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Celebrities Who Donated Their Bodies To Science


TomJH
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It's a pretty weird subject matter, I know, and one that I never thought about until yesterday. That's when I heard, much to my surprise, that Lon Chaney Jr. did exactly that.

 

Chaney_Lon_Jr_1.jpg

 

Sadly, I also heard that a couple of the young interns dissecting Chaney's cadaver in 1973 had never heard of him. Of course he had been largely out of the limelight for some time in his final years, appearing in some pretty dreadful little films to make a living. I wonder if he donated his body out of financial necessity, lacking the money to prepare for a proper funeral. Just speculation on my part there.

 

Just out of curiosity, would anyone know of any other celebrities that donated their bodies to science, as well? I suspect that Chaney is on a very short list.

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...Just out of curiosity, would anyone know of any other celebrities that donated their bodies to science, as well? I suspect that Chaney is on a very short list.

 

 

 

Uh-huh, yeah Tom. I heard Don Ameche donated his body to the Bell Labs.

 

(...nah, jus' kiddin') ;)

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Being that the Splendid Splinter's body was cryogenically frozen perhaps it still can be donated to a science laboratory. It was the victim of neuroseparation which has not stopped some from posting online though at movie and other related sites, so it might still be viable if the Alcor institution okays it, not to be confused with the Albacore Club group from the movie Chinatown.

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At the risk of being called a "nasty man" by some posters here who are risibly challenged, would that donation site include organ grinders?

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Recently, when I was watching Seven Days in May, I looked at George MacReady's entry on Wikipedia and it said he donated his body to science.

 

Thanks Helen. Chaney is not alone then as a celebrity who donated his body to science.

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  • 1 year later...

Following is a list of other famous who donated their bodies to science:

1.) Butterfly McQueen ( actress )

2.) Bobby Darin ( singer )

3.) Lon Cheney, Jr. ( actor )

4.) Jan Berry of Jan&Dean ( singer )

5.) Walter Pidgeon ( actor )

6.) Sue Randall ( actress ) - Beautiful actress who died at age 49 

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47 minutes ago, JimTCM said:

Following is a list of other famous who donated their bodies to science:

1.) Butterfly McQueen ( actress )

2.) Bobby Darin ( singer )

3.) Lon Cheney, Jr. ( actor )

4.) Jan Berry of Jan&Dean ( singer )

5.) Walter Pidgeon ( actor )

6.) Sue Randall ( actress ) - Beautiful actress who died at age 49 

miss landers on leave it to beaver.

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10 hours ago, JimTCM said:

Following is a list of other famous who donated their bodies to science:

1.) Butterfly McQueen ( actress )

2.) Bobby Darin ( singer )

3.) Lon Cheney, Jr. ( actor )

4.) Jan Berry of Jan&Dean ( singer )

5.) Walter Pidgeon ( actor )

6.) Sue Randall ( actress ) - Beautiful actress who died at age 49 

Butterfly McQueen died from the results of burns in a fire. I guess medical science appreciates whatever donation it can receive but that might have been a pretty grim sight.

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On 10/23/2016 at 9:54 AM, TomJH said:

It's a pretty weird subject matter, I know, and one that I never thought about until yesterday. That's when I heard, much to my surprise, that Lon Chaney Jr. did exactly that.

 

Chaney_Lon_Jr_1.jpg

 

Sadly, I also heard that a couple of the young interns dissecting Chaney's cadaver in 1973 had never heard of him. Of course he had been largely out of the limelight for some time in his final years, appearing in some pretty dreadful little films to make a living. I wonder if he donated his body out of financial necessity, lacking the money to prepare for a proper funeral. Just speculation on my part there.

 

Just out of curiosity, would anyone know of any other celebrities that donated their bodies to science, as well? I suspect that Chaney is on a very short list.

Kind of superficially morbid, but not an unnatural curiosity to have.

I made it a point when I was in High School to visit a morgue and a mortuary, and a couple of morticians. I told them up-front that I wanted to see the bodies and learn what became of people after they died. How they were handled and treated before they were cremated and buried.
I'd already seen dead animals and my grandmother took me to a couple of funerals when I was quite young, where I glanced at the waxy corpses. But when I became older I grew strangely curious.
Since that time I have seen a lot of bodies. Too many actually.
There was a time... my grandmothers time and before, when persons used to keep the dead company in their own homes before burial. Kids were exposed to the natural end of life all the time.

* Someone here, I think it may have been CG, even did a thread on Morte and Bella Morte; I'll have to see if I can locate that one now. *

One good thing about Chaney's donation is he was already thoroughly pickled with ETOH when they got him, so no necessity to embalm him with formaldehyde.
I always hated dealing with irksome, noxious and nauseous formaldehyde in the lab.

BTW I think that I've always treated bodies and their remains (wherever I have found them) with a degree of respect.
Sadly, some of my former comrades and colleagues seemed to delight in desecration, even photographing their acts for sharing with others.
I understand the need to relieve stress with "humor," but for me there are certain boundaries that should be crossed lightly.

I have treated animals that I have killed with reverence as I deconstructed them. I can feel no less toward former members of my own species.

* ADDENDUM
Well I located the thread, and it was CG who started it. It was Latin, and it was about death. But I got the title wrong, it was called Memento Mori, not Morte or Bella Morte, as I confabulated.
I perused it again and glanced at a few of the links.
Interesting topic (as few other than CG would dream up) and tangents.
Not exactly relevant to Tom's subject matter here, but perhaps he might find it worth looking at....

 

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I agree that some will see this thread as a creepy subject matter. Not many, after all, like to think about dead bodies.

What I do regard as outrageous is the availability on the internet of morgue photos of dead celebrities. What a disgusting lack of respect for a person at a moment when they are at their most vulnerable. Call me a prude but I don't think the general public should have the right to view the dead body of a famous person laid out on a morgue table. And how painful it must be to surviving family of that celebrity.

I've stumbled across two such instances of a couple of major film stars while browsing photos on the net. I was shocked, to put it mildly, that those photos existed for viewing here. Naive of me, perhaps, to be surprised to see this line of indecency crossed.

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12 hours ago, TomJH said:

I agree that some will see this thread as a creepy subject matter. Not many, after all, like to think about dead bodies.

What I do regard as outrageous is the availability on the internet of morgue photos of dead celebrities. What a disgusting lack of respect for a person at a moment when they are at their most vulnerable. Call me a prude but I don't think the general public should have the right to view the dead body of a famous person laid out on a morgue table. And how painful it must be to surviving family of that celebrity.

I've stumbled across two such instances of a couple of major film stars while browsing photos on the net. I was shocked, to put it mildly, that those photos existed for viewing here. Naive of me, perhaps, to be surprised to see this line of indecency crossed.

Depictions of bodies in various states of "desecration" has been part of social "norms" since "we" first started creating images on cave walls.
Different times, different societies, different values, but otherwise the same people.
I try to consider that and not make judgements based upon contemporary values, or my personal ethos. 

Little shocks me anymore, but I do find myself repulsed by glamorized cruelty for the sake of sensationalism.
I know that it exists for anyone who wants to seek it out, but I don't wish to have to walk around with my eyes closed to avoid it.

I don't enjoy looking at the dead shells of what once was. And yet I can spend hours upon hours in museums or in some "exotic" location examining artifacts and relics from the recent and ancient past.
I am drawn to graveyards and stroll around reading headstones and tributes of long past loved ones.
I have spent days examining Dachau, Auschwitz, and similar sundry places.
I have marveled at the archeological digs of Herculaneum and Pompeii, and stared at the casts of the long dead.
I find myself attempting to reconstruct the people that left these things behind. Imagine the types of lives they lead and what they were like.
Would they be like me today? or would I be like them in their time?
I'll explore long abandoned cabins and dwellings and gently handle whatever i find there.
But closer to home I am repulsed by certain images. I have seen certain images in magazines and journals, autopsy photos of former celebrities and presidents that used to draw such adoration. I don't like looking at them.

I long ago stopped attending funerals (and weddings), and when my time comes to go I'd prefer that nobody even know about it.
If I could plan my end I would head back north and find some wilderness place that once gave me such joy and solace.
It would be one of those rare, warm and sunny Autumn days. I'd find a place where the moss was as thick as a stuffed down mattress and lie down. I'd close my eyes and pass.
My body would serve the nature around it, as nature had once provided for me.
I would return to the soil most naturally, and nothing would remain to show my passing.
It would be left to wonder, if any cared think about me, where I was and what I was doing, and whether or not I was no more. But no one would know for sure... and I would like that.

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On ‎10‎/‎23‎/‎2016 at 10:54 AM, TomJH said:

It's a pretty weird subject matter, I know, and one that I never thought about until yesterday. That's when I heard, much to my surprise, that Lon Chaney Jr. did exactly that.

 

Chaney_Lon_Jr_1.jpg

 

Sadly, I also heard that a couple of the young interns dissecting Chaney's cadaver in 1973 had never heard of him. Of course he had been largely out of the limelight for some time in his final years, appearing in some pretty dreadful little films to make a living. I wonder if he donated his body out of financial necessity, lacking the money to prepare for a proper funeral. Just speculation on my part there.

 

Just out of curiosity, would anyone know of any other celebrities that donated their bodies to science, as well? I suspect that Chaney is on a very short list.

& yet his legendary father chose the mammoth "Forest Lawn" in GLENDALE, CALIFORNIA-(not to be mixed-up with the one located in the Hollywood Hills/Burbank)

Matter of fact yrs ago TCM had a docu. on Chaney, Sr. & visited his niche in it's "Great Mausoleum" & made the pt of him being mysterious even in death, due to it being unmarked

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6 hours ago, TomJH said:

I agree that some will see this thread as a creepy subject matter. Not many, after all, like to think about dead bodies.

What I do regard as outrageous is the availability on the internet of morgue photos of dead celebrities. What a disgusting lack of respect for a person at a moment when they are at their most vulnerable. Call me a prude but I don't think the general public should have the right to view the dead body of a famous person laid out on a morgue table. And how painful it must be to surviving family of that celebrity.

I've stumbled across two such instances of a couple of major film stars while browsing photos on the net. I was shocked, to put it mildly, that those photos existed for viewing here. Naive of me, perhaps, to be surprised to see this line of indecency crossed.

But probably the most DISGUSTING photos on the net of a star in death is (TIED) of both Sharon Tate & Marilyn after her autopsy!!!

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13 hours ago, Stephan55 said:

Kind of superficially morbid, but not an unnatural curiosity to have.

I made it a point when I was in High School to visit a morgue and a mortuary, and a couple of morticians. I told them up-front that I wanted to see the bodies and learn what became of people after they died. How they were handled and treated before they were cremated and buried.
I'd already seen dead animals and my grandmother took me to a couple of funerals when I was quite young, where I glanced at the waxy corpses. But when I became older I grew strangely curious.
Since that time I have seen a lot of bodies. Too many actually.
There was a time... my grandmothers time and before, when persons used to keep the dead company in their own homes before burial. Kids were exposed to the natural end of life all the time.

* Someone here, I think it may have been CG, even did a thread on Morte and Bella Morte; I'll have to see if I can locate that one now. *

One good thing about Chaney's donation is he was already thoroughly pickled with ETOH when they got him, so no necessity to embalm him with formaldehyde.
I always hated dealing with irksome, noxious and nauseous formaldehyde in the lab.

BTW I think that I've always treated bodies and their remains (wherever I have found them) with a degree of respect.
Sadly, some of my former comrades and colleagues seemed to delight in desecration, even photographing their acts for sharing with others.
I understand the need to relieve stress with "humor," but for me there are certain boundaries that should be crossed lightly.

I have treated animals that I have killed with reverence as I deconstructed them. I can feel no less toward former members of my own species.

* ADDENDUM
Well I located the thread, and it was CG who started it. It was Latin, and it was about death. But I got the title wrong, it was called Memento Mori, not Morte or Bella Morte, as I confabulated.
I perused it again and glanced at a few of the links.
Interesting topic (as few other than CG would dream up) and tangents.
Not exactly relevant to Tom's subject matter here, but perhaps he might find it worth looking at....

 

Chaney, Jr., could be superb too, especially in 1939's classic "Of Mice and Men" (UA), "High Noon" & "The Defiant 0nes"  Unfortunately like tons of celebs during that era, he was also an alcoholic 

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On ‎4‎/‎28‎/‎2018 at 8:27 AM, TomJH said:

Butterfly McQueen died from the results of burns in a fire. I guess medical science appreciates whatever donation it can receive but that might have been a pretty grim sight.

Knew about Darin, but not B. McQueen, of whom actually burned to death in a house fire!

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Wow Tom, I feel kinda silly.
I just now realized that you posted this thread back in 10/23/2016, and that newbie JimTCM had just resurrected it.
I had just glanced that it was started by you, and read through the posted replies without paying any attention to the actual dates, until just now.
Had I done that in the first place I don't think that I would have written anything at all here.
But I thought that this was something that was concerning you at this moment and felt compelled to add something hopefully "profound" into the conversation. So much for my paying attention to detail here.
Feel pretty dumb about it. But heck, for it being a morbid topic it certainly generated a lot of views in a hurry, either then or now. So much for morbid curiosity, eh? ;)

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On ‎10‎/‎26‎/‎2016 at 10:28 PM, cody1949 said:

 Check this out.  Google "burial site of Walter Pidgeon ". Scroll down and you will see he donated his body to the UCLA Medical School.  

findagrave.com though is the finest of any celebs demise & eventual internment

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On ‎10‎/‎23‎/‎2016 at 3:47 PM, scsu1975 said:

I'd be quite happy if Adam Sandler donated his body to science right now.

I could easily pick a few more though first before Sandler. Pauly Shore for one

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3 hours ago, Stephan55 said:

Wow Tom, I feel kinda silly.
I just now realized that you posted this thread back in 10/23/2016, and that newbie JimTCM had just resurrected it.
I had just glanced that it was started by you, and read through the posted replies without paying any attention to the actual dates, until just now.
Had I done that in the first place I don't think that I would have written anything at all here.
But I thought that this was something that was concerning you at this moment and felt compelled to add something hopefully "profound" into the conversation. So much for my paying attention to detail here.
Feel pretty dumb about it. But heck, for it being a morbid topic it certainly generated a lot of views in a hurry, either then or now. So much for morbid curiosity, eh? ;)

I don't see any need for an apology, Stephen. A fair number of older posts seem to be getting revived these days. It's easy to assume they're recently created.

Besides, if a bright, perceptive person like you feels dumb, then it's time for me to be committed.

Truth is, though, while the subject of death can be a turn off for many, it can also be a subject of fascination for others, even if comically addressed, on occasion.

love-and-death.jpg

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