December 25, 1977
Silent comedian Charlie Chaplin died in his sleep at 88 after years of declining health. Two months after he died in Switzerland, grave robbers stole his corpse in an attempt to extort money from the family. Authorities eventually caught up with what turned out to be a group of mechanics 11 weeks later. The Little Tramps body was reburied, this time under more than 6 feet of cement to prevent a repeat exhumation.
September 14, 2009
In January of 2008, actor Patrick Swayze was given the news that he had Stage IV pancreatic cancer. The Dirty Dancing and Ghost star underwent chemo and appeared to be responding well. He even took on a starring role in the A&E series, The Beast. In 2009, things spiraled downward for the 1991 People magazine Sexiest Man Alivehis series was cancelled and his cancer had metastasized to his liver. Almost two years after the diagnosis, the 57 year-old died of the disease, his ashes scattered on his ranch in New Mexico.
December 8, 1980
Returning from a recording session, ex-Beatle John Lennon was met by a fan he gave an autograph to earlier in the day. A limo had just dropped Lennon and wife Yoko Ono off at their New York City apartment when 5 shots rang out, four hitting Lennon through the back. Mark David Chapman was the crazed fan holding the .38 revolver that killed Lennon at 54. Chapman remains in Attica prison for the murder, denied parole five times so far.
April 15, 1962
Clara Blandick is the last player listed in the end credits of The Wizard of Oz. We knew her as Auntie Em (Uh, Emily, as Professor Marvel informed Dorothy). After years of being plagued by severe arthritis and starting to go blind, Blandick, 81, came home from church one day and prepared a room in which to die. She carefully arranged all her movie memorabilia and press clippings around the room, had her hair done, and put on her best Sunday dress. She then lay down on the couch, took a handful of sleeping pills and tied a plastic bag around her head. Her landlady found the following note with her: I am now about to make the great adventure. I cannot endure this agonizing pain any longer. It is all over my body. Neither can I face the impending blindness. I pray the Lord my soul to take. Amen.
November 18, 2007
After doing a few popular TV sitcoms and appearing in movies, Dick Wilsons career literally went down the toilet. The actor made over 500 commercials for Charmin toilet paper as supermarket store manager Mr. (George) Whipple. The long-running commercials revolved around the grocer reprimanding customers with, Please dont squeeze the Charmin, yet it was he who couldnt resist manhandling the product. Wilson died at 91 of natural causes.
December 19, 1999
As gadget guy Q in 17 James Bond films, Desmond Llewellyn could come up with all kinds of ways to help Bond, James Bond cheat death. Unfortunately, he couldnt come up with a way to do the same for himself. The 85 year-old died in a head-on automobile accident in England while returning home from a book signing. He got the job of Q after the original actor, Peter Burton, in Dr. No, could not continue the role due to scheduling conflicts.
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