#6. June 2 -- The Family Feud Kisser
Game show host Richard Dawson.
While your grandparents might remember Dawson for his turn as Corporal Peter Newkirk on Hogan's Heroes, your parents (and you, if you're old enough) probably remember Dawson from Family Feud reruns -- he was the host who lip-assaulted all the lady contestants.
He also played the game show host in The Running Man, if that helps.
In a 2010 interview, Dawson said that the barely consensual kissathon started early on in his Feud career, when he saw a woman shaking as she tried to come up with the name of a green vegetable: "I said, 'I'm gonna do something that my mom would do to me whenever I had a problem of any kind ... And I kissed her on the cheek, and I said, 'That's for luck.' And she said, 'Asparagus.' ... They went on to win."
One of those smooches actually led to a marriage between Dawson and a contestant. Can you imagine delivering a kiss so memorable that Richard "The Man Whore" Dawson picked you for his wife? Can you imagine it without shuddering?
#5. June 12 -- A Real Goodfella
The real-life Henry Hill, the New York City mobster who would later be played by Ray Liotta in Goodfellas.
Complications from longtime heart problems related to smoking (among other things).
Thanks to Henry Hill and the movie inspired by his biography, Goodfellas, we learned that you should never tell a short Italian man with a bad temper that he's funny, that "Layla" is by far the best Derek and the Dominos song to find a corpse to, and oh hey -- don't get involved in organized crime. It's just not worth it.
For those who never saw the movie, Hill was a mafioso who snitched to the government after his own drug bust in 1980. His testimony led to the convictions of 50 fellow wiseguys, all of whom would put Hill's head on a platter if they could.
So how did Henry Hill stay out of trouble for the next 32 years? He didn't. He was expelled from the witness protection program thanks to his continued drug use and behavior issues stemming from alcoholism. It probably didn't help that anonymity was like kryptonite to a guy like Henry Hill.
#4. June 24 -- The Baddest Badass You Never Knew
Gad Beck, gay Holocaust survivor.
Imagine the worst possible scenario to be in in the history of bad scenarios. Did you pick being a gay Jewish man living in Nazi Germany? Because if not, we'd like to know what the hell it was.
Had Gad Beck been born about 20 years earlier, he would have enjoyed one of the most liberal, gay-friendly eras in Germany's history up to that point. Unfortunately, the Nazis started targeting homosexuals just about the time that Beck figured out that he liked men. Still, love prevailed and Beck found a boyfriend. Who was also Jewish. Who was, sure enough, snatched up by the Nazis.
Here's where things get amazing. Beck borrowed a Hitler Youth uniform from a neighbor, walked up to the temporary holding area where his boyfriend was held, and convinced the officer in charge that the young man was needed for a building project. And the guy believed him! Beck and his boyfriend walked right out the door, free as birds. Except Beck's boyfriend was just a teenager, like him, and leaving his family forever didn't sit well with him, so he went back. He and his family were later sent to Auschwitz.
That was the experience that shaped the rest of Beck's life -- one as the leader of a resistance movement that sheltered and transported Jews all over Europe, as a fighter in Israel's war for independence, and as the eventual director of Berlin's Center for Adult Education. Throughout it all, Beck kept his head in check. After getting invited to ride in New York's pride parade, he said, "Look, if I am a hero, I am a little one. Everyone has to fight sometime in their life."
#3. June 24 -- The Rarest Creature in the World
Lonesome George, the very last Pinta Island tortoise.
Heart failure related to old age.
At one point, there were so many gargantutortoises clogging up George's island home that it was actually nicknamed the Isles of the Tortoises. Since then, pirates slaughtered the animals for their meat and hunters decided that tortoise oil was good for lamps. Before you knew it, only George, the 200-pound, 100-year-old tortoise, was left. And it turns out that being the last of your kind is a huge negative in the sex department. George's minders were so desperate for baby Georges that they offered a $10,000 reward for a lady-George, matchmaking him with four similar breeds of tortoise. No dice.
Farewell to the world's most expensive tortoise whore. You'll be missed.
#2. August 23 -- The Count
Jerry Nelson, puppeteer best known for voicing the Count, Floyd Pepper, Gobo Fraggle, and Camilla the Chicken, and the first performer of Mr. Snuffleupagus.
For over 40 years, Jerry Nelson voiced the world's most beloved vampire besides Blacula. Counting is to the Count Von Count as orgasms are to women -- he can't get enough. And as little children, we all loved watching him annoy the shit out of the other Sesame Street denizens when he followed every number with a "Ha. Ha. Ha." Who among us hasn't done the same while eating individual spaghetti noodles or counting ambulances on their way to a tragic emergency?
A lesser publication would use this opportunity to make a hilarious number joke, but God help us, we wouldn't know how to count past six if it wasn't for Nelson. So we're hoping that he's enjoying that big math castle in the sky right now.
#1. September 10 -- TV Bad Guy to End All TV Bad Guys
Lance LeGault, who played more villains than Alan Rickman.
Not specified, but he was 77. Let's say he was trying to ramp a motorcycle over something. Why not?
If you watched TV in the '80s, and one of the TV shows you watched had like a bad guy who was in the military -- congratulations! You know who Lance LeGault is.
LeGault played bad guy Colonel Decker in The A-Team. He played bad guy Colonel "Buck" Greene in Magnum, P.I. He played three DIFFERENT bad guys in Airwolf. He was even bad guy Colonel Glass in Stripes. He worked with John Candy, Tom Selleck, and Mr. T. Does it get any better? It does -- LeGault actually started out as Elvis' stunt double and is famously known for having a voice "four octaves lower than God's."
"Let's skip the bullshit, Captain."
He also appeared in the original Battlestar Galactica, The Incredible Hulk, Wonder Woman, Buck Rogers, T.J. Hooker, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and, of course, MacGyver.
For more deaths we missed in the past, check out Where Aren't They Now?: 15 Overlooked Deaths of 2008 and Where Aren't They Now? 11 Overlooked Deaths of 2011.
If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out The 5 Most Unintentionally Creepy Christmas Albums.
And stop by LinkSTORM to learn the best way to regift those socks you got.
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