If there's anything we've learned in this modern age of the internet, it's that there are some strange ways that celebrities have become famous. Thanks to the glorious wonders of the internet, anybody who's nobody can have his or her 15 minutes of fame just from committing acts that range from bizarre to just plain stupid. And, of course, that same person can extend his or her 15 minutes just by doing something else that the masses would consider strange or stupid. In this year alone, we've seen so-called celebs become rich and famous just for breaking out in outlandish outbursts, making wild claims, and threatening audience members to "cash [her] ousside." How about that? People really can become famous for the craziest of reasons. However, no celeb has found themselves a more shocking ticket to fame (or rather infamy) than Joyce McKinney.
For those unfamiliar with the pedigree of Joyce McKinney, she started off as a woman who gained wide acclaim for becoming a beauty pageant queen. Nothing wrong with that, but when her 15 minutes of fame across the town was up, she found herself in a situation that breathed new life into her star status. Only this time, she became world-renowned rather than a local commodity, and it wasn't her beauty that got her famous; it was a life of crime. McKinney became the talk of the world for the controversies surrounding herself and a Mormon whom she held captive as a sex slave manacled to the bed. For more details, keep reading.
15 Miss Wyoming
Every crazy story like this has a beginning, and Joyce McKinney's beginning was a humble one. Ever since she was a little girl, McKinney was entered in beauty pageants. In 1973, at the humble age of 22, she beat out a bevy of beautiful contestants to win the coveted title of Miss Wyoming World. For quite some time, McKinney was the talk of the town and became widely popular where she lived. Everybody was either talking about McKinney, wanted to be McKinney, or wanted to be with McKinney. Or, in some cases, all of the above. In due time, as with all minor fame stories, people stopped talking and moved on from McKinney's story. McKinney wouldn't be as popular until she committed her crime. It was then that everyone in the world was talking about her.
14 Her IQ
Most people who see Joyce McKinney's curvaceous looks and eccentric personality tend to mistake her for the stereotypical dumb blonde, but really, that couldn't be further from the truth. McKinney is much smarter than what people give her credit for. In her childhood, McKinney often kept to herself, living a more reserved lifestyle. She didn't even start dating until much later in life at age 17. Without a boyfriend to distract her, this gave her ample time to focus on her studies and boost her brain power. In due time, McKinney found herself in an accelerated program for gifted students with high IQs. McKinney's own IQ was 168. For added context, the average IQ is 100, and anything between 140-145 is considered genius IQ, meaning that McKinney was in a league of her own in the genius department.
13 The Manacled Mormon
Joyce McKinney's captive in question was a young Mormon named Kirk Anderson. When Joyce McKinney moved to Utah after high school to attend Brigham Young University, she met Anderson there as a fellow student in 1975. When she was 19 years old, at the suggestion of a professor who thought that someone as straight-laced as McKinney should fraternize with people just as clean cut as her, she went to his house and met his Mormon friends, Anderson being one of them. After one day together, Anderson wanted to marry her. However, after introducing McKinney to his mother and she saw how McKinney looked and dressed, Anderson vanished from McKinney's life. In McKinney's mind, she truly believes that because the Mormon elders didn't approve of their relationship, they sent Anderson away.
12 Why Kirk Anderson Left Her
There has been much speculation as to why Kirk Anderson left Joyce McKinney without an explanation, to begin with. McKinney has consistently spoken her belief that Anderson was sent away by Mormons to keep them apart, while some critics believe that Anderson just ghosted McKinney for being too clingy. Anderson himself never gave a proper explanation during his life, and he's since now been long passed away. However, the Errol Morris documentary, Tabloid, which covered the McKinney kidnapping scandal of the '70s had a panelist give a possible explanation for Anderson's disappearance that actually makes some sense. Troy Williams, a radio host and former Mormon missionary, professed that whenever a Mormon turns 19, after being indoctrinated to a call to action, he must leave immediately to fulfill his religious responsibilities without explanation. Turns out Anderson just left to go on Mormon missions.
11 His Side of the Story
Kirk Anderson exiting her life didn't stop Joyce McKinney from being dead set on spending the rest of her life with her hubby. McKinney hired herself a private investigator, and the two spent 18 months trying to track down Kirk Anderson. Eventually, all leads led to Anderson working as a traveling missionary. Armed with a trustworthy friend (named Keith May), a fake gun, and a napkin filled with chloroform, the two kidnapped Anderson and took him to a secluded cottage in Devon, England. With mink-lined cuffs, McKinney tied him spread-eagled to the bed where she sexually assaulted him several times. Three days later, after he had convinced her that he would marry her, he escaped and notified authorities of what McKinney had done to him.
10 Her Side of the Story
While on trial, McKinney professed that she didn't have to beg for the services of Kirk Anderson or any boy for that matter. In her own words, "I am a 38-24-36, so I don’t beg. I was Miss Wyoming.” The uber confident McKinney went on to allege that she never had to kidnap Mr. Anderson because Mr. Anderson left with her willingly and that they were madly in love. While she had hired a private investigator to find him, she alleged that he had left willingly and that they had spent several nights together in bed having sex. She only tied up Anderson because they chose to partake in bondage games to ease his "sexual problems." She also said that when they found a newspaper claiming that Anderson had been kidnapped, Anderson told her that he'd leave to go straighten things out with the police and Mormons. Shortly after, McKinney found herself shackled by police cuffs. To her, Anderson was so full of guilt about having consensual nonmarital sex that he told the Mormons he had been kidnapped and assaulted.
9 She Hired Bodyguards
After Joyce McKinney paid her private investigator to track down Kirk Anderson in England, she didn't go there alone. With the idea that the Mormon worship was more of a cult than a true religion, McKinney worried that she would have to fight to pull "her Kirk" out from their tight grip. Fully expecting a brawl, she brought her brotherly figure, Keith May, and hired two bodyguards to come with them -- a bodybuilder (Gil Parker) and a pilot (Jackson Shaw) -- after putting in an ad in the newspaper. However, the two eventually got cold feet and wound up leaving before even running into Kirk Anderson. It all started when Parker tried to get through customs, and after he had admitted he was a bodyguard for Joyce McKinney, they pulled him out for questioning. Then, the next day, while the four were at a hotel, Parker saw McKinney and KJ pull out wireless microphones and listening devices. Worried about what exactly would go down, Parker bailed. Shaw trailed right behind when he saw a bottle of chloroform and a fake gun.
8 The Verdict
After Joyce McKinney spent three months in the famous London women's prison, Holloway Prison, the Manacled Mormon case went to court. McKinney kept up her story that Anderson was willing, that he made up the kidnapping story to avoid excommunication from the Mormon church, and that the two had three days of "fun, food, and sex." Anderson promised that he was kidnapped and sexually assaulted by McKinney seven times for three days straight. The whole time, the judge was as perplexed as the juries, and audiences were gripped by the story. In due time, McKinney was finally released from prison on bail. Once on bail, she left the country practically immediately. She and Keith May fled after obtaining the birth certificates of two dead people and traveled out of the country disguised as two deaf mutes. Although McKinney was later sentenced in absentia to a year in prison, England never instituted an extradition proceeding.
7 The Celeb Life
Audiences were so enthralled with the Manacled Mormon case that it breathed a whole new life into Joyce McKinney. The moment the story first hit the newsstands, McKinney became a celebrity overnight with thousands of eyes on her. As soon as she was back in the streets on bail, she was bombarded by press cameras. She received thousands of letters and fan mail in her inbox. She capitalized on her newfound fame by attending Hollywood parties. One party, in particular, saw her hanging out with John Travolta, who was fresh on the scene after breaking out with Saturday Night Fever. She also danced with The Bee Gees and was kissed by Keith Moon of The Who. At a red carpet event, she managed to upstage showbiz starlet Joan Collins just by showing up.
6 Naughty Pics
With hopes of selling a book, Joyce McKinney sold her thrilling and bizarre life story to the Daily Express newspaper. However, right beforehand, an ex-boyfriend of McKinney's named Steve Moskowitz tipped off the Daily Mirror that they should dig into McKinney's past as far as what she was up to before the Manacled Mormon case. Moskowitz would later produce to the newspaper a bevy of naughty black-and-white strip pics of McKinney. They were essentially glamour shots. Apart from some skin showing in bikini shots, the pics were considered rather tame, but then Moskowitz provided a tip which the Daily Express considered to be even juicier than the previous pics that Moskowitz had submitted. Moskowitz notified the newspaper that McKinney used to be an escort.
5 Escort Life
Steve Moskowitz revealed to The Daily Express several ads that Joyce McKinney had placed in the Hollywood Free Press, ads that read "Gorgeous former Miss USA contestant desires work! Beauty, brains, and talent! - The best gal in the FREEP!" She was described as a 38-24-36 (which is exactly how she described herself on trial) "slim, sweet Southern blonde" willing to bathe, blow dry, and provide nude massages for her clients on a waterbed made out of fur. In addition to showcasing pictures which looked S&M- and BDSM-centric, there were descriptions that promised that McKinney would be willing to do such services as they were her specialty. Other specialties listed were modeling, nude wrestling, erotic phone calls, and providing dirty panties/pictures. McKinney sold her services under the name "Joey," but refused to admit that the model in question was her.
4 She Stalked Anderson Years Later
Considering that Joyce McKinney very narrowly avoided spending years in jail on a kidnapping conviction, one would think that McKinney would stay away from Kirk Anderson from then on and keep that man away from the furthest parts of her mind. Believe it or not, despite all that she went through, Joyce McKinney was still madly in love with Kirk Anderson, so much so that in 1984, seven years after the Manacled Mormon case, she ended up stalking him. Anderson's wife spotted McKinney lurking outside the office at the airport that Anderson worked at. His wife called the police on McKinney, and she was arrested on the spot. Considering that to this day, McKinney is still not married with any kids, we can only assume that she never got over Anderson leaving her life and falling out of love with her.
3 She Had Her Dogs Cloned In Korea
The life of Joyce McKinney seemingly couldn't get any stranger, but she found herself resurfacing in the media 30 years after the Manacled Mormon incident, not for kidnapping anymore Mormons or stalking them, but for having her dogs cloned. In her older years, she had a dog named Booger, which she formed a special bond with. When that dog finally died of cancer after ten years of accompanying McKinney, she contacted a Korean doctor (Jin Han Hong) who specialized in cloning, and he agreed to have her dog cloned. Before she knew it, she had five cloned versions of Booger in her lap. In the midst of this news-breaking story, she addressed the press as "Bernann McKinney," using her middle name until journalists with the International Herald Tribune figured out that this was the same woman from the infamous 1977 Mormon case.
2 She Sued Her Documentary Filmmaker
In 2016, years after her Tabloid documentary was released, Joyce McKinney decided to sue the film's director, Errol Morris, the reason being that not only did she feel that the documentary misrepresented the state of her character but she alleged that Morris and his filmmaking team actually forced themselves into McKinney's home and forced her to participate in the documentary. In addition to stealing personal items of McKinney's which pertained to the case, the filmmaking team apparently threatened the life of her dog by stating that they would kill the dog if McKinney didn't sign release papers allowing them to use her footage for the film. Not only did Morris's legal representatives deny the story could've ever possibly happened, they professed that evidence proves that not only did McKinney sign those papers willingly but did so eagerly.
1 The Memoir That May Never Be Released
Way back when she was conducting her first interviews regarding her famous case, Joyce McKinney claimed that she was working on a book, one focusing on her life story and how she had met Kirk Anderson. She revealed this in the '70s, the piece's supposed working title being A Very Special Love Story. Even when her Tabloid documentary hit theaters, the film ended with a title card reading that she was still working on that same book. In the same doc, she's seen in multiple stock-footage scenes admitting that she was working on her book. However, it's been 40 years since the Manacled Mormon case went down, and McKinney is now on the verge of being 67 years old. The more that time goes on, the more likely that it seems that this book will never see the light of day or that maybe, she'll never finish it. We'll have to wait and see if McKinney surprises us with a bestseller on the stands, but at this stage, it seems unlikely.
Sources: hollywoodreporter.com; express.co.uk; wikipedia.org