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Saddam Hussein

(Iraqi President)

28 April 1937 – 30 December 2006 (Aged 69)

Saddam was President of Iraq from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003, acquired the title “Butcher of Baghdad”

Hussein was a leading member of the revolutionary Ba’ath Party, which promoted a mix of Arab nationalism and socialism.

In 1968, Saddam played a key role in the coup known as the 17 July Revolution, which brought his party to power in Iraq.

As vice-president, Saddam modernized Iraq’s infrastructure, industry, and the health-care system. In 1973, he nationalized Iraq’s oil industry, just before the energy crisis, resulting in massive revenues for the country.

After becoming president in 1979, he suppressed Shi’a and Kurdish movements and maintained power during the Iran–Iraq War and the Gulf War.

The number of Iraqis killed under Saddam’s rule is conservatively estimated to be 250,000.

To his enemies, Saddam was given the title the “Butcher of Baghdad”. In 2003, American and British forces invaded Iraq and overthrew Saddam on April 9, yet he evaded capture until December 13.

After his capture, Saddam was moved to a base in Baghdad until June 30, 2004, when he was handed over to the interim Iraqi government to stand trial for crimes against humanity.

On 5 November 2006, Saddam was convicted by an Iraqi court of crimes against humanity in relation to the killing of 148 Iraqi Shi’a in 1982, and he was sentenced to death by hanging. Saddam was executed on 30 December at the age of 69.

James Brown


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3 May 1933 – 25 December 2006 (Aged 73)

Brown was a legendary American singer-songwriter, known as the “Godfather of Soul”, whose career spanned across five decades.

Among Brown’s best-loved hits are “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag”, “I Got You (I Feel Good)”, “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World”, and “Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine”.

Growing up in abject poverty during the Great Depression, Brown danced for the soldiers at nearby Fort Gordon, picked cotton, washed cars and shined shoes, earning pennies at a time.

Brown moved to Toccoa, Georgia, where he began his career as a gospel singer, before first coming to national attention in the late 1950s as a member of the singing group The Famous Flames with hits such as “Please, Please, Please”.

In recognition of his musical contribution, Brown received countless awards during his career, including inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and  Songwriters Hall of Fame.

However, during his life, Brown had numerous reports of domestic abuse against him, while he also suffered from drug abuse in the latter decades of his life.

Brown died from complications of pneumonia at the age of 73.

Gerald Ford

(U.S. President)

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14 July 1913 – 26 December 2006 (Aged 93)

Ford was the 38th President of the United States, serving from August 1974 to January 1977. Amazingly, Ford is the only person to have served as both U.S. vice president and president without being elected to either office.

Having been a star on his High School and University of Michigan football teams, Ford was offered a professional contract by both the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers but instead opted to pursue his economics degree at Yale University.

Ford served in the U.S. Naval Reserve during World War II, his service beginning in 1942, eventually returning to civilian life in 1946, having earned numerous medals.

In 1948, Ford was elected to Congress, a seat which he held until 1973.

In October 1973, U.S. Vice President Spiro Agnew was forced to resign under allegations of income tax evasion and bribery. President Richard Nixon nominated Ford to take replace Agnew two days later.

The infamous Watergate scandal eventually forced Nixon’s resignation on August 8, 1974.

One day later, August 9, 1974, Ford was sworn in as president. President Ford’s subsequent pardon of Nixon rapidly tarnished the public’s trust in Ford.

After defeating Ronald Reagan in the Republican primaries, Ford lost the 1976 presidential election to the Democrat’s Jimmy Carter.

He remained active in the Republican Party, but his moderate views put him at odds with more conservative members of the party.

In 1999, Ford was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Bill Clinton. He died at his California home after numerous health problems at the age of 93.

Augusto Pinochet

(Chilean Dictator)

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25 November 1915 – 10 December 2006 (Aged 91)

Pinochet was a Chilean general and served as the dictator of the country between 1973 and 1990. He remained the Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean Army until 1998.

Following a United States-backed coup d’état on 11 September 1973, Pinochet assumed power after overthrowing the democratically elected socialist President Salvador Allende.

Under Pinochet’s rule, socialists and political critics were persecuted, with up to 3,200 people being executed, as many as 80,000 people interned, and the torture of thousands more.

In 1988, a plebiscite saw 56% vote against Pinochet continuing as President, which ultimately led to him stepping down in 1990.

In 1998, he was arrested in London under an international warrant in connection with numerous human rights violations.

A legal battle followed, which saw him released on ill-health grounds, returning to Chile in March 2000.

In 2004, a Judge ruled that Pinochet was medically fit to stand trial and placed him under house arrest.

However, by the time of his death, over 300 criminal charges were still pending against him for numerous human rights violations, as well as tax evasion and embezzlement during and after his rule.

Floyd Patterson


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4 January 1935 – 11 May 2006 (Aged 71)

Patterson was an American boxer who became the youngest boxer in history to win the heavyweight title at the age of 21. He was also the first heavyweight to regain the title after losing it.

As an amateur, at the 1952 Summer Olympics, Patterson won a gold medal in the middleweight division.

In 1987, he was inducted into the United States Olympic Committee Hall of Fame.

Patterson was twice voted Fighter of the Year by the Boxing Writers Association of America, in 1956 and 1960. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1991.

In his later years, Patterson suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and prostate cancer, leading to his death at the age of 71.

Aaron Spelling


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22 April 1923 – 23 June 2006 (Aged 83)

Spelling was a prolific American television producer, whose most famous works include Charlie’s AngelsBeverly Hills 90210, Melrose PlaceStarsky and HutchDynasty7th Heaven, and Charmed.

During World War II, he served as a war correspondent in the United States Army Air Corps.

He moved to Hollywood after graduating from university in 1949, beginning his career as a scriptwriter and actor. He went on to win 2 Emmy awards during his career.

After being diagnosed with oral cancer in 2001, Spelling died five years later from a stroke in his Los Angeles mansion at the age of 83.

Spelling holds the record as the most prolific television writer and producer in US television history, with 218 producer and/or executive producer credits. 

In 1996, he was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame.