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Death sometimes occurs under bizarre circumstances

June 5, 2018 GMT

After the recent deaths of two people under the most bizarre circumstances, curiosity lead me to look for other examples of people, preferably well-known, who had come to an untimely end in a strange or unusual way.

I realize this is a bit macabre, but sometimes it’s a good thing to cleanse one’s mind, especially these days, of politics and current affairs. So here are a few examples I found:

Many folks my age will remember Tiny Tim, the ukulele-strumming singer who frequently appeared on the Johnny Carson show. His wedding to Miss Vickie was staged on the “Tonight Show” during one of those appearances.

After finishing his set at a benefit concert in Minneapolis in 1996, Tiny Tim collapsed and suffered a fatal heart attack.

Allan Pinkerton was the founder of the Pinkerton Detective Agency. He was credited with protecting Abraham Lincoln during the president-elect’s trip from Baltimore to Washington, D.C., for his inauguration. Pinkerton tripped and fell on the pavement while visiting Chicago, Illinois. During his fall, he “severely bit on his tongue,” which became infected with gangrene and he died as a result.

In 1993, film actor and martial artist Brandon Lee, the son of Bruce Lee, was accidentally shot to death by his co-star while filming a scene for “The Crow.” The prop gun they were using had been improperly loaded.

Author and playwright Tennessee Williams accidentally choked to death on a plastic bottle cap he was using to ingest barbiturates. It was reported at the time that he was holding the cap between his teeth while he applied eyedrops. The correct cause of death was recorded by the official medical examiner.

A famous dancer of the flapper era, Isadora Duncan, broke her neck when the long scarf she was wearing caught on the wheel of a car in which she was riding.

Actor Anton Yelchin, known for playing Pavel Chekov in the Star Trek reboot series (2016), was found pinned between his car and a brick wall. His driveway was on an incline, and his car was found running and in neutral.

In 1941, the American novelist and short story writer Sherwood Anderson died from peritonitis. It was brought on by damage to his internal organs when he accidentally swallowed a toothpick.

Cellist Mike Edwards, a founding member of the “Electric Light Orchestra,” died when the van he was driving collided with a large round bale of hay which rolled down a hill.

Concert pianist Simon Barere was living his dream — playing Carnegie Hall. During his performance of “Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A Minor,” he collapsed and died of a cerebral hemorrhage.

Just last year, five-year-old Charlie Holt was killed in the rotating Sun Dial Restaurant at the top of an Atlanta, Georgia hotel. Little Charlie’s head got accidentally wedged in a small space between the rotating and non-rotating sections of the dining room.

Well, we’ve all got to go sometime — some way — but hopefully not as tragically or unexpectedly as the people remembered here.

Milt Hankins is a theologian, former pastor and local author. His email address is amsmilt@windstream.net.