I got to wondering the other day, as yet another news item about avian flu was on the radio, how come we don’t hear so much about the celebrity victims of the 1918 flu pandemic? I mean, we can all name numerous victims of AIDS at the drop of a hat, from Isaac Asimov to Freddie Mercury.
So, to follow up my ground-breaking research on government officials killed when their own cannons blew up, here is a list of more or less famous people who did die in the great pandemic. I confess I had heard of only one of them, Egon Schiele, but the others all seem respectable enough. (Noticeable how young most of them were – the bug hit the 20-40 age range particularly hard.)
I’ve added most of them to the relevant Wikipedia entry, except the two Tongan ladies about whom more research is needed.
- Guillaume Apollinaire, French surrealist poet.
- Felix Arndt, American composer.
- Randolph Bourne, American political thinker.
- Anton Dilger, ironically in charge of German biological warfare in the first world war.
- Henry G. Ginaca, American inventor.
- Myrtle Gonzalez, American actress.
- Hans E. Lau, Danish astronomer.
- Harold Lockwood, American actor.
- Edmond Rostand, French poet and dramatist.
- Egon Schiele, Austrian artist.
- Reggie Schwarz, South African cricketer.
- Queen ‘Anaseini Takipo, third wife of King George Tupou II of Tonga.
- Tupou Moheofo Tupou, mistress of King George Tupou II of Tonga.
- William Walker, British diver.
- King Watzke, New Orleans bandleader.
There, that feels enlightening!
[Edited to add: Hah, I see the editors of the German version already had the same idea. I can nick some of their names then.]