Special Report

These Very Famous People All Died at the Dinner Table

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Michael Witney
November 30, 1983

Witney was a popular movie and TV actor, primarily in Westerns, in the 1960s and ’70s. He later married the British supermodel Twiggy. He died of a heart attack during an early dinner with their 4-year-old daughter at a McDonald’s on New York’s Upper East Side.

Source: Twentieth Century Fox / Wikimedia Commons

John Gregory Dunne
December 30, 2003

Like his wife, Joan Didion, Dunne was an acclaimed screenwriter, novelist, and journalist. He had just sat down to dinner with her at their Manhattan apartment when he had a heart attack. He was rushed to the hospital, but couldn’t be resuscitated.

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Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.
February 28, 2007

A distinguished historian and author, Schlesinger is best known for his political writing, most notably the Pulitzer Prize-winning book “A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House” (he and Kennedy were close friends). He suffered cardiac arrest at the age of 89 while dining with family members at an unnamed New York City restaurant.

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Jimmy Dean
June 13, 2010

The country singer, actor, and one-time sausage mogul — he called his autobiography “30 Years of Sausage, 50 Years of Ham” — died of natural causes at the age of 81. He was eating dinner in front of the television at his home near Richmond, Virginia. His wife reported that she left the room for a few minutes and found him gone when she returned.

Source: Siccness.net / Wikimedia Commons

Lord Infamous (Ricky T. Dunigan)
December 20, 2013

Dunigan was co-founder of the rap group Three 6 Mafia — which won the 2006 Academy Award for best original song, “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” from “Hustle & Flow” — with his younger half-brother, Paul Duane Beauregard, known as DJ Paul. According to Paul, Dunigan went to sleep with his head down on the kitchen table one evening. In the morning, his mother discovered him still in that position, dead of what was later determined to have been a heart attack.

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Prodigy (Albert Johnson)
June 20, 2017

Half of the hip hop duo Mobb Deep, Johnson had long suffered from sickle-cell anemia, even writing a song about it called “You Can Feel My Pain.” While taking part in the Art of Rap tour in Las Vegas with fellow artists Ghostface Killah and Ice-T he became ill and was admitted to a local hospital. Tragically, he choked to death on an egg while eating lunch in his bed.