Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Michael Lang, 77, American concert producer, co-creator of Woodstock, non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
- Bob Saget, 65, American comedian, television presenter (America’s Funniest Home Videos) and actor (Full House, How I Met Your Mother).
- Nicholas Donnelly, 83, British actor (Grange Hill, Dixon of Dock Green, Lifeforce).
- Gary Waldhorn, 78, English actor (The Vicar of Dibley, Brush Strokes, All at No 20).
- Robert Durst, 78, American real estate executive and convicted murderer, subject of The Jinx, cardiac arrest.
- Ronnie Spector, 78, American singer (The Ronettes), cancer.
- John Sainsbury, Baron Sainsbury of Preston Candover, 94, British businessman and politician, chairman of Sainsbury’s and member of the House of Lords.
- Marlon Bundo, 8–9, American rabbit and book subject (A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, Marlon Bundo’s A Day in the Life of the Vice President).
In Other News
Jenna Jameson has been diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome, leaving her in the hospital and unable to walk. The former adult film star shared her diagnosis on Instagram. “I’m dealing with a little syndrome called Guillain-Barré Syndrome, so I’m working through that,” she said in a video. “And I just wanted to let you know that I see all your DMs and I appreciate it so much. “The doctors suspect Guillain-Barré syndrome and have started my IVIG treatment. I am in the hospital and will likely remain here until treatment is complete. I hope to be out of here soon,” she wrote in the caption. Jameson also shut down any speculation of the Covid-19 vaccine contributing to her health issues. She wrote, “PS I did NOT get the jab or any jab. This is NOT a reaction to the jab. Thank you for your concern.” Over the weekend, Jameson’s partner, Lior Bitton, with who she shares 4-year-old daughter Batel Lu, took to Instagram to reveal that she was in the hospital undergoing tests after “not feeling so good.” Bitton additionally shared that Jameson had been throwing up for two weeks prior to going to the hospital last week, only to be sent home after. “Then she came back home and she couldn’t carry herself,” Bitton said in the video. “Her muscles in her legs were very weak. So she wasn’t able to walk to the bathroom. She was falling on the way back or to the bathroom, I would have to pick her up and carry her to bed. And then within two days, it got really not so good, her legs started to not hold her, she wasn’t able to walk.” Guillain-Barré syndrome is defined by the CDC as a “rare, autoimmune disorder in which a person’s own immune system damages the nerves, causing muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis.” Symptoms can last from weeks to several years.
Sir David Attenborough was left injured after being stabbed by a cactus with needles like “glass” while on the set of his new documentary. The 95-year-old broadcaster was filming for the BBC series The Green Planet when he faced off against the cholla cactus in California. Describing the rare plant as an “active aggressor” coated in “spicules of glass”, Sir David approached the cactus and put his hand inside the plant. Despite the layers of protection provided by thick gloves, he was left with a “painful” hand injury. Recounting the experience, he said: “The cholla really is a physical danger. It has these very dense spines in rosettes, so they point in all directions. “And if you just brush against it, the spines are like spicules of glass, I mean they are that sharp and they go into you and you really have trouble getting them out. So that is a really dangerous plant. The cholla is an active aggressor. I mean, you feel you better stand back and you better watch out.” The series’ executive producer, Michael Gunton, whose idea it was to send Sir David into danger, said: “One of the joys of going on location is thinking up horrible things to get David to do. So what we did, because it was so dangerous, was we got a Kevlar under-glove, and then on top of that, a welding glove. So you can imagine that’s about as good protection as you could possibly get. David bravely put his hand inside this cholla cactus, as requested. And halfway through it, these spikes still managed to get through those two bits of protection. And it’s quite painful, isn’t it?” Mr Gunton observed how the cactus was “so dangerous” that many animals avoided it. “Not only does it puncture you, but they sort of act like a trap,” he said. “So if you put your hand into it, you can’t remove your fingers and you do unfortunately find grisly signs of an animal that has gone and got trapped by it.” The upcoming three-part series from the BBC’s Natural History Unit shows the naturalist getting up and close with a range of plants from the US to Costa Rica and across Europe, to show the intricate lives of plants and the ecosystems that flourish around them. The documentary was filmed in 26 countries over four years and marks the first time he has returned to the filming the world of plants in 27 years, since his 1995 series the Private Life of Plants. According to the BBC, The Green Planet aims to show “how science and technologies have advanced, and how our understanding of the ways in which plants behave and interact has evolved”.
Sinéad O’Connor has been admitted to the hospital, one week after her 17-year-old son was found dead. The “Nothing Compares 2 U” singer told fans on Thursday night that she was heading to hospital to receive help after sharing in a series of disturbing Twitter posts that she planned to take her own life. “I’ve decided to follow my son. There is no point living without him. Everything I touch, I ruin. I only stayed for him. And now he’s gone,” she wrote on an unverified Twitter account linked to her official account. O’Connor, who has been open about her own mental struggles and suicidal thoughts in the past, went on to say she felt “lost,” and blamed herself for her teenage son’s death. The mother-of-four followed the thread an hour later by apologising for her alarming posts and reassuring fans that she was seeking medical attention. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that. I am with cops now on way to hospital. I’m sorry I upset everyone,” she posted, adding: “I am lost without my kid and I hate myself. Hospital will help a while. But I’m going to find Shane. This is just a delay.” O’Connor’s representatives declined to comment on the matter to the flying monkeys. Shane O’Connor’s body was discovered on January 7th, two days after he went missing, the singer’s management company confirmed to the flying monkeys on Saturday. O’Connor announced his death on Twitter, saying her “beautiful” son “decided to end his earthly struggle.” “Nevi’im Nesta Ali Shane O’Connor, the very light of my life, decided to end his earthly struggle today and is now with God,” she wrote. “May he rest in peace and may no one follow his example. My baby. I love you so much. Please be at peace.”
- Insincere disclaimer in case you feel suicidal, go find someone who gives a shit, life is hard, toughen up. Try The Samaritans or some other do-gooders, there are phone numbers you can find somewhere or other. Otherwise, try to do it quietly and don’t leave a mess for others to clean up.
On This Day
- 1362 – Saint Marcellus’s flood kills at least 25,000 people on the shores of the North Sea.
- 1862 – Hartley Colliery disaster: Two hundred and four men and boys killed in a mining disaster, prompting a change in UK law which henceforth required all collieries to have at least two independent means of escape.
- 1945 – Adolf Hitler moves into his underground bunker, the so-called Führerbunker, it doesn’t end well for him.
- 2003 – The Space Shuttle Columbia takes off for mission STS-107 which would be its final one. Columbia disintegrated 16 days later on re-entry.
- 1936 – Albert Fish, American serial killer, rapist and cannibal (b. 1870)
- 2020 – Christopher Tolkien, British academic and editor (b. 1924)
- 2021 – Phil Spector, American record producer, songwriter (b. 1939)
Wanda Jean Allen was sentenced to death in 1989 for the murder of Gloria Jean Leathers, 29, her longtime girlfriend. Allen was the first black woman to be executed in the United States since 1954. She was the sixth woman to be executed since executions resumed in the United States of America in 1977. Her final appeals and the last three months of her life were chronicled by filmmaker Liz Garbus in the documentary The Execution of Wanda Jean (2002).
Wanda Jean Allen was born on August 17th, 1959, the second of eight children. Her mother was an alcoholic; her father left home after Wanda’s last sibling was born and the family lived in public housing and scraped by on public assistance.
At the age of 12, Allen was hit by a truck and knocked unconscious, and at 14 or 15 she was stabbed in the left temple. It was found that Allen’s actual abilities were markedly impaired and that her IQ was 69. Found particularly significant was that the left hemisphere of her brain was dysfunctional, impairing her comprehension, her ability to logically express herself, and her ability to analyse cause and effect relationships. It was also concluded that Allen was more chronically vulnerable than others to becoming disorganised by everyday stresses, and thus more vulnerable to a loss of control under stress. By age 17, she had dropped out of high school.
In 1981, Allen was sharing an apartment with Dedra Pettus, a childhood friend-turned-girlfriend. On June 29th, 1981, they got into an argument, and Allen shot and killed Pettus. In her 1981 confession, Allen stated that she accidentally shot Pettus from roughly 30 feet away while returning fire from Pettus’ boyfriend. However, the forensic evidence was inconsistent with Allen’s story; in particular, a police expert believed that bruises and powder burns on Pettus’ body indicated that Allen had pistol-whipped her, then shot her at point-blank range. Nevertheless, prosecutors cut a deal with Allen, and she received a four-year sentence in exchange for a guilty plea to a manslaughter charge. She served two years of the sentence.
Seven years after the death of Dedra Pettus, Allen was living with her girlfriend Gloria Jean Leathers. The two met in prison and had a turbulent and violent relationship. On December 2nd, 1988, Leathers, 29, was shot in front of The Village Police Department in Oklahoma City. Fifteen minutes before the shooting, the two women were involved in a dispute at a grocery store. A city officer escorted the two women to their house and stood by while Leathers collected her belongings. Leathers and her mother were on their way to file a complaint against Allen. When Leathers exited the car, Allen fired one shot, severely wounding Leathers in the abdomen. Leathers’ mother witnessed the shooting. Two police officers and a dispatcher heard the shot fired, but no police department employee witnessed the shooting. The police recovered a .38-caliber handgun they believe was used in the shooting near the women’s home. Leathers died from the injury three days later, on December 5th, 1988.
Allen spent 12 years on death row. Her application for clemency was denied.
While in prison, she became a born-again Christian. The Reverend Robin Meyers, who served as a spiritual adviser to Allen, is quoted as saying:
“I always suspected that Wanda’s renunciation of lesbianism had more to do with helping to revamp herself in the most palatable way for her clemency and appeal processes. She knew perfectly well that her being a lesbian was a big strike against her and that it’s an embarrassment in the black community. She was going to play the best hand that she could play at the very end.”
Allen enjoyed a bag of crisps prior to her execution by lethal injection on Thursday, January 11th, 2001 at Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. Twenty-four relatives of murder victim Gloria Leathers and manslaughter victim Dedra Pettus traveled there for the execution. Many of them watched the execution from behind a tinted window. While lying on the execution gurney, Allen said, “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.” She also stuck her tongue out and smiled at her appeal lawyer, Steve Presson, who had become her friend. He says she was “dancing on the mattress, while they tried to kill her.” She was pronounced dead at 9:21 p.m. Relatives of Leathers expressed the execution gave them “closure”. She was buried at Trice Hill Cemetery in Oklahoma City.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Lin-Manuel Miranda (42), John Carpenter (74), Caroline Munro (73), Eva Habermann (46), Kate Moss (48), James May (59), Sade (63), James Nesbitt (57), Claudia Winkleman (50), DJ Jazzy Jeff (57), Jason Bateman (52), Kevin Durand (48), Faye Dunaway (81), Carl Weathers (74), Grant Gustin (32), Mark Addy (58), LL Cool J (54), Dave Grohl (53), Orlando Bloom (45), Ruth Wilson (40), Liam Hemsworth (32), Michael Peña (46), Bill Bailey (57), Kirstie Alley (71), Rob Zombie (57), Howard Stern (68), Jeff Bezos (58), Jason Connery (59), Mary J. Blige (51), Rachel Riley (36), Jemaine Clement (48), Evan Handler (61), and Rod Stewart (77).
It’s not every year we can start off with awarding points. Lee correctly guessed that Igor Bogdanoff would almost instantly follow his twin brother; well done Lee, so he gets the ‘First Death of the Year’ bonus points too, but a few of you also had movie legend Sidney Poitier. Well done to Scott, Gwenan, Shân and Fiona, 56 points each. We’ve certainly started the year with a bang!
As not to annoy everyone with hundreds of alerts, I have created a splinter group of email poolers who have not signed up to the Telegram Group, those few are the only ones who will get an email from now on as I don’t want them to feel left out. If any of you would rather get an email, please let me know and I’ll add you to that group.
And a big thank you to all of you who donated towards the cause, I certainly couldn’t run the dead pool without your support.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Richard Leakey, 77, Kenyan paleoanthropologist, conservationist, and politician, co-founder of Safina and WildlifeDirect.
- Igor Bogdanoff, 72, French television presenter and academic fraudster (Bogdanov affair), COVID-19.
- Valentine Ligny, 115, French supercentenarian, world’s sixth oldest person.
- Joan Copeland, 99, American actress (Search for Tomorrow, Brother Bear, The Peacemaker).
- George Rossi, 60, Scottish actor (The Bill, Roughnecks, The Singing Detective).
- Sidney Poitier, 94, Bahamian-American actor (Lilies of the Field, In the Heat of the Night, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner), film director, and activist, Oscar winner (1963).
- Peter Bogdanovich, 82, American film director (The Last Picture Show, What’s Up, Doc?, Paper Moon), actor and writer, complications from Parkinson’s disease.
- Robert Hughes, Baron Hughes of Woodside, 90, British politician, MP (1970–1997) and chair of the Anti-Apartheid Movement (1976–1995).
- Marilyn Bergman, 93, American songwriter (“The Way We Were“, “The Windmills of Your Mind“, “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers“), multiple Oscar winner, respiratory failure.
- Dee Booher, 73, American professional wrestler and actress (Brainsmasher… A Love Story, Spaceballs).
- Mark Forest, 89, American bodybuilder and actor (Goliath and the Dragon).
In Other News
Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro was admitted to the hospital on Monday with abdominal pain, his doctor Antonio Luiz Macedo told the Flying Monkeys from the Bahamas. He was taken to the Vila Nova Star hospital in the south of Sao Paulo. Dr Macedo said that the president was under the tutelage of his team so far and that he is flying to Sao Paulo in the afternoon. The Flying Monkeys quoted Dr Macedo as saying that the president shall undergo more tests “to find out what is in the abdomen. We still don’t know, but it could be caused, for example, by poorly chewed food, among other factors.” He also said that the suspicion, for now, is of a new intestinal obstruction — technically called “intestinal subocclusion.” In July last year, Mr Bolsonaro spent four days at the Vila Nova Star hospital for treatment of intestinal obstruction. However, surgery was ruled out at the time. The president was travelling, off duty, to Santa Catarina even as 25 people have died in the recent heavy rains in the state of Bahia in Brazil. About 116 cities in the country’s northeastern state of Bahia are in a state of emergency. The president arrived in a Brazilian Air Force plane from Santa Catarina on Monday morning and was taken by the presidential delegation to the hospital. Dr Macedo also operated on the president after he was stabbed in the stomach at a campaign rally in September 2018. Since then, the president has been admitted to hospitals on several occasions.
BBC newsreader George Alagiah has said he thinks the cancer he has had since 2014 will “probably get me in the end”, but that he still feels “very lucky”. “I don’t think I’m going to be able to get rid of this thing. I’ve got the cancer still. It’s growing very slowly.” Alagiah was first diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer in April 2014. But he said he was able to look back at the “great good fortune” in his life. Speaking with the Flying Monkeys, Alagiah said that when his cancer was first diagnosed, it took a while for him to understand what he “needed to do”. “I had to stop and say, ‘Hang on a minute. If the full stop came now, would my life have been a failure?’ And actually, when I look back and I looked at my journey… the family I had, the opportunities my family had, the great good fortune to bump into (Frances Robathan), who’s now been my wife and lover for all these years, the kids that we brought up… it didn’t feel like a failure.” He also spoke about his treatment, saying: “My doctor’s very good at every now and again hitting me with a big red bus full of drugs, because the whole point about cancer is it finds a way through and it gets you in the end. Probably… it will get me in the end. I’m hoping it’s a long time from now, but I’m very lucky.” Alagiah has also worked as a BBC News foreign correspondent and specialist on Africa and the developing world, covering events including the Rwandan genocide and interviewing Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. In October, the journalist said he was taking a break from TV to have treatment after “a further spread of cancer” was discovered. He said in June 2020 that the cancer had spread to his lungs, liver and lymph nodes. When asked what piece of wisdom he would give, he spoke about the need for people to think more collectively. “I think it would be to constantly ask the question, ‘What is it we can do together?'” he said. “I spent a lot of my time in Africa, and in South Africa they have a word: Ubuntu. It’s the idea that I’m only human if I recognise the humanity in you. “There’s this collective notion of life which I think we have lost.”
Scots comedian Janey Godley is out of surgery after her hysterectomy operation. Janey’s daughter Ashley Storrie took to her mother’s Twitter page to give an update to fans. Just before Christmas, the 60-year-old revealed that she had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and would need to undergo a full hysterectomy. The major operation was delayed due to Covid but Janey is now out of surgery and in recovery. Taking to Twitter, Ashley wrote: “It’s @Ashleystorrie here. Mum is out of surgery and is in recovery. Her time in the operating theatre went relatively well, and a full hysterectomy was achieved. Bunty has left the building. Thank you so much for all your kind words, positive thoughts and prayers.” Last night she joked she was having a hen style party for her tumour. She shared on Twitter: “My last night with my womb, we are having a pre op “hen party” I have been drawing Fallopian tubes on cards and pin the tumour on the ovary, we’re having cocktails of flat water and tomorrow at 7am I am off – thank you Scottish NHS and everyone here for lifting me up.” Prior to her major surgery, Janey revealed that she even wrote her ‘ final joke’ with her comedian daughter Ashley Storrie. As a coping mechanism Janey and her talented daughter Ashley have been trying to see the humour in the situation. She recently said she didn’t want ‘rubbish songs’ played at her funeral, and Ashley has now admitted they have both made up her final joke in case she doesn’t survive surgery. Ashley tweeted: “This is going to sound really weird, but if mum dies in surgery… well we’ve written her final joke. “It’s going to kill. Also there will be a Hashtag in her wee funeral pamphlet for funeral selfies (which I encourage). Morbid. But talking about it made me feel better.” She added: “I’m going to call it her funeral Programme like at a theatre, and just have a page with her previous shows listed and an advert for a local restaurant. “Get some buzz going for the show… Is it illegal to charge admission for a purvey? Get a wee table up the back with Janey Godley’s Funeral commemorative mugs.” Janey agreed that the two have been busy making the plans and added: “The laugh we had today organising what might be my last “theatre” performance made me laugh so hard, we have plans, hopefully not for years but if I go, my last hurrah is going to be a belter – a great production.”
On This Day
- 1806 – Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson receives a state funeral and is interred in St Paul’s Cathedral.
- 1909 – Ernest Shackleton, leading the Nimrod Expedition to the South Pole, plants the British flag 97 nautical miles (180 km; 112 mi) from the South Pole, the farthest anyone had ever reached at that time.
- 1927 – A fire at the Laurier Palace movie theatre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, kills 78 children.
- 2007 – Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduces the original iPhone at a Macworld keynote in San Francisco.
- 2015 – A mass poisoning at a funeral in Mozambique involving beer that was contaminated with Burkholderia gladioli leaves 75 dead and over 230 people ill.
- 1848 – Caroline Herschel, German-English astronomer (b. 1750).
- 1873 – Napoleon III, French politician, 1st President of France (b. 1808).
- 2009 – T. Llew Jones, Welsh author and poet (b. 1914).
Bizarre Deaths From History
Garry Hoy worked for a law firm in Toronto, Ontario. The 38-year-old corporate and securities lawyer had a bizarre party trick that he enjoyed demonstrating for visitors to his office on the 24th floor. To demonstrate the strength of the unbreakable office windows, Hoy would launch his body at them and bounce off. On July 9, 1993, Hoy was giving a tour of the firm to young law students when he decided to showcase his trick. Unfortunately, while the glass did not break, the entire window popped out of its frame, and Hoy fell to his demise.
Born in San Francisco in 1877, Isadora Duncan achieved renown as a dancer when she moved to Europe in her 20s. She was painted by the press as living a bohemian, eccentric life, and her performances celebrated independence and self-expression. On September 14, 1927, Duncan was in the passenger seat of the brand-new convertible sports car she was learning to drive when her enormous red scarf blew into the well of the rear wheel on the passenger side. It tightened around her neck and dragged her from the car and onto the cobblestone street.
In June 2016, 23-year-old Colin Scott and his sister were visiting Yellowstone National Park when he decided to try and soak in a thermal pool. The pair left the defined boardwalk area and entered into dangerous territory. This area was forbidden from guest access due to the danger of its geothermal activity. When they reached a pool, Scott attempted to dip a toe in to test the water, but slipped and fell in completely. Search and rescue was called off after several hours when it was determined that, due to the water’s acidity and heat, any remains were most likely dissolved.
Franz Reichelt was an Austrian-born tailor living in France, and was known as an inventor and parachuting pioneer. Reichelt earned the nickname “The Flying Tailor” for developing his wearable parachute suit. In 1911, Colonel Lalance of the Aéro-Club de France offered a prize of 10,000 francs to anyone who could create a safety parachute, and Reichelt was keen to put his interests and knack for invention to use. He developed his suit and successfully tested it on several dummies, dropping them from the fifth floor of a building. He finally received permission to perform his test at the Eiffel Tower, but when he got there, he made it clear that it would be him in the suit and not the dummy. On February 4, 1912, Franz Reichelt jumped from the Eiffel Tower. His parachute wrapped around him and he plummeted 187 feet to his demise. The event was captured and shown on newsreels.
In 2011, a terrorist in Russia had her plans thwarted by a spam text. The woman, dubbed “The Black Widow,” was preparing an explosive device for an attack and had a cell phone attached as its detonation device. A spam message from her mobile carrier (wishing her a happy new year) set the device off early, taking her life in the process.
Sweden’s King Adolf Frederick reigned from 1751 to 1771, and had quite a large appetite. During his reign, Swedish civil rights increased, as did the freedom of the press, and the country witnessed an extended period of peace. But no matter what was accomplished, the king will always be remembered for eating himself to death. February 12, 1771, was Shrove Tuesday, also known as Fat Tuesday in some countries. It’s the day before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, where Christians forgo certain indulgences and refrain from eating some kinds of food for 40 days. So traditionally, Shrove Tuesday is a day of indulgence. Adolf Frederick indulged in lobster, caviar, kippers, sauerkraut, boiled meats, turnips, and champagne. Then for dessert, he had 14 semlas (small buns made from white flour), each served in a bowl of hot milk flavoured with cinnamon and raisins. Later that day, he died of digestive problems.
Hans Steininger was the beloved mayor of Braunau am Inn, Austria. Steininger had an impressive beard that measured 4-and-a-half feet long. He would keep it rolled up and neatly tucked into a pocket so as not to get in the way. On September 28, 1567, a fire broke out in the town. Steininger tripped over his beard and fell down a flight of stairs, killing himself. To honour him, the town built a statue of their mayor, cut off his magnificent beard before he was buried, and put it on display. The town still showcases the statue and beard – which they probably prefer to be remembered for, rather than as the birthplace of Adolph Hitler.
The Sentinelese, hunter-gatherers who inhabit North Sentinel Island in the Bay of Bengal, are considered one of the Earth’s last uncontacted peoples. They have made it more than apparent that they do not wish to interact with the outside world, as every attempt to come close has been met with aggression. In 2004, when a helicopter from the Indian Coast Guard flew overhead, it was met with bows and arrows. Twenty-six-year-old American adventure blogger John Allen Chau was aware of this when he went to the tribe in 2018 as a missionary to teach them about Christianity. After Chau was helped to the island by fishermen, he was attacked but managed to escape. He returned the next day and was killed.
Thomas Midgley Jr. was responsible for popularising the use of two of the most dangerous substances of the 20th century. He helped popularise the use of lead in gasoline (and contracted lead poisoning while working on the project), led the team that discovered freon, and helped popularise the use of chlorofluorocarbon in refrigeration. Both lead and chlorofluorocarbon have been cited as particularly harmful pollutants in the atmosphere. When Midgley was 51, he was left disabled from illness, and devised an elaborate system of ropes and pulleys to lift himself out of bed. Midgley became entangled in his invention and was strangled to death.
During a battle in Spotsylvania, VA, on May 9, 1864, a Union Army general named John Sedgwick laughed as his men attempted to escape musket fire. He proclaimed: “What? Men dodging this way for single bullets? What will you do when they open fire along the whole line? Why are you dodging like this? They couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance.” Moments later, he was put down by a Rebel shooter.
In July 1184, a bizarre, tragic, and, to some, comic event known as the Erfurt Latrine Disaster took place. A mix of nobles and high-ranking officials met at St. Peter’s Church in the German city of Erfurt at the behest of King Heinrich VI to settle a dispute. As the group gathered in one of the church’s rooms, the floor gave way and collapsed. Underneath the floor was the church’s latrine – basically, its personal sewer system where all of its waste was collected. It’s estimated that somewhere between 60 and 100 people drowned in the disaster.
Milo of Croton was an ancient Greek athlete from the sixth-century BCE and the most renowned wrestler of the time. Milo is credited with having led the Crotoniate army to victory over the Sybarites around 510 BCE and was a six-time Olympic victor. According to the traditional account of his demise, the elderly Milo decided to try and tear apart a tree with his bare hands. His hands got stuck in the tree and Milo was devoured by wolves.
Last Week’s Birthdays
J.K. Simmons (67), Imelda Staunton (66), Joely Richardson (57), James Acaster (37), Michelle Forbes (57), Amber Benson (45), Nicolas Cage (58), Jeremy Renner (51), Linda Kozlowski (64), Erin Gray (72), Lewis Hamilton (37), Eddie Redmayne (40), Kate McKinnon (38), Norman Reedus (53), Rowan Atkinson (67), Clancy Brown (63), Bradley Cooper (47), January Jones (44), Diane Keaton (76), Robert Duvall (91), Hayao Miyazaki (81), Vinnie Jones (57), Marilyn Manson (53), Graham McTavish (61), Emma Mackey (26), Julia Ormond (57), Matt Frewer (64), Julian Sands (64), Mel Gibson (66), and Victoria Principal (72).
Welcome to the first edition of 2022. Thank you all for joining the fun this year. A few of the old regulars have dropped out this year, so the group is slightly smaller. As always, please update your email lists if you intend to use them, otherwise we’re all going to be using the Telegram Group going forward.
Look Who You Could Have Had 2021:
- Janice Long, 66, English disc jockey (BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio Wales) and television presenter (Top of the Pops), pneumonia.
- April Ashley, 86, English model, actress (The Road to Hong Kong), and writer.
- John Madden, 85, American football coach (Oakland Raiders) and sportscaster.
- Grichka Bogdanoff, 72, French television presenter and academic fraudster (Bogdanov affair), COVID-19.
- Betty White, 99, American actress (The Golden Girls, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Hot in Cleveland) and comedian, five-time Emmy winner.
Look Who You Could Have Had 2022:
- Gary Burgess, 46, British broadcaster (ITV Channel Television), cancer.
In Other News
Prior to her death on New Years Eve, Dead Pool favourite Betty White shared her secrets to a long, healthy life ahead of her 100th birthday. Betty, who would have turned 100 on 17th January, reflected on her longevity and health in an interview with People magazine for this week’s cover issue, which will now probably be rewritten, much like this article! Betty revealed that she felt “so lucky to be in such good health and feel so good at this age”. According to White, one of her secrets pertained to her diet, with the actor telling the outlet: “I try to avoid anything green. I think it’s working.” This is not the first time White had shared insight into her eating habits, as she previously said that she loved vodka and hot dogs, “probably in that order”. The Golden Girls actor, who had been acting since high school said “I got it from my mom, and that never changed,” she said. “I always find the positive.” While the Grammy winner had been in the public eye for a large part of the last 10 decades, she did enjoy a “quiet life” at home in Los Angeles, California, where she liked to play crossword puzzles and card games, and watch animal documentaries, golf and Jeopardy! For the issue celebrating White, People also spoke with some of the actor’s former co-stars, such as Sandra Bullock, who praised the 99-year-old’s comedic timing. “Timing isn’t easy in comedy, because you have to navigate other people’s timing. Betty pivoted like I have never seen, making it look seamless,” she said. “The rest of us just remain silent and pray we’re not cut out of the scene.” As for how she hopes White celebrates her centennial birthday, Bullock said she wants her to embrace the day “the same way she has celebrated every day of her life with humour, kindness and a vodka on ice, toasting to the fact that she’s a badass who has left us all in the dust”. Well Sandra, that prediction didn’t come true! Carol Burnett also had praise for the late star, who she applauded for her ability to “twist a line to get a laugh”. “She’d come on my show, and if there was a tinge of risqué humour in one of our sketches, she’d roll with it and make it even funnier and add a little wink to show that she was thinking of something sexy,” Burnett said. “She’s not a stand-up. She’s not a jokester. It’s the way she can twist a line to get a laugh.” According to Mary Steenburgen, the Hot in Cleveland star also enjoyed shocking people with her humour in real life, as she said that White “loves to throw her little F-bombs around and does it with this beautifully dimpled smile”. While many had praise for White’s humour, Steenburgen’s husband, Ted Danson, who worked alongside White on her ocean conservation efforts, said that he looked to the longtime actor for guidance on how to live. “It’s not like she’s just a bubbly, joyful person. She woke up every day and chose to be that way,” he said. “I think she lead a very purposeful life.”
One of the UK’s most dangerous serial killers will die in an underground glass box after his last-ditch appeal to live alongside other prisoners was rejected. Robert Maudsley, 68, is being held in a private underground cell beneath the general population of HMP Wakefield, after killing four men between 1974 and 1978. The Liverpudlian, who killed child molesters and one wife killer, was told this week that he will be incarcerated in his ‘glass box’ until he dies. It came after bosses at the prison ruled him too dangerous to mix with prisoners and guards at the West Yorkshire jail. An insider said: ‘He was told no last month but appealed against the decision and wanted to spend Christmas in the presence of other humans. But he’s just been told no for the final time. Being alone for that long does something to you. He isn’t OK and they cannot take the risk of what he might do.They simply cannot take the risk.’ Maudsley must now live out the rest of his days in a 5.5 x 4.5 metre cell, which was built especially for him in 1983 and is protected by bullet proof glass. He spends 23 hours of each day in the cell, sleeping on a concrete slab and using a toilet and sink which are bolted to the floor. He also has a table and chair made of compressed cardboard. The convicted killer, from Toxteth, Liverpool, committed his first murder in 1974, aged just 21. He killed John Farrell in Wood Green London, after he showed Maudsley pictures of children he had sexually abused. He handed himself in to police and was deemed unfit to stand trial, and was sent to Broadmoor Hospital, home to some of Britain’s most violent inmates. Maudsley generally stayed out of trouble for his first few years behind bars, before he and fellow prisoner David Cheeseman locked themselves in a cell with child molester David Francis in 1977. They tortured Francis to death before dangling his body for prison guards to see. Maudsley was convicted of manslaughter and sent to HMP Wakefield. In 1978, Maudsley strangled and stabbed Salney Darwood, 46, who had been jailed for killing his wife. He hid Darwood’s body under bed before sneaking into the cell of paedophile Bill Roberts, 56, who had sexually abused a girl aged seven. He stabbed Roberts, hacked his skull with a makeshift dagger and smashed his head against a wall. He was later sentenced to life imprisonment with a recommendation that he never be released. In 2000, he begged the courts to allow him to die, writing in a letter: ‘What purpose is served by keeping me locked up 23 hours a day? Why even bother to feed me and to give me one hour’s exercise a day? Who actually am I a risk to? As a consequence of my current treatment and confinement, I feel that all I have to look forward to is indeed psychological breakdown, mental illness and probable suicide. Why can’t I have a budgie instead of flies, cockroaches and spiders which I currently have. I promise to love it and not eat it? Why can’t I have a television in my cell to see the world and learn? Why can’t I have any music tapes and listen to beautiful classical music? If the Prison Service says no then I ask for a simple cyanide capsule which I shall willingly take and the problem of Robert John Maudsley can easily and swiftly be resolved.’ The Ministry of Justice said it does not comment on the cases of individual prisoners.
On This Day
- 1959 – Luna 1, the first spacecraft to reach the vicinity of the Moon and to orbit the Sun, is launched by the Soviet Union.
- 1967 – Ronald Reagan, past movie actor and future President of the United States, is sworn in as Governor of California.
- 1971 – The second Ibrox disaster kills 66 fans at a Rangers-Celtic association football match.
- 1976 – The Gale of January 1976 begins, resulting in coastal flooding around the southern North Sea coasts, affecting countries from Ireland to Yugoslavia and causing at least 82 deaths and US$1.3 billion in damage.
- 1981 – One of the largest investigations by a British police force ends when serial killer Peter Sutcliffe, the “Yorkshire Ripper”, is arrested in Sheffield, South Yorkshire.
- 1953 – Guccio Gucci, Italian fashion designer, founder of Gucci (b. 1881).
- 2011 – Anne Francis, American actress (b. 1930).
- 2011 – Pete Postlethwaite, English actor (b. 1946).
- 2019 – Gene Okerlund, American wrestling announcer (b. 1942).
Last Week’s Birthdays
Tia Carrere (55), Kate Bosworth (39), Cuba Gooding Jr. (54), Sam Spruell (46), Frank Langella (84), Jennifer Hale (57), Sharon Small (55), Val Kilmer (62), Anthony Hopkins (84), Ben Kingsley (78), Gong Li (56), Jane Badler (68), Tracey Ullman (62), Eliza Dushku (41), Fred Ward (79), Caity Lotz (35), Tiger Woods (46), Lilly Wachowski (54), Jude Law (49), Jon Voight (83), Ted Danson (74), Danny McBride (45), Patrick Fischler (52), Bernard Cribbins (93), Marianne Faithfull (75), Denzel Washington (67), Maggie Smith (87), Joe Manganiello (45), Noomi Rapace (42), Sienna Miller (40), Nichelle Nichols (89), John Legend (43), Timothée Chalamet (26), Olivia Cooke (28), Gérard Depardieu (73), John Amos (82), Wilson Cruz (48), and Maryam d’Abo (61).