Celebrity Death Sites – A Sad Tour of 12 Who Left Us Too Soon
As morbid as it is, it’s hard not to be curious about the final days and locations of celebrities who left us far too early.
Many of these places have become tourist attractions as a result of a famous death, and a few of them are spots where fans continue to show up to pay tribute to their fallen heroes.
It may be macabre, but while you are out traveling you might be curious about locations where these stars met their untimely demise.
Here are 12 of the more famous and interesting ones:
At the height of his fame, Kurt Cobain was terminally unhappy. He first attempted suicide in Rome on March 4, 1994, and after 5 days in the hospital he returned to his home in Seattle. The heroin-addicted musician agreed to go into a detox center in Los Angeles at the end of that month, but he left after one day.
He flew back to Seattle, and on April 8 an electrician found his body in the greenhouse behind the home he shared with wife Courtney Love, who was in Los Angeles herself at the time. It’s estimated the 27-year-old star offed himself with a shotgun on April 5, 1994. The house is still there, though the greenhouse was torn down in 1996, a year before Love sold the house to new owners.
Location: 171 Lake Washington Blvd, Seattle, WA 98122
Getting there: The posh Denny-Blaine neighborhood in Seattle where the house stands is about 3 miles east of Downtown Seattle, and curious visitors still stream by the address, though there is nothing notable to see there.
The charismatic star of Stand By Me, The Mosquito Coast, My Own Private Idaho, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was a strict vegetarian and an outspoken anti-drug advocate at one point during his 23 years, but early in the morning on October 31, 1993 the actor had been using heroin and cocaine inside the Viper Room club in West Hollywood, which was famously co-owned by Johnny Depp at the time.
After passing out inside the club, he was taken out the side door, where he collapsed on the sidewalk on Sunset Boulevard, with his sister Rain and his brother Joaquin on hand as well.
Location: 8852 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90069
Getting there: The club is still there today on the famed Sunset Strip, although Johnny Depp’s partnership sold it in 2004. It’s easy to find right across the street from the famous Whisky a Go Go club.
The Texas singer who was born Selena Quintanilla in 1971 had become a superstar in the Latin music community, and was known as the Queen of Tejano, playing for a crowd of over 60,000 at the Houston Astrodome. She had recorded her first English-language album in early 1995, which was set for a summer release.
The singer discovered the president of her fan club and manager of her boutiques, Yolanda Saldivar, had been embezzling money from her, and fired her in March 1995. On March 31, Selena met Salvidar at the Days Inn motel in Corpus Christi, and after several arguments Salvidar shot Selena once in the back. The 23-year-old made it to the manager’s office before she collapsed and then later died of blood loss.
Location: Days Inn, room 158, 901 Navigation Blvd, Corpus Christi, TX 78408
Getting there: The Days Inn still stands. Corpus Christi is on the Gulf coast of Texas, about 140 miles south of San Antonio, and 200 miles southwest of Houston.
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By the time of his death on September 30, 1955, the enigmatic 24-year-old actor from Indiana had only made 3 films, only one of which had been released in theaters (Rebel Without a Cause came out one month later). Dean used his first movie paycheck to buy a sports car, and several months later he and his mechanic were on their way from Hollywood to a race in Salinas, California.
Late in the afternoon Dean was driving his Porsche 500 Spyder on US Route 466 near Cholame, when a 23-year-old student coming the other direction crossed into the opposing lane while attempting a left turn, hitting the Porsche head-on. Dean died before he got to the hospital.
Location: The intersection of what is now State Route 46 and State Route 41, about a mile northeast of Cholame.
Getting there: Cholame is in San Luis Obispo County, and about 50 miles northeast of the touristy college town of San Luis Obispo, which is more or less midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
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Anna Nicole Smith
Possessing talent that knew no bounds, Anna Nicole Smith continued to deny any drug use in spite of her habit of frequently slurring and behaving in a confused manner on her own reality TV show and everywhere else. On February 8, 2007, the 39-year-old former Playboy centerfold was staying at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida, when her bodyguard’s wife found her unconscious at 1:30pm.
She was rushed to the hospital and never regained consciousness. Her death was ruled an accidental overdose of sedatives, but many other pharmaceuticals were also found in her system. She was buried in the Bahamas almost a month later, in a plot next to her son Daniel, who died of a drug overdose in his mother’s hospital room six months earlier.
Location: Room 607, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, 1 Seminole Way, Hollywood, Florida, 33314
Getting there: The hotel is easy to find in Hollywood, which is just south of Ft. Lauderdale, and about 25 miles north of Miami.
Known as arguably the best bass guitar player in rock music, John Entwistle was also famously the quietest member of The Who. On June 27, 2002, the day before the band were to begin yet another farewell/comeback tour of the United States, the 57-year-old musician died in his hotel room at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas.
The cause of death was determined to be a heart attack brought on by an otherwise non-fatal dose of cocaine – a drug Entwistle had allegedly been using for decades. In spite of numerous requests from fans who want to stay there, the hotel has refused to publicly acknowledge which room Entwistle died in, and it’s now just rented out anonymously along with their 700 or so other rooms and suites.
Location: Hard Rock Hotel, 4455 Paradise Road, Las Vegas NV 89109
Getting there: The Hard Rock is at the corner of Paradise Road and E. Harmon Ave, about a mile east of the Las Vegas Strip.
The Seattle-born guitar genius had been in London for about 3 weeks, staying in a £17 per night suite at the Cumberland Hotel in the West End. His West German girlfriend, Monika Dannemann, picked him up from a party on September 18, 1970, and took the 27-year-old musician back to the basement flat she was staying in at the Samarkand Hotel in the Notting Hill area.
The circumstances of his death shortly thereafter remain mysterious, but the autopsy said he drowned on his own vomit, and he had allegedly been drinking heavily and had taken sleeping pills.
Location: 22 Lansdowne Crescent, Notting Hill, London
Getting there: The location where the hotel used to be is only 3 blocks west of Portobello Road, home of the famous street market, and about half a mile north of the Holland Park tube stop, and a bit farther from the Notting Hill Gate tube stop, both on the Central Line.
The son of an acclaimed folk singer named Tim Buckley, who died of a heroin overdose in 1975 at the age of 28, Jeff Buckley was on his own path to stardom with his 1994 debut album Grace. The collection contained the modern rock hit “Last Goodbye” as well as his own version of the Leonard Cohen song “Hallelujah,” his performance of which Rolling Stone Magazine ranked at #259 out of the 500 greatest songs of all time.
On May 29, 1997 the 30-year-old singer was in Memphis to record his follow-up album when he decided to go swimming fully clothed, and his friend who didn’t join him for a dip said that after a boat passed by there was no further sign of Buckley above the water. Six days later his body was spotted near the foot of Beale Street in the Mississippi River.
Location: Wolf River Harbor Marina, Memphis, TN
Getting there: The exact location is difficult to sort out since many reports incorrectly say he went swimming in the Mississippi River itself instead of the Wolf River tributary where he really drowned. A marina in that area is hard to track, though it might have been near Germantown, about 10 miles east of downtown Memphis.
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In March of 1971, shortly after finishing recording on The Doors’ album L.A. Woman, Jim Morrison and his girlfriend Pamela Courson moved to Paris for a break. He had allegedly been depressed, and hoped the move to Paris would help. On July 3, Courson found the 27-year-old singer dead in the bathtub of their 3rd floor apartment.
The official cause of death was listed as heart failure, but no autopsy was performed, and many assume the tragedy was related to a heroin overdose. Courson herself died of a heroin overdose in 1974. Morrison is famously buried at Paris’ Père Lachaise Cemetery, and his grave is one of the top tourist attractions in a city filled with them.
Location: The apartment is at 17 Rue Beautreillis, 75004 Paris in the 20th arrondissement, and the cemetery is at 16 Rue du Repos, 75020 Paris in the 4th arrondissement.
Getting there: Both places are in central Paris. The apartment is nearest the Bastille metro stop, and the Père Lachaise Cemetery is near the conveniently named Père Lachaise metro stop.
A child star known for her role in the original 1947 version of Miracle on 34th Street, Natalie Wood went on to adult fame in Rebel Without a Cause and West Side Story, picking up three Oscar nominations in the process. After a night out drinking with her husband Robert Wagner and friend Christopher Walken, the three returned to the yacht they were renting on Catalina Island, which is 22 miles off the coast of Los Angeles.
Early in the morning on November 29, 1981, the 43-year-old actress intended to climb onto the dinghy by herself to leave the boat, and apparently fell into the water, with her body found 200 yards away later in the morning.
Location: Isthmus Cove, which is about 12 miles northwest of Avalon Bay.
Getting there: Ferries from Long Beach and San Pedro all go to Avalon, and there is an expensive shuttle bus from there that goes to the isolated Two Harbors area, where you’ll find Isthmus Cove.
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The ex-Beatle and his wife Yoko Ono moved into The Dakota apartment building on Manhattan’s Upper West Side in 1973, where they led a surprisingly public life in the open. In 1980 the pair recorded a comeback album called Double Fantasy, which was released in November of that year. On December 8, Lennon signed a copy of the album for a fan named Mark David Chapman, who later killed the 40-year-old singer by shooting him 4 times in the back while in the entrance hallway of The Dakota.
Yoko Ono still lives in the apartment, which has had many prominent residents over the years. A permanent memorial called Strawberry Fields was created in Central Park, just across the street from The Dakota, and fans singing Lennon’s songs are almost always there.
Location: The Dakota is at 1 West 72nd Street on the corner of Central Park West, New York, NY 10023.
Getting there: Both The Dakota and Strawberry Fields are popular tourist attractions on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
The Italian fashion designer had been a partner with Georgio Armani before opening his first boutique in Milan in 1978. After nearly two decades of major success, Versace was living a very public life in a mansion on Ocean Drive in Miami Beach, one of the very few residences in an area packed with tourist hotels.
On the morning of July 15, 1997, the 50-year-old designer was returning home from his traditional walk when he was shot dead by Andrew Cunanan, who had killed 4 other people in the prior 3 months, and who killed himself 8 days later in a Miami houseboat as police closed in on him.
Location: 1116 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach, FL 33139
Getting there: The mansion is still there between famous Miami Beach hotels, in the heart of the tourist district. It’s now a members-only club called Casa Casuarina (annoying website warning!) and serves as a private hotel, with room rates between $1,200 and $3,995 per night.
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