Reddit user ZellaphantBooks2 asked: 'What celebrity death seems a bit too suspicious?'
Learning about the death of a well-known figure can sometimes feel as if we lost a friend or family member.
Even if we never met them or knew them personally, their work may have touched us in such a way that it feels as if part of us died with them.
This can be even more poignant if they died young and/or under tragic circumstances.
Particularly if the cause of their death was never fully explained or discovered and continues to be a mystery to this very day.
Redditor ZellaphantBooks2 was curious to hear stories of deaths or disappearances that remain a mystery (or possibly too easily explained), leading them to ask:
"What celebrity death seems a bit too suspicious?"
Alive And Well... But Nowhere To Be Found?
"Shelly Miscavige , wife of Scientology leader David Miscavige."
"Disappeared 2013 after vocally coming out against the practices of Scientology."
"Lawyers for the cult - I mean religion - still maintain she is alive and living a private life devoted to Scientology."
"Not a 'murder' or 'death' and not really a 'celebrity' but... WHERE is Shelly Miscavage?"- hopeandnonthings
Supposedly A Robbery, But Maybe Not So Simple?
"Oscar and Golden Globe winner for 'The Killing Fields'."
"Cambodian and former prisoner of the Khmer Rouge."
"Tortured and imprisoned in Cambodia."
"Murdered outside his home in Los Angeles."
"His family thinks it was revenge from Cambodia for his outspoken support for human rights and bringing people to justice in Cambodia."- Lothar_28
Wrong Place, Wrong Time?
"She’s a Bollywood actress who died in Dubai from accidental drowning in a bathtub, the day after a wedding where she was in perfect health and she had a huge life insurance which would pay only if she dies in Dubai."- CurlyBrownHair08
The World May Never Know...
"Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones died under suspicious circumstances while swimming."
"The person he was swimming with (a contractor working on his house who Jones had accused of stealing from him) supposedly confessed on his deathbed to killing Jones."- Laughacy
Without A Trace
"She was a British TV presenter, news reader and journalist."
"She was shot on her front door step and it's never been solved."- TheKnightsTippler
"In my hometown of St. Louis, Missouri, there was a sculptor and entrepreneur by the name of Bob Cassilly."
"His works, whimsical and larger than life, are all over the city."
"The crown jewel of all this is the wacky home of repurposed industrial materials into a crazy sort of playground, the popular City Museum."
"He was a notoriously driven worker, and in 2011 he died in an apparent bulldozer accident working on a new outdoor art playground project he called Cementland."
"His death was even investigated, but again ruled accidental, despite one medical expert saying he had been beaten and the bulldozer accident was staged."
"Not a true celebrity, but a local legend here to be sure, and a person who left an indelible mark on this town."- ImaginaryMastadon
Did She Know Too Much?
"Dorothy Kilgallen, reporter and TV personality."
"Died under mysterious circumstances while investigating Kennedy's assassination."- WoolaTheCalot
"She was an investigative journalist and game show panelist on What’s My Line?"
"She was digging into JFK when she died of an overdose."
"Her manuscript on JFK was taken by the govt and will never see the light of day."- Risky-Potato
Dealing With Villains On Screen And Off Screen
"George Reeves, the guy who played Superman in the 50s."
"There were a bunch of people in his house the night he died, and a lot of conflicting stories, also he was having an affair with a studio exec's who was in attendance with his husband that night.'
"Also forensics disagree with the testimony of the witnesses."
"It's all a clusterf*ck."- jorsiem
Something Doesn't Add Up...
"This might be stretching the definition of 'celebrity' but Rudolf Diesel, inventor of the diesel engine (and kind of a big deal in his day) died under really suspicious circumstances."
"On September 29th, 1913 Diesel boarded a ship in Antwerp, Belgium on his way to a business meeting in London."
"He never arrived."
"His bed was never slept in, his shirts remained unpacked and his pocket watch was open on the night stand."
"The crew found his hat and overcoat neatly folded by the aft railing of the ship."
"The last entry in his diary was simply a cross on the day of the 29th."
"About 10 days later they found a body in the channel that was eventually IDed as Diesel."
"Pretty straightforward, right?"
'The thing is, he gave his wife a bag when he left with instructions to open it upon his death."
"It contained 20,000 Marks (about $120,000) the whole of the Diesel's bank accounts withdrawn as cash."
"Diesel had recently declined to sell his patents exclusively to the German government and was on his way to London to meet with representatives of the Consolidated Diesel company and the British Royal Navy."
"After his death, no memorial or tomb was built until 1957, when the founder of Japan's Yanmar Diesel company funded the building of a memorial garden for him."- weirdoldhobo1978
Might Want Another Source Than The Kremlin...
"Don't know if he qualifies as a celebrity but Yuri Gagarin, Russian cosmonaut and the first man in space."
"After the kremlin sent one of his friends to certain death on an extremely unprepared rocket ship, in a desperate attempt to catch up with USA's progress, Yuri, a Russian hero and one of the most popular figures at the time, criticized the kremlin and blamed them for the death of his friend."
"Not too long after, he died when he allegedly lost control of his Mig-15."
"The official explanation given by the Kremlin is full of holes and to this day no one really knows what happened but, it seems obvious to some, that whatever caused his crash, the kremlin was responsible for it."- Danesho_PT
It's sad that all these poor people died before their time.
Even sadder if the reasons behind their death were, in fact, far more sinister than anyone might realize.
People tend to gravitate toward various celebrities based on the work they do without really knowing who they are in real life.
For example, actors who play nefarious characters may have a legion of fans who love the rebellious persona but can be let down after discovering their personality is actually quite loveable.
We often tend to forget celebrities are people too, and their real-life persona may be contradictory to the type of characters they play in movies.
Curious to hear from those who were in for a pleasant surprise after meeting a star, Redditor BEEPY_BO1 asked:
"Who is the kindest/rudest celebrities you've met IRL?"
These positive chance meetings stayed with Redditors forever.
"My sibling has a terminal illness in the 80s and Make A Wish sent our family to the set of Knight Rider to meet David Hasselhoff. Was cool, but that's not what matters."
"Fast forward 30 years and I'm at Heathrow picking up a family member when I see the Hoff standing there on his phone. I approach him and wait for him to end his call. He looks at me and says hello. I tell him that we met. He looks at me and say, 'Was their name ...?' He remembered their name after 30 years."
"That will always stay with me."
The Sweet Canadian
"I used to serve Rachel McAdams at a restaurant fairly regularly. She was always super sweet. Very lowkey and soft spoken in person. She and her husband would come in late and keep to themselves."
"I was at a pub in Toronto years ago and we were watching the Blue Jays home opener on the TV. The bar had a long booth seat with a series of tables strung along so you sat pretty close to the next patron."
"Had no idea that Rachel McAdams was sitting next to me the whole time. My friend and I watched the game and chatted with them throughout as they were right next to us. Just regular pub chatter and comments about the game."
"The Jays ended up coming back to win, and Rachel and I high-fived at the conclusion. She and her friend left, and my friend smacked me after they got up and said "that was Rachel f'kin' McAdams!" So yes, she seemingly has the ability to just be low-key and fit right in despite being a beautiful Hollywood actress!"
Satisfying His Sweet Tooth
"Ian McKellen came to the spa I worked at and was absolutely lovely. We didn’t sell ice cream but there was a farm shop across the road and I mentioned it and he asked me if I’d take him there."
"My friend who worked in the farm shop had his mouth open the whole time seeing me buying ice cream with Gandalf."
They are professionals but are also good with people. A winning combo.
"Penn and Teller hang out in the lobby after their show in Vegas to chat and sign autographs. Very friendly and yes Teller can talk."
"Teller was really sweet to my brother who is handicapped and in a wheelchair. That meant a lot to me."
"I have worked with Steve Martin and Martin Short, they’re both super nice, respectful, and incredibly dedicated to their craft. They’ll spend hours finessing a couple lines in a show they do every night just to get it right for that evening’s performance."
"I was an extra on The Last of Us and met Pedro Pascal. He was super nice. We technically weren’t allowed to talk to the 'talent' and they’d usually ignore us but he and Gabriel Luna talked to us anyway."
Talent Recognizes Talent
'Giancarlo Esposito was incredibly warm and also told me I should try and get into voice acting. I have never and will never attempt to do so but it was such a nice compliment for no reason.'
These Redditors have bragging rights for the best celeb encounter anecdotes.
Congrats Are In Order
"I proposed to my wife at a restaurant in Kauai. Afterwards, Michael Keaton leaned over from his table with his family and enthusiastically congratulated us. Very kind and friendly."
Deadpanned By Deadpool
"Ryan Reynolds & Blake Lively live relatively close to my hometown and show up to this Christmas event every now and again that our town puts on. Walked out of the ice cream parlor downtown and sitting on the bench right outside is Ryan Reynolds eating an ice cream cone. I looked up at him as I was walking out and made eye contact, and I looked away, then I looked back to make sure it was him, and he looks me dead in the face and goes 'I know right, isn’t it crazy?' And then he gets up and walks away. 10/10"
Inspired And Encouraged
"I met Weird Al at a con once. While he was signing the photo I bought, I told him about how he inspired me to write my own parody songs. He seemed genuinely interested and asked if I had a YouTube channel, but I told him I just write them, not record them. Super nice dude (at least for the brief time we spoke)."
A Birthday To Remember
"Jeff Goldblum, after a matinee of 'The Pillowman.' Autographs, photos, asking people where they were from, what else they had seen/were going to see. One girl mentioned they were in the city for her birthday as she was taking a photo of him with her friends, he stopped and said “How can you not be in your own birthday picture,” took her camera and grabbed someone from the crowd to take a picture of the group. Would not leave until he was sure everyone got what they wanted (despite his assistant or handler trying to move him along for dinner before the evening performance)"
I met Keri Russell at one of my favorite restaurants. She was dining alone and reading a book.
I'm not usually not one for invading a celebrity's personal space, but because I was a HUGE Felicity fan, I had to say hi.
I told her she was even more gorgeous in person and that I wanted to tell her I admired her work. She blushed and simply said, "Oh, stawwwp!" and laughed.
She then asked about me, what I thought of the food at this particular establishment, etc. She had such a great, laid-back vibe. Not wanting to take up any more of her time, I excused myself.
When she eventually got up to leave, she came over to where I was sitting with my significant other at the time, and she told us with a wink, "You boys, have a good night."
I almost died.
Many of your favorite film celebrities you adore and worship after watching them for years are still human beings... who can be a contradiction of how they're depicted in Hollywood.
While fame can certainly go to a once-aspiring actor's head, there are surprisingly plenty of luminaries that haven't forgotten where they came from.
Curious to hear of celebrities prior to their world-renowned status, Redditor RogueWolf300 asked:
"People of Reddit who knew celebrities before they were famous, how different do they act now?"
These actors haven't forgotten their humble beginnings.
Clumsy Drama Student
"I went to high school with Sandra Oh. She was funny, dynamic, smart, outgoing, and very into drama. In one school play, she played what I will call sort of a mime character - she didn’t have lines but was still a big part of the action, commenting on what was going on through her actions. Anyhow, in one scene as she was exiting the stage she banged her head on one of the props - you could hear the loud bang- but she was a pro and just carried on. It has been great to see her have such success, and I love that she has kept in touch with her close friends from high school (you can spot them at awards show sometimes)."
"Work in a restaurant about 15 years ago as a manager. Rachel McAdams walked in for an interview. She was still in acting school and serving table to pay for it. She worked at my restaurant over the course of the next 2 summers, serving on our patio. Still friends to this day. She hasnt changed a bit. Still bikes to get groceries."
Fantastic anecdotes continued being shared.
"My Grandpa(RIP) owned a grocery store in Miami in the late 70s. Wesley Snipes and his friends once stole some candy from his store and when he caught them he let them have it. Since then Wesley and his friends were regulars. Once, Wesley left his bike in front of the store and it got stolen (was a pretty bad area). My grandpa gave him his old bike that he kept in the back of the store. My uncle took over in 2001 when my grandpa died. In 2007 he came back to the store while my uncle and cousin were there, to ask about my grandpa."
"My uncle said they talked for a little over an hour about how he my grandpa treated him like a son. When he found out my grandpa passed he felt guilty he didn’t visit sooner. He embraced my uncle and cousin and left. My uncle said he told him they plan on having the building repainted while they talked. About a week later a crew of painters arrived and told my uncle they were already paid to have the building repainted. Such a genuine dude."
A Much Sweeter Side
"My aunt used to work with Gordon Ramsay’s mother but never made the connection. Once they were out for lunch and he ended up coming in to see his mum and met my aunt in the process. She said he was so lovely and polite!! Plus my dad has a bunch of Gordon’s old jumpers he didn’t want anymore. Not signed or anything like that, it’s just a fun family story now."
"This is real late and second hand but I knew someone who went to ACM with Ed Sheeran. He said he was lazy in class, skipped classes and just wanted to smoke weed, and my acquaintance was mad when Ed started getting more and more famous when Ed didn’t even bother with his music courses. I thought that was funny."
Attractive And Shy
"Went to middle school with Meagan fox for a bit. She rode my bus and she mostly kept to herself. Most of the guys would fight over who was going to sit next to her but she was very shy and didn't really have much to say."
Politeness goes a long way, and these actors never lost sight of that.
A Class Act
"I was local Production contact on Hugh Jackman’s touring theatre production where he sang his favourite numbers from various musicals. Usually when a show comes in with big name stars, the star usually has a bunch of assistants and they do the job they are paid to do and that’s it. The actor come on stage when needed then back to their dressing room and if you need anything or if they need anything you talk to the assistant. Prior to the first performance, I am on stage dealing with a few little issues, trying to stay on schedule when Mr. Jackman walks out on stage and my first thought was that he was going to be angry that we have kept him waiting to do his sound check. Instead he walks directly over to me, introduces himself asks me my name and asks a couple of questions and doesn’t even mention the delays."
"So we spoke for a few minutes and then he went around and introduced himself to more of the local crew. I was a little blown away by meeting him as I am a fan and thought that was really cool of him. Fast forward a week and I am backstage after the performance and I bump into Mr.Jackman in the hall, I say hi but don’t want to bother him but he stops me, he remembers my name (after meeting 100’s of people that week) and asks a few questions that related to our first conversation."
"Here’s the thing though. The guy just did a two hour performance and Instead of just politely returning my greeting he stopped and talked for a few moments with no false sincerity. To this day I am still blown away by how genuinely nice he was and always wondered what he was like before he became famous. He would also spend a huge amount of time after the show signing autographs and answering questions at stage door."
"I went to college with Joe Keery aka Steve Harrington in Stranger Things. He was my college boyfriend’s suite mate and just the nicest guy. His hair has always been dreamy and amazing. Last time I saw him was at a viewing of the Hateful Eight after we graduated and he still made a point to come over and say hi!"
Unforgettable Prom Date
"Friend of mine was friends with Tom Hanks in high school and went to prom with him. He still writes her personalized BDay cards on one of his typewriters."
These celebrities managed to avoid having success go to their heads.
Still Sincere And Serene
"I went to Junior High with Norah Jones. She was the most sincere and serene person. She was fun to talk to and she never gave a hint of who her father was. The night she won all those Grammys was very telling that she hadn't changed a bit."
The Good Guy
"I went to high school with Mark Ruffalo. He was nice. He was 'one of those thespians.' Our high school had an acting group that challenged the students to get out of their shell and do things in front of strangers like introducing yourself as the wild fairy of the woods and presenting them with a flower."
"We didn’t talk much, but like I said, he was a good guy."
The entertainment industry is very bizarre in that the public persona celebrities project can either be very similar to who they are in real life or a stark contrast.
So when you hear stories of them doing normal, everyday things, it can be a jarring contradiction to the image of them you've had in your head.
That's Hollywood for ya.
Crushes are a normal part of life. Celebrity crushes are even more mainstream.
I tend to fall in love with the male lead of whatever my favorite show happens to be at the time. As a kid, I was certain I was going to grow up and marry Rider Strong from Boy Meets World (though I was so young back then, I couldn't tell the difference between Rider Strong and Shawn Hunter).
As I grew up, I predictably fell for both Nick and Joe Jonas, Andrew Garfield, and, my celebrity obsession for the last eight years, Grant Gustin.
I also had my fair share of cartoon and anime crushes (Zuko from ATLA anyone?) There's no shame here!
Celebrity crushes are not only normal, but something people can bond over.
Curious about what celebrities (or fictional characters) made people's lists, Redditor Jeece712 asked:
"Who was your celebrity crush as a child?"
Jack + Rose Forever
"Leonardo Dicaprio. I cried so hard when I was a kid and my mom told me Kate Winslett was getting married, I thought her and Leo were in love IRL because of Titanic, and I thought she broke his heart. I was a dumb."
"Linda Cardellini as Velma in the Scooby-Doo films. Now it's just Linda Cardellini"
"I'm a man of substance. Dorky chicks like you turn me on, too!”
They Were All Quite Attractive
"Danielle Fischell is an excellent answer."
"Ooooh I totally had a crush on Topanga!"
"I crushed on Shawn for a bit."
"Sean was cute af."
The Epitome Of A Teenage Heartthrob
"More like Kelly KaPOWski!!!"
All I Want Is Your Love
– Deleted User
"Me too!!! I was already like 12 but God, it was an instant crush, she is beautiful and very elegant. It started from the second film of the prequels tho"
"Natalie Portman, was falling for her right along with Anakin"
"Kim Possible. I guess the thing for redheads never went away judging by my girlfriends nowadays..."
"Aladdin. Don't look at me like that."
"Gwen from Ben 10..."
"Kim Possible and the mother from The Proud Family."
"They may not have been actual celebrities, nor did I quite understand the feelings I had for them at the time, but goddamn were they the sh*t!"
"Raven, from the really bright and colorful Teen Titans Go. Yet it still took me another 7 years to realize I wasn’t straight."
"draco malfoy.. it was my gay awakening"
"I had my sexual awaking with zac efron in high school musical. I literally jumped my wall to him singing 'the start of something new'"
That Whole, Full House
"middle daughter on Full House"
"Uncle Jessie was so hot. I remember watching with my grandma, we were both there for him lol"
"Uncle Jessie’s wife, Becky. Super hot back then."
"Kimmy Gibbler (Andrea Barber) from Full House."
Superheroes = Super Crushes
"Well, this is gonna date me for sure but, when I was about 4 or 5, Superman/Clark Kent as played by a young Christopher Reeve."
"All my life I crushed out like crazy on guys with dark hair, blue eyes, and glasses. I ended up marrying a man who looks eerily just like Reeve when he played that role (more the body type and the face than the coloring, though). The bummer is that he insists on wearing contact lenses, at least when he goes outside. He thinks it's hilarious that it drives me wild when takes off his contacts when he gets home and puts on his glasses."
"Wonder Woman & The Bionic Woman"
"Lynda Carter 100%"
And A Few That Need A Mention
"That did impress me much."
"Lee Meriwether as Catwoman. Me-freaking-ow."
"Jodie Foster. In retrospect… I never had a chance."
Truthfully, I doubt any of us ever had a chance.
Ah, well, we can dream!
As someone fascinated by movies and Hollywood, I possess a significant amount of knowledge about celebrities.
The Golden Age of Hollywood? Yes. Modern-day performers? You name it.
I also have a morbid mind so as you can imagine, I have a lot of knowledge about celebrity deaths. I sometimes think about Heath Ledger, who died of an accidental overdose in 2008. What must it be like to die that way, and to die alone?
What about Bobby Driscoll, best known for voicing the title character in Disney's Peter Pan?
He died of heart failure, also alone, and his body was discovered in an abandoned building in the East Village of Manhattan. His body was later buried in a pauper's grave and remains on New York's Hart Island.
There are other tragic celebrity deaths that have captured the nation's–and even the world's–imagination.
People shared their thoughts after Redditor Boldstarspindleshawk asked the online community:
"What celebrity suffered the worst death?"
"He won’t be the biggest celebrity on this list, but the wrestler Owen Hart plunged to his death from 70 feet in the air in front of 20,000 people during a live pay-per-view. He was supposed to descend from the rafters in a superhero-like entrance, but it went terribly wrong."
"WWE insisted on doing the stunt without the proper safety equipment (since they wanted Owen to do a 'quick release'), and they hired a below-par rigging company that would agree to do it (since most wouldn’t). They were grossly negligent."
Hart's death was also extremely controversial because WWE chose to continue the event even though he was severely injured in front of a live audience! Can you imagine?
"Isadora Duncan, a famous dancer in the 1920’s wore a long scarf. She jumped in a sports car with no roof and the scarf got caught in the spokes of one of the wheels, and she was strangled."
Duncan's death always frightened me.
It's an example of how one thing, one choice, can go horribly wrong.
"It's Kirsty MacColl to me. Sliced up by the propeller of an illegally operated boat while saving her children from the same, for the boat's rich owner to buy his way out of justice."
She died saving her son, who suffered minor head and rib injuries.
She died instantly.
"Jennifer Jason Leigh’s father, Vic Morrow. On the set of the Twilight Zone movie. Morrow and two children were killed. The helicopter crashed decapitating him and one of the children. The other child was crushed to death."
These deaths caused a major scandal, ultimately impacting the career of director John Landis and resulting in a change to child labor laws in regard to film sets.
"Sharon Tates' was pretty bad. Getting stabbed to death while pregnant and begging for your unborn child's life is pretty f**cking brutal."
The horrors and crimes committed by the Manson family continue to draw fascination to this very day.
"Lou Gerhig. ALS causes loss of muscle control but many people diagnosed know what's in store for them. They know they will be losing the ability to walk, talk and even breathe."
The Lou Gehrig Memorial Award is given annually to the MLB player who best exhibits Gehrig's integrity and character.
"Judith Barsi voiced characters in The Land Before Time and All Dogs Go to Heaven. She died at the hands of her father in a muder-suicide after years of abuse."
"A murder suicide after a long campaign of both physical and psychological abuse too. She was just 10 years old."
Barsi and her mother were buried in adjoining plots.
Her tombstone includes the phrase "Yep! Yep! Yep!" a phrase uttered by Ducky, the character she voices in the 1988 animated classic The Land Before Time.
"Selena. Being murdered by someone you thought you could trust and being snuffed out when she was on the cusp of superstardom. All her hard work since a little girl down the drain."
Selena is more famous now than she was when she was alive.
It's crazy to think about.
Meanwhile, Yolanda Saldivar, who murdered her, is still in prison.
She is eligible for parole in 2025.
"Christopher Reeve (Superman) died after bed sores became infected after breaking his neck and getting paralyzed."
Christopher Reeve led a hard life after his horseback riding accident and yet remained such a kind and generous figure.
"Anton Yelchin. I can't imagine anything worse than slowly dying in a torturous manner with not a soul nearby and zero way to get help or save yourself. I'm not afraid of much, not heights or claustrophobic or drowning, but dying in a helpless manner slowly is one thing that terrifies me truly."
This death was such a shock and a huge blow to Star Trek fans worldwide.
Yelchin was 28 when his SUV rolled down his driveway and pinned him against a brick pillar gate post.
His death was due to blunt traumatic asphyxia.
"Jon-Erik Hexum. He was an actor who was playing around with a gun loaded with blanks during a delay in filming. As a joke, he put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger."
This death, much like the death of Brandon Lee and the death of a crew member on the set of the movie Rust, have challenged views about safety on the sets of Hollywood films.
When you learn more about Hollywood, you can very easily fall down a rabbit hole.
James Dean: That car crash sounds terrifying.
Barbara Payton: Became a prostitute and died of alcoholism in her late 30s.
Phil Hartman: Murdered by his wife.
Have a celebrity you'd like to mention? Feel free to sound off in the comments below!
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