Stories surrounding the downfalls and even the deaths of celebrities have made for headlines and international news even in the days before the Internet and social media websites were available to us on a 24-7 basis thanks to smart mobile devices. Many celebrity deaths that have occurred over the years involved little mystery and speculation. Tales of addiction, alcohol dependency, drug use, depression and other issues have resulted in the demise of noteworthy and well-known individuals who found fame and fortune in different avenues of life but who also could not, for whatever reasons, avoid what were unfortunate and untimely deaths.
At the opposite end of the spectrum are the celebrity deaths that have been shrouded in mystery, tales that have remained unsolved for long periods of time. Arguably the most-famous of all of these stories includes what was a public execution of a man who was, at the time, the so-called leader of the free world. That case is technically solved as it pertains to law enforcement officials, but more than just conspiracy theorists have raised questions and concerns about the matter. Will we ever really be able to say who was actually responsible for that murder? No, probably not.
20. Natalie Wood
The mystery that hovers over the death of Natalie Wood remains to this day. What is known is that Wood was yachting with husband Robert Wagner and guest/friend Christopher Walken when Wood, reportedly intoxicated at the time, accidentally entered the water and then drowned. Boat captain Dennis Davern later claimed that Wood and Wagner had an argument before Wood disappeared, leading some to believe that Wagner had played a role in her death. While the case was reopened, neither Wagner nor anybody else has ever been officially charged with any crime. An updated coroner’s report did raise some rather interesting questions about what happened at the time of her passing.
19. Jeff Buckley
The singer-songwriter had a cult following in the music community when he entered the Wolf River Harbor to go for a swim. What is mysterious about this is that Jeff Buckley was reportedly wearing all of his clothing, including a pair of boots, when he made the journey into the water. Buckley’s swim ended in tragedy, as he never again returned to shore alive. His body was found days later, and different theories on what happened were produced by fans and members of the media. It is, however, believed that Buckley was not suicidal or on any substances at the time, and thus his death was merely a sorrowful accident.
18. Nicole Brown Simpson/Ron Goldman
What has to be remembered about the named “Trial of the Century” involving the killings of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman is that former National Football League running back and star player O.J. Simpson was found to be not guilty. Simpson was later found liable for the “wrongful death” of Goldman, and O.J. is now behind bars after being convicted of multiple crimes in another case. The “real murderers,” as O.J. has referred to them in the past, are technically still out there in the eyes of law enforcement. Many in the public believe those guilty persons will never be found for the obvious reason.
17. Marilyn Monroe
That the actress and ultimate sex symbol of her time passed away because of a drug overdose was easy enough to believe for those who personally knew Marilyn Monroe, but that does not mean that Monroe’s death is not still a mystery for some. Monroe allegedly had a relationship with both President John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert, and some have claimed that her death may have been a murder and a message sent to the Kennedy family by members of organized crime. A different conspiracy theory is that the CIA eliminated what was seen as a security risk by killing Monroe.
16. Bruce Lee
Bruce Lee was unlike any other movie star before him, and the idea that such an unbreakable martial arts expert who had a history of severe headaches and seizures could die all because of an allergic reaction to a single painkiller was unfathomable for some. Thus, some wild stories regarding the death of Lee became urban legends. There have been allegations that triads/members of organized crime had a hand in the demise of Lee. Others have even gone so far to suggest that a curse on his family resulted in his death. It is probably safe to say that the “Touch of Death” theory can be disregarded.
15. Marvin Gaye
The death of the music icon was a tragic ending to what had, over time, become a sad story of depression and drug abuse crippling a man who was one of the great talents of his time. It is known that Marvin Gaye was shot to death by his father, but the events that resulted in Gaye Sr. killing his own son are shrouded in mystery. Gaye, plagued by personal demons for years, had a physical altercation with his father, and there has been speculation that the singer and artist may have planned the outcome before he was shot and killed.
14. JonBenét Ramsey
The name JonBenét Ramsey was relatively unknown to a majority of Americans until the star of beauty pageants went missing. A ransom note was reportedly sent to her parents, but Ramsey’s body was later found inside of the basement/”wine cellar” of the family’s home. Nobody has ever been officially charged in the murder of the young girl, but it has been believed by many in the public that her parents were guilty of the crime despite there being no hard evidence incriminating the two nor there being any real motive for why they would have murdered their daughter. Her parents have maintained their innocence to this day.
13. Jam Master Jay
Jam Master Jay was working inside of a recording studio in October 2002 when an unknown man opened fire on the rapper/musician and another person inside of the studio. Drug dealer Kenneth “Supreme” McGriff was linked with the murder for some time because Jay had an association with 50 Cent, who had written a song about McGriff. Neither McGriff nor anybody else was ever convicted of the crime, and the case is left unsolved. No new suspects have been named, and none are expected to be charged unless new evidence is uncovered and sees the light of day down the road.
12. Princess Diana
Princess Diana had, over the years, become a celebrity far beyond other members of the royal family when a car accident that occurred in the summer of 1997 took her life. The accepted story is that Diana and companion Dodi Fayed were merely attempting to escape stalking members of the paparazzi when control of the vehicle was lost. Others have speculated that the killing of Diana was no accident, and that she was murdered to prevent her from marrying Fayed. It is known that they were in a relationship that had blossomed when she passed away.
11. Bob Crane
A star of Hogan’s Heroes, Bob Crane was shockingly found bludgeoned to death inside of his Scottsdale, Arizona home in June 1978. Crane also had an electrical cord tied around his neck. While no suspect was found at the time, the case was ultimately reopened in the 1990s. John Henry Carpenter, a friend of Crane’s, was charged with first-degree murder, but Carpenter was later acquitted. The case remains a mystery, and there are no other known suspects. While there a variety of tales that have been told about his personal life since Crane’s death, the reasoning behind his murder likely went with him to the grave.
10. Chris Benoit and Family
It is, outside of conspiracy theorists who may struggle separating pro wrestling storylines from reality, accepted that World Wrestling Entertainment star Chris Benoit murdered his wife and his son before taking his own life in 2007. While brain damage coupled with depression and a history of steroid use have been listed as reasons for the tragedy, what exactly occurred, if anything, to cause Benoit to snap to the point that he returned home and did the terrible things that he did is a mystery. What was going on in the man’s head that weekend was forever lost when Benoit committed suicide.
9. Brittany Murphy
The actress who broke into the mainstream after appearing in the movie “Clueless” was found unresponsive in her home in December 2009, and Brittany Murphy was declared dead after attempts to resuscitate her failed. It was later ruled that pneumonia played a part in her premature death, but other causes have also been suggested. Reasons ranging from mold to deliberate poisoning have been mentioned as potential causes for Murphy’s death, but it is believed that the investigation is closed for at least the time being if not for good. Those who think that foul play was a cause for her demise may never have a true chance to prove the point.
8. Andrés Escobar
The murder of Colombian Men’s National Team player Andrés Escobar occurred after the 1994 FIFA World Cup, during which Escobar notched an own goal that resulted in Colombia being eliminated from that tournament. While it is widely believed that the own goal is the main reason for why Escobar was shot and killed, the story behind the execution of the murder has come into question. One theory that could have some legitimacy is that Colombian drug lords may have played a part in a triggerman being jailed for the crime when they were, in fact, behind the killing.
7. Andy Kaufman
That there are still people who are convinced that the actor who participated in multiple television shows and even in a professional wrestling program with Jerry “The King” Lawler would fake his death says a lot about the type of entertainer and person Andy Kaufman was during much of his public life. It is entirely believable for anybody who has read up on the life of times of Kaufman that he would pull off such a stunt as a final attempt to leave everybody guessing. Sadly, there remains no hard proof that Kaufman faked his death and is still alive to this day.
6. Elvis Presley
Conventional wisdom has told society that Elvis, a once-in-a-generation entertainer who will be honored in tribute shows so long as impersonators can make money and draw attention by doing so, passed away from a heart attack that probably had something to do with his known drug use. Numerous reported sightings and also claims that Elvis wanted to retire from public life and lead a quiet existence as just a regular guy have led to some fans speculating that the musician faked his own death. What a boring world it would be if these types of stories did not make us question certain things that we have been told even if there is little basis behind such rumors.
5. Tupac Shakur
Tupac is widely revered as one of the greatest rappers in the history of his genre, and his death that occurred at the result of a fatal shooting has left a legacy of its own that goes beyond the music that he left behind. Different theories on who may have executed the attack that took Tupac’s life have been accompanied by stories that he may not actually be dead, ideas that have been supported by all of the albums allegedly featuring the rapper that have been released since his demise. What a story it would be if it was all true.
4. Notorious B.I.G.
One cannot discuss the (supposed) death of Tupac without also talking about the death of Notorious B.I.G.. Unlike with Tupac, though, there are not groups of fans out there who are claiming that Biggie is still with us. Christopher Wallace was the victim of a drive-by shooting in March 1997 in Los Angeles when four bullets struck the high-profile celebrity artist who was involved with the East Coast-West Coast rivalry. His death occurred six months after Tupac passed away, and his murderer(s) has not been found to this day. None of the theories thrown out there by analysts and fans have been proven true, and it is widely believed that Biggie’s death will forever remain an unsolved mystery.
3. Kurt Cobain
It is one of the most-polarizing stories of the death of a famous musician in American history. Kurt Cobain was the front man of the pioneering group Nirvana when his body was found inside of his home in April 1994, the victim of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Some fans of Cobain and Nirvana have cited the musician’s well-noted problems with depression and drug use while suggesting that he should be allowed to rest in peace. Others remained convinced that foul play was involved. The subject has been touched upon in documentaries and also in books.
2. John F. Kennedy Jr.
Plane crashes, as unfortunate and tragic as they are, sometimes just happen, and that was seemingly the case in July 1999 when an aircraft plummeted into the Atlantic Ocean. When the last name belongs to the famous Kennedy family, however, there is going to be some mystery that hovers over the story. Some speculated that John F. Kennedy Jr. did not have the necessary experience to operate that plane on that night. Others wondered if some personal matter, physical or psychological, played a role in the accident. There are of course conspiracy theories out there as well, none of which have ever been proven to be accurate.
1. John F. Kennedy
Who killed John F. Kennedy? Did Lee Harvey Oswald work alone? Was he even involved at all? Did JFK die because of the mob? Communists? Some other group of people? There is seemingly a new theory on the assassination of Kennedy put out there by supposed knowledgeable individuals who can prove beyond any doubt what happened on that fateful afternoon in Dallas. Americans who have long questioned what became the official story on Kennedy’s death are still waiting to see hard evidence that will put their doubts to bed for good. It looks like they will have to keep on waiting.