The Six TV Stars That Turned Into Ultra-Violent Criminals
TV stars are, in many ways, just like you and me, in that, occasionally, they end up in a jail cell. So it's not that surprising when Kiefer Sutherland headbutts a guy or Martha Stewart commits a little fraud. We all do it. Some TV stars, though, go a little further than your average celebrity.
6. Ryan Jenkins
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In August 2009, VH1 producers decided that what American TV needed most was a reality show that ripped off the format of a different reality show starring a semi-celebrity made famous by starring in a reality show, so they commissioned Megan Wants a Millionaire. Megan didn't get her millionaire though, because her show was cancelled after one of the finalists murdered his wife before killing himself.
Ryan Jenkins was one of the millionaire contestants on the show who competed for Megan's love and a shot at Z-list celebrity status. After the show had completed filming, Jenkins married model and aspiring actress Jasmine Fiore in a shotgun Vegas wedding. And a few months after that, Jenkins was charged with "battery constituting domestic violence" after knocking his new wife into a swimming pool.
Clearly Jenkins was a classy guy, but police still named him the chief suspect when his wife's mutilated body turned up in a bloody suitcase in August 2009. Jenkins fled across the border to Canada where he committed suicide in a motel room.
All of which was rather unfortunate for VH1 who, along with the viewers, never got to see Megan realize that there are qualities other than money that you should look for in a prospective mate. Qualities like, "Doesn't throw me into swimming pools" and "Won't dismember me." Expect to see Megan Wants a Law-Abiding Citizen on your TV any day now.
5. O.J. Simpson
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Before achieving fame as an armed robber and murder "suspect," O.J. Simpson was actually quite a famous football player and TV star. After a successful career with the Buffalo Bills, "The Juice" began acting in TV shows and films such as Roots and The Naked Gun.
Away from the screen, O.J. made headlines after being charged with domestic assault against his wife, Nicole Brown. He pleaded "no contest" (translation: "I did it, but I'm not admitting I did it") and would have continued with his by now semi-successful acting career had Nicole not inconveniently got herself murdered a few years later.
O.J. was charged with the murder of his wife and her friend but failed to turn himself in to police, instead showing up on a California freeway fleeing the cops while threatening to commit suicide. He didn't, but he drove home at 35 mph before giving himself up.
In what was called "the trial of the century" by people who had a terrible sense of history, O.J. was acquitted of two counts of murder. The prosecution had presented what had seemed to be a strong case, but it was a case against an innocent man who definitely didn't kill his wife, and so O.J. walked free. Because he definitely didn't kill his wife.
Thirteen years later, however, he did enter a room at the Palace Station Hotel and Casino and stole (or "took back" as O.J. put it) sports memorabilia at gunpoint. He was charged with assault, kidnapping, and armed robbery and later convicted and given a 33-year prison sentence. Some people would say that this was justice finally being served, yin and yang, karma, but I don't know what those people are talking about, because O.J. Simpson definitely didn't kill his wife.
4. Gig Young
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Gig Young was an Academy Award-winning television and movie actor. Despite spending a chunk of his career relegated to supporting roles, he picked up an Oscar in 1969 which promised a long, high profile career in Hollywood. And then he shot his wife and committed suicide.
Just like Ryan Jenkins (but not O.J.), Gig would end his career by murdering his wife. And just like those two, he was suffering from problems long before the end. Gig was a chronic alcoholic, a problem that led to the breakdown of his first marriage to Elizabeth Montgomery, the star of Bewitched. It also cost him acting jobs, most notably the role that eventually went to Gene Wilder in Blazing Saddles. As the film's director, Mel Brooks later said, "We draped Gig Young's legs over and hung him upside down. And he started to talk and he started shaking. I said, 'This guy's giving me a lot. He is giving plenty. He's giving me the old alky shake. Great.' And then it got serious, because the shaking never stopped, and green stuff started spewing out of his mouth and nose, and he started screaming."
After failing to win a best supporting actor Academy Award in 1951, Gig told a fellow actor: "so many people who have been nominated for an Oscar have had bad luck afterwards." Gig's words would prove to be prophetic, and in 1978 he ended his three-week-old marriage to a German actress by shooting her and then turning the gun on himself.
Not only is this a depressing story, it's a warning to addicts (and people who have been nominated for Best Supporting Actor Oscars).