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Dead Pool 25th February 2024

A surprisingly deadly week, and we have points to award! Well done to Abi who correctly predicted that American supercentenarian Edith Ceccarelli would die this year. As Abi had her down as her Cert, she scores a wonderful 134 points!!

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News 

Emmerdale actor Dean Andrews has shared a health update after he was taken into hospital for surgery. The star, known for playing Will Taylor on the ITV soap, said he was “glad to have woken up” and thanked staff at Sheffield’s Thornbury Hospital in a recent social media post. The 60-year-old shared a picture of himself to his Instagram page wearing a hospital gown and a wristband. He was connected to what appeared to be an IV drip as he gave a thumbs-up and smiled. “Surgery went well. Very happy to have woken up. Many thanks to my surgeon Chris and all the staff at Thornbury Hospital,” he wrote as a caption. Support poured in from well-wishers as they wished him a “speedy recovery” and hoped he would “get well soon”. Others were surprised at the seemingly sudden information, with some concerned users saying, “Oh no! What has happened? I hope you’ll be feeling better super soon.” One made a joking reference to the actor’s seminal role in the hit BBC series, Life on Mars, and remarked: “Did you wake up and the year was 1973 and your detective chief inspector kept calling you Raymondo by any chance?” The actor did not share the nature of his health condition or the procedure that was undertaken.  

Pete Doherty has shared an update on his health months after revealing he is “a very sick man”. The Libertines singer has returned for a new album alongside his bandmate Carl Barat and, in a new interview, the pair reflected on the drug-fuelled public antics he was notorious for in the Noughties and 2010s. Doherty also addressed concerns surrounding his health after telling interviewer Louis Theroux he feels “death is lurking” after years of drug and alcohol abuse took their toll on his body, “I’ve battered it, haven’t I? I’ve fucking caned it,” he told Theroux on BBC series Louis Theroux Interviews…, adding: “The heroin and the crack… I surrendered to that, and then it was cocaine and the smoking and the alcohol, and now it’s cheese and the saucisson, and the sugar in the tea.” Doherty said doctors have told him he needs to change his diet as it would lead to “diabetes and cholesterol problems” – and, while speaking to the Flying Monkeys on Saturday, the musician revealed that he has now been “diagnosed with type two diabetes”. He told them: “Yeah, I am a bit of a glutton. It’s not a joke. I’ve been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. And at the moment, I’m lacking the discipline to tackle cholesterol.” Doherty said he is sober and that Barat created a strict no-alcohol rule while making the new Libertines record. “Carl insisted on there being no alcohol even. He wanted it to be pure. It’s not like I want to get pissed, but I like a glass of cider. And he’s like, no. It was pressure. We’d never done it before. The studio had always been a time of merriment and celebration.” However, Doherty was “relieved” and “proud” to realise he could make music without drinking. Doherty previously revealed he currently takes blocker injections to prevent drugs from taking effect, stating: “I like to think I could do without it, but that level of trust has to be earnt, doesn’t it?” In the new interview, he said the blockers have been “transformative”, saying: “With all the will in the world, I don’t think I’m ready to lose it. People around me definitely prefer me to have it.” Elsewhere in the interview, Barat said he was “not surprised” that Doherty survived his colourful past, stating: “No, he’s too smart to die. He never intended to die.” 

Vladimir Putin is likely to have something “fundamentally wrong” with his health and may be suffering from Parkinson’s disease, a former head of MI6 has been told. Sir Richard Dearlove, who headed the British intelligence service between 1999 and 2004, said his sources in Europe believe Mr Putin’s health is deteriorating. He said one suggestion is that the Russian president is suffering from Parkinson’s disease, one of the symptoms of which can be delusions. Sir Richard said this might explain Mr Putin’s “paranoia” and the death of prominent opposition figure Alexei Navalny. It comes after much speculation about Mr Putin’s health in recent years, with some unsubstantiated theories including him having cancer or using a body double. Asked on LBC about the state of Mr Putin’s health, Sir Richard replied: “I do not have a clear answer to that but I have contacts and friends still in Eastern Europe who think there is something fundamentally wrong with him medically. But I’m not a clinician.” Expanding on what illness Mr Putin may have, he said: “Probably Parkinson’s which of course has different representations, different variations, different seriousness. But if the man is paranoid, and I think the murder of Navalny might suggest a certain paranoia, that is one of the symptoms.” Since his political opponent’s death, Mr Putin was seen taking flight on a new nuclear-capable bomber plane on Thursday. The move has been seen by the West as a bid to send a reminder of Russia’s nuclear might amid soaring tensions with the West over the fighting in Ukraine. Referring to this, Sir Richard told LBC: “Putin is always postured – that’s part of his character and the rumours of his illness maybe make it more important now that he postures in a way that suggests he isn’t ill, if he is.

On This Day

  • 1836 – Samuel Colt is granted a United States patent for his revolver firearm.
  • 1932 – Hitler, having been stateless for seven years, obtains German citizenship, This does not go well. 
  • 1994 – American-Israeli extremist Baruch Goldstein commits a mass shooting at the Cave of the Patriarchs mausoleum, leaving 29 dead and over 100 injured before he was disarmed and beaten to death by survivors.

Deaths

  • 1723 – Christopher Wren, English architect, designed St Paul’s Cathedral (b. 1632).
  • 1983 – Tennessee Williams, American playwright, and poet (b. 1911). 
  • 2001 – Don Bradman, Australian  cricketer; holder of world record batting average (b. 1908). 
  • 2017 – Bill Paxton, American actor and filmmaker (b. 1955).

Cachi the Killer Poodle 

It will never be known what inspired Cachi the poodle to jump, but on the afternoon of October 24, 1988, that is exactly what he did, plummeting thirteen floors from the balcony of a Buenos Aires apartment building. The unexpected death of a family pet is certainly a tragic thing, however, in Cachi’s case, the tragedy was just beginning. At the time of Cachi’s fateful leap, seventy-five-year-old Marta Espina happened to be passing by on the sidewalk below and was struck by the poodle, killing both Marta and Cachi instantly.

In the gruesome aftermath, spectators gathered to try to piece together exactly what had happened. Soon the sidewalk was so filled with onlookers that they began spilling into the street, clambering for a view of the fatal scene. Forty-six-year-old Edith Sola was so focused on trying to catch a glimpse of Cachi’s wreckage that she failed to notice an oncoming bus, which struck and killed her, making her Cachi’s second victim.

Unfortunately, Cachi’s work was not finished. An unidentified man, who had witnessed both the plunging poodle and the bus impact, suffered a heart attack on the scene. While he was rendered first aid and treated by paramedics, the man died on the way to the hospital, mercifully ending Cachi’s body count at three.

Last Week’s Birthdays

Anson Mount (51), Sean Astin (53), Rashida Jones (48), Jameela Jamil (38), Lee Evans (60), Daniel Kaluuya (35), Edward James Olmos (77), Ben Miller (58), Emily Blunt (41), Dakota Fanning (30), Kelly Macdonald (48), Josh Gad (43), Aziz Ansari (41), Kyle MacLachlan (65), Dichen Lachman (42), Jeri Ryan (56), Drew Barrymore (49), Thomas Jane (55), James Hong (95), Julie Walters (74), Sheila Hancock (91), Nigel Planer (71), Elliot Page (37), Jennifer Love Hewitt (45), Jordan Peele (45), Sophie Turner (28), Kelsey Grammer (69), Tyne Daly (78), Anthony Daniels (78), Anthony Head (70), Brenda Blethyn (78), Benedict Wong (54), Cindy Crawford (58), Rihanna (36), Trevor Noah (40), Millie Bobby Brown (20), Benicio Del Toro (57), Ray Winstone (67), Jeff Daniels (69), and Leslie Ash (64).

Dead Pool 18th February 2024

This weeks big news it the untimely passing of DJ Steve Wright. Got to say, the radio will not be the same without him. 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Six-time Olympic cycling champion Sir Chris Hoy says he is “optimistic, positive and surrounded by love” after revealing he was diagnosed with cancer last year. The former Great Britain track cyclist, 47, posted on Instagram that his treatment, which includes chemotherapy, “is going really well”. “I am continuing to work, ride my bike and live my life as normal,” he added. Hoy won six Olympic golds between 2004 and 2012. The Scot, also an 11-time world champion and the second most decorated Olympic cyclist of all time, said that his diagnosis came as a “huge shock, having had no symptoms”. He did not disclose the type of cancer, and added: “For the sake of my young family, I had hoped to keep this information private but regrettably our hand has been forced. Whilst I’m thankful for any support, I’d like to deal with this privately. I’m optimistic, positive and surrounded by love for which I’m truly grateful. As you might imagine, the last few months have been incredibly difficult. However, I currently feel fine. It’s an exciting year of work ahead, not least with the Paris Olympics in July. I can’t wait to get stuck in, have fun and share it with you all.” Hoy won Olympic team sprint silver at Sydney 2000 and his first gold in the 1km time trial at Athens 2004, before three golds at Beijing 2008 and two more at London 2012. He retired from cycling in 2013, with his record of 17 global titles across four disciplines making him the most successful track cyclist of all time. Only Sir Jason Kenny, with seven, has won more Olympic golds for Britain than Hoy, who was knighted in 2009. 

Former BBC newsreader Moira Stuart collapsed at her friend Angela Rippon‘s birthday party on Monday night. The birthday party was brought to a sudden halt when an ambulance rushed to her aid at the Hilton Hotel on Park Lane, London, according to reports. Stuart, 74, was reportedly helped by her colleagues including Louise Minchin and Michael Buerk after she fell while standing at the bar among other party guests. A source told the Flying Monkeys that the room was cleared for Stuart after hotel staff called an ambulance to check over the newsreader. Stuart reportedly insisted that she was feeling fine shortly after the incident. An onlooker told us: “Moira took a funny turn when Angela’s party was in full swing. She had been in great spirits on the night and spent time with Angela and Lulu, who was also a guest, at the Hilton. It all happened very quickly and out of nowhere, Moira, who was standing at the bar, had fallen to the floor.” Stuart was among the celebrities at Rippon’s belated 79th birthday celebrations, which she had postponed until she had finished her stint on the Strictly Come Dancing live tour. Pictures taken during the night show Stuart in high spirits as she chatted to Rippon and other guests. Later pictures show her leaving the venue in a taxi. Stuart, who is widely acknowledged as the UK’s first female African-Caribbean TV newsreader, joined the BBC in the late Seventies as a production assistant and then a newsreader for Radio 4 and BBC Radio 2. She went on to present virtually every BBC bulletin, with the exception of the Ten O’Clock News.  

Crystal Palace say manager Roy Hodgson is stable in hospital after he was “taken ill” during training on Thursday morning. Palace cancelled a news conference after the 76-year-old became unwell. It was widely reported on Thursday morning that Palace are set to sack Hodgson, with the club 15th in the Premier League and five points clear of the relegation zone. “Following news that Roy Hodgson was taken ill during today’s training session, we can confirm that he is now stable and is currently undergoing tests in hospital,” the club said on Twitter. “Everybody at the club sends their best wishes to Roy for a speedy recovery.” Everton boss Sean Dyche, whose team are playing Palace on Monday, said: “I wish him well and sent a message out. I briefly spoke to Ray Lewington, so I believe things are OK at the minute. Great guy. Someone I respect greatly. So we are hoping that he recovers. Bigger than the game is certainly his health. I hope he comes through it with no problems.” Danny Murphy shared messages he exchanged with Roy Hodgson after he was rushed to hospital. “I messaged him after the worrying news that he’d been taken ill at Crystal Palace’s training ground and was reassured by his replies. He said he was feeling fine, taking stock and prioritising his health. It was good to hear. At 76, he’s absolutely right to put himself first – and he indicated he’s starting to realise that himself. I’m sure he felt an enormous sense of responsibility in a tough campaign for Palace, but if this is a full stop on his managerial career, he should step away with full peace of mind.” 

On This Day

  • 1930 – Elm Farm Ollie becomes the first cow to fly in a fixed-wing aircraft and also the first cow to be milked in an aircraft.
  • 1957 – Walter James Bolton becomes the last person legally executed in New Zealand.
  • 1977 – The Xinjiang 61st Regiment Farm fire: started during Chinese New Year when a firecracker ignited the wreaths of late Mao Zedong, killing 694 personnel. It remains the deadliest fireworks accidents in the world.
  • 2003 – 192 people die when an arsonist sets fire to a subway train in Daegu, South Korea.
  • 2004 – 295 people, including nearly 200 rescue workers, die near Nishapur, Iran, when a runaway freight train carrying sulphur, petrol and fertiliser catches fire and explodes.
  • 2010 – WikiLeaks publishes the first of hundreds of thousands of classified documents disclosed by the soldier now known as Chelsea Manning.

Deaths

New Zealands Last Execution

Walter James Bolton was a New Zealand farmer who was found guilty of poisoning his wife. He is known as the last person to be executed in New Zealand before the abolition of capital punishment.

Jim Bolton was born in Wanganui and grew up in nearby Mangamahu. He married Beatrice Mabel Jones in 1913, but Beatrice died in July of 1956 after a long and debilitating illness. An autopsy found traces of arsenic in her body, and a police investigation was launched. Bolton was formally charged with her murder in September.

The prosecution claimed that Bolton was having an affair with Beatrice’s sister, Florence, who had moved in to help look after Beatrice, and that Bolton had poisoned his wife with arsenic he possessed for use on his farm. It also alleged that he and Florence had destroyed Beatrice’s diary. Bolton’s defence argued that Beatrice could have been poisoned accidentally, by arsenic entering the water supply. Water on the Bolton’s farm was tested and found to contain arsenic, and traces of arsenic were also found in Bolton and one of his daughters.

Despite this evidence, a jury quickly found Bolton guilty of murdering his wife, and he was sentenced to death. He was hanged at Mount Eden Prison in Auckland on 18th February 1957, aged 68. According to a contemporary newspaper account, his execution was allegedly botched – instead of breaking his neck instantly, he was slowly strangled to death. Shortly afterward, the New Zealand Labour Party won the 1957 New Zealand General Election and in effect, the practice of capital punishment ended with Bolton’s execution. Due to bipartisan support for abolition, the death penalty faced statutory abolition for homicide and most other crimes when Parliament passed the Crimes Act 1961. (The last vestiges of the death penalty in New Zealand – for treason and similar acts – were abolished with the passage of the Abolition of the Death Penalty Act 1989).

But was there enough reasonable doubt in the case for the last state-ordered death to be considered an unjustified murder?

New evidence shows that Bolton made statements to police at the time which were not shared with the jury – admitting he suffered from erectile dysfunction. This would have affected the relationship he may have had with Florence. 

Bolton paid large sums of money for his wife’s healthcare (he even placed her in a private hospital); and was the only member of the family to agree to an autopsy, which then revealed Beatrice’s organs were riddled with poison. 

Ultimately, Bolton may have been the victim of small-town judgement, rather than having been convicted on the evidence to hand. He was probably convicted as much for his sexual morals as for whether he had killed his wife or not… Perhaps Jim Bolton deserved the benefit of the doubt.

Last Week’s Birthdays

Molly Ringwald (56), John Travolta (70), Matt Dillon (60), Cybill Shepherd (74), Dr. Dre (59), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (43), Dominic Purcell (54), Bonnie Wright (33), Lou Diamond Phillips (62), Rene Russo (70), Rory Kinnear (48), Paris Hilton (43), Patricia Routledge (95),  Brenda Fricker (79), Ed Sheeran (33), Christopher Eccleston (60), Elizabeth Olsen (35), LeVar Burton (67), Amanda Holden (53), John McEnroe (65), Jane Seymour (73), Matt Groening (70), Simon Pegg (54), Andrew Robinson (82), Meg Tilly (64), Teller (76), Neal McDonough (58), Stockard Channing (80), Kim Novak (91), Tony Dalton (49), Hugh Dennis (62), Michael Ironside (74), Annette Crosbie (90), Maud Adams (79), Josh Brolin (56), and Christina Ricci (44).

Dead Pool 11th February 2024

Welcome all to another weekly round up. Sadly no points to award this week but plenty to read up on.  

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

OJ Simpson invoked Donald Trump after reports suggested he was in hospice care after undergoing chemotherapy for prostate cancer. “Hey X world, hospice? Hospice? You talking about hospice?” the former American football running back – who was acquitted in 1995 of murdering his wife and her friend – said in a video posted to X on Friday. “No, I’m not in any hospice. I don’t know who put that out there,” he continued. “I guess it’s like Donald Trump says, ‘You can’t trust the media.’ In any event, I’m hosting a tonne of friends for the Super Bowl here in Las Vegas. All is well, you know. So take care, have a good Super Bowl weekend.” The Flying Monkeys reported on Friday, citing sources, that Simpson had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and was currently undergoing chemotherapy in Las Vegas. However, when approached for comment, the NFL star’s lawyer directed us to an old tweet shared by Simpson on 30th May 2023, in which he revealed that in “really recent years, I unfortunately caught cancer”. “So I had to do the whole chemo thing,” he said at the time, adding: “I’m over the chemo… I’m healthy now. It looks like I beat it – I’m happy about that.” Simpson didn’t specify what kind of cancer he had been treated for. 

Rick Stein has admitted that he ‘isn’t going to last that  much longer’ after his health woes.  The chef, 77, had open heart surgery at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London last year after struggling with breathlessness. Now 18 months on from the operation, despite describing his future in a matter if fact way, he had said he feels ‘optimistic’ and won’t lose sleep ‘pondering how little life he’s got left’.  Rick’s aorta wasn’t working properly and was advised by doctors to go under the knife. He’s now told the Flying Monkeys: ‘Having had the operation and recovered, the improvement in my health has left me tremendously optimistic. Even though at my age and with the normal realities of life I’m not going to last that much longer. I think as long as you’ve got your health and you’re optimistic generally and enjoying your life, you don’t tend to ponder too much about how little life you’ve got left.’  He said previously of his operation: ‘It was scary before I went into the operation. Afterwards you realise if you had died you wouldn’t have noticed, because you were under the anaesthetic. An operation like that stops you in your tracks and makes you think about who you are. It’s time to review your life. You’ve been through a very life-threatening experience. The surgeon says it’s no more dangerous than the appendix these days, but to have your heart taken out, repaired and put back in, personally I’d say that’s big!’ There was no alternative for a chef who has loved the good life, including lashings of butter, cream and wine in his cooking and travel shows.

King Charles “is doing extremely well under the circumstances” following the start of his cancer treatment, Queen Camilla has said. Asked how the King was doing at an event at Salisbury Cathedral on Thursday evening, she said: “He is very touched by all of the letters and messages the public have been sending from everywhere. That’s very cheering!” Buckingham Palace announced the King’s cancer diagnosis on Monday. It was detected while the monarch was undergoing treatment for an enlarged prostate last month, the Palace said. The type of cancer has not been disclosed, though it has confirmed it is not prostate cancer. The King has stepped back from all public-facing duties while he undergoes treatment, the Palace said. Senior royals, including the Queen and the Prince of Wales will take on his duties for some events. On Wednesday, the King was pictured for the first time since his diagnosis was made public alongside the Queen in a car leaving Clarence House in London to catch a helicopter to Sandringham in Norfolk. Buckingham Palace has said the monarch will continue with paperwork and his constitutional duties during the unspecified treatment. Before the King left London, Harry travelled from the US to visit him. He was seen at Heathrow Airport the following day returning to Los Angeles.

On This Day

  • 1812 – Massachusetts governor Elbridge Gerry is accused of “gerrymandering” for the first time.
  • 1990 – Nelson Mandela is released from Victor Verster Prison outside Cape Town, South Africa after 27 years as a political prisoner.
  • 1990   Buster Douglas, a 42:1 underdog, knocks out Mike Tyson in ten rounds at Tokyo to win boxing’s world Heavyweight title. 

Deaths

  • 1650 – René Descartes, French mathematician and philosopher (b. 1596). 
  • 1986 – Frank Herbert, American journalist and author (b. 1920). 
  • 2000 – Roger Vadim, French director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1928). 
  • 2006 – Matilda, American chicken and stage magician, oldest known chicken (h. 1990).
  • 2010 – Alexander McQueen, English fashion designer (b. 1969).
  • 2012  Whitney Houston, American singer-songwriter, producer, and actress (b. 1963).

The Sad Demise of Peter Pan

Disney fairy tales don’t often end this way. In March of 1968, a pair of children playing in an abandoned, Greenwich Village tenement in New York City discovered a young man dead on a cot, surrounded by beer bottles and religious handouts. There were no obvious signs of foul play. He had no identification. The body was unknown and went unclaimed.

After failing to locate his next of kin, authorities declared the man dead from hardening of the arteries – a common side effect of longtime heroin abuse – and buried him in a mass, unmarked paupers’ grave on the Bronx’s Hart Island alongside other unidentified bodies and indigent souls who had fallen on hard times. And somewhere, although nobody is sure exactly where, is the final resting place of Peter Pan.

It’s also the final resting place of Bobby Driscoll, who became a household name at the age of 9 with a starring role in Disney’s controversial Song of the South. He won an Oscar at 12, and then, at 16, went on to voice the title role in Disney’s classic animated film about a boy who never wants to grow up. In this case, that boy’s twisted road to manhood ultimately detoured into (and out of) jail, through multiple marriages (and divorces) to the same woman, and finally winding through Andy Warhol’s Factory to a tragic end.

So how to explain a former child star who worked alongside Tinseltown greats like Charles Boyer, Alan Ladd, Roy Rogers, and Joan Fontaine falling so far from a life of lights and Academy awards to become just another indigent in an unmarked grave on Hart Island, where his body remains today? Fifty years after his death, it’s a question that continues to trouble some of his oldest friends.

“He didn’t really recover from being abandoned by Hollywood,” reflects actor Billy Gray, who played Bud Anderson on the classic sitcom Father Knows Best and later befriended Driscoll. “It hit him hard. He was a heroin addict. It was tragic and there wasn’t much you could do about it. He was strong, he had a good intellect and he should have known better. But that was a choice he made, and you couldn’t talk him out of it.”

The only son of an insulation salesman and former schoolteacher, Driscoll was discovered at the age of 5 while getting a trim. “A barber in Pasadena told me I should be in the movies, so one Sunday he invited us out to his home and his son  was there,” recalled Driscoll during a 1946 radio interview. “We found out his son was in the movies, and his son got me an appointment with his agent. His agent took me out to a part.”

It was only a bit role opposite Margaret O’Brien in the 1943 film Lost Angel, but it led to a succession of movies that capitalised on Driscoll’s pert nose and freckled face. Driscoll made nine films in a three-year span before his breakout role as Johnny, a 7-year-old boy who visits his grandfather’s plantation in Song of the South. 

Though the live-action/animated musical (which featured the Oscar-winning “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah”) would ultimately represent an embarrassing chapter in Disney’s storied history because of its offensive stereotypes and candy-coated depiction of slavery, it marked the start of a successful relationship between the studio and Driscoll, who became the first male actor to ever secure a Disney contract. “What Disney saw in Driscoll was the perfect, wholesome, all-American kid who dreams of being with pirates and all that, Bobby was Disney’s live-action Mickey Mouse.” explains Hollywood biographer Marc Eliot. 

The budding star made four movies for Disney, including Treasure Island, Peter Pan, and So Dear to My Heart – which, together with his role in The Window for RKO Pictures, earned Driscoll the Juvenile Academy Award in 1950. 

By the time Driscoll voiced Peter Pan at 16, however, he no longer had the impish face that kept him gainfully employed as a youth. He was just another teen boy with a bad case of acne. In today’s world, it’s a familiar and predictable narrative—a star who began his or her career on the Disney lot grows up and out of the squeaky-clean confines of the studio. But contemporary actors like Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez willingly left the Mouse House; Driscoll didn’t have a choice when the studio unexpectedly dropped its golden child in 1953. 

“When Howard Hughes bought RKO, he, in effect, became the owner of the Disney studio,” explains Eliot. “He controlled the money and he hated Bobby Driscoll. He hated Hollywood kids. He thought they were precocious, weren’t real, and were incredibly annoying. He didn’t want Bobby Driscoll to be with Disney anymore.” 

The split was devastating. “The way I understand it, it was a rather rude dismissal,” says Gray. “I heard that he was informed that he was no longer under contract through them by driving up to the entrance and being refused entrance into the studio. That was his notification that he was no longer needed there.” 

Though his big-screen career fizzled, Driscoll found fairly steady work in TV shows like Dragnet and Rawhide and attempted to settle into a life of domesticity with Marilyn Jean Rush, a 19-year-old he met in Manhattan Beach. After eloping to Mexico five months after they met, the young couple had one son and two daughters before splitting for good three years, two marriages, and two divorces later. “I became a beatnik and a bum,” Driscoll said in the 1961 magazine article. “I had no residence. My clothes were at my parents house but I didn’t live anywhere. My personality had suffered during my marriage and I was trying to recoup it.”

While hanging out on Los Angeles beaches, Driscoll befriended a group of young Hollywood turks like Gray, Robert Blake (Baretta), Dean Stockwell (Quantum Leap), and Russ Tamblyn (West Side Story). “We used to play pool together,” remembers Tamblyn of their days living and carousing in Pacific Palisades. Driscoll also engaged in a more dangerous form of recreation – heroin. “It wasn’t a secret,” says Gray. “He liked heroin. That’s just the way it was.” 

Driscoll was arrested multiple times for drug possession,  assault, burglary, and check kiting before he was finally committed for drug rehabilitation at Chino Men’s Prison in 1961. “I had everything,” he said in an interview after his sentence. “Was earning $50,000 a year…working steadily with good parts. Then I started putting all my spare time in my arm. I’m not really sure why I started using narcotics. I was 17 when I first experimented with the stuff. In no time at all, I was using whatever was available…mostly heroin, because I had the money to pay for it.” 

No one seems to know how the then 31-year-old Driscoll spent his final days in New York City and why he ended up in an abandoned apartment where those kids found his body. Unlike the celebrity missteps that are chronicled hourly on news sites and social media today, Driscoll’s demise happened in complete and total silence. 

Driscoll’s mother, Isabelle – who had not heard from her son in years – found out about Bobby’s death nearly a year and a half later after placing advertisements about his disappearance in New York newspapers. It would take even longer for word to reach the public at large, as news of the Disney star’s passing only surfaced four years after the fact, during the rerelease of Song of the South in 1972. 

Regrettably, Driscoll’s children will never see the exact spot where their father was laid to rest: Burial records from 1961 through July 1977 that had been kept in the old hospital were destroyed by a fire. “He’s somewhere on the northern part of the island, we just don’t know where.” 

Last Week’s Birthdays

Jennifer Aniston (55), Natalie Dormer (42), Damian Lewis (53), Taylor Lautner (32), Thomas Turgoose (32), Sheryl Crow (62), Chloë Grace Moretz (27), Elizabeth Banks (50), Keeley Hawes (48), Laura Dern (57), Robert Wagner (94), Philip Glenister (61), Holly Willoughby (43), Rose Leslie (37), Tom Hiddleston (43), Ciarán Hinds (71), Michael B. Jordan (37), Joe Pesci (81), Ziyi Zhang (45), Mia Farrow (79), Mary Steenburgen (71), Nick Nolte (83), Seth Green (50), John Williams (92), James Spader (64), Deborah Ann Woll (39), Ashton Kutcher (46), Chris Rock (59), Eddie Izzard (62), Kevin Whately (73), Jennifer Jason Leigh (62), Michael Sheen (55), Charlotte Rampling (78), Christopher Guest (76), Tony Jaa (48), and Raymond Lee (37).

Dead Pool 4th February 2024

With the tragic passing of Jonnie Irwin, let’s dole out some points! 100 points go to Julia, Christine, Lee, Paula, Abigail, Dave, Rachel, Mark K, and Ian. The following who had him as their Cert get 200 points! Well done to Myself, Laura, and Mark W. Well done everyone! Amazingly I’m in joint second place, but I’d like to assure you that I have not been cheating, even though I hold the reins to the Flying Monkeys. 

If anyone would like to donate towards the running costs, this will be the last week I’ll be leaving it open. We’re 85% of the way there, so roughly about £20 short of the target. Thank you all who have donated so far, you’re all wonderful people! 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

A Bollywood star and model who lied about her death says she is ‘proud’ of the ill-advised publicity stunt, saying it has helped raise greater awareness around cervical cancer. Poonam Pandey, 32, was announced as having died from the disease on Friday, in a social media message to her 1.3 million fans posted by her management team. The Instagram post read: ‘This morning is a tough one for us. Deeply saddened to inform you that we have lost our beloved Poonam to cervical cancer. Every living form that ever came in contact with her was met with pure love and kindness.’ The news was confirmed by her manager Nikita Sharma, who told local media: ‘Poonam Pandey, the beloved actress and social media personality, has tragically passed away this morning due to cervical cancer, leaving the entertainment industry in shock and mourning. Sharma also highlighted the ‘critical need for increased awareness and proactive measures against preventable diseases like cervical cancer’. News of her death was reported in media outlets around the world. But just a day later, the actress  set the record straight with a video revealing she was still alive! Apologising to her fans, Pandey said: ‘Yes, I faked my demise. Extreme, I know. But suddenly we all are talking about cervical cancer, aren’t we? I am proud of what my death news has been able to achieve. Unlike some other cancers, cervical cancer is entirely preventable. The key lies in the HPV vaccine and early detection tests. We have the means to ensure no one loses their life to this disease. Let’s empower one another with critical awareness and ensure every woman is informed about the steps to take.’ Pandey, from Kanpur, India, garnered considerable notoriety when she vowed to strip for Team India if they won the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2011. She made her Bollywood debut in the film Nasha in 2013, in which she played the lead role of Anita – a tempestuous drama teacher who engages in a disastrous romance with a teenage student.   

Shannen Doherty is holding out hope as she undergoes different treatments for stage IV brain cancer. During the latest episode of her “Let’s Be Clear” podcast, Doherty, 52, explained how recent results influenced a positive outlook on her health. “I’m not gonna say what it is, I’m on a new cancer infusion, and after four treatments, we didn’t really see a difference and everybody wanted me to switch, and I just kinda was like, ‘We’re gonna keep going with this and see,’” she told her radiation oncologist Dr. Amin Mirhadi on the podcast. “And yeah, after the sixth or seventh treatment, we really saw it breaking down the blood-brain barrier.” Doherty called her body’s response to the new treatment a “miracle,” adding, “For me, that happens to be a miracle right now. That I sort of rolled the dice and said, ‘Let’s keep going.” After receiving support from her medical team, Doherty chose to continue the infusions. “That it’s actually breaking down that blood-brain barrier is actually a miracle of that drug, a miracle of maybe God intervening and saying, ‘I’m gonna give her a break,’” she added. “Sometimes you’re looking for miracles in all the wrong places, and they’re right in front of your face.” The blood-brain barrier is “a protective network of blood vessels and cells that filters blood flowing to the brain.” This barrier “makes it hard for some substances — such as anticancer drugs — to enter the brain. It prevents many chemotherapy drugs from reaching brain tumour cells in large enough amounts to destroy them.” Based on Doherty’s insight into her treatment, the new infusion is seemingly getting past the blood-brain barrier and properly entering the brain. Doherty revealed her cancer diagnosis in 2015, and after two years of chemotherapy, she was in remission. The cancer returned in 2020 as stage IV breast cancer. In November 2023, the Beverly Hills, 90210 alum confirmed that the cancer has spread to her bones. “I don’t want to die,” she told the Flying Monkeys that same month. “I’m not done with living. I’m not done with loving. I’m not done with creating. I’m not done with hopefully changing things for the better.” 

Baywatch star Nicole Eggert has expressed regret over her decision to get breast implants at the tender age of 18, following a sombre diagnosis of breast cancer. Diagnosed with  stage 2 cribriform carcinoma in December 2023, the 51-year-old actress confessed she believed she was going through menopause when she experienced distressing symptoms including gaining significant weight and enduring intense pain in her left breast. Nicole, renowned for her role as Summer Quinn on the popular TV show Baywatch from 1992-1994, decided to have breast implants whilst in her teenage years due to the pressure of having to wear a bathing suit for her role. Sharing her thoughts with the Flying Monkeys, she voiced her remorse about the hasty decision she made during her youth. “It was a stupid 18 year old decision.”, she confessed. Continuing her story, she says: “I look at all these younger girls doing it and think, ‘God, leave your bodies alone! But when you have to put on that one-piece and it’s like you’re so flat that it’s like pleating – you got pleats across the front…” she expresses. “You’re like, ‘What is this?’ Nothing you can do. You can’t stuff it with anything. You can’t do anything.” Nicole, who’s had various breast augmentation surgeries since the show ended, had one of these procedures showcased on the E! reality programme, ‘Botched‘. She went on that show in 2015 to reduce her breast size. Now a single mum of two, she’s focusing primarily on her cancer diagnosis. Speaking to the Flying Monkeys, she said: “I think that experience definitely hindered me a bit and my mental health and my self-awareness and how I felt about myself. I think it was damaging and made me very insecure and just not comfortable in my own skin.” To diagnose her cancer, Nicole underwent a mammogram and three biopsies, but it’s unknown whether the disease has spread or metastasised to other parts of her body. Following surgery, she’ll receive chemotherapy and radiotherapy as recommended by her oncologist.

On This Day

  • 1703 – In Edo (now Tokyo), all but one of the Forty-seven Ronin commit seppuku (ritual suicide) as recompense for avenging their master’s death.
  • 1789 – George Washington is unanimously elected as the first President of the United States by the U.S. Electoral College.
  • 1999 – Unarmed West African immigrant Amadou Diallo is shot 41 times by four plainclothes New York City police officers on an unrelated stake-out, inflaming race relations in the city. 
  • 2004 – Facebook is founded by Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin. 

Deaths

  • 1983 – Karen Carpenter, American singer (b. 1950).
  • 1987 – Liberace, American singer-songwriter and pianist, (b. 1919).
  • 2018 – John Mahoney, English-American actor, voice artist, and comedian (b. 1940).

Last Week’s Birthdays

Gabrielle Anwar (54), Natalie Imbruglia (49), Alice Cooper (76), Jim Jefferies (47), Isla Fisher (48), Aimee Lou Wood (29), Morgan Fairchild (74), Nathan Lane (68), Warwick Davis (54), Paul Mescal (28), Gemma Arterton (38), Brent Spiner (75), David Jason (84), Shakira (47), Michael C. Hall (53), Sherilyn Fenn (59), Ronda Rousey (37), Harry Styles (30), Minnie Driver (54), Jonathan Banks (77), Justin Timberlake (43), Dexter Fletcher (58), Marcus Mumford (37), Olivia Colman (50), Christian Bale (50), Gene Hackman (94), Vanessa Redgrave (87), Phil Collins (73), Jordan Prentice (51), Heather Graham (54), Tom Selleck (49), Oprah Winfrey (70), Marc Singer (76), and Tim Healy (72).

Dead Pool 28th January 2024

A surprisingly deadly yet pointless week, with loads to  read. We also discover that the kid from The Exorcist is now old enough to collect her pension, or would be if they hadn’t changed it! (The Bastards!).

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Morrissey is “receiving medical supervision” after cancelling two arena gigs at short notice. The former frontman of The Smiths, 64, had been set to play a pair of dates in Southern California this week, but the venues announced that “unforeseen circumstances” had led to the cancellations. In a statement shared to social media, a spokesperson for Morrissey revealed that the singer was getting medical care after suffering “physical exhaustion”. “He has been ordered to rest for two weeks, and he will remain in Zurich,” wrote Donnie Knutson. The concerts had been set to take place at the Honda Center in Anaheim and Kia Forum near Los Angeles on Friday and Saturday respectively. It has not yet been announced whether the performances will be rescheduled for later dates. Morrissey is still expected to perform seven planned performances in Mexico and South America next month. During his last show in Los Angeles, Morrissey walked off stage at the city’s Greek Theater after just 20 minutes, with a bandmate telling the audience: “Sorry, but due to unforeseen circumstances, the show is not going to continue. Very sorry. We’ll see you next time. Apologies.” This week’s cancelled shows would have seen the British artist perform his 2004 album You Are the Quarry in its entirety, to mark the 20th anniversary of the record. Back in August, Michael Imperioli, star of The Sopranos, claimed that Morrissey had been “abandoned” by the music industry, comparing him to late Irish musician Sinead O’Connor. Following O’Connor’s death last year, Morrissey shared a comment on his personal website, lamenting the singer’s treatment by media. “She was dropped by her label after selling seven million albums for them. She became crazed, yes, but uninteresting, never. She had done nothing wrong,” he wrote. “… You praise her now ONLY because it is too late. You hadn’t the guts to support her when she was alive and she was looking for you.”  

Alabama has carried out the first execution of a death row prisoner in the US using nitrogen gas, an untested procedure which the prisoner’s lawyers had argued amounted to a form of cruel and unusual punishment banned under the US constitution. Kenneth Smith, 58, was pronounced dead at 8.25pm on Thursday evening at an Alabama prison after breathing pure nitrogen gas through a face mask to cause oxygen deprivation. The execution took about 22 minutes. Alabama claimed that the new nitrogen gas method was “perhaps the most humane method of execution ever devised”. But eyewitness statements from reporters present in the death chamber suggested that Smith’s death was anything but humane. Marty Roney of the Montgomery Advertiser reported that between 7.57pm local time and 8.01pm, “Smith writhed and convulsed on the gurney. He took deep breaths, his body shaking violently with his eyes rolling in the back of his head.” Roney’s report continued: “Smith clenched his fists, his legs shook … He seemed to be gasping for air. The gurney shook several times.” The Rev Jeff Hood, Smith’s spiritual adviser, was at Smith’s side for the execution, and said prison officials in the room “were visibly surprised at how bad this thing went. What we saw was minutes of someone struggling for their life,” Hood said. It appeared that Smith was holding his breath as long as he could,” the Alabama corrections commissioner, John Hamm, later told a press conference. The White House declared the execution “very troubling”, with press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre saying on Friday afternoon that Joe Biden has “deep concerns about the death penalty and whether it’s consistent with our values”.  

Sarah Ferguson was seen smiling and greeting well-wishers outside King Edward VII’s Hospital in London following her skin cancer diagnosis. The Duchess of York, 64, gave a brief update on her health in Marylebone after she left the hospital on Wednesday. After visiting her consultant dermatologist Catherine Borysiewicz, she told well-wishers: “I’m fine, thank you.” Fergie’s skin cancer diagnosis came only six months after she underwent a single mastectomy for breast cancer. In July last year, the duchess had an eight hour operation where she had one of her breasts removed after the disease was discovered in a routine mammogram. After her visit to the hospital, the duchess stopped to talk to members of the public before being led away by her driver. A spokesperson for the duchess has said that Fergie is “very resilient” and is determined to carry on following the second medical diagnosis. On Sunday, the spokesperson announced: “Following her diagnosis with an early form of breast cancer this summer, Sarah, Duchess of York has now been diagnosed with malignant melanoma. Her dermatologist asked that several moles were removed and analysed at the same time as the Duchess was undergoing reconstructive surgery following her mastectomy, and one of these has been identified as cancerous.” Throughout both cancer diagnoses the duchess has encouraged women to keep getting checked for any forms of cancer. A friend of Fergie’s spoke fondly of the duchess stating: “She is simply amazing, always looking for the positive in any situation and rarely thinking of herself. She is going to beat this disease, just like she faced her breast cancer diagnosis, with bravery and good humour and working out a way she can use her experience to help others.” The duchess released her own statement on Instagram thanking everyone who sent messages of support following her diagnosis. She stated: “Naturally another cancer diagnosis has been a shock but I’m in good spirits and grateful for the many messages of love and support. I am incredibly thankful to the medical teams that have supported me through both of these experiences with cancer and to the MARYLIFE Clinic for taking gentle care of me in the past weeks, allowing me time for recuperation.” The news comes at a time when King Charles is recovering after surgery on an enlarged prostate and Kate is recuperating after abdominal surgery.  

Josef Fritzl, our favourite Austrian who raped and held his daughter captive in the basement of his family home, has won his bid to be moved from a prison psychiatric unit. Fritzl, 88, who was pictured for the first time in 15 years on Thursday morning while being driven to court, was reportedly close to tears on hearing the decision by a panel of three female judges at Krems regional court, in Austria. It comes after his lawyer Astrid Wagner announced he was applying for early release from jail on the grounds of old age and dementia, paving the way for his eventual move to a nursing home. He has been in a prison for “mentally abnormal” inmates since his conviction in 2009 for incest, rape, enslavement, coercion and the murder, by neglect, of his newborn son. “He was a bit close to tears as he said once again that what he did was a terrible thing, and that he feels incredibly sorry for these people and that he wishes that he could undo it,” Ms Wagner said. Despite suffering from dementia, the rapist was able to follow proceedings. It followed a psychiatric assessment that he no longer posed a threat of reoffending, according to reports. From regular prison he can request to be released from prison altogether. Ms Wagner said she planned to submit such a request next year. “His everyday life will remain similar. Prison is prison,” Ms Wagner said, adding that he would continue to receive psychotherapy.   

A British base jumper has died after his parachute failed to open as he plunged to the ground from a tower block in Thailand. Nathy Odinson, 33, from Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, illegally climbed to the top of the 29th floor in an apartment building in the coastal resort of Pattaya, on Saturday night before falling to his death. Horrifying footage shows the tattooed daredevil counting down ‘three, two, one, see ya’ before leaping into the night sky – only to go into a deadly tailspin with the small parachute flailing through the air. Mr Odinson can then be heard landing in a tree before hitting the ground with a sickening thud. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene. Tourist police in Pattaya were alerted to the accident at 7.30pm and rushed to the condo building in Tambon Na Klua in Bang Lamung district of Chonburi province and found Odinson’s body on the ground. A round blue parachute was found on his body and was not fully deployed. Traumatised security guard Kanet Chansong, 33, said: ‘I heard the sound of the tree and I thought it was a fallen branch hitting the ground. ‘A woman screamed so I walked over and realised it was person. They were dead. I saw that they had jumped from the building.’ Mr Odinson was a regular daredevil and had performed skydives and base jumps around the world. He ran a ‘sky photography’ company and took customers on private skydives. 

On This Day

  • 1591 – Execution of Agnes Sampson, accused of witchcraft in Edinburgh.
  • 1896 – Walter Arnold of East Peckham, Kent, becomes the first person to be convicted of speeding. He was fined one shilling, plus costs, for speeding at 8 mph (13 km/h), thereby exceeding the contemporary speed limit of 2 mph (3.2 km/h). 
  • 1922 – Knickerbocker Storm: Washington, D.C.’s biggest snowfall, causes a disaster when the roof of the Knickerbocker Theatre collapses, killing over 100 people.
  • 1958 – The Lego company patents the design of its Lego bricks.
  • 1986 – Space Shuttle program: STS-51-L mission: Space Shuttle Challenger disintegrates after liftoff, killing all seven astronauts on board.

Deaths

  • 1547 – Henry VIII, king of England (b. 1491).
  • 1996 – Jerry Siegel, American author and illustrator, co-created Superman (b. 1914).
  • 2009 – Billy Powell, American keyboard player and songwriter (b. 1952).

Windy Witch

Agnes Sampson was a Scottish healer and purported witch. Also known as the “Wise Wife of Keith”, Sampson was involved in the North Berwick witch trials in the later part of the sixteenth century.

Sampson lived at Nether Keith, a part of the Keith Marischal barony in East Lothian, Scotland. She was considered to have healing powers and acted as a midwife. The indictment against her indicated that she was a widow, with children. 

By the autumn of 1590, Scotland was aflame with witch hunts, and many of those sent to trial were questioned by the King himself. Agnes Sampson was accused by Gillis Duncan and arrested along with others, and questioned regarding her role in a storm raising. She was put to torture and confessed and her body was shaved to reveal a “privy mark” or witches’ mark. These proceedings were described in the 1591 London publication Newes from Scotland:

This aforesaid Agnes Sampson which was the elder Witch, was taken and brought to Holyrood Palace before the Kings Majesty and sundry other of the nobility of Scotland, where she was straightly examined, but all the persuasions which the Kings majesty used to her with the rest of his counsel, might not provoke or induce her to confess any thing, but stood stiffly in the denial of all that was laid to her charge: whereupon they caused her to be confined away to prison, there to receive such torture as hath been lately provided for witches in that country: and for as much as by due examination of witchcraft and witches in Scotland, it has lately been found that the Devil does generally mark them with a privy mark, by reason the Witches have confessed themselves, that the Devil doth lick them with his tongue in some private part of their body, before he doth receive them to be his servants, which mark commonly is given them under the hair in some part of their body, whereby it may not easily be found out or seen, although they be searched: and generally so long as the mark is not seen to those which search them, so long the parties that has the mark will never confess anything. Therefore by special commandment, Agnes Sampson had all her hair shaven off, in each part of her body, and her head “thrawen” (constricted) with a rope according to the custom of that Country, being a pain most grievous, which she continued almost an hour, during which time she would not confess any thing until the Devil’s mark was found upon her privates, then she immediately confessed whatsoever was demanded of her, and justifying those persons aforesaid to be notorious witches. 

According to the Newes from Scotland, Agnes Sampson confessed to causing the storm that drowned Jane Kennedy on 7th September 1589 when ferry boats collided during a sudden storm on the Forth. She had made a charm by sinking a dead cat, to which her companions had attached parts of a dead man, into the sea near Leith. The same charm raised the storm and weather effects that threatened the king on his return voyage from Denmark in 1590.

Agnes Sampson used the phrase “contrary wind”, and this frequently appears in contemporary correspondence describing voyages, but Agnes Sampson used it in a special sense. She said that the king’s ship experienced “a contrary wind to the rest of ships, then being in his company, which thing was most strange and true, as the King’s Majesty acknowledges, for when the rest of the ships had a fair and good wind, then was the wind contrary and altogether against his Majesty”. The rest of the fleet were able to sail ahead, 

while the king’s ship alone was becalmed or driven back.

This weather condition was perhaps not uncommon in the Forth, in May 1583 a ship belonging to James Gourlay carrying Manningville, a French ambassador, was driven back to Burntisland by a “contrary wind”.

Agnes Sampson was interviewed by James VI, who was sceptical of the material in the confessions, however she told him things about the conversation he had on his wedding night with Anne of Denmark in Oslo, that she could not have known: 

Item, the said Agnis Sampson confessed before the Kings majesty sundry things which were so miraculous and strange, as that his Majesty said they were all extreme liars, where at she answered, she would not wish his Majesty to suppose her words to be false, but rather to believe them, in that she would discover such matter unto him as his majesty should not any way doubt off. And thereupon taking his Majesty a little aside, she declared unto him the very words which passed between the King and his Queen on the first night of their marriage, with their answer each to other: whereat the Kings Majesty wondered greatly, and swore by the living God, that he believed that all the Devils in hell could not have the same: acknowledging her words to be most true, and therefore gave the more credit to the rest which is before declared.

James VI had not been convinced of Sampson’s guilt prior to this last confession, but afterwards changed his mind. On 27th January 1591 the  charges of witchcraft against her were drawn up with fifty three points or “articles of dittay” (that is, articles of indictment).

Agnes Sampson was taken to the scaffold on Castlehill, where she was garrotted then burnt at the stake on 28th January 1591.

Edinburgh Burgh treasurer’s accounts itemise the cost of Agnes Sampson’s execution, giving the date of the purchases as the 16th January 1591 and the cost as £6 8s 10d. Scots. Robert Bowes wrote that her execution took place on 28 January 1591.

The naked ghost of a bald Agnes, stripped and tortured after being accused of witchcraft, is said to roam the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

Last Week’s Birthdays

Will Poulter (31), Ariel Winter (26), Elijah Wood (43), Alan Alda (88), Frank Darabont (65), Rosamund Pike (45), Alan Cumming (59), Bridget Fonda (60), James Cromwell (84), Patton Oswalt (55), Frank Miller (67), Scott Glenn (85), Deep Roy (75), Ellen DeGeneres (66), Matthew Lillard (54), Mischa Barton (38), Kristen Schaal (46), Nastassja Kinski (63), Ed Helms (50), Michael Ontkean (78), Adrian Edmondson (67), Ewen Bremner (52), Gil Gerard (81), Olivia d’Abo (55), Diane Lane (59), Linda Blair (65), and Phil Wang (34).