The adult entertainment industry is the blacksheep of Hollywood. It’s not quite so widely publicised, but it’s a wildly popular moneyspinner. Millions of people obviously enjoy the product that’s coming out of the industry because it brings in big bucks, but very few people seem to want to talk about it.
The stigma attached to the adult industry is, more often than not, unjustified: In the U.S. it is, in fact, a very tightly regulated facet of the entertainment industry, and adult stars just happen to enjoy getting naked and have sex for a living. As Bettie Page once said, getting naked sure beats working at a monotonous job punching a typewriter all day. Despite this, we often forget that adult entertainers are just people behind all that makeup and glitter.
Given the taboo surrounding the industry and the players therein, when mysterious circumstances surround an adult entertainer’s death you’ll find very little media coverage of the issue. People seem to jump to the obvious causes of death – suicide, drug overdoses, or domestic assaults. Yet, the industry is as volatile and backstabbing as any in the showbiz world, and some adult entertainers’ deaths have seemed far from straight forward.
6. Stephen Clancy Hill “Steve Driver” – 2010
There isn’t much mystery as to how Stephen Hill died because his death was caught on video. But the circumstances leading up to his death are bizarre: Prior to his own life ending, he stabbed a fellow adult entertainment actor to death with a Samurai sword.
Hill was a struggling adult entertainment star, who went by the stage name Steve Driver. He went on a rampage after being told he was being let go from the warehouse facility where he worked and sometimes acted in films. He stabbed three people – wounding two and killing one – and he fled the scene of the crime. He was later found standing atop a cliff in the San Fernando Valley. The LAPD SWAT team surrounded him, and shot him with non-lethal munition. Hill was still holding the sword he’d used earlier and threatened to kill himself. The police hit him twice with rubber bullets before Hill leaned forward and eventually jumped – or fell – from the cliff, the fall wounding him fatally.
Hill had a previous criminal record, and wasn’t new to assaulting others. In fact, back in his college days, he’d once threatened a teaching assistant over a grade.
5. Natel King “Taylor Summers” – 2004
Natel King was an explicit model who performed under the name Taylor Summers. She was a little nervous meeting a photographer for a bondage shoot, and told a friend she was worried about not getting paid and even feared for her safety since the photographer seemed a little strange.
That photographer was Anthony Frederick, and he was likely the last person to see the 23-year old model alive. King was missing for three weeks before authorities found her body near the Schuykill River in Pennsylvania. She was still wearing her bondage gear at the time, and she had suffered multiple stab wounds to her chest, neck and hands. She was also found with a red ball that was attached to a leather strap stuffed down her throat.
When police searched Frederick’s home, they found shackles, blood-stained equipment, and a poem that read: “Cut with a knife/Blood does flow/You may bleed out/Death coming on slow.” Both Frederick and his photography assistant were charged in the case. While Frederick killed King, the assistant was charged for helping to clean up the murder scene after the fact. Frederick killed King because he didn’t have enough money to pay her for the nude photo session he’d just shot, and he said she came at him with a knife because of that. He also blamed the drug Ritalin for influencing his personality.
4. Marland Anderson “Sledge Hammer” – 2012
The Los Angeles police have been in the news before for overstepping the mark and taking lives, and in the case of Marland Anderson, an adult entertainment star known as “Sledge Hammer”, it appears got out of control as they so often do in L.A.
According to his girlfriend, Alexa Cruz, Anderson was being transported to the hospital after threatening to commit suicide. He was holding a knife, and as she tried to take it away, she cut her finger. She insisted there had never been any domestic assault and he wasn’t intending to hurt her. She made it clear that he needed to be taken to a hospital for his mental health, not put in jail. The ambulance took Anderson away, and that’s when things got strange. Apparently he broke a gurney during a panic attack, and the ambulance called police for backup.
The LAPD responded by tasing him during an altercation. Cruz had no idea the altercation had even happened until she visited Anderson in the hospital the next day. He was covered in bruises and scratches and attached to a breathing tube. While he was being tased, he’d gone into cardiac arrest and his heart stopped beating for several minutes. Medical professionals started his heart beating again and put him on a breathing tube, but the lack of oxygen caused his brain to swell which ultimately led to Anderson’s death.
3. Felicia Tang – 2009
In a case dubbed by many as “The Preacher and the P*rn Star,” Felicia Tang’s death is still being debated by most people familiar with it. Some believe she died of an overdose of GHB, while others believe her boyfriend, Brian Randone, killed her.
Tang made appearances in adult videos and was on Playboy TV, and had a website where she showcased her nude photos. All of this was unknown to Randone when they met. Randone was an eccentric preacher type, showcasing his faith in God through his body movement while preaching. When Tang was found dead in Randone’s home, covered in more than 300 bruises and lacerations, he was the most obvious suspect.
Initially, it was determined that Tang died from suffocation after a fight that left the bedroom covered in blood and clumps of her hair. But Randone insisted that her death was caused because of her thrashing around while high on the drug GHB. Doctors and experts testified for both sides, leaving the jury with convincing arguments for either murder or drug overdose. In the end, Randone was found not guilty of murder and torture, but when CBS’ 48 Hours spoke to several of the jurors, they were divided on their thoughts. Some agree Randone had something to do with her death, but the prosecution failed to present an argument against a key piece of evidence given by the defense about Tang’s cardiovascular activity.
As far as what really happened that night, it seems we’ll probably never really know.
2. Maryam Haley “Haley Paige” and Inkyo Hwang “Chico W**ker Wang” – 2007
Maryam Haley, known as Haley Page in the adult entertainment world, got into adult films when she was 19. Previously, she’d been working at Blockbuster, but needed something that paid a little more to make ends meet. She’d also worked as a Green Party aide, and hoped to become a psychologist or sex therapist when she finished school. Sadly, her dreams were cut short. Paige was married to adult film director Inkyo Hwang – more commonly known as Chico “W**ker” Wang. And some believe it was her own husband who killed her.
One day in 2007, Hwang brought his wife to the hospital in King City, California – she wasn’t breathing and had no pulse. She died in the emergency room later that day, just 25 years old. Her death was instantly considered suspicious, and it was alleged that Hwang may have pistol whipped Paige prior to her death. During the drug screening, they found trace amounts of methadone in her system, but it’s hard to say whether or not that could have killed her. No charges were initially filed for Hwang and he was released a few days later.
Just over a month later, Hwang was found dead in a hotel room in Morgan Hill, California. He’d overdosed on methadone. There was a notebook where he’d written about how hard it was to live without his wife. While his death was ruled as a suicide, there are rumors that Hwang had gotten on the bad side of Mexican drug cartels and may have been murdered via forced overdose – but these rumors have never been proven.
1. Angela Devi – 2006
It doesn’t get much more mysterious than this. Angela Devi was a successful nude model who ran her own website. One day, a note appeared on the website from her photographer announcing that Angela had died. The post gave very little information about the death, but said that if someone pretended to be Angela or one of Angela’s agents, that it most likely was a hoax. The message stated that the website would be shut down shortly – and within a few days, it was.
But there were several accounts of people posing as Angela on online message boards she was known to frequent, making things a little weirder. And there really is very little known about her death, leaving some to speculate that she was never real to begin with. Or that perhaps she faked her own death to leave the industry.
Some time after her death, it was revealed that the 30-year old beauty was found dead inside her home. She died from asphyxiation caused by having a piece of cloth tied around her neck. Investigators had also found a chair nearby that had been toppled over nearby along with empty Xanax packages, painting a very sad, very depressing scene.