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In HBO's new The Leftovers 140 million people disappear from the planet, and some famous people are among the departed. TURN BACK NOW if you want to be surprised.

Toward the end of the pilot, which airs Sunday, we follow our protagonist Justin Theroux's Kevin Garvey to a bar where a television station is airing a program commemorating the three-year anniversary of the departure. As two talking heads debate what it all means, photos of celebrities flash by with the chyron "Remembering the 'Victims' of the Sudden Departure." Those that left the Earth were: 

  • Condoleezza Rice 
  • Salman Rushdie
  • Shaquille O'Neal
  • Jennifer Lopez
  • Anthony Bourdain
  • Gary Busey
  • Bonnie Raitt 
  • Pope Benedict XVI

The bartender says what we are all thinking: "The Pope, I get the Pope, but Gary fucking Busey?" The entire sequence adds a bit of dark humor to the moody pilot.

Tom Perrotta's novel on which the show is based also features a passage that enumerates the famous people that were lost. "Depending upon your viewing habits, you could listen to experts debating the validity of conflicting religious and scientific explanations for what was either a miracle or a tragedy, or watch an endless series of gauzy montages celebrating the lives of departed celebrities," Perrotta writes. He then lists those who went missing: 

  • John Mellencamp
  • Jennifer Lopez
  • Shaq
  • Adam Sandler
  • Miss Texas 
  • Greta Van Susteren
  • Vladimir Putin 
  • The Pope
  • "the nerdy guy in the Verizon ads" 
  • "the retired Supreme Court Justice"
  • "the Latin American tyrant"
  • "the quarterback who'd never fulfilled his potential" 
  • "the witty political consultant"
  • "that chick who'd been dissed on The Bachelor" 
  • "According to the Food Network, the small world of superstar chefs had been disproportionately hard hit." 

That last one probably accounts for why Bourdain made the cut in the TV version. No word on why Dan Marino didn't survive the book-to-HBO transition, though.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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