13 Hollywood Deaths Shrouded in Mystery (PHOTOS)

Michele Marin | Oct 7, 2015 Bizarre News

As picture-perfect as Hollywood may seem, it's seen its fair share of tragedies, many of which are shrouded in mystery even years later. Some cases remain unsolved. Others have causes that have been determined, but they're still cloaked in doubt and overshadowed by rumors of what really happened. 

Click through for a look at some of the most mysterious deaths involving Hollywood stars. 


Image via © Katy Winn/Corbis

  • Ronni Chasen


    Image via ABC news

    Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen was shot multiple times in her car on her way home from a movie premiere in 2010. The cause of the murder was speculated to be robbery, but many things did not add up. For instance, why was Chasen's purse left at the scene and her window only open a few inches? The suspect, Harold Martin Smith, killed himself when police went to search his apartment. Was this a case of jealously over her successful Oscar campaigns? Did she have a secret gambling problem that led to someone coming after her debt? Rumors abound, and her death remains a mystery.

  • Patrick McDermott


    Image © 2005 Phil Ramey/Corbis

    The longtime boyfriend of actress Olivia Newton John went missing while on a fishing trip in 2005. A Coast Guard investigation determined McDermott most likely drowned, but witnesses say they saw him walk off the boat. McDermott was bankrupt and behind on child support. Some believe he is alive and well, living in Mexico. Inside Edition filed a report in June 2015, claiming people in a village near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, recognize McDermott's picture. Does McDermott simply have a doppelganger, or did he indeed perish in the waters of the Pacific?

  • Marilyn Monroe


    Image © Frank Povolny/Twentith Century Fox/Corbis

    Suicide? Murder? Foul Play? Would a screen legend with a bright future really end her own life? On August 5, 1962, in the bedroom of her Brentwood, California, home, the 36-year-old sex symbol died from an overdose of barbiturates, at least according to her official death certificate. Was there more to it? Some 50 years later, rumors still swirl, including one that implicates President John Kennedy and another that points to the Mafia. 

  • Brittany Murphy


    Image © Katy Winn/Corbis

    On December 21, 2009, Brittany Murphy collapsed in her Hollywood Hills home. A coroner ruled the Clueless star's death a combo of pneumonia, iron deficiency, and over-the-counter drugs. Five months later, her widower, Simon Monjack, was found dead in the same home. His death was also ruled accidental, from acute pneumonia and anemia. Murphy's father never bought into the theory that toxic mold caused the couple's deaths, and ordered his own investigation. The private lab reports revealed high levels of mercury in both Murphy and Mojack's hair, suggesting they were poisoned. Is this just an unlucky coincidence?

    More from The Stir: 19 Celebrities Who Died Of Alcohol & Drug Overdoses (PHOTOS)

  • Kurt Cobain


    Image © John Atashian/Corbis

    Nirvana fans mourned when frontman Kurt Cobain was found dead on April 8, 1994. The official ruling was suicide from a gunshot wound to the head and a lethal dose of heroin. In 2014, new evidence surfaced, including details about the shotgun shells that killed Cobain. Was it really him in the taxi, days before he died, asking the driver where he could pick up bullets, or was someone else staging a suicide? Never-before-seen photos revealed enough evidence to make the Seattle Police Department re-open the cold case file.

  • Tupac Shakur


    Image © lawrence schwartzwaly/Corbis

    While on the way to a nightclub in Las Vegas in 1996, a Cadillac pulled up beside Shakur, shots were fired, and the rapper died six days later from multiple gunshot wounds. One theory claims Shakur is alive and living in Cuba. Another points to Sean "Puffy" Comb's involvement, as the two had a longtime feud. No one has ever been charged for the murder.

  • The Notorious B.I.G.


    Image © Mitchell Gerber/Corbis

    Hip hop star Christopher Wallace, aka the Notorious B.I.G., was gunned down in Los Angeles in 1997 as he left a party. Many believe that B.I.G.'s murder was revenge for the murder of rival rapper Tupac Shakur. B.I.G.'s mother filed a lawsuit against the LAPD claiming they conspired to have her son murdered. The case is still open, and no one has ever been charged for the crime. 

  • The Black Dahlia


    Image © Bettmann/Corbis

    Actress Elizabeth Short, nicknamed the Black Dahlia by newspapers, was found in a vacant lot in Los Angeles in 1947, cut in half and drained of blood. Her face was sliced from the corners of her mouth to her ears, creating a creepy clown smile. More than 60 people have confessed to the heinous crime due to the media's sensationalized coverage over the years. True Confessions, the movie staring Robert De Niro, is just one of many films and books made of the mysterious death. 

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  • Bruce Lee


    Image © Concord Productions Inc/Golden Harvest/Corbis

    One of the best martial artists of his time, Lee lay down one night in 1973 at the apartment of actress Betty Ting, complaining of a headache. He slipped into a coma and never woke up. Drug tests found cannabis and a muscle relaxer in his system, but conspiracy theorists claim it was murder. Some of the rumors surrounding Lee's death point to Chinese triads who may have killed him because he owed them money, and to Ting, who some think may have poisoned him. 

  • Natalie Wood


    Image © Ernst Feix/Corbis

    If this Rebel Without a Cause actress did indeed drown accidentally after falling off of her yacht in 1981, then why was the case reopened in 2011? Wood and her husband, actor Robert Wagner, reportedly had a fight during the fateful boat ride, and he initially refused to be interviewed by cops. Fueling speculation were bruises found on her body. While the boat captain, Dennis Darven, believes Wagner was involved, Darven is not considered a credible source because of his history with substance abuse. Is this a case of accidental drowning or a cold-blooded murder at the hands of an enraged husband?

  • George Reeves


    Image © John Springer Collections/Corbis

    The LAPD ruled the 1959 death of actor George Reeves a suicide, but many of his friends disputed that. Reeves was partying in his home with friends when he went upstairs and supposedly killed himself. Some of the rumors surrounding his death point to mob conspiracies as well as a reported affair with an MGM studio head's wife, which may have led to his murder. 

  • Thelma Todd


    Image © Corbis

    On December 16, 1935, this screen legend was found slumped over the wheel of her Lincoln inside her garage. Her death was ruled a suicide, but inexplicable broken ribs and a broken nose raised eyebrows. Some say Todd was murdered by her abusive ex-husband, an ex-lover, or a notorious mobster. Those who live near the home where she was discovered claim they sometimes hear an engine running and smell exhaust fumes, even when there’s no one there. 

    More from The Stir: 8 Celebrities Whose Horror Movie Deaths Still Haunt Us (PHOTOS)

  • Jean Spangler


    Image © Bettmann/Corbis

    On October 7, 1949, actress Jean Spangler walked from her Los Angeles home to the market and was never seen again. Her purse was found with torn handles and a note that said, "Kirk, Can't wait any longer. Going to see Dr. Scott. It will work best this way while mother is away." Some speculate the note was addressed to actor Kirk Douglas, who insisted he didn’t have a relationship with her, despite her recent appearance in one of his films. Another theory points to an abortion doctor named Dr. Scott, and yet another to her ex-husband, with whom she was engaged in a bitter custody battle. 

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