There are countless tragedies that happen to normal everyday people, on literally an everyday basis. Some of these become headlines and make the general public nod their head in sympathy because of the sheer shock value of the crime scene photos or their tragic stories. Some touch much closer to home when mishaps occur within our friend, family or even acquaintance circles – and the crime scene photos of these become almost unbearable.
But when something this big, this tragic or this violent happens to celebrities, it’s a whole new ballgame. While we don’t “know” these celebrities, the open books that their lives are often lead to the illusion of familiarity. Crime scene photos involving celebrities are perhaps the most viewed by the general public for when the police lines are crossed in the homes or lives of these well-known and well-loved people, the public outpouring of interest, grief, and hell, even voyeurism, is immense. Frankly, anything that celebs do attracts a fair share of interest and attention – especially in this social media-crazy time of ours. And there’s an innate need, rather inexplicable in fact, for us to know and be privy to what really happened in the last moments of these celebs – some of whom became murderers, some who were murdered or still others who became legends after their death.
Untimely deaths are always tragic, because it brings home our mortality in a very disturbing way. And these shocking crime scene photos involving celebrities are likely to stay with us for a long time to come and imprint upon our deepest, darkest fears…
15 Marvin Gaye: A Music Legend Killed By His Father
Marvin Gaye was a much loved if drug-haunted musician and helped shape the Motown music scene in the 60s to the extent that he was often called The Prince of Motown or the Prince of Soul. As soulful as his songs were, his life remained in turmoil. Despite the fame and the fortune, the money, and the accolades, Marvin’s family life was not peaceful at all. He and his father had a difficult relationship, primarily because of their hotheadedness and the fact that Marvin Gaye Sr. wasn’t great husband material to the singer’s mother. Even then, Marvin had bought a big house where the family resided but the son and father fought so much that Marvin’s sisters moved out, in search of peace.
Things finally came to head one day when Marvin physically assaulted his father over his father’s bad behavior with Marvin’s mother. In a rage and apparently “in fear for his life,” Marvin Sr. took the gun his son had gifted to him and shot the musician twice – ending the music forever. Marvin Gaye died a day short of his 44th birthday in 1984. The crime scene photos show his body being carried away and his father in court for the trial.
14 Sharon Tate: Brutally Murdered While She Was Eight Months Pregnant
Sharon Tate’s murder, along with the murder of four other people she was with in the home she shared with her husband Roman Polanski, shook the world with its brutality. Sharon was eight and half months pregnant with her and Polanski’s first child, and basically on top of the world in her personal and professional life.
On August 9, 1969, members of the Manson family stormed into the Polanski residence and murdered everybody they could find, reserving special brutality for the pregnant Sharon. Her murderers later stated that Sharon had begged for her child’s life, pleading with them to spare her just so she could give birth to her son and then they could come back and kill her – but to the Manson crazies, it fell on deaf ears. Sharon was murdered in front of a sofa and the room resembled a war zone with blood splatters and bits of flesh everywhere as is evident in the crime scene photos. Sharon had been stabbed a total of 16 times and out of these, five stab wounds were fatal in themselves. The murders were carried out at the command of Charles Manson, his “instructor” Tex Watson, and three women who had no regard for Sharon's advanced state of pregnancy.
13 James Dean: A Love For Speed & A Brutal Crash
James Dean was the coolest man around, with looks that made women (and men) weak in the knees. His role as Jim Stark in Rebel Without a Cause turned him into an instant star but it was his premature and tragic death in a car crash that cemented him as the legend he is today.
His love for racing was overshadowing his love for acting to the extent that Warner Bros banned him from racing while his last movie, Giant, was still in production. As soon as Giant was wrapped up, Dean was itching to get some speed. On September 30, 1955, Dean was scheduled to compete at a racing event in Salinas, California and so on the request of Rolf Wütherich, the German mechanic from the Porsche factory who maintained Dean's Porsche 550 Spyder "Little Bastard,” Dean decided to drive the car there to break it in. Following them in another car were stunt coordinator Bill Hickman and photographer Sanford Roth. They drive down Route 466 when suddenly at 5:15 in the evening, Dean slammed into the driver’s side of a Ford Tudor that was passing through an intersection. Rolf was thrown from the car but James Dean sustained many injuries and snapped his neck, dying almost instantaneously. The crime scene photos of the wreckage barely resemble a car, as James is carried away on a stretcher to be pronounced dead later.
12 Marilyn Monroe: Of Depression & Unrequited Love
Marilyn Monroe has been a symbol of beauty and sex since the 60s and her early and tragic death, shrouded in mystery and rumors, made her a sex symbol lasting generations. Born to an impoverished background and having been abandoned by her mother, sexually assaulted as a child, and bounced from one foster home to another, Marilyn’s search for love only got her fame and leering attention. As beautiful as she was on the outside, Marilyn’s heart remained dark, brooding, and tragically unhappy. Plagued with unhappy marriages that ended too fast, short-term love affairs, and a business that kept thinking she was indeed a dumb blonde, along with health problems and a drug addiction, Marilyn did not have an easy time. Despite her fame and fortune, happiness seemed to elude her, and being linked to the then-president, JFK, did not help her mental balance either.
Finally, at 36 years old, Marilyn seemingly called it a day, overdosing on barbiturates. She died on August 5, 1962, after having consumed far more than the prescribed dosage of these drugs, but due to an absence of a suicide note, her death was dubbed a probable suicide. The crime scene photos show a tragic story of a bright star extinguished too soon.
11 John F Kennedy: The Assassinated President
When Marilyn died, rumors floated left, right and center about her being murdered to cover up the supposed affair between her and the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy. Police have long since cleared any evidence of foul play in her death but believers will believe what they want to. And ironically, JFK was also killed, or assassinated, a little after Marilyn’s death, on November 22, 1963, aged 46.
A famous or rather infamous incident in American history, JFK was traveling in the presidential motorcade, waving to all his loving Americans, along with his wife Jacqueline Kennedy, when he was shot. One bullet entered his back and exited via his throat which is when he keeled over to Jackie and she is shown cradling him. The second one basically blew out his brains and then there is the famous shot of Jackie scrambling over the back of the car, later explained as her trying to get back a part of JFK's skull. Jackie O’s memorable pink suit remained in the memory of Americans as she wore the same bloodstained suit for the next 24 hours be it to give a statement or for the swearing in of the President saying, “I want them to see what they have done to John…”
10 John Lennon: Killed By A Psycho Who Wanted To Be Famous
The guy who basically started The Beatles, ended them, and then carried on his very successful solo career was shot by a crazed and angered fan who loved Lennon, hated him, and then finally decided to kill him because he too wanted to be famous.
On December 8, 1980, 40-year-old Lennon and his then wife Yoko Ono were returning to their Manhattan apartment after a recording session at 10:50 PM. Just as they reached the archway of The Dakota, Lennon was shot in the back four times by Mark David Chapman. As Lennon lay bleeding and Ono screamed for help, Mark stayed there, reading Salinger's novel The Catcher in the Rye – which he later claimed to be his statement. The photo shows Lennon signing a copy of Double Fantasy for Chapman, and is the last picture of Lennon, taken just hours before his death and ironically with his to-be murderer. Lennon was pronounced DOA at the nearby Roosevelt Hospital at 11:00 PM.
9 Whitney Houston: A Diseased Heart & Too Much Cocaine
Whitney sure had a meteoric rise to fame as a singer many still look up to, but her drug addiction soon led to a meteoric fall as well. In 2009, the Guinness World Records cited her as the most-awarded female, with almost 200 million records sold worldwide. That’s quite a legacy to leave, except that she left it too soon. On February 9, 2012, Houston seemed to be in high spirits as she visited her protégées, Brandy and Monica, together with mentor Clive Davis. She also made her last public performance on this day when she sang “Jesus Loves Me” with Kelly Price. Two days later, on February 11, Houston was found unconscious in her room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, submerged in the bathtub. She remained unresponsive to CPR and was pronounced dead at 3:35 pm. Formally, Whitney died due to the “effects of atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use.” Toxicology revealed additional drugs in her system as well. The crime scene photos of the bathroom sink show paraphernalia of drugs and the ill-fated bathtub as well.
It was later said that Whitney had taken so many drugs that even if she were drowning, her dazed brain could not have realized it until it was too late. Sadly, her daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown died pretty much the same way when she was found comatose in the bathtub, drugged. She died after being in a coma for six months. A painful legacy indeed.
8 Tupac Shakur: When Gangsta Rap Turns Deadly
Tupac Shakur has been named one of America’s most influential rappers of all time, and while his music was unmistakably good, his untimely death at 25 turned him into a legend forever. While driving from an event to a nightclub, a car pulled alongside Tupac’s car and multiple shots rang out. Tupac was shot four times, twice in the chest, once in the arm, and once in the leg. When he was rushed to the hospital, his first and last words to the cops were “f*ck you.” Since he kept trying to get out of bed, doctors had to put him in a medically-induced coma but six days after he was shot, Tupac died on September 13, 1996, due to heavy internal bleeding. His death remains unsolved, though many other names in music like The Notorious B.I.G. were thought to have a hand in it.
An article later stated, “Since his death, Tupac has become an international martyr, a symbol on the level of Bob Marley or Che Guevara, whose life has inspired Tupacistas on the streets of Brazil, memorial murals in the Bronx and Spain, and bandanna-wearing youth gangs in South Africa." The pictures show the bullet-ridden car and Tupac on life support just before his death.
7 Michael Jackson: When Doctors Give You Eternal Sleep
When news of Michael Jackson’s death broke, the Internet broke. The outpouring of grief was phenomenal and in this very strange and very dark world that we live in, Michael’s earnings have gone up exponentially since his death.
When he had trouble sleeping, Michael reportedly asked his personal physician Conrad Murray for “more milk” aka more drugs to help him sleep. The good doctor complied to the extent that Michael stopped breathing. Murray tried to resuscitate Michael as did the emergency technicians but finally, it was clear that Michael had reached eternal sleep. On June 25, 2009, Michael Jackson died from a drug-induced cardiac arrest just two months shy of his 51st birthday. The cause of death was acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication and Murray was later convicted of involuntary manslaughter. At his memorial held on July 7, the Reverend Al Sharpton told Jackson's children: "Wasn't nothing strange about your daddy. It was strange what your daddy had to deal with. But he dealt with it anyway." RIP Michael.
6 Gianni Versace: Shot By A Serial Killer
Versace was shot dead on the steps of his Miami Beach mansion when he returned from a morning walk to the coffee shop to get his newspapers. While this was usually the job of his assistant, the beautiful morning made Versace want to walk and so he set out in a great mood. His happiness, and unfortunately his life too, came to a gory, bloody end at the steps of his own home when he returned. A serial killer named Andrew Cunanan shot the designer twice and then calmly walked off, leaving Versace bleeding to death on those pristine white steps, now forever tainted with red.
Gianni Versace’s distraught partner, Antonio D’Amico, screamed for help as Versace lay bleeding while another witness tried to chase the shooter down but was scared off with a gun. No one knows why Andrew Cunanan shot Versace and eight days later, he killed himself with the same gun. The "who did it?" was solved, but no one will ever know the reason why.
5 Princess Diana: A Car Crash Or A Cover Up?
The world mourned the death of this princess who had remained a steadfast wife to Charles for as long as she could stand it, a dutiful member of the royal monarchy, and a dedicated mother to two beautiful sons.
On August 31, 1997, Princess Diana, by then divorced from Charles, was traveling in a Mercedes Benz S280 with her boyfriend Dodi Fayed and their bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones after dining at the Ritz in Paris. The car was being driven by Henri Paul and apparently hounded by the paparazzi when it lost control in the Alma underpass and crashed into a pillar. The accident was so severe that both Fayed and Paul were dead on the scene. Princess Diana was in the car and was reported to murmur “Oh my God” over and over again, bleeding from the nose and ears. She was taken to the hospital where she went into cardiac arrest and it was then discovered that she had extensive internal injuries – her heart had been torn from the left side of the chest and displaced to the right side, causing massive internal bleeding. She died despite best efforts to save her – and the world mourned this candle in the wind, deluging Buckingham with tributes and gifts many feet deep.
4 Nicole Brown Simpson: Did He Or Didn’t He?
When Nicole Brown, a waitress at a restaurant, began to get attention from superstar footballer OJ Simpson, life must have seemed oh-so-rosy and bright. Little did she know that seventeen years later, this so-called love of her life would lead to her demise! On June 13, 1994, 35-year-old Brown was discovered dead outside her home – lying bloody in the driveway. Nearby was the body of a friend, Ron Goldman. She had been violently stabbed multiple times and also had defensive wounds on her hands. One wound on her neck was so deep, her larynx was visible and one of the neck’s vertebras was also clearly incised. The brutality of the attack speaks volumes.
Her mercurial husband OJ was arrested and went to trial but the prosecution made so many mistakes that he was actually acquitted in what came to be known as the trial of the century. Later he was found liable for the deaths in a civil suit brought by the two victims' families and had to pay damages. He was subsequently jailed for an unrelated armed robbery at a Las Vegas hotel. All did not end well for him either.
3 Kurt Cobain: A Sorry, A Love You & A Goodbye
Chronic bronchitis, undiagnosed but severe stomach pain, and an addiction to nearly every drug available to man at the time, Kurt Cobain seemingly was on a fast train to nowhere, making beautiful music as a fringe benefit. In love with music, but so not in love with himself, there was apparently nothing that could have saved Kurt. All his looks, his fame, and his fortune literally turned to dust when Kurt simply decided to up and leave from rehab, away from his family, and finally away from life as well.
Courtney Love called for an intervention when Kurt’s heroin habit got really bad and it seemed to work at first and he agreed to enter detox. One day, he strolled outside the center to smoke a cigarette and climbed over a six-foot fence to disappear into the night. He, or rather his body, was found on April 8, 1994 – three days after he had blown off his face with a shotgun. A rambling suicide note lay nearby. In the crime scene photos, Kurt’s legs can be seen along with documents found at the scene.
2 Heath Ledger: When A Character Overshadows It All
In an interview, Heath Ledger mentioned that his role in The Dark Knight had taken a toll on his sleeping habits and he was just getting two hours of sleep a night – he claimed his body would be exhausted but his mind would keep racing. No one realized how profound that problem would become, made worse by his respiratory problems. Like with many creative talents, Heath tried to drown his problems with prescription drugs. In January 2008, Heath was found unconscious in bed by his housekeeper and his masseuse who had come in early for an appointment. When they could not revive him, the masseuse, Diana Wolozin called Mary-Kate Olsen, Ledger’s friend, for help.
Mary-Kate called a private security firm to go check on Heath while Wolozin then called 9-1-1 and tried to resuscitate Ledger at the operator’s instruction. EMTs arrived at 3:33 but Heath had died by then and was officially pronounced so at 3:36. The autopsy revealed a cocktail of drugs in his system and his death was ruled as an accidental intoxication by drug abuse.
1 Paul Walker: Too Fast, Too Furious & Then Just Dead
Paul Walker was the handsome star of The Fast & Furious franchise, though he had been a child model and actor since the age of two. For an actor who made it big doing movies about illegal car racing with impossible stunts, Paul’s death was no less ironic. On November 30, 2013, at about 3:30 in the afternoon, Walker and Roger Rodas took a break from a charity event that Walker's charity Reach Out Worldwide had organized for victims of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda). Rodas was driving his Porsche Carrera GT which crashed into a concrete lamppost and two trees on Hercules Street near Kelly Johnson Parkway in California. The car caught fire and both Rodas and Walker remained trapped inside. Rodas died of multiple trauma before the fire could actually kill him. Tragically, an injured Walker died from the combined effects of his injuries and the fiery pyre the car turned into. Horrifyingly, the bodies were burnt beyond recognition.
No drugs or alcohol were found in any of the two man’s autopsies, and neither was the car subject to mechanical failure. The cause of the crash was ruled as the car’s speed and perhaps slightly aged tires. As Paul allegedly once said, “If one day speed kills me, don’t cry because I was smiling.” We hope so Paul…