Tuesday, 13 January 2009

The Best Celebrity Fights to the Death in 2008, Part Two


The second instalment after the jump!

Geek V Nerd

Date: March 4

Who Died: Leonard Rosenman, Academy Award and Emmy Award winning film, television and concert composer, heart attack. Gary Gygax, co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons, abdominal aortic aneurysm.

Rosenman is responsible for the music on some of the geekiest movies ever: Fantastic Voyage, The Lord of the Rings (1978 version) and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home among many others. He also did the music for the Twilight Zone TV series. Gygax is responsible for some of the best scientists and mathematicians of our time missing uni exams and failing, thanks to all-night D&D tournaments.

What Really Happened: A miscommunication about which armour reigns supreme, and all of a sudden it was beard pulling and black t-shirt tearing from here to their mothers’ houses.

The Fallout: A new RPG, Geek V Nerd, in which Dweeb trumps Spazz, but Nerd trumps Dweeb. Unless Dweeb has plus ten Smug Points, won by formidable knowledge of physics or XKCD, extensive comic book collection, anime knowledge or a high WOW level.

Kill or Be Killed or Both

Date: March 10

Who Died: Richard Biegenwald, New Jersey serial killer, respiratory and kidney failure. William Richard Bradford, serial killer, cancer.

Biegenwald killed at least nine people (likely more) when he was between the ages of 18 and 43. He set fire to the family home at five, at eight was drinking and gambling, at nine he had electroshock therapy. He went to a ‘State Training School for Boys’ (a kiddie prison), visiting his mother occasionally to steal from her. At 11, he set himself on fire on one of these visits. At 16, he graduated eighth grade and left kiddie prison to attend high school, which he dropped out of after a few weeks. He went to Nashville and stole a car. He was returned to his mother in New Jersey, stole another car and robbed a grocery store, shooting the shopkeeper dead. He went to jail for 16 years (released early for good behaviour). Life outside went: odd jobs, attempted rape conviction, conviction dropped, got married, killed a girl, then another, a friend of his wife’s was shown the bodies, she dobbed him in, police arrested him and seized his weapons, drugs and… puff adder, more bodies were uncovered, he went back to jail.

Bradford, on the other hand, pretended to be a photographer. After his arrest, police found pictures of 54 different women in modelling poses. Police believe that the other women were also killed by Bradford, and the photos depict their last moments alive. This is creepy yet unconfirmed.

While on bail awaiting a rape trial, Bradford met a barmaid at LA bar ‘The Meet Market’ (yes) and lured her to a remote campsite. He took pictures of her, then strangled her, slicing off her tattoos (so she wouldn’t be identified), removed her blouse and dumped her in an alley.

Shortly afterwards, he lured his 15-year-old neighbour to the same campsite, took pictures then strangled her, leaving the body there and covering her face with the barmaid’s blouse.

During the trial he fired his lawyer. Bradford then acted as his own counsel, but offered no evidence or arguments of his innocence, instead opting to close with the implication that there were more murdered women still undiscovered: ‘Think of how many you don't even know about. You are so right. That's it.’ In jail, he wrote some poetry. Five days before his execution, he started professing his innocence, and in 2006 the LA police department released the headshots found in his house. The vast majority of the women remain unidentified, though one was discovered decapitated in Malibu in 1978.

What Really Happened: After an administration error dropped Bradford’s first name from the prisoner database, cellmates started debating who was the creepiest Richard B, and both decided to defend their honour. But considering how kill-happy these desperadoes were, it could have easily been because of a debate about the benefits of setting one’s watch a few minutes early.

The Fallout: A CSI: Miami episode has already been done (an actress on the show, Eva LaRue, has identified her sister as being number three on the headshot list the police released). Perhaps CSI can also do an ep on Biegenwald, about some guy who from the age of five just keeps fucking up.

Two holocaust survivors from Auschwitz battle it out

Date: March 7

Who Died: Leon Greenman OBE, British anti-fascism campaigner and survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp, pneumonia. Julius Paltiel, one of twenty-six Norwegian Jews who returned from Auschwitz.

What Really Happened: Actually, this one’s too tasteless even for me.

The Fallout: Lisa starts feeling very bad about her choice in feature article topics.

Panda V Muscle Man… Part One

Date: April 1 & 2

Who Died: Taotao, China’s oldest living Panda at the time of her death at 36, brain thrombus and a cerebral hemorrhage. Péter Baczakó, Hungarian Weightlifter, cancer.

Baczakó was a gold medal Olympian, winning the middleweight division at Moscow in 1980 (and bronze in the light at Montreal in 1976). He was also diagnosed with muscular dystrophy and spent his last months wheelchair-bound.

What Really Happened: I think we all know. Baczakó tried to show the world he was still number one. Female giant pandas can weigh up to 100 kgs. Do I really need to spell it out? He tried to lift the panda. He did, but dropped her, crushing him and killing her.

The Fallout: A deadly new record to break.

The Manly Actor V the Doco Maker

Date: April 5

Who Died: Charlton Heston, actor and gun enthusiast, pneumonia. Alex Grasshoff, American documentary filmmaker, complications from bypass surgery on his leg.

In 1969 Grasshoff won an Oscar for his documentary Young Americans. But the Academy then found out the film had been shown first in October 1967, making it ineligible for the 1969 award (which only honoured films first shown in 1968). In a move of enviable dick bureaucracy, the Academy revoked the award, the only time in history this has happened. Grasshoff was nominated for another documentary in 1974, but didn’t win. Dick move, academy. Dick move.

What Really Happened: Though Heston only won one Oscar, in 1960 for Ben Hur, he was fiercely protective of the Academy’s reputation. And a move from initially being a moderate Democrat, to conservative in his later life, shows a decline in his capacity for logic. As the decades wore on, he felt the need to protect the good name of the Oscars. But Grasshoff was ready for him, with his makeshift imitation statue on hand…

The Fallout: No one bad mouths the Oscars every again. Until the next one. Though afterwards, they sleep with one eye open for the ghost of Heston.

Also, just for a second think of the ghost of Heston, all coming at you, sinewy and vengeful.

Record Producer V Mister Chicken Dance

Date: April 9

Who Died: George Butler, American jazz record producer, complications from Alzheimer's disease. Bob Kames, American musician, prostate cancer.

Butler launched the careers of a number of famous artists, including Harry Connick Jr. Kames ‘developed and popularised’ a version of the polka song ‘Dance Little Bird’, which is a nice way of saying he tweaked it a bit, called it the Chicken Dance and then made weddings for decades to come suck. Though he also owned and operated a chain of music stores called 'Bob Kames Wonderful World of Music', which I kind of love.

What Really Happened: Kames approached Butler about an updated version of the Chicken Dance, possibly ghetto-jam or trip hop inspired. Butler had none or it. Kames pointed out that the Chicken Dance had sold over 300,000 copies in Poland alone. Butler pointed out that this was in 1983. Things got heated. Two old men in pastel-coloured suits and wide ties with diagonal stripes had it out. There were no survivors.

The Fallout: The A & R guy to replace Butler stumbles upon the correspondence between Kames and Butler… and gets Soulja Boy (himself a song-specific dance enthusiast) to record it.

Panda V Muscle Man… Part Two

Date: April 30

Who Died: Ling Ling, once the oldest male Giant Panda in Japan (22), old age. Clarence Ross, American bodybuilder.

What Really Happened: Since he came second for Mr USA in 1949 (he placed first in 1947), Ross has been looking for another way to prove he’s still number one. When he heard about Baczakó’s attempt to lift a giant panda, he decided to give it a go.

Ling Ling’s name actually means ‘darling little girl’ in Chinese. And despite having a mate, Tong Tong, and a stream of other Panda-babes, he never impregnated one. So he actually volunteered to be benchpressed, just to prove he’s still butch as.

The Fallout: The record for ‘bench pressed a panda without killing both self and panda’ remains. When will it claim its next elderly muscle man and ageing panda duo?

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