The famed rapper and actor was shot in Las Vegas on Sept. 7, 1996. He died four days later from the wounds sustained in the attack.
It was widely assumed that Shakur was killed as part of a coast war between Tupac and Christopher “Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace, but that was debunked by the Smoking Gun.
Meanwhile, Wallace was killed in a shooting less than a year later. Both crimes remain unsolved.
The ‘Hogan’s Hero’ star was murdered on June 29, 1978, allegedly bludgeoned to death with what might have been a camera tripod. Crane had a voracious sexual appetite and often filmed his escapades with the help of a man named John Henry Carpenter, who police suspected in his death.
No charges were filed against Carpenter until 1990, but Carpenter was acquitted because of lack of evidence. The murder remains unsolved, but authorities believe Carpenter was the killer. He died in 1998.
On July 23, 1973, then 32-year-old Bruce Lee was found dead, the result of an apparent allergic reaction to Equagesic, a painkiller. According to the coroner’s report, Lee died “by misadventure.”
He did suffer from seizures — one happening just a month before his death — but popular urban legends that Lee was murdered by triads, a curse on his family and/or the delayed reaction from Dim Mak strike (called the “Touch of Death”) still persist.
Elizabeth Short (The Black Dahlia)
On Jan. 15, 1947, Elizabeth Short, a Los Angeles waitress, was found brutally murdered in an empty lot in the Leimert Park district of Los Angeles. Her wounds were ghastly (read about them here), and the media sensationalized the case, saying Short was a promiscuous woman and giving her the nickname ‘Black Dahlia.’ The crime was never solved.
Short’s death has been depicted onscreen many times, including the Brian De Palma film, ‘The Black Dahlia.’
In 1951, George Reeves became Superman on television. It was the biggest role of his career, and the one that sank it as well: Reeves could never escape the shadow of playing Superman — he was reportedly cut out of ‘From Here to Eternity’ after test audiences shouted, “There’s Superman!” at the screen — and, on June 16, 1959, killed himself because of depression over his career.
Or maybe he didn’t. While the official cause of death is suicide — Reeves was found laying naked on his bed, face up, with a gun between his feet on the floor — many believe Reeves was the victim of an accidental shooting or murder. It was rumored that George’s former girlfriend, Toni Mannix, ordered a hit on Reeves’s life after he broke up with her. Mannix died from Alzheimer’s disease in 1983, but in 1999, Los Angeles publicist Edward Lozzi said that Mannix confessed to him that she told a priest she was responsible for Reeves’s murder.
In 2006, a film about Reeves life and death called ‘Hollywoodland’ was released. Ben Affleck played the doomed Superman.
On Aug. 5, 1962, 36-year-old Marilyn Monroe was found dead in her home, after overdosing on barbiturates. The coroner’s report listed Monroe’s death as probable suicide, but many — including the first LAPD officer to the scene — believe she was murdered.
There was no trace of drugs in Monroe’s stomach, meaning she didn’t swallow her eventual killers; she was also covered in bruises, including a major one on her hip. The toxicologist on the case wanted to examine her organs and blood to understand how the drugs got into her system, but after the initial examination, Monroe’s organs were destroyed.
It was revealed that Monroe had enough chemicals in her system to kill 10 people, but intravenous injection was ruled out after a body exam.
At the time of her death, Monroe was allegedly involved in a relationship with John F. Kennedy, and perhaps his brother, Robert. FBI files released in 2006 showed that Monroe was considered a security risk after cavorting with known communists during a vacation in Mexico.
On June 13, 1994, Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman were found murdered at Brown Simpson’s home. Evidence found at the scene pointed to Nicole’s ex-husband, O.J. Simpson, was the prime suspect in their murders. On June 17, 1994, Simpson was set to turn himself in, but tried to escape with friend Al Cowlings in the infamous “Ford Bronco Chase.” Simpson was eventual stopped and pled not guilty to killing Brown and Goldman.
Despite mountains of evidence to the contrary, Simpson was found not guilty of the murders on Oct. 3, 1995. Simpson was later found liable by a Grand Jury for the wrongful death of Ron Goldman, a civil case which forced Simpson to pay the family $33.5 million in damages. He’s currently serving 33 years in prison for kidnapping and armed robbery after breaking into a Las Vegas hotel room to steal memorabilia. Simpson is eligible for parole in 2017, when he’ll likely continue to search for the real killers of Nicole and Ron.
Between 1926 and 1935, Thelma Todd appeared in over 120 films, including the Marx Brothers’s ‘Horse Feathers’ and ‘Monkey Business.’ On Dec. 16, 1935, Todd was found dead in the garage of actress Jewel Carmen, the former wife of Todd’s lover and business partner. The cause of death was carbon monoxide poisoning.
Police found that Todd had spent the night before her death at a popular Hollywood restaurant, where she had an argument with her ex-husband; she then retreated to Carmen’s home, which was a block away from a restaurant that she owned.
Whether foul play was involved in the death remains up for debate. Some believe Todd was targeted for extortion, while others wonder if she was locked inside the garage by her murderer. Todd’s body was cremated, but blood was found on her head and dress, leading some to believe she was knocked unconscious before her death. Complicating matters? Todd’s ex-husband was murdered two years later.
Known as “The Father of the Western,” Thomas Ince was a famed silent film actor, producer, writer and director in the 1910s and early 1920s. On Nov. 15, 1924, on the yacht of William Randolph Hearst, Ince died of heart failure — though rumors persist that he was shot by Hearst over actress Marion Davies.
After falling ill on the yacht, Ince was returned to shore. On Nov. 19, 1924, he succumbed to heart failure, but in the newspaper that evening it was reported that Ince was shot on Hearst’s yacht. Those headlines were quickly vanished and Hearst’s body was cremated?
So, what possibly happened? Hearst allegedly may have walked in on Davies — whom he was in love with — and Charlie Chaplin in a compromising position. During the ensuing struggle, Ince arrived and was accidentally shot. Another theory posits that Hearst shot Ince thinking he was Chaplin.
The Peter Bogdanovich-directed film ‘The Cat’s Meow’ with Kirsten Dunst focused on Ince’s mysterious death.
Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle
Silent film star Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle became one of the most famous men in America throughout the 1910s, starring in 37 films with everyone from Charlie Chaplin to Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton. (He is credited with discovering Lloyd and Bob Hope, while also mentoring Chaplin.)
In 1921, Arbuckle signed a then-record deal with Paramount worth $1 million. To celebrate, he threw a party over Labor Day at the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco. An actress named Virgina Rappe became ill at the party; she died four days later, and Arbuckle was accused of raping and accidentally killing her. Following three trials, Arbuckle was finally cleared of Rappe’s death, but by then the damage had been done: his films were banned for short period of time, and he couldn’t get work even after the ban lifted. Arbuckle returned in 1932 and later signed contract with Warner Bros. to appear in feature-length comedies. “This is the best day of my life,” he was quoted as saying. Arbuckle died that night in his sleep after suffering a heart attack; he was 46.
As for Rappe, she died from a ruptured bladder, which may have been caused from a botched abortion she had days before the Labor Day party.