Every generation of pop-culture nerds has been lucky enough to witness the disturbingly fascinating phenomena of celebrities killing or being accused of killing someone. Not to be without the riddle of complication, speculation, shifty eyes, or mouth-gaping, every celeb murder story is entertaining in its own right.
Most recently, Sons of Anarchy star Johnny Lewis joined the ranks in celebrity murder mysteries. This case is sad and shocking and weird all at the same time. Lewis was found dead this week along with his elderly landlady, her cat, and two on-lookers who were whacked with a two-by-four. The very tragic part of this whole story is that no one who was close to the actor was surprised in the slightest. Apparently he’s been in a downward spiral for quite sometime, landing himself on the wrong side of the law in recent years, but at the same time too destructive for anyone to successfully step in to help without being dragged right along with him. It will be interesting to see how this story develops since it is in the beginning stages of investigation. Sad for the cat. Sad for the landlady. Sad for Johnny.
In no particular order, let’s break down some of the other noteworthy and/or quirky celebrity murder cases over the past century.
1. Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle
You may be raising a brow and “Who The Fuck?!”-ing at this one for a) being the one straight out the gate or b) being included at all. Hang tight. Stay with me, here. This one is sort of the most horrifying and weird murder accusations I’ve read to date. A silent film actor with a penchant for the ladies was accused of raping actress Virginia Rappe with—wait for it—a Coca-Cola bottle, rupturing her bladder and resulting in her death one week later. Go ahead and let ALL OF THAT sink in for a minute. Seriously, I urge you to read that last sentence a few times over and not shake your head in disbelief. While most of those salacious circumstances were tabloid rumors and Arbuckle was eventually found innocent in the case, the fiasco completely ruined his film career. I think a sad trombone could not be more fitting on this one.
2. OJ Simpson
This one was really good and juicy and just keeps getting better. If, for someone odd reason, you lived under a rock as a deaf mute for the latter half of the nineties and are unfamiliar with the case, I’m judging you. But despite that judgement, I’ll bring you up to speed. Ex-wife Nicole Brown and her bedfellow, Ron Goldman, were found stabbed to death with OJ as the prime suspect. Simpson had a history of spousal abuse, the court had DNA evidence, there was the bizarre freeway chase, and later a hypothetical tell-all book of how he would have done it if he had done it, which was totally a weird thing for a non-murderer to do but, hey, I’m not the ruled-innocent police, so write as many choose-your-own-adventure books as you want my friend.
3. Phil Spector
Phil, Phil, Phil Phil Phil Phil. You badass mamba-jamba. The former music biz nut in me followed this one really closely because this man is a musical production genius in my eye. That being said, I also know that being a genius in that industry comes with its own special brand of cuckoo. When Lana Clarkson was found dead with a gunshot wound in Spector’s mansion, he cried suicide as the cause. While that is typically a really great defense, it doesn’t hold much water if you are notorious for waving guns at people’s heads. Like, a lot. After a hung jury in the initial trial, the second trial for the case resulted in conviction and a sentence of 19 years to life.
4. Robert Blake
This is one of those really great, storybook love stories where someone steals Marlon Brando‘s son’s ex-girlfriend, who is a serial gold digger, and then ends up not knowing who the hell shot her after dinner. I mean, the guy was just going back to the table at the lovely restaurant where he felt it was necessary to bring his gun to accidentally leave on the table as an airtight alibi, only to return to the car where poor Bonnie Lee Bakley was found, ironically shot to death. The criminal case’s jury took the bait, but the jury in a civil case afterward found Blake at fault and made him pony up over $30 million to her kids.