Dead Pool 30th December 2018

Before we start, let’s congratulate Victoria & Louise for scoring 57 points even at this late stage for the sad death of June Whitfield. But if nothing happens between now and Midnight, we will have to declare David J. the winner of 2018! Well done him! 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

2018 Most Prominent Deaths

Professor Stephen Hawking – British theoretical physicist and author, who battled motor neurone disease to become one of the finest and most popular scientists of his generation.     

Aretha Franklin – Known as the Queen of Soul, and an icon of the US civil rights movement, she possessed one of the most distinctive voices in popular music, embracing jazz, gospel, soul and rhythm and blues.  

Stan Lee – American creator of comic book superheroes Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and the Hulk, who transformed comic book art into a multi-million dollar industry, spearheading what became known as the “Marvel age of comics”. 

Dame June Whitfield – Actor celebrated for her comic roles, June Whitfield was a regular fixture of British TV, radio and film. Often playing the female stooge to some of the UK’s most famous entertainers, she called herself “a comic’s tart”. She starred in Hancock’s Half Hour and Carry On films, but will perhaps be best remembered for the sitcoms Terry and June and Absolutely Fabulous.

Jim Bowen – TV host and comedian who presented the darts-based gameshow Bullseye and was famous for catchprases including “Super, smashing, great” and “You can’t beat a bit of Bully!”  

Bella Emberg – Comedy actress whose career spanned 60 years. She was best known for her role as Blunderwoman, a sidekick to hapless superhero Cooperman in the 1980s TV programme The Russ Abbot Show.  

Barry Chuckle – One half of the Chuckle Brothers comedy duo who found fame on ITV talent show Opportunity Knocks in 1967. With his brother, Paul, he starred in the BBC programme ChuckleVision which ran for 21 series.  

Geoffrey Hayes – Television presenter, who played the lovable and long-suffering upholder of peace on children’s programme Rainbow from 1974-1992 – alongside characters Zippy, George and Bungle. 

Dolores O’Riordan – Singer, frontwoman of The Cranberries. 

Montserrat Caballé – Spanish soprano known for her huge repertoire and bel canto technique, but best remembered for her duet with Freddie Mercury which became the signature song of the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.  

Avicii – Swedish musician, DJ, remixer and record producer who became one of the world’s biggest dance music stars, with club anthems including Wake Me Up, Levels and Lonely Together with Rita Ora.  

Joe Jackson – Father of the musically-talented Jackson family. His single-mindedness in achieving fame for his children – including Michael, Janet and LaToya – often attracted controversy. 

Chas Hodges – One half of duo Chas and Dave, known for their rock and cockney style, they enjoyed fame in the 1970s and 1980s with hits such as Rabbit – which played on cockney rhyming slang “rabbit and pork”, meaning “talk”. 

Sir Ken Dodd – An old-fashioned variety performer – one of the most popular UK artists of his time. He starred on TV, topped the music charts, and filled theatres across the country. 

Burt Reynolds – Actor and director who appeared in hundreds of films, TV movies and series. His role in Deliverance made him a star, his big hit was Smokey and the Bandit, and Boogie Nights won him an Oscar nomination. His extravagant lifestyle also made the headlines. 

Peter Stringfellow – Nightclub owner who was self-made, with a lavish lifestyle and a reputation as a ladies’ man. With his string of nightclubs he was known as the King of Clubs. Stringfellow’s in London’s West End was a magnet for celebrities. 

Trevor Bayliss – Inventor best known for the wind-up radio. He also created hundreds of other devices, including many to help people with disabilities. 

Winnie Mandela – ANC activist and potent symbol of South Africa’s anti-apartheid struggle, she campaigned for black South African rights and the release of her then-husband, Nelson Mandela. Her reputation later became tainted by a fraud conviction and murder accusations, which she denied. 

John McCain – American Vietnam war hero who became one of the country’s best known politicians, representing Arizona in Congress and Senate. A Republican, he established a reputation for challenging his own party leadership. In 2008 he ran for the presidency, losing to Barack Obama.  

George HW Bush – The 41st president of the United States of America. He was vice-president to Ronald Reagan and became the first vice-president for more than 150 years to be elected president. He served in the US Navy in World War Two, made a fortune in the Texas oil industry and represented Texas for the Republicans in the House of Representatives. Appointed US ambassador to the UN by Richard Nixon, and head of the CIA by Gerald Ford.  

Barbara Bush – US first lady – only the second woman in US history to be the wife of one president and the mother of another. She was never content to accept a passive role as political wife. A long-time campaigner for social justice, she spoke out against racial segregation and threw her weight behind the drive to eradicate illiteracy in America.  

Leslie Grantham – Actor – best known as the roguish “Dirty Den” Watts in BBC television soap EastEnders, in which he delivered the opening line in 1985. His own life was also touched by controversy. 

Margot Kidder – Actress who found fame as Lois Lane in the Superman films starring Christopher Reeve of the 1970s and 1980s. She later became a political and women’s rights activist and one of the first Hollywood stars to talk openly about mental health problems.  

Dale Winton – TV and radio presenter. Gained celebrity status presenting Supermarket Sweep in the 1990s, along with National Lottery television programmes and Radio 2’s Pick of the Pops.  

Denis Norden – TV host and comedy writer who – with Frank Muir – formed one of the most successful comedy writing partnerships in British history. He will be more recently remembered as creator and host of the original blooper clip show It’ll be Alright on the Night. 

Peter Wyngarde – Actor who played dandy detective Jason King in the 1970s TV show that was a partial inspiration for the Austin Powers films. 

Verne Troyer – Actor best known for playing Mini-Me in the Austin Powers films, the clone and sidekick of Dr Evil, played by Mike Myers. He also played the goblin Griphook in the first Harry Potter film. 

Sir Roger Bannister – The first man to run a mile in under four minutes, establishing him as one of the great names of British athletics. He went on to become a leading neurologist and the Master of Pembroke College, Oxford.  

Kofi Annan – Former UN secretary general and Nobel Peace Prize winner who focused on the organisation’s role in fighting poverty, injustice and disease and was able to act as an honest broker at the highest levels of diplomacy.  

Baroness Tessa Jowell – Former Labour cabinet minister Tessa Jowell played a major role in securing the 2012 Olympics for London. Diagnosed with a brain tumour, she campaigned for more NHS cancer treatments. 

Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon – Jeremy John Durham “Paddy” Ashdown led the Liberal Democrats for 11 years, after having served as a Royal Marine and member of the UK intelligence services. In 2002, he was appointed as UN high representative in Bosnia-Herzegovina, helping to steer the country through its post-war reconstruction. He was known for speaking his mind and for his drive and energy – which earned him the nickname Action Man. 

Eric Bristow – Five-time darts world champion nicknamed the Crafty Cockney, whose cheeky man-of-the-people image and charisma were central to the sport’s domination of post-pub TV in the 1980s.  

Baroness Trumpington – Conservative peer Jean Barker was a society girl who became a Bletchley Park codebreaker, working against the Nazis, in World War Two. Known for her independent spirit, she achieved fame for flicking a V-sign at a colleague during a debate in the House of Lords. 

Billy Graham – Preacher who took his mission of mass evangelism worldwide, preaching to an estimated 215 million people in 185 countries – and reaching hundreds of millions more through his radio and television ministry.  

Sister Wendy Beckett – Roman Catholic Carmelite nun and art historian, who became an unlikely television star when she presented a succession of popular TV programmes from art galleries around the world. Her belief that art belonged to everyone, her avoidance of jargon and obvious passion for her subject endeared her to audiences. 

On This Day

  • 1916 – Russian mystic and advisor to the Tsar Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin was murdered by a loyalist group led by Prince Felix Yusupov. His frozen, partially-trussed body was discovered in a Moscow river three days later.  
  • 2004 – A fire in the República Cromagnon nightclub in Buenos Aires, Argentina kills 194.  
  • 2006 – Former President of Iraq Saddam Hussein is executed.


  • 1916 – Grigori Rasputin, Russian mystic (b. 1869)  
  • 2006 – Saddam Hussein, Iraqi general and politician, 5th President of Iraq (b. 1937)
  • 2014 – Luise Rainer, German-born American-British actress (b. 1910)

Last Week’s Birthdays

Denzel Washington (64), Noomi Rapace (39), Maggie Smith (84), Sienna Miller (37), Joe Manganiello (42), Nichelle Nichols (86), Olivia Cooke (25), Gérard Depardieu (70), John Amos (79), Kit Harington (32), Jared Leto (47), Phil Spector (79), Sissy Spacek (69), Helena Christensen (50), Annie Lennox (64), Stephenie Meyer (45), Carol Vorderman (58), Harry Shearer (75), Jude Law (46), Jon Voight (80), Ted Danson (71), Danny McBride (42), Bernard Cribbins (90) and Marianne Faithfull (72).

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