Since we've just entered the beginning of a new year, let us talk about the vexed question of who’s next to pass away. From the many issues which arouse great passion, this is one of the most talked about. We often hear about someone who foretells their own death. The bass guitarist of the rock band Weezer, Mikey Welsh, Tweeted in 2011, “I died in Chicago next weekend (heart attack in my sleep). Need to write my will today.” He even corrected the timing of his death in a later tweet and two weeks later, he was passed.
American author Mark Twain apparently wrote of his own demise: “I came in with Halley’s Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year (1910), and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don’t go out with Halley’s Comet.” The day before the comet was closest to Earth, he snuffed it.
Although we can't foresee the true, we can make assumptions based on age and health. We lost many legends in 2017, but we're hoping this year will be better. However, we like to be prepared just in case, so here are 15 celebs we believe won’t make it to the end of 2018.
15 Ozzy Osbourne
John “Ozzy” Osbourne has been on a "who’s next to pass" lists since 1987, yet, he has defied all the odds and lost some gamblers a small fortune. He is best known these days as the husband of Sharon Osbourne but used to be lead vocalist of Black Sabbath before being sacked from the group in 1979. He then made a name for himself as a solo artist and was given the nickname the Godfather of Heavy Metal.
He is also well known for his addictions. After several attempts to kick habits, he revealed in 2013 that he had returned to the land of K-Hole on the hunt for the dragon. It is his life-long dependency on drink and substances that deems Ozzy, yet again, a likely name on the Grim Reaper’s hit list for 2018. As sad as it would be, we think his time is up.
14 Aretha Franklin
Aretha Louise Franklin’s voice, face, and legacy are so intrinsic to American culture that even without her physical presence on Earth, she would still live on in our hearts. Over the course of her career Franklin has made no less than 112 singles, which have either been in the top-10 charts or added to all-time-great lists by various pundits.
In August 2012, her work was also appended to the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and she got an honorable mention in two of Rolling Stone’s 100 "Greatest Artists" issues. At 75, she still sings, but for the purposes of our list let’s take a look at some worrying statistics. In 2010, she had a tumor removed and some continued medical intervention in 2011 played havoc with her weight. Then in 2017, she cancelled a number of shows due to poor health. This year may not bode well for our sweetheart.
13 Clint Eastwood
We know him as Clint the actor, but Clinton Eastwood Junior is also a filmmaker, musician, and political figure. Born in 1930, his big break came courtesy of Sergio Leone's Western films. Since the 1960s, he has starred in countless enduring and much-loved movies (and The Unforgiven). His awards span decades and include Oscars, BAFTAs, and Blue Ribbons, making him one of the most highly-decorated actors of our time.
But all that may be set to change in 2018. At 87, Clint is thought by some to be close to heading off at the big San Miguel in the sky. Although in perfect health and an avid non-smoker all of his life, we have to wonder for how much longer he can tee off at the Tehàma before he really does buy the farm.
12 Stephen Hawking
Some say there’s no one cleverer than Professor Stephen Hawking. The British scientist and physicist famed for outliving doctors’ early prognosis of his amyotrophic lateral sclerosis has been going strong for years and probably stronger than before he became paralyzed. Fitted with a wheelchair that looks like it came from the X-Men comics, the professor has written books, given lectures, and made TV appearances all in the name of science. The most familiar of his theories closely parallels the work of Einstein at the turn of the 20th century relating to quantum physics.
While all of that is fascinating, we think the good professor may have reached his optimum velocity and is set once and for all to be lowered into one of his famous black holes. Then again, perhaps he’s also found the secret to immortality.
11 Kirk Douglas
Kirk Douglas has been on this type of list for quite some time now. Douglas, now a remarkable 101 years old, has enjoyed a career lasting more than 60 years and has earned too many awards and accolades to mention. Throughout the 1950s and '60s in the glory days of Hollywood, he was a major box-office sensation. He was married to Diana Dill in 1943 with whom he had two children: Michael and Joel Douglas.
Although he had a stroke in 1996, during which he the lost the ability to talk, he recovered well enough from it to make a small speech when he collected his honorary Academy Award a few months later. That being said, the bell tolls ever louder for someone who has entered into their centennial year, let alone someone who is 101.
10 Sean Connery
Sir Sean Connery is best known for his dashing portrayal of James Bond in the early years of the 007 franchise. He had the looks, the accent, and the sophistication that Ian Fleming himself may have admired, but to some, his mannerisms were nothing short of cheesy and toon-like. That said, he made his fortune from the films and went on to appear in several other blockbusters such as The Hunt for Red October.
These days, he’s retained his suave good looks, but there’s no getting away from the fact that at 88 years old, his days are numbered less than 007. In fact, he’s one of the 15 celebrities we think is about to turn up his toes in 2018. When he does, the world will be in mourning for an actor like no other who gave us James Bond, captain Marko Ramius, Barley Blair, and King Richard the Lionheart.
9 Harrison Ford
John Travolta famously has his own smart Boeing passenger plane while Harrison Ford has planes kept together by pieces of string. Since 1999, he has been in countless accidents involving both fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. In that year he was injured in a crash landing of a helicopter and the following year had to make an emergency landing in a plane he was flying. Only recently did he try to land on top of a 737 airliner at Santa Monica airport after he mistook the taxiway for the runway.
Luckily no-one was injured and it would seem whenever Ford gets caught up in some air disaster or other he remains dead calm. He’s in the list for that reason alone because he looks unfazed by his encounters with death. He repeatedly gets back into the cockpit of planes that will one day kill him.
8 Prince Philip Duke Of Edinburgh
As we go to print it is unclear whether Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (otherwise known as the Queen of England’s husband) is dead or alive. He gave up all his princely duties in the middle of last year and hasn’t been seen since. We don’t want to assume the worst, but when your oldest statesman suddenly vanishes off the face of the Earth it’s hard not to. That said, we don’t think the Royals are the type to pretend he’s still alive and parade him around.
Assuming he is still alive at 96 years old, it’s logical to think that the Christmas dinner he had this year may well be his last. We’re sure he enjoyed it to the max; the Royal palace won’t exactly be a mirror image of Bob Cratchett’s household. Standby for the Royal funeral of the century, literally.
7 Stan Lee
Mostly famed for being the former editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics, Stan Lee is a household name for those that like that sort of thing. His comic books introduced the world to the likes of Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, and Thor. And having seen The Avengers, were grateful he had such great minds working for him. Born in 1922, Lee was almost single-handedly responsible for turning a small comic book studio into a multi-billion dollar corporation.
It’ll be a sad day when Lee passes, but at 95, we may as well expect the worse. In 2012, he had a pacemaker fitted which we’re thankful for, but how long does one of those things last? Gear up for the Marvel comic of sadness this year, but be prepared for an even greater outpouring of Marvel-inspired action movies when the time comes.
6 George Bush Senior
Elder statement George Bush Senior was the president of the United States from 1989 until 1993. Although he ran for president in 1980 he was beaten to the finish line by none other than Ronald Reagan. That said, as a president he wasn’t too bad, at least not as bad as some. At 93 years old, it seems only a few mild-mannered sinews are keeping this former president from falling apart.
Never let it be said that we condone gambling, but if you were going to wager on celebrity deaths this year, George Bush Senior may just be your horse. He has only recently surpassed the onerous title of the longest lived of all ex-presidents.
5 Honor Blackman
We take a trip to England next and visit the sprawling, gothic castle of Honor Blackman. Best known for her starring roles as “Cathy Gale in The Avengers, Bond girl Pussy Galore in Goldfinger, Julia Daggett in Shalako, and Hera in Jason and the Argonauts, the majority of her acting took place in the 1960s. Born in 1925, that would have made her in her late 30s by the time she reached the big time. But that’s not to say that Blackman hung up her jodhpurs and vanished into obscurity. Far from it, her most recent performance was as Rose Walker in You, Me and Them back in 2015.
She may still look healthy and glamorous, but at 92, it is only a matter of time before time catches up with you. And 2018 may just be the year in which Honor Blackman passes away with honors.
4 James Earl Jones
With one of the most memorable voices in the industry James Earl Jones still cuts a formidable figure. In 2011, the All Movie Guide called Jones "one of America's most distinguished and versatile actors” and that isn’t an exaggeration. He has taken lead or supporting roles in too many blockbusters to mention and of course leant his voice to Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy. Perhaps surprisingly Jones grew up suffering with a stutter.
Although it pains us to say it, at 86 years of age, 2018 could well be the last year we see Jones alive. He has fought a long battle with Type 2 diabetes and although he looks healthy it’s what is happening on the inside that really counts. One thing is for sure, the orator at his funeral will need to up their game.
3 William Shatner
Perhaps best known for playing Captain James T Kirk throughout the Star Trek franchise, William Shatner is also a novelist, producer and director. Other credits for Shatner include The Twilight Zone, Miss Congeniality, and When Elephants Were Young. Most recently, he starred as Two-Face in the 2017 animated film Batman vs. Two-Face.
With such an active career still after 60 years you’d be mistaken to think that Shatner was in the peak of physical health. But we learn that he has been afflicted with tinnitus for years ever since a pyrotechnic exploded on the set of Star Trek, and without proper hearing who knows what dangers he encounters crossing the street. As if that was bad enough, Shatner is an avid horseman and that sport is way up there with paragliding and base jumping. We think 2018 is going to be Shatner’s year to boldly go where everyone else has gone.
2 Woody Allen
Born Allan Stewart Konigsberg but known as Heywood Allen and affectionately as Woody, this writer and filmmaker seems, for want of a better word, immortal. Born in 1935, his career started in comedy writing sketches for comedians of the day. Soon Woody knew he could make it on his own as a comedian and he did incredibly well. His comedy sketches were just one string to his bow, and although the medieval archers were only allowed two strings, Woody had many: he wrote books, plays, short stories for The New Yorker, he directed and acted, played the clarinet, and wrote music.
When his time comes, we’re certain Woody will be prepared. After all, he is known for his meanderings about life and death. He once said: “I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying”.
1 Mel Brookes
Like Woody Allen, Mel Brooks began his career writing comedy for other comedians on a show called Your Show of Shows. Pretty soon it was apparent that he too had a knack for observational comedy and his shows then became films and books. By the time he had reached middle age in the 1970s, Brooks was one of the most successful directors of all time and produced such films as The Producers, Blazing Saddles, History of the World, and Spaceballs.
Now 91, he seems to be in peak health but it’s when you least expect that tragedy strikes. And if the numbers of celeb souls lost aboard the 2017 ship are anything to go by, 2018 is as much in jeopardy for some of our oldest and best loved celebrities. Let’s hope that we’re wrong but just in case we’ll avoid saying "we told you so" when the time comes.