The DeathList 2013On today, gone tomorrow.
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23rd Dec 2013: DeathList 2013 has scored its thirteenth success of the year with the passing on AK46 developer, Mikhail Kalashnikov. Kalashnikov developed his most famous weapon for the Soviet military in 1947 and was said to describe the assault rifle ‘as a weapon of defence’, with which some of its victims no doubt disagree. Kalashnikov was 94 and had been in and out of hospital throughout the year. He was making his first appearance on DeathList, jumping right into the number 3 spot. 18th Dec 2013: There have been some big deaths in 2013, however we never saw Margaret Thatcher giving a cheeky shout out to DeathList at the launch of her autobiography and we never caught Nelson Mandela taking a crafty sip from his DeathList mug. For all his faults, it was Ronnie Biggs that eclipsed these world figures in his legendary embracing of DeathList. Ronnie shot to fame in 1963 in being part of the Great Train Robbery crew, albeit as perhaps quite a minor part. His escape from prison and settlement in Brazil, living the life of Riley elevated his notoriety. Ronnie made his first appearance on DeathList in 2000 and was then extradited back to Britain to die in 2001. Despite being picked on the list in every year since 2002 and always near the top of the chart, Ronnie proved to be tough as old boots and turned his taunting in the direction of DeathList with mentions at his book launch and occasional tweets and releases of photos showing him with DeathList merchandise. Perhaps after some initial mixed views, Ronnie soon won over the DeathList audience with his cheeky rascal capers. DeathList salutes you, Ronnie, and thanks you for giving us the 12th success of the year- RIP. 15th Dec 2013: Hellraising actor, Peter O’Toole, has supped his last drink and provides DeathList 2013 with its eleventh success of the year. Apart from his alcoholic consumption, O’Toole was most famous for starring in Laurence of Arabia, for which he received an Oscar nomination. During his career he earned a further seven nominations but never won for a performance. He was however awarded an honorary Oscar in 2003. O’Toole passed away aged 81 and surprisingly, considering his hard living, was making his first appearance on DeathList, just sneaking into the 49th spot. 5th Dec 2013: Despite the slowing hit rate of DeathList 2013, there was no missing the biggest death of the year, that being Nelson Mandela. An activist and politician who spearheaded the campaign to dismantle apartheid in South Africa, Mandela made his first appearance on DeathList in 1989 while serving the last of his 27 years in prison. With Mandela looking quite frail on his eventual release in 1990, he made a second appearance on the list in 1991, however it soon became clear his work on this earth was not done and he went on to become South Africa first black president in 1994. Into his 90s, Mandela’s health started to fail and finally, after eight appearances on the list, the universally respected figure succumbed. Unlike some candidates, his achievement of providing DeathList 2013 with its tenth success of the year ranks well down the list of what he achieved in his lifetime. 11th Oct 2013: After a quiet couple of months, it’s time for unanimous celebrations for the death of Erich Priebke, a Nazi officer convicted of the massacre of some 335 Italians in 1944. Priebke lived to the grand age of 100 and lived some 50 years of his life free in Argentina after escaping to there following the war. Priebke was tracked down by ABC reporters in 1994, which began a long process to bring justice and resulted in him being under house arrest for the last 15 years of his life. A nice outcome for Priebke considering the severity of his crimes. Priebke is success number nine for DeathList 2013. This year marked his fourth appearance on DeathList, securing the number five spot on the list. 11th Jul 2013: Former star of British soap opera, Eastenders, Anna Wing, has passed on at the grand old age of 98 to provide DeathList 2013 with another score. Wing was most famous for her role as Lou Beale when the show first started in the mid 1980’s but her character was killed off well ahead of time in 1988. She remained an active actress through the 90s and 2000s appearing in a variety of TV shows. Wing was making her fifth appearance on DeathList (including the inaugral 1987 list) , breaking into the top 10 at number seven this year. She marks the eighth success for DeathList 2013, maintaining the strong pace set in the first half of the year. 4th Jul 2013: Bernadette “Bernie” Nolan, lead singer of the 80s pop group, The Nolans, has succumbed to cancer, at the age of just 52, to give DeathList 2013 another score. Most famous for their tune “In The Mood for Dancing”, The Nolans were a household name in Britain in the early 1980s. Bernie Nolan went on to have an acting career, appearing on British TV in Brookside and The Bill. She announced that she had breast cancer in 2010 and then got the all clear in 2012, only for it to return several months later. Bernie was making her first appearance on DeathList, charting right at the edge of the top 20. She is the seventh success of the year. 11th Jun 2013: Sir Henry Cecil, 10 times flat racing champion horse trainer, has rewarded the DeathList punters for the final time by losing his battle with stomach cancer aged 70. Cecil had many highs and lows throughout his career. He trained eight winners of the Oaks and four Derby winners, but still found time to dabble with drink, drugs, a stable girl and a rather expensive “vice girl”. Towards the end of his life he trained his most highly rated horse, Frankel. Cecil was making his debut appearance of DeathList, drawn at number 22. 8th Apr 2013: Former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, has passed away, putting another point on the DeathList 2013 scoreboard. In the earlier stages of her career she attracted the Milk Snatcher moniker, when, as Secretary of State, she cut free milk allowance for school children. Thatcher became leader of the Conservative party in 1975 and Prime Minister in 1979. The Iron Lady ruled Britain for 11 years, during which time she dismantled Britain’s nationalised industries and battered the trade unions, the Argentinians and any others that got in her way. Public feeling against her culminated when she forced the introduction of the poll tax in 1990 and soon after found she had few allies left in her own party. Despite the passage of time, much hatred for Thatcher remains to this day. She was making her sixth appearance on DeathList, this year elected in 29th place. Her death is the fifth success for DeathList 2013. 5th Mar 2013: Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela, has succumbed to cancer, providing DeathList 2013 with another score. Rumours of 58 year old Chavez’s deteriorating health had been circulating for some time and his return home from treatment in Cuba signalled that the end was near. Despite his poor health, Chavez was re-elected as president in an election as recent as October 2012. His social democratic politics made him a natural enemy of the United States, although perhaps his description of George W Bush as a donkey reinforced that role. Chavez was making his debut appearance on DeathList and found himself sitting in the number 2 slot behind our self-appointed ambassador. Chavez is the fourth success for DeathList 2013. 4th Feb 2013: DeathList’s fast start to the year continues with the news that Reg Presley, lead singer of The Troggs, has passed away. The Troggs had a number of hits through the 60’s to the 90’s including Wild Thing (1966), Wild Thing (new version) (1972), Wild Thing (Reggae version) (1975), Wild Thing '89 (1989) Wild Thing (1992) (featuring Oliver Reed and Hurricane Higgins), Wild Thing (1993) (featuring Wolf from Gladiators), With a Girl Like You (1966) and Love is all Around (1967). Presley succumbed to lung cancer at the age of 71. He was making his first appearance on DeathList, securing the number 24 position. 30th Jan 2013: Patty Andrews, the last surviving members of The Andrews Sisters, has passed away to give DeathList 2013 its second success. Close harmony singing group, The Andrews Sisters, had a string of hits in the 1940, with such songs as Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, Hold Tight and Beer Barrel Polka (aka Roll Out The Barrel), but the only bugle that will be heard now is that playing the Taps, as the pallbearers hold tight while the DeathList committee rolls out the barrel. Andrews was 94 years old and making her third appearance on DeathList, this year at number 27 in the charts. 21st Jan 2013: Michael Winner, British film director, pompous food critic and star of UK motor insurance TV commercials, has added to his long list celebrity claims by being the first success of DeathList 2013. Winner was perhaps best known for the Death Wish movies in the 1970s and 80s, although in recent years had also become well known for his weekly Winner’s Dinners column in The Sunday Times. In the early 2000s, he starred in TV commercials for online insurance company, Esure, firing out the infuriating catchphrase “Calm down dear, it’s a commercial”. In later life, Winner suffered from a series of serious illnesses and had his own Death Wish, publicly announcing that he was investigating assisted suicide with Dignitas. He finally passed away aged 77. In 2013 he making his first appearance on DeathList and would have perhaps been disappointed by only claiming the number 28 position.
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