The way stars are idolized by the media and public can make it difficult to imagine that they are simply human. Even the highest paid celebrities are not above experiencing or creating tragedy. Celebrities are often put on pedestals, much like the Gods and Goddesses of Olympus. Unfortunately, unlike the rest of us who can mourn or pay our price for our wrong doings in private, celebs have the misfortune of sharing their grief or punishments with the masses. Whether they have been personally gunned down, lose family members to senseless tragedy or commit the offence themselves, celebrities sometimes end up living the cinematic type of existence that they’ve created for entertainment, on screen. Proving that no one is impervious to crime, below is a list of well known to little known celebrities and the heartbreak that has befallen them or the tragic ending they have bestowed upon others.
10. Jennifer Hudson – Family Members Murdered 2008
October 24, 2008, Jennifer Hudson’s mother, brother and nephew were murdered. Her nephew, Julian was only 7 years old. The man charged and prosecuted for their murders was Hudson’s estranged brother in law. The senseless crime was committed the day after Hudson’s sister, Julia’s, birthday. William Balfour, the murderer, was known by Hudson since grade eight and Hudson was clear in her testimony that she never liked Balfour. It is without doubt that this horrific tragedy changed Hudson and irrevocably altered her life. Balfour’s sentences are set to be served one after the other, including an additional 120 years for his other convictions.
9. Rae Carruth – Conspiracy to Commit Murder
Rae Carruth had been dating real estate agent, Cherica Adams in 1999. November 16, 1999, Adams was shot 4 times by a nightclub manager and Carruth’s friend, Van Brett Watkins. Adams was 8 months pregnant with Carruth’s child. The baby was saved via emergency cesarean section. After posting his own $3 million bail, Carruth fled. He was found in Tennessee, December 15th, hiding in the trunk of his car. The Panthers waived Carruth, citing a moral clause in his contract. He was later found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder, shooting into an occupied vehicle and using an instrument to obliterate an unborn child. He is set to be released from prison in 2018.
8. Biggie Smalls (Christopher Wallace) – Murder Unsolved
After the Soul Train Music Awards in Los Angeles, Wallace attended an after party. Around 12:45 am on March 9, 1997, while Biggie’s GMC Suburban was stopped at a red light, a black Chevy pulled up beside Biggie’s vehicle, rolled down his window and shot him 4 times. The attacker was described as: a black male, wearing a blue suit with a bow tie. Wallace was rushed to the hospital, but pronounced dead at 1:15am. His autopsy was later revealed to the public in 2012. Three of the bullets were not fatal wounds. The final and fatal bullet hit several major organs, ending in his left shoulder. Although many conspiracy theories exist surrounding his death, the murder remains unsolved.
7. Tupac Shakur – Murder Unsolved
On September 7th, 1996, it was the night of the Bruce Sheldon vs Mike Tyson fight, in Las Vages. Tupac and his entourage got into an altercation with a ‘Crips’ gang member. The incident was caught on hotel security footage. Shortly after the altercation, Shakur and his entourage left in a convoy of vehicles and Shakur was riding in a black BMW 750iL sedan. Tupac was standing out of the moon-roof talking to two women who pulled up on the left side of the vehicle. Around 11:15 pm, a late model white Cadillac sedan pulled up on the right side of the vehicle and opened fire on Shakur. He was hit in the pelvis, chest, right arm and thigh. In the hospital, Tupac repeatedly tried to get out of his bed and was put on a barbiturate induced coma. He reportedly died September 13, 1996. His murder is also surrounded by many theories and remains unsolved.
6. Robert Blake – Charged With the Murder of Bonnie Lee Blakely
The former star of Baretta, Robert Blake, was charged in the May 4, 2001 for the murder of his second wife, Bonnie Lee Blakely. After taking his wife for an Italian dinner, Blake claimed he left her in the vehicle to retrieve a gun that he had left in the restaurant. When he returned to the vehicle, Blakley had been shot twice while sitting in the passenger seat. Blake was charged in April 2002 with one count of murder conspiracy, one count of murder with special circumstances and two counts of solicitation of murder. He plead not guilty to all charges and his trial began in December of 2004. Blake was acquitted of all charges March 16 2005. Though in a civil suit, November 2005, he was found liable for Blakley’s death and was ordered to pay $30 million.
5. Johnny Lewis of SOA – Murdered Landlady Cathy Davis
Leading up to the horrific murder of his landlady, Catherine Davis, Lewis had been in and out of jail and was released two days before the crime was committed. On October 2011, Lewis had sustained head injuries from a high speed motorcycle accident. Though his father scheduled MRI tests, Lewis refused to take them. Following the accident, Lewis began acting radically. During the final year of his life, Lewis did not test positive for drugs, neither did the toxicology tests performed after his death show any signs of alcohol or any drug. On September 26, 2012, Lewis barged into his landlady, Catherine Davis’, home. He beat and strangled Davis to death and did the same to her cat, who was also dismembered.
4. Shelley Malil – Convicted of Attempted Murder
August 10, 2008, Shelley Malil, of The 40 Year Old Virgin went to his former girlfriend, Kendra Beebe’s, house and he allegedly discovered her drinking wine with another man, he was enraged and stabbed Beebe 23 times. The wounds punctured her neck, lungs, chest, back and lungs. Malil stated that he wanted to go to prison for what he did to Beebe. He also said that he couldn’t imagine the pain she endured. In December 2010, he was sentenced to life in prison but could be out in less time.
3. Phil Hartman – Murdered
Phil Hartman was married to his third wife, Brynn Omdahl in 1987. They had a fragile marriage due, in part, to Brynn’s drug use. On May 28 1998, after a night out, Brynn came home and allegedly started an argument with Hartman. Hartman went to bed and shortly after 3:00 am, Brynn entered his room, intoxicated and shot Hartman twice in the head and once in the side. Brynn reportedly admitted her crime to two friends. After 6:00 am, police arrived at the house and as they were taking the Hartmans’ two children from the home, they heard one gunshot. Brynn was found beside Hartman with one shot to the head.
2. John Lennon- Murdered
December 8, 1980, the world changed for millions of fans, as icon, John Lennon was shot dead around 10:50 pm in front of his wife, Yoko Ono. He was shot 4 times by a fan in the entrance of his residence. Earlier in the night, Lennon had signed a copy of Double Fantasy for Mark David Chapman, the assailant. Chapman was sentenced to 20 years to life, avoiding the maximum sentence because he pleaded guilty to second degree murder. Chapman has been denied parole 7 times. Yoko Ono did not hold a funeral service for Lennon, instead, she had him cremated and spread his ashes in Central Park. Later, the Stawberry Fields Memorial was created where his ashes were spread.
1. Christian Brando- Manslaughter
The son of the legendary actor Marlon Brando, Christian Brando, shot and killed his half sister’s boyfriend, Dag Drollet. The incident occurred in Marlon Brando’s home, May 16 1990. Brando had reportedly just met Drollet hours before he shot him. Brando had dinner with his sister Cheyenne, where she told Brando that Drollet had been abusive towards her, which may have been false. Additionally, Cheyenne was 8 months pregnant the time. Brando confronted Drollet later on and said that they fought over the gun which led to it accidentally going off, killing Drollet. Cheyenne was admitted to a mental institution in Tahiti by her father. Without her testimony, Brando could not be charged with first degree murder. Christian Brando was sentenced to prison in 1991 and released in 1996. He stayed out of the tabloids until 2005, when he pleaded no contest to spousal abuse and served probation. He died at 49 of a pneumonia in 2008.
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