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You're smarter for 10; As Comic Billy Connolly presents a two-part ITV documentary on death, MARION MCMULLEN takes a humorous look at the Grim Reaper.


Who didn't hang about? George Jeffreys, who died in 1689, was known as the "Hanging Judge". He passed a staggering 331 death sentences without allowing one word of defence. It was rumoured he was so swift to condemn because he had a bladder problem which required him to go to the toilet every hour.

Only in America? US opera singer Leonard Warren had a fatal heart attack as he reached the word "fatal" in "Oh fatal urn of my destiny".

Who had the last word? William Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564 and died on April 23, 1616. Legend has it that he died after a night on the tiles.

Who was left choked? The Grim Reaper can have an ironic streak. Restoration dramatist Thomas Otway was given money to buy his first meal in days in 1685 and choked on the first mouthful of bread roll.

Who was a killer lover? Attila the Hun survived battle after battle, but is said to have died while having sex.

Who died with a smile on their face? Greek artist Zeuxis laughed so hard at one of his own paintings that he burst a blood vessel and died in 5th century BC.

Who should have looked around? American outlaw Jessie James died in 1882 after being shot in the back by one of his own gang for a $5,000 reward.

Who wanted their mummy? Archaeologist Lord Carnarvon died in 1923 a few months after discovering Tutankhamun's tomb in Egypt. The unidentified illness which killed him was put down to "the curse of Tutankhamun". Some theories now suggest that the bacteria he inhaled when the tomb was opened led to his demise.

Is it elementary? Fictional sleuth Sherlock Holmes was killed by Professor Moriarty at Reichenbach Falls. In the TV series Sherlock, the detective, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, famously returned from the 'dead' after falling in the final episode of series two, named The Reichenbach Fall.

Do you want to leave them laughing? Cherophobia is actually the fear of dying from laughing.

| The Grim Reaper!


| Billy Connolly in the Glasgow Necropolis cemetery for his TV show, Billy Connolly's Big Send Off

| Lord Carnarvon, above, died a few months after discovering Tutankhamun's tomb, top, in Egypt

| Jesse James
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 8, 2014
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