The DeathList 2005

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The DeathList 2005

12 / 50 dead

So here are the carefully selected candidates for DeathList 2005. To summarise the idea behind DeathList: The DeathList committee draws up the DeathList at the end of each year with the objective of selecting the most celebrities who will die in the next calendar year. The list comprises 50 celebrities, with no more than 25 who appeared on the previous year's list. The 2004 list had 12 successes, but was unable to overhaul the record of 14 set in 2003. How will the 2005 runners and riders fare?

The 2005 List

Rank Name Age Description
1 Pope John Paul II 85 Pope
2 Ronnie Biggs 76 Ambassador
3 Max Schmeling 100 Hitler's Boxer (or maybe not)
4 Simon Wiesenthal 97 Nazi Hunter
5 Patrick Moore 82 Astronomer
6 Brooke Astor 103 Philanthropist
7 William Rehnquist 81 US Chief of Justice
8 Albert Hofmann 99 Creator of LSD
9 Oscar Niemeyer 98 Architect
10 Sister Lucia 98 Fatima visionary
11 Edward Heath 89 ex PM
12 Claude Levi-Strauss 97 Scientist
13 John Kenneth Galbraith 97 Economist
14 John Mills 97 Actor
15 Ernest Gallo 96 Wine maker
16 Norman Wisdom 90 Comedian
17 Al Lewis 95 Grandpa Munster
18 Gretchen Franklin 94 Eastender (Ethel)
19 Elizabeth Taylor 73 Wife
20 Joseph Barbera 94 Cartoonist (Hanna-Barbera)
21 Alexander Solzhenitsyn 87 Author
22 Maharishi Mahesh Yogi 94 Guru
23 Claire Rayner 75 Agony Aunt
24 Byron Nelson 93 Golfer
25 Lord James Callaghan 93 ex-PM
26 Richard Pryor 65 Comedian
27 Milton Friedman 93 Economist
28 Rosa Parks 92 US civil rights figure
29 Hamed Karzai 48 Afghan President
30 Bill Deedes 92 Journalist
31 Diego Maradona 45 Hand of God
32 Frankie Laine 92 Singer
33 Gerald Ford 92 ex US President
34 Jake LaMotta 84 Boxer
35 Michael Foot 92 Tramp
36 Tony Martin 92 Crooner
37 Jane Wyman 91 Actress
38 James Doohan 85 Engineer (Star Trek Scotty)
39 Eli Wallach 90 Actor
40 General Pinochet 90 Dictator
41 Les Paul 90 Guitar maker
42 Olivia de Havilland 89 Actress
43 PW Botha 89 Dictator (deposed)
44 Walter Cronkite 89 Journalist
45 Herbert Lom 88 Actor
46 Betty Ford 87 Clinic owner
47 Kurt Waldheim 87 Nazi
48 Peter O'Sullevan 87 UK horse racing commentator
49 Fidel Castro 79 Dictator
50 Jerry Lewis 79 Comedian

Latest News

  • 11th December 2005

    Pryor Commitment

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    Richard Pryor, black actor/comedian, has died of a heart attack aged 65, following a long illness and an even longer period of abusing his body to the extreme. Pryor managed to chalk up some impressive figures during his life, being married seven times to five different women and having seven children. Pryor first appeared on the 1995 DeathList and however his reappearance for the 2005 list was well rewarded. Pryor was this year’s number 26 selection and becomes the 12th success of the year.

    2 appearances: 2005 (26), 1995 (4)
    12th Death
    Age: 65, Comedian, Cause of death: Heart Attack
  • 24th October 2005

    Rosa Parked

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    Rosa Parks, the US civil rights figure, has finally given up her seat on the bus to give DeathList 2005 its 11th success of the year. 92-year-old Parks is credited with starting the modern civil rights movement in the United States after refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955, contravening the city’s segregation law. The aftermath of the incident brought Martin Luther King Junior to prominence and the rest is history. Parks was selected at number 28 on the 2005 list and was making her first appearance.

    1 appearance: 2005 (28)
    11th Death
    Age: 92, US civil rights figure, Cause of death: Old age
  • 19th September 2005

    Wiesenthal moves on to the ultimate Death Camp

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    Simon Wiesenthal, the celebrated Nazi hunter, has passed away and taken his hunt to pastures new. The 96-year-old holocaust survivor was a highly-tipped number 4 on DeathList 2005 and is the 10th success of the year. Presumably Wiesenthal will be able to rest in the afterlife, as his foes will be safely out of sight enduring eternal damnation in the downstairs apartment. That is unless, of course, he finds no. 47 selection, Kurt Waldheim, trying to blag his way through the Pearly Gates in the near future.

    8 appearances: 2005 (4), 2004 (6), 2003 (17), 2002 (13), 2001 (17), 2000 (21), 1999 (21), 1998 (37)
    10th Death
    Age: 97, Nazi Hunter, Cause of death: Old age
  • 3rd September 2005

    Bill of Justice passed

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    William Rehnquist, the US Chief Justice, has died aged 80, giving DeathList its 9th hit of the year. Rehnquist was a key figure in reducing the time taken for the appeals to be completed in death penalty cases in the US. It is therefore somewhat appropriate that he checked out on his first appearance on the DeathList, selected at the number 7 slot this year. DeathList 2005 now seems poised for a respectable score this year, with several high quality candidates still eluding the Reaper…

    1 appearance: 2005 (7)
    9th Death
    Age: 81, US Chief of Justice, Cause of death: Thyroid Cancer
  • 19th July 2005

    Beam Me Up, Scotty!

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    Finally the dilithium crystals have run out for James Doohan, better known as Star Trek’s Scotty, who has passed away aged 85 giving DeathList 2005 its eighth success of the year and, more significantly, the third in the last eight days. Star Trek produced catchphrases galore for just this occasion but perhaps “He’s dead, Jim” is the most appropriate. Let’s hope that William Shatner isn’t tempted back into the studio for a tribute single to the long-suffering engineer of the Enterprise.

    1 appearance: 2005 (38)
    8th Death
    Age: 85, Engineer (Star Trek Scotty), Cause of death: Alzheimer's disease and pneumonia
  • 16th July 2005

    Ted's Dead

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    Sir Edward Heath, former British Prime Minister, has died aged 89 to give DeathList 2005 its seventh success. No doubt Maggie Thatcher will be breathing a sigh of relief that doubt Ted wasn’t able to reuse his famous “Rejoice, Rejoice, Rejoice!” phrase again on hearing of her demise. This is the second score for DeathList in the last few days and perhaps Mrs T will now be ready to join this rapidly growing group of 2005 successes.

    4 appearances: 2005 (11), 2004 (28), 2001 (7), 1997 (41)
    7th Death
    Age: 89, ex PM, Cause of death: Old Age
  • 11th July 2005


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    Gretchen Franklin, better known as Eastender’s Ethel Skinner, has finally abandoned her Willy (her carefully named dog) to join the great soap opera in the sky. 94-year-old Franklin was this year’s number 18 selection and is the sixth score of the year for DeathList 2005. Apparently 15 million people watched her funeral when her character in Eastenders died so let’s hope she’s not expecting such a big turnout for the real thing. With six gone at a little over half way through the year, DeathList 2005 will be looking to move up through the gears in the remaining months.

    4 appearances: 2005 (18), 2004 (24), 1996 (44), 1993 (46)
    6th Death
    Age: 94, Eastender (Ethel), Cause of death: Old Age - TBC
  • 22nd April 2005

    Goodbye Mr Chips...

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    Veteran British actor, Sir John Mills, has passed away to give DeathList 2005 its fifth score. The 97 year old was appearing on the DeathList for the tenth time, this year in the number 14 slot. The book of Mills’ memoirs was entitled ‘Up in the Clouds’ and finally he has fulfilled that promising title. With five successes before the end of April, those predicting a poor performance by this year’s list must be starting to reconsider.

    10 appearances: 2005 (14), 2004 (13), 2003 (16), 2002 (41), 2001 (34), 2000 (38), 1998 (49), 1997 (39), 1991 (31), 1990 (1)
    5th Death
    Age: 97, Actor, Cause of death: Old Age
  • 1st April 2005

    Pope Springs to the Eternal

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    Perennial DeathList all-star, Pope John Paul II, is finally kissing the tarmac outside the Pearly Gates and taking up his luxury suite inside. The 84 year old Pope, has been hotly tipped on DeathList for many a year, but always seemed to have mysterious forces working in his favour preventing that elusive success. However, with his fourth appearance in the number one spot, he has finally succumbed, giving DeathList 2005 its fourth death of the year.

    12 appearances: 2005 (1), 2004 (1), 2003 (3), 2002 (15), 2001 (35), 2000 (2), 1999 (1), 1998 (1), 1997 (3), 1996 (42), 1995 (22), 1990 (36)
    4th Death
    Age: 85, Pope, Cause of death: Pretty much everything
  • 26th March 2005

    Callaghan takes the die-election

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    Lord James Callaghan, former British Prime Minister, has finally died giving DeathList 2005 its third success of the year. 92 year old Callaghan was number 25 on this year’s list and 2005 was his 7th appearance on the list. His reign as PM covered the “Winter of Discontent” and, pleasingly, his death has ended a growing winter of discontent for DeathList with a low level of successes in the early months of 2005. With a few DeathList selections clearly right on the brink, we look forward to a DeathList Summer of Success.

    8 appearances: 2005 (25), 2004 (25), 2003 (24), 2002 (42), 2001 (40), 2000 (17), 1999 (33), 1993 (56)
    3rd Death
    Age: 93, ex-PM, Cause of death: Not reported
  • 13th February 2005

    See no more non-evil!

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    Sister Lucia, aka Lucia de Jesus dos Santos, has died in Portugal aged 97, to give DeathList 2005 its second success of the year. Lucia was the last surviving member of the group of children who reckon they saw an apparition of the Virgin Mary in 1917. She was apparently given three secrets, the third of which was given to the Pope in 1960 but never revealed. For DeathList readers, I’m sure the more important information is that she was number ten on this year’s list in what was her first appearance.

    1 appearance: 2005 (10)
    2nd Death
    Age: 98, Fatima visionary, Cause of death: Old age
  • 4th February 2005

    Maxed Out!

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    1930’s German heavyweight boxing hero, Max Schmeling, has finally been counted out at age 99 to give DeathList its first success of the year. Schmeling was most famous for defeating Joe Louis and the attempts of the Nazis to adopt him as their own sporting icon. Schmeling, however, was knocked out in the first round by Louis in the rematch and went on to show his true colours with courageous anti-Nazi acts. Plans may already be underway for Louis-Schmeling 3 at the great Mandalay Bay in the sky. Schmeling was number 3 on this year’s DeathList and brings to an end a slow start to year so far.

    7 appearances: 2005 (3), 2004 (3), 2003 (5), 2002 (4), 2001 (12), 2000 (23), 1999 (35)
    1st Death
    Age: 100, Hitler's Boxer (or maybe not), Cause of death: OId age
  • 1st January 2005

    New list up and running...

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    Well, the list for 2005 is up and running. No news to report...yet.