Queen of the Dead—dateline June 25, 2011
• Wheelchair-bound actor and male stripper Lee Kemp, 39, died of cancer on April 11. The British actor became a paraplegic after a 1990 motorcycle accident and—against all odds—continued his career, even winning the much coveted Sexiest Man in Yorkshire competition in 2005. Besides campaigning for disabled people’s rights in the UK, Kemp headed a troupe of male strippers called The Crippendales, who were featured in an eponymous 2007 film.
• Maria Gomes Valentim died on June 21—born in 1896, she was at the time of her death the world’s oldest documented person (just a month shy of 115, and she didn’t look a day over 90). Valentim was born the same year as George Burns, F. Scott Fitzgerald, “Big Edie” of Grey Gardens, silent film stars Blanche Sweet and Barbara La Marr, and Jim “Fibber McGee” Jordan. The Brazilian native is not known to have done anything of interest to anyone outside her family except living 114 years, but a granddaughter noted that “she has lived long because she has always taken care of her own life – and not the life of others,” a lesson many would do well to emulate. Except for the living 114 years part. I can’t imagine a worse fate.
• An 85-year-old religious figure (a dean of Lincoln, England) died on June 8. This is mostly of note to us because his name was The Very Reverend Oliver William Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, which I find absolutely delightful. The Telegraph—who never lets us down—adds that “his great-great-grandfather had been Archdeacon of Hereford and earned a mention in Kilvert’s Diary for preaching a sermon described as ‘a rigmarole.’”
• Balding, nerdy-looking British musician and comic Simon Brint, 61, died on June 11. He and Roland Rivron formed the group Raw Sex, parodying bands from Velvet Underground to the Mamas and the Papas to the Pet Shop Boys. The duo was often seen on French and Saunders, and Brint provided music for such Britcoms as Absolutely Fabulous, Hippies, The Savages, Coupling, Monarch of the Glen, and Teenage Kicks.