Every year, I write about overlooked deaths. And every year, there are far too many to chuck into the one article. So I overwrite, and let them pick the most relevant ones.
This year, like last year, my much-funnier-than-I mate, Paul Rasche, wrote half of them. Many of the best ones below are his.
So: Lois Lane, Manowar drummers, Porn Stars, Uncle Leo... here are 20 (TWENTY!) more overlooked deaths.
And stay tuned for Part 2, featuring 13 more, coming up on December 31st!
Steve Jobs. Amy Winehouse. Steve Jobs. Osama Bin Laden. Elizabeth Taylor. Steve Jobs. Pete Postlethwaite. Heavy D (of ‘… & the Boyz’). Every year cruel Lady Mortality claims many of our best (and heaviest). Every year, Cracked has you covered in the ‘now I’m sad for something I didn’t even know happened in June’ department.
And like every year, we eagerly await your comments bitching about how we missed someone, be they not ‘overlooked’ or otherwise. We love that shit.
Peter Gibb, Smooth Criminal
Injuries sustained from beating
When career criminal Peter Gibb was witnessed entering a broom cupboard with a female prison guard, no-one thought the outcome would be good. Little did they realize that the illicit liaison would lead to a trail of awesomeness the likes of which have not been seen since Die Hard 2.
In ’93, when Die Hard 2 was still fresh in our young minds, Gibb got his smoking hot* prison guard girlfriend to smuggle in some explosives, which he then used to blow out a window and escape with another prisoner. In a ploy that is deeply staggering in terms of just how clichéd it is, they actually climbed down to street level on a rope made of knotted bedsheets. A police chase ensued which involved several crashes and lots of shooting. At the end of the police chase, Gibb had a broken arm, a police revolver and was last seen leaving the scene in a stolen police van, cackling maniacally as Batman looked on from above.
Gibb followed all this up with probably the least clichéd death of 2011, the details of which remain bafflingly unclear. Seems Gibb had locked some kid in a freezer as a “practical joke”. Seems the kid’s associates didn’t think said joke was very funny. Seems said associates beat seven shades of shit of out of Gibb and he died shortly thereafter. Yippy ki-aye.
Joanne Siegel, the real Lois Lane
From being 93.
Siegal was working as a model when Superman creator Joe Shuster enlisted her services (namely, standing, not moving, standing some more in a slightly different way) in creating Lois Lane. And then she married Superman’s co-creator, Jerry Siegel. Awww! Apparently Jerry was the model for Superman. On the meeting, Siegel recalled: "I remember the day I met Jerry in Joe's living room. Jerry was the model for Superman. He was standing there in a Superman-like pose...” – how utterly pimpin’ and smooth! – “…He said their character was going to fly through the air, and he leaped off the couch to demonstrate." Jumping off a couch like Superman – before Superman is even a thing – is possibly the best way to fuck a first impression, short of hurling on a lady’s shoes.
Many years later, they met again and married. Like something out of a romantic comedy starring Julia Roberts! Aww! And then both creators sold the rights to Superman and they all became rat-king broke. Like something out of awful, horrible real life. Aww!
Siegal later sued DC Comics and won, for Superman and Superboy; whose copyright she and her daughter owned in 2004, while Superboy was on TV, aka Smallville.
Kenneth Mars, better known as Otto from Malcolm in the Middle, and Ariel’s Dad King Triton in The Little Mermaid
From a dim-witted-but-well-meaning German boss, to the king of the Disney Sea, this was one beloved, chubby dude.
But hey, now you can have a crack at Ariel without her dad getting all tidal wave on your ass.
Catherine Masters, British supercentenarian who became the last living person who was born in Scotland during the 19th century and the Victorian era.
Complications from the installation of a new pacemaker.
Masters was the oldest living person in Scotland. She was the only remaining person born in the 1800s.
Her grandson Robert said Masters was ‘the fittest 111-year-old I have ever met’. How many meet-and-greets with 111 year olds he could base that on is unknown. Considering this is a country whose people happily deep fry a phone book and eat it after 42 beers, there are probably 14 year olds who look about 72.
Oh, and you know how British people get a letter from the queen when they turn 100? Turns out they also get one every year AFTER that, but Her Royal Tightarse doesn’t change the photo.
When she complained, she got a new one for her 110th, and an apologetic visit from Prince William.
Notice the new expression: ‘I can’t believe I have to pose for another fucking photo. Just DIE, already!’
Len Lesser, aka Uncle Leo
Since 1949, Lesser worked with greats like Clint Eastwood, Dustin Hoffman and Barbara Streisand. Also, with precision timing, he enlisted in the army the day after the Pearl Harbor attack. But we’ll always remember him as Jerry Seinfeld’s Uncle Leo. HELLOOOO and good bye, to one of the hardest working men in show business.
Premananda, spiritual guru, and some other less fluffy stuff.
Complications arising from illness.
His one goal in life was to “to show the existence of God to as many as he possibly could in his lifetime.” Unfortunately, his idea of 'showing people god' was allegedly doing a rape on them and getting them to the afterlife ASAFP: In November 1994, he and six other Ashram residents were arrested and charged with rape and murder. He was sentenced to life imprisonment and staunchly denied these claims through the rest of his life: “I have never committed any crime. I have surrendered totally to the Divine. Truth will ultimately win.”
THE CURSE OF DR WHO
22 February, 19 April, 8 June
Nicholas Courtney, Elisabeth Sladen & Roy Skelton (The Brigadier, Sarah Jane and the voice of Daleks & Cybermen, all from lame-ass British sci-fi series, Doctor Who – Who fanatics come at us, Bro)
Officially - cancer, cancer, stroke. Unofficially – Dalek conspiracy
Future generations will remember 2011 as the year that the Daleks finally broke the fourth wall and started killing off Doctor Who cast members. We can only hope that in coming years other fictional villains follow suit. Who amongst us wouldn’t delight at seeing Shia LeBeouf have his head ripped off by Starscream on live TV? And surely Hayden Christensen deserves some sort of punishment for Attack of the Clones?
I, for one, welcome our new Dalek overlords. I mean, for someone who is constantly saving mankind, or the whole time-space continuum or whatever bullshit it is that week, that Doctor guy sure puts a lot of effort into looking and acting like a prissy little bitch. I mean, does he have any cool powers besides faffing about and muttering “Oh, crumbs?”
Smiley Culture: Reggae Star
We’ll get to that.
Lovable, laugh-a-minute larrikin Smiley Culture was a British reggae star of the 80s, having produced two hugely acclaimed singles of that decade.
The first hit, “Cockney Translation” was a light-hearted take (with a serious message) on the Jamaican-Cockney culture clash. The second hit, “Police Officer”, was a light-hearted take (with a serious message) on the Police-Jamaican culture clash. In other words, it was about being arrested for smoking pot.
Following this, the public appears to have become a bit tired of light-hearted takes (with serious messages) and Smiley Culture wasn’t heard from again until he STABBED HIMSELF IN THE HEART AND DIED DURING A POLICE RAID ON HIS HOUSE. Not very light-hearted Smiley, but we certainly got your serious message.
Mayhew Foster, Nazi Courier. Like a courier OF Nazis, not a courier who WAS a Nazi – oh, just read the damn thing...
Natural causes, aged 99
Mayhew “Bo” Foster was the WWII pilot who flew Goering to his captivity and interrogation. For those of you who aren’t World War II buffs, Goering was a big fat Nazi. By ‘big’, we mean important – he was head of the Luftwaffe (that’s the German air force, numb-nuts). By ‘fat’, we mean ‘fat’ – he was over 300lb and Mayhew had to fly a larger plane than normal because he was so goddamned fat. When he sat around the Reichstag, he sat ARRRROOOOUUUNNNDDDD the Reichstag.
When asked for his thoughts on the Nazi wurst-hider, Mayhew was heard to remark that Goering was “effeminate” and “gave him the creeps.” Mayhew claimed that having the World’s Fattest Nazi in his plane made him want to turn the thing upside down and see if he could shake him out of his seat.
Who’s the (body-) fascist now?
Scott Columbus, ex-drummer for Manowar
Not currently known
If you don’t know the cult HEAVY METAL band Manowar, boy-o-boy are you missing out. Basically, they’re Spinal Tap for realsies. Some actual Manowar lyrics include: “If you’re not into METAL, you are not my friend”, and “May your sword stay wet, like a young girl in her prime”. Manowar sing exclusively about battles, swords, wizards, and the magical power of heavy metal. Oh, and they also sing a lot about how loud and awesome the band Manowar is.
The story of Scott Columbus is the story of the most METAL drummer ever. The story goes that he was discovered by one of Manowar’s female fans (of which there are LITERALLY THOUSANDS), beating the SHIT out of some METAL at a METAL FOUNDRY. This is an unconfirmed story, and it raises questions. Why does Manowar have fans that aren’t fat male nerds? What was this female Manowar fan doing at a foundry? Did she work there or was she there just to seek out more METAL? And having discovered the oh-so-very-METAL drumming of Scott Columbus at said foundry, did she then just call up the other band members and tell them to hire him? How does that work?
Regardless, Columbus was Manowar’s longest serving drummer and was famous for his “Drums of Doom”, a specially constructed drumkit made from stainless steel. The drums of doom – oh, sorry – the Drums of Doom were deemed necessary when Scott’s unbelievably METAL playing style proved too rough for normal drumkits.
Also, Scott had tattoos. DEATH TO FALSE METAL.
Sol Saks, creator of Bewitched
Saks wrote the pilot to the hit show, and never wrote another episode. "He just sat back and took in the royalties," said Paul Wayne, a longtime friend and writer who worked on the show who is not at all bitter.
Saks said his inspiration came from two films: 1942's I Married a Witch, starring Fredric March and Veronica Lake, and 1958's Bell Book and Candle, starring James Stewart and Kim Novak."He was pretty honest about the fact it wasn't a particularly original idea," Wayne, again, not bitter, told the Los Angeles Times.
Now watch out for other chancers combining two movies into a TV pilot: So I Married an Axe Murderer + Forrest Gump becomes the terrifying story of a femme fatal chasing down a simpleton baby boomer. And Showgirls + Cocoon becomes… never mind.
Captain Koloth, aka William Campbell.
Natural Causes: Dude was 87.
Originally appearing in Star Trek as super-being Trelane, Campbell first played the Captain in ‘The Trouble with Tribbles’ (you know, the one where Shatner goes head to head with terrifying multiplying furballs, and proceeds to act the shit out of them). Campbell was married three times. His first wife was later involved with John F Kennedy, since once you go Klingon nothing short of a president will do.
Ted Lowe, snooker commentator
Natural causes, aged 90
Ted was known as “Whispering Ted” purely for his hushed and husky commentating style. The nickname had nothing to do with the filthy and unnecessarily explicit things Ted liked to whisper to his grandchildren after a few stiff brandys. He doesn’t even have grandchildren, so just drop it.
Yes, good ol’ Whispering Ted. Whispering Ted was ‘the voice of snooker’ in the UK, and was the main commentator on long-running snooker TV show “Pot Black” for over 25 years, goddammit. He didn’t have grandchildren. At all.
Ted’s most famous gaffe came back in the early days of colour television when he said “…and for those of you who are watching in black and white, the pink is next to the green.” Get it? Coz how would you know which was one pink and which was one green on a black and white TV? Ha! Oh, Whispering Ted, you’re such a card
Echo Valley: Porn Star, Goddess of Irony
After starring in dozens of thoughtful, probing films with titles like “Hooter Nation”, “Big Tit Party”, “Big Boobs 5” and “Mega Tits Volume 9”, Ms Valley’s own personal supply of airbags failed to deploy when she was “rear-ended” by a truck. She was sent flying from her vehicle as a result and died at the scene.
According to close friends, Ms Valley didn’t wear a seatbelt because her freaking huge mammaja-bammaja boobies kept getting in the way. And so, the very breasts that had gotten her through life also caused her untimely death.
Confucius say “Get breast reduction surgery and a real job, ho.”
Shrek, Outlaw sheep
Put down after advice of a veterinary surgeon. The advice may or may not have been, ‘he thinks he’s better than us! He’ll kill us all!’
New Zealand loves two things: Peter Jackson and sheep. Just ask any Australian – they’re programmed at birth to have a comprehensive database of witty ‘New Zealanders enjoy sexual congress with sheep’ jokes.
One sheep, though, didn’t love New Zealanders back. This sheep was Shrek.
Merino sheep are shorn annually. This guy avoided the clippers for SIX YEARS, hiding in caves to avoid the cold kiss of Madame Razor. This guy must have just been a cloud with legs: an angry, burr-covered cloud. He had enough wool to make suits for 20 men (or 70 Beibers). An average merino loses 9.9 lbs of wool per shear. This guy had 33lbs.
RIP you angry, burr-covered cloud. They could take your wool, but they could never take your dignity.
Eugene Jules "Gene" Colan, Comic book artist for over 60 years
Complications of cancer and liver disease
Best known for drawing Daredevil, Colan also created art for Howard the Duck and the Falcon. And do you think glaucoma slowed him down? Did it fuck. Since the early 90s he was nearly blind in one eye and had tunnel vision in the other. But that didn’t stop scores of muscular, barely-clothed men bursting from his pencil. Figuratively.
Growing up, he ‘just drew everything in sight. My grandfather was my favorite subject’ given his subject matter over the resulting years; we’re forced to assume that his pop-pop was the burliest senior citizen alive.
Barry Bremen, ‘The Great Imposter’.
Have you ever seen those ‘RESTRICTED ACCESS’ signs at sporting events and thought, ‘what if I just, like, pretended to be a basketball player’? But of course you didn’t have the balls to try it on. This novelty-goods salesman did.
In a time when security wasn’t as bells-and-whistles-disco-freakout hardcore as it is in modern times, this self-described “professional impostor,” started in 1979 by stealing a basketball uniform and sneaking onto the court during warm-ups before the N.B.A. All-Star Game in Detroit. He took several shots before anyone realized and he was kicked out.
But pretending to be a basketballer? Any thin dude with some height can do that. He wanted a challenge. So during a game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins, he slipped onto the sidelines. Pretending to be a footballer, you think? Dude, that’s small potatoes. He dieted. He shaved. He got himself a custom-made Cowboys cheerleader outfit, popped on a blonde wig (sexy) and let the pom poms fly. The Cowboys kicked him out and sued him (possibly for ‘eliciting erections via false means’), but later let the matter go.
Though he only ever got away with it for a few minutes at a time, over the span of his life he also impersonated baseballers; played practice rounds in pro golf tournaments, and accepted Emmys.
And he was only arrested once.
Josef Suk, violinist
Josef Suk didn’t live up to his unfortunate surname when it came to playing violin. By which it is meant that he didn’t suck at it, and first started on concert platforms at the age of 11.
Suk don’t give a fuk that you think his surname is funny. In fact, he started the Suk Chamber Orchestra and the Suk Trio, and then just stood there glaring, daring you to say something. Go on, see what happens. The guy is from Eastern Europe, so you know he’s got a knife on him somewhere.
Suk won many distinguished music prizes throughout his career, including the Wiener Floetenuhr Prize. Yes, the Wiener went to Suk that year. You can bet he took an extra-sharp knife to that award ceremony.
Betty Ford, boozehound and pill-popper
Natural causes, aged 93.
Betty Ford is a name synonymous with celebrity drug use, which is a pretty cool thing to have your name be synonymous with, when you think about. Well, it beats ‘Jeffrey Dahmer’ or ‘Jay Leno’. Anyway, yeah, “The Betty Ford Clinic”, that’s what she’ll be remembered for. Also, her husband was famous for some reason.
In 1978, Betty’s family staged an intervention, having finally tired of Betty constantly “tripping balls” and “peeing on the rug.” Betty’s drug(s) of choice? Well, she put it best in her 1987 memoir: “I liked alcohol… And I loved pills.” Betty didn’t mince words. Though it is possible that she lost the ability to mince words back in those dark day-glo seventies.
In fact, Betty’s straight-talking ways were the cause of much consternation back in the day. She would happily bang on about smoking pot, premarital sex, and claimed she wouldn’t be surprised if she found out her daughter was having an affair. Most controversial of all however, was her shock admission to the nation that she slept IN THE SAME BED as her husband.
Rumors that she accompanied Deicide as Glenn Benton’s “Satan Bitch” on a European tour in the mid-nineties are wholly unfounded.
Würzel, god of metal
Other overlooked deaths from 2011 include band members from girly girl bands Weezer and Manowar. Würzel, however, was guitarist for Motörhead. Now pipe down and show some fucking respect. The following sentences are factual and make Manowar look like the soppy little bitches they are.
1. Motörhead was started by a man called Lemmy when he got kicked out of Hawkwind for taking too much speed
2. Before joining Motörhead, Würzel was in some other bands. They were called “Bastard” and “Warfare”.
3. “Weezer” means “a person that can’t breathe properly, and who cries”.
4. Würzel’s original nickname was Worzel, after famous British scarecrow Worzel Gummidge. Then Lemmy said: “Add an umlaut”. Lo, an umlaut was added and Lemmy beheld his creation
5. In 1998, following a mind-bending acid trip in Belgium, Würzel released a solo album called “Chill Out Or Die.”
6. Upon Würzel’s death, Dave Grohl dedicated a song to him. Then he made sure his hair looked good and everyone could see his neck tattoo.
...Stay tuned for part 2, coming out December 31st!
Lisa-Skye is a Melbourne-based writer and comedian. See more of her here.
Paul Rasche is a Melbournian writer and illustrator. See some of his stuff here: