Below you will find DeathList 2017, a list of 50 celebrities selected by an expert committee for their likelihood to die during 2017. There are a few rules to DeathList summarised as follows: Candidates must be famous enough such that their death is expected to be reported by the UK media; Candidates cannot be famous solely for the fact they are likely to die in the near future and only 25 candidates can reappear from the previous year’s list. 2016 was billed as the year of the celebrity death by some and, although DeathList 2016 started strongly, it hit a very lean period from June to November and ended with a final score of 12, two below the all time record of 14. Has the big celebrity clear-out of 2016 made the task more challenging for 2017 or will the rate of celebrity deaths continue apace? Only time will tell...
|4||Lord (Peter) Carrington||98||UK Politician|
|5||Peter Sallis||96||Last of the Summer Winer|
|6||Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh||96||Casual rascist|
|7||Denis Norden||95||Comic / TV Presenter|
|8||Pierre Cardin||95||Fashion Designer|
|9||Stan Lee||95||Marvel comics|
|10||Olivia De Havilland||101||Actress|
|15||Jimmy Carter||93||Ex US President|
|16||Gord Downie||53||Tragically Hip Singer|
|17||Leslie Phillips||93||Comedy Actor|
|19||Javier Perez de Cuellar||97||Ex UN Secretary General|
|21||King Michael of Romania||96||King of Romania|
|22||Betty White||95||Golden Girl|
|24||Queen Elizabeth II||91||Queen|
|26||Bob Barker||94||The Price is Right|
|27||Doug Ellis||93||Ex-Aston Villa Chairman|
|28||George Bush Senior||93||Former President of USA|
|30||Ian St John||79||Footballer|
|32||David Prowse||82||Darth Vader|
|35||Sandy Gall||90||TV news reporter|
|36||Pope Benedict XVI||90||Former Pope|
|39||Hosni Mubarak||89||Former Egyptian President|
|41||Emperor Akihito||84||Japanese Emperor|
|43||Glen Campbell||81||Country Singer|
|44||Liz Dawn||78||Vera Duckworth|
|45||John Noakes||83||Blue Peter Presenter|
|47||Joost van der Westhuizen||46||Rugby player|
|48||Mary Tyler Moore||81||Actress|
|50||Ian Brady||79||All round Mr Nice Guy|
Jerry Lewis, the legendary American comedian, has passed away to provide DeathList 2017 with yet another success. Lewis had a long and successful career starting in the mid-1940s when he teamed up with Dean Martin, appearing in many movies as a double act. In the mid1950s, Lewis set out on his own and continued to be successful. Probably his most famous movie was (the original version of) The Nutty Professor in 1963 which he wrote, directed and produced. After a break in his movie career, he returned and made The King of Comedy alongside Robert De Niro in 1982. Lewis also became famous for his annual telethon for the Muscular Dystrophy Association which started in the 1950s and ran until 2010, raising more than $2.6 billion. Lewis was making his sixth appearance on DeathList, this year at number 33. After a lifetime of raising money for good causes, Lewis’ final generous contribution has been that of the tenth death for the 2017 list.
Legendary British TV entertainer, Bruce Forsyth, has put another point on the old DeathList scoreboard in passing away aged 89. Forsyth was the king of catchphrases, producing numerous lines from a string of successful British TV shows including The Generation Game, The Price is Right, Play Your Cards Right, You Bet and, finally, Strictly Come Dancing. Forsyth retired in 2015 after suffering a fall at his home. His health reportedly deteriorated in early 2017 when he suffered from chest infection and he was not seen in public subsequently up to his death. Forsyth was making his third appearance on DeathList, having been very prematurely first selected in 1995. This year Brucie was chosen at number 37. It seems a good bet that St. Peter will be greet him at the Pearly Gates with a shout of “Nice to see you, to see you nice!”.
Country music legend, Glen Campbell, has succumbed to Alzheimer's disease to score another top 50 hit for DeathList 2017. Campbell’s career spanned more than 50 years, included more than 70 albums, more than 50 Top 40 country hits, 10 Grammys and four wives. Campbell started his career as a session musician in 1960 and made steady progress until an extended period of success in the late 1960s to mid-1970s. His most famous song, Rhinestone Cowboy was released in 1975 and became a international hit. Campbell was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2011 and was making his second appearance on DeathList this year, selected at number 43. He is the eighth success of the year.
British boxer, Errol Christie, has been stopped by the referee for the last time to give DeathList 2017 another quick win on its record. Christie had a very successful amateur career but, when he turned professional in 1983, he became a bit of a knockout specialist - in that he always seemed to get badly knocked out crucial points in his career. Despite being a very well-known boxer in the UK with his fights regularly televised, Christie never won a professional title. After his boxing career, Christie hit some hard times but got things more on track in recent years, until he was diagnosed, in 2015, with the lung cancer that would ultimately take his life. Christie was making his first appearance on DeathList, taking the number 49 position. He was 53 when he died. Rest in peace, Champ.
Peter Sallis, British actor of Wallace and Gromit and Last of the Summer Wine fame, has passed on at the ripe old age of 96 to provide DeathList 2017 with another success. Sallis worked in theatre and movies during the 1960s, but his major break came with the start of BBC TV sitcom, Last of the Summer Wine, in 1973 where he played Cleggy. The show went on to run until 2010. In 1990, the first Wallace and Gromit movie established Sallis as the voice of Wallace, a role for which he would become more famous. Sallis was making his fifth appearance on DeathList, rising to number 5 this year.
John Noakes, Blue Peter TV show presenter, has passed away to provide DeathList 2017 with its fifth success. Noakes was the most famous presenter of the BBC Children’s show which started in 1958 and still runs today. Noakes presented the show from 1965 to 1978 and often took on dangerous stunts in the name or entertaining or educating children, such as going down the Cresta Run in a bobsleigh (although ejected from the sleigh in an accident halfway down) and climbing Nelson’s Column without safety equipment. He was also the main star when Lulu the baby elephant visited the Blue Peter studios, which urinated, defecated, pulled his minder all around the studio and then make Noakes squeal by standing on his foot all on live TV. Noakes’ canine companion on the show was Shep, an excitable border collie, who was the focus of his catchphrase, “Get Down, Shep”. Noakes also has a spin-off show Go with Noakes with ran from 1976 to 1980. Noakes had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease for several years and was 83 when he died. He was making his second appearance on DeathList this years, selected at number 45 this year.
It’s been said many times that the purpose of DeathList is not to wish for the demise of well known figures for the purpose of entertainment. Indeed, more often than not, it is sad to see the passing of a celebrity from the list that has made a positive contribution to the human race. None of this, however, applies to Ian Brady, the Moors Murderer, who may have just made his first positive contribution to society in finally passing at the age of 79. Between 1963 and 1965, Brady, along with partner Myra Hindley, sexually assaulted and slayed 5 children and disposed of the remains of some of their victims on Saddleworth Moor, near Manchester, England. Brady and Hindley were caught and convicted in 1966 and both would spend the rest of their lives in prison. Brady never showed any remorse for his crimes and, over many years, appeared to toy with police attempting to locate the remains of his victims. He had reportedly been on hunger strike (and at times force fed) since 1999 in a, possibly half-hearted, attempt to kill himself. Hindley died in 2002, which caused Brady to sulk that he was not allowed to die. At least the world is a slightly better place now that he has gone and DeathList 2017 has its fourth hit.
Billionaire philanthropist, David Rockefeller, has made his last donation by contributing a hit for DeathList 2017. David Rockefeller was the grandson of the wealthiest American ever, John D. Rockefeller Sr, who made a vast fortune in the oil industry. Rockefeller had a long career at Chase Manhattan bank between the 1946 and 1981. In his later years, he become known as a generous philanthropist, giving away more than $2 billion during his lifetime. Despite this, his net worth was still estimated to be in excess of £3 billion. He was 101 years old when he died and was making his first appearance on DeathList, claiming 34th place.
South African Rugby icon, Joost Van der Westhuizen, has succumbed to motor neuron disease to provide DeathList 2017 with its second success. Van der Westhuizen got his first South African cap in 1993 and, in 1995, was a key part of the South African team that defeated the All Blacks in the final to win the Rugby World Cup. By the time of his retirement in 2003 he held the record for most capped player for South Africa with 111 appearances. After being diagnosed with the disease in 2011, Van der Westhuizen went on to chalk up four appearances on DeathList, although this year was only selected in 47th position.
Sitcom legend, Mary Tyler Moore, has passed away to provide DeathList 2017 with its inaugural success. Moore is most famous for her US Sitcom, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which ran for seven years in the early 1970s. The show was a huge success and produced several spin off shows including Rhoda and Lou Grant, both of which were also very successful and all of which were produced by the production company she set up with her husband. Prior to this, Moore had played Laura Petrie in another hit show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, for five seasons in the 1960s. In addition to her TV work, Moore also had some success in movies, most significantly in the 1980 movie, Ordinary People, for which she received an Oscar nomination. Moore had faced a number of health problems in recent times and was 80 years old when she died. She was making her second appearance on DeathList but only just snuck into 48th place on this year’s list.