For the 30th time, the DeathList Committee has sat and drawn upon multiple resources, including the invaluable contributions on the forums, to compile a list of 50 celebrities that it considers most likely to die in 2016. The Committee constrains itself with a few rules as follows: 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 25 of the candidates from the previous year’s list can reappear on this year’s list. DeathList 2015 just failed to set a new record, once again equalling the best of 14 deaths. A significant amount of new blood has been drafted in for 2016. Can the good form carry on into the new year?
|2||Zsa Zsa Gabor||99||Actress|
|3||João Havelange||100||Ex Fifa president|
|4||Olivia De Havilland||100||Actress|
|5||Bhumibol Adulyadej||89||King of Thailand|
|8||Javier Perez de Cuellar||96||Ex UN Secretary General|
|9||Richard Adams||96||Watership Down author|
|12||Liz Smith||95||Royle Family "Nana"|
|13||Mary Tyler Moore||80||Actress|
|15||Peter Sallis||95||Last of the Summer Winer|
|16||Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh||95||Casual rascist|
|17||James Randi||88||Magician / Skeptic|
|18||Lord (Peter) Carrington||97||UK Politician|
|19||Clive James||77||TV presenter|
|21||Joost van der Westhuizen||45||Rugby player|
|22||Prunella Scales||84||Sybil Fawlty|
|23||Jimmy Carter||92||Ex US President|
|25||Tommy Chong||78||Cheech & Chong|
|26||Doug Ellis||92||Ex-Aston Villa Chairman|
|27||George Bush Senior||92||Former President of USA|
|29||Leslie Phillips||92||Comedy Actor|
|31||Sandy Gall||89||TV news reporter|
|33||Robert M Pirsig||88||Author|
|36||Glen Campbell||80||Country Singer|
|37||Stan Lee||94||Marvel comics|
|38||Boutros Boutros-Ghali||94||Ex-UN Secretary General|
|40||Cliff Michelmore||97||TV Presenter|
|41||Denis Norden||94||Comic / TV Presenter|
|42||Murray Walker||93||Formula 1 Commentator|
|43||Jimmy Greaves||76||Footballer / pundit|
|45||Muhammad Ali||74||Butterfly / Bee|
|46||Jacques Chirac||84||Ex French President / PM|
|47||Stephen Hawking||74||Theoretical Physicist|
|49||John Noakes||82||Blue Peter Presenter|
Richards Adams, British author of Watership Down, has provided another end of year score for DeathList 2016. Watership Down was Adams’ first book and was published in 1972 and soon went on to be a major hit. In 1978 a Watership Down movie was released which was also hugely successful. Adams went on to publish some 20 books, although no others got close to the success of his first. Adams was 96 years old when he died and was making his third appearance on DeathList, breaking into the top ten at number 9 this year. His passing marks the twelfth success of the year.
British actress, Liz Smith, best known for her portrayal of Nana in the BBC comedy TV show, The Royle Family, has passed on aged 95 to provide a festive boost for DeathList 2016. Smith only broke through as an actress when she started to win some TV roles in her late 40s. In the 1990s she started appearing in the sitcom, 2point4 Children as well as he most famous role. Smith first appeared n DeathList 2015 and was promoted to No. 12 on this year’s list. She is the eleventh success of the year.
After being on the brink of a score for almost the whole year, Zsa Zsa Gabor has finally rewarded DeathList 2016 for its patience. Gabor was sometimes described as an actress, but was more correctly described as a socialite. Gabor was married nine times but made ten appearances on DeathList, including the last seven years in a row. Gabor had been in intensive care since February and passed away less than two months before her 100th birthday. Her death marks the tenth success of DeathList 2016 as it struggles to post a respectable score after an excellent start and a bumper year for celebrity deaths.
Cuban revolutionary leader, Fidel Castro, has finally passed away to provide DeathList 2016 with a much needed boost. Castro wrestled control of Cuba and converted the country to a communist state in 1959 and remained its leader for 47 years until passing the title to his brother in 2006. There were numerous attempts on Castro's life throughout the years but, in the end, he lived to ripe old age of 90 and made 13 appearances on DeathList. This year he had slipped down to 30th place on the list and delivered the 9th success of the year.
After many years of declining health, Bhumibol Adulyadej, the King of Thailand, has passed on to give DeathList 2016 another score. Adulyadej ascended to the throne in 1946 in mysterious circumstances when the previous king, his brother, died of gunshot wounds in his bedroom, which was officially recorded as assassination by palace aides. He then ruled Thailand for the next 70 years until his death at the age of 88. Adulyadej was making his third appearance on DeathList, this year rising to fifth position. He is the eighth success of the year in, what is proving to be, a very slow second half.
Former FIFA President, João Havelange, has taken his last bribe, passing away at the ripe old age of 100 years old. Havelange was an Olympic swimmer and water polo player before he moved into the more lucrative world of sports administration. He became a member of the IOC in 1963 and was elected as FIFA president in 1974 and held the post until 1998, during which time it appears the organisation spiralled into a mass of bribery and corruption. It has been alleged that Havelange “earned” in excess of US$50 million in bribes during his career. Havelange was selected in the third spot this year and was making his fifth career appearance on DeathList.
Boxing legend, Muhammad Ali, has finally succumbed to decades of deteriorating health to provide DeathList with its sixth knockout of the year. Ali started out as a boxer named Cassius Clay, but over time he transcended the sport to become one of the most famous celebrities the world has ever seen. Ali fought some legendary fights in a career in which he won the heavyweight title three times. The Thriller in Manila and the Rumble in the Jungle have gone down as some of the most famous sporting events in history, helping to cement him as the global icon he was. Ali had been suffering from Parkinson’s disease for the last 30 years and was making his third appearance on DeathList this year, sneaking in at number 45.
Veteran British broadcaster, Cliff Michelmore, has taken his place in the great green room in the sky to provide DeathList 2016 with its fifth success. Michelmore was the presenter of a number of BBC television shows from the 1950s through to the late 1980s, including the TV programme “Holiday” in his later career. He also covered a hosted the TV coverage of number of general elections, Apollo moon landings and the assassination of JFK in 1963. At the ripe old age of 96, Michelmore was making just his third appearance on DeathList and even this year still only secured 40th place on the list.
Former actress and First Lady of the USA, Nancy Reagan, has added to DeathList 2016’s total in passing at the age of 94. As Nancy Davies she found fame as a Hollywood movie star in the 1940s and 50s and married Ronald Reagan in 1952. On being elected to the White House in 1981, Nancy Reagan became a high profile First Lady, with perhaps her “Just Say No” anti-drugs campaign being her biggest claim to fame. After five previous appearances on DeathList, 2016 was the year that Nancy just said yes, checking out from 14th position on this year’s list.
Legendary New Zealand cricketer, Martin Crowe, has finally succumbed to cancer to provide DeathList 2016 with another wicket. Crowe’s international career lasted from 1982 until 1995, at the end of which he held the record for most runs scored by a New Zealand batsman in both test matches and one day internationals. Crowe was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2012 and appeared to have successfully battled against the disease, only for it to return in 2014 and ultimately take his life. Crowe was the cousin of movie star Russell Crowe and was making his second appearance on DeathList, grabbing the top spot this year.
Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the UN Secretary General from 1992 to 1996, has passed on to the great debating chamber in the sky to give DeathList 2016 its second success of the year. Boutros-Ghali is probably better remembered for his name rather than his achievements in office, where the ineffectiveness of the United Nations was frequently highlighted. He did however have one highlight when attempting to explain to Ali G in an interview why Disneyland was not a member of the UN. Boutros-Ghali was 93 years old and making his debut appearance on DeathList, being selected in 38th position.
Veteran actor, Abe Vigoda, has passed away at the age of 94 to provide DeathList 2016 with its maiden score of the year. Vigoda was most famous for his portrayal of Sal Tessio in the first Godfather movie and also as Phil Fish in the 1970’s sitcom Barney Miller. Vigoda’s other claim to fame is the fact that he was mistakenly reported as dead back in 1982 by People magazine. Fake reports of his death went on to become a regular joke and a website was even set up to provide up to date information on whether he was in fact dead or alive (www.abevigoda.com). Vigoda made it up the 11th position on DeathList 2016 in what was his third appearance.
The corpses of 2015 have been cleared away and the 2016 list is in play.