Seeing Stars in Hollywood

A list Hollywood locations of famous celebrity deaths,
crimes, murders, accidents & suicides.

Naya RiveraLake Piru, 4780 Piru Canyon Road, Piru, CA  (in the Los Padres National Forest, in Ventura County) :  It was here, on July 8, 2020, while the world was still reeling from the coronavirus crisis, that actress Naya Rivera took a rental boat out on the calm lake, and never came back.

Surveillance video showed she and her 4-year-old son, Josey, boarding the rented pontoon boat alone around 1 p.m., and heading out onto the lake.

When she didn't return on time, the boat rental vendor went looking for the missing boat and found it in the north part of the lake.  The 4-year-old was sleeping on the boat.  His mother was nowhere to seen. The boy told police that he and his mother had gone for a swim in the lake, and that he had gotten back into the boat (he was wearing a life jacket), but his mother had not.

The missing woman was soon identified as Naya Rivera, the 33-year-old actress who starred as 'Santana' in the hit musical TV show "Glee", from 2009 to 2015 (when she was in her 20s).

After authorities were notified, a search of the lake was begun.

The search proved difficult, since the lake waters were murky, and it took five long days of searching (using divers, dogs, boats, sonar, underwater remote-controlled devices, and helicopters) before they found that the body has resurfaced at the mouth of the lake's Devil Canyon inlet which I have marked on this map  – slightly less than a mile northeast of the landing where she had rented the boat.

On July 14, the coroner officially identified the body as that of Naya Rivera. He said that the autopsy indicated no foul play or suicide, but rather that the death was caused by accidental drowning.

Lake Piru is located in a rather remote area in the mountains north of Los Angeles, about 65 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, and 14 miles west of Magic Mountain. It's not a spot where you would expect to run into a Hollywood actress. But she lived fairly close by, in Valencia, so.perhaps Naya was just seeking a break from the COVID-19 lock-down and wanted to spend some time alone with her young son in the fresh air on the remote, uncrowded lake.

But all bodies of water are potentially dangerous, In the past, there had been several drownings at Lake Piru. She wasn't wearing a life jacket when she went in the water, and she didn't have another adult on the boat with her to come to her aid if something went wrong.

( Piru itself is a small, rural, old-fashioned town that I discovered only after they filmed a number of movie and TV shows there -- including the little white church from "True Blood", a bridge in the movie "Burlesque", and a Nebraska motel in "Dexter". ).

Naya played 'Santana Lopez' on "Glee", a role which grew over the years from just the stereotypical "mean girl" cheerleader (and rival for the affections of football player 'Finn') into a more likable, more complex character who eventually discovered that she was a lesbian and ended up marrying the nice-but-ditzy blonde cheerleader 'Brittany'.

This is the third tragic death of a young actor who played a major character on "Glee".  The first to go was the show's leading man, Cory Monteith ('Finn'), who died of an accidental overdose in 2013. Then, in 2018, Mark Salling ('Puck') hanged himself in the woods.  And now, in 2020, it is Naya Rivera ('Santana').  People are already taking about a "Glee curse"...

Here is a Google aerial photo of the lake Piru area.

Orson BeanThe 700 block of Venice Blvd (near Pisani Place), in Venice, CA :  actor and TV personality Orson Bean, who appeared as a witty guest on the Tonight Show more than 200 times, and who had multiple roles on TV shows, perhaps the most memorable being his role as shopkeeper 'Loren Bray' in Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman. Or as the happy eccentric 'Mr. Beavis', in the 1960 Twilight Zone episode of that same name.

On the evening of February 7, 2020, Orson Bean, age 91, was trying to cross the busy Venice Blvd after dark.  Mr. Bean lived nearby in a home on the Venice canals, and was going to visit his wife (Ally Mills, who played the mother in the TV sitcom "The Wonder Years") at the Pacific Resident Theatre, a local playhouse where Orson was involved.

Alas, he never made it. As he attempted to jaywalk across the street to the theater, he was clipped by a passing car when the driver didn't see him. He was then struck and killed by a second car.  Both drivers stopped, and it appears to have been just a tragic accident.

Here is a Google StreetView of the area.

Orson Bean
In the hills east of Las Virgenes Road & Willow Glen Street, in Calabasas, CA
:  It was here that a helicopter crash took the life of Kobe Bryant, basketball superstar
for the Los Angeles Lakers.

On the morning of January 26, 2020, Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, and others, boarded a helicopter to travel about 60 miles northwest to Thousand Oaks.  But there was heavy fog that morning, and the helicopter ended up smashing into the side of a mountain in Calabasas (about 7 miles inland from Malibu, CA).  Everyone on board was killed.

( Although there are no streets in the mountains where the helicopter crashed, Kobe's death certificate listed the nearest street address as 4232 Las Virgenes Road. )

Here is a Google aerial photo of the hills where the copter crashed.

Mark SallingOff BIG TUJUNGA CANYON ROAD, Sunland / Tujunga, CA:  actor Mark Salling, who played the bully 'Puck' on TV's popular musical show, "GLEE".

On the morning of January 30, 2018, police found his body in a wooded creek area near Pine Canyon.  He had reportedly committed suicide by hanging himself.  He was 35 years old.

Salling had pled guilty to possessing child pornography, and was soon to be sentenced.  With his career in ruins, and facing four to seven had plead guiltyyears in prison, he apparently drove his car to this secluded area, parked at the roadside, and hanged himself from a tree near the creek.

The spot is difficult to map precisely.  About 25 miles north of downtown Los Angeles, on a winding mountain road, Google maps the small area where he parked his car as 6357 Big Tujunga Canyon Road, in Sunland-Tujunga, CA. But that changes abruptly to 10619 on the Google map, just a few yards south of the spot.

Bing Maps add more confusion.  They map the parking spot as 4496 Big Tujunga Canyon Road (but changes abruptly to 12500 just a few feet to the south).

It's probably best to stick with the GPS coordinates, which are 34.292229, -118.286290 on both maps.

Here is a Google StreetView of the parking area.

Alan Thicke1001 W. Riverside Dr, Burbank, CA: Alan Thicke, the actor who played 'Jason Seaver', the dad on the hit '80s sitcom "Growing Pains", was born in Canada and was an avid ice hockey fan.

On the morning of December 13, 2016, Alan met up with his son and friends for their weekly pickup hockey game at Pickwick Gardens, an ice skating rink in Burbank (which happens to be less than two miles from Warner Bros studios, where they used to film "Growing Pains").

He was playing on the ice around 11:30 AM, when he suffered a heart attack.  An ambulance arrived and took him to the nearby Providence St. Joseph's Medical Center, but he was pronounced dead within 30 minutes.

Here is a Google StreetView of the ice rink.

AntonYelchin3866 Berry Drive, Studio City, CA: The home of Anton Yelchin, the actor who played 'Ensign Chekov' in the trio of new "Star Trek" movies, was killed in a freak accident on the night of June 18, 2016.

According to initial reports, he had apparently stepped out of his Jeep Grand Cherokee, leaving it in neutral, and was behind it when his SUV rolled down his steep driveway and crushed him against a brick column and an iron gate at the bottom of that driveway.

Yelchin had taken over the role of 'Chekov', the young Russian member of the Enterprise bridge crew (a role originally played by Walter Koenig, in the original '60s TV series), in the 2009 reboot, "Star Trek", and its two sequels, 2013's "Star Trek: Into Darkness" and 2016's "Star Trek: Beyond".

Like his Trek character, Yelchin was born in Russia, but his parents moved to the U.S. when he was a baby.

He was only 27 years old at the time of his death.

(Ironically, Trek's original 'Chekov' actor, Walter Koenig, is still alive and healthy, at age 83.)

Here is a Google StreetView of the driveway where the event occurred.

    Bruce Jenner25800 Pacific Coast Highway, in Malibu: Olympian Bruce Jenner was driving north on PCH around noon on February 7, 2015, when he was involved in a fatal four-car accident.

    Jenner (who was in the process of transitioning into a woman at the time) was driving a black Cadillac Escalade SUV, towing a dune buggy, and was being followed by paparazzi.  Reportedly, video of the moment shows that he swerved to avoid stopped traffic in front of him, but couldn't avoid smashing into the back of a white Lexus in front of him.  The impact sent the Lexus into oncoming traffic, where it was struck by a black Hummer.  The older woman driving the Lexus died at the scene.  According to reports, the momentum then carried Jenner's SUV into a white Prius that had been stopped ahead of the Lexus.

    Jenner wasn't injured, he apparently wasn't speeding, and tests showed he wasn't under the influence of alcohol.  (Five months later, Bruce reemerged as 'Caitlyn Jenner'.)

    Here is a Google StreetView of the spot where the accident happened.

    38802 San Francisquito Canyon Road, in Green Valley, CA: where, on January 31, 2015, Ricardo Medina Jr., the actor who had played the red "Power Ranger", in the show's 10th season, was arrested for stabbing his roommate (Joshua Sutter) to death (in the abdomen) with a Samurai sword.

    Medina claimed self-defense, saying that Sutter had beaten him up, and that after Medina locked himself in his bedroom (with his girlfriend), Sutter broke into the room.

    The next year, he was charged with murder.  In early 2016, as part of a plea deal for a lesser sentence, he pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter. In March 2017, he was sentenced to six years in prison..

    Suge Knight1201 W. Rosecrans Avenue, in Compton, CA: the rear parking lot of Tam's Burgers, where, on the afternoon of January 29, 2015, police allege that Death Row Records founder Marion "Suge" Knight ran over two men with his truck, killing one of them, (a supposed friend) Terry Carter.

    Earlier in the day, Suge Knight had been on the nearby movie set of the biopic, “Straight Out of Compton,” and was told to leave.  The argument continued in the parking lot of the burger joint, when apparently Knight and the other victim got into a fight.

    According to police, Knight ran over the man, and when backing up, ran over Terry Carter (who apparently wasn't involved in the fight), killing him.

    The gangster rap mogul was arrested for murder the next day.  His lawyer claimed that he was being attacked and was attempting to flee when he accidentally struck the men.

    But police said that video of the incident would confirm their charges, and the court, which had originally set a $1 million bail, revoked it, so Knight remaine in jail, pending his trial for murder. Three years later, in 2018, agreed to serve 28 years in prison for voluntary manslaughter, and is currently in prison in San Diego.

    Here is a Google StreetView of Tam's parking lot.  

    Robin Williams95 Saint Thomas Way, in Tiburon, CA: Robin Williams didn't die in the L.A. area.  He passed away in a quiet neighborhood called Paradise Cay, northwest of San Francisco.  But for his fans, I'm posting the information.

    Police were called to his home just before noon, on August 10, 2014.

    He had hanged himself with a belt, in his bedroom, some time during the night.  He was declared dead at the scene, an apparent suicide.

    Robin had been suffering from severe depression, and had a past history of drug addiction, but drugs played no role in his death.

    Here is a Google Earth view of the house where he died.  

    Tony Scott25600 Hercules Street, in Valencia (Santa Clarita), CA: The street where, at 3 p.m. on November 30, 2013,  star Paul Walker (who starred opposite Vin Diesel in the "Fast & Furious" films), died in a fiery car crash.

    He had been attending a charity event (to aid typhoon relief in the Philippines), and went for what was supposed to be a quick spin as a passenger in a friend's red Porsche Carrera GT.  The sports car, which is capable of doing 240 mph, went out of control, smashed into a light pole and exploded into flames, killing both men.

    The Porsche wound up as a tangled heap of wreckage, wrapped around a small tree at the side of the road, and was engulfed in flames when authorities arrived.  Paul was pronounced dead at the scene.

        The location is about a mile northeast of Six Flags Magic Mountain.

        Here is a Google StreetView of the light pole that his car struck.
        And this is the exact spot where the car came to rest. 

    ( The photo on the right shows the tree that Paul's car hit, and which is now full of comments from his fans.  Click on the image to see a large version. )

    5445 Brynhurst Avenue
    , Los Angeles, CA:  The police showed up at this suburban home in Hyde Park around 8:30 PM, on May 19, 2014, after receiving a 911 call from actor Michael Jace.  He was waiting for them outside the house, and told the police that he had shot his wife.

    Inside the home, police found the body of April Jace, his wife of 11 years, in a hallway.  She had been shot multiple times.

    Michael Jace portrayed an LAPD officer 'Julien Lowe' on the TV series "The Shield", from 2002 to 2008.

    He was also a regular on "Southland" (as 'Terrell') and appeared in minor roles in the movies "Forrest Gump", "Boogie Nights" and "Planet of the Apes".  In 1999, he starred as basketball legend Michael Jordan in the TV-movie "Michael Jordan: An American Hero".

    He was arrested on suspicion of murder, and was later sentenced to 40 years in prison.

    Tony ScottThe Vincent Thomas Bridge, San Pedro, CA: It was here, from atop this bridge spanning the L.A. harbor, that director Tony Scott jumped to his death on August 19, 2012.

    Tony had directed such hits as "Top Gun", "Crimson Tide" and "Beverly Hills Cop II", and (with his brother, famed director Ridley Scott) ran the production company 'Scott Free'.
    Vincent Thomas Bridge
    The 1,500 feet long Vincent Thomas bridge, which arches over the harbor water between San Pedro and Long Beach, is 185 feet high, and has been featured in several Hollywood movies over the years, including featured in the movies "To Live & Die in L.A.", "Charlie's Angels" and "Gone in 60 Seconds".

    It has also been the scene of several suicides.

    Reportedly, Scott parked his Toyota Prius on the bridge just after noon, walked to the south side of the span, climbed a fence, and without hesitating, jumped into the water below. He left a suicide note behind in his car.  Divers recovered his body four hours later.


    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.
Police said Mr. Cornelius, who had been ill and suffered through a bitter divorce, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
    Like Dick Clark's "American Bandstand", "Soul Train" was a long-running TV dance show aimed at U.S. teens.  But where American Bandstand focused on Top 10 pop music, Soul Train featured soul and R&B artists.  The show ran for 35 years, and Cornelius hosted the show for 23 of those years.

    3600 Barham Boulevard, near Universal City, CA: It was here, at the Oakwood Apartments, on the early morning of March 10, 2010, that actor Corey Haim died of what at first appeared to be a drug overdose, at his mother's apartment, at age 38.

    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.

    (He was buried in his home town of Toronto, Canada.)

The 2000's - The 1990's - The 1980's - The 1970's - The 1960's
The 1950's - The 1940's - The 1930's - The 1920's

A list Hollywood locations of famous celebrity crimes,
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