(Before reading this post, keep in mind that nobody likes it when people die, but death is a part of life and this is strictly for fun. I admit to freely using people’s ultimate demise as if they were part of some game, but if you may be offended, I understand and would not recommend further reading.)
Another year, another practice dead pool.
[ADBLOCKHERE]I participated in the ’04 Lee Atwater Invitational, but only got Ronald Reagon correct. I forget who my practice team was this year, but I’m pretty sure I had Richard Pryor croaking. So again — probably just one person out of 10.
This year in the Lee Atwater, as 6 of the 10 most selected celebrities died: Pope John Paul II (1), Chief Justice William Rehnquist (3), boxer Max Schmeling (4), Scotty from Star Trek James Doohan (7), civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks (9) and Green Acres co-star Eddie Albert (10).
Looking toward the next year, there are several viable candidates. Hmmm. Maybe that’s not the right word to use in this context.
So what’s the best way to get a list of ten celebrities who will most likely not see 2007?
We can go back to that Lee Atwater Invitational list of the people most picked in ’05 who lived:
- Lady Bird Johnson
- Brooke Astor
- Ronnie Biggs
- Gerald Ford
- Augusto Pinochet
- Al Lewis
- Elizabeth Taylor
- Billy Graham
- Kirk Douglas
- Dick Clark
So, how are these ten folks doing?
Lady Bird has had deteriorating health in recent years, but no more than the next 93-year-old.
Brooke Astor is 103. As Gonzo Marx may put it, “nuff said?”
Ronnie Biggs, a British prisoner famous (not to me) for the Great Train Robbery, has contracted MRSA, which I heard is some kind of bad virus. He’s 80 years old. Sounds like a good bet to me.
Former Chilean military dictator Augusto Pinochet, who turned 90 in November, is no known strikes against him other than being 90 and a former dictator widely accused of human rights violations. But for some odd reason, those dictators know how to stay fit.
Al Lewis, known best as Grandpa Munster, is 95 years old. Anybody who played the grandfather of a family of monsters 40 years ago is — to say the least — due.
Liz Taylor is also reported to be not doing so not — and perhaps will be cremated and scattered in a vat of Passion perfume.
Rev. Dr. Graham was also in the news for his final crusade in New York City. The 87-year-old is yet another sexy pick for ’06.
Kirk Douglas, Michael’s dad, had a stroke about ten years ago but the 89-year-old hasn’t made much noise recently. The grim reaper may soon be asking which one of you is Spartacus.
Dick Clark has made a second career out of looking like a 30-year-old for 30 years. But after his stroke, he’s back in the saddle for this year’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve, perhaps going out in a blaze of glory. Much like Rev. Graham.
Beyond Stiffs.com’s popular ten, Dead or Alive? is a handy reference for people who thought people were already dead, and has a section of celebrities who are over 85 and still alive and kickin’. Or at least alive and movin’. Astor is mentioned as the oldest celebrity, at 103. Not a bad pick. It’s like taking a high-percentage shot in basketball — you can’t go wrong.
Some other options
With the John Paul II finally passing away, his successor, Benedict XVI, is no rising young star. But at 78 and with access to some of the best medical treatment in the world, he’s got several good years in him.
Mark Felt was finally revealed as Deep Throat this year, and perhaps the 92-year-old did so because he knew he would not be around much longer. But I’m hesitant to predict a Nixon-Felt reunion in ’06.
Jimmy Carter and George Bush Sr. are both 81 years old, but both in relatively goot health. And while an assassination attempt of George W. Bush is very unlikely, it probably wouldn’t shock anybody given his — “popularity.”
Also, if they can confirm this year Osama bin Laden is dead, it would count. But I’m not getting my hopes up. But if we play the terrorism card, we might as well go with the one who seems who is closer to his enemy — al-Zarqawi.
I can go on and on analyzing this, but at some point it’s all based on hunches, so I’ll take a few smart picks and mix in a bunch of elderly celebrities, just like throwing stuff at a wall and hope that something sticks.
So here’s my list, not necessarily in order of confidence. But it could be.
- Ronnie Biggs (80 years old)
- Brooke Astor (103)
- Gerald Ford (92)
- Muhammad Ali (63), the greatest boxer of all time (at one time)
- Billy Graham (87)
- Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (39)
- Kirk Douglas (89)
- Byron Nelson (93), golfer
- Oral Roberts (87), that one evangelist dude
- Courtney Love (41), who comedian Geoffrey Ross said looks worse than Kurt Cobain.
As always, remember the spirit of of dead pooling: hope for the best, pray for the families if you’re right, and if you kill the people on your list, that’s considered cheating.