Derby Dead Pool

The online competition to guess which famous people won't make it to the end of the current year. If they're elderly, ill, or just live a high-risk lifestyle, stick 'em in your team, and for each one whose death you correctly predict, you'll score points. DDP was dreamt up in Derby, England (hence the name...) by Big Iain back in 1996, then was run from 2003 to 2007 by Siegfried Baboon and Rude Kid From 2008 to 2009, it was run by Octopus of Odstock , and from 2010 to 2017 by The Man In Black. From 2018, Spade Cooley is host...

Latest Stiffs: 26th June 2018 by Spade Cooley

[Picture of Vader]

Once again, Paul Orndorff fails to beat Vader to death...

vader bombs

One of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time, Big Van Vader, has died. Born Leon White, he worked across All Japan, New Japan, WCW and the WWF in the 80s and 90s, redefining what was expected of super-heavyweights inside the squared circle. His Japanese debut, where he beat the legendary Antonio Inoki inside five minutes, led to rioting by fans and saw New Japan banned from Sumo Hall. Capable of dominating opponents with a series of devastating signature spots (a killer powerbomb, the Vadersault and the Vader Bomb splash), he was a perfect opponent for company aces who excelled in playing face-in-peril and had a legendary series of matches in WCW with Sting that includes arguably the greatest trilogy in professional wrestling history. Outside the ring he was a troubled man: he turned to the bottle after his wife walked out on him in the mid-90s, was famously knocked unconscious by a post-stroke Paul Orndorff (who was apparently naked except for a towel and flip-flops at the time) and got the WWF banned from Kuwait after he beat up a TV reporter. He will live on forever in repeats of “Boy Meets World”, however, where he played one of the school bullies’ fathers. He had been in poor health in recent years and has now died after a short programme with pneumonia aged 63. Five teams are heading to the pay window, with Dead Wait climbing up to 11th.

A five-time winner of The Open, golf’s Peter Thomson was the embodiment of Australian sporting cockiness in the late 1950s and early 60s. A constant thorn in the side of the Americans who were seeking to dominate the sport at the time, Arnold Palmer admitted in an interview that “we all especially enjoyed beating Peter”. His final major win, in 1965, saw him beat out the much-fancied trio of Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. Post-retirement, he was inducted into both golf and Australian sports’ halls of fame, and designed over 100 courses across the globe. He had been fighting Parkinson’s in recent years and has now died aged 88. Three teams return to the 19th.

The DDP’s perennial bridesmaids, Thomas Jefferson Survives, have had a hard time of it this year when it comes to obituaries. Both Ian Toothill and Cynthia Heimel have failed to score the requisite write-up despite lengthy pre-death coverage of them in major newspapers, and for a while it looked as if David Shutts would make it an unwanted hat-trick. However, the Daily Mail came in with a month-late QO that sees TJS climb up to joint 15th. Who was David Shutts? He was a former Royal Navy engineer who won an OBE for his work on the HMS Darling. After he was diagnosed with cancer, he set up a charity, ASTRiiD, that aimed to get people with terminal medical conditions back into the workplace. I thought the JobCentre did that already? He lost his fight with cancer, which he referred to as “the monkey”, aged 53, giving TJS that unique hit.

drop the hammer

Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Charles Krauthammer spent most of his life in a wheelchair, after diving into a shallow pool during his freshman year at medical school. He didn’t allow that to slow him down though, and instead switched from medicine to political writing where he became arguably the loudest and most influential cheerleader for Ronald Reagan in the written word during the 1980s. He grew into one of the grand old voices of American conservatism, backing most of its major points: pro-Israel, pro-military interventionism, anti-euthanasia – although he remained a “Never Trump” to his death, which has occurred from small intestine cancer aged 68. Valar Morghulis cannily spotted he’d stopped writing his column last year and get the unique hit.

Rangers, a football team from the 20th century, has lost one of its greatest players in the shape of Johnny Hubbard. Hubbard, known as the “penalty king” for his record of 60 successful spot kicks in Scottish football, was a South African-born player who rejected the overtures of a number of English sides before coming to Ibrox in 1949. One of only four men to have scored a hat-trick in a league Old Firm derby, he also broke history by becoming the first African footballer to play in the European Cup. A Rangers Hall of Fame inductee, he has now died aged 87. Two teams hail hail the points.

Reinhard Hardegen was the last of the great German World War II U-boat commanders, having sunk a total of 22 British naval ships. However, he was never a stringent Nazi: he regularly dispatched food and provisions to the lifeboats of Allied ships he’d sunk, and once interrupted a meal held in his honour to tell fellow guest Adolf Hitler he was screwing up his naval strategy. After the war Hardegen became a businessman and a local politician in his native Bremen. He has died at 105 and becomes a hit for six teams.

William Speakman was the first man to be awarded the Victoria Cross by Queen Elizabeth II. He won it for his actions in the Korean War: in a seemingly suicidal mission he decided to take on 6,000 Chinese infantry troops, at first on his own, armed with as many hand grenades as he could shove inside his clothing. Not even being shot twice could stop him, and after the grenades ran out he was reduced to throwing stones, ration tins and empty beer bottles at enemy troops in an attempt to clear them out. A troubled man away from the military, he was jailed for theft and was forced to sell his VC medal in his later years. He has died aged 90 and is a hit for two teams.

Latest Stiffs: 17th June 2018 by Spade Cooley

[Picture of the Lollipop Guild]

Shorty wanna lick me like a lollipop...

smashing munchkins

The last surviving munchkin from the Wizard of Oz, Jerry Marren, has taken the Yellow Brick Road aged 98. He was one of the three members of the Lollipop Guild, who present Dorothy with a wooden lollipop. The backstage behaviour of the munchkins has gone down in Hollywood folklore: the film’s producer, Mervyn Le Roy, had to put police guards in their dressing rooms to stop orgies breaking out, while a 17-year-old Judy Garland regularly found herself being groped by the sub-4ft actors. MGM eventually resulted to using butterfly nets to catch the midgets who were trying to run off set. All of that is a lot more interesting than any fucking Pink Floyd album. Nine teams score.

A founding member of black nationalist spoken word group The Last Poets, Jalal Mansur Nurridin had begun to be widely seen as one of the people with the strongest claims on being “the inventor of hip-hop”, widely basking in the title “The Grandfather of Rap”. His 1973 album “Hustlers Convention” featured fast-talking street jive poetry detailing the ups and downs of two small-time crooks, with the instrumental backing provided by members of Kool and the Gang. A commercial bomb on release, it was a major influence on people like Fab Five Freddy and Melle Mel and easily sounds like it could have been released ten years later. However like many of rap’s progenitors he made little from his records and had no touring presence, spending the last few years of his life in relative poverty and having to resort to a back-up career in acupuncture to get by. He has died aged 73 and was a unique hit for Bobby Zarin's Mack the Knifed.

Beginning his career as a country drummer for the likes of Webb Pierce and Faron Young, DJ Fontana became one of rock and roll’s first essential sidemen when he started slapping the skins for a young Elvis Presley. He provided the beats for The King from 1954 through to 1968, playing on everything from “Heartbreak Hotel” through to the Comeback Special. The last of the classic Presley backing band (along with Bill Black and Scotty Moore) to die, Fontana is reunited with his former boss aged 87. He’s a unique hit for Prophet’s Prophecy.

Thanks to her role as Sylvia Trench in “Dr No”, Eunice Gayson can go down in history as the first ever Bond girl. Her “Trench, Sylvia Trench” introduction was answer with “Bond, James Bond” by Sean Connery, and thus a catchphrase was born. Trench returned for “From Russia with Love” but was then killed off as producers realised the commercial potential in introducing a new Bond girl for every movie. Outside of Fleming-land, Gayson has a shout at being the first ever reality TV star: her wedding to Leigh Vance was captured on a documentary series called “Bride and Groom”, sponsored by Betty Crocker cakes. It was not a critical success. Gayson has died aged 90 and is a unique hit for Last Gasp Saloon.

Possibly the last great World War II photographer, David Douglas Duncan, has died. He was a freelance shutterbug when Pearl Harbor was attacked, and the photos he took while stationed in the south Pacific were published by Life magazine upon his return to the US. His photos of the Korean War are arguably his most famous work, and it’s only fitting he dies in the same week that Casino Donnie solves any problem with Korea once and for all with absolutely no potential problems. He was also close friends with Picasso, and was the only man the Spanish artist trusted to take photos of his later work. Triple D can now renew their friendship, dying aged 102. He’s a unique hit for A. Aaron Aardvark's Alliteration Association.

mary's prayer

Yes, Harold Wilson’s wife was still alive in 2018. Not any more though, as Mary Wilson, Baroness Wilson of Rievaulx has now left us. She married Harry in 1940, 24 years before he became Prime Minister/a Soviet infiltrator intent on bringing down the Queen. However Our Mary was never happy as a traditional PM’s wife, instead preferring to hang out with the likes of John Betjeman. She even published two volumes of poetry, the first of which was a significant best-seller and showed there was a mass market for poetry in the 1970s. So Harold Wilson directly led to Pam Ayres, when you think about it. Mary has now died aged aged 102, and 12 teams get the points.

We lost the first ever Eurovision winner earlier this year, as well as the woman who was the face of the contest in Britain, and now we bid farewell to one half of the duo that nearly won for the UK in the festival of song/geopolitical bargaining exercise back in 1959. The fourth edition of the contest, and the second time the UK had entered, Teddy Johnson (along with his wife Pearl Carr) sang “Sing, Little Birdie” and came second, just behind the Netherlands. Johnson’s brother Bryan represented the UK the following year and matched his silver-medal performance. Teddy and Pearl were both long-time residents of entertainer retirement home Brinsworth House, and he has now left her a widow aged 97. Two teams are in the points.

A consummate character actor and straight man, Glynn Edwards was perhaps most famous as Dave the Barman in over 100 episodes of “Minder”, serving up large VATs (vodka and tonics) to George Cole’s Arthur Daley. He had a wide and varied career before and after that though – as a schoolteacher in “Please Sir”, a cop in “Dixon of Dock Green” and memorably alongside Michael Caine in both “Zulu” and “Get Carter” – he’s the small-time crook stabbed to death by Carter in the latter. He even found time to advertise Kellogg’s Bran Flakes while wearing a pith helmet. He has died aged 87 and two teams put it on their slate.

It’s not that often we can do a two-in-one obituary on the DDP, but this one is slightly less glamorous than 2016’s Carrie Fisher/Debbie Reynolds double-header. Paul D Boyer and Jens C Skou were co-winners of the 1997 Nobel Prize for chemistry: the former for his work (with John E Walker) on the ATP synthase, and the latter for discovering the Na+,K+-ATPase. They died just five days apart, meaning that Jens Skou’s belated QO came via a mention in Boyer’s belated obituary. Both were 99 at the time of their death, both are hits for Old People, Young Death – Boyer as a unique, and Skou along with two other teams.

The first winner of the Turner Prize, Malcolm Morley, has died aged 86. Morley was one of the leading lights of 1960s photorealism, exaggerating the reality in his paintings of ocean liners and pastoral scenes to an almost surreal degree. However, he fell out of love with the genre and switched to neo-expressionism, commenting “as soon as a movement is named, it’s over”. He didn’t think that highly of those who followed in his footsteps either, saying “If I had known that I was going to invent horrors like Julian Schnabel and David Salle … I would have cut off my hands”. However, one person happy they did follow Morley is Alliteratively Alive No More, who get the unique hit.

welcome matt to the afterlife

Cutting his teeth in the Chicago blues scene of the 40s and 50s, Matt "Guitar" Murphy worked alongside the likes of Sonny Boy Williamson, Willie Dixon and a pre-fame Ike Turner in the Blue Flames. However, it was as the guitarist for the Blues Brothers that he found a place in history. Recruited by Dan Ackroyd and John Belushi after they saw him working in a rundown New York club, he featured in both “The Blues Brothers” and, less impressively, “Blues Brothers 2000”, as well as their recordings and live performances. Forced into semi-retirement in 2004 by a stroke, he has now died aged 88. Insert Name Here have somebody to love, scoring a unique hit.

Frank Carlucci served under four American presidents, but he was most associated with Ronald Reagan’s second term. With the Gipper reeling from the Iran-Contra affair, Carlucci was appointed national security adviser in 1986, before a promotion to defense secretary the following year. He was the public face of attempts to undo the damage wrought by Oliver North and Fawn Hall’s shredder, as well as presiding over some $33 billion in cuts to the military budget as the US slowly realised the USSR really wasn’t going to be invading anytime soon. He died aged 87 and is unique a hit for Reagan theme team Oh Ronnie, Where Art Thou…

Georg von Tiesenhausen was the last of the highly influential and controversial team of German scientists that worked under Werner von Braun. Von Tiesenhausen joined the Nazis’ Peenemünde research centre in 1943, as part of a drive to take scientists off the front lines and back into the labs to held turn the tides of World War II. Von Tiesenhausen’s main work was on a fleet of V2-launching submarines that would have been deployed in an attack on Manhattan. With the war finishing before he could blow up Central Park, he was brought to the US along with numerous other Nazi scientists as part of Operation Paperclip, despite the protests of America’s Jewish community. He was transferred to NASA where he was a key worker on the Apollo programme for 30 years. He has died aged 104 and was a unique hit for Decaying Orbit-uaries.

The San Francisco 49ers won five Super Bowls between 1981 and 1994, and Dwight Clark was arguably the man who set the dynasty in motion. With 58 seconds left in a playoff match against the Dallas Cowboys, Clark caught a six-yard touchdown pass from Joe Montana, as the 49ers went on to beat Tom Landry’s team 28-27 and signal a changing of the guard in the National Football Conference. “The Catch” was even voted the most important moment in the history of the 49ers in a 2013 fan poll. He had been battling ALS, like many of his contemporaries, since 2015, and finally died aged 61. Two teams are in the endzone.

Unsurprisingly, a man with a name like Red Schoendienst was an American sportsman. A baseball player, to be precise, and the oldest living member of the Baseball Hall of Fame at the time of his death. His career longevity, as a player, coach and manager, mainly at the St Louis Cardinals, lasted 74 consecutive seasons – he made his MLB debut while Adolf Hitler was still alive, and was still technically employed as a coach when Kanye West released his eight album. He’s struck out aged 95, however, and YOUREOUT appropriately score the unique hit.

Latest Stiffs: 3rd June 2018 by Spade Cooley

[Picture of Total Biscuit]

That's the way the biscuit crumbles...

bain of no existence

Are things slowing down on the DDP? The numbers might suggest so on the surface (just seven hits in the past fortnight), but apparently the nation’s obituary writers are taking their summer holidays early, with six names joining the List of the Lost in that same time period. Here’s the names they did manage to squeeze out in memoriams for.

The world has changed and video game critics get frontpage obituaries on the BBC now. Wouldn’t have happened in the Zzap!64 days… John Bain was a “World of Warcraft” fan who, after being made unemployed during the last recession, took up YouTube vlogging under the name TotalBiscuit. He grew to become one of the most influential figures in online games criticism, and was seen as one of the few people whose opinions could make or break an indie game. He also got involved in that whole GamerGate malarkey, but if you think I’m going to write about that online you’ve got another thing coming. He’d been on deadpooler radars for a few years thanks to a public battle with bowel cancer, which has now finally flashed the gameover message for Bain aged 33. Thirteen teams will be paying a minute’s silence on their Steam accounts.

In the real world, the death of former British super middleweight champion Dean Francis was overshadowed by the passing of Brendan Ingle, one of the finest boxing trainers the UK has ever produced. However, in deadpooling terms it was the man known as “Star” we were all keeping tabs on. Francis was a trusty pugilist: not a man to build a PPV card around, but someone you could always trust as a support act. He was diagnosed with a brain tumour in January 2017 and kept fighting for seventeen months before finally being sent to the canvas for the final time aged 44. Just missing out on the Drop 40, he was a pick for 31 teams, including many of the leading contenders.

We waved goodbye to America’s oldest person last update in the shape of Delphine Gibson, now it’s time to deal with matters on the other side of the Atlantic. Bessie Camm was a bit of an anomaly for a country’s oldest living citizen: she didn’t give interviews, didn’t offer advice on how whiskey and chocolate kept you young and didn’t pose for lots of photos with birthday candles. Indeed, when she died aged 113 it took a few days for her local press to even notice, and even longer for it to make the nationals. However, eventually your super soaraway Sun came through with the obit, making nine teams celebrate Killa Camm.

bean flicked

If you believe, they put a fourth man on the Moon…. Alan Bean was a member of the Apollo 12 flight team, which launched just four months after Neil, Buzz and the other lad went up to the nation’s favourite satellite. However, Bean always thought of himself more as an artist than a scientist, and upon returning to Earth set about painting the Moon in a series of works he was producing up until weeks before his death. He was also the inspiration for the only bad single by late 90s indie icons Hefner, “Alan Bean”. His death was prematurely announced on Twitter by close friend Tom Hanks, but the Bean was counted a few days later aged 86. Two theme teams blast off.

You know that artwork that just says “LOVE” with the “O” tilted? That was by Robert Indiana, who has now died aged 89. The image was originally created for the Museum of Modern Art’s 1964 Christmas cards. It wasn’t representative of the majority of Indiana’s work, which tended to deal with the legacy of American military imperialism and racial tensions. Indeed, he never felt fully comfortable with his placement as a pop artist and in the early 60s gave the movement “ten years, maximum”. IMGONESOLONG, which has three “O”s to slant, gets the unique hit.

“The Dirty Dozen” are now down to a filthy five, with the death of Clint Walker. Six-foot-six with a 48-inch chest, Walker was never going to struggle for attention in 1950s Hollywood. Rising to fame as the wandering cowboy Cheyenne Bodie in the TV show “Cheyenne”, Walker became one of the first true stars of the small screen. Knowing his limitations as an actor, he admitted that he wasn’t eager to movie away from westerns because “they keep me active”. He escaped death in 1971 after falling off a ski lift and piercing his heart on a ski pole, but the devil finally caught up with him aged 90. Three times ride off into the sunset.

The actress Patricia Morison had numerous roles in film throughout the 30s, 40s and 50s, but her first love and greatest recognition came on the stage. In particular, she originated the role of Lilli in “Kiss Me, Kate”, and 70 years on her renditions of Cole Porter’s songs are still seen as the definitive take on the character. She played Lilli over 1,000 times on Broadway and was even in the ill-fated live production of the musical that was (sort of) broadcast on the opening night of BBC 2. She has died aged 103, and three teams get the hit.

List of the Lost - Latest Entrants

Chuck Stevens, Yvonne Gilan

List of the Missed - Latest Entrants

Danny Kirwan, Leslie Grantham, Walter Bahr

Player(s) of the Month - May

A Trophy for Atrophy , Carkers Convention 2018 , GUN Away , GUN Fishing , Hippoposthumous , Poochie Died On The Way Back to His Home Planet - 30 points

Latest News

Diego Maradona caught sniffing substance off the back of his hand during World Cup broadcast. Hay fever can be such a pain ... Benjamin Netanyahu's presidency under threat after it's revealed his wife illegally ordered $100,000 of takeways during their time in office ...

Further Information

Rules & Scoring

E-mail Spade Cooley with any questions/comments about the DDP:


Derby Dead Pool is hosted by The Man In Black with contributions from Big-Iain, Rude Kid, Siegfried Baboon, Octopus of Odstock, WEP 2.0 - World's Eternity Prophet Reloaded, The Grey Horde, Thomas Jefferson Survives, Bibliogryphon, David Quantick's Showbiz Pals, Dickie's Gone the Way of the Dinosaurs & The End Of The World As We Know It
[DDP 2018]

Current Year

Who's dead so far?
List of the Lost
List of the Missed
A to Z list of teams
A to Z list of celebrities
Drop Forty
Theme Team League
The Obituary Vault
Last Year
Golden Slumbers
(168 points, 16 hits)


A brief history of dead pools
DDP stats & facts

Previous winners

David Quantick's Showbiz Pals (4)
David Quantick's Showbiz Pals (3)
David Quantick's Showbiz Pals (2)
David Quantick's Showbiz Pals
The Living End (3)
The Living End (2)
Octopus of Odstock
 Tonight, Matthew, I'm Going To Be Badly-Torn Boy
The Living End
Meet Your Maker (2)
Meet Your Maker
Fallen Sparrow
Otis, You Want A Treat?
Whittaker's Choice
MT Graves
Drunkasaskunk (2)
Nick J (2)
Nick J