Where Aren't They Now?: 15 Overlooked Deaths of 2008

How many greats have we lost this year? Heath Ledger. Bernie Mac. George Carlin. Charlton Heston. Arthur C Clarke. Michael Crichton. Jenny, the world’s oldest Gorilla. When these luminaries pass, the media stops and heaps on praise.

But then there are the unsung deaths, the people whose passing went largely unnoticed, but deserved better.

#15. January 7: The Greatest Competitive Eater of All Time

Who:

Edward Abraham ‘Bozo’ Miller, Gastronomical Champion of competitive eating

How:

"Natural causes"

The Legacy:

This is a man who weighed 300 pounds, ate up to 25,000 calories per day, once ate 1000 packets of potato chips (flavor unspecified) and one time drank a lion under the table. Yet he lived until the age of 89 and married a former Princess of the Pasadena Rose Bowl (basically, a beauty queen). He was what all of America aspires to be.

#14. January 10: Vampira

Who:

Maila Nurmi, the actress known for her "Vampira" character, the inspiration for both Elvira and the Simpsons' Booberella and immortalized in Tim Burton's Ed Wood biopic.

How:

Again, natural causes. DAMN YOU, NATURE!

The Legacy:

She was perhaps the first to combine horror and huge boobies, a combination that many believe should never be separated.

#13. January 24: Jahna The Show "Girl"

Who:

Jahna Steele, a Las Vegas showgirl who was voted "Sexiest Showgirl on the Strip" in 1991, and "Most Beautiful Showgirl" in 1993. She also happened to have a penis.

How:

Unknown. She was working on her tell-all autobiography at the time, entitled Always a Lady (until you see the bulge, of course).

The Legacy:

Jahna passed himself off as a woman for years, draining the strip-club funds of countless unsuspecting bachelor parties. She-males now flock to the strip to try their luck as a dancer. Thus, Jahna turned getting drunk and trying to take a showgirl back to your room into just another way to gamble in Vegas.

#12. January 26: Marlon Brando's Son

Who:

Christian Brando, murderer and wife beater. His parents had a bad divorce, and at 13 his mother gained sole custody. The same year he was pulled out of school to travel in Mexico. Around the same time he was kidnapped by a group of his mom's hippie friends. Marlon Brando got it fixed and was awarded custody.

In 1990, he shot his half-sister Cheyenne’s boyfriend. Cheyenne was pregnant at the time. She committed suicide five years later. They’re not exactly the happiest showbiz family we’ve ever heard about.

How:

Pneumonia.

The Legacy:

Cautionary tale for celebrity babies everywhere. Think before you make any bad choices, Maddox Jolie-Pitt.

#11. March 10: Inventor of SpaghettiO's

Who:

Kurt Eberling, Sr. After fighting with Germany in the Korean War, he got a job at the Campbell Soup Company. One day he was just chillin’ at his house, staring at his kitchen, when he saw a piece of spaghetti curled up in the sink. This gave him a thought: he approached his supervisor with the concept of tinned spaghetti and meatballs, and SpaghettiOs were born.

Being that this was the forties, we assume this was after he beat his wife for keeping a dirty kitchen, but before his six post-work martinis.

How:

Cancer.

The Legacy:

This is the kind of story that desperate middle aged salesmen, a la Gil from The Simpsons, dream about until their dying day. They wind up scouring their house for that one idea that will make them rich ... then finally go to their boss with, "um, what if ... we sold dust, spider webs and broken dreams in a bottle?"

#10. March 25: The Daddy of the Egg McMuffin

Who:

Herb Peterson, Food Scientist. March was a bad year for guys who invented convenient meals. Two days before Peterson, Al Copeland, founder of Popeye’s Chicken also died.

Peterson invented the Egg McMuffin in 1972, a process that surely involved eating every combination of bread, eggs, cheese and bacon. It's every fat kid's dream (up there with "finding witch dead in her gingerbread house, with no living relatives").

How:

Peacefully at home, with his family. Presumably surrounded by warm muffins, perfectly circular eggs, melted cheese and crispy, crispy bacon. The breakfasty scent being the last thing he was conscious of as he drifted off.

The Legacy:

We can’t think of one. We’re too hungry.

#9. April 9: The Fucker Who Created the Chicken Dance

Who:

Bob Kames. Polka musician, member of the Wisconsin Area Music Industry's Hall of Fame, guy who recorded over seventy albums. So we mock him for the Chicken Dance, but what the fuck have we done today?

We should tell you that the Chicken Dance single was released in Poland in 1983, and sold 300,000 copies. Not just a little bit of this, and a little bit of that. Poland during the 80s was utterly retarded for polka.

How:

Prostate cancer, a symptom of which is painful ejaculation or difficulty achieving an erection. Though one of his albums was entitled Happy Organ, so at least he had some good times before it.

The Legacy:

Many ruined wedding receptions, and now you having the chicken dance stuck in your head until Easter.

#8. May 4: Pringles Can Inventor

Who:

Fred Baur, chemist and food storage technician.

How:

Alzheimer’s. At Baur’s request, he was cremated and a portion of his ashes were buried in a Pringles can.

The Legacy:

A delicious new flavor, "Sizzlin’ Smokin’ Charred Old Man." Sorry, that was wrong. Actually he did inspire us to be cremated with our greatest achievement, and we will thus be buried with several gigabytes of dick jokes.

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