Gruesome Hollywood murders that rocked the world – from mutilation to shootings

Get a daily dose of showbiz gossip straight to your inbox with the Daily Star’s FREE newsletter

It's one of the most puzzling murder mysteries in history – the case of the Black Dahlia.

On January 15, 1947, the naked and dismembered body of wannabe actress Elizabeth Short was found on waste ground in Los Angeles.

The 22-year-old’s gruesome death shocked America but, 75 years on, it remains unsolved.

Short's murder and the details surrounding it have had a lasting cultural intrigue, generating various theories and public speculation.

Her life and death have been the basis of numerous books and films, and her murder is frequently cited as one of the most famous unsolved murders in American history, as well as one of the oldest unsolved cases in Los Angeles County.

But it’s not the only real-life Hollywood horror.

Daily Star reveals Tinseltown’s most notorious killings.

The Black Dahlia

The victim’s body had been severed at the waist, horribly mutilated, drained of blood and a joker smile carved into her face.

After police released a photo of glamorous raven-haired Elizabeth Short, who had moved to California hoping to become a movie star, she was nicknamed The Black Dahlia in reference to a recent film noir flick.

Police thought someone with medical training was involved and items related to Short were even sent to a newspaper by someone claiming to be the killer.

But, amid claims of corruption, LA police never tracked down the culprit.

Melvin Bailey was among those who confessed to the murder but had to be released. Suspects included ex-mortuary worker Leslie Dillon, while ex-LA police detective Steve Hodel believes his doctor father George was the murderer.

Poltergiest horror

Cult horror movie The Poltergeist was dubbed “cursed” after a series of tragedies befell its stars.

Most shocking was the death of actress Dominique Dunne, who played Dana Freeling in Steven Spielberg’s frightfest.

On October 30, 1982, just weeks after the film’s release, the 22-year-old was strangled on the driveway of her West Hollywood home by obsessive ex-boyfriend, chef John Thomas Sweeney.

She fell into a coma and died a few days later. Despite originally being charged with murder, Sweeney was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and served just three-and-a-half years in prison.

Manson murders

Stunning actress Sharon Tate was brutally murdered while pregnant along with four others in her Beverly Hills home at 10050 Cielo Drive on the night of August 8-9 1969.

The 26-year-old wife of movie director Roman Polanski was stabbed 16 times and her blood used to scrawl “Pig” on the front door.

It later emerged that followers of sex-crazed cult leader Charles Manson had been responsible for the carnage and he, along with the actual killers, was sentenced to life in 1971.

Some say Manson wanted to start a race war, but his twisted motivation has never been fully explained. He died in jail, in 2017, aged 83.

Trial of the century

On June 12, 1994, Nicole Brown Simpson, the 35-year-old ex-wife of NFL star OJ Simpson, and her 25-year-old friend Ron Goldman, were found stabbed to death outside her LA home.

Naked Gun actor Simpson, 47, was soon a suspect and he was arrested after a bizarre low-speed freeway pursuit by police on live TV.

After what was dubbed the “trial of the century” in 1995, OJ was sensationally acquitted when a glove found at the murder scene didn’t fit him.

But “The Juice” was later found liable for the pair’s deaths in a civil suit. Now 74, he also served nine years in prison after being convicted in a 2007 robbery and kidnapping case.

Spector specture

WILD-haired US record producer Phil Spector worked with top bands such as The Beatles.

On February 3, 2003, he met actress Lana Clarkson, the star of cult fantasy flick Barbarian Queen, when she was working as a Hollywood hostess.

They went to his LA mansion but he later stumbled out of the house with a gun telling his chauffeur: “I think I’ve killed someone.”

Clarkson’s dead body was found inside with a single gunshot to the mouth.

Spector maintained it was an “accidental suicide” saying Clarkson had “kissed the gun.”

But after two trials he was convicted of second-degree murder in 2009 and sentenced to 19 years in prison. Spector died in January 2021, aged 81, from Covid-19 complications.

Stalking shocker

Star of US sitcom My Sister Sam, ex-model Rebecca Schaeffer had just auditioned for a role in The Godfather III.

But on July 18, 1989, the 21-year-old answered a knock on the door of her LA home to a man who pulled out a gun and shot her in the heart. She died crying: “Why, why?”

The killer was Robert John Bardo, 19, who had stalked Rebecca for three years and paid a private investigator to find her address.

Arrested the next day he was later convicted of murder and sentenced to life without parole. Now 52, Bardo is still behind bars.

Shot in his bed

Comedy actor Phil Hartman was a star of TV’s iconic Saturday Night Live and voiced characters on The Simpsons.

In 1987 he married his third wife, former model and aspiring actress Brynn Omdahl and they had two children. But while Phil’s career soared, she became addicted to drugs and booze.

On the night of May 27, 1998, following a row, the 40-year-old shot him in the head as he lay sleeping in bed at their California home. He died instantly.

Omdahl confessed to murdering Phil, 49, to friends but later that morning, after police arrived, she shot herself dead too.

For more of the latest showbiz and TV news from the Daily Star, make sure you sign up to one of our newsletters here.

  • Hollywood

Source: Read Full Article