David Koch was incredibly gifted, both genetically and financially, and became a chemical engineer, businessman, political activist, and philanthropist. With one of his brothers, he grew a vast inheritance into joint ownership of Koch Industries, and at the time of his death he was the 11th richest person in the world, worth $48 billion.
Alma Schindler Mahler is famous for marrying and having affairs with some of the most brilliant and accomplished men of the 20th century. She was a composer, sculptor and writer who wanted to be famous for her own intellectual creations, but she lived at a time when it was extremely difficult for women to be prominent in the arts. She took the next best approach by marrying and loving some of the leading musicians, composers, architects, painters and writers of the era.
At age 51, Martin Van Buren became the first native-born president of the United States because he was born after the American Revolution. At age 40, he developed a cough and progressive shortness of breath that would be diagnosed today as "late-onset asthma," but in those days, his physician called it "malignant catarrh."
Frederic Chopin was one of the greatest composers of solo piano music and a gifted pianist whose incredible techniques are still copied by concert pianists. He had a disease that made him sick from early childhood, and he died at the tragically young age of 39. He was diagnosed with tuberculosis, but instead, he probably suffered from cystic fibrosis, a genetic condition that was not even described until 1938.
B.B. King was arguably the best-known blues singer and guitarist in the world. He recorded more than 50 albums, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, won a lifetime achievement award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in 1988, and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1990 and a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1991.
Bart Starr was a good, but not great, college quarterback who wasn't selected until the 17th round of the 1956 NFL draft after 199 other players were picked. In the next 15 years, he: • led the Green Bay Packers to five NFL titles including three consecutive league championships (1965–1967) • was the Most Valuable Player in winning the first two Super Bowl championships • won the league MVP award in 1966 • was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame • had the highest post-season passer rating (104.8) of any quarterback in NFL history • had an incredible career completion percentage of 57.4
Horace Fletcher was known as "The Great Masticator," who said "Nature will castigate those who don't masticate." More than 100 years ago, in 1913, his book Fletcherism tried to convince people to chew their food to a liquid pulp. He claimed that this would help to control weight and prevent diabetes.
The recent college admission scandal in which rich parents pay to have their undeserving children accepted at major colleges is not new and has been going on for years. However, a college admissions officer can only look at an applicant's record up to the time he applies to school and really has no idea how successful he will be in the future.
John Singleton was a film and TV director, screenwriter, and producer who, in 1991 at age 24, became the first African American and the youngest person ever to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director, for his film Boyz n the Hood.
At age 60, British comedian Ian Cognito collapsed and died from a heart attack while performing on stage at a crowded comedy club on April 11, 2019. The audience thought that this was part of his act and did not realize that he was actually having a heart attack, when every minute counts for a rescue team to save his life.
Peter Sellers was a very talented British film actor, comedian and singer who could create characters and copy accents so effectively that he often played several different roles in the same film. He was nominated three times for an Academy Award, and four times for Golden Globe’s best male actor award. His most famous role was that of Chief Inspector Clouseau in the five Pink Panther films.
Earl Thomas Conley was a country music singer-songwriter who during the 1980s and 1990s had 24 Top-10 country singles including 18 that were Number One. Only Alabama and Ronnie Milsap had more number one hits during the decade. This month, at age 77, Conley died after spending many months in hospice care for cerebral atrophy, a condition that had caused progressive loss of memory over several years.
Jack Lemmon was an actor who starred in more than 60 films, won two Academy Awards and was nominated eight times. He was born into a wealthy but abusive family and died at age 76 from complications of colon cancer that had spread to his bladder.
In 1983, Barry Marshall and John Warren presented a paper to the Australian Gastroenterological Society claiming that stomach ulcers are caused by infection. They never finished their paper because they were laughed off the stage. Barry Marshall became so upset that he swallowed a vial of the bacteria taken from a patient who had stomach ulcers, went into shock and almost died.
On January 26, 1979, Nelson Rockefeller, former Vice President of the United States, a four-term governor of New York and an heir to the Rockefeller family fortune, died at age 70 of a heart attack that was rumored to have occurred during extramarital sex. Rockefeller's family chose not to have an autopsy done; instead, he was cremated 18 hours after he was pronounced dead.
Kelly Catlin was a world-class bicycle racer who won a silver medal in the 2016 Summer Olympics and gold medals in the 2016, 2017, and 2018 UCI Track Cycling World Championships. At the same time, she was a concert-quality classical violinist and an artist, was graduated summa cum laude from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics, spoke fluent Chinese, and was in the exclusive graduate school in mathematics at Stanford University when she committed suicide at age 23, on March 7, 2019
Luke Perry was a television actor and movie star for more than 35 years, most famous as Dylan McKay, a brooding and alcoholic teenager who was the son of a millionaire on the TV series Beverly Hills, 90210 from 1990 to 1995, and again from 1998 to 2000. He was ranked #6 in the list of "TV's 25 Greatest Teen Idols" (TV Guide, January 23, 2005).
Do you know why a healthy person who makes other people sick may be called a "Typhoid Mary"? There really was a Typhoid Mary. She was an apparently healthy person who caused more than ten documented epidemics of typhoid fever, at least three documented deaths, and probably many more cases that could not be confirmed.
Albert Finney was an English actor best remembered for his Academy-Award-nominated roles as the lawyer in Erin Brockovich, Geoffrey Firmin in Under the Volcano, Sir in The Dresser, Hercule Poirot in Murder on the Orient Express, and the title role in the 1963 classic, Tom Jones.
I cried when I heard the life story of Scott Joplin, and you will cry also. He was an African-American composer and pianist whose 44 original ragtime pieces, one ragtime ballet, and two operas paved the way for other black artists to develop ragtime music which would evolve into jazz. However, prejudice against blacks in late nineteenth century United States ran so deep that Joplin died penniless in a mental institution.
On January 22, 1973, Lyndon Baines Johnson, the 36th President of the United States, died at his ranch in Johnson City, Texas, at age 65 from what was probably his fifth heart attack. He was one of the hardest-working presidents ever and could have lived much longer if he had changed the lifestyle factors that caused his first heart attack at age 47.
In 323 BCE, Alexander the Great died suddenly at the very young age of 32. This month, more than 2,300 years later, Dr Katherine Hall of the University of Otaga in New Zealand gives a very strong argument that he died of nerve damage from Guillain-Barré Syndrome. Alexander never lost a battle and was one of the most successful military commanders of all time. By age 30, he had reached the edge of the known world (modern India), to form an empire that stretched from today's Albania to eastern Pakistan, the largest empire of the ancient world.
This is the sad story of Cole Porter, one of America's greatest and most talented composers who won just about every award possible for songs and musical productions, and how his life was destroyed by a fall off a horse that caused pain for the rest of his life, depression, and eventually prevented him from creating new music (Med Gen Med, 2004;6(2):47). Today, you can still hear many of the more than 1,400 songs he wrote: "True Love", "Something to Shout About", "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home to", and many more.
On August 11, 2014, we lost one of the greatest comics and actors of our time when Robin Williams took his own life at his home in California. He was 63. At the time of his death, there was a lot of speculation about his recent depression. His wife had not yet released the news that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, and later, when his brain was examined, he was found to have suffered from Lewy Body Dementia.
Daryl Dragon was a talented musician with serious medical problems who succeeded in the popular musical entertainment industry because of the incredible love, kindness and patience of his devoted wife, Toni Tennille. He played keyboards and she sang to form the very popular musical duo, The Captain & Tennille, in the 1970s and 1980s.
During World War II, both Allied and Axis soldiers on the front lines buoyed themselves up by listening to the same song, "Lili Marleen". The song was incredibly effective in raising the morale of soldiers living in the worst of conditions and not knowing when it would be their turn to be killed. The song is about a soldier who is called back to his barracks, forcing him to leave his love under the light of a lantern and he declares that he will return to her.
This is the story of a brilliant and highly successful lady who thought that she was stupid, incompetent and unattractive. Penny Marshall was an outstanding actress, director and producer. In the 1970s, she received three nominations for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Television Series Musical or Comedy for playing Laverne DeFazio in the sitcom Laverne & Shirley.
On April 18, 1994, Richard Nixon suffered a massive stroke at his home in Park Ridge, New Jersey. Four days later he sank into a coma and died at age 81. Famous people from all over the world, including five U.S. presidents, attended his funeral. President Bill Clinton's eulogy talked about Nixon's accomplishments in foreign affairs and did not mention his constitutional crimes.
Paul Leroy Robeson was an All-American football player who became a world-famous singer and actor. He spent his entire life fighting for the rights of the working class and against ignorance and prejudice. Robeson was born in 1898 in Princeton, New Jersey, the youngest of five children of Reverend William Drew Robeson, a Presbyterian minister and escaped slave, and Maria Louisa Bustill Robeson, a schoolteacher. He grew up in Westfield, NJ at a time when blacks were discouraged from attending high school.