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12 Other People We Lost in 2013

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Many famous people passed away in 2013, from Patti Page (in January) to Nelson Mandela (in December). In between, we said goodbye to the legends (Lou Reed, Roger Ebert), the tragically young (Cory Monteith, Paul Walker), the much-loved (Annette Funicello, Deanna Durbin) and the political (Margaret Thatcher, Hugo Chavez). Once again, it’s time to remember some of the other significant or inspiring people who left this mortal plane this year—people whose deaths (or whose lives) might not have been on your radar. 

1. and 2. Tony Sheridan (1940-2013) and Sid Bernstein (1918-2013): Beatles discoverers

Many people have made a claim to discovering the Beatles. These two gentlemen, however, have two of the strongest claims. Tony Sheridan, a northern English rock'n’roller, was playing in the German clubs when the Beatles arrived in 1960. He took them under his wing (Paul McCartney called him “The Teacher”), and they made their recording debut as his backup band. He remained in Germany, however, and never became a major star.

Later, New York concert promoter Sid Bernstein (top) turned the Beatles into international superstars. Intrigued by British reports of Beatlemania in 1963 (though he hadn’t yet heard their music), Bernstein persuaded their reluctant manager to send them to the U.S. the following year. None of Bernstein’s colleagues were interested, so he borrowed money himself to book Carnegie Hall. In 1965 he booked them into Shea Stadium, attracting a then-record crowd of 55,000. He also brought other top British bands to America, launching the so-called "British Invasion." 

3. George Gray (1926-2013): liquid crystal wizard

If inventors became famous because of their effect on our everyday lives, Scottish chemist George Gray would be a household name. In the 1950s, he invented stable liquid crystal materials, which led to liquid crystal displays (LCDs). He was originally contracted to the UK Ministry of Defence, but by the late 1960s, LCDs were seen as an alternative to the heavy and expensive cathode-ray tubes used by television sets of the time. Still, it took a few more decades before they became the basis for common flat-screen televisions—not to mention smartphones and MP3 players. There are now more LCD screens in the world than there are people!

4. Mavis Lever (1921-2013): Enigma code-breaker

As an 18-year-old university student at the outset of World War II, Mavis Lever volunteered to be a British army nurse, but was instead recruited by British intelligence. Her job was not to be “Mata Hari seducing Prussian officers,” as she initially thought, but to use her German language skills to decipher secret codes used by Nazi Germany, especially the Enigma code. As many others had studied German, she was not sure why she was chosen, but later noted that Britain’s top code-breaker, Dilly Knox, liked to hire pretty young women for important jobs. It seemed to work; through a mixture of intuition and linguistic skill, she played a key role in at least two major British naval victories. In 1941, Lever and her colleague Margaret Rock deciphered part of a message by the German secret service. With this information, British spies learned that German generals were preparing to repel an Allied invasion of Calais in 1944. On D-Day in 1944, the Allied forces invaded Normandy instead—catching the Germans unaware—in one of the turning points of the war. “Give me a Lever and a Rock,” said Knox, “and I will move the universe.” 

5. Sir Robert Edwards (1925-2013): the other IVF genius

Along with Patrick Steptoe, Yorkshire physiologist Robert Edwards worked for a decade on the most important discovery to treat infertility: in vitro fertilization. In 1978, this led to the first “test tube baby,” Louise Brown, who would regard Edwards as a “grandfather” figure. As of now, there have been more than four million IVF babies. Steptoe, as the senior partner, was more well-known than Edwards. However, as he died in 1988, he missed sharing Edwards’ knighthood and 2010 Nobel Prize.

6. Adrienne Asch (1946-2013): civil rights champion

Like many supporters of women’s rights during the 1970s, ethicist Adrienne Asch favored abortion rights—but not in every case. She strongly opposed the practices of prenatal testing and abortion to avoid bringing children with disabilities into the world. Asch, blind since her childhood, knew that disability did not make her worthless. She graduated in philosophy in 1969, but employers discriminated against her due to her blindness. Not as helpless as they thought, she saw disability as a civil rights issue, fighting for more respect and opportunity for people with disabilities. She later became a clinical psychotherapist, and received a PhD in 1992. 

7. James H. Steele (1913-2013): super-vet

Steele was known as “the father of veterinary public health” for his work to prevent the spread of disease from animals to people. Even the ancients knew that animals spread disease, and numerous epidemics have happened over the millennia to remind us. However, after all that time, it was left to Steele to pioneer mass vaccination for animals—not just to protect them, but to protect humans as well. Steele brought more attention to zoonoses—diseases that spread from animals to humans. As these include 70 percent of diseases to emerge in the last 20 years (including West Nile virus, monkeypox and mad cow disease), he might yet prove to be one of the most important medical innovators of the past century. 

8. and 9. Mother Antonia Brenner (1926-2013) and Sister Mary Nerney (1938-2013): prison angels

Some people who died this year were notable for their goodness as much as their great achievements. Mother Antonia Brenner, twice-divorced and active in charity work, left the high life of Beverly Hills at age 50 to be ordained as a Roman Catholic nun. She devoted herself to helping the inmates at Mexico’s notorious La Mesa state penitentiary, and lived in a cell at La Mesa for more than 30 years to be closer to them. Inmates recalled that she once walked fearlessly into the middle of a prison riot, avoiding the bullets and tear gas. But when the inmates saw her, they stopped fighting.

Another Roman Catholic nun, Sister Mary Nerney, was an equally tireless advocate for female convicts, especially survivors of domestic violence (who were, in many cases, imprisoned for murdering the perpetrators). She started Project Green Hope (to help reintegrate ex-prisoners into society) and Steps to End Family Violence (which assists battered men as well as women). 

10. Natalya Gorbanevskaya (1936-2013): freedom fighter

A Russian dissident, Natalya Gorbanevskaya protested in Moscow’s Red Square in 1968 when Russian troops sent tanks into Czechoslovakia to quell the Prague Spring. Unlike most of her fellow protesters, she avoided arrest. Her activities, however, became even more courageous: forming a civil rights group; co-founding The Chronicle of Current Events, an influential underground newspaper focusing on civil rights news; and publishing a book about the trials of her arrested comrades. She was finally arrested in 1969 and thrown into a psychiatric prison for “continuous sluggish schizophrenia.” Joan Baez’ song “Natalya” was inspired by her plight. “It is because of people like Natalya Gorbanevskaya, I am convinced,” said Baez, “that you and I are still alive and walking around on the face of the earth.”

Happily, Natalya was released in 1972 and became known as an influential poet—whose poems, it so happened, rarely mentioned politics. Shortly before her death, she returned to Red Square with nine other demonstrators, to commemorate on the 45th anniversary of the Russian tanks. They were arrested for holding an unsanctioned rally.

11. Raymond Cusick (1928-2013): Dalek designer

BBC production designer Ray Cusick died early in 2013, just as the Doctor Who 50th anniversary celebrations were being planned. He had designed the Daleks, the show’s most popular alien monsters. Presented with a very low budget, and the directive to avoid making them look like a “man in the suit,” he envisioned them as robot-like creatures who resembled pepper-pots. (Indeed, he demonstrated them to a model-maker by gliding a pepper-pot across a table.) The children of Britain were scared witless by these metallic killing machines, making the Daleks an instant success—and making Doctor Who a must-see kids’ television show. Cusick designed other monsters for Doctor Who, and worked on more earthly television shows like Miss Marple, but would never equal the Daleks. 

12. Mark Sutton (1971-2013): the Queen’s favourite James Bond

As Andy Warhol said, everyone might someday be famous for 15 minutes. Other people might provide an immortal moment, but they still might not become famous. Mark Sutton was one such person. In one of the opening ceremony highlights of the 2012 London Olympics, James Bond and Queen Elizabeth II parachuted into the Olympic Stadium. It was a terrific surprise – funny, ridiculous, thrilling and completely unexpected. However, the Bond who parachuted was not Daniel Craig, but Sutton, a veteran stuntman. (The Queen? No, that wasn’t her either. That was another stuntman, Gary Connery.) Sadly, Sutton died after hitting a cliff during a jump in Switzerland.

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Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
The 10 Wildest Movie Plot Twists
Laura Harring in Mulholland Drive (2001)
Laura Harring in Mulholland Drive (2001)
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

An ending often makes or breaks a movie. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as having the rug pulled out from under you, particularly in a thriller. But too many flicks that try to shock can’t stick the landing—they’re outlandish and illogical, or signal where the plot is headed. Not all of these films are entirely successful, but they have one important attribute in common: From the classic to the cultishly beloved, they involve hard-to-predict twists that really do blow viewers’ minds, then linger there for days, if not life. (Warning: Massive spoilers below.)

1. PSYCHO (1960)

Alfred Hitchcock often constructed his movies like neat games that manipulated the audience. The Master of Suspense delved headfirst into horror with Psycho, which follows a secretary (Janet Leigh) who sneaks off with $40,000 and hides in a motel. The ensuing jolt depends on Leigh’s fame at the time: No one expected the ostensible star and protagonist to die in a gory (for the time) shower butchering only a third of the way into the running time. Hitchcock outdid that feat with the last-act revelation that Anthony Perkins’s supremely creepy Norman Bates is embodying his dead mother.

2. PLANET OF THE APES (1968)

No, not the botched Tim Burton remake that tweaked the original movie’s famous reveal in a way that left everyone scratching their heads. The Charlton Heston-starring sci-fi gem continues to stupefy anyone who comes into its orbit. Heston, of course, plays an astronaut who travels to a strange land where advanced apes lord over human slaves. It becomes clear once he finds the decrepit remains of the Statue of Liberty that he’s in fact on a future Earth. The anti-violence message, especially during the political tumult of 1968, shook people up as much as the time warp.

3. DEEP RED (1975)

It’s not rare for a horror movie to flip the script when it comes to unmasking its killer, but it’s much rarer that such a film causes a viewer to question their own perception of the world around them. Such is the case for Deep Red, Italian director Dario Argento’s (Suspiria) slasher masterpiece. A pianist living in Rome (David Hemmings) comes upon the murder of a woman in her apartment and teams up with a female reporter to find the person responsible. Argento’s whodunit is filled to the brim with gorgeous photography, ghastly sights, and delirious twists. But best of all is the final sequence, in which the pianist retraces his steps to discover that the killer had been hiding in plain sight all along. Rewind to the beginning and you’ll discover that you caught an unknowing glimpse, too.

4. SLEEPAWAY CAMP (1983)

Sleepaway Camp is notorious among horror fans for a number of reasons: the bizarre, stilted acting and dialogue; hilariously amateurish special effects; and ‘80s-to-their-core fashions. But it’s best known for the mind-bending ending, which—full disclosure—reads as possibly transphobic today, though it’s really hard to say what writer-director Robert Hiltzik had in mind. Years after a boating accident that leaves one of two siblings dead, Angela is raised by her aunt and sent to a summer camp with her cousin, where a killer wreaks havoc. In the lurid climax, we see that moody Angela is not only the murderer—she’s actually a boy. Her aunt, who always wanted a daughter, raised her as if she were her late brother. The final animalistic shot prompts as many gasps as cackles.

5. THE USUAL SUSPECTS (1995)

The Usual Suspects has left everyone who watches it breathless by the time they get to the fakeout conclusion. Roger "Verbal" Kint (Kevin Spacey), a criminal with cerebral palsy, regales an interrogator in the stories of his exploits with a band of fellow crooks, seen in flashback. Hovering over this is the mysterious villainous figure Keyser Söze. It’s not until Verbal leaves and jumps into a car that customs agent David Kujan realizes that the man fabricated details, tricking the law and the viewer into his fake reality, and is in fact the fabled Söze.

6. PRIMAL FEAR (1996)

No courtroom movie can surpass Primal Fear’s discombobulating effect. Richard Gere’s defense attorney becomes strongly convinced that his altar boy client Aaron (Edward Norton) didn’t commit the murder of an archbishop with which he’s charged. The meek, stuttering Aaron has sudden violent outbursts in which he becomes "Roy" and is diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder, leading to a not guilty ruling. Gere’s lawyer visits Aaron about the news, and as he’s leaving, a wonderfully maniacal Norton reveals that he faked the multiple personalities.

7. FIGHT CLUB (1999)

Edward Norton is no stranger to taking on extremely disparate personalities in his roles, from Primal Fear to American History X. The unassuming actor can quickly turn vicious, which led to ideal casting for Fight Club, director David Fincher’s adaptation of the Chuck Palahniuk novel. Fincher cleverly keeps the audience in the dark about the connections between Norton’s timid, unnamed narrator and Brad Pitt’s hunky, aggressive Tyler Durden. After the two start the titular bruising group, the plot significantly increases the stakes, with the club turning into a sort of anarchist terrorist organization. The narrator eventually comes to grips with the fact that he is Tyler and has caused all the destruction around him.

8. THE SIXTH SENSE (1999)

Early in his career, M. Night Shyamalan was frequently (perhaps a little too frequently) compared to Hitchcock for his ability to ratchet up tension while misdirecting his audience. He hasn’t always earned stellar reviews since, but The Sixth Sense remains deservedly legendary for its final twist. At the end of the ghost story, in which little Haley Joel Osment can see dead people, it turns out that the psychologist (Bruce Willis) who’s been working with the boy is no longer living himself, the result of a gunshot wound witnessed in the opening sequence.

9. THE OTHERS (2001)

The Sixth Sense’s climax was spooky, but not nearly as unnerving as Nicole Kidman’s similarly themed ghost movie The Others, released just a couple years later. Kidman gives a superb performance in the elegantly styled film from the Spanish writer-director Alejandro Amenábar, playing a mother in a country house after World War II protecting her photosensitive children from light and, eventually, dead spirits occupying the place. Only by the end does it become clear that she’s in denial about the fact that she’s a ghost, having killed her children in a psychotic break before committing suicide. It’s a bleak capper to a genuinely haunting yarn.

10. MULHOLLAND DRIVE (2001)

David Lynch’s surrealist movies may follow dream logic, but that doesn’t mean their plots can’t be readily discerned. Mulholland Drive is his most striking work precisely because, in spite of its more wacko moments, it adds up to a coherent, tragic story. The mystery starts innocently enough with the dark-haired Rita (Laura Elena Harring) waking up with amnesia from a car accident in Los Angeles and piecing together her identity alongside the plucky aspiring actress Betty (Naomi Watts). It takes a blue box to unlock the secret that Betty is in fact Diane, who is in love with and envious of Camilla (also played by Harring) and has concocted a fantasy version of their lives. The real Diane arranges for Camilla to be killed, leading to her intense guilt and suicide. Only Lynch can go from Nancy Drew to nihilism so swiftly and deftly.

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Jesse Grant, Getty Images for AMC
5 Bizarre Comic-Con News Stories from Years Past
Jesse Grant, Getty Images for AMC
Jesse Grant, Getty Images for AMC

At its best, San Diego Comic-Con is a friendly place where like-minded people can celebrate their pop culture obsessions, and each other. And no one can make fun of you, no matter how lazy your cosplaying might be. You might think that at its worst, it’s just a series of long lines of costumed fans and small stores crammed into a convention center. But sometimes, throwing together 100,000-plus people from around the world in what feels like a carnival-type atmosphere where anything goes can have less than stellar results. Here are some highlights from past Comic-Con-tastrophes.

1. MAN IN HARRY POTTER T-SHIRT STABS ANOTHER MAN IN THE FACE—WITH A PEN

In 2010, two men waiting for a Comic-Con screening of the Seth Rogen alien comedy Paul got into a very adult argument about whether one of them was sitting too close to the other. Unable to come to a satisfactory conclusion with words, one man stabbed the other in the face with a pen. According to CNN, the attacker was led away wearing handcuffs and a Harry Potter T-shirt. In the aftermath, some Comic-Con attendees dealt with the attack in an oddly fitting way: They cosplayed as the victim, with pens protruding from bloody eye sockets.

2. MEMORABILIA THIEVES INVADE NEW YORK

Since its founding in 2006, New York Comic Con has attracted a few sticky-fingered attendees. In 2010, a man stole several rare comics from vendor Matt Nelson, co-founder of Texas’s Worldwide Comics. Just one of those, Whiz Comics No. 1, was worth $11,000, according to the New York Post. A few years later, in 2014, someone stole a $2000 “Dunny” action figure, which artist Jon-Paul Kaiser had painted during the event for Clutter magazine. And those are just the incidents that involved police; lower-scale cases of toys and comics disappearing from booths are an increasingly frustrating epidemic, according to some. “Comic Con theft is an issue we all sort of ignore,” collector Tracy Isenhour wrote on the blog of his company, Needless Essentials, in 2015. “I am here to tell you no more. It’s time for this garbage to stop."

3. CATWOMAN SAVES THE DAY


John Sciulli/Getty Images for Xbox

Adrianne Curry, winner of the first cycle of America’s Next Top Model, has made a career of chasing viral fame. Ironically, it was at Comic-Con in 2014 that Curry did something truly worthy of attention—though there wasn’t a camera in sight. Dressed as Catwoman, she was posing with fans alongside her friend Alicia Marie, who was dressed as Tigra. According to a Facebook post Marie wrote at the time, a fan tried to shove his hands into her bikini bottoms. She screamed, the man ran off, and Curry jumped to action. She “literally took off after dude WITH her Catwoman whip and chased him down, beat his a**,” Marie wrote. “Punched him across the face with the butt of her whip—he had zombie blood on his face—got on her costume.”

4. MAN POSES AS FUGITIVE-SEEKING INVESTIGATOR TO GET INTO VIP ROOM

The lines at Comic-Con are legendary, so one Utah man came up with a novel way to try and skip them altogether. In 2015, Jonathon M. Wall tried to get into Salt Lake Comic Con’s exclusive VIP enclave (normally a $10,000 ticket) by claiming he was an agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, and needed to get into the VIP room “to catch a fugitive,” according to The San Diego Union Tribune. Not only does that story not even come close to making sense, it also adds up to impersonating a federal agent, a crime to which Wall pleaded guilty in April of 2016 and which carried a sentence of up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Just a few months later, prosecutors announced that they were planning to reduce his crime from a felony to a misdemeanor.

5. MAN WALKS 645 MILES TO COMIC-CON, DRESSED AS A STORMTROOPER, TO HONOR HIS LATE WIFE


Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Disney

In 2015, Kevin Doyle walked 645 miles along the California coast to honor his late wife, Eileen. Doyle had met Eileen relatively late in life, when he was in his 50s, and they bonded over their shared love of Star Wars (he even proposed to her while dressed as Darth Vader). However, she died of cancer barely a year after they were married. Adrift and lonely, Doyle decided to honor her memory and their love of Star Wars by walking to Comic-Con—from San Francisco. “I feel like I’m so much better in the healing process than if I’d stayed home,” he told The San Diego Union Tribune.

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