Akilisi Pohiva

Akilisi Pohiva was the first commoner elected to the position of Tongan Prime Minister. Fittingly, his political career was characterised by clashes with Tongan monarchy: he was arrested for sedition in 2002 for claiming the king had a hidden fortune, and again in 2007 for his alleged involvement in the pro-democracy Nuku’alofa riots. He was […]

T. Boone Pickens

When it came to 1980s business reporting, T. Boone Pickens was straight out of central casting. He made his name, J.R. Ewing-style, with wildcat oil drills. He then became one of the era’s most fearsome corporate raiders, feared and loathed in equal measures across Wall Street. And he finished the decade as an unlikely environmentalist, pushing […]

Daniel Johnston

Daniel Johnston looked like Artie Lange’s corpse after three days of bloating and made absolutely terrible music. There’s a good reason we don’t let “outsider musicians” inside, people. Still, enough people thought they were being edgy by listening to the man who did Nazi salutes on stage and was arrested for an incident in which […]

Brian Barnes

Brian Barnes was a hard-drinking, harder-smoking (he was 1977’s Pipe Smoker of the Year) golfer of the type you don’t get in these days of interchangeable Americans who all look like they’re called Brock or Jayden dominating the greens. His finest hour came during the 1975 Ryder Cup, where he became the only man to […]

Robert Mugabe

Time to chalk off, in terms of numbers, the biggest DDP hit of the year thus far. And what can you say about Robert Mugabe? Well, he was a big Cliff Richard fan – indeed, he wanted The Peter Pan of Pop to play at Zimbabwe’s independence celebrations in 1980, rather than Bob Marley. He […]

Stan Cosgrove

The son of a doctor, Stan Cosgrove worked as a GP himself until his early 40s when he spotted a gap in the market: equine medicine. He soon became the preferred vet to nearly every major Irish racing trainer and set up the first private horse hospital in the British Isles. His expertise was so […]

Hugh Beach

Sir Hugh Beach was one of the more respected British military minds of his generation, serving from 1941 to 1981. He saw active service in France and Java during his early years, and eventually ascended to the post of Master-General of the Ordnance. After retiring from the military he advised the government on warfare and […]

Valerie Harper

“My name is Rhoda Morgenstern. I was born in the Bronx, N.Y., in December 1941. I’ve always felt responsible for World War II.” went the voiceover at the start of the sitcom Rhoda, helpfully illustrating the average American’s complete ignorance of military history. Its star, Valerie Harper, may not have started any world wars but she […]

Jim Leavelle

One of history’s least effective bodyguards, Jim Leavelle, has died. A sailor with the US Navy during World War II (he was present during the bombing of Pearl Harbor), Leavelle became a homicide detective in 1950. His contribution to world history came in 1963 when, while wearing a stupid tan suit and hat, he escorted […]

Guy Innes-Ker

At a time Prince Andrew needs all the friends he can get, one person who won’t be coming to the ebephile royal’s defence is his old mucker Guy Innes-Ker. Innes-Ker was the 10th Duke of Roxburghe and attended all the expected locales (Sandhust, Eton). Other than his friendship with the nonce he was an important […]