donald Reay, found that Dodd had died quickly, within two to three minutes, though not from a broken neck, which is the usual cause of death from hanging. Reay stated that Dodd’s death had likely not been very painful.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Christopher Eccleston (55), LeVar Burton (62), Amanda Holden (48), John McEnroe (60), Jane Seymour (69), Simon Pegg (50), Andrew Robinson (78), Mena Suvari (41), Neal McDonough (54), Kim Novak (87), Christina Ricci (40), Josh Brolin (52), Michael Ironside (70), Arsenio Hall (64), Jennifer Aniston (51), Natalie Dormer (38), Damian Lewis (49), Taylor Lautner (28), Sheryl Crow (58), Laura Dern (53), Chloë Grace Moretz (23), Elizabeth Banks (46), Keeley Hawes (44), Robert Wagner (90), Philip Glenister (57), and Holly Willoughby (39).
A very busy points week with the long anticipated death of Kirk Douglas! 21 of us have scored some points! I’ll not list you all, but take a quick look at the league table and you’ll see most have now scored some points already, well done everyone, especially those of you who listed him as a Cert.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Terry Hands, 79, British theatre director (Royal Shakespeare Company).
- Kevin Conway, 77, American actor (Star Trek – The Next Generation, Gettysburg, Thirteen Days, Invincible), heart attack.
- Kirk Douglas, 103, American actor (Spartacus, Paths of Glory, Seven Days in May).
- Raphaël Coleman, 25, British actor (Nanny McPhee, The Fourth Kind).
- Orson Bean, 91, American actor (Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, Being John Malkovich), traffic collision.
- Robert Conrad, 84, American actor (Hawaiian Eye, The Wild Wild West, Baa Baa Black Sheep), heart failure.
In Other News
Shannen Doherty has been diagnosed with stage four breast cancer. The Charmed and 90210 star revealed the diagnosis on Good Morning America on Tuesday morning. “It’s going to come out in a matter of days or a week that I have stage four [cancer],” she told host Amy Robach. “My cancer came back and… that’s why I’m here.” Doherty kept the diagnosis private for a year. She said she chose to discuss it now because the condition will soon be made public in court documents. “I don’t think that I’ve processed it,” she added of the diagnosis. “It’s a bitter pill to swallow in a lot of ways.” Doherty was originally diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 and announced that the illness was in remission in April 2017.
Infamous Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff has asked a judge to grant him a “compassionate release” from his 150-year prison sentence, saying he has terminal kidney failure and barely 18-months to live. In 2009, the financier was sent to jail after pleading guilty to more than 10 federal charges relating to a Ponzi scheme involving hundreds of his clients. But lawyers for the New York-born financial adviser have filed court papers to say the 81-year-old has end-stage kidney disease and other “chronic, serious medical conditions”. including hypertension and cardiovascular disease. “There’s no cure for my type of disease,” Madoff told the Washington Post in a phone interview, expressing remorse for orchestrating the largest Ponzi scheme in history. After spending more than a decade behind bars, Madoff said his dying wish was to salvage his relationships with his grandchildren. He said; “I’ve served 11 years already and, quite frankly, I’ve suffered through it.” Madoff pleaded guilty in 2009 to 11 federal counts in a fraudulent investment scheme involving billions of dollars, admitting he swindled thousands of clients over decades. The rich and famous were among his victims, as well as people of lesser means who had invested with him unknowingly through feeder funds. The Bureau of Prisons denied Madoff’s request for release last December, according to court papers, saying it would “minimise the severity of his offence”. The agency lists Madoff’s release date as November 14th 2139.
The ever attention seeking Katie Price was forced to cancel a recent gig after coming down with a mystery illness, (cough, hangover, cough) and it’s claimed the former glamour model is worried it’s something serious. She is said to be concerned that it’s coronavirus, a contagious condition that has killed 565 people worldwide. According to The Scum, the mum-of-five has been texting her friends to ask what the symptoms are as she fears she picked it up from either her New Year’s break to Thailand or a recent trip to New York. A source told the paper: “Katie’s been feeling so bad she’s convinced it’s more than the flu. Yesterday Katie recorded a video from her bed saying she was feeling ill, but not too ill to take a selfie video. She lay in bed with no makeup on and her hair down and laying unbrushed around her, like us normal people do. “I’ve been really ill and I’ve been in bed all night and I’m staying in bed all day,” Katie said. No change there then…
On This Day
- 1959 – The R-7 Semyorka, the first intercontinental ballistic missile, becomes operational at Plesetsk, USSR.
- 1964 – The Beatles make their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, performing before a “record-busting” audience of 73 million viewers across the USA.
- 1996 – The Provisional Irish Republican Army declares the end to its 18-month ceasefire and explodes a large bomb in London’s Canary Wharf, killing two people.
- 1981 – Bill Haley, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1925)
- 1984 – Yuri Andropov, Russian lawyer and politician (b. 1914)
- 2005 – Robert Kearns, American engineer, invented the windscreen wiper (b. 1927)
- 2002 – Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon (b. 1930)
- 2007 – Ian Richardson, Scottish actor (b. 1934)
Coy Wayne “Elvis” Wesbrook was an American mass murderer, convicted for the killing of 5 people in Channelview, Texas on November 13, 1997. Wesbrook fatally shot his ex-wife Gloria Jean Coons, her female roommate, and three men during a party at Coons’ home in an apparent fit of jealous rage. Wesbrook was sentenced to death in 1998, and was executed by lethal injection in 2016. The case was controversial due to questions about Wesbrook’s intelligence being low enough that a death sentence was improper. According to his testimony, Wesbrook went to visit his ex-wife, Gloria Jean Coons, at her home in Channelview, Texas, in the Greater Houston area. He was invited to a party at Coons’ apartment along with other friends Diana Ruth Money, and three other males. Wesbrook had gone there with hopes of rebuilding the relationship with Coons, but went into a rage when the party’s attendees began to mock him because Coons had cheated on him in the bedroom. At some point in the evening, Wesbrook noticed that his ex-wife and two of the men had slipped away, and when he went into the bedroom, he found Coons having sex with both of the men. While they were mocking him they were playing “keep away” with his keys, tossing them back and forth to each other, preventing him from leaving. He was able to get his keys back and he left. A very short time later he returned in his truck and pulled out his .30-06 hunting rifle and returned to the residence, where he then fatally shot his ex-wife, all three of the males, and Money in the residence. At about 2 a.m., a neighbour heard the gunfire, grabbed a cell phone, went next door, saw the corpses, and called 911. Wesbrook was arrested at the scene. In 1998, Wesbrook’s trial began, and due to his low IQ the defence asked the jury to show mercy for Wesbrook. However, the prosecution said that Wesbrook had been fully aware that what he was doing was wrong and that made him fully responsible for his actions. The prosecution immediately sought the death penalty. The jury found Wesbrook guilty and fully responsible for his actions and recommended the death sentence, and on September 2, 1998, Wesbrook was sentenced to death, being placed on death row the same day. Despite his low IQ and the disputed testimony of Dr. George Denkowski, Wesbrook was not granted another trial. On March 9, 2016, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals rejected a last-minute appeal that had been filed because of concerns over Wesbrook’s possible mental impairment. For his last meal, Wesbrook ate baked chicken, mashed potatoes, country gravy, green beans, black-eyed peas, sliced bread and mandarin orange cake. He was given a choice of water, tea or punch to drink. Wesbrook was executed by lethal injection that evening, and was pronounced dead at 8:04 PM.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Joe Pesci (76), Michael B. Jordan (32), Rose Leslie (32), Tom Hiddleston (38), Ciarán Hinds (66), Mia Farrow (74), Jim Parrack (38), Mary Steenburgen (66), Nick Nolte (78), Ethan Phillips (64), Seth Green (45), John Grisham (64), Tina Majorino (35), Ashton Kutcher (42), James Spader (60), Deborah Ann Woll (35), Chris Rock (55), Eddie Izzard (58), Mike Farrell (81), Kevin Whately (69), Axl Rose (58), Jennifer Jason Leigh (58), Michael Sheen (51), Charlotte Rampling (74), Christopher Guest (72), Gabrielle Anwar (50), Jim Jefferies (43), Alice Cooper (72), Isla Fisher (44), Warwick Davis (50), and Morgan Fairchild (70).
Surprisingly we only have one person who listed Nicholas Parsons this year, at one point it seemed like he was on everyones list! However, points are points and Ron has made 54 of them! Well done that man! Shall we get on with it?
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Kobe Bryant, 41, basketball player (Los Angeles Lakers), Olympic champion (2008, 2012) and Oscar winner (2018).
- Nicholas Parsons, 96, British actor (Four Feather Falls), radio and television presenter (Just a Minute, Sale of the Century).
- John Andretti, 56, American racing driver (NASCAR Cup Series, CART), colon cancer.
- Fred Silverman, 82, American Hall of Fame television programmer (CBS, ABC, NBC) and producer, cancer.
In Other News
Olivia Newton-John says she is winning her third battle with breast cancer, thanks to medicinal cannabis. The 71-year-old told how the herbal treatment has helped contain the stage four disease, which returned three years ago in her lower back. Olivia looked fit and healthy as she appeared on the red carpet with Grease co-star John Travolta, 65, at the G’day USA gala in Beverly Hills on Saturday. The actress and singer said: “My tumours are receding or they’re going away or they’re staying the same. On a stage four metastatic breast cancer that’s pretty amazing. I don’t see it as a battle. I am winning.” Olivia is pushing for the wider use of cannabis as a medicine. She added: “For me the proof is in the pudding and I’m the pudding. “If I hadn’t had the experience I’m having with cannabis I wouldn’t be able to talk about it.” The mum-of-one’s Cancer & Wellness Centre in her native Australia is launching trials of cannabis as a medicine. She has also lobbied the government there to approve its use. The cannabis she uses is grown by husband John Easterling at their Santa Barbara home in California. She claimed doctors were supportive of the treatment. Olivia added: “It’s not a drug. It’s a herb and a plant.”
Comedy legend Jimmy Tarbuck has revealed he is having a cancer test the day after he turns 80 this week – but best pal Sir Tom Jones will help keep him laughing. The star started to fear he might have prostate cancer after suffering some of the telltale symptoms. And he credits rocker Rod Stewart – who has survived the disease – with giving him the courage to finally go and get tested. But it’s The Voice star Tom, 79, who will support him through his ordeal. Jimmy, whose birthday is on Wednesday, said: “The day after, I am going in for an operation and I will be getting myself right again. “They need to do a biopsy to find out if I have got prostate cancer. He added: “The thought of having prostate cancer is scary but I am determined to face it head on – and that’s because of learning that Rod Stewart has gone through it too.” Jimmy saw the rocker at a charity event in November when Rod first publicly announced he had been diagnosed with the disease. At the time Jimmy was experiencing symptoms, including blood in his urine and the frequent need to urinate. Of this week’s test. He said: “It’s best to know now because I want to grab another few years. My health has been fine since I had the stents put in and, please God, I’m still here. “I will make a deal with Him. I want a few more years and a bit of fun. And then I will say, ‘Thanks very much you have given me a great life.’
Madonna has cancelled two more shows in London, but said she was defying the orders of doctors who have told her she should be playing even fewer nights. The star, 61, said she has “multiple injuries”, meaning she has to do six hours’ of rehab every day she performs. She is currently doing a residency at the London Palladium, but has called off the shows on 4th and 11th February. That means she will not have three gigs in a row – but doctors told her two consecutive nights were still too much. She had previously cancelled her first London show on Monday after also calling off performances in Portugal. In a statement on Instagram on Friday, she wrote: “As you all know I have multiple injuries and have had to cancel shows to give me time to recover. “So as not to surprise you I want to let you know ahead of time that I will be cancelling 2 shows – on Feb 4th and Feb 11th at the Palladium in London because doing 3 shows in a row is too much on my body and in fact my doctors insist I take a day off after every show but I believe can manage if I do 2 shows then I rest! “It’s a miracle I have gotten this far but a lot has to do with the fact that I do 6 hours of rehab every day. 3 hours before show and 3 after with multiple therapies. “I have also switched to flat shoes and modified difficult parts of the show. This has helped enormously but I still need to be careful and of course rest is the best medicine. “Of course I never want to cancel any show and I’m determined that I will make it to the end if I pace myself. God Willing.” On Wednesday, she took to the Palladium stage wearing knee supports, but still performed high kicks, yoga poses and even the splits during a two-and-a-half-hour show.
On This Day
- 1709 – Alexander Selkirk is rescued after being shipwrecked on a desert island, inspiring Daniel Defoe‘s adventure book Robinson Crusoe.
- 1887 – In Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania the first Groundhog Day is observed.
- 1887 – In Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania the first Groundhog Day is observed.
- 1901 – Funeral of Queen Victoria.
- 1959 – Nine experienced ski hikers in the northern Ural Mountains in the Soviet Union die under mysterious circumstances.
- 1237 – Joan, Lady of Wales
- 1461 – Owen Tudor, Welsh founder of the Tudor dynasty
- 1969 – Boris Karloff, English actor (b. 1887)
- 1970 – Bertrand Russell, English mathematician & philosopher, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1872)
- 1979 – Sid Vicious, English singer and bass player (b. 1957)
- 1995 – Fred Perry, English-Australian tennis player (b. 1909)
- 1995 – Donald Pleasence, English-French actor (b. 1919)
- 1996 – Gene Kelly, American actor, singer, dancer, and director (b. 1912)
- 2011 – Margaret John, Welsh actress (b. 1926)
- 2014 – Philip Seymour Hoffman, American actor, director, and producer (b. 1967)
Donnie Cleveland Lance was executed by lethal injection at 7pm on Wednesday in Georgia, USA, having been convicted of the murders of Sabrina ‘Joy’ Lance and Dwight ‘Butch’ Wood Jr in November 1997. Having been convicted in 1999, the murderer went on to exhaust his standard appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear his case last year. The bodies of Lance’s victims were found at Butch’s home in Jackson on November 9, 1997 – with the murders estimated to have taken place between midnight and 5am, a court summary details. Butch had been shot at least twice with a shotgun and Joy had been beaten to death by repeated blows to her face, while the front door had imprints matching Lance’s size 7-and-a-half work boots. A police officer saw Lance’s car leave the scene near midnight and Joy’s dad testified he told the convicted man she was not home when he called hoping to speak to her at 11.55pm. Associate Joe Moore assisted Lance in disposing of shotgun shells and the killer told him the pair were dead, adding Butch’s “daddy could buy him out of a bunch of places, but he can’t buy him out of Hell”.
Lance had a long history of abuse against his ex-wife, both during and after they were married, including kidnapping, beatings with his fist, a belt, and a handgun, strangulation, and electrocution or the threat of electrocution. He had also threatened to burn her with flammable liquid and kill her with a handgun and a chainsaw, as well firing a handgun at or near her, and other forms of physical abuse. Several witnesses also testified that Lance had repeatedly threatened to kill Joy if she tried to divorce him or became involved with Butch, and had threatened to kill Butch’s wife and other people related to his ex. So, the police were a bit a slow on the uptake here and maybe could have prevented the double murder.
Lance requested a last meal of two chilli steak burgers, French fries, onion rings, mustard, ketchup, and a soda. Lance said nothing when he was given a chance to make a final statement and declined to have a chaplain say a prayer. Strapped to a gurney, he lay mostly still but wiggled his feet. The warden left the execution chamber at 8:54 p.m. Records from previous executions show that the lethal drug generally begins flowing within a minute or two of the warden’s exit. Lance took about a dozen deep breaths and then became completely still about three minutes after the warden left and was pronounced dead at 9:05 p.m. thus becoming the first man to be executed in Georgia in 2020.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Gemma Arterton (33), Brent Spiner (70), Shakira (42), David Jason (79), Duane ‘Dog’ Chapman (66), Sherilyn Fenn (54), Harry Styles (25), Lisa Marie Presley (51), Dexter Fletcher (53), Minnie Driver (49), Jonathan Banks (72), Justin Timberlake (38), Christian Bale (46), Olivia Colman (46), Gene Hackman (90), Vanessa Redgrave (83), Phil Collins (69), Tom Selleck (75), Heather Graham (50), Katharine Ross (80), Marc Singer (72), Oprah Winfrey (66), Adam Lambert (38), Tim Healy (68), Ariel Winter (22), Will Poulter (27), Elijah Wood (39), Tom Hopper (35), Alan Alda (84), Frank Darabont (61), Frank Skinner (63), Rosamund Pike (41), Alan Cumming (55), Patton Oswalt (51), James Cromwell (80), and Bridget Fonda (56).
Welcome Poolers, to a slightly tardy edition this week, my apologies, I was away for the weekend at a school reunion. However, as we all know from the emails last week, there are points to be awarded. With the tragic demise of Terry Jones, I can fork out 73 points to Paul C, Abi FB, & Lee U, and a whopping 173 points to Neil G for listing him as his Cert. So! The game is certainly afoot!
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Peter Hobday, 82, British news presenter (Today, Newsnight, World at One).
- Terry Jones, 77, Welsh comic actor, screenwriter and film director (Monty Python), frontotemporal dementia.
- John Karlen, 86, American actor (Daughters of Darkness, Dark Shadows, Cagney & Lacey), heart failure.
In Other News
Nashville singer-songwriter David Olney has died during a performance on stage. The Americana artist, whose music was recorded by Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Steve Young and others, died of an apparent heart attack while performing at the 30A Songwriters Festival in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. According to fellow singer-songwriter Scott Miller, who was performing with Olney, the 71-year-old stopped in the middle of a song, said “I’m sorry”, and “put his chin to his chest”. “He never dropped his guitar or fell [off] his stool,” Miller wrote on Facebook. “It was as easy and gentle as he was.” Amy Rigby, who was also on stage with Olney at the time, wrote a separate Facebook post with her own moving account of what happened. “He was very still, sitting upright with his guitar on, wearing the coolest hat and a beautiful rust suede jacket… I just want the picture to be as graceful and dignified as it was, because it at first looked like he was just taking a moment,” she wrote. Olney became a key member of Nashville’s music scene after moving from his native Rhode Island in 1973. Regarded as an “Americana pioneer”, he produced more than 20 albums, including 2018’s This Side or the Other.
Serial sock sex pest James Arthur has had to cancel another gig as his health has deteriorated due to an unknown illness. The 31-year-old singer is currently on his world tour, and has had to pull out of his Zurich gig tonight after dropping his Barcelona show on Wednesday. Middlesbrough-born James admitted he was “gutted” on Wednesday after doctors urgently advised him to rest, but his health has not improved since. The cause of James’ illness is unknown, but he told followers on social media “I’ve become really unwell”. An Instagram post on the singer’s account stated: “Unfortunately James’ health has not improved in the past couple of days and therefore we are sad to say that he will not be able to perform in Zurich this evening.” The post continued: “James is very sorry for any disappointment this may cause and really hopes to get to see you all again soon.” The star, who became famous from his X Factor appearance in 2012, is set to perform in Vienna on Monday and Czechia on Tuesday if his illness gets better or if it gets worse, our ears will be saved and he might die.
Formula One legend Michael Schumacher is likely “very altered and deteriorated” six years on from suffering serious head injuries after a skiing accident in 2013 and will be a “very different person from who we remember”, according to a leading neurosurgeon. Schumacher, 51, has not been seen in public since suffering a traumatic brain injury while skiing off-piste in the French Alps. He was placed in a medically induced coma for six months until June 2014 and has since been treated privately at his home in Switzerland. Little is known about his recovery. However, leading surgeon Nicola Acciari, who is based in Bologna, has told an Italian newspaper that the seven-time Formula One world champion will now be a completely different man and is unlikely to truly recover from his injuries. “We must imagine a person very different from the one we remember on the track, with a very altered and deteriorated organic, muscular and skeletal structure,” she told Contro Copertina. “All as a result of the brain trauma he suffered.” The neurosurgeon’s warning comes after Jean Todt, his former manager at Ferrari, last year assured fans that Schumacher was “still fighting”. “I’m always careful with such statements, but it’s true. Michael is in the best hands and is well looked after in his house. He does not give up and keeps fighting. His family is fighting just as much and of course our friendship cannot be the same as it once was just because there’s no longer the same communication as before.”
On This Day
- 1905 – The world’s largest diamond ever, the Cullinan weighing 3,106.75 carats, is found at the Premier Mine near Pretoria in South Africa.
- 1926 – The first demonstration of the television by John Logie Baird.
- 1972 – JAT Fight 367 is destroyed by a terrorist bomb, killing 27 of the 28 people on board the DC-9. Flight attendant Vesna Vulović survives with critical injuries.
- 1998 – On American television, U.S. President Bill Clinton denies having had “sexual relations” with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
- 1823 – Edward Jenner, English physician and immunologist (b. 1749)
- 1973 – Edward G. Robinson, Romanian-American actor (b. 1893)
- 1992 – José Ferrer, Puerto Rican-American actor (b. 1912)
Last Meals? No, Something Else…
I thought we’d try something a little different this week, since we have Vesna Vulović mentioned above. As you saw, she’s quite a survivor, she holds the Guinness world record for surviving the highest fall without a parachute: 10,160m (33,330ft; 6.31mi)!!!
Vulović was born in Belgrade on 3rd January 1950. Her father was a businessman and her mother was a fitness instructor. Driven by her love of the Beatles, Vulović travelled to the United Kingdom after completing her first year of university, hoping to improve her English-language skills. “I initially stayed with my parents’ friends in Newbury,” she recalled, “but wanted to move to London. It was there that I met up with a friend who suggested we go to Stockholm. When I told my parents I was living in the Swedish capital, they thought of the drugs and the sex and told me to come home at once.” Upon returning to Belgrade, Vulović decided to become a flight attendant after seeing one of her friends in a flight attendant’s uniform. “She looked so nice and had just been to London for the day,” Vulović recalled. “I thought, ‘Why shouldn’t I be an air hostess? I could go to London once a month’.” She joined JAT, Yugoslavia’s national flag carrier and largest airline, in 1971.
The fateful Flight 367 departed from Stockholm Arlanda Airport at 1:30p.m. on 26th January. The aircraft, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9, landed at Copenhagen Airport at 2:30p.m., whereupon Vulović and her colleagues boarded the plane. “As it was late, we were in the terminal and saw it park,” Vulović said. “I saw all the passengers and crew deplane. One man seemed terribly annoyed. It was not only me that noticed him either. Other crew members saw him, as did the station manager in Copenhagen. I think it was the man who put the bomb in the baggage. I think he had checked in a bag in Stockholm, got off in Copenhagen and never re-boarded the flight.”
Flight 367 departed from Copenhagen Airport at 3:15p.m. At 4:01p.m., an explosion tore through the DC-9’s baggage compartment. The explosion caused the aircraft to break apart over the Czechoslovak village of Srbská Kamenice. Vulović was the only survivor of the 28 passengers and crew.
She was discovered by villager Bruno Honke, who heard her screaming amid the wreckage. Her turquoise uniform was covered in blood and her 3-inch stiletto heels had been torn off by the force of the impact. Honke had been a medic during World War II and was able to keep her alive until rescuers arrived. Air safety investigators attributed Vulović’s survival to her being trapped by a food cart in the DC-9’s fuselage as it broke away from the rest of the aircraft and plummeted towards the ground. When the cabin depressurised, the passengers and other flight crew were blown out of the aircraft and fell to their deaths. Investigators believed that the fuselage, with Vulović pinned inside, landed at an angle in a heavily wooded and snow-covered mountainside, which cushioned the impact. Vulović’s physicians concluded that her history of low blood pressure caused her to pass out quickly after the cabin depressurised and kept her heart from bursting on impact. Vulović said that she was aware of her low blood pressure before applying to become a flight attendant and knew that it would result in her failing her medical examination, but she drank an excessive amount of coffee beforehand and was accepted. Following the crash, Vulović spent days in a coma, having fractured her skull which then haemorrhaged. She also suffered two broken legs and three broken vertebrae, one of which was crushed completely. Her pelvis was fractured and several ribs broken. Her injuries resulted in her being temporarily paralysed below the waist. She had total amnesia from the hour preceding her fall until one month afterwards. Vulović’s parents told her that she first learned of the crash about two weeks after it occurred. She fainted upon being shown a newspaper headline by her doctor and then had to be tranquillised. The last thing that Vulović could remember from before the crash was greeting passengers as they boarded. The next thing she remembered was seeing her parents in her hospital room about one month later. Within ten months of her fall, Vulović had regained the ability to walk, but limped for the rest of her life, her spine permanently twisted. In total, she spent 16 months recuperating. “Nobody ever expected me to live this long,” she recounted in 2008. Vulović attributed her recovery to her “Serbian stubbornness” and “a childhood diet that included chocolate, spinach, and fish oil”. Sadly she died in anonymity and rather poor in 2016.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Scott Glenn (80), Ellen DeGeneres (61), Eddie Van Halen (64), Kristen Schaal (41), Nastassja Kinski (58), Ade Edmondson (62), Neil Diamond (78), Gil Gerard (76), Linda Blair (61), Piper Laurie (88), Rainn Wilson (54), David Lynch (74), Tom Baker (86), Bill Maher (64), Katey Sagal (66), Dolly Parton (74), Tippi Hedren (90), and Michael Crawford (78).
As some of you who pay attention to the emails may have seen, I missed a death last week!!! Yup, great start to the year from me! Just to officially state, Chrissy did get the first death of the year for Qaboos bin Said Al Said, 79, Omani royal, Sultan (since 1970) who died of colon cancer. And a massive 221 points too as she had him listed as her Cert and an extra 50 points for getting the first death of the year!!
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Stan Kirsch, 51, American actor (Highlander: The Series), suicide by hanging.
- Norma Michaels, 95, American actress (The King of Queens, Mind of Mencia, Easy A).
- Rocky Johnson, 75, Canadian Hall of Fame professional wrestler (WWF, Big Time Wrestling, CWF) and trainer, pulmonary embolism.
- Christopher Tolkien, 95, British academic and editor (The Silmarillion, The History of Middle-earth).
- Derek Fowlds, 82, British actor (Yes Minister, Heartbeat, East of Sudan), heart failure from sepsis.
In Other News
Let’s begin the news section with an award ceremony! Yes, for the first time in Dead Pool history I’ve managed to motivate myself enough to actually go out and get a trophy made. This of course would not have been possible without the kind donations that many of you have provided. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get a similar trophy made each year from now on, so there is actually something to play for!!
Without further ado, let’s congratulate Paul C on his amazing win! He’s officially The Angel of Death 2019!!! Paul has been a stalwart of the Pool for many years and has consistently been at the top end of the league table, so it’s only fitting he be the first recipient of a Dead Pool Trophy. I know he’s very pleased with his trophy and I would like to thank him and Liz C for providing a photo for us.
Now you know the amazingness that you are playing for, I’ll have to reiterate that you are not allowed to skew the results of the Dead Pool by killing the people on your list. Luckily there’s no provision here for a blubbering speech, so we’ll just assume Paul would like to thank his parents, his wife and all the dead people, whilst crying and thanking the audience. Well done Paul, Angel of Death 2019!
The world’s shortest man has died at the age of 27. Khagendra Thapa Magar, from Nepal, measured 67.08cm (2ft 2.41in) and weighed just 6kg and was recognised as the world’s shortest man who could walk by Guinness World Records. Magar had been suffering from heart problems, asthma and pneumonia. He was admitted to hospital in Nepal on Thursday and died on Friday. Sadly, not famous enough to be listed, but he’s worthy of a small footnote. The Guinness World Records recognises two categories for people of short stature: mobile and non-mobile. Magar’s height made him the shortest mobile man on the planet, at 7cm taller than Philipino Junrey Balawing, who measures 59.93cm (1ft 11.5in) and who is unable to walk or stand unaided due to the medical condition osteogenesis imperfecta. Magar was born in the Baglung district of Nepal on 14th October 1992, and was confirmed to be the shortest male teenager in early 2010. He was officially measured at Fewa City Hospital on his 18th birthday in 2010, when he became the world’s shortest mobile man. His father remembered: “He was so tiny when he was born that he could fit in the palm of your hand, and it was very hard to bathe him because he was so small.” As Magar became famous he was appointed as a Nepalese goodwill ambassador for tourism. The record for world’s shortest living mobile man has reverted back to Edward Hernandez, who measures 70.21cm (2ft 3.46in).
The husband of TV’s Dame Barbara Windsor today reveals his heartache at her decline – and the treasured moments which keep them going. Devoted Scott Mitchell tells the us that the actress’s Alzheimer’s has worsened to the point where she doesn’t recognise her own home. Scott says Barbara, 82, forgets who he is, regularly asks for her long-departed mum Rose and at times thinks she is living in her parents’ house. But the Carry On and EastEnders legend retains a “wonderful” humour, they still share a laugh – and watching her old shows stirs happy memories. Scott, 56, says: “I’ve definitely seen a progression in the last year. Barbara’s symptoms have deepened, especially where her confusion is concerned. “Constantly, she does not realise where we are, even in the house. She will ask me, ‘When are we going home?’ “Sometimes she will ask me about people who have already passed away, as if they are still here. That is something she does regularly about her own parents. It is a very difficult one. “Barbara will often say to me, ‘Do you know how to get in touch with my mum? I’d like to have a chat with her. I haven’t seen her for ages, I need to see her.’ “It’s heartbreaking. They are very difficult situations to be faced with. Short-term memory is the hardest, so Barbara won’t remember if she had dinner 20 minutes ago. If I say someone is popping in, she will forget that instantly. “The things she remembers are more long-term memories, so things about her childhood and early career.”
On This Day
- 1764 – Bolle Willum Luxdorph records in his diary that a mail bomb, possibly the world’s first, has severely injured the Danish Colonel Poulsen, residing at Børglum Abbey.
- 1883 – The first electric lighting system employing overhead wires, built by Thomas Edison, begins service at Roselle, New Jersey.
- 1983 – The Apple Lisa, the first commercial personal computer from Apple Inc. to have a graphical user interface and a computer mouse, is announced.
- 1986 – The first IBM PC computer virus is released into the wild. A boot sector virus dubbed (c)Brain, it was created by the Farooq Alvi Brothers in Lahore, Pakistan, reportedly to deter unauthorised copying of the software they had written.
- 2000 – Hedy Lamarr, Austrian-American actress, singer, and mathematician (b. 1913)
- 2006 – Wilson Pickett, American singer-songwriter (b. 1941)
- 2017 – Miguel Ferrer, American actor (b. 1955)
A Texas inmate with a history of violence against women was executed on Wednesday evening for fatally shooting his wife, who had feared she would never get out of her marriage alive. John Gardner, 64, received a lethal injection at the state penitentiary in Huntsville for the January 2005 slaying of Tammy Gardner. Prosecutors said the couple was getting divorced when Gardner broke into his wife’s North Texas home and shot her in the head as she was sitting in bed. She died two days later at a hospital. Asked by the warden if he had a final statement, Gardner, strapped to the death chamber gurney, turned his head and apologised several times to his wife’s son, daughter and mother, who watched through a window a few feet away. ‘I would like to say sorry for your grief,’ he said. ‘I hope what I’m doing today will give you peace, joy, closure, whatever it takes to forgive. I am sorry. I know you cannot forgive me, but I hope one day you will.’ After telling several friends watching through an adjacent window that he loved them, he apologised again, adding that he didn’t want to talk a lot and would ask the warden to go forward with his punishment because ‘I want to see the Lord Jesus so bad.’
Shortly after the lethal dose of the powerful sedative pentobarbital began, Gardner took three deep breaths and then began snoring. Within seconds, all movement stopped. He was pronounced dead 16 minutes later. Texas has abolished the practice of allowing death row inmates a final meal request prior to execution, and Gardner would have eaten whatever was being served to the inmate population as his last meal. Gardner became the first inmate put to death this year in the U.S. Seven other executions are scheduled in the next few months in Texas, the nations busiest capital punishment state. Last year, 22 inmates were executed in the U.S., with nine inmates being put to death in Texas, the most of any state. Sadly for Laura, who listed Gardner, he hasn’t got his own Wiki page! Although she correctly guessed his timely death, she’ll not score any points. This is the risk of listing Death Row inmates, most of the time they will not have their own listing outside of the crime they have committed.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Katey Sagal (65), Dolly Parton (73), Rob Delaney (42), Tippi Hedren (89), Michael Crawford (77), Kevin Costner (64), Dave Bautista (50), Jason Segel (39), Mark Rylance (59), Jane Horrocks (55), Samantha Mumba (36), Jim Carrey (57), Zooey Deschanel (39), Kelly Marie Tran (30), James Earl Jones (88), Betty White (97), James May (56), Kate Moss (45), James Nesbitt (55), Claudia Winkleman (48), DJ Jazzy Jeff (55), Jason Bateman (51), Carl Weathers (72), Kevin Durand (46), Mark Addy (56), Faye Dunaway (79), Dave Grohl (51), Ruth Wilson (38), Orlando Bloom (43), Liam Hemsworth (30), Michael Peña (44), Bill Bailey (55), and William B. Davis (82).
Afternoon Poolers, unsurprisingly, a week after his death, Derek Acorah has still to make an appearance on This Morning with Schofield and Willoughby…. I believe we might be waiting for some time for his apparition to talk to us since we no longer have a psychic of his calibre available to us, or perhaps he was talking bollocks since he was a knee high to a grasshopper.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Christopher Beeny, 78, English actor (Upstairs, Downstairs, In Loving Memory, Last of the Summer Wine).
- Martin Griffin, English rock drummer (Hawkwind, Hawklords).
- Neil Peart, 67, Canadian Hall of Fame drummer (Rush) and lyricist (“The Spirit of Radio“, “Tom Sawyer“), glioblastoma.
- Mike Resnick, 77, American science fiction writer (The Goddess of Ganymede, Stalking the Unicorn, Kirinyaga), cancer.
In Other News
Fans have worried about Justin Bieber’s wellbeing for a long time. The first half of the 2010s were raucous for the Beebs, in the worst ways. Remember the DUI charges and assault conviction? And that “parody” video that surfaced in 2014, of 14-year-old Bieber changing the lyrics of “One Less Lonely Girl” to include the “N-word”? And when he said he hoped Anne Frank would’ve been a Belieber? And the time his pet capuchin monkey was confiscated by German officials? Seems like a truly dark time. In the latter part of the decade, the singer opened up about his struggles. In 2016, he told GQ he’d been diagnosed with ADHD and was taking Adderall — but got a ton of blowback for his honesty, even from some of his biggest fans. He largely went quiet about his health after that. The singer embraced religion and got married to Hailey Bieber. But things weren’t all gravy: The couple were photographed crying together all over Los Angeles in 2018 and 2019. Last March, Bieber announced he was taking a break from music (YAY!) to focus on his mental health. And in September, he stoked speculation that he was seriously ill, after being photographed with an IV-drip in his arm. He also came clean about his heavy drug use in his younger days in an Instagram post that month. On Wednesday, TMZ revealed what’s really been going on: Bieber was diagnosed with Lyme disease in late 2019, after doctors spent most of the last year struggling to figure out what was wrong with him, other than the obvious. So some good news for those of you who have listed Bieber as a Maverick, with any luck this stain on humanity will score you some points!
On This Day
- 1908 – A long-distance radio message is sent from the Eiffel Tower for the first time.
- 1967 – Dr. James Bedford becomes the first person to be cryonically preserved with intent of future resuscitation.
- 1998 – Nineteen European nations agree to forbid human cloning. Luckily, after Brexit we can!
- 2006 – A stampede during the Stoning of the Devil ritual on the last day at the Hajj in Mina, Saudi Arabia, kills at least 362 Muslim pilgrims.
- 2010 – An earthquake in Haiti occurs, killing over 100,000 people and destroying much of the capital Port-au-Prince.
- 1665 – Pierre de Fermat, French mathematician and lawyer (b. 1601)
- 1976 – Agatha Christie, English crime novelist, short story writer, and playwright (b. 1890)
- 2003 – Maurice Gibb, Manx-Australian singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer (b. 1949)
- 2017 – William Peter Blatty, American writer and filmmaker (b. 1928)
- 2017 – Graham Taylor, former Grimsby Town player and former manager of the England football team. (b. 1944)
John Belushi was an American comedian, actor, singer, and one of the seven original cast members of the NBC sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live. Throughout his career, Belushi had a close personal and artistic partnership with his fellow SNL star Dan Aykroyd, whom he met while they were both working at Chicago’s The Second City comedy club.
Belushi spent his final week in the environs of Hollywood’s Sunset Strip. By the time he checked in at the front desk of the Chateau Marmont on the night of February 28th, 1982, Belushi was ‘a time bomb, a waste site, a mess. Sweaty, flabby, edgy, pale, dishevelled, worn to a stump at 33,’ author Shawn Levy writes in The Castle on Sunset: Life, Death, Love, Art and Scandal at Hollywood’s Chateau Marmont. Struggling to get his movie career back on track following lacklustre critical and box office reception to recent roles in Continental Divide and Neighbours, Belushi had ensconced himself in bungalow number three in order to work on the script for, and take meetings about Noble Rot, a romantic comedy set in the early years of the California wine industry. But the work was not going well, according to Levy’s book, and Paramount was keen for him to do a film based on The Joy of Sex before Noble Rot. Belushi’s attention span was limited and his speech often incoherent, his clothes were dirty and he appeared unbathed, his bungalow was in a constant state of disarray. At approximately noon Pacific Standard Time on Friday, March 5th, 1982, Belushi’s fitness trainer and occasional bodyguard Bill Wallace arrived at bungalow number three of the Chateau Marmont to deliver a typewriter and audiocassette recorder to Belushi. Wallace found him dead, with no one else present in the bungalow. The cause of death was combined drug intoxication involving cocaine and heroin, a drug combination known as a speedball.
In the early morning hours on the day of his death, he was visited separately by friends Robin Williams and Robert De Niro, as well as Catherine Evelyn Smith. She was kind enough to take him to L.A.’s Rainbow Bar and forced him to eat a bowl of the restaurant’s famous lentil soup, hoping it would calm him down. However he was found dead the following day.
His death was investigated by forensic pathologist Michael Baden, among others, and, while the findings were disputed, it was officially ruled a drug-related accident. In an interview with the National Enquirer two months later, Smith admitted that she had been with Belushi the night of his death and had given him the fatal speedball shot. After the appearance of the article “I Killed Belushi” in the National Enquirer edition of June 29th, 1982, the case was reopened. Smith was arrested, extradited from Ontario, Canada, and charged with first-degree murder. A plea bargain reduced the charge to involuntary manslaughter, and she served 15 months in prison.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Rachael Harris (51), Kirstie Alley (68), Rob Zombie (54), Howard Stern (65), Melanie C (45), Zayn Malik (26), Pixie Lott (28), Jeff pay your taxes Bezos (55), Amanda Peet (47), Jason Connery (56), Mary J. Blige (48), Rachel Riley (33), John Sessions (66), Jemaine Clement (45), Evan Handler (58), Rod Stewart (74), Joely Richardson (54), Imelda Staunton (63), Catherine Duchess of Cambridge (37), Michelle Forbes (54), Nicolas Cage (56), Jeremy Renner (49), Erin Gray (70), Helen Worth (69), Eddie Redmayne (38), Kate McKinnon (36), Norman Reedus (51), Rowan Atkinson (65), and Angus Deayton (64).
Welcome all to the first newsletter of 2020. Nice to see confidence trickster and fake ‘medium’ Derek Acorah proving there’s no afterlife by failing to reappear after his own death. Personally I couldn’t stand him, I found him and people like him despicable to say the least; to take advantage and monetise people’s grief is rather beyond me…
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Lexii Alijai, 21, American rapper.
- Derek Acorah, 69, English self-styled spiritual medium and television personality (Most Haunted, Derek Acorah’s Ghost Towns), sepsis.
- Qasem Soleimani, 62, Iranian major general, commander of the Quds Force (since 1998).
In Other News
Alex Trebek received a huge outpouring of support since revealing he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March. The longtime Jeopardy! host, 79, opened up about facing his battle with stage IV cancer. Trebek first announced his diagnosis to the world in a YouTube video in March, when he vowed that he would continue working while he fought and received treatment. Shortly after giving the emotional update on his health, the pop culture icon thanked the “hundreds of thousands” of fans who sent their love and prayers to him and his family. Fans aren’t the only ones supporting Trebek as he continues his battle with pancreatic cancer. Fellow game show mainstay Vanna White commended the Jeopardy! host for his bravery and gave a promising update on her friend’s health. “He looks good. I talked to him recently and he’s got a very positive attitude, He’s still working, he’s obviously doing chemotherapy but working through it, and has that strong will to, as we say, the show must go on.”
Actress Pam Grier has shot down rumours that she’s battling stage four cancer. A rep for the 70-year-old screen legend told TMZ that she’s “as healthy as ever,” and is slated to return to the set of Bless This Mess for its third season. The comment came in response so some (unfounded) speculation on social media that suggested otherwise. Back in 1988, Grier had been diagnosed with stage four cervical cancer. Though she was only given 18 months to live at the time, she managed to pull through, and her cancer’s been in remission ever since. Grier made her first big splash in showbiz in the early 1970s starring in schlock films like The Big Doll House and The Big Bird Cage. Throughout the rest of the decade, she became a staple of blaxploitation cinema, a movement that featured an anti-establishment with mostly black casts that were aimed at black audiences. While she maintained regular work in front of the camera in film and TV in the years that followed, it was her role as the title character in Quentin Tarantino’s blaxploitation homage Jackie Brown that gave her something of a career resurgence.
Former England footballer Paul Merson has revealed how close he came to taking his own life last year during a battle with depression. The 51-year-old is best known for his professional career with Arsenal, Aston Villa and Portsmouth among many other clubs, as well as winning 21 caps for the international team between 1991 and 1998. But he has also been blighted by alcohol and gambling addictions in the past, and with this weekend’s FA Cup third-round fixtures kicking off a minute later than normal as part of the Football Association’s mental health campaign, Merson has opened up on his own illness that nearly ended with him killing himself at the start of 2019. “On Monday I’ll have been sober for a year. But this time last year, I wanted to kill myself,” Merson wrote in a revealing column for the Daily Star. “I couldn’t go on any more. I just couldn’t see a way out. I had the tablets in my hand. I didn’t take enough to do anything but I had them there. With vodka. It was scary.” I think we all know how he feels, I also own 20 paracetamol and a litre of vodka, although I don’t find it that scary. He continued, “It was only because of the kids really, and my wife, and a little bit of consciousness, that I didn’t. Fear probably as well. I was scared to do it. When you’re in that place, you don’t see how it’s ever going to pass. But I have the tools now. If I get into a real down situation, I know it will pass.
On This Day
- 1757 – Louis XV of France survives an assassination attempt by Robert-François Damiens, the last person to be executed in France by drawing and quartering, the traditional and gruesome form of capital punishment used for regicides.
- 1919 – The German Workers’ Party, which would become the Nazi Party, is founded in Munich. We all know how well that went.
- 1941 – 37-year-old pilot Amy Johnson, the first woman to fly solo from London to Australia, disappears after bailing out of her plane over the River Thames, and is presumed dead.
- •1066 – Edward the Confessor, English king (b. 1004)
- •1922 – Ernest Shackleton, Anglo-Irish sailor and explorer (b. 1874)
- •1933 – Calvin Coolidge, American lawyer and politician, 30th President of the United States (b. 1872)
- •1998 – Sonny Bono, American singer-songwriter, producer, actor, and politician (b. 1935)
When amazing aviator Amy Johnson bailed out of her plane and vanished beneath the icy waves Britain lost an icon. The fisherman’s daughter had become a global superstar by being the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia. The intrepid adventurer followed up her astounding 1930 feat in a biplane by setting records for the fastest flights from Britain to Japan, South Africa, and India. She also became the first person to fly from London to Moscow in a single day. Amy was beacon to generations of girls who dreamed of breaking free from domestic drudgery for a life of romance and adventure. And her legacy lives on, even 75 years after death. Budget airline easyJet has named a plane after her and doubled the number of female pilots this year at its Amy Johnson Flying Initiative.
Using little more than makeshift maps and a compass, daring Amy had completed incredible journeys. But she ran out of records to set and decided to serve Britain in the Second World War by delivering planes around the country for the RAF. It was a decision that cost Amy her life, sparking a mystery that still persists today. Her body was never found and historian Dr Alec Gill believes the evidence points to a grisly end for Amy, chopped up by the propeller blades of the ship sent to rescue her from perishing cold Thames Estuary. Amy was 37 when, on January 5, 1941, she flew through snow and freezing fog, with a broken compass, to deliver a new Airspeed Oxford plane from Blackpool to Oxfordshire. She had defied orders to stay put. The flight should have taken 90 minutes but four hours later she crashed off the Kent coast near Herne Bay. Most historians believe she got lost in the thick cloud and was blown badly off-course. When her plane ran critically short of fuel she spotted the Royal Navy convoy in the Thames and bailed out, for the first and last time in her glittering career, hoping to be rescued. It was presumed she had drowned but fresh evidence may finally explain why her body was never found. It is claimed she was accidentally killed by her rescue ship. The revelation comes from Harry Gould, 84, whose father, also called Harry, was a Naval reservist on HMS Haslemere. Harry says the ship had hit a sandbank and was put in reverse to break free. He says: “So many of the crew were trying to help Amy, but with the ship moving they couldn’t reach her. “My father saw she was getting too close to the stern and shouted up to the bridge, telling them to cut the engines because they were going the wrong way. But they didn’t listen. “One of the officers shouted back, ‘Don’t you tell me what to do!’ If they had listened to him Amy might have survived. “A few seconds later she was dragged under the boat. Everyone thought she had been cut to pieces by the propellers. It’s an awful way for such a special person to die.”
Harry and his crew mates were not called to give evidence at the 1943 inquiry into Amy’s death. But hidden in the official report there is support for his story, from RAF clerk Derek Roberts, whose friend Cpl Bill Hall was also on HMS Haslemere. It reveals how Amy drifted near the ship, identified herself and complained the water was “bitterly cold”, urging the crew to “get her out as soon as possible”. “They threw her a rope but she couldn’t get hold if it. Then someone dashed up to the bridge and reversed the ship’s engines. As a result, she was drawn into the propeller and chopped into pieces.” The ship’s captain Lt Cdr Walter Fletcher dived into the water, with a rope tied around his waist, to search for her. He had to be pulled from the river and died of hypothermia later that day. He was awarded the Albert Medal for his courage. Dr Gill says a sailor “was within five feet of reaching Amy’s hand. They must have looked into each other’s eyes. It’s tragic. “This ship should have gone down in history as the ship that saved Amy’s life. Instead, historians are beginning to conclude that the propellers of the Haslemere killed her and that’s why her body was never found. That wasn’t even mentioned when her parents were still alive.” “This is still speculation as without a body there is no evidence. But it seems possible the Royal Navy would cover up what happened as they didn’t want to admit they had killed the most popular female pilot in the world.”
Last Week’s Birthdays
Clancy Brown (60), January Jones (41), Bradley Cooper (44), Diane Keaton (73), Robert Duvall (88), Hayao Miyazaki (78), Vinnie Jones (54), Marilyn Manson (50), Julia Ormond (54), Matt Frewer (61), Julian Sands (61), Mel Gibson (64), Victoria Principal (70), Sarah Alexander (49), Greta Thunberg (17), Kate Bosworth (37), Tia Carrere (53), Cuba Gooding Jr. (52), and Frank Langella (82).