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Where Aren't They Now? 13 Overlooked Deaths of 2009

This year was a monster for celebrity deaths: Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, David Carradine, Patrick Swayze... even Bea Arthur and Ed McMahon are probably boning in Heaven as we speak (and if you're in Hell, you get the cam-feed).

But while you're rushing out to buy Thriller memorial parasols and Kung Fu Forever neckties, a lot of other important people kicked the bucket that the media didn't deem important enough to tell you about. Once again, these are the most overlooked deaths of 2009--a notoriously murderous year:

#13.
January 14: KHAAAANN!!!

Who:

Ricardo Montalban, owner/operator of Fantasy Island and professional KHAAAAANN!!!

How:

Congestive heart failure.

The Legacy:

As one of few working Hispanic actors in the 50s, Montalban was mostly used as the go-to guy when a movie about attractive white people needed a miscellaneous foreign person to laugh at or to learn inscrutable wisdom from. Examples of these roles include everything from Indians to Jamaicans, and one time even a Japanese Samurai--where he presumably infused the role with his trademark Latin suavity and almost assuredly did so with an anachronistically oiled bare chest.

Years of playing the embodiment of racism inspired Montalban to develop a foundation dedicated to raise the profile of Hispanic actors, and he even had a theater named for him in 1999. Also, "KHAAAAAANNN!!!!"

#12.
January 15: Glenn Close's Dad (Who May Have Saved Your Life)

Who:

William Close. Father of actress Glenn Close, doctor, and ex-air force pilot. All in all not a very exceptional man... except for that time he actually lived the plot of Outbreak... and won!

He was a doctor in Zaire in the mid-70s when Ebola broke out in a rural hospital... near the Ebola River (side note: Not for nothing, Africans, but you really should've seen that one coming. If we lived next to Black Plague Creek, for example, we'd probably just move). Shit got expectedly crazy: roads were blocked, most of the hospital staff was killed, air travel was restricted. It got so bad that the president of the country even fled to France.

Of the 318 infected people, roughly 90 percent died. And then Close flew in (possibly on the back of a giant hawk or some kind of winged lion) grabbed the remaining medic's protective gear and somehow "broke the chain of transmission," thus killing the virus off. We're far too stupid to understand complex biology, so we're going to assume he did so with a karate chop.


Judging by that badass eyepatch, we're probably right.

How:

Heart attack.

The Legacy:

You're not reading this with blood coming out of your tear ducts with 15 minutes to live while Dustin Hoffman fistfights a plague-monkey on top of your prone, melting body. So, thanks, Glenn Close's Dad!

#11.
April 7: The Prince of Geeks

Who:

Dave Arneson. If Gary Gygax was the King of Geeks, then Dungeons and Dragons co-creator Dave Arneson was the Prince--or at least some sort of Arch-duke (we're not really sure how the nerd feudal system works). The pair met at a gaming convention in the late 1960s, perhaps after admiring each other's Hawaiian-shirts-and-beard combos.

How:

Cancer.

The Legacy:

His class, "Rules of the Game," taught many a budding game developer how to accurately document and create balanced rule sets, the likes of which certainly helped lead to the popularization of the role-playing game and the subsequent rise of the MMO. Without Arneson and Gygax's work, WoW would merely be an exclamation of surprise from somebody that hates punctuation, or a suffix for Sham.

#10.
May 18: The Voice of Mickey Mouse

Who:

Wayne Allwine voice actor and the third voice of Mickey Mouse from 1977 until his death in 2009. He is survived by his wife, Russi Taylor, the current voice of Minnie Mouse. Wait... they were actually married? Has Disney been non-fiction this whole time?! Excuse us while we go rob the shit out of Scrooge McDuck and bone us some Jasmine.

How:

Complications from diabetes.

The Legacy:

He was responsible for the defining characteristic of the single most recognizable cartoon character in history, the happiness of countless children and an impression that castratos can finally pull off at parties.

#9.
May 31: The Last Remaining Survivor of the Titanic

Who:

Millvina Dean. At nine weeks old, she was the youngest passenger on board the Titanic, and would live to be its last survivor. The fact that you're picturing her as Kate Winslet, and then picturing Kate Winslet pretend-flying on the bow, and then settling on an image of Kate Winslet's breasts has nothing to do with her life.

How:

Pneumonia.

The Legacy:

Her ashes were scattered where the Titanic set sail, which kind of seems like poor taste to us. You generally don't want to be memorialized at the site of the worst disaster of your life. They didn't bury Napoleon at Waterloo and they're probably not going to sprinkle Tiger Woods's ashes on top of a bunch of whores. Show some respect.

#8.
September 12: The Guy Who Saved Billions of Lives

Who:

Norman Borlaug was an agronomist, humanitarian and Nobel Laureate. He was not that fire-cow thing that fought Gandalf in the Mines of Moria.


...that we know of.

Borlaug introduced a high-yield, disease resistant wheat to Mexico, Pakistan and India, and later applied himself to aiding food production in Africa and Asia. This in turn saved billions of people worldwide from starvation. That's right: billions. The man single-handedly saved an entire continent's worth of people, and you've probably already forgotten who he is twice while reading this paragraph.

How:

Lymphoma.

The Legacy:

The savior of billions dying barely rated a mention in the news this year. Farrah Fawcett wore a bikini well back in the 70s and she got international coverage. Good job, society.

#7.
September 16: Not Peter, Not Paul, but Mary

Who:

Mary Travers, singer for 1960s folk pop group Peter, Paul and Mary--whose name is now a euphemism for being the only woman in a threesome, thanks to that gross Britney Spears song ("1, 2, 3, Peter, Paul and Mary, Gettin' down with 3P, Everybody loves, Ooh").

How:

Leukemia.

The Legacy:

She was partially responsible for Puff the Magic Dragon, and therefore roughly half of the stoned conversations in the entire world, tied only with retarded theories about religion and the decision as to whose turn it is to get Fritos.

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