1The magazine staff who were killed for their depictions of the prophet Muhammad
Among the twelve murdered were editor-in-chief Stephane Charbonnier, known as Charb, and the cartoonists known as Cabu (Jean Cabu), Tignous (Bernard 'Tignous' Verlhac) and Wolinski (George Wolinski). They were killed in a surprise attack when heavily armed gunmen shouting "Allahu akbar" ("God is great") and "the Prophet is avenged" stormed the newspaper office.
The day after the attack, the remaining staff of Charlie Hebdo announced that the publication would indeed survive and forge ahead. Within a few days, work was resumed on the next issue, which will be available on newsstands on January 14, 2015. The cover, which has already been released on the internet, shows Muhammad holding a "Je suis Charlie" sign. Above the cartoon are the words "All is forgiven."
The slogan "Je suis Charlie" ("I am Charlie") was widely used following the attack on the magazine, as people worldwide sought to show their support. (Source | Photo)
2The radio talk show host who was murdered by a white nationalist group
The Order, formed by nine men who met in a Washington-state farmhouse in 1983, was dedicated to separation of the races and the annihilation of Jews. Berg was on their hit list (along with TV producer Norman Lear; a federal judge from Kansas; and Morris Dees, one of the founders of the Southern Poverty Law Center) not only because he was Jewish, but also because he ridiculed them and their leaders on the air.
During one of his last shows, Berg challenged members of the Christian Identity movement, who believed Jews were descended from Satan. This caused him to be "moved up the list," according to Anath White, one of the last producers to work with Berg.
In 1984, 50-year-old Berg was killed by automatic-weapon fire as he returned home from dinner with his ex-wife, Judith Lee Berg. Four members of The Order were indicted in the slaying, but only two were convicted — alleged triggerman Bruce Pierce and alleged getaway driver David Lane. (Lane died in prison in 2007. Pierce continues to serve his 252-year sentence at a federal prison in Pennsylvania.)
White insists even if Berg had known how dangerous the Christian Identity people and their supporters were, he would not have canceled or changed his tack for those shows.
"He was a person who took risks for his beliefs," she said. (Source)
3The painter who was poisoned by his paints
Caravaggio died in 1610, and his death was shrouded in mystery until 2010, when a document was unearthed suggesting the painter was buried in the tiny San Sebastiano cemetery in Porto Ercole, Italy.
An archeological team descended upon the cemetery and turned up a set of bones that likely belonged to the painter. Thanks to carbon dating and DNA checks, scientists are "85 percent sure" the remains are that of Caravaggio. Caravaggio's bones come complete with levels of lead high enough to have driven the painter mad and helped finish him off.
Silvano Vinceti – the researcher known as Italy's foremost cold case historian – said, "The lead likely came from his paints. He was known to be extremely messy with them. Lead poisoning won't kill you on its own – we believe he had infected wounds and sunstroke too – but it was one of the causes." (Source | Photo)
4The Dutch director who was murdered after his film was shown on television
Submission tells the story of a Muslim woman forced into an arranged marriage who is abused by her husband and raped by her uncle.
Liberal Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali refugee who fled an arranged marriage, contributed to the film. She has also received death threats and has since renounced the Islamic faith.
Van Gogh was attacked while cycling by a man dressed in a traditional Moroccan djellaba. Mohammed Bouyeri, then 26, stabbed and shot the director. Authorities have alleged that Bouyeri, a Dutch–Moroccan citizen, had terrorist ties with the Dutch Islamist Hofstad Network. He was charged with the attempted murder of several police officers and bystanders, illegal possession of a firearm, and conspiring to murder others. On July 26, 2005, he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole. (Source | Photo)
5The martyred comedian who fought for free speech
Bruce may seem tame by today's standards, but he really was the first of his kind. Australian comedian Brendon Burns said, "Without Lenny Bruce a lot of us wouldn't be able to do what we do today. He pioneered stand-up about things everyone does and everyone thinks, but it just wasn't polite to talk about." Bruce's provocative material, and frequent use of expletives, not only made him a star, but put him on the radar of authorities, which in turn led to his repeated arrests.
In August 1966, Bruce was found dead in the bathroom of his Los Angeles home, the victim of a drug overdose. His professional decline and premature death have since led to him being deified as a martyr of free speech.
In 2003, New York Governor George Pataki posthumously pardoned Bruce, 39 years after his conviction, for using obscenties in a Greenwich Village nightclub act. Pataki said the pardon was ''a declaration of New York's commitment to upholding the First Amendment.''
(Source | Photo)
6The actor whose demise was hastened by artificial snow
For Chaney, the art of acting was the art of continual transformation. He was the first of his kind, a superstar character actor with extraordinary knowledge of makeup that allowed him to immerse himself in various characters. His roles ranged from pirate, to Chinese shipwreck survivor, to tough Marine sergeant, to Russian peasant during the Russian revolution, to circus clown, to crusty railroad engineer, to Fagin in Oliver Twist (1922). His gift made him the object of a popular joke at the time: “Don't step on that spider! It might be Lon Chaney!”
Chaney's willingness to go to great lengths to create his otherworldly characters eventually affected his health. The primitive contact lenses he used to simulate blindness resulted in his having to wear glasses, and the various rigs he wore to contort his body affected his spine. After appearing in The Unknown (1927) as an armless wonder who could throw knives with his toes he said, "I can't play these crippled roles anymore. That trouble with my spine is worse every time I do one, and it's beginning to worry me."
While filming his next movie Thunder (1929), a railroad story set in the snowbound Northwest of America, a piece of artificial snow lodged in his throat and worsened an already nasty infection. He had his tonsils removed, but his throat continued to bother him. Despite this, he filmed his first talkie, The Unholy Three, in 1930.
When filming was complete, he traveled to New York where it was discovered he had bronchial cancer. He was then struck down with pneumonia. He rapidly deteriorated after that and died on August 6, 1930, at the age of 47, as the result of a throat hemorrhage.
(Source | Photo)
7The graffiti artist who died after being pursued by police
Rodriguez was killed after running from an undercover unit assigned to bust taggers during Art Basel weekend in Miami. Police allege he hid between two parked cars and then leaped into the street. The detective couldn't avoid hitting him and is said to be devastated.
Fellow graffiti artists, friends, and family have questioned why an undercover unit was out looking for taggers during Basel week, when hundreds descend on the area to paint new murals on nearly every free surface. (Source | Photo)
8The legendary magician who was felled by a blow to the stomach
While that was indeed true, a simple punch thrown by a college student ended Houdini's life.
Houdini was proud of his physique and would often challenge people to punch him with all their strength in the abdomen, claiming that with enough time to brace himself, he could withstand any blow.
In October 1926, Houdini was relaxing in his Montreal dressing room when he was interrupted by two college students from McGill University. One of the students, J. Gordon Whitehead, asked Harry if he could indeed withstand any blow to the stomach, as the magician had previously proclaimed. Houdini said he could, but before he had time to prepare, the student hit Houdini four times in the abdomen, under the impression that Houdini had indeed braced himself.
Later, as Houdini performed, it was obvious he was in great physical pain. The pain continued over the next few days, but he did not seek medical help. When he did finally see a doctor, he was told he had a fever and acute appendicitis and was advised to have surgery immediately. He declined and instead decided to complete his show as planned that night.
By the middle of the third act, Houdini could take no more. The curtain closed and he collapsed backstage. He continued to refuse medical care until the next morning when his wife insisted he go to the hospital.
Houdini did have the surgery, but his appendix had already ruptured. On October 31, 1926 surrounded by his wife and brother, Harry Houdini died. (Source | Photo)
9The man whose patriotic songs led in his death in a Nazi concentration camp
Hašler's patriotic songs criticized the Nazi regime and created a rise in anti-German sentiment among Czechs. In 1932, he appeared in the film Písničkář (Balladeer), and performed Svoboda (Freedom) and Ta naše písnička česká (Our Czech Song). These songs, among others, put him on the Nazi's radar. In 1941, a colleague turned him into the Gestapo and the 62-year-old was arrested and put to death in the Mauthausen concentration camp. It is believed that the SS poured ice-cold water over Hašler and left him outside in December to freeze into an ice statue.
Ta naše písnička česká became the unofficial anthem of the Czech people (after the Nazis banned the country's national anthem), and was voted one of the ten greatest hits of the 20th century in a poll conducted by Czech Radio in 2000.
(Source 1 | Source 2 | Photo)
10The Yiddish writers and intellectuals who were executed by Stalin
Once WWII was over and the organization no longer useful to his purposes, Stalin turned against its leaders. He had most of them arrested between 1948 and 1949. After their arrests, they were tortured, beaten, and isolated for three years before being formally charged and subject to show trials in 1952.
In court, there were no prosecutors or defense attorneys, but simply three military judges. Unbelievably, this was in accordance with Soviet law at the time.
Some defendants admitted their guilt, others plead partially guilty and some maintained their innocence. Defendants answered questions from judges, which were not at all related to the trial and resulted merely from personal curiosities.
The men received “the severest measure of punishment for the crimes committed by them jointly: execution by firing squad, with all their property to be confiscated.” The court stripped them of their medals and made petitions to remove military commendations such as the Order of Lenin and the Order of the Red Banner of Labor.
After execution, there was not a single reference to the men in Soviet newspapers. The defendants' families were charged with “being relatives of traitors to the motherland” and exiled in late 1952. They did not learn about the fates of their family members until November 1955, when the case was reopened. (Source | Photo)