Monday, January 01, 2007

It's Goodbye From Them

Ernest Borgnine, Clive Dunn, Lady Bird Johnson.

What do they have in common?

Improbably, they are all still alive as I write this. Hard to believe, isn't it? But one year from now, they're tipped to be watching us from the newbie row of the choir imperial.

Yes, Death List 2007 has been released. For the uninitiated obit reader, the Death List consists of 50 names of famous people who are likely to shuffle off the mortal coil this year. The criteria are as follows:

Candidates must have a certain level of famousness, which is basically that their demise must be expected to be reported by the UK media. Candidates are ineligible if their only claim to fame is their likely death in the near future. Also, no more than 25 celebrities that appeared on the previous year’s list can be selected.

It's been running for about 20 years now, and last year, 13 of the 50 tips were correct, including General Pinochet and John Profumo.

Among the more likely candidates for 2007 are Ariel Sharon (a gimme, surely) and Michael Foot (93 now, and much more loved for being old than he ever was for being Labour leader). Others include Claude Levi Strauss, who reputedly invented jeans, and Oscar Niemeyer, the architect behind the hot dog.

The website is very good, if macabre, with details on the candidates as well as the lowdown on previous lists and a forum for discussing the likely departures. Here is the full list of names for 2007:

Fidel Castro, Ariel Sharon, Ruby Muhammad, Charles Lane, Albert Hofmann, Oscar Niemeyer, Michael Foot, Ernest Borgnine, Billy Graham, Ronnie Biggs, Brooke Astor, Tim Johnson, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Claude Levi-Strauss, Ernest Gallo, Lady Bird Johnson, Bill Deedes, Mark Felt, Tammy Faye Messner, Karl Malden, Eli Wallach, Les Paul, Yitzhak Shamir, Dom Mintoff, Kirk Douglas, Olivia De Havilland, Herbert Lom, Vera Lynn, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Oral Roberts, Betty Ford, Dino de Laurentiis, Ian Smith, Ingmar Bergman, John Forsythe, Kurt Waldheim, JD Salinger, Jake Lamotta, John Demjanjuk, Al Molinaro, Abe Vigoda, Suharto, Patrick Moore, Gore Vidal, George Melly, Jerry Lewis, Jack Kevorkian, Harold Pinter, Louis Farrakhan, Clive Dunn

The most interesting death amongst non-Death Listers, which we've been waiting for for nearly 55 years, would be that of the Queen. In Britain there would surely be a day off work for the funeral, and perhaps (finally) a proper debate on the future of the monarchy. Sadly, she's got good genes for this game and will most likely be around for another decade at least.

Here's hoping Patrick Moore is still on the list for 2008. I can't say the same for Suharto.

1 comment:

Michael said...

Glad to see Abe Vigoda is still alive. I'd lost touch since my Firefox extension to check his life or death status stopped working.

Happy New Year Chris!