The heat wave that has affected much of North America this summer should remind us of the signs and dangers of heatstroke. Twenty-two years ago, on August 1, 2001, Korey Stringer died of heat stroke at age 27. He was 6' 4" tall, weighed 335 pounds and had been an All American tackle at Ohio State University. He became an All Pro lineman for the Minnesota Vikings in 1995.
Today's extremely conservative U.S. Supreme Court members are all aware of the opinions of Antonin Scalia, who was appointed to the Court by President Ronald Reagan in 1986. Scalia was the first Italian-American justice and he spent the next 30 years as one of the most conservative Court members ever. He defended many of his votes and opinions by claiming that he wanted to prevent any changes to the U.S. Constitution that was written 200 years ago.
Raquel Welch was a Hollywood actress and television star whom Playboy called the "Most Desired Woman" of the 1970s and ranked her as Number Three on their "100 Sexiest Stars of the Twentieth Century" (after Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield). She won a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture Actress in a Musical or Comedy in 1974 for her performance in The Three Musketeers, and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in Television Films for her performance in the film Right to Die (1987).
It takes so much work and time to train to become outstanding at any endeavor that there are very few people who have risen to the top of the world stage in more than one field. One of the most impressive people who ever lived was Micheline Ostermeyer of France. She was born in 1922 and died at age 78 in 2001, and was a concert pianist who won three Olympic medals in the 1948 Olympics.
Gustav Born was a physician and pharmacologist who taught the world about blood clotting. In 1945, he was posted as a British army doctor in Hiroshima, and noticed that most of the survivors of the atomic bomb suffered from chronic bleeding. He demonstrated that exposure to radiation destroys the body's platelets to cause the bleeding and laid the basics for treatment of bleeding and clotting disorders, some of which are still used today.
Every physician eventually is asked to treat patients who fake illness, usually to get attention or for personal gain. In 1951, British physician Dr. Robert Asher described three patients who went from doctor to doctor with multiple fictional symptoms, many unexplained hospitalizations, and multiple scars from surgeries that never should have been performed in the first place. Their stories sounded so real that they convinced honest doctors to operate on them for no good reason.
Tina Turner died on May 24, 2023 at age 83 of kidney failure following many years of severe high blood pressure, a kidney transplant, colon cancer, and several strokes. She was a singer, dancer and actress who rose from depressing poverty and an abusive marriage to become the "Queen of Rock 'n' Roll" as the lead singer of the Ike & Tina Turner Revue, before divorcing him and becoming a very popular solo performer.
Roger Bannister was the first human to run a mile in less than four minutes, even though his training was totally inadequate for world-class competition because he was a full time medical student who trained on a single 30-minute workout per day, compared to today's runners who train twice a day for as much as three hours.
Fred Kummerow died at age 102 of arteriosclerosis, a disease that he had spent most of his life working to prevent. He was the first researcher to show that trans fats in margarines and many prepared foods cause plaques to form in arteries, with a paper published in Science in 1957.
You better believe that you can be scared to death. The “Felony Murder Rule” allows prosecutors in all 50 states to bring first-degree murder charges against a defendant if someone dies during a crime such as burglary, rape, or kidnapping, even if the defendant did not intend to kill the victim.
Harry Belafonte was a Jamaican-American singer, actor and activist who won three Grammy Awards, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, an Emmy Award, and a Tony Award and starred in several Hollywood films. Above all, he was a humanitarian who took the sides of the downtrodden and advocated the most good for the most people.
I love stories about quacks who become prophets. Medical breakthroughs are often made by doctors who were first ridiculed by their peers. In 1983, Barry Marshall and John Warren presented a paper to the Australian Gastroenterological Society claiming that stomach ulcers are caused by infection. They never finished their paper because they were laughed off the stage. Barry Marshall became so upset that he swallowed a vial of the bacteria taken from a patient who had stomach ulcers, went into shock and almost died.
Thomas Alva Edison invented the phonograph, a long-lasting incandescent light bulb, the kinetoscope, the dictaphone, an autographic printer and rechargeable batteries. He improved the telephone by inventing the carbon microphone. He was arguably the world’s greatest and most prolific inventor, with more than 1093 patents in the United States and 512 more patents in other countries.
Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and concert pianist (1770-1827) whose symphonies and other compositions are still among our most-beloved and often-performed classical music. In 1824, when Beethoven was 54, he finished conducting the first performance of his magnificent Ninth Symphony, and he could not understand why there was no applause.
Bobby Caldwell was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist of R&B, soul, jazz, and adult contemporary music who was perhaps best known for "What You Won't Do for Love." In 2017, Caldwell was prescribed a quinolone antibiotic and suffered rupture of both Achilles tendons, followed by extensive nerve damage called peripheral neuropathy. He continued to perform, even though he had to do it in a wheelchair, with a cane, and with people to help him.
Chaim Topol was an Israeli actor, singer, and illustrator, who was most famous for playing “Tevya “ more than 3,500 times from 1967 through 2009, in arguably the most popular musical of all time -- Fiddler on the Roof. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his portrayal of Tevya in the 1971 film adaptation. He was the best known of a long line of famous actors who played the role, including Zero Mostel, Theodore Bikel, Herschel Bernardi, Leonard Nimoy and many others.
Tom Sizemore was a popular and prolific movie actor and television star who appeared in Saving Private Ryan, which was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Motion Picture Cast. His notable films include Black Hawk Down, Heat, Natural Born Killers, and Twin Peaks. He also was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for his role in the television series Witness Protection.
Wilt Chamberlain was possibly the greatest basketball player and the greatest athlete ever. The 63-year-old Chamberlain was reported to have died of heart damage called myocarditis, but how could arguably the world’s greatest and fittest athlete die of heart damage? A possible explanation would be venereal diseases, which are a common cause of myocarditis. Chamberlain wrote a book, A View from Above (published in 1991) in which he claimed that had had sex with more than 20,000 women.
Tim McCarver was twice a major League all-star catcher and was a member of two World Series-winning teams during his 21 years of playing for the St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies, Montreal Expos and Boston Red Sox. After his playing career, he became a TV broadcaster who won three Emmy Awards, called a then-record 23 World Series and 20 All-Star Games, and in 2016 was inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame. On February 16, 2023, he died at age 81 of heart failure.
Pelé was a Brazilian soccer player who was the best soccer player of all time because nobody could stop him from scoring. During his entire career, he averaged almost one goal in every game he played. He scored a Guinness World record 1,279 goals in 1,363 games because he could run faster than everyone else (under 11 seconds in the 100 meter dash) and jump higher than everyone else (more than six feet off the ground).
Bobby Hull was one of the best hockey players who ever lived. He played professional hockey for 23 years, from 1957 to 1980, and led the NHL in goals seven times. He played in 1,063 NHL games and accumulated 610 goals, 560 assists, 1,170 points and 640 penalty minutes. He added 62 goals and 67 assists for 129 points in 119 playoff games.
Gina Lollobrigida was an Italian actress who was called the most beautiful woman in the world in the 1950s and 60s. She was nominated for three Golden Globe awards and won one in 1961. She received a variety of other international awards, but she was perhaps best known for the incredible number of famous leading men who appeared with her in movies, on television and in public appearances.
David Crosby was a brilliant songwriter, singer and guitarist who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice for playing in his world-famous bands, the “Byrds” and “Crosby, Stills & Nash." Five of his albums were named to Rolling Stone's list of “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.” On January 18, 2023 he died at age 81 with no cause given, but he could have died of many different conditions provoked by his incredibly unhealthful lifestyle that included excessive drinking excessively and taking many recreational and prescribed drugs (marijuana, psychedelics, cocaine, heroin and more).
Barbara Walters was a brilliant television broadcaster for 65 years from 1951 through 2015. Her ability to ask the right questions at the right time made her the one chosen to interview some of the world’s most famous people, including: Fidel Castro, Anwar Sadat, Menachem Begin, Katharine Hepburn, Sean Connery, Monica Lewinsky, Hugo Chávez, Vladimir Putin, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Jiang Zemin, Bashar al-Assad, and every sitting U.S. president and first lady from Richard and Pat Nixon to Barack and Michelle Obama.
Franco Harris was a running back whose 12,120 yards gained rushing over 13 seasons broke Jim Brown’s record, and he gained more than 1000 yards in each of eight National Football League seasons. He was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection, four-time Super Bowl winner, the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player, NFL rushing touchdowns leader, NFL 1970s All-Decade Team, and a Pro Football Hall of Famer. He was most famous for his "Immaculate Reception" on December 24, 1972 that gave the Pittsburgh Steelers their first playoff win ever.
Arnold Palmer was called "The King" because he was considered to be among the world's greatest and most popular golfers of all time. From 1955 to 1973, he won 92 national and international championships, with 62 of them on the U.S. PGA Tour. In 2004 at age 75, he gave President Bush golf tips before being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He also designed more than 300 golf courses in 37 states, 25 countries, and five continents.
Tammy Wynette rose from poverty in rural Mississippi to become one of the most famous female country music singers. She sold more than 30 million records, had 57 Top-40 country hits between 1967 and 1988, won two Grammy Awards, three Country Music Association awards, eight Billboard awards and 16 BMI songwriter awards.
Kirstie Alley was an actress who gained fame when she joined the cast of Cheers in its sixth year, after Shelley Long ("Diane") left the popular series. Alley was nominated four times for Emmy awards, and received one for Cheers and one for David's Mother. She appeared in many movies including Star Trek II and Look Who's Talking with John Travolta, and has a motion picture star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. On December 5, 2022 at age 71, Alley died a short time after being diagnosed with colon cancer.
Forty years ago this week we lost Marty Robbins at the tragically young age of 57. Robbins was one of the top country singers and songwriters from the 1940s to the 1980s, and today you will still hear his "El Paso," "Big Iron" and many other classics. He won two Grammy Awards and was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. At the same time he was a successful stock car racer who was in 36 NASCAR races from 1966 to 1982 and had six top-10 finishes.
Bruce Lee was the most influential martial artist of the 20th century. In the 1970's, his fame as a movie star and martial arts instructor sparked North American interest in Asian martial arts. He brought Asian martial arts to North America by founding Jeet Kune Do, which is the basis for modern mixed martial arts. On July 20, 1973, at age 32, he died suddenly with massive swelling of his brain. The cause of his brain swelling was not proven by an autopsy, but was originally reported as possibly caused by sensitivity to aspirin. Now, almost 50 years after his death, a well researched paper with solid journal references explains that he probably died from hyponatremia, drinking too much water