Many Hollywood stars have died in tragic or bizarre circumstances. Some of these cases have never been fully clarified and rumours have grown and spread over the exact nature of the star’s death. This slideshow will take a look at some of the Hollywood deaths which have blurred the lines between reality and fiction.
Marilyn Monroe died on 5 August, 1962 and from that moment on dozens of conspiracy theories about the cause of her death have emerged. The first post-mortem results showed that the death was due to an overdose of barbiturates and the police described the case as a "possible suicide". Some former detectives have argued she was actually murdered. Monroe is said to have had a complicated love life and it has been alleged that she was involved in a love triangle with President John Kennedy and his brother Robert.
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Brandon Lee was in the middle of filming of the movie "The Crow" when he died on set after being shot in an accidental firearms incident. The 28 year old died hours later in hospital on 31 March, 1993. A blank cartridge had been fired from a gun which had a real bullet lodged in its barrel. Some speak of a family curse as his father Bruce Lee also died while filming a movie.
Hollywood was stunned when the death of 28 year old Heath Ledger was announced on 22 January, 2008. The actor had just completed his role as the Joker in the film "Batman: The Dark Knight" and was filming the movie "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" when he was found dead in his New York apartment. The post-mortem revealed the cause of death to be an overdose of prescription drugs. Mystery surrounds the source from which Ledger received the drugs.
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Anna Nicole Smith
Actress and former Playboy bunny Anna Nicole Smith was found dead in the "Hard Rock Hotel Casino" on 8 February, 2007. A post-mortem examination determined that she had died of an accidental overdose of prescription drugs. Her ex-boyfriend Howard K. Stern and her former psychiatrist Khristine Eroshevich have since been embroiled in an ongoing legal case over allegations of conspiracy relating to the prescribing of antidepressant drugs to Smith.
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The death of actress Natalie Wood in California in 1981 is shrouded in mystery. She drowned while on a boat trip with her husband Robert Wagner, friend Christopher Walken and the yacht’s Captain Dennis Davern. Her body was found one mile away from the vessel with an inflatable dingy nearby. The original cause of death was given as drowning. However, the case was reopened in 2011 after the captain was reported to have said that he lied to police during the investigation and that there had actually been an argument between Wood and Wagner before her disappearance. Her death certificate has since been amended to say her death was caused by drowning and “other undetermined factors.”
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The actress and wife of director Roman Polanski was murdered on 9 August, 1962, by followers of cult leader Charles Manson. The group killed a heavily pregnant Tate and four of her friends after breaking into her home. Some argue that Polanski had been threatened by satanic groups while filming horror movie "Rosemary's Baby" and that the director had ignored the warnings.
The 68-year-old film director and producer committed suicide by jumping off a bridge in the port area of Los Angeles on 28 August, 2012. The first hypothesis spoke of Scott taking his own life because he was suffering from inoperable brain cancer, but his family was quick to deny this rumor. The Los Angeles Police Department confirmed that he had used antidepressants and sleeping pills on the day of his death.
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The former actress, who was also the Princess of Monaco, died in a car crash in Monte Carlo in 1982. Kelly was driving with her daughter Stephanie when they crashed down an embankment. Her daughter suffered fractures but survived the accident. Doctors said the actress had suffered a stroke while at the wheel and that this had caused her to lose control of the vehicle. However, Lequio Sesto, the person who pulled the occupants from the car, is reported to have said that Kelly had actually been in the passenger seat while her daughter had been in the driver's seat.
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Actress Brittany Murphy suffered a cardiac arrest on 20 December, 2009, while at her home in Los Angles. She was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital. The report by the medical examiner revealed that the actress' death was caused by pneumonia and listed anemia as a secondary factor. A few months later, Murphy’s husband, Simon Monjack, also collapsed and died in the same house. The post-mortem examination yielded similar results to those of his wife. Murphy’s mother has claimed the deaths were caused by toxic mould in the house.
In 1977, the actor and singer was found dead in the bathroom of his home. Many conspiracy theories surround his death and some even claim he is still alive. One theory states that drug addiction caused Presley to suffer a heart attack. However, a small minority of his fans believe the “King of Rock and Roll” faked his own death so that he could live out the rest of his days in quiet anonymity. Since then, people have claimed to have seen Presley in different parts of the world.