Every day seems to bring another celebrity mystery to solve, whether it’s the truth behind the Fast 8 feud or something far more sinister. Celebrities’ lives are so often sensationalized into attention-grabbing headlines that it can be easy to forget that these actors, musicians, and media figures are real-life people with hopes, dreams, and — sometimes — tragic ends surrounded by mysterious circumstances.
Over the years, many celebrity deaths have been shrouded in mystery, but we’re taking a look at some of the most notorious ones. While some of the below may touch on conspiracy theories, we’re mostly focusing on the lack of concrete facts surrounding the uncertain fates of some of the most famous names of the 20th century and beyond. Without further delay, let’s start revisiting these untimely celebrity deaths.
1. Tupac Shakur
One of the most notorious (that’s a pun, folks) names on this list, the legendary rapper was tragically murdered in the fall of 1996. Though many theories have speculated on who fired those fateful bullets, no one was ever charged with Shakur’s murder, which remains an open case.
2. Anna Nicole Smith
This model, actress, and 1993 Playboy Playmate of the Year presumably took her own life in a depressive downward spiral following her son’s death, but it remains unclear if it was a conscious decision to commit suicide or if a medical professional was directly responsible for her death.
3. David Carradine
Just a few years after making a big splash in Quentin Tarantino’s two-part Kill Bill, Carradine was found dead in his hotel room at the age of 72, a fate that was tied to autoerotic asphyxiation. However, speculation has centered on whether this was in fact an accidental death or if foul play was involved.
4. Marilyn Monroe
Ah, conspiracy theorists love to wonder if Marilyn Monroe’s 1962 death was indeed the suicide it seemed. Given her dalliances with members of the Kennedy family, it’s easy to see why some might speculate that a darker reason was behind the actress and model’s passing.
5. George Reeves
Best known for his titular role on TV’s Adventures of Superman, Reeves — not to be confused with Christopher Reeve, who played the same role on film decades later — presumably took his own life, but the details of his death have been pondered for years. A 2006 film titled Hollywoodland even explored the question of whether or not the actor’s death was truly a suicide.
6. Princess Diana
One of the biggest news stories of the late 1990s was the tragic car crash that claimed Princess Diana’s life. Some have thought that a conspiracy theory was behind the “accident” — which also involved a crew of paparazzi who were tailing Diana and her boyfriend Dodi Fayed when the crash occurred.
7. The Notorious B.I.G.
Just as his West Coast counterpart Tupac Shakur met death at an early age, Christopher Wallace aka The Notorious B.I.G. was gunned down less than a year after the shooting that killed Shakur. The two murders have been linked in various theories, but to date, neither has been definitively solved.
8. Bob Crane
This star of TV’s Hogan’s Heroes was found bludgeoned to death with an unidentified weapon, but it took nearly 15 years before anyone was charged. Still, that suspect — a friend of Crane’s — was acquitted and an official solution to the murder has never been reached.
9. Natalie Wood
This lovely star of the silver screen drowned during a boat trip with husband and fellow actor, Robert Wagner and others. Yet, the circumstances behind her death remain unclear, and some believe Wagner himself was involved in some way. The truth may never be revealed at this point, however.
10. Bruce Lee
A legendary martial artist and actor, Lee died at age 32 reportedly due to the combination of a brain cerebral edema and painkillers used to treat the condition. Still, rumors about the exact cause behind his death have persisted for years, leading some to believe that a less prosaic culprit was behind it.
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