10 Insane Facts About Ed Wood, The Man Who Defined Weirdness In Hollywood

Ed Wood ranks high among the B-movie eccentrics, thanks to his relentless efforts to create a lasting camp masterpiece. He revolutionized low-budget filmmaking with his innovative - if somewhat questionable - quick fixes to the overwhelming number of obstacles that can crop up in the filmmaking process. And, in addition to all he contributed to film history, Ed Wood's work and life continues to serve as an inspiration to the LGBTQ community. He was one of Hollywood's first open cross-dressers, and highlighted same-sex relationships in his movies and novels.

Since his early death at age 54 in 1978, strange Ed Wood tales and legends have emerged. Fans are left to sort the facts from the fiction as they consider his unconventional biography. Wood's life was full of wild stories that highlighted his determination and undeniable skill as well as those that demonstrated his personal struggles and weakness. Keep reading to discover some crazy Ed Wood stories - and if you want more, look into the lives of Brando and Seagal.

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  • He Bit The Heads Off Of Chickens In Carnival Sideshows

    He Bit The Heads Off Of Chickens In Carnival Sideshows
    Photo: thetallestman.com / via Pinterest

    After he served in World War II, Wood's exact whereabouts were unknown. One of the most persistent rumors about this period is that he joined a traveling carnival, where he played a man who bit the heads off of live chickens. Eventually, he performed as a half-man, half-woman character.

  • He Made A Movie Cast Undergo A Mass Baptism

    He Made A Movie Cast Undergo A Mass Baptism
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    Wood frequently struggled to secure funds for his films, and Plan 9 From Outer Space was no different. After a lot of searching, Wood was able to gain funding from J. Edward Reynolds, a high-ranking member of a local Baptist church.

    However, the church had a few conditions. First, the cast would need to be baptized - which they were, en masse, in a Beverly Hills swimming pool. Second, Wood had to change the name of the film, which had originally been Grave Robbers from Outer Space.

  • He Inspired A Legally Recognized Church

    He Inspired A Legally Recognized Church
    Photo: ghoulsofplan9.com / via Pinterest

    In 1996, 19-year-old Esteban Christian Galindo founded a joke web page titled "ED WOOD = GOD." But after a year, Woodism blossomed into a legal religion, now with more than 3,000 followers. 

    It is defined as: "a serious pop culture-based religion... Woodism is a frame of mind and not a list of rules. The basic premise of Woodism... is the constant search for happiness and the following of dreams and being proud of who you are... It's a punk libertarian religion. It's spirituality mixed with realism."

  • He Said Angora Helped Him Write

    He Said Angora Helped Him Write
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    Ed Wood loved angora, a super soft wool spun from rabbit fur - one of his pen names was "Ann Gora." He frequently wore women's clothing woven from the material. According to Kathy O'Hara, Wood's second wife, his fascination with the fabric was directly tied to his transvestism.

    Wood's ex Dolores Fuller said he loved to put on her white angora sweater: "I said, 'Why do you want to borrow it?' and he said, 'Well, it helps me write, I feel so much more comfortable. I hate men's hard clothes, I like soft, cuddly things. It makes my creative juices flow!'"

  • He Hung Out With Wrestlers And Vampires

    He Hung Out With Wrestlers And Vampires
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    Ed Wood cast his colorful movies with equally colorful talent. His inner circle included horror pin-up Vampira, Swedish wrestler Tor Johnson, well-known drag queen Bunny Breckenridge, and former horror star Bela Lugosi

    Perhaps because of his association with these "misfits," Wood never broke through to the Hollywood mainstream.

  • His Best Friend Was Bela Lugosi

    His Best Friend Was Bela Lugosi
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    In the 1950s, the horror legend Bela Lugosi was suffering from drug addiction and his career was in decline. Ed Wood struck up a friendship with the actor, and cast him in multiple movies.

    Lugosi died partway through the filming of Plan 9 From Outer Space. Wood had an eyebrow-raising workaround for him: replacing Lugosi with a friend, who held his cape over his face on film to disguise the fact that he was clearly a different person.

    Lugosi's son, Bela Lugosi, Jr., said that he believed Wood was taking advantage of his ailing father. Other associates claimed that the two had a genuine friendship, and that Wood helped Lugosi through particularly rough patches of addiction and depression.