The DeathList 2003

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The DeathList 2003

14 / 50 dead

Deathlist 2003 is an expertly compiled list of 50 celebrities selected for their likelihood to die during 2003. The first Deathlist was drawn up in 1987 and each year since then has achieved various degrees of success. Deathlist 2002 had 10 successes - equalling the record performance for the fourth year in a row. The only main rules in compiling the Deathlist is that no more than 25 of the candidates must have appeared on the previous year's list and that the candidates must be famous enough to ensure that their deaths are newsworthy (in the UK at least). Email us with your comments and suggestions for next years list at

The 2003 List

Rank Name Age Description
1 Warren Zevon 56 Singer / songwriter
2 Bob Hope 100 Entertainer
3 Pope John Paul II 83 Pope
4 Gregory Peck 87 Actor
5 Max Schmeling 98 Hitler's Boxer (or maybe not)
6 Leni Riefenstahl 101 Hitler's Film Director
7 Princess Alice 102 Queen Mum's sister-in-law
8 Strom Thurmond 101 US Senator
9 Albert Hofmann 97 Creator of LSD
10 Ronnie Biggs 74 Ambassador
11 Fay Wray 96 King Kong's squeeze
12 Katharine Hepburn 96 Actress
13 Alistair Cooke 95 Broadcaster
14 Edward Teller 95 Hydrogen bomb inventor
15 Estée Lauder 97 Fashion leader
16 John Mills 95 Actor
17 Simon Wiesenthal 95 Nazi Hunter
18 Elia Kazan 94 Director
19 Hardy Amies 94 Dress maker
20 Joseph Barbera 92 Cartoonist (Hanna-Barbera)
21 Lord Scarman 92 Judge
22 Ronald Reagan 92 (former) Idiot
23 Thora Hird 92 Actress
24 Lord James Callaghan 91 ex-PM
25 Barry Sheene 53 Motorcyclist
26 Bill Deedes 90 Journalist
27 Gerald Ford 90 ex US President
28 Jack Jones 90 ex TUC Leader
29 Michael Foot 90 Tramp
30 Karl Malden 91 Actor
31 Denis Thatcher 88 Drunkard
32 Harry Morgan 88 M*A*S*H*
33 Norman Wisdom 88 Comedian
34 Red Adair 88 Fire Fighter
35 Yitzhak Shamir 88 Ex PM Israel
36 PW Botha 87 Dictator (deposed)
37 Walter Cronkite 87 Journalist
38 Kurt Waldheim 85 Nazi
39 King Taufa'ahau Tupou 84 King of Tonga
40 Jack Palance 83 Actor
41 Mickey Rooney 83 Actor
42 Zsa Zsa Gabor 86 Actress
43 Peter Ustinov 82 Writer, Actor & Raconteur
44 Suharto 82 Ex President of Indonesia
45 Eric Sykes 80 Comedian
46 Johnny Carson 78 TV Presenter
47 Idi Amin 77 Ex-dictator
48 Yassir Arafat 74 Terrorist
49 Johnny Cash 71 Singer
50 Vaclav Havel 67 Czech PM

Latest News

  • 31st December 2003

    That was the year that was

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    So 2003 ends with a record 14 deaths - 28% - smashing the previous record of 10. The successes, as is often the case, came in a few bursts but none near the end of the year. Hopefully this means there's a few candidates teetering on the brink!

  • 27th September 2003

    Deceased of Eden!

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    Veteran film director, Elia Kazan, has died in New York aged 94 to give DeathList 2003 its 14th success. Kazan, who was most famous for directing East of Eden, has appeared on the DeathList for the last 3 years. Happily he has resoundingly justified his promotion to the number 18 slot on this year's list. It looks like DeathList 2003 is going to set an awesome target that won't be surpassed for many years to come.

    3 appearances: 2003 (18), 2002 (43), 2001 (15)
    14th Death
    Age: 94, Director, Cause of death: Old Age/TBC
  • 11th September 2003

    Ring of funeral pyre!

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    Johnny Cash, legendary US country singer, has finally succumbed to a multitude of complaints to give Deathlist 2003 its fourth death in five days. After Walking the Line for 71 years, Cash can now expect many Men in Black to be attending his funeral. As the 13th success of the year theres no evidence that it will be unlucky 13 for Deathlist 2003.

    2 appearances: 2003 (49), 2000 (27)
    13th Death
    Age: 71, Singer, Cause of death: Diabetes and complications
  • 9th September 2003

    There's no Teller when this will end!

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    The explosive form of DeathList 2003 continues with news of the death of Edward Teller, so-called father of the H-Bomb, has died. The shockwave following the deaths of Zevon and Riefenstahl is still ripping through the list with three deaths in three days. The 95 year old scientist was number 14 on this years list and leave us wondering how many victims the fallout will claim. So its 12 deaths for the year so far. Are there more to come??

    2 appearances: 2003 (14), 2002 (37)
    12th Death
    Age: 95, Hydrogen bomb inventor, Cause of death: Old Age
  • 8th September 2003

    A pleasant but Nazi surprise!

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    Hitler's filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl has finally joined the big Reich in the sky. The 'hun'-dred and one year old nazi, who has been a deathlist regular since 2000, has passed away to give Deathlist 2003 its glorious record-breaking 11th success. Now its just a question of how high the bar can go!

    4 appearances: 2003 (6), 2002 (6), 2001 (8), 2000 (35)
    11th Death
    Age: 101, Hitler's Film Director, Cause of death: Old Age/Cancer
  • 7th September 2003

    Gone with 'The Wind'

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    Just weeks after the release of his farewell CD - The Wind - American singer songwriter Warren Zevon has lost his battle with cancer. 56 year old Zevon was diagnosed with inoperable cancer last year and leapt straight to the top of this year's Deathlist charts. With tracks such as 'I'll sleep when I'm Dead' and albums entitled 'Life'll Kill Ya' and 'Wanted Dead or Alive' Zevon seemed destined for Deathlist success. His departure is the 10th success of the year and makes Deathlist 2003 the joint record holder.

    1 appearance: 2003 (1)
    10th Death
    Age: 56, Singer/songwriter, Cause of death: Cancer
  • 15th August 2003

    Idi Amin Dadadead!

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    Idi Amin, the infamous former Ugandan dictator, has finally died to give the deathlist its ninth success of the year. 80-year-old Amin has been on the critical list for several weeks and eventually gave into to popular demand. The tally for Deathlist 2003 now stands at nine with over four months of the year to go. The record of ten deaths in a year is now well within reach. NB. Since Idi's death it has been brought to our attention that our original write up may have been unfair. Amin was apparently an accomplished accordion player, the self appointed 'King of Scotland' and also enjoyed fishing and swimming. We apologise if it appeared that Amin was just famous for being an evil dictatorial murderer - that was just what he was best at!

    2 appearances: 2003 (47), 1994 (41)
    9th Death
    Age: 77, Ex-dictator, Cause of death: Kidney Failure
  • 27th July 2003

    It's Official - Deathlist Hopeless!

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    After appearing on every Deathlist since 1994 Bob Hope has finally justified his selection as the number 2 candidate this year by passing away just weeks after his 100th birthday. Hope has become one of the Deathlist greats in appearing an amazing 13 times - a feat only bettered by the Queen Mother. So it now looks as if Deathlist 2003 is on the Road to... record breaking year. Now back to work on preparing Idi Amin's obituary...

    13 appearances: 2003 (2), 2002 (3), 2001 (6), 2000 (7), 1999 (9), 1998 (10), 1997 (17), 1996 (48), 1995 (50), 1993 (38), 1991 (23), 1990 (33), 1987 (16)
    8th Death
    Age: 100, Entertainer, Cause of death: Old Age
  • 29th June 2003

    Guess who's not coming to dinner

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    DeathList 2003 is in unstoppable form following the news of a third success in the space of five days. Actress Katharine Hepburn, selected in this year's number 12 slot, has died aged 96. The DeathList Committee has been emailed several times in the last few years informing us that Hepburn was already dead, but we can finally celebrate with definitive proof. With seven deaths in the first sixth months the record of 10 deaths in a year now looks well within reach.

    11 appearances: 2003 (12), 2002 (8), 2001 (20), 2000 (12), 1999 (24), 1998 (50), 1997 (40), 1996 (37), 1995 (23), 1993 (36), 1990 (28)
    7th Death
    Age: 96, Actress, Cause of death: Old Age
  • 26th June 2003

    Strom voted out

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    Veteran US Senator and racist, Strom Thurmond, has died to give DeathList 2003 its sixth success and second inside two days. Thurmond, who was 100 years old, was nearly omitted from this year's list on the grounds of not being famous enough in the UK. However, the correct decision was eventually made and he was selected in the number 8 slot. With the DeathList 2003 total at six deaths with more than half a year to go the record pace is back on.

    1 appearance: 2003 (8)
    6th Death
    Age: 101, US Senator, Cause of death: Old Age
  • 25th June 2003

    Sir Denis' spirits live on!

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    Sir Denis Thatcher, husband of the former British Prime Minister, has died aged 88 to give DeathList 2003 its fifth success. This year's number 31 selection, who was well known for enjoying a drink or two, had last appeared on the 1994 DeathList but was wisely reselected this year. With two deaths this month DeathList 2003 looks as if it is finally starting to gather momentum.

    2 appearances: 2003 (31), 1994 (18)
    5th Death
    Age: 88, Drunkard, Cause of death: Old Age
  • 11th June 2003

    Peck of the Day!

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    Veteran actor Gregory Peck has thankfully brought a quiet Spell(bound) for the Deathlist to an end. The 87 year old movie star was confidently selected in this year's number four slot following (Cape) Fears that he wasn't in the best of health. Clearly The Omen's weren't good for Peck and it was only a matter of time before he added to this year's total. With only four deaths so far this year the Deathlist 2003 needs to pick up its pace over the second half of the year to achieve a reasonable result.

    2 appearances: 2003 (4), 1997 (36)
    4th Death
    Age: 87, Actor, Cause of death: Old age
  • 22nd March 2003

    Launch of

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    With all the talk of G3, GPRS and Photo Messaging, here at we like to focus on dying technology. We are therefore proud to announce our launch onto the WAP platform. Have you ever found yourself in the bar, in your car, on the train or on the bus, desperately trying to remember which celebrities are on the Deathlist this year? Well now you can access the Deathlist from anywhere by using our WAP site. Point your mobile phone to to check out the latest information wherever you are.

  • 16th March 2003

    Hird is the Third!

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    British actress, Dame Thora Hird, has died today giving Deathlist 2003 its third success in the space of 11 days. Hird, who starred in TV's Last of the Summer Wine, passed away aged 91 a week after suffering a stroke. It turned out to be a 'stroke of luck' for the Deathlist, which is now back on record pace after a slow start.

    5 appearances: 2003 (23), 2002 (31), 2001 (39), 1999 (38), 1997 (46)
    3rd Death
    Age: 92, Actress, Cause of death: Stroke
  • 10th March 2003

    Final pitstop for Sheene

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    Following his well-publicised battle against cancer using only homeopathic medicines, British motorcycling legend, Barry Sheene, is once again in the news, this time for his well-publicised death. Thanks to Sheene's positive statements about his approach to conquering the big 'C', the Deathlist committee confidently slotted the 53 year old into this year's number 25 position and have been rewarded with the second success within a week. As so often happens, Deathlist 2003 made a slow start but has now opened up its throttle and is starting to roar through the field. Hopefully by the time the chequered flag is waved, Deathlist 2003 will be ready for a lap of honour!

    1 appearance: 2003 (25)
    2nd Death
    Age: 53, Motorcyclist, Cause of death: Cancer
  • 5th March 2003

    Hardy drops his last stitch

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    The Queen's former dressmaker, Sir Hardy Amies, has died aged 93. It did seam that the Deathlist committee had pinned high hopes on Amies this year as there was a distinct pattern in his recent positioning on the list - on Deathlist 2002 he was number 46, this year he was awarded the number 19 spot. With the first success of the year compleat - we shall sleeve it there and needless to say we look forward to the next success.

    5 appearances: 2003 (19), 2002 (46), 2001 (27), 2000 (39), 1998 (20)
    1st Death
    Age: 94, Dress maker, Cause of death: Old Age
  • 1st January 2003

    Off we go again

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    After promising early progress Deathlist 2002 once again could only equal the record of 10 deaths in the year. Deathlist 2003 includes a strong selection of candidates who maybe can deliver a new record. Obituary writers at the ready!