The Full Wiki

More info on Top unusual deaths: 20th century

Top unusual deaths: 20th century: Trending topics

Advertisements
  

The following are the current most viewed articles on Wikipedia within Wikipedia's Top unusual deaths: 20th century category. Think of it as a What's Hot list for Top unusual deaths: 20th century. More info »

This is a beta release and so the figures may be a day or two out of date. We'd love to get your thoughts.

Top unusual deaths: 20th century

Rank Topic Wikipedia views
Oct 21 2010
1 1916: Grigori Rasputin, Russian mystic, was reportedly poisoned while dining with a political enemy, shot in the head, shot three more times, bludgeoned, and then thrown into a frozen river after being castrated. When his body washed ashore, an autopsy showed the cause of death to be hypothermia. However, there is now some doubt about the credibility of this account. Another account said that he was poisoned, shot, and stabbed, at which time he got up and ran off – and was later found to have drowned in a frozen river. 10771
2 1926: Harry Houdini, a famous American escape artist, was punched in the stomach by an amateur boxer who had heard that Houdini could withstand any blow to his body above his waist, excluding his head. Though this had been done with Houdini's permission, complications from this injury caused him to die days later, on October 31, 1926. It was later determined that Houdini died of a ruptured appendix. 7165
3 1999: Owen Hart, a Canadian-born professional wrestler for WWF, died during a pay-per-view event when performing a stunt. It was planned to have Owen come down from the rafters of the Kemper Arena on a safety harness tied to a rope to make his ring entrance. The safety latch was released and Owen dropped 78 feet (24 m), bouncing chest-first off the top rope resulting in a severed aorta, which caused his lungs to fill with blood. 3425
4 1970: Yukio Mishima, award-winning Japanese playwright and novelist, committed seppuku after failing to inspire a coup d'état at the headquarters of the Japanese Self-Defence Forces in Tokyo. {{cite book 2249
5 1927: Isadora Duncan, dancer, died of a broken neck when one of the long scarves she was known for wearing caught on the wheel of a car in which she was a passenger. 2083
6 1974: Christine Chubbuck, an American television news reporter, committed suicide during a live broadcast on July 15. At 9:38 am, 8 minutes into her talk show, on WXLT-TV in Sarasota, Florida, she drew out a revolver and shot herself in the head. Dietz, Jon. "On-Air Shot Kills TV Personality", Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 16 July 1974.</ref> 1958
7 1982: Vic Morrow, actor, was decapitated by a helicopter blade during filming of Twilight Zone: The Movie. Two child actors, Myca Dinh Le (who was decapitated) and Renee Shin-Yi Chen (who was crushed), also died. 1571
8 1984:Tommy Cooper, British slapstick comedian, died of a heart attack while performing at Her Majesty's Theatre in London, live on national television. The audience continued to laugh as he lay collapsed on the stage, thinking it was part of the act. Following the principle that the show must go on, his body was left on the stage, hastily curtained off, and while attempts were made to revive him the other actors continued the act on the small part of the set which remained. 1330
9 1947: The Collyer Brothers, extreme cases of compulsive hoarders, were found dead in their home in New York. The younger brother, Langley, died by falling victim to a booby trap he had set up, causing a mountain of objects, books, and newspapers to fall on him crushing him to death. His blind brother, Homer, who had depended on Langley for care, died of starvation some days later. 1260
10 1984: Jon-Erik Hexum, an American television actor, died after he shot himself in the head with a prop gun during a break in filming, playing Russian Roulette using a revolver loaded with a single blank cartridge. 1139
11 1967: Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger B. Chaffee, NASA astronauts, died when a flash fire began in their pure oxygen environment during a training exercise inside the unlaunched Apollo 1 spacecraft. The spacecraft's escape hatch could not be opened during the fire because it was designed to seal shut under pressure. 1022
12 1946: Louis Slotin, chemist and physicist, died of radiation poisoning after being exposed to lethal amounts of ionizing radiation from the same core that killed Harry K. Daghlian, Jr.. He allowed the core to become fully shielded by a spherical beryllium reflector when the screwdriver he was using to separate the two halves of the shield slipped, causing the core to go critical. The sphere of plutonium was thereafter nicknamed the Demon core. 916
13 1941: Sherwood Anderson, writer, swallowed a toothpick at a party and then died of peritonitis. 591
14 1920 Ray "Chappie" Chapman, shortstop for the Cleveland Indians baseball team, was killed when a submarine ball thrown by Carl Mays hit him in the temple. He took two steps after being given a walk, collapsed, and died the next day. 545
15 1912: Franz Reichelt, tailor, fell to his death off the first deck of the Eiffel Tower while testing his invention, the coat parachute. It was his first ever attempt with the parachute and he had told the authorities in advance he would test it first with a dummy. 519
16 1978: Georgi Markov, a Bulgarian dissident, was assassinated in London with a specially modified umbrella that fired a metal pellet with a small cavity full of ricin into his calf. 485
17 1993: Garry Hoy, a 38-year old lawyer and a senior partner at the Holden Day Wilson Law firm in Toronto, Canada, fell to his death on July 9, 1993, after he threw himself against a window on the 24th floor of the Toronto-Dominion Centre in an attempt to prove to a group of visiting law students that the glass was "unbreakable." His first attempt failed to damage the glass at all. On his second attempt the glass still didn't break, but popped out of the window frame, and he fell over 300 feet to his death. 447
18 1998: Tom and Eileen Lonergan were stranded while scuba diving with a group of divers off Australia's Great Barrier Reef. The group's boat accidentally abandoned them owing to an incorrect head count taken by the dive boat crew. Their bodies were never recovered. The incident inspired the film Open Water and an episode of 20/20. 445
19 1960: Inejiro Asanuma, 61, the head of the Japanese Socialist Party, was stabbed to death with a wakizashi sword by extreme rightist Otoya Yamaguchi during a televised political rally. Yamaguchi was immediately arrested and later committed suicide. 440
20 1996: Sharon Lopatka, an Internet entrepreneur from Maryland, allegedly solicited a man via the Internet to torture and kill her for the purpose of sexual gratification. Her killer, Robert Fredrick Glass, was convicted of voluntary manslaughter for the homicide. 417
21 1977: Tom Pryce, a Formula One driver at the 1977 South African Grand Prix was killed when he was struck in the face by a track marshal's fire extinguisher. The marshal, Jansen van Vuuren, was running across the track to attend to Pryce's team-mate's burning car when he was struck, and killed instantly, by Pryce's car. </ref> 402
22 1994: Gloria Ramirez was admitted to Riverside General Hospital, in Riverside, California, for complications of advanced cervical cancer. Before she died, her caregivers claimed that Ramirez's body mysteriously emitted toxic fumes that made several emergency room workers very ill. She was dubbed the "toxic lady" by the media. 391
23 1976: Keith Relf, former singer for British rhythm and blues band The Yardbirds, died while practicing his electric guitar. He was electrocuted because the amplifier was not properly grounded. 383
24 1983: Jimmy Lee Gray, a man executed in Mississippi's gas chamber, died bashing his head against a metal pole behind the chair that he was strapped into. The poisonous gas had failed to kill him but left him in agony and gasping for eight minutes. It was later determined that the executioner was drunk. 331
25 1981: Boris Sagal, a film director, died while shooting the TV miniseries World War III when he walked into the tail rotor blade of a helicopter and was decapitated. 324
26 1972: Leslie Harvey, guitarist of Stone the Crows, was electrocuted on stage by a live microphone. 240
27 1923: George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon, became the first to die from the alleged King Tut's Curse after a mosquito bite on his face, which he cut while shaving, became seriously infected with erysipelas, leading to blood poisoning and eventually pneumonia. 236
28 1932: Eben Byers died of radiation poisoning after having consumed large quantities of a popular patent medicine containing radium. 221
29 1928: Alexander Bogdanov, a Russian physician, died following one of his experiments, in which the blood of a student suffering from malaria and tuberculosis, L. I. Koldomasov, was given to him in a transfusion. 211
30 1978: Janet Parker, a British medical photographer, died of smallpox in 1978, ten months after the disease was eradicated in the wild, when a researcher at the laboratory Parker worked at accidentally released some virus into the air of the building. She is believed to be the last smallpox fatality in history. 167
31 1933: Michael Malloy, a homeless man, was murdered by gassing after surviving multiple poisonings, intentional exposure, and being struck by a car. Malloy was murdered by five men in a plot to collect on life insurance policies they had purchased. 154
32 1925: Zishe (Siegmund) Breitbart, a circus strongman and Jewish folklore hero, died as a result of a demonstration in which he drove a spike through five one-inch (2.54 cm) thick oak boards using only his bare hands. He accidentally pierced his knee and the rusted spike caused an infection which led to fatal blood poisoning. He was the subject of the Werner Herzog film, Invincible. 142
33 1961: Valentin Bondarenko, a Soviet cosmonaut trainee, died from shock after suffering third-degree burns over much of his body due to a flash fire in the pure oxygen environment of a training simulator. This incident was not revealed outside of the Soviet Union until the 1980s. 139
34 1923: Martha Mansfield, an American film actress, died after sustaining severe burns on the set of the film The Warrens of Virginia after a smoker's match, tossed by a cast member, ignited her Civil War costume of hoopskirts and ruffles. 129
35 1983: Sergei Chalibashvili, a professional diver, died after a diving accident during the 1983 Summer Universiade in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. When he attempted a three-and-a-half reverse somersault in the tuck position from the ten meter platform, he smashed his head on the platform and was knocked unconscious. He died after being in a coma for a week. 88
36 1955: Margo Jones, theater director, was killed by exposure to carbon tetrachloride fumes from her newly cleaned carpet. 86
37 1920: Dan Andersson, a Swedish author, died of cyanide poisoning while staying at Hotel Hellman in Stockholm, because the hotel staff had failed to clear the room after using hydrogen cyanide against bedbugs. 79
38 1981: Kenji Urada, a Japanese factory worker, was killed by a malfunctioning robot he was working on at a Kawasaki plant in Japan. The robot's arm pushed him into a grinding machine, killing him. [link], The Economist, June 8, 2006; accessed online 6-III-2007.</ref> 70
39 1958: Gareth Jones, actor, collapsed and died while in make-up between scenes of a live television play, Underground, at the studios of Associated British Corporation in Manchester. Director Ted Kotcheff continued the play to its conclusion, improvising around Jones' absence. 59
40 1978: Kurt Gödel, the Austrian/American mathematician, died of starvation when his wife was hospitalized. Gödel suffered from extreme paranoia and refused to eat food prepared by anyone else. He was 65 pounds (approx. 30 kg) when he died. His death certificate reported that he died of "malnutrition and inanition caused by personality disturbance" in Princeton Hospital on January 14, 1978. 6
41 1963: Thích Quảng Đức, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, sat down in the middle of a busy intersection in Saigon, covered himself in gasoline, and lit himself on fire, burning himself to death. Đức was protesting President Ngô Đình Diệm's administration for oppressing the Buddhist religion. 5
42 1971: Jerome Irving Rodale, an American pioneer of organic farming, died of a heart attack while being interviewed on The Dick Cavett Show. According to urban legend, when he appeared to fall asleep, Cavett quipped "Are we boring you, Mr. Rodale?". Cavett says this is incorrect; the initial response was fellow guest Pete Hamill saying in a low voice to Cavett, "This looks bad." The show was never broadcast. < 5
43 1987: Budd Dwyer, the State Treasurer of Pennsylvania, committed suicide during a televised press conference in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Facing a potential 55-year jail sentence for alleged involvement in a conspiracy, Dwyer shot himself in the mouth with a revolver. </ref> < 5
44 1927: J.G. Parry-Thomas, a Welsh racing driver, was decapitated by his car's drive chain which, under stress, snapped and whipped into the cockpit. He was attempting to break his own land speed record which he had set the previous year. Despite being killed in the attempt, he succeeded in setting a new record of 171 mph (275 km/h). < 5
45 1918: Gustav Kobbé, writer and musicologist, was killed when the sailboat he was on was struck by a landing seaplane off Long Island, New York. [link] New York Times. 28 July 1918. p. 1. Retrieved 30 January 2008.</ref> < 5
46 1979: Robert Williams, a worker at a Ford Motor Co. plant, was the first known human to be killed by a robot, Robot firm liable in death, Tim Kiska, The Oregonian, 11 August 1983.</ref> after the arm of a one-ton factory robot hit him in the head. </ref> < 5
47 1975: Bandō Mitsugorō VIII, a Japanese kabuki actor, died of severe poisoning when he ate four fugu livers (also known as pufferfish). The liver is considered one of the most poisonous parts of the fish, but Mitsugorō claimed to be immune to the poison. The fugu chef felt he could not refuse Mitsugorō and lost his license as a result. < 5

Advertisements






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message