The DeathList committee has once again called upon numerous sources of information to compile its list of 50 celebrities that it considers most likely to die in 2015. A quick recap on the DeathList rules: 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 half of the candidates can have appeared on the previous year’s list. DeathList 2014 ended with a disappointing total of 10 successes so we will be looking for DeathList 2015 to show some better form.
|1||Zsa Zsa Gabor||98||Actress|
|2||Sam Simon||60||Co-Creator of The Simpsons|
|3||João Havelange||99||Ex Fifa president|
|6||Olivia De Havilland||99||Actress|
|7||Javier Perez de Cuellar||95||Ex UN Secretary General|
|8||Denis Healey||98||Eyebrowed politican|
|9||George Bush Senior||91||Former President of USA|
|10||Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh||94||Casual rascist|
|11||Chris Woodhead||69||Ex UK Inspector of Schools|
|12||Helmut Schmidt||97||Former German Chancellor|
|16||Clive James||76||TV presenter|
|17||Al Molinaro||96||Happy Days Al|
|21||Bhumibol Adulyadej||88||King of Thailand|
|22||B B King||90||Bluesman|
|24||Leslie Phillips||91||Comedy Actor|
|25||Ken Kercheval||80||Dallas Cliff Barnes|
|28||Joost van der Westhuizen||44||Rugby player|
|30||Peter O'Sullevan||97||UK horse racing commentator|
|32||Peter Sallis||94||Last of the Summer Winer|
|33||Denis Norden||93||Comic / TV Presenter|
|36||Cliff Michelmore||96||TV Presenter|
|39||Hosni Mubarak||87||Former Egyptian President|
|40||Liz Smith||94||Royle Family "Nana"|
|42||Chuck Berry||89||Rock & Roller|
|44||Richard Adams||95||Watership Down author|
|45||Jake "The Snake" Roberts||60||Wrestler|
|50||Bill Maynard||87||Comedy actor|
Helmut Schmidt, former Chancellor of West Germany, has provided DeathList 2015 with its 14th and record-tying success of the year. Schmidt was premier of West Germany from 1974 until 1982 and remained a public figure following his retirement from politics. Schmidt was famous for being a heavy smoker and was rumoured to have a large stockpile of menthol cigarettes at home in case they were banned. At the age of 96 and after some 80 years of smoking, he was reported to have quit in September 2015 and within two months he was dead - as clear a warning about the dangers of non-smoking as we have seen in a long time. Schmidt was making his fifth appearance on DeathList, this year at number 12. One more success before 31 December will see a new DeathList record set…
Al Molinaro, best known for playing Al, the owner of Arnold’s Drive-in in the Happy Days TV show, has delivered another order for DeathList 2015. Molinaro appeared alongside The Fonz for 10 years from 1974 until the show’s end in 1984. Prior to Happy Days he spent five years another successful TV show, The Odd Couple. Moinaro retired from acting in the early 90’s but reprised his main role in Weezer’s iconic “Buddy Holly” music video. Molinaro passed on at the grand old age of 96 and was making his 7th appearance on DeathList, this year at number 17. The 2015 list is now just one death away from equalling the all-time DeathList record.
Hollywood icon, Maureen O’Hara, has passed away at the age of 95 to provide DeathList 2015 with another score. Irish-born, O’Hara made a string of movies with director John Ford in to 40s and 50s and starred alongside John Wayne on five occasions, including in perhaps her most famous movie, The Quiet Man. O‘Hara was surprisingly making her first appearance on DeathList this year, arriving in 19th place. O’Hara's demise marks the twelfth success of the year for DeathList 2015 and suggests a record total could be in reach.
Denis Healey, former British Labour politician, has bowed out to give DeathList 2015 its eleventh success. Healey served under Harold Wilson and James Callaghan as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1974 until 1979 and was deputy leader of the Labour Party from 1980 until 1983. Despite his political achievements, Healey may be best remembered for his extraordinarily bushy eyebrows. Healey was 98 years old when he died and was making his sixth appearance on DeathList, this year making eighth position.
British Actor, George Cole, has become the next candidate to contribute to DeathList 2015’s hot streak. Cole was best known as Arthur Daley in the TV show Minder, but had an extensive career in British film prior to landing the used car dealer role in 1979. Minder ran for 15 years and made Arthur Daley a household name, introducing phrases such as “nice little earner” and “‘er indoors” into common usage. Cole was only making his second appearance on DeathList, his first being way back in 1989. This year he was at number 31. His passing marks the tenth success of the year.
British horse racing commentator, Peter O’Sullevan, has become another winner for DeathList 2015. 97 year old O’Sullevan started commentating on racing for the BBC in the 1940’s and became known as the “Voice of Racing”, finally retiring after a fifty year career in 1997. In the years after his retirement, the BBC ultimately withdrew from covering horse racing altogether. O’Sullevan had become a regular on the list in recent years, making his 6th appearance in 2015 at number 30. He is the 9th success of the year.
British actor, Patrick Macnee, has provided a further success for DeathList 2015’s hot streak. Macnee began his career in movies in the 1940s and 50s but got his biggest break in 1961 when he was cast as bowler-hatted British secret agent, John Steed, in The Avengers TV show. The show ran for 8 years, but was then rebooted as The New Avengers in the mid-1970s. The 93 year old Macnee was making his third appearance on DeathList, rising to 14th position this year. Macnee’s death is the 6th success in the last 6 weeks and the 8th of the year so far.
Former chief inspector of schools in the UK, Chris Woodhead, has passed away to provide DeathList 2015 with another quick score. Woodhead was a controversial character as head of OFSTED between 1994 and his resignation in 2000. In 2006 he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease and became a major campaigner for assisted death and was knighted in 2011. Woodhead was 68 when he died and was making his second appearance on DeathList, this year moving up to eleventh position. His death marks the seventh success of the year and contributes to a highly successful first half of the year.
Billionaire investor, Kirk Kerkorian, has cashed his chips at the ripe age of 98 to give DeathList 2015 a quick follow up. Kerkorian was a highly successful investor who was instrumental in building several of the major Las Vegas casinos as well being a major investor in the US automobile industry. Despite a lifetime of success, his investment performance took a downturn in the later years of his life with his estimated net worth falling from £16 billion in 2008 to less than £4 billion in 2013. He has however proved to be a solid stock pick for DeathList 2015, providing the sixth success of the year in his debut appearance in slot 46.
Veteran English actor, Sir Christopher Lee, has provided DeathList 2015 with a further success. Lee was initially famous for playing Count Dracula in the 1950s to 1970s Hammer House of Horror movies, however his fame was later elevated by roles in the 1973 cult movie, The Wicker Man, the James Bond movie, The Man with the Golden Gun, and more recently The Lord of the Rings movies. Lee dies aged 93 and was making his third appearance on DeathList, sneaking in at number 48 this year.
Mathematician, John Nash, has been killed in a car accident to add to DeathList 2015’s total and provide the DeathList with its first ever success through a death by unnatural causes. Nash was best known from the 2001 movie based on his life, A Beautiful Mind. Nash’s most significant mathematical work was on game theory on which he published a paper in 1950. Nash suffered from severe paranoid schizophrenia throughout the 1960s to 1980s but gradually overcame the illness in the 1990s and in 1994 was awarded a Nobel Prize for his work on game theory. He died, aged 86, with his wife, when the taxi in which they were passengers crashed in New Jersey when they were travelling home from receiving a mathematics prize in Norway. Nash is the fourth death of the year for DeathList.
BB King, legendary bluesman, has passed on at the age of 89 to provide DeathList 2015 with its third success of the year. King started his recording career in 1949 and carried on touring right up to late 2014, releasing more than 50 albums. His most famous songs were “The Thrill is Gone” and “Lucille” (named after his Gibson guitars). In recent months and in declining health, he had been in the news as a result of a legal battle between his children and manager about the care he was receiving. King was making his fourth appearance on DeathList and in 2015 was selected in 22nd place.
Co-creator of The Simpsons, Sam Simon, has lost his battle with cancer, aged 59. Simon had some initial success as a writer on TV shows such as Taxi and Cheers, but found his biggest success in creating The Simpson with Matt Groening and James L Brooks. Simon assembled the writing team for the initial seasons of the shows but had an acrimonious split with Groening in 1993 and left the show. He did however negotiate one of the most lucrative severance packages in entertainment history whereby he was continued to be paid a share of the shows profit each year, which was rumoured to be tens of millions of dollars annually. In his later years, Simon became heavily involved in animal charities. He was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2012 and given only months to live but publicly battled his fight with the disease on social media for several years. It is unclear whether Simon would have been proud to have been outlived by his most famous creation, however many might suggest that The Simpsons expired many years before he did. Simon was making his second appearance on DeathList, making it to number two on this year’s list.
Leonard Nimoy, actor famous for playing Mr Spock in Star Trek, has passed away aged 83 to give DeathList 2015 its first score of the year. Nimoy started acting in the 1950s and played Spock from 1966 to 1969 in the original Start Trek TV show. Nimoy then starred in the role of “The Great Paris” in the Mission: Impossible TV show for a further two years. He would return to Spock when the Star Trek movie started in the late 1970s and continued to make appearances as Spock right up to Star Trek Into Darkness in 2013. Nimoy was making his first appearance on DeathList, being selected at number 37.
This list has been finalised and now the wait begins…