VIPatients App Goes Live !

This week, we launched a truly unique smart-phone Application = VIPatients    The new App is available on IPhone, and will soon be extended to Android.

As of December 2011, the app  30,000 individual medical problems / causes of death … for 19,328 famous people !

Users can access a single VIP by first or last name, or create a customized list by profession, disease, year of death … or any combination.   For example, list all famous movie stars who died of AIDS;  or all Popes who were murdered …….

A weekly alert will be automatically sent to subscribers, listing new additions to the data-base.

Lung Cancer and Hollywood

On August 26 1930, Lon Cheney, Jr. died of a lung tumor – the first movie actor to die of cancer. 


Paul Newman was five years old.


Some people collect stamps – I collect death and disease.  For over 45 years, I’ve  scoured all available biographies, anthologies, major newspapers, the Internet … for the diseases and deaths of famous persons.  Stamp collections cost money and take up space.   Death arrives to my laptop free of charge.


The earliest Hollywood death of known causes was that of Director, Francis Boggs –  shot to death by an insane janitor named Frank Minematsu, in 1911.  As of October 2008, 1,799 movie people (including 173 porno stars, and 273 Producers / Directors) have succumbed to identifiable diseases or injuries.  Countless others died “after a long illness,” “suddenly,” “of natural causes,” etc and are not included in this analysis.  


Trends in Hollywood deaths are contrasted with statistics for all famous persons in Figure 1.  Note that since 1950, the relative number of movie obits have actually decreased somewhat.  



Cancer accounts for 29.1% of all death in Hollywood.  In fact, since the murder of Francis Boggs, cancer has accounted for 24.5% of all famous deaths; and movie people have accounted for 19.4% of all death among famous persons.  The specific type of cancer is mentioned in only 54% of death notices.  Lung tumors account for 29.2% of all famous cancers, but only 20.2% of cancers in Hollywood.  In contrast, 14.4% of Hollywood tumors have involved the brain, but only 9.6% of tumors among other famous folk.


In figure 2, I’ve summarized the cumulative number of cancer deaths for famous people in general, and for movie people specifically.  Note that the relative proportion of movie folk – and movie folk with lung cancer – has actually been decreasing over the past 90 years.




















Lung Cancer Deaths in Hollywood 



Cecily Adams

Buddy Adler

Edward Albert

Ramsay Ames 

Victor Argo

Desi Arnaz

Bobby Astyr

Roscoe Ates

Kiyoshi Atsumi

Stanley Baker

Bea Benaderet

Carl Betz

John Boulting

Yul Brynner

Bruce Cabot


Paul Carr

Lon Chaney, Sr.

Chuck Connors

Gary Cooper


Bebe Daniels

Vittorio DeSicca

Jack Deveau

Walt Disney

Franklin Farnum

Glenda Farrell

Freddie Fields

Kathleen Freeman

Barbara Bel Geddes

Frank Gorshin

Betty Grable

Michael Greer

George Grizzard

Harald Heide-Steen, Jr.

Moe Howard

John Hoyt

Grethe Kausland

Stubby Kaye

Buster Keaton

Frederick Kerr

Diether Krebs

Andrew Kuehn

Perry Lopez

Herbert ‘Zeppo’ Marx

Frank McCarthy

Melina Mercuri

Gary Merrill

Ann Miller

Cameron Mitchell

Robert Mitchum

Agnes Moorehead

Gary Morton

Elena Nathanael

Lois June Nettleton

Paul Newman

Lloyd Nolan

Dennis O’Keefe

Felice Orlandi

Suzanne Pleshette

Robert Preston

Vincent Price

Joe Pyne

George Raft

Bernard Rapp

Herbert Rawlinson

Nicholas Ray

Rosaura Revueltas

Terence Rigby

Robert Ryan

Billy Sands

Cirio H. Santiago

Vincent Schiavelli

Delphine Seyrig

Mickey Shaughnessy

Olan Soule

Lionel Stander

Andrei Tarkovsky

Franchot Tone

Forrest Tucker

James Varney

David Wayne

Charlotte Zwerin




The complete “collection” of famous disease and death is available at , with expanded content and functions on the new IPhone app = VIPatients.  On this site you can access the full medical history of any specific person (or animal); or generate a custom-designed list according to disease, profession, year … or any combination.  As of October, 2008 the website documents the 17,655 misfortunes of 12,457 famous persons