Special Report

These Very Famous People All Died at the Dinner Table

Source: Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images

Andrew Saks
April 9, 1912

In 1902, Saks and his brother Isadore, who had run a men’s store in Washington, D.C., opened Saks & Company on 34th Street in Manhattan. After the store moved to a new location, it eventually became Saks Fifth Avenue. Andrew didn’t live to see it, though. In 1912, a dozen years before the new store appeared, he died of unspecified causes while eating dinner in a private room at Sherry’s, an elegant and expensive New York City restaurant that catered to high society.

Source: Central Press / Getty Images

King Farouk of Egypt
March 18, 1965

Farouk I, the second-to-last King of Egypt and onetime brother-in-law to the Shah of Iran, was a thin boy when he ascended to the throne at the age of 16. By the time he was deposed 16 years later, he was a bloated glutton weighing more than 325 pounds. Despite his girth, he was a notorious playboy and was dining with an attractive blonde 20 years his junior at the Île de France restaurant in Rome when he died. His last meal is said to have consisted of oysters, lobster, lamb, cake, and fruit. He was just lighting a post-prandial cigar when death struck. Rumors that he was poisoned by Egypt’s then-president, Gamal Abdel Nasser, have never been substantiated.

Source: US-amerikanischen Bundesregierung / Wikimedia Commons

Joseph “Crazy Joe” Gallo
April 7, 1972

The infamous mafia crime boss, responsible for numerous murders and for igniting a bloody mob war with the rival Colombo crime family, was shot to death on his 43rd birthday while eating at Umberto’s Clam House in New York City’s Little Italy. He was dining — at 4.30 in the morning — with his sister Carmella, his new wife, her young daughter, his bodyguard, and the bodyguard’s girlfriend. As Gallo was reaching for a second helping of shrimp and scungilli salad, four Colombo gunmen entered the place, riddling him with bullets.

Source: Stroud / Express / Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Pablo Picasso
April 8, 1973

The most famous artist of the 20th century, Picasso was still working, and planning for a new exhibition, up to the day of his death at the age of 91. Suffering from pulmonary edema (water in the lungs) and a heart condition, he succumbed at the dinner table while dining with his 47-year-old wife, Jacqueline Roque.

Source: Chris Ware / Keystone / Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Anthony Blunt
March 28, 1983

A respected British art historian and official curator of Queen Elizabeth’s art collection, Blunt was revealed to have been a longtime Soviet spy. Unlike his fellow conspirators — Kim Philby, Donald Maclean, and Guy Burgess — he remained in England after his treachery was discovered and died of an apparent heart attack while eating breakfast in his apartment in London.