The 8 Most Notorious Criminals in Hollywood History
Hollywood may be the land of big dreams and promises, but this place definitely sees its fair share of tragedies as well. From crimes of passion to money-motivated crimes, Hollywood criminals have been known to attack for any and all reasons. And we all know that one of the quickest ways to be a show stealer in Hollywood is to do something bad. Here are the eight most notorious criminals in Hollywood history.
Paul Snider is the man responsible for killing his actress and Playboy model wife, Dorothy Stratten, before turning the gun on himself. The high-profile murder-suicide was a complete shock to Hollywood. The young Stratten had just been named Playboy’s Miss August 1979 and 1980 Playmate of the Year and landed a spot in Bob Fosse’s film Star 80. This increased level of fame caused her husband-manager, Paul Snider, to become increasingly jealous and bitter. On Aug. 14, 1980, Snider brutally shot and killed 20-year-old Stratten in their Los Angeles apartment and then committed suicide.
Amy Fisher, also known as the “Long Island Lolita,” was the infamous teenager responsible for nearly killing her then-boyfriend Joey Buttafuoco’s wife, Mary Jo, in 1992. Fisher was 16 years old when she began a relationship with the New York auto body shop owner and it didn’t take long before she wanted to get his wife out of the picture. On the afternoon of the shooting, Fisher had an accomplice drive her to the Buttafuoco’s home so that she could kill Mary Jo. When his wife answered the door, Amy lied and told her that Joey was having an affair with her younger sister. Mary Jo turned away in disbelief and Fisher shot her in the head and fled the scene. Mary Jo miraculously lived through the shooting, but suffered partial paralysis on one side of her face and a loss of hearing in one ear. Fisher was eventually arrested and sentenced to seven years in prison for attempted murder, and Joey served six months for statutory rape.
Paul and Tom Ferguson
Paul and Tom Ferguson were the murderous brothers responsible for killing the famous silent movie star, Ramon Novarro, in 1968. On the night of his murder, Novarro invited the Ferguson brothers over to his house in hopes of having sex with one of the two men. The Fergusons believed that the actor had a large sum of money hidden inside the house, and planned to find it. After the rendezvous between Paul and Ramon was over, the brothers demanded that he give them the money. When Novarro said he didn’t have any money on him, Paul brutally beat him and left him to die. Police were able to trace a call that Tom made on the house phone to his girlfriend in Chicago on the day of the murder. She ratted them out and the brothers were arrested and sentenced to life in prison, but were paroled within seven years of the trial.
OJ Simpson is one of the most notorious criminals in Hollywood. Although he was famously acquitted in the high-profile murder of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, in 1995, the former professional football player and actor did get arrested and imprisoned for another set of crimes. In 2007, Simpson was arrested after he and a group of armed men robbed a room in a Las Vegas hotel-casino and stole sports memorabilia from a dealer. Simpson was convicted on 12 charges, including armed robbery, conspiracy to commit a crime, assault, and kidnapping and was sentenced to a maximum of 33 years in prison with a possibility of parole in nine years.
The tragic murder of 21-year-old My Sister Sam star Rebecca Schaeffer became one of the biggest crime stories in Hollywood history. Robert Bardo, 19, was the crazed fan who took the actress’ life. Bardo was obsessed with Schaeffer and began writing her love letters to get her attention. She wrote him back and the two corresponded through mail for months. On July 18, 1989, Bardo went to Schaeffer’s home after tracking it down from an Arizona detective agency and shot her in the chest and fled the scene. Bardo was ratted out by a family member who informed police that he told her he was going to visit the actress that day. He was arrested and charged with first-degree murder and is serving a life sentence.
The murder of comedian Phil Hartman shook Hollywood to the core. Hartman was shot and killed by his wife, Brynn, who turned the gun on herself hours after the shooting. The tragic murder-suicide was the result of the couple’s marital problems and Brynn’s excessive drug use. Brynn was under the influence of cocaine and alcohol when she returned home the night of the murder and got into an argument with Phil about her addiction. Phil threatened to leave her if she continued to do drugs. Brynn waited for her husband to fall asleep before she shot him three times with a handgun. She immediately confessed to a friend that she killed Phil, but he did not believe her. While police were escorting the couple’s two children out of the house, Brynn locked herself in the bedroom and killed herself.
The Menendez brothers
The Menendez brothers made national headlines for the gruesome murder of their parents, entertainment executive Jose Menendez and his wife Mary “Kitty” Menendez in 1989. Lyle and Erik Menendez carefully plotted the brutal attack on their parents in their Beverly Hills home and even bought movie tickets to use as their alibi if they were suspected of the killing. The brothers’ motive was to kill their strict father and end the agony their mother had endured for years. After the boys viciously gunned down their parents, they dumped their shotguns and called police to report the crime. The Menendez brothers raised a great deal of suspicions when they spent their inheritance on luxury items and started phony businesses. During the investigation, Erik confessed to his psychologists that he and his brother killed their parents and the two were later taken into custody. The brothers were convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and are currently serving a life sentence without parole.
Marvin Gay Sr.
The tragic death of famous singer Marvin Gaye in 1984 was a shocking surprise, specifically because it was his Pentecostal preacher father who killed him. On the day of his death, Marvin Jr. was at his parents’ Los Angeles home and got into a heated argument with his father. The fight turned physical and was temporarily broken up by Marvin Jr.’s mother, but when his father returned to the room they were in, he gunned down his son with the .38 pistol Marvin had given him. Marvin Sr. killed his son and was arrested and convicted of the heinous crime. He was originally charged with murder, but was given a plea bargain for a six-year suspended sentence.
*Today’s article brought to you by www.criminaljusticedegreesguide.com
Thanks, Bill. I notified the author of the error.
Just a small correction. Dorothy Stratton appeared in Peter Bogdanovich’s They all Laughed. Fosses’s Star 80 was about the Stratton murder and starred Mariel Hemingway.