A good mix of celebrities kicking the bucket over the last week, strangely I believed some of you had Carl Reiner, but it turns out none of you did. Must have been a leftover from a list or two from years past.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Johnny Mandel, 94, American composer (“Suicide Is Painless“, “Emily“).
- Carl Reiner, 98, American actor, comedian, film director and writer (The Dick Van Dyke Show, Ocean’s Eleven, The Jerk).
- Louis Mahoney, 81, Gambian-born British actor (Omen III: The Final Conflict, Doctor Who, Captain Phillips).
- Dan Hicks, 68, American actor (Evil Dead II, Darkman, Intruder), cancer.
- Reckful, 31, Israeli-American Twitch streamer, suicide.
- Earl Cameron, 102, Bermudian-born British actor (Doctor Who, Pool of London, The Interpreter).
- Scott Erskine, 57, American serial killer, COVID-19.
- Rubble, 31, British cat, world’s oldest cat.
In Other News
Robbie Williams and his wife Ayda Field were threatened with being beheaded while doing charity work in Haiti. The entitled “Rock DJ” singer visited Haiti with children’s charity Unicef in the wake of the 2010 earthquake, which left an estimated 250,000 dead and 1.5 million without homes. Speaking about the trip on Field’s Postcards from the Edge podcast, Williams recalled the incident, saying: “I got threatened to be beheaded in Haiti. We were going out there to help! “I was like, ‘Should we go to the next street then?’, and looking back, it was scary.” Not to be outdone, Field, who has four children with Williams, added: “I was with you. I too was being threatened to be beheaded as well.” In an interview at the time, Williams discussed seeing the magnitude of the earthquake, saying: “As we walked around Jacmel on the first day, it’s hard to explain in words the massive and devastating impact that the earthquake clearly had – it’s a whole different league from what I had imagined I would see. “It was almost unbelievable, like a movie set. Cars completely crushed – some still poking out from underneath the buildings that have fallen on top of them.”
Thanks to Nickie for bringing this one into my radar, as you might have noticed above, a Twitch streamer called Byron ‘Reckful’ Berstein committed suicide this week at the age of 31. Apparently he was a legend in the World of Warcraft Twitch community. As an avid WoW player since its inception in 2004 myself, I’d never heard of the chap. Which now begs the question of how loosely do we consider someone to be a ‘celebrity’? I think we have a good rule that they have to have a Wiki page to be considered for point scoring, but does someone who records himself playing a computer game that barely 100,000 people worldwide follow, make a celebrity that is worthy of a Wiki page? Most murderers on Death Row don’t make it and their actions will have made them national, if not international news stories! I believe we have reached peak media saturation, or maybe I’m wistfully dreaming of times when we only had three TV channels and the cinema to choose from.
Bradley Walsh was warned that he was at risk of dying from heart disease, which has made him a ‘ticking time bomb’. The Chase host, who has just turned 60, is at high risk of getting the deadly condition as his own father Daniel died of it when he was just 59-years-old. After getting the dire warning from his cardiologist he was shocked into quitting booze and carbs, which has helped him lose 10 lbs. He told us: “I was a time bomb. I produce too much cholesterol. It;s a silent killer. My heart guy said, ‘Look, Brad, you need to get fit.’” Bradley revealed that he gets his heart tested every couple of years. He has a carotid artery test which he says tell you how much furring you’ve got in the artery. This is an “accurate predictor” of whether you’ll then have furring in your heart. Tests found that he had too much cholesterol in his blood and he was motivated to get healthy. Bradley added: “I had a hang-up because my father, Daniel, died at the age of 59. “I had it in the back of my mind that I just had to get past my dad’s age. So turning 60 was a bit of milestone.”
On This Day
- 1687 – Isaac Newton publishes Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica.
- 1841 – Thomas Cook organises the first package excursion, from Leicester to Loughborough.
- 1937 – Spam, the luncheon meat, is introduced into the market by the Hormel Foods Corporation.
- 1946 – The bikini goes on sale after debuting during an outdoor fashion show at the Molitor Pool in Paris, France.
- 1954 – Elvis Presley records his first single, “That’s All Right,” at Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee.
- 1975 – Arthur Ashe becomes the first black man to win the Wimbledon singles title.
- 1996 – Dolly the sheep becomes the first mammal cloned from an adult cell.
- 1833 – Nicéphore Niépce, French inventor, created the first known photograph (b. 1765)
- 1948 – Carole Landis, American actress (b. 1919)
- 2007 – George Melly, English singer-songwriter and critic (b. 1926)
Thank You NHS!
Robert Liston was a pioneering Scottish surgeon. Liston was noted for his skill in an era prior to anaesthetics, when speed made a difference in terms of pain and survival. Liston’s legacy comprises both that which has made its way into the popular culture, and that found primarily within the medical fraternity and related disciplines. His biographer Richard Gordon describes Liston as “the fastest knife in the West End. He could amputate a leg in 2 1⁄2 minutes”. Indeed, he is reputed to have been able to complete operations in a matter of seconds, at a time when speed was essential to reduce pain and improve the odds of survival of a patient; he is said to have been able to perform the removal of a limb in an amputation in 28 seconds. Gordon described the scene thus:
He was six foot two, and operated in a bottle-green coat with wellington boots. He sprung across the blood-stained boards upon his swooning, sweating, strapped-down patient like a duelist, calling, ‘Time me gentlemen, time me!’ to students craning with pocket watches from the iron-railinged galleries. Everyone swore that the first flash of his knife was followed so swiftly by the rasp of saw on bone that sight and sound seemed simultaneous. To free both hands, he would clasp the bloody knife between his teeth.
Although Richard Gordon’s 1983 book pays tribute to other aspects of Liston’s legacy, it is his description of some of Liston’s most famous cases which has primarily made its way into what is known of Liston in popular culture. Gordon describes Liston’s four most famous cases in his book, as quoted verbatim below.
- Removal in 4 minutes of a 45-pound scrotal tumour, whose owner had to carry it round in a wheelbarrow.
- Argument with his house-surgeon. Was the red, pulsating tumour in a small boy’s neck a straightforward abscess of the skin, or a dangerous aneurism of the carotid artery? ‘Pooh!’ Liston exclaimed impatiently. ‘Whoever heard of an aneurism in one so young?’ Flashing a knife from his waistcoat pocket, he lanced it. Houseman’s note – ‘Out leaped arterial blood, and the boy fell.’ The patient died but the artery lives, in University College Hospital pathology museum, specimen No. 1256.
- Amputated the leg in 2 1⁄2 minutes, but in his enthusiasm the patient’s testicles as well.
- Amputated the leg in under 2 1⁄2 minutes (the patient died afterwards in the ward from hospital gangrene; they usually did in those pre-Listerian days). He amputated in addition the fingers of his young assistant (who died afterwards in the ward from hospital gangrene). He also slashed through the coat tails of a distinguished surgical spectator, who was so terrified that the knife had pierced his vitals he died from fright. To this day the only surgical operation with a 300% fatality rate!
Last Weeks Birthdays
Edie Falco (56), Huey Lewis (69), Blu Mankuma (71), Eva Marie Saint (95), Post Malone (24), Gina Lollobrigida (92), Neil Morrissey (57), Ronni Ancona (51), Tom Cruise (57), Connie Nielsen (54), Patrick Wilson (46), Kurtwood Smith (76), Yeardley Smith (55), Margot Robbie (30), Lindsay Lohan (34), Saul Rubinek (72), Larry David (73), Jerry Hall (64), Peter Kay (47), Liv Tyler (43), Pamela Anderson (53), Olivia de Havilland (104), Dan Aykroyd (68), Jean Marsh (86), Geneviève Bujold (78), David Prowse (85), Jamie Farr (86), Debbie Harry (75), Marton Csokas (54), Vincent D’Onofrio (61), Mike Tyson (54), Katherine Ryan (37), Cheryl Cole/Tweedy/Fernandez-Versini?(37), Gary Busey (76), Amanda Donohoe (58), Aleks Paunovic (51), and Katherine Jenkins (40).