Portraits by Other Means

Till Death Do Us Part

Till Death Do Us Part
Credit: Christian Frausto Bernal

All good things must come to an end. Like this column, and many celebrities, writers, and celebrity writers. See you on the other side.

Marcus Garvey

Garvey had a stroke in January of 1940, and he becomes incapacitated. George Padmore, who was a columnist for The Chicago Defender, had heard a rumor that Garvey had died and instead of confirming this, he published a premature obituary.

The obituary described Garvey as a man whose followers had deserted him; a man who died “broke, alone and unpopular.”

When Garvey reads it, he lets out a loud moan and he collapses. He suffers a second stroke and next morning he dies.

Hypatia of Alexandria

Hypatia of Alexandria, Greek mathematician, philosopher, and last librarian of the Library of Alexandria, was murdered by a Christian mob that ripped her skin off with sharp sea-shells. Various types of shells have been named: clams, oysters, abalones, etc. Other sources claim tiles or pottery-shards were used.

Stieg Larsson

Larsson jabbed the button for the elevator, but it wouldn’t come. “I don’t have time for this,” he said. He headed for the stairs.

By the seventh floor he was sweating heavily and gasping. As he slumped into a chair by the large conference table in Expo’s office, the magazine’s photo editor rushed over to see whether he was OK. Larsson put his hand on his heart. He couldn’t speak.

“Stieg, I’m here,” said the photo editor. “We’re taking care of this. Hang on.”

Larsson appeared to hear him. But then he collapsed, his head falling on the table.

By the time the paramedics arrived, the elevator was working. They put an oxygen mask over Larsson’s mouth and carried him into an ambulance.

“How old is he?” asked one of the paramedics.

“I’m 50, damn it,” Larsson said through the mask.

Eugene O’Neill

O’Neill died in room 401 of the Sheraton Hotel on Bay State Road in Boston, on November 27, 1953, at the age of 65. As he was dying, he, in a barely audible whisper, spoke his last words: “I knew it. I knew it. Born in a hotel room, and God damn it, died in a hotel room.”

Marie Provost

Silent film star Marie Provost couldn’t make it in talkies due to her pronounced Bronx accent. In her despair, she had a drink-to-the-death contest with Greta Garbo’s lover, Jack Gilbert, another talkie casualty. He won, dying of booze in 1936, while Marie continued for another year. Her half-eaten corpse was discovered in her seedy apartment. The dachshund survived.


TMN Editor Leah Finnegan is from Illinois by way of Texas. She splits her time between New York City and her website. More by Leah Finnegan

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