Celebrity picks for Derby Dead Pool 2006: V


Van Allen, James James Van Allen is no longer with us
Born 7 September 1914  (Mount Pleasant, Iowa, USA)

Died 9 August 2006  (Iowa City, Iowa)

Age at death: 91  (read death notice)
America's first space scientist. Gave his name to the Van Allen radiation belts, a 1950s fashion accessory which never really caught on.
[Picture of James Van Allen]


Van Buren, Abigail (Died in 2013)
Born 4 July 1918  (Sioux City, Iowa, USA)
Agony aunt (born Pauline Esther Friedman) who wrote the long-running "Dear Abby" column which was syndicated to a number of US newspapers. Her twin sister, Esther Pauline Friedman (clearly their parents were somewhat short of inspiration when it came to names), was also an agony aunt.
[Picture of Abigail Van Buren]


Van Dyke, Dick
Born 13 December 1925  (West Plains, Missouri, USA)
Actor and TV presenter who is best known in America for "The Dick Van Dyke Show", and on this side of the pond for his butt-clenchingly awful attempt at a Cockney accent in "Mary Poppins".
[Picture of Dick Van Dyke]


Varah, Chad (Died in 2007)
Born 12 November 1911  (Barton upon Humber, England)
Anglican clergyman, story-writer on the "Eagle" comic, and founder of the Samaritans.
[Picture of Chad Varah]


Varney, Reg (Died in 2008)
Born 11 July 1916  (Plaistow, London, England)
Comic actor (now retired), most famous for playing Stan in the sitcom "On the Buses".
[Picture of Reg Varney]


Vegas, Johnny
Born 11 September 1971  (St Helens, Lancashire, England)
Lardy, husky-voiced comedian and former potter. Real name Michael Joseph Pennington.
[Picture of Johnny Vegas]


Vidal, Gore (Died in 2012)
Born 3 October 1925  (West Point, New York, USA)
Essayist, novelist, playwright and outspoken political commentator. Co-wrote the script for the classic 1959 film "Ben-Hur", but was denied the credit for it.
[Picture of Gore Vidal]


Vigoda, Abe
Born 24 February 1921  (New York, New York, USA)
Tall, well-built character actor, noted for his roles as Tessio in "The Godfather" and Det. Sgt. Fish in "Barney Miller". Was erroneously declared dead in the early 1980s.
[Picture of Abe Vigoda]


Vincent, Jan-Michael
Born 15 July 1944  (Denver, Colorado, USA)
Despite a successful Hollywood career throughout the '60s & '70s, Vincent is more likely to be remembered for his portrayal of the vigilante Stringfellow Hawke who kept the US safe during the '80s using only a state-of-the-art attack helicopter known as Airwolf. America's diminished impunity to the whims of megalomaniacs may be at the root of Vincent's subsequent decline into alcoholism and drug abuse.
[Picture of Jan-Michael Vincent]


Vine, Jeremy
Born 17 May 1965  (Epsom, Surrey, England)
BBC Radio 2 presenter.
[Picture of Jeremy Vine]


von Bülow, Claus
Born 11 August 1926  (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Wealthy British-based financier, who hit the headlines when he was convicted in 1982 of attempting to murder his wife, but later had his conviction quashed.
[Picture of Claus von Bülow]


Vonnegut, Kurt (Died in 2007)
Born 11 November 1922  (Indianapolis, Indiana, USA)
Sci-fi author whose novels also tend to convey an anti-authoritarian theme. His most famous work is undoubtedly "Slaughterhouse-Five", written in 1969.
[Picture of Kurt Vonnegut]

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