Tuesday, 4 January 2011
No discussion of hauntological puglists would be complete without reference to Freddie Mills.
Mills, who was from Poole in Dorset, was light heavyweight champion of the world between 1948 and 1950, but retired immediately after losing his title to American Joe Maxim.
An extremely popular personality, Mills stayed in the public eye with film cameos (he was in a couple of early 'Carry On's), regular TV appearances on 'Six Five Special', as well as with his own range of licensed merchandise. Mostly, however, he immersed himself in London nightlife, buying a restaurant (later a nightclub) in Soho and associating with The Krays and other members of the scumbag glitterati.
In July 1965, plagued by debt and crippling headaches, he apparently shot himself through the right eye in his car, only a few yards from his club. The official verdict was suicide, but theories abound that he was either murdered by The Krays (or the Tongs / Triads), or put an end to his life because he was about to be pushed out of the closet after an importuning offence (he was married with children). Even more bizarrely, there is speculation that he may have been a serial killer called 'Jack The Stripper' who murdered six prostitutes in 1964 and 1965, but this appears to have sprung up post mortem, perhaps because the murders, which were never solved, stopped after his mysterious death.
Freddie is buried in Camberwell Cemetery. The urn beneath the marble boxing glove has one of his actual gloves in it.