Celebrity deaths have always sparked curiosity among the public. Living life under the scrutiny of the tabloids' limelight often pushes celebrities to the brink of self-destruction. While many Hollywood stars pass well into old age with grace, there are plenty of peculiar cases in which the famous perish under violent, mysterious, gruesome, or bizarre circumstances.
Despite our best judgment, celebrity deaths captivate audiences just as much as the performer did when they were alive - sometimes even more so. However, weird celebrity deaths seem to inspire a unique sort of fascination, one deeply rooted in the creepy and conspiratorial. For example, whether Natalie Wood's death was a mystery or a murder has long been a topic of contention within the true crime community. Dead celebrities often remain a household name well past their passing, and some are more infamous for their death than their life's best work. There are famous deaths by misadventure, and tragedies that would likely have been terribly embarrassing to the celebs. Below are interesting celebrity deaths, though all in all, the horror of losing a bright star usually leaves one with a bad taste in one's mouth.
Aside from the cases you likely already know of - the Michael Jacksons and Whitney Houstons of the celebrity underworld - there are many stories you may have never heard of. Before grisly celebrity death photos became immediately accessible to the online world, many of the most mysterious cases were left with few facts and even less explanation. While some have been solved since the initial incident, many remain just as baffling as the day they occurred. If you have an insatiable curiosity for the creepy, here are some of the strange and weird celebrity deaths you've probably never heard of.
Tennessee Williams is considered one of the greatest American playwrights in history, yet he often struggled with depression. Found lifeless in a New York hotel suite, many suspected the cause to be drug- and alcohol-related, and while both played a role, the main contributor to his passing was asphyxiation.
According to medical professionals consulted at the time, Williams perished from choking on a bottle cap that was lodged in his throat. The cap was from a bottle for eye (or nose) drops that he often used. However, some have since hypothesized that this somewhat bizarre explanation was used to cover up an OD.
- Age: Dec. at 71 (1911-1983)
- Birthplace: Columbus, Mississippi, United States of America
Known as one half of the infamous duo Sonny & Cher, Bono later got involved in politics. His aspirations were cut short when he perished in a freak skiing accident at South Lake Tahoe's Heavenly Ski Resort. While on the slopes, Bono collided with a tree, sustaining fatal injuries.
The most bizarre aspects of Bono's passing were the eerie similarities to Michael Kennedy's (son of Robert F. Kennedy) demise, which occurred less than a week prior. Kennedy also perished in a skiing accident.
- Age: Dec. at 62 (1935-1998)
- Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, United States of America
While on set filming the CBS television show Cover Up, muscle stud Jon-Erik Hexum became restless throughout takes. Hexum began fiddling with a prop gun and then spun a blank cartridge, held the barrel to his head in a mock game of Russian roulette, and pulled the trigger.
The wadding from the empty barrel shot out of the trigger and impacted Hexum's temple. He was rushed to the hospital, where he underwent five hours of surgery. Six days later, he was pronounced brain dead. Hexum donated many of his organs before being cremated.
- Age: Dec. at 26 (1957-1984)
- Birthplace: Englewood, New Jersey, USA
Best known for her roles in The Handmaid's Tale movie and The Parent Trap reboot, Richardson was a prominent English actress and charmer. While taking a skiing class on vacation in Canada, Richardson fell and sustained injuries. In a state of lucid confusion, she reportedly refused medical help, stating that she felt fine and returned to her hotel room.
She later complained of a headache and was rushed to a hospital where she was later pronounced brain dead due to an epidural hematoma. After being flown home to New York, she was removed from life support while surrounded by loved ones.
- Age: Dec. at 45 (1963-2009)
- Birthplace: London, England, UK