Celebrity deaths always have a way of grabbing our attention. In recent years, more celebrities are dying from accidental overdoses than from murder. But there has been a time in our history where celebrities have been murdered, some extremely violently. You might say their killers committed the perfect crime because after many decades, their murders have remained unsolved.
Famous murder cases such as the deaths of Bob Crane, George Reeves, Thelma Todd, and Elizabeth Short have captivated the nation for years. There have been many theories but not enough evidence to say with all certainty that this person did it or that person did it. It all remains speculation. Even now, with all the advances in forensic sciences, such as the ability to test DNA, these cases will continue to collect dust and no killer will likely ever be named.
The Most Famous Hollywood Murders and Suicides:
Bob Crane: Famous for his role as Colonel Robert Hogan in the TV series Hogan’s Heroes, Bob Crane was found dead in his Scottsdale, Arizona apartment by his estranged wife in 1978. The actor was sleeping when someone struck him in the head, the force of the blow was so great that Crane’s wall was covered in his blood.
Did someone Bob Crane know murder him? After all, there were no signs of forced entry or a struggle.
It was suspected that famed movie producer and director John Carpenter was responsible for Crane’s death. A trial resulted in his acquittal and to this day, Bob Crane’s murder has remained unsolved.
George Reeves: Famous for his role as Superman, George Reeves death has been the focus of much speculation. Was he murdered or did he commit suicide? One thing is for certain, at the time of the actors death, he was at the peak of his career and therefore had everything to live for.
George Reeves died of a gunshot wound to the head at his Benedict Canyon home on the night of June 16, 1959. Though the coroner ruled his death a suicide, it has been speculated that someone who was at his house that night pulled the trigger. Evidence suggests the gun was held several inches away from Reeves head, which is uncommon in cases of suicide. It is highly unlikely that the Reeves case will ever be reopened given it has been more than 50 years since his death.
Thelma Todd: A famous actress in the ’20s and ’30s, Thelma Todd was found slumped over the front seat of her car in her garage over her restaurant, Thelma Todd’s Sidewalk Café, in Pacific Palisades in December 1935. The coroner ruled her death as accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.
It was rumored that local mob boss, Lucky Luciano, had her killed after she refused to allow him to use her business as a gambling den. According to Investigation Discovery, after Todd replied he could use her restaurant over her dead body, Luciano reportedly responded, “That can be arranged.” Less than one week after their meeting, Todd was dead.
Another theory has Thelma Todd going to her car after being locked out of her apartment by her business partner and lover, Roland West. Starting her car to keep warm, it was speculated that because she was drunk, she passed out and succumbed to carbon monoxide fumes. It has also been theorized that West followed the actress to the garage and closed the garage door on her, resulting in carbon monoxide poisoning. Some seven decades later, the truth surrounding the actresses death still remains unknown.
Elizabeth Short (The Black Dahlia): Elizabeth Short was a 22-year old aspiring actress. Her murder in January 1947 sent a shockwave through Los Angeles and has intrigued the entire nation for more than six decades. It’s not clear how Short earned the nickname “The Black Dahlia”, though it is possible the media dubbed her so to sensationalize the murder, as if the events surrounding her murder weren’t sensational enough.
Elizabeth’s body was found in a vacant lot near Hollywood, cut in half. Despicable things were done to her body after her death, a sure sign her murderer had a sick and twisted mind. Images of the deceased Elizabeth Short show the brutality of her murder and are available online. I must warn you they are very graphic in nature. Her murder has gone unsolved despite the numerous confessions police received.
There is just something about the way a celebrity dies that sparks an interest and often our ire. When a celebrity is murdered, the event has an uncanny way of uniting fans, many of which have one common goal: Justice for their fallen idol. Yet, the foregoing stars have never had any form of justice. Their murderers have remained on the loose for many years, having committed the perfect crime, and are likely dead themselves.
Personal Experience – Celebrity Murders Enthusiast
The Bob Crane Case – Crime Library on truTV.com
Was George Reeves, “Superman”, death a suicide or murder? – Crime Library on truTV.com
Hollywood Crimes : Thelma Todd : Investigation Discovery
The Black Dahlia Web Site: The Murder