Dead Pool 20th August 2023
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Peter Vaughan-Clarke, 66, British actor (The Tomorrow People).
- Patricia Bredin, 88, English actress (Left Right and Centre, The Treasure of Monte Cristo) and singer (Eurovision Song Contest 1957).
- Sir Michael Parkinson, 88, English journalist and broadcaster (Parkinson).
- Lolita, 57, American orca, kidney failure.
- Ron Cephas Jones, 66, American actor (This Is Us, Luke Cage, Mr. Robot), pulmonary illness.
- John Warnock, 82, American computer scientist, co-founder of Adobe Inc.
In Other News
Rock legend Bruce Springsteen has cancelled two upcoming concerts after being “taken ill”. A statement on his Instagram account said two concerts with the E Street Band in Philadelphia last night and tomorrow have been “postponed”. The nature of his illness was not disclosed. The 73-year-old was due to play with his American rock band at the Citizens Bank Park stadium. “We are working on rescheduling the dates, so please hold on to your tickets as they will be valid for the rescheduled shows,” it added. Even at 73, he’s one of the hardest-working men in show business. The Born In The USA musician embarked on a mammoth tour, including 59 dates in North America and 31 in Europe totalling an impressive 90 shows—his first tour in six years. Earlier in the year, The Boss took a little tumble on stage while performing “Ghosts” in Amsterdam, but he quickly recovered. He got to his feet and joked “Goodnight, everybody!” Fans expressed their support and hope that The Boss would recover quickly. “The Hardest Working Man in Show Business needs a well-deserved rest,” commented one fan. Another wrote: “I think the Boss needs to rest that’s why he’s ill!!! Take care dear Boss!”
On doctors’ orders, Sir David Jason will no longer be attending an upcoming Only Fools and Horses convention due to a scheduled operation. He has asked fans for their “cushty wishes” in a characteristically humorous statement about his health on Sunday. The 83-year-old said he was “very sorry for the disappointment”. He said in a statement on a Facebook supporter’s page: “Unfortunately I have just been advised I need a new bionic body part fitted. I won’t tell you which part it is, or you will all want one! And don’t worry it’s not being supplied by Monkey Harris, it’ll be the pukka gear. I really hope everyone will be able to make the new date (January 13th and 14th) and we can all have something cushty to look forward to!” Concluding the post, Del Boy added: “Hoping to be lovely jubbly when I meet you all in the new year.” A representative for David has since told the Flying Monkeys that his surgery will be a hip replacement. Last year, the actor was struck down by Covid-19 which resulted in his muscles not working properly. He said: “I collapsed and I fell against the radiator. I was so weak, I couldn’t get up. I tried for about a quarter of an hour, trying all sorts of things to stand up so I could walk about. But in order to do that, I had to use my head. So now I’m lying face down on the ground, and in order to get to the door – and the arms really weren’t working and the legs weren’t working – I was using my head to drag me to the door.” Back in 2017, the television veteran said he would never want to retire from acting.
On This Day
- 1858 – Charles Darwin first publishes his theory of evolution through natural selection in The Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London, alongside Alfred Russel Wallace‘s same theory.
- 1940 – Exiled Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky is fatally wounded with an ice axe by Ramón Mercader. He dies the next day.
- 1940 – World War II: British Prime Minister Winston Churchill makes the fourth of his famous wartime speeches, containing the line “Never was so much owed by so many to so few”.
- 1977 – Voyager program: NASA launches the Voyager 2 spacecraft.
- 1989 – The pleasure boat Marchioness sinks on the River Thames following a collision. Fifty-one people are killed.
- 1982 – Ulla Jacobsson, Swedish actress (b. 1929)
- 2013 – Elmore Leonard, American novelist, short story writer, and screenwriter (b. 1925)
- 2017 – Jerry Lewis, American actor and comedian (b. 1926)
What Killed the King of Rock & Roll?
This week marks the sad anniversary of Elvis Presley’s tragic passing after he died on August 16th 1977, at the age of just 43. But mystery has shrouded the King of Rock and Roll’s death for almost 50 years after his family remained tight-lipped on the results of his autopsy.
The Jailhouse Rock singer, from Mississippi, was found face down on the bathroom floor of his Graceland home, where he appeared to have fallen from the toilet close by, with his pyjama bottoms around his ankles. In the years leading to his sudden death, his health had taken a dramatic hit, after years of drug abuse catching up with him combined with a diet of junk food.
The once slender and sporty star went on to weigh 25 stone as he spent months barricaded in his bedroom indulging in cheeseburger platters. His condition was so fraught that he was in need of a full-time nurse, and as he reportedly refused to bathe throughout 1975, and developed sores across his body.
As a consequence of his high-fat, unhealthy diet, Elvis suffered from chronic constipation and a post-mortem examination found he had four-month-old compacted stool sitting in his bowel. The singer was also on a cocktail of drugs and had been prescribed almost 9,000 pills, vials and injections in the seven months before his death.
And it was his girlfriend, Ginger Alden, who found the rock and roll star’s body with his pyjama bottoms around his ankles and his bottom in the air. Of the distressing scene, Ginger, who was just 21 at the time, wrote in her memoir: “His arms lay on the ground, close to his sides, palms facing upward.
“It was clear that, from the moment he landed on the floor, Elvis hadn’t moved. I gently turned his face toward me. A hint of air expelled from his nose. The tip of his tongue was clenched between his teeth and his face was blotchy. I gently raised one eyelid. His eye was staring straight ahead and blood red.”
An autopsy was carried out that same day but the report was immediately sealed for 50 years by the family, sparking a slew of speculation as to what killed him. Dan Warlick, chief investigator for the Tennessee Office of the State Chief Medical Examiner, attended the autopsy and fuelled the popular theory that Elvis died while straining to go to the toilet.
He once said: “Presley’s chronic constipation – the result of years of prescription drug abuse and high-fat, high-cholesterol gorging – brought on what’s known as Valsalva’s manoeuvre. Put simply, the strain of attempting to defecate compressed the singer’s abdominal aorta, shutting down his heart.”
Others claimed he’d died from a drug overdose, but when the investigation was reopened in 1994, coroner Joseph Davis disagreed. He explained: “The position of Elvis Presley’s body was such that he was about to sit down on the commode when the seizure occurred. He pitched forward onto the carpet, his rear in the air, and was dead by the time he hit the floor.
“If it had been a drug overdose, Elvis would have slipped into an increasing state of slumber. He would have pulled up his pajama bottoms and crawled to the door to seek help. It takes hours to die from drugs.” The autopsy results are due to be unlocked in 2027, but until then, the biggest insight into the star’s mysterious death has come from prominent California physician, Forest Tennant, who actually reviewed the report while defending Elvis’ doctor, Dr. George Nichopoulos, who was later acquitted of over-prescribing drugs.
For Mr Tennant, one major clue was in the full-body deterioration of Elvis, with almost every organ plagued by ill health. As a young man, Elvis had been extremely fit, playing football and practising martial arts. He did start abusing drugs including amphetamines, opioids and sedatives as a teenager and is known to have had an appalling diet.
But for Tennant, that wasn’t enough to explain the long list of maladies that afflicted the rock star from the late 1960s onwards. First he complained of vertigo, back pain, and insomnia, eye infections and headaches, and in 1973 he was rushed to hospital in a semi-coma and found to be suffering from jaundice, severe respiratory distress, marked swelling of his face, distended abdomen, constipation, a gastric, bleeding ulcer and hepatitis.
He was hospitalised again in 1975 with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and a condition called megacolon, whereby the large intestine becomes distended and can allow toxins to flood the body. He also had at least four near-death overdoses that left him unconscious and in need of resuscitation, and his heart was double the normal size.
And despite having never smoked, he also suffered from emphysema. So what had caused all of these disease processes in his stomach, liver, lungs, heart, spine, eyes and bowel? Forest believes it all stemmed back to a serious head injury he sustained in 1967 that triggered a progressive autoimmune inflammatory disorder.
In his opinion, as shared in a 2013 medical paper, when Elvis tripped over a television cord and knocked himself out on the bathtub, the injury was so severe that it caused brain tissue to dislodge and seep into his blood circulation. There, the body identified the matter as foreign and produced antibodies to destroy it, triggering hypogammaglobulinemia, a disorder of the body’s immune system.
At the time, little was understood about auto-immune conditions, but these days they are known to cause most of the symptoms Elvis displayed, from chronic pain, irrational behaviour, obesity and enlarged and diseased organs like hearts and bowels. And in 2016 Garry Rodgers, a retired homicide detective and forensic coroner, told the Huffington Post that with those findings in mind, he would have attributed Elvis’ death to a heart attack caused by heart disease and drug use caused by an autoimmune disease which was sparked by a brain injury.
He said: “I’d have to classify Elvis’s death as an accident. There’s no one to blame – certainly not Elvis. He was a severely injured and ill man. There’s no specific negligence on anyone’s part and definitely no cover-up or conspiracy of a criminal act. If Dr. Forrest Torrent is right, there simply wasn’t a proper understanding back then in determining what really killed the King of Rock & Roll.”
Last Week’s Birthdays
Amy Adams (49), Andrew Garfield (40), Ke Huy Quan (52), Ben Barnes (42), James Marsters (61), Misha Collins (49), John Noble (75), Ray Wise (76), Demi Lovato (31), Sylvester McCoy (80), David Walliams (52), Matthew Perry (54), Jonathan Frakes (71), Kevin Dillon (58), Diana Muldaur (85), Jim Carter (75), Ian McElhinney (75), Simon Bird (39), Edward Norton (54), Robert Redford (87), Christian Slater (54), Roman Polanski (90), Madeleine Stowe (65), Denis Leary (66), Robert De Niro (80), Austin Butler (32), Sean Penn (63), Belinda Carlisle (65), Taika Waititi (48), Steve Carell (61), James Cameron (69), Angela Bassett (65), Julie Newmar (90), Madonna (65), Jennifer Lawrence (33), Ben Affleck (51), Natasha Henstridge (49), Jim Dale (88), Tony Robinson (77), Steve Martin (78), Mila Kunis (40), Halle Berry (57), and James Buckley (36).