The Danes don’t normally do curses … – The Post

The Danes don’t normally do curses …

but the interviewees of the 2005 DR series ‘De skrev historie’ are dropping like flies

The Danes don’t normally do curses, but if they did … (photo: iStock)
September 29th, 2016 6:00 pm| by TheCopenhagenPost

We all enjoy a good curse. From the one about a famous person dying every time Arsenal player Aaron Ramsey scores a goal to those associated with King Tutankhamun’s tomb and films like ‘Superman’ and ‘Poltegeist’, the media never turn down a chance to make a tenuous connection or two.

But for some reason, Denmark would appear to have no curse stories of its own. Or so we thought.

A groundbreaking series
Following the death of Israel’s elder statesman Shimon Peres on September 28, almost half of the interview subjects featured in the 2005 Danish current affairs series ‘De skrev historie’ have subsequently snuffed it.

The ten-episode series remains one of DR’s most ambitious ever projects. Featuring interviews with some of the 20th century’s biggest powerbrokers, it offered fascinating insights into the decisions that shaped the world we live in.

They are history
Four of journalist Steffen Kretz’s main interviewees have now died – and some prematurely. Benazir Bhutto, the former leader of Pakistan, was assassinated in 2007 aged just 54, while Muammar Gadaffi was butchered by rebel forces in 2011 aged 69.

While Peres was all of 93, former Philippines leader Corazon Aquino was only 76 when she died in 2009 of colorectal cancer.

Two of the politicians on the original list conceived in 2004, Margaret Thatcher (87) and Yasser Arafat (75), have also since died.

And Desmond Tutu (84) came close to dying last week after an operation didn’t go as planned.

This leaves Tutu, Madeleine Albright (79), Daniel Ortega (70), FW de Klerk (80), Lech Walesa (72) and Viktor Yushchenko (62) as the only survivors.

But it also wrote the future
However, despite all the deaths, some good came out of ‘De skrev historie’. It was whilst making the series that Kretz met and collaborated with Lillian Gjerulf, the future DR newsreader who worked as the producer of the show.

The pair married in 2008 and now have two children, so maybe curses is one superstition the Danes simply don’t do!

Steffen Kretz (left) is a familiar face to DR viewers and foreign dignitaries such as Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev (photo:



Other famous curses

The curse of ‘51
This Saturday will see Mayo’s gaelic football side try to reverse a 65-year curse against Dublin in the replay of the final of the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship. A priest cursed their last victorious side when their bus failed to show the necessary respect to a funeral on the way home, promising they wouldn’t win again until they were all dead and buried. Now only two survive and they have lost seven finals since that fateful day.

The curse of 2020?
An extraordinary sequence from 1840 to 1960 saw every US president elected or re-elected in a year divisible by 20 die in office. William Harrison died of pneumonia in 1841, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in 1865, James Garfield was likewise killed in 1881, and also William McKinley in 1901. Warren G Harding had a heart attack in 1923, FDR died of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1945 and we all know what happened to JFK in 1963. And then the trend was bucked when Ronald Reagan survived being shot in 1980 and George W Bush hid under his desk in 2001.

‘Poltergeist’ vs ‘Superman’
Four cast members of the ‘Poltergeist trilogy’ died in the six years between the first and final film, including the main star, Heather O’Rourke. She was just 12. While Dominique Dunne, who played her sister in the first film, was strangled to death by her boyfriend aged just 22.

‘Superman’ meanwhile has also been linked to a curse, which apparently started when George Reeves, the star of the 1950s TV series, killed himself in 1959, or did he? The sad demise of Christopher Reeve, the star of the original film series, is well documented, but did you know that Lee Quigley, who played Superman as a baby in the 1978 original, died of solvent abuse in 1991 aged 14. And if there isn’t a curse, how would you explain ‘Batman v Superman’?