Another year, another DeathList. The DeathList committee has been in session and drawn up a its list of 50 celebrities chosen for their likelihood to die in 2009. A quick recap of the unwritten rules: Candidates must have be famous in their own right such that their death is expected to be reported by the UK media, however candidates cannot be famous purely for the fact they are likely to die soon. A maximum of 25 candidates on the previous year’s list can reappear on the next year’s list. A fine performance from Deathlist 2008, with a record-equalling 14 deaths, makes expectations high for the 2009 list. The ongoing battle with medical science continues as it slowly but surely makes the challenge greater each year, but hopefully this is offset by the endless research of the forum members in combing the news sources of the world for nuggets of information on those who ready to claim a DeathList success as their final contribution to society.
|2||Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi||57||Lockerbie Bomber|
|4||João Havelange||93||Ex Fifa president|
|6||Bobby Robson||76||Football Manager|
|8||Chapman Pincher||95||Journalist / Investigator|
|15||Yitzhak Shamir||94||Ex PM Israel|
|17||Susan Atkins||61||Manson Family|
|18||Kim Jong-il||68||N Korean Ruler|
|20||George Steinbrenner||79||NY Yankees Owner|
|23||Vincent O'Brien||92||Horse Trainer|
|24||John Demjanjuk||89||Nazi Collaborator|
|25||Dino de Laurentiis||91||Film Producer|
|26||Betty Ford||91||Clinic owner|
|37||John Forsythe||91||Blake Carrington|
|38||Blake Edwards||87||Movie director|
|41||Pierre Cardin||87||Fashion Designer|
|43||B B King||84||Bluesman|
|45||Margaret Thatcher||84||Milk Snatcher|
|47||Vaclav Havel||73||Czech PM|
|48||Clive Dunn||89||DeathList Favourite|
|50||Ariel Sharon||81||Ex-Israeli Prime Minister|
Claude Levi-Strauss’s run of six consecutive appearances on DeathList has finally come to an end with the passing of the 100 year old French anthropologist. While the DeathList Committee was naturally very impressed with Levi-Strauss’s work on the theories of structuralism, it was probably his age and the fact that he shared his name with a brand of jeans that led to his initial selection DeathList in 2002. In 2009, he was selected in fifth place and rewarded the committee’s perseverance. His death brings this year’s total to a respectable 12.
British journalist and broadcaster, Sir Ludovic Kennedy has passed away of pneumonia to provide DeathList 2009 with another hit. Kennedy had a varied career as a newsreader, presenter of BBC’s Panorama and Did You See…? and author of several books focussing on miscarriages of justice. He was also a campaigner for the abolition of the death penalty and ultimately a successful nomination on DeathList. 2009 saw his first appearance on DeathList, receiving the number 30 slot. With a score of 11 so far, DeathList continues its strong showing in the later part of the year.
Susan Atkins, member of Charles Manson’s “Manson Family”, has died to give DeathList 2009 another success. Atkins was sentenced to death for her part in eight murders with Manson in 1969. Her sentence was subsequently commuted to life imprisonment, during which she had 18 appeals for parole denied. In 2008 it was reported she had brain cancer, resulting in her first appearance on DeathList in position 17. Atkin’s death brings this year’s score to 10.
US actor, Patrick Swayze has passed away after a battle with pancreatic cancer to add to the total for DeathList 2009. 57 year old Swayze was making his first appearance on DeathList, selected at number 12, after being diagnosed with his illness in 2008. His famous movies included Dirty Dancing, Road House, Ghost and Point Break, which perhaps fittingly ends with his character achieving his life’s ambition by surfing to his demise during a legendary storm. Swayze is death number 9 for 2009.
Senator Edward Kennedy has passed away aged 77, continuing DeathList 2009's impressive start to the second half of the year. Kennedy was making his first appearance on DeathList, securing the number 27 position, after being diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2008. One of the few of the Kennedy clan not to be taken out by an assassin's bullet, Ted Kennedy was a well-respected Senator and member of the Democratic Party, however the Chappaquiddick incident of 1969, in which he managed to ditch his car in water killing his passenger, was a long-lasting shadow over his life. The fact that he wont be leaving the scene of any more fatal accidents brings DeathList 2009's success count to 8 so far, with a respectable score for the year now looking more likely.
Robert Novak, US journalist who was associated with CNN in its early days, has died aged 78, to provide DeathList 2009 with another success. Novak was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2008 which caught the attention of the DeathList committee, such that he made his first appearance on the list in 2009 at the number 44 slot.
Bobby Robson, former England football manager, has died after a long battle with cancer and finds himself on the scoresheet for DeathList 2009. Robson was a successful football player who went on to become even more successful as manager of Ipswich Town. As England manager, Robson led two assaults on the World Cup, being denied by Maradona's “hand of God” in 1986 and by the inability of Pearce and Waddle to hit the target in a semi-final penalty shootout against West Germany in 1990. Robson was selected number 6 on DeathList 2009.
Walter Cronkite, legendary US TV news anchorman, has died, aged 92, to give DeathList 2009 another success. Cronkite presented the CBS evening news for 19 years and became known as “the most trusted man in America”. In contrast, Cronkite appeared just four times on the DeathList but earned the trust of the committee being picked in the number 21 slot in 2009.
Karl Malden, who played Lt. Mike Stone in the legendary TV series “The Streets of San Francisco”, has died aged 97 to give DeathList 2009 another score. Malden had an early career in movies before landing his TV role in “Streets of San Francisco”, where he starred alongside Michael Douglas, before Douglas left the show to pursue younger women, ultimately leading to the show's cancellation.
Legendary Irish race horse trainer, Vincent O’Brien, has passed away to give DeathList 2009 just its third success with the half way point approaching fast. O’Brien trained six Derby winners and was tipped by the DeathList committee this year to deliver another result The 93 year old was drawn number 23 this year in this his second appearance on Deathlist. Heavy going so far for DeathList 2009, but this isn’t a five furlong sprint…
Wendy Richard, British actress most famous for her role as Pauline Fowler in Eastenders, has died to give DeathList 2009 its second success. Richard, aged 65, had had several run-ins with cancer, but her third instance, revealed in 2008, secured her selection at number 19 on this year’s list. She first gained fame as Miss Brahms in the 1970s British sitcom, Are You Being Served?. She appeared in more than 1,400 episodes of Eastenders but just one appearance on DeathList was all that was needed for her to go on to that select list of successful celebrities.
Welsh socialite, Dai Llewellyn, has got DeathList 2009 quickly onto the score sheet with the crowd barely settled in their seats. 62 year old Llewellyn, who sneaked on to this year’s list in 49th place, passed away after suffering from bone cancer. Llewellyn was probably famous for almost no reason (other than his brother Roddy has a relationship with Princess Margaret) although, in this day and age, that doesn’t prevent celebrity status. There was some doubt as to whether he passed the famousness test but plenty of publicity on his demise ratified his eligibility. A good start then for DeathList 2009, but with Tony Hart slipping through DeathList’s fingers shortly afterwards there’s plenty of work to be done.
Now the wait for the first sucess of the year.