So here is Deathlist for 2006. A quick summary of the idea behind DeathList: The DeathList committee draws up the list at the end of each year with the objective of selecting the celebrities most likely to die in the next calendar year. The list comprises 50 celebrities, with no more than 25 who appeared on the previous year's list. Candidates are not eligible if their only claim to fame is that they are likely to die shortly. Candidates must also pass the famousness test - which is basically that their death will be covered by the UK media. DeathList 2005 finished with 12 successes, the same total achieved in 2004. The record performance remains the mighty haul of 14 deaths in 2003. Whether this can ever be beaten remains to be seen.
|1||Lou Rawls||71||Soul Singer|
|2||Alfredo di Stefano||80||Soccer Legend|
|6||Stanley Kunitz||101||US Poet Laureate|
|7||Albert Hofmann||100||Creator of LSD|
|11||Suharto||85||Ex President of Indonesia|
|12||Ernest Gallo||97||Wine maker|
|13||Al Lewis||96||Grandpa Munster|
|15||Joseph Barbera||95||Cartoonist (Hanna-Barbera)|
|16||Lady Bird Johnson||94||Former first lady|
|19||Gerald Ford||93||ex US President|
|26||PW Botha||90||Dictator (deposed)|
|27||Dom Mintoff||90||Ex Malta PM|
|30||Abdelaziz Bouteflika||69||Algerian President|
|34||Muhammad Ali||64||Butterfly / Bee|
|35||Ingmar Bergman||88||Film Director|
|36||Margaret Thatcher||81||Milk Snatcher|
|37||Dino de Laurentiis||88||Film Producer|
|39||Claire Rayner||76||Agony Aunt|
|46||Charles Haughey||81||ex Irish PM|
|47||George Melly||80||Jazz Man|
|48||Aaron Spelling||83||TV Producer|
|50||Clive Dunn||86||DeathList Favourite|
Former US president, Gerald Ford, has passed away, giving DeathList 2006 its 13th success. 93 year old Ford is the only president not to have been elected to office, however, he was elected by the DeathList committee on six occasions, this year finding the number 19 slot. Ford’s death contributes further to DeathList 2006’s strong finish, with five deaths in the final quarter of the year…so far…
The remaining half of legendary cartoon team Hanna-Barbera, Joseph Barbera, has died aged 95, giving DeathList 2006 its twelfth success of the year. The prolific partnership produced a huge proportion of the popular TV cartoons of the twentieth century including Tom and Jerry, The Flintstones, Wacky Races, Scooby Doo, Hong Kong Phooey and Top Cat to name just a few. This was Barbera’s fifth appearance on DeathList, this year achieving his highest ever placing of number 15 and providing a welcome “Yabba Dabba Doo!” as the end of the year closes in.
General Augusto Pinochet, infamous former dictator of Chile, has passed away aged 91 to give DeathList 2006 its eleventh success. The ruler of Chile from 1973 until 1990 was famously arrested in the UK in 1998 following charges of human rights abuses brought in Spain. Although he was eventually not extradited and was allowed to return to Chile, the Chilean authorities pursued charges against him, eventually placing him under house arrest just days before he managed to slip through their fingers by dying. 2006 was Pinochet’s tenth appearance on DeathList, this year receiving the number 43 position. News reports have suggested that there have been mass street celebrations in Santiago to mark DeathList 2006's eleventh success.
Veteran US Economist, Milton Friedman, has finally gone to analyse the great free market in the sky and, in doing so, has given DeathList 2006 its tenth success of the year. Friedman was 94 years old and was selected in the number 17 slot in what was his third appearance on the DeathList. So it’s into double figures at last for DeathList 2006 but the year is fast running out.
PW Botha, former premier of South Africa, has given DeathList 2006 a trick-or-treat special and its ninth success, by passing away, aged 90. Botha ruled South Africa for an 11-year period in which he managed to uphold the apartheid regime against massive international pressure. 2006 marked Botha’s sixth appearance on DeathList, this year finding the number 26 slot. Many DeathList successes bring with them some sadness, so it’s all the more pleasing when we have a success with a candidate who is generally accepted as evil.
Byron Nelson, legendary american golfer, has played his last round at the age of 94. Nelson first appeared on the DeathList in 2001 and slowly crept up the leaderboard in four subsequent appearances to this year’s number 24 spot. The pummelling taken by the USA team in the Ryder Cup must have been a disappointment to him, however his contribution to DeathList 2006 won’t be overlooked as he scores the 8th success of the year.
Aaron Spelling, infamous creator of such TV trash as Beverly Hills 90210, Dynasty and Melrose Place, has joined the great soap opera in the sky following a “minor” stroke. 83-year-old Spelling received the ultimate axe in his first appearance on DeathList, sneaking into this year’s number 48 slot. Whether this all happens to be an elaborate dream sequence which will be undone in the next season remains to be seen, but his death marks the seventh success for DeathList 2006 and starts to beg the question as to whether a record 15 successes is a possibility.
Charles Haughey, the former Irish Prime Minister, has died aged 80 to give DeathList 2006 its sixth success of the year. Haughey had been ill for some years following a diagnosis of prostate cancer and had appeared on DeathList on two previous occasions. This year he was awarded the number 46 slot. He was dogged by financial scandal towards the end of his career, but there can be no complaints with his solid DeathList performance.
Stanley Kunitz, former US poet laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner, has died to give DeathList 2006 its fifth success of the year. The 100 year old Kunitz was appearing for the first time on DeathList, but jumped straight into the No. 6 slot. He becomes the first of the four centenarians on this year’s list to go, proving that they are not as easy targets as one might think.
American politician, Caspar Weinberger, has died, aged 88, to give DeathList 2006 its fourth success. Weinberger was Secretary of Defence under President Ronald Reagan, getting wrapped up in the Iran-Contra affair as well as being a big supporter of Ronnie’s “Star Wars” project. Weinberger was the number 28 selection on the 2006 list, which was also his first appearance on DeathList. With four successes in the first quarter, DeathList 2006 is setting a strong early pace.
John Profumo, the subject of a major British political scandal in the 1963, has died at the age of 91 to give DeathList 2006 its third success. Profumo’s started an affair with good time girl Christine Keeler, only for it to be discovered that she was also close to a high-ranking Russian naval attaché. Profumo was forced to resign and the conservative government subsequently lost the next election, however the event did spawn a successful movie in 1989. Profumo was the number 23 selection on this year’s list in his first ever appearance.
Al Lewis, most famous as Grandpa Munster, has passed away aged 95, giving DeathList 2006 its second success. Apart from the Munsters, Lewis appeared in several other TV shows and movies, ran a restaurant, was a basketball talent scout and even stood as a political candidate after his 90th birthday. This was Al’s second appearance on the DeathList, with disputes about his real age possibly preventing him from a greater number of appearances. However, he found the number 13 spot this year and answered his selection in style.
Grammy award winning soul singer, Lou Rawls, has given DeathList 2006 its first success with January barely even underway. Rawls gave dead-poolers around the world just the sort of tip they were looking for announcing, in mid-December, that he had lung and brain cancer, never a positive sign for longevity. Rawls was 72 years old and the number 1 selection on this year’s list.
The 2006 DeathList is up and running...