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Wilt Chamberlain


21 August 1936 – 12 October 1999 (Aged 63)

Chamberlain was a legendary American basketball player. He played in the NBA from 1959 to 1973 and is regarded by many as one of the greatest players in basketball history.

A trailblazer for the sport, he became the first NBA player to score more than 30,000 points in his career, while also being the only player to ever score 100 points in a single game.

Chamberlain averaged 30.1 points per game over his career and holds several records, including the most points scored in one season (4,029).

In 1978, he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Nicknamed “Wilt the Stilt” and “The Big Dipper” due to his height of 7’1″, Chamberlain played for the University of Kansas and the Harlem Globetrotters before playing in the NBA with the Philadelphia/San Francisco Warriors, the Philadelphia 76ers, and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Outside of basketball, Chamberlain was a famous womanizer, once claiming to have been with as many as 20,000 women.

He died from heart failure at the age of 63.

Joe DiMaggio

(Baseball Player)

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25 November 1914 – 8 March 1999 (Aged 84)

DiMaggio was an Italian-American baseball player who played with the New York Yankees for all of his 13-year Major League Baseball career.

DiMaggio was a 13-time All-Star, also winning the Most Valuable Player Award on three occasions.

His 56-game hitting streak, stretching from May 15 – July 16, 1941, is a record that stands to this day.

The Yankees won the World Series 9 times during his 13 seasons with them. DiMaggio’s number 5 jersey was retired by the New York Yankees upon his retirement.

In 1955, DiMaggio was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. In 1969, Baseball’s centenary year, he was voted the sport’s greatest living player.

In his personal life, DiMaggio was famously married to Marilyn Monroe for less than a year in 1954, though they remained close friends after separating. He never remarried.

After Monroe’s death in 1962, DiMaggio had a half-dozen red roses delivered to her crypt three times a week for the next 20 years.

In 1999, DiMaggio died after suffering from lung cancer, having been a heavy smoker, at the age of 84.

Stanley Kubrick


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26 July 1928 – 7 March 1999 (Aged 70)

Kubrick was an American film director, widely regarded as one of the great directors of the 20th century.

Kubrick was born in New York City but lived most of his life in England. Among his most famous movies are Dr. Strangelove, Full Metal Jacket, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and The Shining.

The sex and violence in his 1971 movie A Clockwork Orange provoked such a strong public reaction in the United Kingdom that Kubrick pulled it from UK theatres.

It was not shown again in Britain until the year 2000.

Throughout his career, Kubrick lived a reclusive life outside of his time spent at work. In 1968, his film 2001: A Space Odyssey earned him his only personal Oscar, for Best Visual Effects.

Kubrick died from a heart attack on March 7, 1999, having completed the production of Eyes Wide Shut shortly before his death.

Gene Siskel

(Film Critic)

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26 January 1946 – 20 February 1999 (Aged 53)

Siskel was a renowned American film critic, as well as a journalist with the Chicago Tribune.

In 1975, Siskel and Roger Ebert co-hosted what came to be a hugely popular review show on television.

In 1982, Siskel & Ebert & the Movies was nationally syndicated, making the pair household names.

Both men were honored by The Hollywood Radio and Television Society as Men of the Year in 1993.

In May 1998, Siskel was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor but continued to work until shortly before his death in February 1999.

Dusty Springfield


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16 April 1939 – 2 March 1999 (Aged 59)

Springfield was a famous English singer and record producer whose career extended from the late 1950s to the 1990s.

Among her biggest hits were “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me”, “I Only Want to Be with You” and “Son of a Preacher Man”.

At the height of her fame, Springfield was one of Britain’s most successful female artists, with six top 20 singles on the US Billboard Hot 100 and sixteen on the UK Singles Chart.

Springfield was inducted into both the US Rock and Roll and UK Music Halls of Fame.

She is widely regarded as one of the best female rock stars of all time, while her peroxide blonde hairstyle and flamboyant image made her an icon of the Swinging Sixties.

After suffering from cancer, Springfield died in 1999 at the age of 59. Having been cremated, some of her ashes were buried in Henley-on-Thames, where she had lived, while the rest were scattered by her brother at the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland.

Walter Payton

(American Footballer)

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25 July 1953– 1 November 1999 (Aged 46)

Payton was an American football running back who played for the Chicago Bears in the NFL for thirteen seasons. Nicknamed “Sweetness”, Payton was selected nine-times for the Pro Bowl.

By the end of his career, Payton had set records for career rushing yards, touchdowns, carries, yards from scrimmage, all-purpose yards, among numerous others.

In 1993, Payton was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1996.

After being diagnosed with rare liver disease, Payton spent his final months as an advocate for organ transplants, although his illness was already too far advanced for transplantation to have been a viable option for himself.

Payton died on November 1, 1999, at the age of 45. The NFL annually awards the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award for player achievements in community service during a season.

The Walter Payton Foundation also works to help the abused, neglected & underprivileged, providing these people with opportunities to help live their lives with dignity and pride.

Desmond Llewelyn


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12 September 1914 – 19 December 1999 (Aged 85)

Llewelyn was a much loved Welsh actor, best known for his role as Q in 17 of the James Bond films between 1963 and 1999.

During World War II, Llewelyn served with the Royal Welch Fusiliers.

In 1940, he was captured in France by the German Army and was held as a prisoner of war for five years in the infamous Colditz Castle.

Llewelyn was killed in a car accident in East Sussex, England while driving home at the age of 85.

His death occurred only weeks after the release of The World is Not Enough,  his final Bond film.

Alf Ramsey

(Football Player/Manager)

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22 January 1920 – 28 April 1999 (Aged 79)

Ramsey was an English football player and manager who famously guided England to victory in the 1966 FIFA World Cup.

He is widely regarded as one of British football’s all-time great managers.

He was knighted in 1967 in recognition of his World Cup success and also managed England to third place in the 1968 European Championship.

Ramsey served in the British Army during World War II, before embarking on a football career, mostly as a right-back, going on to be a member of England’s 1950 World Cup squad.

After managing England from 1963 to 1974, Ramsey briefly had roles at Birmingham City and Panathinaikos, before retiring in 1980. He led a somewhat reclusive life in his retirement, before dying in 1999, aged 79.

A statue of Ramsey has been dedicated to him at the reconstructed Wembley Stadium.

He is the first person to have been inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame twice: an inaugural inductee in 2002, in 2010 as a player.

Gene Sarazen


Sarazen in 1922. National Photo Company / Wikimedia CommonsCC-BY-SA-3.0 / GFDL

27 February 1902 – 13 May 1999 (Aged 97)

Sarazen was an American professional golfer, starring as one of the world’s top players in the 1920s and 1930s, winning of seven major championships.

Sarazen is one of five players, along with Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods, to win each of the four majors at least once, now known as the Career Grand Slam.

In 1999, Sarazen died at the age of 97 from complications of pneumonia in Naples, Florida.

He is regarded as one of the greatest golfers of all time.

Sarazen also had what is still the longest-running endorsement contract in professional sports, with Wilson Sporting Goods, from 1923 until his death, 75 years later.

Oliver Reed


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13 February 1938 – 2 May 1999 (Aged 61)

Reed was an English actor renowned for his macho image and hell-raiser lifestyle. Among his most famous films are Oliver!The Three MusketeersLion of the Desert, and Gladiator.

Reed’s role as Antonius Proximo in Gladiator was his final film, seeing him posthumously nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.

A long-time alcoholic, Reed’s issues with drink were well publicized, along with a high-profile friendship with The Who drummer Keith Moon, another famous hell-raiser.

In his final years, Reed lived in Churchtown, County Cork, Ireland, close to the 13th-century cemetery in the heart of the village where he was ultimately laid to rest.

Reed died from a heart attack during a break from filming Gladiator in Valletta, Malta, at the age of 61.