#6. July 27 -- Inventor of Cheez Doodles
Morrie Yohai, inventor of Cheetos' puffy cousins, Cheez Doodles
As the president of Old London Foods, Yohai made his lasting contribution to the world of obesity by inventing Cheez Doodles back in the 1950s. Yohai was first of many to realize that Americans would line up to eat cheese-based snacks if they were stripped of natural coloring and correct spelling and involved the word "doodles."
In addition to being the inventor of our favorite food of self-hate, Yohai was a Jewish mystic and a poet. So, rest in peez, Morrie.
#5. Sept. 20 -- The Real Lynyrd Skynyrd
Forby Leonard Skinner, gym teacher and longhair opponent
The 1960s were the one time in history when the length of your hair established where you stood on every important issue of the day: Short hair equaled pro-government, pro-war, pro-square music. Long hair equaled the opposite of all those things. So, Leonard Skinner was a Florida gym teacher firmly established in the short-hair camp, and he had no love for students on the other side of the hair-length war. And three of those students were Ronnie Van Zant, Gary Rossington and Bob Burns and their sexy, sexy hair.
After countless visits to the office on account of their tresses, the boys decided they'd get their revenge by naming their fledgling band after the one man who seemed the most bothered by them. And to avoid a lawsuit from said square, they replaced all the vowels in "Leonard Skinner" with Y's. But it turned out Mr. Skinner had a decent sense of humor about the whole deal, even after the band used a sign from his realty company in their album art:
"They'd say, 'Who's speaking?' and I'd say, 'Leonard Skinner,' and they'd say 'Far Out,' which it really wasn't at four in the morning."
The New York Times dubbed him "the most influential high school gym teacher in American popular culture." Not too shabby for a short-haired square.
#4. Sept. 26 -- The Owner of Segway
Jimi Heselden, owner of Segway Industries
Apparently by driving his Segway off a cliff
Heselden started out as a coal miner but got laid off during the Great Miners' Strike of 1984-85. And instead of blowing his relief money on rent, bills and crumpets like all the other miners, he used his money to open a workshop. And it was in that workshop that he invented a barrier system that totally made him rich enough to be counted as one of Britain's biggest philanthropists. By 2010, he was rich enough to buy the pinnacle of class and sophistication, Segway Industries.
Unfortunately, 2010 was the year Heselden's luck ran out. His body was discovered in a river by a cliff, and his all-terrain Segway was found nearby.
#3. Oct. 20 -- The Smut Merchant
Guccione founded Penthouse magazine back when in order to look at boobs, you had to pay money, as opposed to typing "boobs," "porn," "pron," "nurse," "nature" or, heck, "biomolecular physics" into Google.
When Penthouse began, Guccione photographed most of the models himself, due to a so-called "lack of resources," thus trumping rival Hugh Hefner's "I read it for the articles" to win the coveted Most Unconvincing Excuse trophy at the 1969 Pornies.
#2. Oct. 22 -- Rocky and Bullwinkle's Dad
Alex Anderson, creator of Rocky and Bullwinkle
Complications from Alzheimer's disease
If there's one thing we'll learn from Alex Anderson, it's that you should never pass up an opportunity to watch documentaries about annoying cartoon characters from the 1960s, especially when you're the one who created the characters. Because you might just find that your name was left out of the story, and that all the credit for your annoying-ass characters went to your former business partner and childhood friend. And then, if it's 1996, and you're Alex Anderson, you just might find yourself suing the shit out of your former business partner's estate and winning "court-mandated acknowledgment" of being responsible for this crapcicle:
And thanks to Anderson and his lawsuit, no one was ever exploited by the animation industry ever again (except the entire nation of South Korea).
#1. Nov. 27 -- The Man Who Saved Star Wars
Irvin Kershner, film director
Irvin Kershner will always be beloved by nerds the world over for directing the best movie of all time. "I know," you say knowingly, "The Empire Strikes Back is my favorite movie too." Empire Yeah, right! We're talking about RoboCop 2. "RoboCop 2? The best movie of all time?" you reply, in a hoarse whisper. "That's not true ... THAT'S IMPOSSIBLE!" Search your feelings. You know it to be true.
Lisa-Skye Ioannidis is a comedian based in Melbourne, Australia. Find more of her here. Nicholas Rasche is a writer and comedian also based in Melbourne. Paul Rasche likes smoking.
And don't forget to check out the overlooked deaths of years past, in Where Aren't They Now?: 15 Overlooked Deaths of 2008 and Where Aren't They Now? 13 Overlooked Deaths of 2009.
And stop by Linkstorm to learn about the birth, death and resurrection of the savior: RoboCop.
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