Dead Pool 1st October 2023
Last week brings us the passing of two great actors and a senseless felling of a wonderful tree. Plus some points to award! Well done Vic, 68 points for correctly guessing Michael Gambon would pass away this year.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- David McCallum, 90, Scottish actor (The Man from U.N.C.L.E., NCIS, The Great Escape).
- Sir Michael Gambon, 82, Irish-English actor (Harry Potter, Gosford Park, The Singing Detective), pneumonia.
- Zoleka Mandela, 43, South African writer, Nelson Mandela‘s granddaughter., cancer.
- Sycamore Gap Tree, c. 200, English sycamore tree, Tree of the Year (2016), felled.
In Other News
Sir Billy Connolly’s wife Pamela Stephenson has spoken out about the star’s health troubles, revealing the comic had ‘a couple of serious falls’ after they noticed his balance was deteriorating. Scottish comedian Sir Billy, 80, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease a decade ago on the same day he found out he had prostate cancer, for which he was later given the all clear. The comic spoke about the degenerative disease and said: ‘It’s very difficult to see the progression exactly, because a lot of things come and go. Recently I’ve noticed a deterioration in my balance. That was never such a problem before, but in the last year that has come and it has stayed. For some reason, I thought it would go away, because a lot of symptoms have come and gone away … just to defy the symptom spotters. The shaking has reappeared…’ Pamela added: ‘The balance issue has been most significant, hasn’t it? Especially since, unfortunately, it resulted in you having a couple of serious falls …’ Sir Billy said he had a fall which reminded him of a joke he used to make on stay, explaining: ‘I used to say, “I fell out of bed, but luckily my face broke my fall…”‘ However, the funnyman admitted his falls add ‘to the list of things that hold me back’. He said he often wants to go for a walk but after 50 yards he feels tired and wants to return home, admitting he’s ‘being encroached upon by this disease’. ‘It’s creeping up behind me and stopping me doing things. It’s a cruel disease,’ he said. While Pamela said the disease has been ‘pretty slow-moving’, Sir Billy insists it ‘doesn’t make it any more pleasant’. The couple spoke about how their relationship has changed since the comedian was diagnosed and Sir Billy said that his wife now dresses him in the morning, mentioning that he has ask for lifts everywhere as he is unable to drive anymore. ‘I don’t let the Parkinson’s dictate who I am – I just get on with it. I’ve had a very successful career and I have no regrets at all.’
Bob Mortimer will be absent from this Sunday’s episode of Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing. In the forthcoming penultimate episode of series six, Mortimer, 64, calls his costar Paul Whitehouse, 65, to let him know that he can’t make the trip due to illness. In his place, Mortimer has arranged for fellow comedian Lee Mack, 55, to fill in. The fishing then takes place on the tidal outcrop of Burgh Island on the south coast of Devon. Gone Fishing follows the pair of comedians on various fishing trips around the UK as the pair discuss their respective heart problems. Mortimer had a triple heart bypass operation in 2015 after he was diagnosed with coronary heart disease. Whitehouse, who was also diagnosed with heart disease, has had three stents inserted to help widen his coronary arteries. The series was born when Whitehouse, who has known Mortimer for over 30 years, invited his longtime friend fishing to get him out of the house after his heart surgery. “That’s how we sold the show. We’ve got this show and we’ve both got heart disease, so with a bit of luck, the jeopardy is that one of us will drop dead on the riverbank, and that’s TV gold. So far it hasn’t happened. We keep dragging it out.”
Sophia Loren has been rushed to hospital to undergo emergency surgery after suffering a bad fall at her home in Geneva, Switzerland. The Hollywood star, 89, was left with several fractures to her hip and and a series fractures to her femur after she fell in the bathroom of her home this weekend. Sophia’s sons, Carlo Jr., 55, and Edoardo, 50, have been by her side throughout the ordeal and her time in hospital. News about Sophia’s condition was shared by the team at her self-titled restaurant chain, who shared the news on their Instagram page. The statement read: ‘A fall at her home in Geneva today caused Ms Loren hip fractures. Operated with a positive outcome, she will now have to observe a short period of recovery and follow a road to rehabilitation. Thankfully everything worked out for the best and the Lady will be back with us very soon. The whole team at Sophia Loren Restaurant takes this opportunity to wish her a speedy recovery.’ The post announcing Sophia’s surgery news was flooded with support from her devoted fans, wishing the star a speedy recovery. Sophia had been due to open a fourth branch of her restaurant chain in Bari, Italy, on Tuesday. The Italian native was also due to receive honorary citizenship from the city. The events have been cancelled along with her other upcoming public engagements, according to the publication. Sophia most recently appeared in the 2020 Netflix film The Life Ahead, directed by her son Edoardo, which won her a David di Donatello Award for best actress. Sophia plays a Holocaust survivor who bonds with a 12-year-old Nigerian immigrant. Speaking to Ew.com, she explained: ‘I love cinema so much. I want to keep doing it forever. I know it’s difficult to find good stories, but sometimes I fall in love with the right ones. I intend to make movies forever.’ Earlier this year, Sophia was named as one of the AFT 50 greatest movies of classical Hollywood cinema. She is the only living actress on the list.
On This Day
- 1861 – Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management is published, going on to sell 60,000 copies in its first year and remaining in print until the present day.
- 1908 – Ford Model T automobiles are offered for sale at a price of $825.
- 1964 – Japanese Shinkansen (“bullet trains”) begin high-speed rail service from Tokyo to Osaka. 60 years later, the UK are still struggling to complete HS2.
- 1969 – Concorde breaks the sound barrier for the first time.
- 1982 – Sony and Phillips launch the compact disc in Japan; on the same day, Sony releases the model CDP-101 compact disc player, the first player of its kind.
- 1989 – Denmark introduces the world’s first legal same-sex registered partnerships.
- 2017 – Fifty-eight people are killed and 869 others injured in a mass shooting at a country music festival at the Las Vegas Strip in the United States; the gunman, Stephen Paddock, later commits suicide.
- 1985 – E. B. White, American essayist and journalist (b. 1899).
- 2013 – Tom Clancy, American author (b. 1947).
- 2014 – Lynsey de Paul, English singer-songwriter, pianist, and actress (b. 1948).
The Last Godfather
Ruthless mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro who spent 30 years on the run for allegedly murdering 50 people including a boy dissolved in acid has died of cancer aged 61 – eight months after he was captured by Italian police.
The mafia godfather, who once boasted he could ‘fill a cemetery with his victims’, was suffering from colon cancer when he was captured by armed police at a medical facility in Palermo, Sicily, in January. But his condition deteriorated in recent weeks and he was transferred to a hospital from the maximum-security prison in L’Aquila in central Italy where he was initially held.
Messina Denaro, dubbed the ‘last godfather’ of the notorious Cosa Nostra gang and nicknamed ‘The Devil’ following a string of brutal murders, died in the hospital, L’Aquila Mayor Pierluigi Biondi.
The mafioso had been forced into hiding 30 years ago after he ordered a series of deadly attacks, including the murders of anti-mafia prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, as well as a series of car bombs in Florence, Milan and Rome that left 10 people dead and 93 injured in 1993.
And children were not off limits for Messina Denaro. In the same year, ‘The Devil’ helped organise the kidnapping of a 12-year-old boy, Giuseppe Di Matteo, in an attempt to dissuade his father from giving evidence against the mafia, prosecutors say. The boy was held in captivity for two years before he was brutally strangled to death and his body dissolved in acid.
L’Aquila Mayor Pierluigi Biondi confirmed the mobster’s death in hospital ‘following a worsening of his illness’ in a statement to the ANSA news agency, which had earlier broken the news. His death ‘puts the end to a story of violence and blood’, Biondi said, thanking prison and hospital staff for their ‘professionalism and humanity’. It was ‘the epilogue of an existence lived without remorse or repentance, a painful chapter of the recent history of our nation’.
Denaro is not believed to have given any information to the police after he was seized outside a private health clinic in the Sicilian capital, Palermo, on January 16th. Denaro had requested no aggressive medical treatment, ANSA reported, adding that medics had stopped feeding him after he was declared to be in irreversible coma.
According to medical records leaked to the Italian media, he underwent surgery for colon cancer in 2020 and 2022 under a false name. A doctor at the Palermo clinic told La Repubblica newspaper that Messina Denaro’s health had worsened significantly in the months leading up to his capture.
Preparations are already under way for his burial in the family tomb in his hometown of Castelvetrano alongside his father, Don Ciccio, according to the Corriere della Sera newspaper.
Messina Denaro was captured in January when armed police swarmed the private medical facility in Palermo where he was undergoing treatment. The then 60-year-old had tried to outrun the police officers on foot and pushed his way through a series of hospital doors – but he only made it as far as a bar that was part of the same building where he had been seeing doctors for colon cancer checks. As the officers cornered the frail mafia boss, Messina Denaro meekly gave them his name before they bundled him into a waiting black minivan in front of shocked patients and medical staff.
The Mafia boss, who had not been seen in public for three decades, was pictured sitting in a police van wearing a brown leather shearling jacket, a white skull cap and his trademark tinted glasses shortly after his arrest.
A trigger man who once reportedly boasted he could ‘fill a cemetery’ with his victims, Messina Denaro was a leading figure in Cosa Nostra, the real-life Sicilian crime syndicate depicted in the Godfather movies.
For a mafia boss who evaded arrest for over 30 years, it was his frequent visits to a private clinic that led to his arrest. Messina Denaro had been sitting in the private clinic waiting to see a doctor for colon cancer tests when he was surrounded and chased by a swarm of armed police officers. A member of staff who asked to remain anonymous told local media at the time: ‘He’d been coming here on and off for about a year. He’d had an operation a few months ago and was back for more tests and chemotherapy. When I turned up for work this morning at 6am it was all quiet and then he arrived to do his Covid test. A few minutes later a police officer wearing full body armour as if he was going to war came in and said he was looking for a patient. He said to remain calm and that armed officers were on every floor of the clinic. We had no idea who he was or what his background was. The guy actually managed to get out and ran into a local bar but they tracked him down and that’s when all hell broke loose.’
As news of his arrest spread across Palermo, local residents had emerged to applaud and shake the hands of the Italian paramilitary police officers involved in the operation. The residents were seen cheering and wiping away tears as they felt a wave of relief that Messina Denaro, who had coordinated years of terror in Italy, had finally been detained.
Messina Denaro lived a playboy lifestyle. He was known for driving expensive cars and for having a taste for wearing finely tailored suits and Rolex watches. As a rising-star in the mafia in the 1980s, he dressed in designer brands Versace and Armani. His womanising ways raised eyebrows among the clans more conservative members. He fathered a daughter in 1995, which was seen as not being in keeping with Cosa Nostra’s more traditional family values.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Brie Larson (34), Rupert Friend (42), Julie Andrews (88), Zach Galifianakis (54), Randy Quaid (73), Larry Lamb (76), Monica Bellucci (59), Ezra Miller (31), Kieran Culkin (41), Omid Djalili (58), Al Leong (71), Zachary Levi (43), Ian McShane (81), Erika Eleniak (54), Mackenzie Crook (52), Matt & Luke Goss (55), Naomi Watts (55), Hilary Duff (36), Jeffrey Jones (77), Brigitte Bardot (89), Dita Von Teese (51), Bam Margera (44), Jenna Ortega (21), Gwyneth Paltrow (51), Indira Varma (50), Denis Lawson (76), Avril Lavigne (39), Linda Hamilton (67), Lysette Anthony (60), Ricky Tomlinson (84), Serena Williams (42), Will Smith (55), Catherine Zeta-Jones (54), Mark Hamill (72), Bella Ramsey (20), Michael Douglas (79), Michael Madsen (66), and Heather Locklear (62).