This Day in Death

5.10.12: Automotive Designer Carroll Shelby – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:38 am May 16, 2012

You get Burt Reynolds in there riding shotgun with a Great Dane and you’ve got a movie I will pay literally any sum of money to see.

Famed race car driver and automotive designer Carroll Shelby is dead today at the age of 89 due to complications suffered from pneumonia. He actually died last Thursday, but if you’re expecting to get hard-hitting, up to the minute news from a site with an “old people” tag and a scythe in the logo you probably need a tutorial on the way this whole ‘internet’ thing works. Come to think of it, how’d you even manage to find this blog? Did you Ask Jeeves or something? Ha! That’s a burn, Hypothetical Luddite Reader!

While perhaps best known now for his Shelby Cobras and Shelby Mustangs, his auto foothold came as a notable race driver. And among his enduring, endearing accomplishments as a car builder, Shelby broke the class barrier that had made European brands the elite in road racing.

Representing the proletariat, his innovative, now-legendary Cobras with their “crude” Ford push-rod V-8s gave the high-revving, overhead-camshaft Porsches and Ferraris a sour taste by winning the Grand Touring World Championship in 1965.

It was a prelude to a bigger win: the famous 1-2-3 finish in 1966 in the 24 Hours of Le Mans by Ford GT40 Mark II’s he engineered, breaking Ferrari’s domination.

With Shelby gone someone will have to take charge and start coming up with all the new, groundbreaking automotive advancements, and I think most people would agree it should be me. For instance, have you tried adding more wheels? Like, just a crazy amount of wheels, attached everywhere? Oh, but that would probably cause more wind resistance. I wonder if the speed gained from the increased wheel count would compensate for the additional drag. How do you calculate that, anyway? Is that what the Pythagorean theorem is for? Ugh. Being a visionary is pretty hard after all. Now I know how that sound effects guy from Police Academy felt.


Source: USA Today

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5.13.12: Bassist Donald “Duck” Dunn – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:34 am May 15, 2012

Fun fact: In the mid-80s Bob Ross beat Dunn nearly to death and proceeded to wear his facial hair as a trophy until he died in 1995. Because literally every famous person is dangerously unhinged.

USA Today is reporting that Donald “Duck” Dunn, bassist for legendary R&B group Booker T and the MGs, died on Sunday at the age of 70. I tried to read beyond that point, but I get kinda confused when there isn’t a colorful chart to help me simplify my opinions. You’re slipping, USA Today. If I wanted in-depth analyst I’d read a newspaper that doesn’t include a box of crayons with their subscription.

Downtune my E string, Block Quote:

Dunn was in Tokyo for a series of shows. News of his death was posted on the Facebook site of his friend and fellow musician Steve Cropper, who was on the same tour. Cropper said Dunn died in his sleep.

Miho Harasawa, a spokeswoman for Tokyo Blue Note, the last venue Dunn played, confirmed he died alone early Sunday. She had no further details.

Dunn, who was born in Memphis in 1941, performed on recordings with Eric Clapton, Neil Young and many others, and specialized in blues, gospel and soul. He played himself in the 1980 hit movie The Blues Brothers.

He received a lifetime achievement Grammy award in 2007 for his work with Booker T. and the MGs.

Sorry, but I’ll never trust people whose first and last names start with the same letter. What are you, a Superman character? It’s just not normal, consarn it!


Source: USA Today

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5.11.12: “Jonah Hex” creator Tony DeZuniga – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:35 am May 14, 2012

“We can do this the easy way, or we can do this the sexy way.”


Hey, nerds: Comic book creator Tony DeZuniga died on Friday at the age of 71. I was gonna make a joke here, but I feel pretty bad about calling you guys nerds a second ago. It’s my fault. I just get so scared sometimes.

DeZuniga suffered complications following a stroke in April brought about by a bought of pneumonia.

He was best known for his work on Conan and as the co-creator of DC Comics characters Jonah Hex and Black Orchid.

The artist was the first Filipino to work for DC and Marvel Comics.

For those who don’t know, Jonah Hex is a bounty hunter who starred in a series of well-received stories based around hard-boiled western tropes. Before being turned into a time-traveler who fights space aliens. And then starring in a movie so shitty that Megan Fox was only about the fourth most wooden and embarrassing thing about it. Hex is currently benefiting from a minor creative rebirth, which will undoubtedly be followed by the inclusion of a back-talking teenage sidekick and relocated to early 90s Compton. Fresh!


Source: Digital Spy

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5.4.12: Game Show Producer Bob Stewart – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:54 am May 11, 2012

“To Tell the Truth, this smells like Mark Goodson’s wife! Haha! I have serious sociological issues!”


Television game show producer Bob Stewart, the man behind To Tell the Truth, Password (the boring, SFW version) and The Price is Right has died at the age of 91. He actually died last Friday, so I probably should’ve reported on this earlier, but there’s been a glut of deaths over the last week. Putting any more effort into this blog would have been dangerously similar to having a real job, and if I wanted that I never would’ve slashed the tires of my shift manager at Quizno’s. I’M NOT WEARING A HAIRNET, DEBRA! IT’S HOW I EXPRESS MYSELF!

In 1964, Stewart started his own production entity and during the next 28 years created and produced 15 network series, highlighted by the Pyramid franchise. Hosted by Dick Clark, The $10,000Pyramid and its various bigger-money incarnations collected nine Emmys for best game show.

A native of Brooklyn who entered the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 2009, Stewart landed his first show business job after World War II as a writer for WNEW-AM New York. He entered television in the early 1950s, writing, producing and directing for several New York broadcasters.

Stewart’s big career break came during a 1956 meeting with Goodson, during which he pitched the concepts for Price Is Right and To Tell the Truth. He created Password five years later.

Good times, good times. The 50s were truly the golden age of crooked game shows. How the hell are today’s coked-up producers supposed to rig concepts like  ‘Howie Mandel lets high school dropouts arbitrarily choose suitcases from random skanks’? That shit is chaos theory. Wait, is that show still on the air? I don’t think it is. That’s sad, all those people out of work. It’s always the skanks that suffer.


Source: The Hollywood Reporter

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5.9.12: Hair Stylist Vidal Sassoon – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:10 am May 10, 2012

Apparently when you’re an eccentric fashionsta you can show up to a photo shoot dressed like a character from A Clockwork Orange and nobody says a goddamn thing.


Famed hair stylist and inventor of the “bob” hairstyle Vidal Sassoon has died at the age of 84. Sassoon suffered from leukemia, so his official cause of death is being reported as natural causes. Obviously. And while I want to be sympathetic about this, here’s the first line of the article:

HE WAS a rock star, an artist, a man who changed the world with a pair of scissors.

Firstly, none of those things are true. I don’t even think that last part is possible. But more importantly, I have a little rule around these parts: Any time you refer to a person as a “rock star” who isn’t an actual rock star, I mouthfart through your entire obituary. Set the timer, Block Quote!


He opened his own Bond Street salon in 1958, and there created his trademark geometric, “Bauhaus-inspired” hair style – the bob. He went on to turn hairstyling into a multi-million-dollar industry.

“I gave myself five years. If I couldn’t change anything, I was out of there,” he once told the LA Times.

“When I first came into hair, women were coming in and you’d place a hat on their hair and you’d dress their hair around it. We learned to put discipline in the haircuts by using actual geometry, actual architectural shapes and bone structure. The cut had to be perfect and layered beautifully, so that when a woman shook it, it just fell back in.”

His many famous clients during the Sixties included model Jean Shrimpton, actors Terence Stamp and Mia Farrow and the Duchess of Bedford, model Jean Shrimpton, actor Terence Stamp and fashion designer Mary Quant, who called him the “Chanel of hair”.


That may’ve been a record. And now, here is a list of things I have, at one time or another, assumed “Vidal Sassoon” was:

  • A loveable Dr. Seuss character
  • German for “the bassoon”
  • Some kind of exotic species of reptile
  • An efficiently-designed office chair from IKEA
  • The phrase you have to say to send Mister Mxyzptlk back to his home dimension
  • A less than stellar French wine


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5.8.12: “Where the Wild Things Are” Author Maurice Sendak – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:34 am May 9, 2012

Sendak, seen here hanging out with one of his literary creations come to life. It’s like when Dan Brown briefly dated Tom Hanks’ mullet.

I’m not happy about having to write this one, but as the sole proprietor of this award-eligible blog, which is read by literally ones of people on almost each and every day, it’s my sad duty to report that charmingly ornery author Maurice Sendak died yesterday at the age of 83. You know Sendak best as the author of Where the Wild Things Are, the book that taught us that calling our mothers out on their bullshit was the only way to preserve our sense of wonder in a dour world full of meaningless rules, rules which they themselves designed with the sole intention of sucking dry our imaginations like so much Jamba Juice Mango-A-Go-Go. Which is what makes it such a perfectly ironic Mother’s Day gift this year. You’re welcome, negligent sons of America.

Sendak was born to Polish immigrant parents in Brooklyn, New York, in 1928. He was a reclusive youth who was so frequently sick with measles, pneumonia, yellow fever, that his grandmother made him dress all in white so that death would think him already an angel and pass him by.

Well, either an angel or Andrew WK. And Death loves to party, so that may not have been the most discrete plan after all. Eh, I guess I’m not in any position to talk: If I was any good at successfully hiding sickly children I probably wouldn’t have to wear this stupid electronic tether all the time. And now we’ll move onto another topic, because I am not legally required to incriminate myself further.

Sendak worked a ten-year apprenticeship as a children’s book illustrator for other writers’ works before his editor agreed to let him write and draw his own book. It was originally pitched as Where The Wild Horses Are, but Sendak realized he could not draw horses, and replaced them with monsters inspired by his memories of uncles, aunts and cousins that fled to America from Poland, people who had seemed wild, unkempt and monstrous to his younger self.

God, this guy was awesome. One time in junior high I couldn’t figure out square roots, so instead I just drew a stick figure with boobs standing next to a robot with machine gun hands shooting at a tombstone marked “You.” Sendak built his career around that attitude, told anyone who didn’t like it to suck his Blick, and got away with it. Meanwhile, I get suspended on the grounds of having a “dangerously unbalanced psychological profile, including but not limited to such alarming tendencies as a total lack of empathy towards other human beings.” Pfft. Most of those aren’t even real words!


Source: Comics Alliance

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5.7.12: Heroin-Addled Swiss Raver Dolphins – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 10:30 am May 8, 2012

I made this before reading the article. If it turns out to be inaccurate I should still be able to make some tweaks and use it for when Andy Dick ODs on Clorox this summer.

So it looks like some filthy Swiss ravers got high and fed heroin to some dolphins who happened to be in the immediate vicinity. Because in Switzerland you can apparently just party with dolphins whenever you want. The whole country behaves like its in an 80s Bud Light commercial.

Hey, Block Quote: Can we try some Block Quotes within Block Quotes, like some kind of grammatical Inception?

A toxicology report has surfaced that says two dolphins who died last year after a zoo rave in Switzerland that says heroin was found in the mammals’ urine. reports:

About a year ago, dolphins Shadow and Chelmers died agonizing deaths in Connyland, Switzerland, after the zoo allowed a rave (attended by thousands) to be held near their training pool. For animals with sonar hearing, a possibly dubstep-heavy event was already considered a strain.

Now a toxicology report has emerged that shows a heroin substitute was found in the animal’s urine. This would seem to confirm initial suspicions that whacked-out ravers fed the dolphins drugs while possibly on some kind of weird acid trip.

AOL UK reports that it was originally believed that the techno music pumping out from the club just yards from the dolphins’ pool had caused their deaths:

But toxicology tests carried out by the forensics institute in St Gallen show that the heroin substitute Buprenorphin was present in the dolphins’ urine.

According to The Sun, Dutch marine biologist and dolphin expert Cornelis van Elk said: “Opiates are extremely dangerous for underwater mammals and would never be used in any legitimate treatment.

Yikes. What a sad story. Between this and Aphex Twin Junior Skrillex I’m kinda surprised dubstep is still legal. You don’t hear about mammals dying at Sugarland concerts. Wait, seriously? Oh man. That is the worst musical atrocity since Gwen Stefani murdered Adam Yauch.


Source: Seattle PI

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5.6.12: George Lindsey, Television’s Goober Pyle – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:50 am May 7, 2012

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD WILL YOU LET HIM GET BACK TO WORK, YOU STUPID HICKS?! He’s an officer of the law! He doesn’t have time for this crap!

George Lindsey, best known for his tireless work to progress the yokel arts as Goober Pyle on The Andy Griffith Show and Hee-Haw (Oooh, range!), died Sunday at the age of 83. So that’s probably why my grandpa’s been calling me all day. GOOD LUCK GETTING AN ANSWER, OLD MAN! I RECOGNIZE THE NUMBER!

In a statement released through the funeral home, Griffith said, “George Lindsey was my friend. I had great respect for his talent and his human spirit. In recent years, we spoke often by telephone. Our last conversation was a few days ago … I am happy to say that as we found ourselves in our eighties, we were not afraid to say, ‘I love you.’ That was the last thing George and I had to say to each other. ‘I love you.’”

There you have it: Not everyone’s coworkers hate them. It looks like it’s mainly just you.

He did some standup comedy — ending the show by tap and break dancing.

Yup, Goober Pyle used to breakdance on stage and you missed it. Just like when the blonde guy from CHiPs was signing autographs at the rec center and you didn’t find out about it til the next day. Between all that and your co-workers’ seething, barely-contained hatred for you (and everything you stand for) you’re really having a rough year. I dunno, maybe you need to buy a motorcycle or something. Listen, I’m not your life coach, figure this shit out yourself.

Source: The Washington Post

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5.4.12: Beastie Boy Adam “MCA” Yauch – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 4:56 am May 5, 2012

Any other time that a white, middle-aged Jew can rap circles around you it just means you’re Soulja Boy.


If its ever-increasing presence in the tag cloud on the right is any indication, cancer is still not finished ruining everything for everyone. Hell, I pretty much started a post with this same statement just yesterday, and that’s not only because I suspect I may have the same brain problem as that Momento guy. Truly, cancer is the cancer of diseases.

Today Adam Yauch, aka MCA of the Beastie Boys, has died. Cause of death is presumably due to the cancerous salivary gland he had spent the last three years battling. He was 47. This is why we can’t have anything nice.

I shouldn’t have to tell you why the Beasties are significant. If you need to be told why Yauch’s death is a loss for music, and your last name isn’t Google, I don’t need your traffic. Philistine. But, by way of tribute, let’s one final time let the Block Quote…. mmmmmmdrop!

They offered many listeners in the 1980s their first exposure to hip-hop. They were vanguard white rappers who helped extend the art of sampling and gained the respect of their African-American peers.

While many hip-hop careers are brief, the Beastie Boys appealed not only to the fans they reached in the 1980s but to successive generations, making million-selling albums into the 2000s. They grew up without losing their sense of humor or their ear for a party beat.

The Beastie Boys started their major-label career with two pivotal albums: “Licensed to Ill” (1986), a cornerstone of rap-rock that became the first hip-hop album to top the Billboard chart, and “Paul’s Boutique” (1989), a wildly eclectic, sample-based production that became a template for experimental hip-hop.

Yauch and the Beasties maintained a social and political consciousness throughout most of their career, most notably working towards freedom for Tibet from China’s occupation. Alright, so that hasn’t panned out just yet, but the effort is nonetheless admirable. Most famous musicians spend so much time designing clothing lines and starring in shitty vanity projects that they don’t even bother learning to play instruments, let alone use their fame to do any good for anyone. Aside from the Beasties and U2 pretty much the only other group setting an example for socially responsible musicians is the Right Said Fred Coalition for Mesh T-Shirt Awareness. In 2012 that may sound like something that doesn’t really need “awareness” spread about it, but that just goes to show you how successful it was. Point is, maybe if Gwen Stefani cared more about cancer and less about making sure that impressionable idiots with deep pockets were always swaggin’ in fashions so gaudy that Bill Cosby’s sweater would sign a petition against color-blocking Yauch would still be around and we wouldn’t be short another fantastic musician. And I wouldn’t have to post after five o’clock on a Friday. That’s right, I’m calling it: Gwen Stefani murdered Adam Yauch.


Source: The New York Times

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5.2.12: NFL Linebacker Junior Seau – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:45 am May 4, 2012

Wait, is this gonna be a sports post? Alright, hang on. I just gotta cover up my Carl Sagan poster with this Calvin Johnson Fathead and we’ll be all set. SPORTS!


I’ve been pretty explicit about my lack of interest in covering every athlete that dies, mainly because the only thing less enjoyable to me than sports would be sitting here for twenty minutes trying to figure out how I’m supposed to squeeze jokes out of terms like “shuttlecock” and “tight end” or names like Randy “Big Unit” Johnson. Some grapes just can’t be turned into wine, folks.

Junior Seau, regarded as one of the N.F.L.’s best linebackers over a 20-year career with the San Diego Chargers, the Miami Dolphins and the New England Patriots, died of a gunshot wound to the chest Wednesday at his home in Oceanside, Calif. He was 43.

The Oceanside police said Seau’s death was being investigated as a suicide. He was found by his girlfriend in a bedroom of his beachfront house Wednesday morning, and a handgun was found near the body, the police said.

In truth I wasn’t even gonna cover this one until I saw how many articles were already floating around about it and assumed it must be a bigger deal than I had originally figured. I’m always so behind the curve on this stuff. Speaking of which, how come nobody told me that we’re not saying “you are the weakest link, goodbye” anymore? Everyone at work probably just thinks I’m an ass now!


Source: The New York Times

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