2nd in a series:

Interesting Influenza Historical perspective ...

Submitted to One Health Initiative website April 1, 2016 by:

*Steve A. Berger, MD

Director of Geographic Medicine

Tel Aviv Medical Center

Tel-Aviv, Israel

Almost 100 years have passed since Rose Cleveland (and over fifty-million other humans) died from the paradigm One Health Disease: "Swine flu", during January to April 2016, an alphabet-soup of "swine flu" and "bird flu" have continued to affect birds and / or humans, on all continents: H1N1, H5N1, H5N2, H7N9, H5N6, H7N8. In 2015, the list also included H5N2, H5N3, H5N7, H7N3 and H7N7.

Rose Cleveland - sister of President Grover Cleveland who acted as "first lady" to her bachelor brother - was one of approximately 150 famous people that perished in the "Spanish flu" pandemic of 1918 to 1920. Best known at the time were Francisco Rodrigues Alves (Brazilian President Elect) and Louis Botha (President of South Africa).

No less than ten stars of the Silent Movie era are known to have died during the pandemic.

True Boardman – appeared in 137 films; William Courtleigh, Jr.; Dark Cloud (Elijah Tahemont) – Canadian Indian, appeared in 34 movies; Myrtle Gonzalez – Hollywood's first Hispanic movie star; Shelly Hull – Brother of actor Henry Hull; Joseph Kaufman; Vera Kholodnaya – The first Russian star of Silent Movies; Julian L'Estrange; Harold A. Lockwood; Wayland Trask, Jr. – Starred in several Mack Sennett comedies

Following the Spanish flu of 1918 to 1920, influenza has continued to contribute to [or be associated with] the deaths of famous people: Pope John Paul, II; Juan Peron (Argentina), Francesco Nitti and Paolo Boselli (Italy); performers Angela Baddeley, Lillie Langtree, Tallulah Bankhead, Jean Harlow and Trevor Howard; baseball legends Dick Bertell and Hack Wilson; movie directors Jules Dassin and Luchino Visconti; and philosopher Bertrand Russell. In fact, two additional Silent Movie stars managed to join my famous-flu-deaths list after the Spanish flu had already passed: Edward J. Connelly (1928) and Henry B. Walthall (1936).

These lists are abstracted from a hobby which I maintain on-line at   The site is free and interactive – users can explore the medical file of a specific VIP; or generate lists by profession, disease, year … or any combination.

Note: This is the second in a series.  The famous people mentioned by Dr. Berger were associated with Influenza outbreaks but their deaths were not necessarily caused by it.  See his first article on the One Health Initiative website at

*Dr. Berger, a physician, was trained in Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology, is currently affiliated with the Tel Aviv Medical Center as Director of Geographic Medicine and is a One Health Supporter/Advocate