9876 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA: It was here, in room 434 of the Beverly Hilton Hotel (on the 4th floor), that singing legend Whitney Houston was found dead, submerged in a bathtub, on the afternoon of February 11, 2012, one day before the annual Grammy Awards. She was 48.
Autopsy results later revealed that she had died from accidental drowning, brought on by cocaine use and a heart condition.
12685 Mulholland Drive, Beverly Hills, CA: It was here, at his hilltop home, on the morning of February 1, 2012, that police discovered the body of "Soul Train" creator and host, Don Cornelius. He was 75.
He had battled an addiction to prescription drugs. An autopsy later revealed, however, that drugs did not play a role in his death, which was the result of pneumonia and heart problems.
Corey was best remembered for his lead role in the 1986 movie "Lucas", and as the younger brother in the 1987 teen vampire tale "The Lost Boys". (He and Corey Feldman made a number of movies together, and even appeared in a reality show called "The Two Coreys".)
His mother called 911 after he collapsed, just before 1 AM. He was taken to a Burbank hospital but was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.
Her family called 911 at 8 AM after she collapsed in the shower. Preliminary reports ruled out foul play. (The results of an autopsy were that she died of severe pneumonia and anemia.)
In a bizarre twist, Brittany's husband, screenwriter Simon Monjack, was found dead in the same house on Rising Glen Road, just five months later, on May 23, 2010. Preliminary reports were that he died from pneumonia and anemia, just like Brittany, despite the fact that he was just 39 years old. They had been married since 2007.
Phil Spector was a legend in rock & roll, an innovator in the 1960's, creator of the "Wall of Sound" technique made famous on hit records like Be My Baby and You Lost That Lovin' Feelin. He even produced the "Let It Be" album by The Beatles. He married Ronnie Spector of "The Ronettes". (Spector's sound was even copied by Billy Joel in his song "Say Goodbye to Hollywood.)
But he was also accused of being a tyrant in the recording studio during his early years, and was known as a reclusive eccentric in his latter years, with a reputed fondness for guns.
On the night of Feb 2, Spector went to a concert at the House of Blues on Sunset, and there he met Lana Clarkson for the first time. A blonde beauty, Lana had starred a string of sexy b-movies such as "Barbarian Queen" and "Deathstalker", but she was now working as a hostess at the well-known club.
Spector's chaffeur drove them back to Spector's mansion at around 5 a.m., but later heard gunshots from the house and called the police. They found Lana dead, seated, slumped in an antique chair in the marble foyer. She had been shot in the face.
Phil Spector was arrested on suspicion of murder.
Unlike Robert Blake, he was released on $1.1 million bail. His first trial resulted in a hung jury. But the jury in his second. 2009 trial convicted the 70-year-old of murder, and he is now serving a sentence of 19 years-to-life state prison.
The northbound San Diego (405) Freeway, just south Ventura Blvd, in Sherman Oaks: it was here, on December 30, 2006, that pop star Brandy (Norwood), star of TV's "Moesha", was involved in a fatal traffic accident.
Brandy was traveling down the incline on the 405, heading into the Valley, when she failed to notice that freeway traffic had slowed in front of her. Her Land Rover rear-ended a 2005 Toyota driven by a 38-year-old mother (Awatef Aboudihaj) - which caused a chain reaction crash involving several cars. The Toyota ended up bouncing off the center divider, where it was then broadsided by an oncoming Accura. The woman in the Toyota died of her injuries.
Brandy was uninjured, but a witness at the scene described her as extremely distraught, wandering in traffic and blaming herself for the accident. There was no evidence that drugs or alcohol were involved.
In late January, 2007, the California Highway Patrol recommended (to the L.A. Attorney's office) that Brandy be charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter. (The charge carries a maximum sentence of one year in county jail.) But in December of 2007, the City Attorney announced that he would not be filing charges against her, saying they did not have sufficient evidence that Brandy was to blame. (There were reports that the victim may have actually caused the accident, slamming on her brakes, causing Brandy to hit her car.) However, Brandy still faces civil lawsuits from the victim's families.
That marked the third
tragedy to befall the young cast of "Moesha"on the streets of
300 block of South Beverly Drive (just north of Olympic
Boulevard), in Beverly Hills: where
actor Lane Garrison,
who played the character of 'Tweener' in the TV drama "Prison Break",
was involved in a fatal traffic accident on December 2, 2006.
He was not arrested immediately, but in March of 2007, he was charged with vehicular manslaughter and two felony DUI counts, and a misdemeanor count of furnishing alcohol to a minor. A blood test showed that he had a blood-alcohol content of .20, more than twice the legal limit in California. In May of 2007, he pleaded guilty to one count of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence. On Halloween of 2007, he was sentenced to three years & four months in state prison.
He was released on parole in April of 2009, and is acting again.
Ironically, his character
on "Prison Break", 'Tweener', was killed off exactly two
months before the accident, on the Oct. 2, 2006 episode of the popular
show. (In another ironic twist, he was driving the same make of SUV driven
by Brandy in her accident.)
4349 Tujunga Avenue, in Studio City: Vitello's Italian restaurant, a favorite of Robert Blake, the actor who played TV cop "Baretta" back in the 70's. According to the restaurant's owner, he ate here twice a week, and even had an item on the menu named after him ("Fusilli ala Robert Blake").
On Friday, May 4, 2001, at approximately 9:40 p.m., someone shot Blake's wife, while she sat in their black sports car. It was parked on Woodbridge Street, a block and a half away from the restaurant, where they had just finished having dinner. According to Blake, he had briefly returned to Vitello's to retrieve a gun he had left behind, and when he came back to the car, he found Bonny Lee Bakley dying from a gunshot to her head. He ran to a nearby house (of director Sean Stanek) for help and the police were called.
According to early word from Blake's lawyer, Bonny Lee Bakley turned out to be a petty crook and con artist who bilked lonely men out of money with false promises, and who was obsessed with Hollywood celebrities. She bragged of supposed relationships with other stars, including Jerry Lee Lewis and Christian Brando. Apparently, Robert Blake had married the woman (four months before the incident) mainly because she had given birth to his child. She said she was unsure if the child was fathered by Blake or Brando, but DNA tests proved it was Blake's. Before the murder, she was living in a separate guest house at Blake's home (nicknamed "Mata Hari Ranch", located at 11604 Dilling Street, in Studio City), and the child was being cared for my Blake's relatives.
Two days after the murder, Blake moved out of the home in Studio City, and moved in with his adult daughter in Hidden Hills.
Blake's attorney suggested that the murderer might have been someone from Bakley's past, looking to get even. Bakley's relatives suggested Blake was to blame.
On April 18, 2002, almost a year after the incident, the police arrested Robert Blake at his daughter's home in Hidden Hills. Police said they would seek charges of murder and solicitation of murder, but the D.A. later said Blake would not face the death penalty if convicted. They also arrested Blake's bodyguard, Earle Caldwell.
One of the first black actresses to star in her own TV series, Teresa started out as a regular on "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In" in the 1960's. In the early 70's, Blackploitation films like "Shaft", "Superfly" and "Cleopatra Jones" were popular, so ABC tried to jump on the bandwagon with a TV movie about a sassy African-American police woman called "Get Christie Love", which featured lots of afros, bell-bottoms and tag lines like "You're under arrest, sugah!" The movie spawned the short-lived TV series of the same name in 1974.
Later in life, she became deeply involved in the Jehovah Witness religion and dropped out of show-biz.
She was sleeping
in the back of her mother's modest home (in a neighborhood a few blocks
northeast of the Hollywood Park race course) when a fire apparently started
from a space heater in the rear patio area of her house. Firemen found
her unconscious and she died at the hospital.
ALSO SEE: CELEBRITY SCANDALS
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