Who doesn’t love a good mystery movie? From early classics such as Citizen Kane and The Spiral Staircase to more recent offerings like Now You See Me and Now You See Me 2, there is nothing like a good plot line that keeps you guessing to the very end. Of course, if there is one thing the public loves more than one of Hollywood’s major motion pictures puzzlers, it’s one of Hollywood's genuine real world mysteries.
Anybody who is familiar with Hollywood and its history knows that it is a perpetual producer of rumors, with whisperings of disappearances, murders, and extra-marital affairs sprinkled throughout its past and present. Many of these legends have been disproved by dedicated Hollywood historians and attentive movie buffs, but there are more than a few that have been neither proven nor dispelled.
In this article, we are going to be looking at some of the most baffling, captivating, and enduring mysteries ever to come out of Tinsel Town. We’re not going to try to offer any answers to these questions, that’s not our place, but we encourage you to try to get to the bottom of each entry.
Here are 15 lasting Hollywood mysteries that could be true.
15 Did O.J. Simpson Murder His Wife?
The trial of O.J. Simpson is perhaps the most famous – or infamous – celebrity trial in history.
On the 12th of June, 1994, Simpson’s wife was found stabbed to death alongside her close friend, Ron Goldman. Suspicion fell on the football player and, after a totally innocent car chase, he was put on trial for the murders. Although many felt Simpson was sure to be found guilty of the crimes, his high-priced lawyers managed to instil that shred of doubt in the jury and a verdict of “not guilty” was returned.
The perpetrator of the crime has never been brought to justice and the mystery has never been solved. However, the general consensus is that Simpson, who is currently behind bars for armed robbery and kidnapping, was the killer.
14 Was Natalie Wood Murdered?
Natalie Wood, whose wide-ranging filmography includes starring roles in Miracle on 34th Street and Sex and the Single Girl, married actor Robert Wagner on two separate occasions. After their first marriage ended, Wood began a relationship with Richard Gregson before remarrying Wagner in 1972; something many believe was a fatal mistake.
On November 28, 1981, Natalie Wood’s lifeless body was recovered from the waters off Santa Catalina Island. Wood had drowned while spending the weekend on a yacht with her husband. Wagner claimed that his wife had fallen into the water in a drunken state after he stormed off during a disagreement. However, witnesses who saw the couple that night reported that their argument was significantly more intense than Wagner had let on, which, along with numerous cuts and bruises that were discovered on Wood’s body, led many to speculate that Wagner had thrown his wife overboard in a fit of rage.
Wagner was never charged, though in 2013 the Los Angeles County coroner acknowledged the mysterious circumstances surrounding her death and changed its cause from “accidental drowning” to “drowning and other undetermined factors”.
13 Was A Time Traveler Caught On Camera?
Charlie Chaplin was the undisputed king of silent films and is arguably the most famous actor and comedian of all time. He left us with classics such as City Lights to discuss for centuries to come, but it is a film shot during the opening of Chaplin’s 1928 hit The Circus that has been getting the most attention recently.
The footage shows members of the public walking in front of a theater decorated with posters for The Circus. Among the crowd, a woman can be seen holding a now familiar-looking device to her ear. After this video was included in the extras of a Chaplin DVD, eagle-eyed viewers began to discuss the possibility that the camera operator had inadvertently captured a time traveler using a modern day cell phone. Some skeptics have suggested that the woman, who seems to be walking alone, was simply holding a hearing aid to her ear, but that doesn't explain why she appears to be talking and laughing into it.
12 Was Marilyn Monroe Murdered?
Marilyn Monroe was the first great Hollywood sex symbol, and there are more than a few critics who would argue that no actress since has managed to captivate both the public and the media in the same way she did.
Much like her life, Marilyn Monroe’s death was reported on by hundreds of thousands of media outlets around the world. The tragic manner in which she died – officially an intentional overdose of barbiturates – shun a harsh light on the inner-workings of Hollywood and revealed, for the first time, the consequences of celebrity fixation. However, the star’s fans and friends alike refused to believe that she would take her own life, and it wasn’t long before rumors of her being murdered began to be passed around. These murmurings continue today, with some going so far as to point the finger at the Kennedy family, who were said to be unhappy about the star’s relationship with JFK.
11 Did Michael Jackson Fake His Own Death?
If you believe the internet, there is a significant possibility that Michael Jackson’s 2009 death was a carefully orchestrated cover-up to help the singer escape from the 50 shows he had committed to performing in London later that year.
Rumors of Jackson’s staged demise began to circulate shortly after his death, with sightings of the King of Pop being reported all over the world, from Hollywood to London, to Canada. Some have even claimed to have encountered Jackson all the way out in Africa. Paris, Jackson’s daughter, added unintentional fuel to the fire last year when she posted an interesting picture to her Instagram account. The image in question shows Paris in the front seat of a car while a shadowy, Jacko-esque figure lurks in the back.
10 Was Chris Benoit Murdered?
The 2007 murders of Nancy Benoit and her 7-year-old son, Daniel, shocked the world and put professional wrestling into the mainstream for the first time in a decade. The murders were perpetrated by Nancy’s husband, former WWE World Heavyweight Champion Chris Benoit; or at least that’s the official story. Many fans of The Rabid Wolverine and aspiring detectives believe Mr. Benoit is not behind the murders and was himself a victim of the monster who took the lives of his wife and child.
There are a number of mysterious circumstances surrounding the murders which have led many to suspect Benoit’s innocence. For example, 14 hours before the bodies of the Benoit family were discovered, an edit was made to Chris Benoit’s Wikipedia page noting that his wife had passed away. The IP address of the contributor was traced to Stamford, Connecticut, home of WWE’s world headquarters.
9 Did Bob Dylan Sell His Soul?
Bob Dylan is the single greatest singer-songwriter the world has ever seen. That’s just one of those things that isn’t up for debate. But how does one person write “Blowin’ in the Wind”, “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)”, and “Like a Rolling Stone”? Some say it’s talent, some say it’s dedication, some say Bob Dylan sold his soul to Satan in return for fame and glory.
Dylan himself seems to believe the third explanation and has gone on record as saying his ability to write and tour non-stop is due to a deal he made with “The chief commander of this earth and the world we can’t see”. Exactly what Dylan meant by those comments is unclear, but it is possible the “chief commander” he is talking about is God as opposed to the Devil, which would explain his ironically hellish Christian albums.
8 Did Elvis Presley Fake His Own Death?
When Elvis Presley passed away on the 16th of August, 1977, the world was thrown into a state of shock. Many of his most dedicated fans refused to entertain the notion that their beloved King had left them and instead chose to believe that he had faked his death, perhaps to escape the spotlight.
While countless Elvis sightings were reported for decades after his death, they had pretty much dried up by the end of the 00s. In 2016, however, a video was uploaded to YouTube which claimed to show a now 82-year-old Elvis working as a grey-haired, overweight groundsman at his beloved Graceland. Although the groundsman shown in the video later spoke out to dispel rumors that he was the overthrown King of Rock N’ Roll, the footage served to add fresh fuel to the Elvis Isn’t Dead fire.
7 Was Frank Sinatra Going To Kill Woody Allen?
Let’s look back at that time Frank Sinatra tried to have Woody killed.
In 1992, the revered relationship of Mia Farrow and Woody Allen came to a bitter end after the former discovered the latter had been having an affair with her adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn. The revelation tore the family apart and the media frenzy which followed drove Mia to the brink of a mental breakdown. It is rumored that Frank Sinatra was so angered by the hurt Woody caused his former bride that he wanted to have him “taken care of”. According to a source who was painfully close to the situation as it unfolded, Sinatra went as far as to make a few calls to mafia notables only to be told he was asking too much and that they would not kill America’s premier comedy writer just because he cheated on his wife.
6 Is Ronan Actually Frank Sinatra’s Son?
One of the most bitter breakups Hollywood has ever seen was that of Woody Allen and Mia Farrow; although it happened in New York City. A lot has been written about the custody battle Woody and Mia embarked upon and many salacious accusations have been thrown around, but we’re not going to get into that today. What we do want to look at, however, is the rumor that Ronan Farrow, the one biological child Woody and Mia had together, is actually the son of Frank Sinatra.
Before she met Woody Allen, Mia Farrow had a much-publicized marriage to Frank Sinatra. The pair stayed together from 1966 to 1968, though Mia would later claim that their sexual relationship did not end with their marriage. In 2013, speaking about her strained - to put it lightly - relationship with Woody Allen, Mia stated that due to her continued sexual romps with Sinatra, there was a significant possibility that Ronan was the late crooner’s son. While it is possible that she said this just to hurt her former partner, even Allen was forced to admit there was a resemblance between the man he believed to be his son and Ol’ Blue Eyes.
5 Did Death Valley Scotty Have A Goldmine?
Let’s take a moment to discuss the curious case of Death Valley Scotty, who The Tramp briefly mentioned in his 1964 autobiography.
According to Chaplin, a man by the name of Walter E. Scott would frequent many of the parties and balls thrown by the most elite members of early Hollywood. Although Scott didn’t have any obvious means of income, he was always impeccably dressed and would generously buy drinks for those he was fond of. Then, after staying in California for a couple of weeks, he would disappear without a trace, going months without sending any word of his whereabouts.
Many speculated that Death Valley Scotty, as he became known, had stumbled upon a goldmine in the desert, which was the source of his riches. The general consensus today is that Scotty was simply a con-man who managed to wrangle hundreds of thousands of dollars from friends and family, but there are still those who insist on venturing into Death Valley in hopes of finding his treasure.
4 Did The “Doctor” Kill William Desmond Taylor?
Actor and director William Desmond Taylor was born in County Carlow, Ireland in 1872. He relocated to Los Angeles, California, and established himself as one of the most important figures of early cinema.
On the morning of the 2nd of February, 1922, William Desmond Taylor’s corpse was discovered at his home in the Alvarado Court Apartments. The commotion led to a crowd gathering inside Taylor’s home to see the murder scene for themselves. Included in this crowd was a man claiming to be a doctor, who examined Taylor’s body and declared his cause of death to be a stomach hemorrhage, despite the fact the director had been very clearly shot in the back. The supposed doctor promptly left the scene and was never heard from again. William Desmond Taylor’s murder remains unsolved.
3 Did William Randolph Hearst Murder Thomas H. Ince?
Because of his immense success, William Randolph Hearst was used to getting his own way and was known to fly off the handle if things didn’t work out according to his plans. Many who encountered him described him as having a childlike temper.
It is rumored that that temper came out in full force on his private yacht in November of 1924. To celebrate the 44th birthday of the film director Thomas H. Ince, Hearst arranged a party aboard the USS Oneida. Among the invited guests were Charlie Chaplin and Hearst’s lover Marion Davies. Legend has it that Hearst, infuriated by what he believed to be romantic behavior between Chaplin and Davies, fired a gun at the silent film star, though missed wildly and struck Ince instead.
Ince did indeed meet his end on the USS Oneida, but the official cause of death was listed as heart failure, with no mention of a bullet wound to be found in the coroner’s report. In the papers, Ince’s cause of death was never reported as anything sinister or suspicious, both many are quick to point out that a lot of those papers were under the control of William Randolph Hearst.
2 Was Hearst Patricia Lake’s Father?
Similar to the case of Frank Sinatra and Ronan Farrow, the aforementioned William Randolph Hearst is said to have secretly covered up his fathering of a child.
Hearst’s extra-marital affair with Marion Davies was common knowledge among the Hollywood elite, with even Hearst’s wife being aware of the full extent of their relationship. The couple lived together out of wedlock, though did not, officially, go as far as to have a child. However, there were rumors as far back as the 1920s that Davies’ niece, Patricia Lake, was actually a child she had conceived with Hearst. This was never confirmed by Davies or Hearst, and Lake was raised by Marion’s sister, Rose. On her deathbed, Lake herself announced that she was the daughter of William Randolph Hearst and Marion Davies. She could not, however, offer any evidence to support her claim.
1 Did John Carpenter Murder Bob Crane?
Hogan’s Heroes star Bob Crane was a bit of an odd fellow. In fact, he was an incredibly odd fellow. For example, he had a fondness for videotaping his sexual encounters with women and was often assisted in both seduction and production by one John Henry Carpenter. As a result of their strange relationship, Carpenter was a prime suspect when Crane was found bludgeoned to death in his apartment in 1978.
Carpenter was put on trial but was acquitted of Crane’s murder after a stellar performance from his defense team. Carpenter’s council successfully persuaded the court that Crane was far more likely to have been murdered by one of the women he had filmed rather than the man who helped him film them. Bob Crane’s killer was never brought to justice and many who worked on the case remain convinced that Carpenter was guilty.
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