Rarely am I ever shocked by the contents of a book, but while reading THE HOLLYWOOD BOOK OF DEATH this week I almost dropped it in complete and utter disbelief. Did you know that Richard Farnsworth, who played sweet Matthew Cuthbert in the beloved ‘80s ANNE OF GREEN GABLES miniseries killed himself at the age of 80? He had been suffering with painful cancer and shot himself on his ranch.
I know, you’re as shocked as I was.
Many celebrities, whether they’re A-listers or long-forgotten screen stars, had seriously crazy, sometimes shocking deaths. Wanna get creepy with me? Of course you do.
1. NATALIE WOOD
No one knows for sure exactly what happened the night Natalie Wood drowned. Wood was out on her boat with husband Robert Wagner and friend Christopher Walken and may have argued with Wagner before leaving the boat in a small dinghy. Wood had a fear of water her whole life, which makes it doubly sad that she eventually died by drowning. The details of the case are still murky. (All three main cast members of the classic REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE died young: Wood, James Dean, and Sal Mineo.)
2. JAYNE MANSFIELD
This brainy blonde bombshell and mother of MARISKA HARGITAY was not decapitated in the car accident that took her life, though that’s the popular rumor. Rather, she and three others were killed instantly, though Jayne’s sleeping children in the backseat were barely bruised. The decapitation rumor stemmed from Jayne’s blonde wig, which flew off on impact.
3. RAMON NAVARRO
This old-Hollywood star was murdered in his home by two young hustlers he’d called over for sex. The two brutally beat him, and he choked to death on his own blood. They tried to arrange the crime scene to look as though a woman, disgruntled over Navarro’s homosexuality, had killed him in disgust. The two had come looking for money, but found only $42. Both were jailed and released relatively quickly, but imprisoned soon enough for various crimes.
4. LUPE VELEZ
The actress attempted to kill herself with pills. However, she felt nauseous and went to the bathroom to vomit, where she slipped and fell headfirst into the toilet. She drowned there and wasn’t discovered until the next day by her maid.
5. GEORGE REEVES
The original Superman struggled with the ubiquity of that role for the rest of his career. He simply couldn’t escape being Superman. Reeves was found dead in 1959 from a single gunshot wound. It was officially ruled a suicide, though many think he was murdered.
6. GRAM PARSONS
After the musician died of an overdose, his father tried to move the body against Gram’s wishes so he could cash in on his estate. Parsons’ friends stole the body and took it to Joshua Tree, as Parsons had intended, then lit it on fire. There wasn’t a law against stealing bodies at the time, so they got away with only a $75 fee.
This article originally appeared on The Lineup.
Photos: Wikimedia Commons