After the death of Michael Jackson I’m wondering how long it’ll be before we see the first Elvisesque headline claiming he’s been spotted in some far flung place alive – just maybe not well.
The conspiracy theories surrounding Jacksons death, and recently actor David Carradine’s demise in a Bangkok hotel, are in full flow right now. Although I’m sure the latter will fade away pretty quickly as the Jackson bandwagon moves up a gear or two in the months and years ahead.
Here’s a list of ten celebrity deaths that have captured the attention, and imagination, of conspiracy theorists the world over.
Anna Nicole Smith
The model and actress, whose real name was Vickie Lynn Marshall, was found dead at 39 from an overdose of prescription drugs in a hotel in Florida on February 8, 2007. An official investigation concluded that she had been killed by a cocktail of drugs.
Within days of Nicole Smith’s death, the web was alive with speculation over the striking similarity with the death of her son, Daniel, who had been killed a few months earlier from a cocktail of drugs.
The actor died on September 30, 1955 when his Porsche 550 Spyder was hit by a Ford Custom Tudor coupe on Route 466 near Cholame California. The Ford was driven by 23-year-old Donald Turnupseed and had crossed into Dean’s lane and hit the Porsche almost head on. Dean was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital.
Conspiracy theorists seized upon evidence from a reconstruction of the accident which suggested that the damage had been too light for a high-speed crash and would not have killed the driver. They suggested he faked his death.
The young actor had a squeaky clean image and frequently spoke of his abhorrence of drugs. And yet, on October 31, 1993, he collapsed from an overdose of heroin and cocaine outside a Hollywood nightclub owned by Johnny Depp.
Many people have questioned the official story pointing to Phoenix’s public opposition to drug abuse and a lack of any needle marks on his body.
The lead singer of Nirvana was found dead at his home in Seattle on April 8, 1994. The singer – who had disappeared from a drug rehabilitation clinic – had, according to his wife, Courtney Love, been suicidal and a suicide note was found. The initial police report stated that Cobain had been found with a shotgun across his chest and an autopsy ruled that he had died by a single gunshot wound to the head and that he had taken a large amount of heroin.
However, Tom Grant, a private investigator hired by Love to find Cobain after he disappeared from the clinic, believed that the singer was murdered. He claimed that the amount of heroin in Cobain’s bloodstream would have made it impossible for him to have put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger. Grant claimed that an unknown assassin had administered the drug and then shot Cobain.
The 43-year-old actress was found dead in the sea off Catalina Island, California, on November 29, 1981. She had apparently drowned after falling off a yacht owned by her husband, Robert Wagner. Wood had spent several hours drinking with Wagner and the actor Christopher Walken before disappearing.
There was speculation that she had been murdered but the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office was emphatic: Her death had been accidental, possibly after she had fallen into the water while attempting to get into the dinghy.
The 72-year-old star of the the Kung Fu TV series and Kill Bill films was found dead on June 4, 2009 in his room at the Swissotel Nail Lert Park Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand. Police reported that he had been found hanging in a wardrobe. Other more lurid reports suggested he had died after some kind of sado-masochistic incident. A pathologist stated that autoerotic asphyxiation was the most likely cause of death and a police chief said that CCTV footage at the hotel showed that nobody else had been involved.
The day after his death, Carradine’s family’s lawyer dismissed the idea that the actor had committed suicide and suggested that he could have been murdered by a gang of kung fu assassins after it was revealed he was planning to uncover groups in the martial arts underworld.
The former Beatle was shot dead outside the Dakota building in New York where he lived by Mark David Chapman on December 8, 1980. Chapman was jailed for murder and is still in prison.
The most popular conspiracy theory over Lennon’s death is that he was killed by remote control. Those who believe this claim that Chapman was programmed by US government agents to kill Lennon and that they used the novel Catcher in the Rye as a signal to go ahead with the operation. But there appears to be very little motive for such an assassination by the US government other than a supposed dislike of the musician’s radical views by the newly-elected Reagan administration.
The 50 year old singer died on June 25th and at this time the official cause of death has still to be determined, although it looks like the star died of a heart attack following a lethal cocktail of prescribed drugs.
It took just hours after Jackson’s death for the first conspiracy theories to start circulating. The most popular is that the singer faked his death in order to escape the media spotlight and impending bankruptcy.
The actress was found dead at her home in Los Angeles on August 5, 1962. An autopsy found a cocktail of the drugs choral hydrate and Nembutal in her system and the county coroner recorded the cause of death as acute barbiturate poisoning by accidental overdose.
However, speculation over Monroe’s death continues to this day and centres on her relationships with US President John F. Kennedy and his brother, Robert Kennedy. Most of the theories allege that she was murdered either by the CIA or the Mafia because she knew too much about the Kennedy brothers’ links to organised crime.
Presley was found dead on the floor of his bathroom in Graceland, Memphis, on August 16, 1977. An investigation and autopsy found that he had crawled several feet from the toilet before he died. Two autopsies into his death (one in 1994) concluded that drugs did not play a part and that he was killed by a sudden heart attack. Given Presley’s widely documented prescription drug abuse, most experts believe that he was killed by a cocktail of drugs.
And yet there are a million and one theories surrounding the death of Presley – by far the most persistent being that he somehow faked his own death in a bid to boost flagging record sales. Hundreds of thousands of supposed sightings of “the King” have been claimed in the three decades since.
Published on June 30, 2009 | Filed Under Showbiz
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