Monday, September 13, 2010

Another from the Celebrity Death Pool Bites the Dust

Many years ago I heard about these celebrity death pools in which people throw their money into a pool to bet on which celebrities will die in the next 6 months. The younger the celebrity who dies and the sooner within the 6 months, the more points you earn. It's a sick game. It's morally depraved at best, but it was so intriguing. I thought about throwing myself into the thick of it and made up a preliminary list of those likely to die.

If I remember correctly, the game I was looking to get into asked for a list of 50 names. I put together a list of 60 or so, but in the end I never entered. I still have that list and there are still quite a few names alive and kicking. The oldest on my list who are still ticking are Luise Rainer and Gloria Stuart. Fay Wray and Max Schmeling were the oldest at the time of inception, but they passed on shortly after I composed it.

At the young end of my list I've had no luck with the drug addicts and the terminally ill, with the exception of Christopher Reeve, who died within what would have been the 6 months of the game had I entered. But Gary Busey, Nick Nolte and Courtney Love seem to have a better handle on their drinking than they used to. Richard Pryor succumbed to his illness, but Annette Funicello, Muhammed Ali, Stephen Hawking and Roger Ebert just keep battling through their maladies. And John Goodman has miraculously staved off a heart attack, despite getting more and more portly as the years slog on. The real disappointment has been Osama bin Laden, who should have been wiped off my list long before reaching age 50. But now at 53, his name is still there.

Well, on Saturday Kevin McCarthy, aged 96 and the star of the 1956 Invasion of the Body Snatchers (but whom I remember as the bad guy from Innerspace) died. He was a minor celebrity, being most famous for his Body Snatchers role and for originating the role of Biff Loman in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman on stage (directed by the late, great Elia Kazan).

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