On October 7, 1959, singer Mario Lanza died suddenly at age 38 of a heart attack just as he was getting ready to check out of a medical clinic in Rome. He didn't mean to kill himself, but his entire adult life was full of behaviors and actions that are known to cause heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and premature death.
At age 21, Dallas McCarver won the IFBB North American Bodybuilding Championship to become the youngest professional bodybuilder ever to win a pro qualifier competition. In the next five years, he grew to weigh 300 pounds on 6'1" frame, won many bodybuilding competitions, and became well-known as one of the strongest and most dedicated professional bodybuilders in the world.
Audrey Hepburn was a movie star, ballet dancer, model and humanitarian who suffered such extreme starvation as a child during the Nazi occupation of Holland that she came out of World War II weighing only 88 pounds in a 5'6" frame. She was extremely thin all her life. She died at age 63 of a very rare cancer of her appendix.
Cass Elliot was “Mama Cass”, the close-to-300 pound contralto lead singer of The Mamas and Papas, a dominant folk rock vocal group in the late 1960s. They sold more than 40 million records, with six of their albums making it to the Billboard top ten.
Humphrey Bogart was one of Hollywood’s most famous actors. In 1942, he starred in Casablanca, which won the 1943 Academy Award for Best Picture, got him nominated for Best Actor and made him the highest paid actor up to that time, with an income of more than $460,000 a year. As a high school student he was expelled from the prestigious Phillips Academy (Andover) for smoking and drinking, and he continued these harmful habits for the rest of his life.
In August 2017, the world-famous body builder Rich Piana collapsed from a heart attack while his girlfriend was giving him a haircut. He died after two weeks in a medically-induced coma, at the age of 46. A search of his apartment revealed more than 20 bottles of steroids.
Babe Ruth was arguably the greatest baseball player who ever lived. When he retired from baseball in 1935, he held the record for most home runs (714), had a batting average of .342, batted in 2,213 runs, had a slugging percentage of 690, got on base 47.4 % of the time he batted, scored 2,174 runs, hit for 5,793 total bases, and was walked 2,062 times. Forget about what goes on today. Ruth did all this without taking anabolic steroids.
The Ultimate Warrior, one of the most famous professional wrestlers of all time, died of a heart attack at the very young age of 54 on April 8, 2014, just days after he was inducted into the World Wrestling Hall of Fame. He was walking to his car with his wife outside a...
Elvis Presley sold more records than anyone else in the history of recorded music. He was nominated for 14 Grammys and won three, and has been inducted into virtually every music hall of fame. He died at the tragically young age of 42. In the last years of his life, he suffered from obesity, drug addiction, depression, chronic insomnia, glaucoma, high blood pressure, liver damage, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic constipation and an enlarged colon.
Early on the morning of July 2, 1961, sixty-one year old Ernest Hemingway, one of America's greatest writers and the winner of both the Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize, sat in the foyer of his home and shot himself in the head with a double-barreled shotgun. I believe that his suicide was caused by his doctors' complete failure to diagnose hemochromatosis, a hereditary disease that was so well known and so easy to treat that he could have had no suffering at all.
John Wayne was one of the best-paid actors in Hollywood for more than 40 years, appeared in more than 170 films and starred in 142 films, mostly westerns. His size (6'4" and 225 pounds) and pugnacious behavior helped him to be cast a cowboy, lawman, soldier and athlete, but for most of his life he had a cancer-promoting lifestyle.
Clark Gable had just about every known lifestyle risk factor for the heart attack that killed him at the very young age of 59. Perhaps best known for his role as Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind (1939), he was the leading man in more than 60 motion pictures and was nominated three times for an Academy Award for Best Actor.
Fifty years ago, Jim Henson created the Muppets, the world's most famous puppets, for the children's educational television show, Sesame Street. He won two Emmy Awards for his work, and sold his company to Walt Disney for $150 million. The beloved show has produced more than 4500 episodes.
Twenty years ago this week we lost Waylon Jennings, one of the all-time great voices of country music. Jennings was a singer and songwriter who rose from poverty to great wealth and fame, with 54 albums and 96 singles listed among the top sellers between 1966 and 2002. He gave concerts and recorded with many of the most popular artists of his time including Willie Nelson, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Bobby Bare, Kris Kristofferson and Mel Tillis.
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.
Edith Piaf was a French cabaret singer who became famous throughout the world during the Nazi occupation of France during World War II. She captivated listeners with her sad, seemingly autobiographical songs of lost love, sorrow and deprivation.
Tammy Wynette rose from poverty in rural Mississippi to become one of the most famous female country music singers. She sold more than 30 million records, had 57 Top-40 country hits between 1967 and 1988, won two Grammy Awards, three Country Music Association awards, eight Billboard awards and 16 BMI songwriter awards.
Ron Lester was a Hollywood actor who became famous for playing Billy Bob, the 500-pound high school football player in the 1999 blockbuster movie, Varsity Blues. He also starred on the WB Television series Popular. At age 30, after his massive obesity had caused him to have four arthroscopic knee surgeries and two "mild" heart attacks, he had gastric bypass surgery and eventually lost 349 pounds, going from 508 pouns down to 159 pounds.
A huge number of studies have shown that running helps to prevent heart attacks, so I couldn't believe the news that running guru Jim Fixx had died of a heart attack at age 52 after his daily run in Hardwick, Vermont. He was the guy who made running popular, healthful, and desirable.
Andre the Giant was a professional wrestler who at 7' 4" and 520 pounds, won the World Wrestling Federation individual championship and World Tag Team Championship. He was also an actor in several Hollywood films. His huge size was caused by a pituitary gland brain tumor that produced huge amounts of human growth hormone.
Karen Carpenter and her brother Richard sang together to form "The Carpenters", one of the leading singing groups in the 1970s. When she died of heart failure at age 32, she made the world painfully aware of a disease called anorexia nervosa.
Today my favorite song is “The Rivers Of Babylon”, the second highest-selling single of all time in the UK. I heard the song for the first time a few weeks ago on YouTube. It was recorded in 1978 by “Boney M,” whose original members were with the band from 1976 until 1986. They all came from the Caribbean: Bobby Farrell came from Aruba, Liz Mitchell and Marcia Barrett were from Jamaica and Maizie Williams was from Montserrat, an island in the Lesser Antilles.
Hank Williams was one of the America's most influential singers and songwriters, with 11 number-one and 35 Top-10 songs on the Western Best Sellers list. In a recording career that lasted only six years, he wrote and performed classics we still hear today such as "Your Cheatin' Heart," "Hey Good Lookin'," "I Saw the Light", "Cold, Cold Heart", "Jambalaya" and many more.
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.
In 1991, hikers in the Italian Alps discovered Otzi the Iceman, a man who was preserved in ice after his murder about 5,300 years ago. He was killed by a hard hit on his head and an arrow through his shoulder when he was about 46 years old. He is now entombed at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, Italy with a life-size statue of him as he may have looked standing nearby.
Roy Orbison was one of America’s top singers and songwriters from 1957 to 1988. He sang his emotional ballads while standing still and wearing black clothes and dark-framed tinted glasses. Between 1960 and 1964, 22 of his songs placed on the Billboard Top 40. Elvis Presley said that his voice was the greatest and...
Roger Moore was an English film and television star who was most famous for having played secret agent James Bond in seven films from 1973 to 1985. In 1991, he was named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for his work helping underprivileged children. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2003.