Thursday, December 31, 2009

Just Time For A Quick Last Minute Score Check

With the rest of our celebrities resiliently holding out, we’re heading into the home straight with a neck-and-neck race.

Ty 64
Benn 64
Eliza 50
Rob 50
Russell 50
Debbie 6


And with about 24 hours to go until the end of 2009 everywhere in the world, we’re staring down the barrel of a tied game.

Quickly recapping, you may recall that Ty’s very impressive score of 64 came from tipping the tragic deaths of Michael Jackson (aged 50) and the great Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell (aged 86).

Benn’s equally impressive score of 64 came from tipping Michael Jackson and the equally great Bea Arthur (also aged 86).

However …

Ms Arthur was just a few days shy of her 87th birthday when she passed away at the age of 86 and 346 days, while Mr Tingwell was a sprightly 86 and 131 days.

Based upon Mr Tingwell’s relative youth and my somewhat arbitrary reasoning, we will (in the event of no further scoring in the next 24 hours) be declaring Ty the winner.

Stay tuned!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Who would? Edward Woodward would.

Very late on this one, and quite frankly … Mr. Woodward deserves better.

Yes, the great Edward Woodward has died at the age of 79.

Edward Woodward Rising to prominence as the iconic Callan and cementing his position as Breaker Morant and The Equalizer, Woodward was a class act all the way.

Woodward went all out to make television the respectable dramatic medium it now is (back when most movie actors wouldn’t deign to appear on the box) and brought his intense trademark gravity into every role he played.

And let’s never forget the old joke:

Why does Edward Woodward have so many ‘D’s in his name?

Because if he didn’t, he’d be Ewar Woowar.

And we couldn’t have that. Edward Woodward, rest in peace.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Legendary Don Lane

Don Lane, the lanky American who dominated Australian TV in the 1970s and 80s has died at the age of 75.

Don LaneAs host of the long-running Don Lane Show, Don brought a little bit of American-style variety to Australian television screens.

Lane also brought a fair share of controversy, getting arrested for marijuana possession in 1968 and getting kicked out of the 1982 Logie Awards for throwing a punch at Ernie Sigley.

But who can honestly say they’ve never wanted to do that?

And here’s that infamous footage of Lane cracking it with the AmazingTM James Randi when he dared to suggest that Doris Stokes and Uri Geller may not actually possess all those amazing paranormal powers they claim.

Despite (or maybe because of) all this Lane managed to win numerous Logies (including the 1977 Gold) back when the award actually meant something.

He was one of a kind, a genuine legend and has well and truly earned his place in Australian television history.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Rodger Doxsey R.I.P

Astronomer Rodger Doxsey, former head of mission operations at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, has died at the age of 62.

Rodger Doxsey

Doxsey was best known for his work on the Hubble Space Telescope, that amazing piece of technology which has given us extraordinary images like this:

Hubble 1Doxsey was instrumental in keeping the Hubble Space Telescope running from its very earliest days. His work has allowed us to take pictures of our universe with a resolution and depth never seen before.

Hubble 2

Doxsey was also a scientist in the classical mode. He combined a visionary sense of big-picture science with a minute knowledge of the mechanics that made it work.

Rest in peace, Rodger. Your legacy will live on.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Basava Premanand

I'm a little late reporting this one. Legendary Indian rationalist and skeptic Basava Premanand has passed away at the age of 78.

Basava PremanandUsing his skills as an amateur magician, Premanand made a career out of exposing the charlatans and "God men" who plagued the Indian culture.

In the face of death threats he showed their supposed miracles were simple sleight-of-hand tricks, and by founding the Indian CSICOP movement and publishing the Indian Sceptic magazine brought skepticism into a country that desperately needed it.

Such was Premanand's notoriety that he feared rumours of a deathbed conversion might abound after his death. As a result, he took steps to prevent such a thing by writing this statement:

I, B. Premanand s/o late Sri Basava Prabhu, 80 years of age resident Chettipalayam Road, Podanur, sound of mind though suffering from physical complications caused by metastases in many organs caused by carcinoma of the stomach herein solemnly wish to place on record the following:

1. I have been closely associated with the rationalist movement from 1975 onwards and have been a rationalist of full conviction since then and continue to be so.

2. It is common for the purveyors of superstitions and such anti rational forces to start spreading rumors about rationalists turning to god and other supernatural forces at the end of their lives and becoming devotees of gods and god men of various types.

3. It is also claimed that at times of crises that we staunch rationalists through the major part of our lives, turn to spiritualism and religion.

4. I wish to clarify that as on today the twentieth of September 2009 I remain a staunch rationalist and wish to place on record the following:

a. I continue to be a rationalist of full conviction.

b. I do not believe in any supernatural power. All the powers that we encounter are in the realm of nature and nothing exists beyond that.

c. I do not believe in the existence of the soul or rebirth.

d. I have not turned to any religion, god or any sort of spiritual pursuits.

e. When I pass away I shall be leaving only my body which is to be donated to a medical college and no spirit or soul to cause problems for the living.

I want to convey to all that the struggle against the exploitation by god men and so called supernatural forces is a long and hard one but the ultimate victory will be ours.

My very survival has been a challenge to astrologers and their so called “science” of astrology, as they had all predicted that I would die soon after birth and refused to cast a horoscope for me.

I wish to convey to my colleagues of the rationalist movement to continue the work that I have been doing with renewed vigor and that will be the best of tributes for me.

Abhirami Hospital
Podanur (B. Premanand)
Witnessed by: Dr. Maya Prabhu and Suneera

Basava Premanand, we salute you.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Stephen Gately

Irish pop singer Stephen Gately has died at the age of 33.

Stephen Gately

As well as being greatly respected as a performer, Gately was considered a hero of gay rights. Unlike many closeted colleagues, he managed to be both a boy band star and openly gay.

And in typical UK tabloid fashion, this has apparently earned Gately the right to have the sordid elements of his story splashed far and wide.

However, his sad passing appears to be a tragically simple case of a tragically avoidable death.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lucy In The Sky

Lucy Vodden, once upon a time Miss Lucy O’Donnell, has passed away at the age of 46.

Lucy Vodden

Way back in 1967, the 4-year-old Lucy was the subject of a drawing by a 4-year-old Julian Lennon. The picture was to become the inspiration for the classic Beatles tune “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”.

It was revealed in 2007 that Vodden was the eponymous Lucy, and it was also revealed at the time that she was suffering from the autoimmune disease lupus.

Ms. Vodden passed away on September 22, after suffering a severe infection.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Farewell to Henry Gibson

On the 14th, as the world stood stunned by the death of Patrick Swayze, another worthy yet less-celebrated celebrity also sadly shuffled off the mortal coil.

James Bateman, a.k.a. Henry Gibson, has passed away just one week before his 74th birthday.

Henry Gibson

Gaining popularity in the 70s on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In and a cult following in the 80s as leader of the Illinois Nazis in The Blues Brothers, Gibson went on to create many memorable characters, most recently the eccentric Judge Clark Brown in Boston Legal.

Drama nerds may be inclined to wonder if Gibson’s chosen moniker was a reference to playwright Henrik Ibsen. And yes, it was.

And an entirely appropriate name it was, too. While mainly known for comedy, Gibson always managed to bring a dramatic gravity to even the lightest of roles, grounding the story and greatly improving everything he was in.

The world of television just got ever so slightly less interesting.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

To Patrick Swayze, Thanks for Everything

After a long battle with pancreatic cancer, Patrick Swayze has died at the age of 57.

Patrick SwayzeWhether as a romantic lead, an action hero, a drag queen or a sleazy evangelist (remember Donnie Darko? He was ace in that) Swayze has always been a compelling presence onscreen. We and Hollywood are all the poorer for his passing.

It was first announced way back in March 2008 that Swayze had been diagnosed with cancer, and at that time the prognosis looked to be very short. The fact that he lasted another 18 months is a testament to his strength and the support of this family.

Of course it took about five seconds for tasteless jokes to start popping up on Twitter and, without trying to speak ill of the recently deceased, my favourites were these:

Ghost 2 is now in production ... and "nobody puts baby in a coffin."

Too soon, people. Too soon.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Now you’ll need to ask the other Leyland brother

Mike Leyland, one half of the legendary Leyland brothers, has passed away at the age of 68.The Leyland Brothers

From 1976 until 1984, Mike (right) and his brother Mal were co-hosts of the iconic travel documentary show Ask The Leyland Brothers. They would travel around Australia in response to viewer questions, and shot the whole thing on Super 8. You just don’t see TV like that anymore.

And who could forget that amazing theme? If by some miracle you have, please remind yourself here.

You’ll have it stuck in your head for days, I promise.

Farewell, Mike. It was a pleasure travelling with you.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Vale Ray Barrett

Veteran Australian actor Ray Barrett has died at the age of 82.

Ray BarrettInternationally known as “that guy who was in that movie … you know …”, Barrett was an inspiration to a generation of Australian actors.

And he appeared in Doctor Who, way back before it was cool.


Dead Pool 2009 – August Update

Once again I’m very late with the monthly update and once again I have no excuses. I throw myself upon the mercy of the internet.

John HughesOn the 6th we bid a very fond farewell to cinema legend John Hughes. Passing away aged just 59, Hughes brought us the legendary Ferris Bueller and showed us just how pretty Molly Ringwald could look in pink (reasonably pretty, it turns out).

And of course Home Alone. But we forgive him for that last one.

Les Paul On the 13th music technology pioneer Les Paul passed away at the very respectable age of 94. He leaves behind a huge legacy including  multitrack recording, the famous Gibson guitar and well-earned 6 points for Debbie who had the foresight to tip him.

The 15th saw the death of nuclear physicist Louis Rosen, the “father” of the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center and one of pioneers of particle accelerator technology. That’s the second time I’ve used the word “pioneer”. Think I can go for three?

Edward Goldsmith On the 21st we lost Edward Goldsmith, a professional hippy and founder of the British Green party. An environmentalist long before it was fashionable we have Goldsmith to thank for the idea of the self-sustaining biosphere and therefore (in a sense) the movie Biodome. But we choose not to hold that against him.

Also on the 21st Dean Turner, bass player of Geelong rock band Magic Dirt, died of a rare form of tissue cancer at the age of 37.

Ted Kennedy The 25th saw the death of Senator Edward ‘Ted’ Kennedy. Unlike his older brothers John and Robert, Ted managed to avoid assassination. Opinions are divided as to whether he achieved much else. Hmmm. Too soon?

Finally, on the 28th we farewelled Adam Goldstein, a.k.a DJ AM, at the age of 36. While the official cause of death was an overdose of pain medication, speculation is rife that it was suicide. We eagerly wait the numerous albums he apparently had in the can prior to his death à la 2Pac and Michael Jackson.

And that’s it for August. As mention, 6 points are awarded to Debbie for the prescient tip of the late, great Les Paul.

The scoreboard looks like this …

Ty 64
Benn 64
Eliza 50
Rob 50
Russell 50
Debbie 6

… and we’ll see you all next month!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Dead Pool 2009 – July Update

My most humble apologies for the very tardy update.

I have no excuses to offer except for the fact that I’ve just had Foxtel installed (that’s cable TV for our American friends) and hence found other ways to spend my time.

But enough with the smug confessions and on with the dead pool update.

Mollie Sugden The month started with a tragic double act on the 1st, with the deaths of actors Mollie “Mrs Slocombe” Sugden and Karl “Lieutenant Mike Stone” Malden.

On the 3rd US author and journalist John Keel died at the age of 79. A noted UFOlogist and author of The Mothman Prophecies, Keel managed to turn an unfortunate case of clinical paranoia into a lucrative writing career.

Walter Cronkite The 17th saw the death of legendary newsreader Walter Cronkite. His mellifluous voice had him cited as the “most trusted man in America”, which makes me think John Howard might have been more trusted if he didn’t sound like such a whiny little shit. Or maybe not.

On the 18th Henry Allingham, just elevated to the position of world’s oldest man last month, passed away at the age of 113. I don’t want to jinx anyone but Walter Breuning, aged 112, takes his place. Good luck, Walter.

Frank McCourt On the 19th famed Irish author Frank McCourt passed away at the age of 78. Author of Angela’s Ashes and 'Tis, McCourt turned his impoverished upbringing into a lucrative writing career. Take note, Keel.

The 21st saw the tragic death of actor Les Lye, best known for playing all the adult characters on classic Canadian kid’s show You Can’t Do That On Television.

Captain PugwashOn the 22nd cartoonist John Ryan, creator of the legendary Captain Pugwash passed away at the age of 88. Sadly those rumours about saucy double-entendres hidden in the character names (Master Bates, Seaman Staines and Roger the Cabin Boy) were nothing but urban legend. Dammit.

And finally on the 25th we farewelled Harry Patch, one of the last four surviving World War I veterans and the last to have actually fought in the trenches. Patch was 111.

And that wraps it up for July.

There’s been no further movement on the scoreboard so, as last month, it looks this:

Ty 64
Benn 64
Eliza 50
Rob 50
Russell 50

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Dead Pool 2009 – June Update

We’re halfway through the year and it’s been an absolutely bumper month. We’ve had celebrities and other notables tragically dropping off the perch left right and centre.

With no time to mess around let’s get straight into it, starting with one late-reported death from May.

Danny La Rue On the 31st of that month we bid a final ta-ra to entertainer Danny La Rue, a pioneer of the drag scene and one of the men responsible for bringing the whole men-dressing-as-ladies thing out of the underground and into the mainstream.

On the 2nd of June fantasy author David Eddings passed away at the age of 77. I’d probably have something more interesting to say about him if I’d read any of his books. I haven’t. But I’m sure they’re tops.

On the 3rd we lost Australia’s last surviving veteran of World War I, John Campbell Ross at the very respectable age of 110.

David Carradine Also on the 3rd we bid a fond farewell to actor, notorious bad-boy and all-round legend David Carradine at the age of 72. If you’re gonna go, there are worse ways than with some random hooker in a sleazy Thailand hotel room. Just sayin’. Rest in Peace, Grasshopper.

On the 12th we witnessed the spooky death of Johanna Ganthaler who, having just survived the ill-fated Air France Flight 447 on June 1 by missing the flight, was killed in a car crash in Austria.

Seriously, it’s a story worthy of a film. Oh wait. It’s been done.

Des Moran The 15th saw the daylight assassination of Des ‘Tuppence’ Moran, patriarch and last surviving member of the Moran crime family.

On the 17th John Houghtaling, inventor of Magic Fingers Vibrating Bed, a fixture of mid-priced hotel rooms last refurbished in the 1960s, died a very wealthy man at the age of 92. There is no truth to the rumour that his fortune was all in quarters, nor that he vibrated for fifteen minutes after he died. It’s all scurrilous and very silly gossip.

On the 19th Tomoji Tanabe, up until his final moments the world’s oldest living man, died of heart failure at the age of 113. Henry Allingham of the UK, also 113, takes his place as the oldest living man in the world. But not the oldest living person. There’s like ten chicks ahead of him.

(I wonder if all these supercentenarians know each other? They should start a facebook group. If I were suddenly made the oldest man in the world by the death of the previous incumbent I know I’d want immediate notification).

Lorena GaleThe 21st saw the tragic death of actress Lorena Gale, best known for her role as the wise priestess Elosha on Battlestar Galactica. (<battlestargeekout> Although one might question the wisdom of plying the President of the Colonies with hallucinogens. </battlestargeekout> Still … Lorena Gale … awesome lady.)

Ed McMahonOn the 23rd American TV announcer Ed McMahon passed away at the age of 86. A fixture of Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show, Ed’s famous catchphrase “Here’s Johnny!” was usurped by an axe-wielding Jack Nicholson in 1980’s The Shining. That’s got nothing to do with his death. It’s just kind of interesting.

Finally, as previously mentioned (and covered by one or two other sources) the 25th saw the deaths of both Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett.

So it’s been a helluva month.

We’ve also seen some significant movement on the dead pool scoreboard, with no fewer than five people tipping the tragic passing of Michael Jackson.

As Mr. Jackson was 50 at the time of his death we award 50 points each to Benn, Eliza, Rob, Russell and Ty. Sadly Farrah Fawcett’s death does not result in any points, as she passed away from the illness she was suffering at the beginning of the year.

And with that, our scoreboard looks like this:

Ty 64
Benn 64
Eliza 50
Rob 50
Russell 50

Tune in again next month.

I hope for the sake of our remaining beloved celebrities that it’s a quiet one.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael, Farrah and (not) Jeff

Michael Jackson RIP The King of Pop is dead. Long live . . . who?

Pop music lives on, but without an obvious successor to the Pop crown. That Timberlake fella’s just a bit too normal and balanced.

Jackson will be remembered for a few good albums, but mostly for the chimpanzee, the oxygen tent, “Wacko Jacko”, the bizarre behaviour, the accusations, aspersions and gossip.

It’s hard to feel anything but pity for this man who remained a boy in so many ways. And it’s very hard to shake the sense that he’d been dying before our eyes for the last two decades.

In a perfect world Jackson’s life would be a stark warning about the dangers of growing up in the celebrity spotlight.

Unfortunately, his lasting impression will probably be a vague whiff of salacious scandal and a dodgy telemovie starring Jaden Smith as Young Michael and Marilyn Manson as the adult.

Farrah Fawcett RIP Media coverage of Jackson is beyond comprehensive right now, far overshadowing the other tragic celebrity death of the moment, Farrah Fawcett.

Farrah’s battle with cancer (detailed in not one, but two recent documentaries) has been big news for years now, but she’s hardly getting a look in.

One is reminded of Jimmy Stewart’s death in 1997 which rendered the death of legendary actor Robert Mitchum all but forgotten.

Jeff Goldblum FINEWe haven’t forgotten you, Farrah.

Then, just to throw a bit of bizarrity into the day someone somewhere took the idea that “things happen in threes” as an instruction, and announced that Jeff Goldblum had plummeted to his death from a cliff while filming in New Zealand.

This got as far as being officially announced on Australia’s Today show before being revealed as a hoax and denied by a bemused and very-much-alive Jeff Goldblum.

Richard Wilkins, you’re an idiot.

What a day. It won’t quite live in infamy, but we won’t see its like again for a while. Hopefully.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Dead Pool 2009 – May Update

Welcome once again to the macabre world of Dead Pool 2009.


Let’s kick off first with a late-reported death from April.

Venetia PhairOn April 30, amateur astronomer Venetia Phair passed away at the age of 90. Phair was brought to prominence in 1930 aged just 11, when she named the newly-discovered planet Pluto. Phair was remembered again recently when Pluto was demoted from a planet to a dwarf planet. Shame about that.

Still, Walt Disney pinched the name for Mickey's dog a few years later. And that’s still cool. Right?

Dom Deluise On May 4 comedy legend Dom DeLuise died of kidney failure aged 76. Best known for his roles in just about all of Mel Brooks’ movies, I still remember him for the opening scene of The Muppet Movie, where he played the sleazy agent who convinces Kermit to go to Hollywood.

So we have Dom to thank for the Muppets. Well, why not? Let’s go with that.

On the 15th, as previously mentioned legendary Australian actor Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell passed away at the age of 86.

Dolla On the 18th US rapper Roderick Anthony Burton II (aka “Dolla” … twice as good as 50 Cent etc etc) was shot and killed in Beverley Hills. Of course if the precedent set by 2Pac is anything to go by, this means a glowing career of successful albums, Grammy awards and unverified sightings in Hollywood nightclubs.

On the 21st we farewelled actress Joan Alexander, best known for her role as Lois Lane in the radio serial The Adventures of Superman in the 1940s. Tragically taken in her prime at the age of 94 this is clear evidence that the curse of Superman strikes again!

Millvina DeanAnd finally, on the 31st the world lost Millvina Dean, the last survivor  of the Titanic disaster in 1912.

Of course, it’ll be some years before we farewell the last survivor of the Titanic disaster of 1997.

The current score for this year’s pool still stands at a draw, with Benn and Ty sharing the lead on 14 points.

Stay tuned for further updates.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell

Charles 'Bud' Tingwell The great Australian actor Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell has passed away at the age of 86.

One of Australia’s hardest working and most respected actors, Bud was loved by generations of Australians.

Bud brought a touch of class to everything he did, whether it was the Australian war movies of the 1940s, the Hammer horror films of the 1960s, or the ‘Charlie the Wonder Dog’ segment of the D-Generation’s The Late Show.

He will be sadly missed.

In the wake of Bud’s sad death we solemnly and respectfully award 14 points to Ty, who is now running equal first with Benn in this year’s competition.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Dead Pool 2009 – April Update

Welcome back to the 2009 dead pool.

Our first score for the year has been realised, with the tragic passing of the legendary Bea Arthur scoring Benn an estimable 14 points.

Dave ArnesonIn other celebrity mortality news, the 7th saw the death of game designer Dave Arneson. Along with Gary Gygax who sadly passed away just over a year ago, Arneson was the co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons.

JG Ballard  On the 19th science fiction author J.G. Ballard passed away at the age of 78. Although best known for the film adaptations of his novels Crash and Empire of the Sun (neither of which can be reasonably labelled sci-fi) Ballard was hugely influential on the genre as he explored themes of ecological catastrophe, dystopian futures and the cult of celebrity.

Richard Pratt Finally, on the 28th we farewelled Australian businessman and philanthropist Richard Pratt at the age of 74. Pratt made his fortune by illegally inflating prices in the Australian cardboard box industry as part of a cartel, but depending on who you ask he was either a criminal who should have been jailed or a great guy because he gave some of that money to charity. I’ll let my readers decided for themselves on that one.

And that wraps it up for April

Once again, congratulations to Benn who is now leading with a score of 14, and we’ll see you again next month.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bea Arthur

The legendary comedienne and actress Bea Arthur has passed away at the age of 86.

Stealing our hearts as Maude in the 70s and acerbic Golden Girl Dorothy in the 80s, she will be sadly missed.

Let’s remember her with one of my favourites . . . a duet with Rock Hudson and a lovely ode to recreational drugs.

RIP Bea.

And Benn, 14 points for you.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Dead Pool 2009 - March Update

March turned out to be a reasonably quiet month, although there were a few celebrity deaths all the more tragic for their unexpectedness.

PD*4914109 On the 18th actress Natasha Richardson died at the age of 45 following a skiing accident in Canada. Daughter of the legendary Vanessa Redgrave and granddaughter of Sir Michael Redgrave, Richardson was the product of great acting stock but still a respected star of stage and screen in her own right.

Jade GoodyOn the 22nd reality TV star Jade Goody died of cervical cancer at the age of 27. After becoming famous as a UK Big Brother housemate in 2002, Goody turned what could have (and arguably should have) been fleeting notoriety into a lucrative career, and had the cameras rolling right up to the moment of her death. Expect a somewhat macabre documentary to be released very soon.

Andy Hallett as Lorne Finally, the 29th saw the death of US actor Andy Hallett at the age of 33. Best known as the singing demon Lorne in the TV series Angel, Hallett suffered heart failure as a result of cardiomyopathy contracted soon after finishing his stint on Angel.

A tragic month it was, but the score for our contestants is still nil-all.

Stay tuned for next month’s update.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Dead Pool 2009 – February Update

We’re now two months into 2009 and while we’re yet to see any movement in the scoreboard, it’s been another interesting month.

On the 3rd American graphic designer Ben Blank passed away at the age of 87. You know when a newsreader has a graphic over their shoulder representing the story? Yeah. Well this guy invented that. Seriously.

TI-2511And while we’re talking obscure technological references on the 4th Mark Shepherd, chairman of Texas Instruments, passed away at the age of 86. (Note that he should not be confused with Mark Sheppard, the actor who played Badger on Firefly and Romo Lampkin on Battlestar Galactica. As far as I’m aware he’s fine).

Brian Naylor The 7th, which has since been dubbed Black Saturday, saw the worst Australian bushfires in living memory. The fires claimed the lives of over 200 people, including actor Reg Evans at 80 and and legendary newsreader Brian Naylor at 78.

Also on the 7th we farewelled scientist Jack Cover, inventor of the Taser. There’s probably a joke in there, but it would probably be in poor taste. So I won’t.

The 16th saw the death of of Dorothy Bridges, wife of the late Lloyd and mother of actors Beau and Jeff.

Socks On the 20th we had not one, but two famous animal deaths, with Australian racehorse Fine Cotton (of the infamous Fine Cotton Scandal) shuffled off to the glue factory at 31, and former First Cat Socks Clinton sent off to greet the great Ceiling Cat at the age of 19.

The 20th also saw the death of Irish author Christopher Nolan. Again, he should not to be confused with the UK-born director of The Dark Knight, who is also probably fine. As far as I know.

Philip José Farmer And finally on the 25th we farewelled science fiction author Philip José Farmer at the age of 91. Farmer was a writer with a prolific output and a man who knew better than to let the niceties of grammar and sentence structure get in the way of telling a rip-snorting story.


And that wraps it up for February. Keep watching those obituary columns and stay tuned for next month’s update.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Dead Pool 2009 – January Update

We’re just one month into the new year and while we’re yet to see any score in the pool, we’ve already seen some serious mortality.

The year started on a tragic note, with the announcement on the 2nd that Jett Travolta, the son of sometime actor and noted Scientologist John, had died at the tender age of 16.

Dalek Annual 1976 On the 6th John Scott Martin, the world’s longest-serving Dalek operator (rolling around in one of those things from 1965 to 1988) passed away at the age of 83.

Also on the 6th, Apple boss Steve Jobs declined to deliver the Macworld keynote address, throwing the rumour mill into overdrive and prompting this very tasteless (albeit very funny) cartoon on xkcd.

(And that mill continues to turn, with the announcement on the 15th that Mr. Jobs will be taking extended sick leave until June. Hmmm.)

Ricardo Montalban as KhanThe 13th and 14th saw an unfortunate classic actor double-bill, with the respective deaths of The Prisoner Patrick McGoohan at age 80, and Fantasy Island (and occasional Star Trek) star Ricardo Montalbán at age 88.

On the 16th we farewelled Sir John Mortimer, creator of the modern legal drama with his classic grumpy barrister Rumpole of the Bailey.

John UpdikeOn the 25th Kim Manners, director of many, many episodes of modern classic The X-Files and modern classic wannabe Supernatural, passed away at 58.

Finally, on the 27th we farewelled American author John Updike, a man who tragically lived to see his classic novel The Witches of Eastwick go from a great book to a passable film to a dodgy stage musical.

And that wraps it up for January. Stay tuned for further updates.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Welcome to Celebrity Dead Pool 2009

As the title suggests, it’s time for Celebrity Dead Pool 2009.

Thanks to all those who have entered. It’s shaping up to be an interesting year, with 18 entries and 126 unique nominees.

Like last year, posts on the Dead Pool can be quickly accessed using the link on the right-hand sidebar. I’ve also added a link for quick reference to the rules and to last year’s competition.

And so without further ado, here are the 2009 nominations:


Clint Eastwood
Queen Elizabeth II
Hugh Hefner
Paul Hogan
Barry Humphries
Lindsay Lohan
Diego Maradona
Katie Price
O.J. Simpson
Amy Winehouse


Bea Arthur
Mercedes Corby
Derryn Hinch
Joseph Jackson
La Toya Jackson
Michael Jackson
Magic Johnson
Mickey Rooney
Eric Sykes
Carl Williams


Muhammad Ali
Richard Attenborough
Ernest Borgnine
Fidel Castro
Joan Collins
Kirk Douglas
Zsa Zsa Gabor
Jerry Lewis
Lindsay Lohan
Dick Van Dyke


Muhammad Ali
Tony Bennett
Fidel Castro
Kirk Douglas
Peaches Geldof
Larry Hagman
Les Paul
Lou Richards
JD Salinger
Margaret Thatcher


Muhammad Ali
Fidel Castro
Zsa Zsa Gabor
Hazel Hawke
Michael Jackson
Courtney Love
Liza Minelli
Bert Newton
Keith Richards
Amy Winehouse


John Cleese
Zac Efron
Katie Holmes
Joseph Jackson
Chloe Lattanzi
Joanna Lumley
Natalie Portman
John So
Allegra Versace
John Wood


Christina Amphlett
Julie Andrews
Miley Cyrus
Blanche D'Alpuget
Judi Dench
Hazel Hawke
Elton John
Solomon Lew
Liza Minelli
Jessica Origliasso


Richie Benaud
Gary Coleman
Phyllis Diller
Kirk Douglas
Zsa Zsa Gabor
John Goodman
Charles Manson
John McCain
Nancy Reagan
Elizabeth Taylor


Akihito, Emperor of Japan
Ernest Borgnine
Kirk Douglas
Angela Lansbury
Liza Minelli
Peter O'Toole
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Nancy Reagan
Britney Spears
Gough Whitlam


Natalie Cole
Jeff Conaway
Paul Gascoigne
Corey Haim
Robert Mugabe
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Joaquin Phoenix
Nancy Reagan
Elizabeth Taylor
Allegra Versace


Pamela Anderson
Osama Bin Laden
Fidel Castro
Pete Doherty
Queen Elizabeth II
Hugh Hefner
Curtis Jackson
Nancy Reagan
Keith Richards
Amy Winehouse


Antonio Banderas
Johnny Depp
Harrison Ford
Rachel Griffiths
Katie Holmes
John Howard
Bill Hunter
Dannii Minogue
Geoffrey Rush
Elizabeth Taylor


George H. W. Bush
Doris Day
Clint Eastwood
Queen Elizabeth II
Michael Jackson
John Laws
Barack Obama
Mary-Kate Olsen
Keith Richards
Elizabeth Taylor


Pamela Anderson
Fidel Castro
Doris Day
Farrah Fawcett
Rudolph Giuliani
Michael Jackson
Margaret Thatcher
Steven Tyler
Gough Whitlam
Margaret Whitlam


Bryce Courtenay
Lindsay Fox
Bob Hawke
Nathan Hudson
Di Morrissey
Mary-Kate Olsen
Michael Parkinson
Margaret Thatcher
Gene Wilder
Terry Wogan


Zelman Cowen
Blake Fielder-Civil
Annette Funicello
Mikhail Gorbachev
Val Jellay
Kim Jong-Il
Bert Newton
Jackie Stallone
Elizabeth Taylor
Gough Whitlam


Lily Allen
Richie Benaud
George W. Bush
Dawn French
Natalie Imbruglia
Stevie Nicks
Keith Richards
John Symond
Amy Winehouse


Ronnie Biggs
Fidel Castro
Kirk Douglas
Clive Dunn
Michael Jackson
Shia LaBeouf
Marilyn Manson
Joaquin Phoenix
Elizabeth Taylor
Charles 'Bud' Tingwell

2008 Celebrity Dead Pool Wrap-Up

Well, that’s it for 2008.

It only remains to see what happened in December, announce the 2008 winners and then roll on in to 2009.

So first things first.

Forrest J. Ackerman On December 4th Forrest J. Ackerman, magazine editor, writer, collector and science fiction super-nerd passed away at the age of 92. A friend of the sci-fi fan community since long before it was cool (wait . . . is it cool yet?) he will be sadly missed.

On the 8th TV director Bob Spiers died at the age of 63. Spiers was known for his work on just about every famous British sitcom you can think of: Dad’s Army, Fawlty Towers, The Goodies, French and Saunders, Bottom and Absolutely Fabulous. He also directed Spice World, but we’ll let that one slide.

Bettie Page On the 11th the world lost the iconic Bettie Page at the age of 85. Page was a pioneer of fetish and BDSM modelling back when it all seemed so charmingly innocent, or at least that’s the way they make it look in the movies. It probably wasn’t. Still, it inspired her to become a Baptist missionary so . . . I’m not sure where I’m going with this. I’ll stop there.

On the 18th Majel Barrett, the wife of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry passed away at the age of 76. Majel appeared in every incarnation of Star Trek, most notably as Lwaxana Troi in Deep Space Nine and as the voice of the onboard computer in each series.

On the 24th Nobel laureate and outspoken playwright Harold Pinter passed away at the age of 78. Known as much for his political views as for his plays, Pinter’s particular brand of scathing commentary on world politics will be deeply missed.

Eartha Kitt And finally on the 25th Eartha Kitt, comedienne, singer, actress, gay icon and everyone’s favourite catwoman passed away at the age of 81. If only Halle Berry had paid a little more attention.

And thus ends the 2008 Celebrity Dead Pool, with the final scores standing as follows:

Spoon (a.k.a Rob) 17
Kate 16

With no second prizes, Rob wins the day and the double pass to Village Cinema Gold Class.