Where Aren't They Now? 25 Overlooked Deaths Of 2018 (Pt. 2)

The real "person of the year" is always Death. And while we as a culture will always stop to mourn the passing of an all-time great, every year there are many other equally important people whose deaths don't generate a ton of headlines. So each year around this time, we like to stop and give them their due, mainly so that they won't come back to haunt us.

Note: This is actually Part 2 of a series. Part 1, which covered January through most of May, is here.

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May 26: A Video Game Icon

Who?

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Ted Dabney, Atari co-founder.

How?

Esophageal cancer.

His Story:

As you're marveling at the sight of your horse's testicles fluctuating with each season in Red Dead Redemption 2, know that they are the grandchildren of Atari co-founder Ted Dabney. Along with Nolan Bushnell, Dabney started the legendary video game company in 1972. While most people think Pong is the earliest video game, Dabney and Bushnell actually made a game a year earlier, called Spacewar! They used the circuit board they developed for that game to craft Pong the following year, utterly changing the course of entertainment forever.

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Dabney discovered his love for computers and electronics in the Marines, and used that expertise to craft the building blocks on which this multi-billion-dollar industry is based. He left Atari soon after he helped found the $500 start-up; he didn't necessarily want to be a part of a large business, and it didn't help that Bushnell also wanted him gone. Dabney was bought out for $250,000, tinkered with a few computer engineering jobs, then finally decided to spend his golden years owning a little grocery store with his wife. He would thus see none of the millions of dollars Atari would rake in during its heyday, but he probably missed out on a whole lot of stress, too.

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May 29: A Movie Poster Maven

Who?

Bill Gold, graphic artist.

How?

Alzheimer's.

His Story:

Movie posters used to be a big deal before they were reduced to a tiny thumbnail you'd browse on iTunes. As such, they were once an art form all their own, distilling the whole essence of a movie into a single image. Like this one, featuring a tiny James Bond bringing his gun to bear on a vagina:

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Bill Gold was the artist responsible for that incredibly memorable image, as well as so many other iconic film posters that it's almost unfair. Casablanca, Platoon, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Exorcist, Dirty Harry (and every single poster for the films Eastwood directed), and A Clockwork Orange are just a few that you've heard of, and there are countless others. The dude even designed the logo for Woodstock.

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The ability to create an image that sticks in your brain that well is almost a superpower, and we're glad he used it for good.

Related: The 8 Most Misleadingly Awesome Movie Posters

June 8: The First Bond Girl

Who?

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Eunice Gayson, actress.

How?

Undisclosed.

Her Story:

No, she's not the woman in the poster up there.

The first official Bond movie was 1962's Dr. No, starring Sean Connery. Eunice Gayson was the very first official "Bond Girl," starting a tradition that would be filled by women like Halle Berry, Ursula Andress, and Jane Seymour. Connery reportedly had a case of the nerves on the set, which Gayson helped him through so that he could deliver the first of the franchise's trademark "Bond ... James Bond" name-drops (spurred on by her character, Sylvia Trench, using the same technique to give her own name). Connery still had all sorts of trouble with his seemingly simple phrase, so Gayson took him out for a quick drink to cool his nerves.

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Weirdly enough, Gayson's work as a Bond Girl (which extended into From Russia With Love) did not feature her voice. Her lines were dubbed over by voiceover specialist Nikki van der Zyl, as was the practice during the '60s and '70s for many of the Bond Girls. On one hand. that seems somewhat insulting, while on the other, we can instantly think of a whole bunch of movie performances that would have been improved by it.

June 23: A Women's Workplace Rights Pioneer

Who?

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Ann Hopkins, management consultant.

How?

Acute sensory peripheral neuronopathy.

Her Story:

Lots of what we consider common sense around the workplace today is the result of some brave pioneer enduring years of a brutal court case to force the issue. Just look at Ann Hopkins.

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As an employee of the Price Waterhouse accounting firm in Washington in 1978, Hopkins was quickly regarded as one of the top performers. So much so that many of her male co-workers felt threatened, calling her "macho" and in need of "a course in charm school." She smoked, drank, drove around on a motorcycle, and carried herself in a way that made a male boss of hers remark that she should maybe dress and act femininely and "put on some makeup." But her work spoke for itself. She landed a huge contract with the State Department, and job evaluations routinely praised her as "one of the very best."

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But in 1982, when she was a candidate to be made partner (the only woman out of 88 people), she was rejected. She sued, and in 1985 a judge ruled in her favor, stating that "comments influenced by sex stereotypes" were the reason she was denied a promotion.

She continued the case all the way up to the Supreme Court, where in 1989 they ruled that companies now had to demonstrate that they made hiring and promotions based on merit and quality of work, not the boys club horseshit they had been pulling since forever. That was the first time the courts decided that gender stereotyping should be considered discrimination -- which, you know, better late than never.

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Related: 5 Shockingly Outdated Problems Modern Women Face At Work

June 24: A Clergy Sex Abuse Watchdog

Who?

Kathy Shaw, journalist.

How?

Complications from pneumonia.

Her Story:

The decades-long Catholic Church sex abuse cover-up is one of the biggest scandals in the history of everything. Kathy Shaw was one of the people who blew the lid off off it. She was a Massachusetts-area journalist who tirelessly documented case after case of abuse by clergymen. She even compiled a national database of allegations so that the news-reading public (and authorities, no doubt) could try to somehow wrap their heads around it all.

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In 1993, Shaw was credited with bringing to light a confidential 1962 Vatican document that implored church leaders to keep complete secrecy around any cases of abuse. Her website, Abuse Tracker, still remains as her legacy, hosting a database of priests who have been accused, detailing in exhaustive details each case and where priests may have been relocated. It's absolutely harrowing, and essential for preserving a truth that some powerful people very much wish would go away.

July 26: A Harlem Globetrotter Legend/Activist

Who?

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Johnny Kline, athlete.

How?

Undisclosed.

His Story:

Johnny Kline played forward for the Harlem Globetrotters during the 1950s, an era when a group of black men traveling the country weren't met with the highest levels of enthusiasm in some places. Hotels and restaurants denied them simple services, even though the Globetrotters were more popular than the NBA teams in some cities. This was part of what caused Kline to leave the team in 1959.

He began to seek out the teachings of Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam, but the 1960s soon became a cycle of heroin addiction and homelessness for Kline. It took him eight years before he kicked drugs and resumed his education, earning a bachelor's degree, then a master's, then a full-fledged PhD in education. He combined his degree with his own life experiences and hardships and became director of a methadone program in the 1970s. He eventually became the city of Detroit's director of education and substance abuse in 1986. We're not saying you have to have gone through Hell yourself in order to guide others out of it, but yeah, it probably helps.

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Related: The 6 Most Inexplicable Cartoon Adaptations Ever

September 5: A Nazi-Killing Girl

Who?

Freddie Oversteegen, Dutch resistance fighter.

How?

Undisclosed.

Her Story:

Growing up in Holland during Germany's invasion and occupation of the country proved inconvenient for teenager Freddie Oversteegen, so she joined the Dutch resistance. She helped sabotage bridges with explosives, smuggle Jewish children out of camps and the country while disguised, and even just straight up shot and killed Nazis as they roared through on their bikes.

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But Freddie didn't think these Nazis were suffering enough. She and fellow female resistance fighters would head to the taverns that Nazis would frequent, flirt and ask the soldiers if they wanted to "go for a stroll in the forest," then shoot them dead once they got somewhere isolated. Or as Freddie would say in her own words, she "liquidated" them.

Did we mention that she was 14 at the time?

October 5: The Creator Of Claymation

Who?

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Will Vinton, artist.

How?

Multiple myeloma.

His Story:

You know claymation the moment you see it. The stuff was everywhere in the '80s, often in ad campaigns like the singing California Raisins:

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That was the work of Will Vinton's studio. You saw it again when Domino's Pizza used it to bring the Noid to life:

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Michael Jackson tapped Vinton to help produce his wildly ambitious and detailed Speed Demon video, which featured Claymation versions of everyone from Pee-wee Herman to Jack Nicholson. If you weren't around for the late '80s, that video pretty much sums it up:

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In the 2000s, however, Nike head honcho Phil Knight purchased a stake in Vinton's company and soon ousted him, replacing him with his son. We're not sure of the reason for the acrimony, but fans of Vinton will be happy to know that a documentary based on him is currently in the works.

Related: 5 Famous Ad Campaigns That Actually Hurt Sales

October 6: Hershel From The Walking Dead

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Who?

Scott Wilson, actor.

How?

Leukemia.

His Story:

If you're reading this, you probably know him as Hershel Greene, the farm owner whom the group of survivors led by Rick Grimes comes across in the second season of The Walking Dead. Hershel, played by veteran actor Scott Wilson, becomes a sort of father figure for Rick and the gang. His daughter Maggie becomes romantically involved with Glenn. He also keeps some zombies locked up in his barn, so there's that.

But The Walking Dead was really a nice nightcap on a long career for Wilson. He was in the 1967 classic In The Heat Of The Night alongside Sidney Poitier. He was in The Right Stuff, the acclaimed film about the early space program, as well as the Charlize Theron Oscar vehicle Monster. So he had 50 years and 80 acting credits to his name even before his turn as the religious widower turned zombie-slaying badass.

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His final role ended with his head being freed from his body via machete, though he later returned via flashback, and we like to think had an offer for a spinoff series on the table right up until the end. We'd have watched it.

October 15: The Creator Of The Green Bean Casserole

Who?

Dorcas Reilly, Campbell's Soup test kitchen manager.

How?

Alzheimer's.

Her Story:

Consider all of the must-have staples on every sprawling Thanksgiving table. You've got the turkey, obviously, plus stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy ... what else? Missing from that list before the 1950s, but absolutely essential afterward, is the unctuous green bean casserole. You can thank Dorcas Reilly, at the time a Campbell's Soup employee, for its creation.

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Now, lots of everyday recipes have some kind of charming backstory to them ("The Earl of Sandwich wanted a meal he could eat with one hand while masturbating!"), but this came about as most modern inventions do: with a corporation telling an employee to invent something.

In 1955, the Associated Press asked Campbell's to dream up some recipes that included two things that almost every American had in their homes at the time: cream of mushroom soup and green beans. The green bean casserole Reilly concocted is comprised of a scant six ingredients (cream of mushroom soup, green beans, milk, soy sauce, and pepper, topped with crispy french-fried onions) but it was the perfect easy extra dish to throw on the table for the holiday.

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And while a lot of the rich casserole-type recipes from those days are no longer in vogue, the green bean casserole has become tradition. 30 million people serve it every year. That's a pretty cool accomplishment, even if she did it while working in a huge corporation's test kitchen.

Related: 5 Ways Your Favorite Holidays Change As You Get Older

November 11: The Voice Of Cinema's Scariest Computer

Who?

Douglas Rain, actor.

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How?

Natural causes.

His Story:

Every time you hear the clipped, precise, polite yet slightly creepy tones of Alexa or Siri, you can probably blame the A.I. HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey. And Douglas Rain provided that voice, putting his Shakespearean acting background to work for a character with no face.

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HAL got its voice after director Stanley Kubrick heard Rain narrate a space documentary called Universe. The movie was already completed, and Kubrick cast Rain at the very last minute, having him record lines with little or no explanation or actors to interact with. The impersonal setting soured Rain on the whole thing, and he even later admitted to never having seen the film. Despite this, he reprised his role as HAL in the sequel, 2010: The Year We Made Contact. But how did he understand the role he was playing without having watched the ending of 2001, which so clearly answers all of the questions raised by the plot?

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November 16: The Writer Of The Princess Bride (Both The Book And The Movie)

Who?

William Goldman, novelist and screenwriter.

How?

Pneumonia.

His Story:

If all William Goldman had accomplished was writing The Princess Bride, he'd have left more of a mark than most writers ever will. But prior to that, he already had a sterling reputation as a screenwriter. His script for Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid won him an Oscar in 1969. Not long after, Goldman and Robert Redford teamed up again for All The President's Men, which won him another Oscar.

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Goldman was also an acclaimed novelist. He wrote the book that he himself adapted into The Princess Bride. He did the same with Marathon Man, which contains a visceral dental drill interrogation scene that will have you clenching your teeth ... if you can even finish watching it at all:

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If you want a long career as a creative person, be type who can write that, and then also crank out The Princess Bride.

Related: 5 Side Characters Who Stole The Show In Famous Movies

Dec 7: The Holocaust Survivor Who Led A Rebellion, Found Love

Who?

Selma Engel

How?

Natural causes.

Her Story:

Selma Engel, born Saartje Wynberg, was 18 when the Nazis rolled through the Netherlands in 1940. After hiding for two years (a good idea, as she was Jewish), they finally found her and shipped her to the notorious Sobibor extermination camp, in which 167,000 people were eventually murdered.

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In the camp, Selma was tasked with the gruesome job of sorting through the clothing of the ones who had been gassed. Some time later, she met another prisoner named was Chaim Engel, and during a mock dance party that the SS officers put on for a joke to make fun of the prisoners, he took her hand and asked Selma to join him. That dance would lead to them becoming a couple and, after the war and camp liberation, marrying each other.

But that was later, and while they were in the camp, they were sure that their days were numbered. So, they decided to f**k up some Nazis and revolt. On October 14, 1943, the couple joined a group of other prisoners who lured several camp officers out of sight in the woods nearby, and killed them with axes and knives. Selma and her future husband joined about 300 other prisoners, ducking gunfire and avoiding minefields on their way out of there (their experiences at the camp were recanted in the movie classic Escape from Sobibor). A Polish family hid the two in their barn until word got out the war finally ended over a year later.

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They made a family, and after suffering the displacement and alienation so many Jews faced after the war, moved to the U.S. in 1959. The couple would testify in Nazi war crime trials, and would travel far and wide to talk about their experiences, in the hope that something like that would never happen again.

Justin writes more on his site here. He's also got two albums on Apple Music and most other streaming platforms.

Support your favorite Cracked writers with a visit to our Contribution Page. Please and thank you.

For more, check out How Humans Will Eventually Beat Death - People Watching Number 4:

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