Dead Pool 7th February 2016
Alas, no points to be awarded today, which is somewhat of a surprise after the glut of celebrity deaths we’ve been seeing lately. Either famous people are dying exponentially or you lot are getting clued up as to how to play this game!
A quick note about contributions towards the newsletter; I know you have all been enjoying Ceri’s excellent pieces of writing and you probably feel that you could manage a few paragraphs from time to time too. Don’t be shy, email in a short piece, if only to give the us a break from time to time as writing on the same subject on a weekly basis gets very difficult very quickly, as some of you might remember when you took over the Dead Pool when I took a vacation ;P
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Joe Alaskey, 63, American voice actor (Looney Tunes, Rugrats, Casper), cancer.
- Benoît Violier, 44, French-Swiss chef, suicide by gunshot.
- Katie May, 34, American model (Playboy, Sports Illustrated) and online media personality (Snapchat), complications from a stroke.
- Kristine Miller, 90, American actress (I Walk Alone, Jungle Patrol, Too Late for Tears).
- Dave Mirra, 41, American BMX rider, suicide by gunshot.
- Edgar Mitchell, 85, American astronaut (Apollo 14).
- Axl Rotten, 44, American professional wrestler (ECW).
- Maurice White, 74, American songwriter and musician (Earth, Wind & Fire), complications from Parkinson’s disease.
- Raphael Schumacher, 27, Italian actor, hanged during performance.
In Other News
The news on Michael Schumacher’s health is “not good”, according to Luca di Montezemolo, the former Ferrari president, in an unusual intervention which only added to the speculation and mystery surrounding the Formula One legend’s condition. What is known is that Schumacher is still receiving treatment in Switzerland after sustaining severe head injuries in a skiing accident in December 2013 in the Alpine resort of Meribel. The 47-year-old was put in an induced coma following the crash and has been recovering with a specialist medical team at home on the shores of Lake Geneva since September 2014. The seven-time world champion’s family have retained a dignified silence throughout, with updates few and far between. Sabine Kehm, the 47-year-old’s manager, declined to respond to Di Montezemolo’s comments when contacted by the media. “I have news and unfortunately it is not good,” Di Montezemolo told reporters on Thursday, refusing to elaborate in any way. “Life is strange. He was a fantastic driver and only had one accident with Ferrari in 1999 (Schumacher broke his leg in an accident during the British Grand Prix).” Very few people are known to have visited the former Ferrari and Mercedes driver, who won five straight championships from 2000 to 2004.
Talking about Schumacher’s, an Italian actor who was left in a coma after he accidentally hanged himself during a live theatre performance has been pronounced clinically dead. Raphael Schumacher, 27, was performing in a production of Mirages at the Teatro Lux in Pisa, Italy, when the incident occurred. He was taken to hospital on Saturday night and has been in a coma since. Doctors say his condition has worsened and that he was not responding to treatment. The BBC reports that following a six-hour procedure to establish brain death on Thursday, the hospital issued a statement: “The family and the prosecutor’s office have both authorised that his organs be donated, but their removal will be subject to a medical assessment to be performed in the course of the night.” Mirages is a six-scene immersive performance staged in different parts of the theatre, with audience members walking between them. At the time of the incident, Schumacher was reciting a monologue from Frank Wedekind’s Spring Awakening alone in a courtyard in front of just one spectator. The actor reportedly changed the ending of the scene by placing his head in a noose instead of using a gun. He was discovered unconscious by a second spectator, reportedly a medical student, who rushed to his aid. While it is assumed that the incident was accidental, an investigation has been launched into the theatre’s safety procedures. That investigation has shifted from grievous bodily harm to culpable homicide, or manslaughter, according to the BBC. Schumacher’s mother has rejected the theory that he may have tried to commit suicide. “My son recently lost his father and had ended a relationship but had found his serenity again,” she said. “He didn’t leave a suicide note and had no reason to kill himself.”
More than 40 years after Lord Lucan disappeared from a blood-soaked London crime scene, the high court has finally cleared the way for his only son to inherit the earldom. A presumption of death certificate was granted by Mrs Justice Asplin on Wednesday following a hearing that lasted less than an hour. George Bingham, 48, can now assume the family title as the eighth earl of Lucan. The hearing at the Rolls Building in central London had been scheduled to last three days but Neil Berriman, Rivett’s son, withdrew his objections to a death certificate being issued under the 2014 Presumption of Death Act. The judge made the declaration on the basis that she was satisfied Lucan had not been known to be alive for a period of at least seven years. The death certificate can be revoked if the peer, who would now be aged 81, reappears. The hearing was told that police had confirmed there were no live lines of inquiry into Rivett’s murder, although the case had not been closed.
Frank Bruno’s death wish of returning to the ring have been dashed after he was told his application for a licence would be declined. The 54-year-old former heavyweight boxing champion posted on Twitter that the British Boxing Board of Control had informed his agent that “should I apply for a licence this would not be granted”. His agent, Dave Davies, confirmed on Monday the board had been in touch, saying: “Frank, like many other former sports stars, misses the good times when he was in the boxing ring and watching his son train has reignited his wish to return to the ring. “However we have had confirmation today … that should an application for a boxing licence be received from Frank it would be declined. As agents for Frank we must respect and accept their decision.” Bruno, who has bipolar disorder, acknowledged he had “certainly set Twitter talking” after he announced on ITV’s This Morning that he was “coming back into boxing” to help him cope with the effects of his medication. Asked how drugs had affected him, he said: “They made me suicidal – mess up your head, mess up your clock – you can’t sleep. I’m walking around break-dancing I’ve got so much energy. Asked how drugs had affected him, he said: “They made me suicidal – mess up your head, mess up your clock – you can’t sleep. I’m walking around break-dancing I’ve got so much energy!”. Almost enough energy to die in the ring!
Gone With The Wind actress Olivia de Havilland, who – at 99 – is the oldest living Oscar winner, is honoured by satirical magazine The Oldie. However she was unable to travel from her home in France to collect her Oldie of the Year award in person at Tuesday’s ceremony in London. But in a recorded message she said she was “utterly delighted” the judges deemed there was “sufficient snap in my celery” to win the accolade. The tongue-in cheek awards are given out annually by The Oldie, set up by former Private Eye editor Richard Ingrams to take an irreverent stand against ageism. De Havilland said: “It is deeply gratifying to thus find myself in the company of the Queen Mother, whose record I have long wanted to match as well as that of so many other distinguished recipients.” She shared her Oldie of the Year award with 101-year-old former barrister and member of the House of Lords, Jeremy Hutchinson.
A father of three choked to death as he tried to eat a McDonald’s cheeseburger in one mouthful, an inquest heard. Darren Bray, 29, blacked out when he attempted to fit the 99p burger into his mouth whole following a night out with friends. Cardiff Coroner’s Court heard that Mr Bray, of Barry, South Wales, had been drinking cans of beer, but not enough to affect his judgement, although eating a McDonald’s would be considered bad judgement in our book! He died from a food blockage to his airway and a coroner recorded a conclusion of death by misadventure. The hearing was told that Mr Bray had told friends to “watch this” as he picked up the burger, “rolled it into a ball” and put it in his mouth. However, Mr Bray went “blue” in front of two friends and started choking. Friend Sam Bisgrove told the inquest: “I could see him trying to cough it up and he was making horrible coughing noises. I tried to hit his back to help him clear his airway.” Paramedics arrived and performed CPR on Mr Bray, who was at a friend’s house in Barry, but were unable to restart his heart and he was pronounced dead at the scene. Dr Rhiannon Trefor told the hearing there was a 3in by 1.9in (8cm by 5cm) ball of food stuck at the back of his neck. The moral of the story, avoid McDonalds at all costs!
And finally, Antonio Docampo García, who died last week at the grand old age of 107, attributed his longevity to his drinking habits – four bottles of red wine a day, and no water. Mr Docampo liked to have two bottles of wine with lunch, and another two with dinner, his family told reporters. “He could drink a litre and a half all at once,” said his son Miguel Docampo López. “When we were both at home we could get through 200 litres of wine a month. He never drank water.” Mr Docampo, of Vigo in north west Spain, owned his own vineyard and was founder of the wine company Bodegas Docampo. (A cynic might suggest that tales of the wine’s life-giving properties could contain a teensy trace of marketing spiel.) Mr Docampo’s nephew Jerónimo Docampo, who now runs the vineyard, told La Voz de Galicia: “He sold the majority of the wine he produced, but still kept a decent amount back for himself.” “If he produced 60,000 litres a year he would keep 3,000 litres for himself. He always said that was his secret to living so long.”
On This Day
- 1497 – The Bonfire of the Vanities occurs in which supporters of Girolamo Savonarola burn thousands of objects like cosmetics, art, and books in Florence, Italy.
- 1935 – The classic board game Monopoly is invented.
- 1940 – The second full-length animated Walt Disney film, Pinocchio, premieres.
- 1984 – Space Shuttle program: STS-41-B Mission: Astronauts Bruce McCandless II and Robert L. Stewart make the first untethered space walk using the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU).
- 1992 – The Maastricht Treaty is signed, leading to the creation of the European Union.
- 1997 – NeXT merges with Apple Computer, starting the path to Mac OS X.
- 1871 – Henry E. Steinway, German-American businessman, founded Steinway & Sons (b. 1797)
- 1938 – Harvey Samuel Firestone, American businessman, founded the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company (b. 1868)
- 1979 – Josef Mengele, German SS officer and physician (b. 1911)
Why Do OAP’s Die Every Seven Minutes During the Winter?
Over the last four winters, according to the latest official figures, nearly 120,000 people in England and Wales have died of cold weather, or factors associated with cold weather such as a virulent strain of influenza. But campaigners argue that these excess winter deaths, defined as the difference between the number of deaths that occur each winter (from December to March) and the average number of deaths during the preceding four months (August to November) and the subsequent four months (April to July), have more to do with poverty than freezing temperatures.
And excess winter deaths seem to be increasing: despite last year’s mild winter, an estimated 43,900 excess winter deaths occurred – a rise of 140% on the previous year and the worst statistics since 1999-2000. Female deaths leapt nearly 150% in a single year, from 10,250 to 25,500 between 2013-14 and 2014-15. Poverty rates for women remain higher than for men, which compounds health problems.
Weather seems to be a minor factor in explaining these deaths. Across Europe, England and Wales have some of the highest rates of excess mortality in winter months. All Nordic countries have far lower winter mortality rates, despite much harsher weather. Norway’s rate is a quarter that of England and Wales, while Finland reports no difference in mortality rates between the summer and winter months. In contrast, Spanish and Portuguese climates are milder than Britain’s, yet excess winter deaths are far higher.
“The UK has an appalling record on cold-related deaths, with one older person dying every seven minutes from the winter cold. Colder countries like Sweden are better at protecting older people from the cold,” says Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK. Abrahams argues the issue is not so much cold weather as increasing fuel poverty, where people cannot afford to heat their homes adequately.
“Cold homes are a bigger killer across the UK than road accidents, drug abuse or alcohol abuse,” says Maria Wardrobe, director of National Energy Action. She agrees that the key to tackling winter deaths is to make sure older people have a well-insulated, warm home and the income needed to pay the fuel bills. The NPC wants a fuel poverty inquiry, and more suitable homes built specifically for older people, extra money for insulation and winter fuel payments.”
Of course, fuel poverty isn’t the only reason for excess winter deaths. The main problem with these statistics is that the measure itself is simplistic. The myriad factors that exacerbate illness, vulnerability or susceptibility aren’t collated. Inequality levels, access to hospitals and social care, loneliness and poverty worsen physical and mental health, and increase people’s vulnerability to dying during the winter months.
So keep all this in mind when you’re hoping for a rich celebrity death during the Winter!
Last Week’s Birthdays
Carol Channing (95), Johnny Rotten (60), Minnie Driver (46), Justin Timberlake (35), Brent Spiner (67), Lisa Marie Presley (48), Michael C. Hall (45), Stephanie of Monaco (51), Graham Nash (74), Shakira (39), Morgan Fairchild (66), Rebel Wilson (36), Isla Fisher (40), Alice Cooper (68), Natalie Imbruglia (41), Charlotte Rampling (70), Christopher Guest (68), Bobby Brown (47), Cristiano Ronaldo (31), Michael Sheen (47), Zsa Zsa Gabor (99), Rip Torn (85) and Jennifer Jason Leigh (54).
The Final Word
Murderer James W. Rodgers was put in front of a firing squad in Utah and asked if he had a last request. He replied, “Bring me a bullet-proof vest.”
Next week peeps!