Dead Pool 4th April 2021
A lacklustre week for famous deaths, but a few interesting reads below to amuse the morbid amongst you. If you see any news snippets of fancy a go at writing for the newsletter, please forward anything you feel that’s interesting or newsworthy.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Myra Frances, 78, British actress (Doctor Who), cancer.
- Evelyn Sakash, 66, American production designer (Mermaids), heart disease.
- Valerie Pitts, 83, British television presenter (Play School).
- April, 20, American giraffe, euthanised.
In Other News
The music world is reacting to the reports that DMX is in critical condition after taking a drug overdose. It’s been claimed that the overdose, which was said to have been taken on Friday, triggered a heart attack. According to reports, the rapper, 50, was rushed to hospital, where a source says he is in a “vegetative state”. Reports of DMX’s overdose has sent shockwaves throughout the rap community. Among those to have sent “prayers” to the rapper, whose real name is Earl Simmons, are Ja Rule and Missy Elliott. DMX has previously spoken about his addiction to crack cocaine, which he said began when he was 14. He has been in and out of rehab over the years, the most recent time occurring in 2019 when he checked himself in. In 2013, he told American TV personality Dr Phil that he was “always going to be an addict until I die”, two years after he claimed to have “let the cocaine go” so he could focus on raising his children. As of this morning, DMX has been taken off life support and he is now breathing on his own.
Evelyn Sakash, an Emmy-winning production designer and scenic artist, has been found dead in her home six months after she was reported missing. Sakash worked in the art department of series including Orange is the New Black and Law & Order: Criminal Intent, as well as films such as Mermaids and Still Alice. The 66-year-old’s body was found beneath a pile of debris in the kitchen of her home in Queens, New York. A spokesperson for the New York Police Department confirmed that Sakash died of natural causes, as a result of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Sakash was first reported missing in September, and a GoFundMe campaign was set up by a friend in December to raise funds to find her. On Tuesday, Sakash’s body was found by cleaners hired by her sister, Ellen Brown, to clear the production designer’s home. Brown addressed claims that Sakash was a hoarder and that her sister’s body was found beneath “an avalanche of trash”. “This is just devastating. She had a full life. She was so extraordinarily talented. She was a brilliant mind … I don’t want my sister to be remembered like that, like the way she was found.” In the wake of Sakash’s death, another GoFundMe has been set up in her name to raise money for funeral costs. You have to wonder how smelly her house was to hide a rotting corpse for six months…
Peter Egan has revealed his wife of 45 years, actress Myra Frances, has passed away. The screen star, 74, took to Twitter on Wednesday to share the tragic news about his ‘friend and soulmate’, admitting: ‘My heart is broken’. The grieving actor said: ‘This is the saddest post I will ever have to make. My wonderful wife Myra, my friend & soulmate lost her battle with cancer at 1.30am on Tuesday. This message is for all her followers on her FB & Twitter @EganMyra. She was the most amazing human being. My heart is broken.’ Peter also recorded an emotional video revealing he’d be taking a break from social media as he came to terms with his wife’s tragic death. Peter met fellow thespian Myra in 1972 when they were both in TV drama The Organisation, and they married four years later. The couple moved from London into their Surrey home in 2016 with their five rescue dogs, and have both campaigned tirelessly for animal welfare. While Peter has had a slew of acting roles in series including Downton Abbey, Hold the Sunset and Afterlife, Myra had been retired for many years. The news comes after Peter appeared in Unforgotten’s heartbreaking series finale on Monday night, before ITV confirmed that show would return for a fifth season.
April, a giraffe from Animal Adventure Park in New York whose delivery of a new baby calf was live-streamed in 2017, has been euthanised due to advancing arthritis, the zoo has announced. The live-stream became the second most-watched stream in YouTube’s history at the time of broadcast, garnering more than 232 million views and 7.6 billion minutes of live watch time over the course of several months. It was also sponsored by the retailer Toys R Us, in a nod to its official mascot, Geoffrey the Giraffe. In a statement shared to social media, Animal Adventure Park said that April’s latest vet exam revealed that her arthritis had accelerated, leading them to conclude that euthanasia was the “humane and appropriate course of action”. “Beginning in the summer of 2020, the staff at Animal Adventure Park began reporting changes in April’s mobility. The park’s veterinarians radiographed April’s feet in July 2020 and noted the onset of osteoarthritis. The park began multi-modal management of osteoarthritis including measures such as pain medications, anti-inflammatories, hoof trimming, installation of padded flooring and dietary changes in hopes of slowing down the progression of her condition. Unfortunately, over time, what we saw was April increasingly shifting her weight from limb-to-limb, a continual decline in mobility and spending a lot more time laying recumbent,” the post reads. With the irreversible condition advancing “at a rapid rate”, it was decided that euthanasia would be the “most humane decision” to take, and she died on Friday aged 20. Following the completion of an animal autopsy – known as a necropsy – April will be cremated, with her ashes returned to Animal Adventure Park to fertilise the roses.
On This Day
- 1721 – Sir Robert Walpole becomes the first British prime minister.
- 1841 – William Henry Harrison dies of pneumonia, becoming the first President of the United States to die in office, and setting the record for the briefest administration.
- 1925 – The Schutzstaffel (SS) is founded under Adolf Hitler‘s Nazi party in Germany.
- 1968 – Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated by James Earl Ray at a motel in Memphis, Tennessee.
- 1969 – Dr. Denton Cooley implants the first temporary artificial heart.
- 1975 – Microsoft is founded.
- 1968 – Martin Luther King Jr., American minister and activist (b. 1929).
- 1983 – Gloria Swanson, American actress (b. 1899).
- 1993 – Alfred Mosher Butts, American game designer, invented Scrabble (b. 1899).
- 1995 – Kenny Everett, English radio and television host (b. 1944).
- 2013 – Roger Ebert, American journalist, critic, and screenwriter (b. 1942).
On Thursday, April 4th, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was staying in room 306 at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. The motel was owned by businessman Walter Bailey and was named after his wife. Reverend Ralph Abernathy, a colleague and friend, later told the House Select Committee on Assassinations that he and King had stayed in Room 306 at the Lorraine Motel so often that it was known as the “King–Abernathy Suite”.
According to biographer Taylor Branch, King and Abernathy enjoyed a catfish lunch and iced tea at the Lorraine Motel’s grill and King’s last words were to musician Ben Branch, who was scheduled to perform that night at a planned event. King said, “Ben, make sure you play ‘Take My Hand, Precious Lord‘ in the meeting tonight. Play it real pretty.”
According to Rev. Samuel Kyles, who was standing several feet away, King was leaning over the balcony railing in front of Room 306 with Rev. Jesse Jackson when the shot rang out. King was struck in the face at 6:01 p.m. by a single .30-06 bullet fired from a Remington Model 760 rifle. The bullet entered through King’s right cheek, breaking his jaw and several vertebrae as it traveled down his spinal cord, severing his jugular vein and major arteries in the process, before lodging in his shoulder. The force of the shot ripped King’s necktie off. King fell backward onto the balcony, unconscious. Everyone first believed King was dead, but found he still had a pulse.
King was rushed to St. Joseph’s Hospital, where doctors opened his chest and performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation. He never regained consciousness and died at 7:05 p.m. According to Branch, King’s autopsy revealed that his heart was in the condition of a 60-year-old man rather than that of a 39-year-old such as King, which Branch attributed to the stress of King’s 13 years in the civil rights movement.
The Rev. Kyles had planned to take King to dinner at his home after the balcony speech, the meal, which was to be cooked at the church by a number of female members, included many of King’s favourite dishes: fried chicken, ham, sweet potatoes, two kinds of greens, crowder peas, sweet potato pie. Sadly, although the meal was prepared, the news of King’s death meant that none of it was cooked.
Shortly after King was shot, witnesses saw a man, later believed to be James Earl Ray, fleeing from a rooming house across the street from the Lorraine Motel. Ray had been renting a room in the boarding house. Police found a package dumped close to the site that included a rifle and binoculars, both with Ray’s fingerprints. Ray had purchased the rifle under an alias six days earlier. A worldwide manhunt was triggered that culminated in Ray’s arrest at London’s Heathrow Airport two months later. On March 10th, 1969, he pleaded guilty to the first degree murder of Martin Luther King Jr., which was later recanted.
The King family and others believe that the assassination was the result of a conspiracy involving the U.S. government, the mafia, and the Memphis police. They believe that Ray was a scapegoat. Ray died in prison on April 23rd, 1998, at the age of 70 from kidney and liver failure caused by Hepatitis C.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Robert Downey Jr. (56), Natasha Lyonne (42), Hugo Weaving (61), Graham Norton (58), Xenia Seeberg (53), Eddie Murphy (60), Amanda Bynes (35), Alec Baldwin (63), Paris Jackson (23), Pedro Pascal (46), Michael Fassbender (44), Clark Gregg (59), Linda Hunt (76), Penelope Keith (81), Mackenzie Davis (34), Asa Butterfield (24), Ali MacGraw (82), Ewan McGregor (50), Christopher Walken (78), Richard Chamberlain (87), Rhea Perlman (73), Daniel Mays (43), William Daniels (94), Robbie Coltrane (71), Warren Beatty (84), Donna D’Errico (53), Piers Morgan (56), Céline Dion (53), Eric Clapton (76), Lucy Lawless (53), Brendan Gleeson (66), Ed Skrein (38), Marina Sirtis (66), Christopher Lambert (64), Elle Macpherson (57), and Eric Idle (78).