The Undertaker says, “Rest… In…. Peeeeaaaace!” 

Gambling is fun. Our love of Las Vegas is well documented. We’ve played the ponies in Del Mar. And since Lady E and I have been to a zillion weddings in the last five years, we gamble at those too. So why not gamble on dead celebrities? That’s why we want you to send us your 3 CJS Ghoul Pool selections this week to display next week in the Confessional. Just pick 3, and fire ‘em off to Whoever does the best wins a handsome prize at the end of 2010.

For now, let’s take a look back at who that cruel mistress known as 2009 took from us.

In our 2009 prediction article, here’s who Hart, Limon, and I took as our selections: Fidel Castro, Ringo Starr, Flava Flav, Wilford Brimley, Don Vito of “Viva La Bam,” Carson Daly, Amy Winehouse, the Honey Bunches of Oats Lady, and Mary Kate Olsen.

None of those people died.

Good for them, but bad for our gambling purposes. But rather than dwell on those still with us, we’ll take a month-by-month final look at those 2009 did claim. We took our list from the ever-reliable Wikipedia, so feel free to visit their page for a more all-encompassing list. Say goodbye to these old friends one last time…

January 13 – Patrick McGoohan


Even though I’m not terribly familiar with any of his work, and I’ve not seen any episodes of “The Prisoner,” which is what he’s best known for, I include him in this list because in High Fidelity Rob and Marie De Salle discover they both loved that show. As Rob gropes for the lead actor’s name, he asks Barry (Jack Black) who it was and Barry shouts at him “MCGOOHAN!” It’s a funny line, and since I spent 20 minutes trying to figure out why my brain kept shouting MCGOOHAN at me while I looked at his name, he’s on our list.

January 14 – Ricardo Montalban

“Welcome to Fantasy Island. Where’s my midget?”

Thanks for your hilarious turn in The Naked Gun, for “Fantasy Island” and for having one of those great names that’s weirdly satisfying to say. Ricardo Montalban. It’s like bounding through a field of gillyflowers.

January 27 – John Updike

“Heh. Damn near killed ‘em. Wish I’d thought of that.”

My biggest memory of John Updike? His “Simpsons” episode where he’s the ghost writer of a book that Krusty the Clown is promoting. The book’s title is Your Shoe’s Too Big To Kickbox God. Krusty can’t remember who wrote it, turns to Updike and asks, “Eh, what’s your name again?” Updike’s exasperated response of “John. Updike.” is classic.

February 6 – James Whitmore

“I’m goin’ away, Jake.”

At least he didn’t hang himself in some halfway house like Brooks Hatlen. Or even worse, at least he wasn’t ironically beaten to death by a giant flower like in those Claritin commercials. Why is that ironic? He was the spokesman for Miracle Gro all those years.

March 15 – Ron Silver

“If I were shorter and fatter, my nipples would be about here.”

He was the jerkface director who took away Buddy Young Jr’s big comeback role and gave it to Walter Matthau in Mr. Saturday Night. This is literally all I know about Ron Silver besides what I just read on his Wikipedia page. So if you liked him on “The West Wing” or in Ali, tough titties. Mr. Saturday Night is what you get.

April 12 – Marilyn Chambers

Speaking of nipples…

Ahh, porn stars. Marilyn was the first white woman to get plowed onscreen by a black dude in the film Behind the Green Door. Later in her career, she appeared in Bikini Bistro which I wrote about here. This woman appeared in two of my sentimental favorite pornos of all time. My wang weeps for her.

April 25 – Beatrice Arthur

“Get that weak ass shit out my face, Blanche.”

Here’s what I wrote about Bea Arthur back in April:

A slight note of melancholy this week as Bea Arthur passed away. Not only was Bea Arthur star of  “Maude” and “The Golden Girls” tackling important issues of the day such as abortion and the sex lives of geriatric women… Not only was she one of the victims of the greatest Friars Club Roast zing of all time at the hands of Jeffrey Ross… Not only was Adam Sandler ogling naked pictures of her in the movie Airheads… Bea Arthur was the best part of the Pam Anderson Roast too.

When you check out this off-kilter, yet oddly apt eulogy, make sure to click on the video link too for Arthur’s dramatic reading of Pam Anderson’s semi-autobiographical book Star Struck. You won’t be disappointed.

The Cru Jones Society wishes Bea Arthur’s family the best and just want to say thank you to Bea for all the comedy she brought into the world. She’ll be missed.

May 4 – Dom DeLuise

“Beards and hats! You got me!”

When I was a kid, I only knew DeLuise as the pitchman for Ziploc bags and a TV chef. His goofy hat, boisterous beard, and gregarious personality made me uncomfortable. I couldn’t handle bombastic friendliness as a kid. Turns out he had a lengthy, successful and fairly impressive comedy career, which I would have known had I liked any Mel Brooks movies. But I don’t. Buy Ziploc!

May 9 – Chuck Daly

“Dumars, tell Rodman his junk is poking out of those shorts!”

If there’s a basketball team in heaven (or hell, depending on your feelings about those Pistons teams of the late 80s), you can bet Daly is coaching them to be the bad boys of the league and having his goofy white center toss a few elbows in the face of some chumps under the boards. To paraphrase what Wes Mantooth says about Ron Burgundy, “I hated those Pistons teams with all my guts, but dammit did I respect them.” Except that filthy bastard Laimbeer. Yuck.

June 3 – David Carradine

“What size are you, Uma?”

Oy. Caine from “Kung Fu.” Those dopey ads. Cross dressing. Autoerotic asphyxiation. The unintentional comedy with David Carradine is off the charts. So instead of making some sort of horrifically tasteless joke (Looks like Uma Thurman didn’t need… Nope, just gonna stop), I’ll just say thanks for playing Bill with equal parts charm and quiet menace. Well done.

June 23 – Ed McMahon

You are correct, sir. Dead.

A hearty “Hey-oh!” to the master and commander of a CJS favorite response to just about anything. Our last memory of Ed McMahon is him wistfully saying goodbye to his solid gold toilet in a Super Bowl ad for Cash 4 Gold. We’d like to be sad about that, but given the cheese he injected us everyday on “Star Search” and those sweepstakes commercials, it was sadly apropos.

June 25 – Farrah Fawcett

Look at her handle that pole.

A hottie who was just before our time. Although it doesn’t matter what generation you’re from, that picture of her in the red bathing suit will ALWAYS be unspeakably hot.  In later years, I remember getting mildly unnerved by that Playboy she did with all the bodypaint, but it was in that good way like how you want to have sex with a burly rollerderby chick. Freaky, but intriguing.

June 25 – Michael Jackson

“Beat it. Before I turn squirrel shit insane and weird everyone out for 20 years.”

If I were born one day later, the King of Pop and I would have shared a birthday. That’s not even remotely interesting, but it’s probably the one thing you didn’t know about Michael Jackson after the media greased up the MJ information overload dildo and rammed up your ass all summer. Yeah, we liked “Thriller” too, but seriously, get a grip.

June 28 – Billy Mays

“Thumbs up for cleaning products, beards, and YELLING.”

The first thing I ever saw Billy Mays pitch was Oxi-Clean. I had a Ziploc bag of Oxi-Clean in the front seat of my car for two weeks sophomore year of college. Who cares, right? Well, this was right after 9/11 when everyone was receiving anthrax through the mail. I prayed I never got stopped and got mistaken for a terrorist, but in retrospect, I should have just taken the bag out of the car. It took me a while to figure out college.

July 17 – Walter Cronkite

Paving the way for honest journalism and Larry Bird’s shitty mustache.

At one point, he was the most trusted man in America. Thinking about how this country is now, could anyone ever achieve that title ever again? Yet another link to a time when we actually knew how to talk to each other is gone. At least we still have comments under YouTube videos, right?

August 6 – John Hughes

“Am I John Hughes? Or am I Stephen King?”

Hart wrote about John Hughes here, and that sums things up well. I watched American Pie recently and it felt it was 100 years old. Still funny, but weirdly outdated already. I watched The Breakfast Club recently, and aside from the surface level 80s stuff, this movie felt like it happened yesterday. It’s that good.

August 13 – Les Paul

“Even though I’m dead, I could probably still play better than you.”

Awesome guitars. One of the best Coors commercials of all-time. The world was way cooler with Les Paul in it.

August 25 – Ted Kennedy


Poor Mary Jo Kopechne. Hopefully she’s holding ol’ Teddy’s head underwater right now for that night at Chappaquiddick and will continue to do so each night for the rest of eternity. Thank you, Senator Kennedy for demonstrating reckless disregard for basic elevator etiquette and receiving a Rob Blake style hip check from my dad in Washington. This remains our favorite eulogy to you. Rest in peace, and FACK YOU!

September 14 – Patrick Swayze

“Nobody ever wins a fight.” Especially not against your enemy pancreas.

Never thought we’d ever see anyone get the better of Dalton, much less pancreatic cancer of all things. Pain don’t hurt, but cancer do. My favorite Swayze movie is probably Ghost (hey, up yours too, buddy) if only for those silly shadow demons that drag people off to hell and Tony Goldwyn’s over-the-top performance as craven money launderer Carl Bruner. Dirty Dancing, that mean spirited but still funny Chippendales sketch with Chris Farley, and The Outsiders also warrant mention. Here’s hoping the shadow demons didn’t come for you, but the light-infused snowflakes did.

October 4 – Günther Rall, German fighter pilot (born 1918)

Looking to uphold German purity law REINHEITSGEBOT

The third most successful fighter ace in history. Also fought for Hitler. I was thoroughly impressed with his fighting resume, but then I remembered he was a Nazi pig. He didn’t strike me as the Ian McKellen character from Apt Pupil or anything, so he escapes the swastika on his dome this time.

November 20 – Lino Lacedelli, Italian mountaineer (born 1925)

Could he be the real Dos Equis guy?

Italian mountaineer Lino Lacedelli. No, we had no idea who this was, but in collecting names for this piece, we found him and we decided we needed someone to take the mantle of “coolest sounding guy ever” and run with it. Can’t you just picture the dashing Lino conquering the Alps by day and sipping champagne in a hot tub with buxom companions by night? All while wearing a white scarf. I refuse to read more about this man because his name, occupation, and country of origin paint too pleasing a picture for me to ruin.

December 20 – Brittany Murphy

Much cuter here and less… I don’t know… disposable looking than in later years.

You know what makes us most bummed out about this death? We can no longer watch Clueless and guiltlessly mock “Rollin’ With the Homeys” or the way Ty referred to him as Elt-in without going, “Oh right, she’s dead.”

We can almost add 2009 itself to the list of things on their way out, and we bid it adieu the day after it expires. Check back on Friday for the Uber2009: Happy Friday Year in Review.

Until then…