Mysterious Celebrity Deaths That Remain Unsolved to This Day
We often think of celebrities as being larger than life, but they are as human as anyone else. That fact becomes painfully clear when you start exploring some of the horrific, untimely deaths certain celebrities have suffered. Even with paparazzi hounding them around the clock, some stars have fallen prey to malicious plots and mysterious deaths. Sometimes, the monster within led to their demise; other times, known or unknown enemies played a part. Were these mysterious Hollywood deaths accidents, suicides or cold-blooded murders? Take a look and decide for yourself what transpired.
The story of Peg Entwistle is one that many Hollywood fans have heard. The blonde-haired, blue-eyed actress was working on her building her acting career when she got a part starring in a film named Thirteen Women. At first, this was great news.
A Hollywood Haunting?
Entwistle's suicide was big news — especially after a letter arrived for her just days after her death, offering her a big part playing a character who commits suicide. Creepy, right? The ominous details surrounding her death are only heightened by the numerous "sightings" of her ghost near the Hollywood sign.
The Black Dahlia
The story of the Black Dahlia, a.k.a. Elizabeth Short, is one that any true crime fanatic knows quite well. Her story is a gruesome one, and her murder remains unsolved to this day. In 1947, the aspiring actress was found mutilated in an empty Los Angeles lot. In a gruesome twist, the top and bottom halves of her body were cut apart.
The investigation was in-depth, and many leads were followed over the years. Sadly, due to a lack of any real forensic evidence, the investigators were never able to pinpoint a culprit. The most recent development came in 2013, courtesy of an author who accused his own father.
Marilyn Monroe needs no introduction — her successful acting career and bubbly personality made her a hit in the 1950s. She is mostly remembered for her beauty, but what about her mysterious death? When Monroe was found dead in 1962, the cause was listed as "probable suicide" due to drugs.
In 2016, Prince's death was thought to be an accidental overdose, much like what had happened to many stars before him who were taking multiple prescription medications. The truth wasn’t so simple, however. An extensive investigation uncovered that Prince only intended to take the painkiller Vicodin. Unbeknownst to him, the pills contained lethal levels of fentanyl.
The death of glamorous 1970's actress Natalie Wood is overflowing with suspicious circumstances. She was on a boating trip with actor-husband Robert Wagner and their friend, Christopher Walken. At 1:30 a.m., Wagner phoned the police to report his wife missing. Later, her body was found floating in the water — covered in mysterious bruises.
Virginia Rappe was a budding silent-film star when she died at a young age in 1921. Her death came after a night of rowdy partying — yes, alcohol was involved, even though it was the Prohibition era. The incident occurred while Rappe was with another actor, Roscoe Arbuckle, in a bedroom. Apparently, guests clearly heard her screams.
Tupac Shakur was on top of the world when he died in 1996. He had achieved fame as a rapper, despite the resistance of his rival, Notorious B.I.G. Many considered him to be the best rapper of all time. In the end, he was killed by a drive-by shooter that authorities have never managed to identify.
Interestingly, Notorious B.I.G. — also known as Christopher Wallace and Biggie Smalls — was killed by drive-by shooters a year later. Just like in Tupac's case, the identities of the shooters remain unknown. Could it have been a retaliation attack for Tupac's death? Or was it simply a coincidence?
Peter Ivers was a celebrity who did a little bit of everything. He was a singer/songwriter in the pop genre and then a leader of New Wave music. He made movies, studied at Harvard — there seemed to be no end to the projects he took on. Ivers even provided music for the classic film Eraserhead.
If you know the show Hogan's Heroes, you know Bob Crane. Crane played a funny ladies’ man and was a hit with the audience, which is why fans were shocked at his gruesome death. He was found terribly beaten — almost to the point of being unrecognizable — and with a cord around his neck.
William Desmond Taylor
In the 1910s, silent films were all the rage. William Desmond Taylor was a director and actor in many of these films, and he lived a privileged life in Los Angeles. His death was poorly handled, partly because police procedures weren't as developed as they are today.
Better known as Jam Master Jay, Jason Mizell was the D.J. in Run-D.M.C., a highly influential group in the early days of the hip-hop scene. Mizell's death was big news at the time. He was at the studio one night with several other people, including the receptionist, when visitors opened fire and killed him.
Unlike other celebrities on our list, Mary Meyer did not spend her time in front of a camera. Instead, she earned her living painting. She was also married to a member of the C.I.A. — they eventually divorced — before becoming romantically involved with President John F. Kennedy.
Thelma Todd was 29 when she was found dead in her Lincoln automobile. The official cause of death was listed as carbon monoxide poisoning, but investigators found evidence that something had been forced down her throat — oh, and her car wasn't even running. Nice detective work, right?
Johnny Stompanato was no angel. He was believed to be a mobster, and rumors circulated that he abused his girlfriend, Lana Turner. One fateful day, Stompanato was stabbed to death in their home. Turner's daughter took the blame, but many believe it was truly Mrs. Turner herself who did the deed.
A strapping man with a thriving career playing Superman supposedly killed himself in the early morning hours of June 16, 1959. He also apparently did so with his wife and three friends downstairs. One glaring issue is that these friends delayed contacting the police — and when they did call them, their stories weren't very coherent.
Bobbi Kristina Brown
Bobbi Brown was the daughter of the incredibly famous and talented Whitney Houston. Her death wasn’t instantaneous — she was found unconscious in her bathtub at home and spent six months in a coma. In the end, however, she passed away, and the medical examiner couldn't determine whether she had died accidentally or not.
Dolores O'Riordan was the highly admired lead singer of the band The Cranberries. Her death doesn't necessarily have malicious undertones to it, but it is a curious story. She was in the middle of planning a new album and developing a project with Martin Glover when she was found dead in her bathtub.
David Carradine starred in the violent yet popular Kill Bill films, and his death lived up to this role. While visiting Thailand to make a new film, he was found unclothed in his hotel closet, dead from asphyxiation. The investigation found that it wasn't suicide but was likely an accidental death.
Fans of Twin Peaks and Eraserhead likely know all about Jack Nance's fate. Indeed, the events leading up to his death are certainly suspicious. It all started when he met friends at a coffee shop sporting a black eye. He told them he had gotten into a scuffle with "some kid."
Nicole Brown Simpson
Nicole Brown Simpson's death was so extensively covered by the media that many people have resolute opinions on what happened, even though they weren't there to witness it. Her murderer was clearly fueled by rage — a deep wound to her neck almost decapitated her.
It seems that many mysterious Hollywood deaths happened during the silent-film era, and Thomas Ince was unfortunately part of that phenomenon. Leading up to his death, he went on a cruise with business colleagues and celebrated his birthday. It was during this time that he showed signs of being unwell.
It would be impossible to cover all the conspiracy theories surrounding the death of Princess Diana. She was a widely beloved figure who expressed her fears to those around her after her divorce from Prince Charles. She even allegedly worried she might die in a staged car crash.
Brittany Murphy's death started out as an illness. She exhibited flu-like symptoms for a couple of days, but then suddenly collapsed from heart failure. They thought her death was the result of pneumonia combined with anemia, but then her husband died in a similar way six months later.
Albert Dekker's (pictured left) death overshadowed his successful career as a character actor. In 1968, his soon-to-be-wife found him dead in their bathtub in a kneeling position. The terrifying part? He was blindfolded, handcuffed and had a noose tied around his neck. Dekker's body was desecrated in other ways, including inappropriate phrases smeared on him in lipstick.
This celebrity hails from another part of the world: the United Kingdom. Her unsolved death is one of the most well-known in her country, partly because of her position as a journalist and television presenter at the BBC. She was visiting a residence of hers — one she rarely frequented — when an unknown man shot her in the temple.
No one argues about the status of Jimi Hendrix as a guitar legend, but many people argue about the facts surrounding his death. Hendrix spent his last hours with alleged girlfriend Monika Dannemann — her claims of a relationship are widely disputed — drinking wine and partying. The next morning, Hendrix was unconscious in bed next to Dannemann, and he later died at the hospital.
Bruce Lee led the way for modern martial arts, inspiring people everywhere with his talent. His films were widely successful and remain classics to this day. His unfortunate fate was foreshadowed in May 1973, when Lee suffered seizures and headaches as a result of cerebral edema (excess fluid in the brain).