George Rosenkranz

Born in Hungary but educated in Switzerland, George Rosenkranz was one of a number of promising Jewish scientists who were helped in escaping from the shadow of Axis Germany by Nobel Prize winner Leopold Ruzicka. Rosenkranz was traveling to a new post in Ecuador when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, and thus had to settle for […]

Helen Legh

As always, it’s the smaller deaths that make the biggest impact on the DDP… Helen Legh had been a fixture on BBC Three Counties Radio for over a decade, progressing from the early breakfast slot for a Milton Keynes audience to helming the Sunday morning show across the whole region. That was until a big […]

Gloria Vanderbilt

Gloria Vanderbilt’s father, Reginald Vanderbilt, was a degenerate gambler and alcoholic. That’s bad. He died when she was just 18 months old, from liver cirrhosis. That’s also bad. However, because he was fantastically wealthy – even with all the money frittered on fast women and slow horses – he was able to leave her $2.5 […]

Maria Giuseppa Robucci

Maria Giuseppa Robucci was the oldest person in Europe at the time of her death, having been born a month before Atletico Madrid were formed as a football club. She lived her entire life in the small Italian town of Poggio Imperiale, where she worked on a farm (she was still able to chop wood […]

Franco Zeffirelli

And the man whose version of Romeo and Juliet has enabled English teachers to just wheel the TV out and not worry about planning for two lessons leaves us.  The bastard child of two fashion industry workers, Franco Zeffirelli’s mother wasn’t allowed to use his father’s name on birth documents, so she made up the surname “Zeffirelli” […]

Anne Hamilton-Byrne

The late 1960s was the heyday of the drug-taking messianic brainwashing cult, and Australia got its own slice of the action in the shape of Anne Hamilton-Byrne. A former yoga teacher who believed she was the reincarnation of Jesus Christ, AHB’s “The Family” cult adopted a string of children from orphanages and social services. They […]

Pat Bowlen

Born into a family who made it rich as Canadian wildcat oildrillers, Pat Bowlen played as a wide-receiver while at the University of Oklahoma, but never had the chops to be a professional American footballer. So instead he bought a team: the Denver Broncos to be precise, in 1984. His tenure brought three Super Bowls, […]

Fay McKenzie

It may have taken a few months for her obituary to come through, but they all count the same… Fay McKenzie was the last known surviving woman to have acted in the 1910s (she played a baby in the 1919 Gloria Swanson movie Station Content). However, she went on to make a serious name for herself […]

Philomena Lynott

The grave of Thin Lizzy frontman Phil Lynott, in Dublin’s St. Fintan’s Cemetery, is the most-visited gravesite in all of Ireland. And those who made the pilgrimage would often be greeted by Philomena Lynott, his mother, who spent large amounts of time maintaining his grave. Before leaving, she would kick the headstone because he “was […]

Sylvia Miles

Due to her love of the high life and free alcohol, Sylvia Miles was the origin of the phrase “she’ll turn up to the opening of an envelope” (the aphorist in question was her friend, veteran gossip columnist Earl Wilson). But she was more than just a party girl. The wrong side of 40 when […]