Far too many celebrities end up as shooting stars

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Dec 24, 2002
Moscow on the Colorado, TX
Chicago Sun-Times

February 19, 2003 Wednesday


LENGTH: 870 words

HEADLINE: Far too many celebrities end up as shooting stars

BYLINE: Richard Roeper


Remember that time in the 1960s when a gang of LSD-tripping hippies stormed Charlton Heston's home, only to be scared off when the "Ben-Hur" star grabbed a rifle, fired a warning shot and bellowed, "The next one will hit more than the stars, you bastards!"

Or how about that time in the 1970s when Farrah Fawcett thwarted an attempted kidnapping by reaching into her handbag, pulling out a Derringer and firing a shot that wounded one of her attackers?

Or how about that time in the 1980s when football great Lawrence Taylor accidentally prevented a suicide by waving a gun at a man who had barged onto the roof of a penthouse party in New York, with the intention of killing himself? The poor guy was scared straight by LT.

And, of course, just a few months ago, pop star Christina Aguilera walked in on a heated quarrel between a knife-wielding backup dancer and his lover, and was able to diffuse the situation by drawing her weapon and commanding the dancer to drop the knife and back off. If she hadn't been packing, who knows what would have happened! Remember all those great examples of celebrities using their guns to protect themselves and others? Anyone?

Of course you don't remember because, of course, I made up all of the anecdotes. They're 100 percent fiction. In fact, I can't recall a single episode in which a famous or semi-famous pop star, actor or athlete used a gun to prevent violence from occurring. I'm sure if I missed one, someone will let me know.

But what I do know is that there have been numerous tales of tragedy involving celebrities who either injured or killed somebody with a gun, or were injured or killed themselves.

Only last week, police said the gun retrieved from Phil Spector's home tested positive as the weapon used to kill B-movie actress Lana Clarkson. Spector, who had a history of waving and pointing guns in the studio during sessions with the Ramones and others, reportedly will claim the shooting was an accident.

In the meantime, former NBA player Jayson Williams awaits trial on manslaughter charges in the shooting death of limousine driver Costas Christofi on Feb. 14, 2002. Williams allegedly mishandled the shotgun and accidentally killed Christofi, then attempted to make the shooting look self-inflicted.

Also awaiting trial: Actor Robert Blake, whose wife was shot with a .380-caliber Walther PPK handgun. Blake, who had an extensive firearms collection, claimed he had gone back into a restaurant to retrieve his own gun when somebody shot his wife. Ahem.

Let's say, for the sake of argument, that the shootings of the B-movie actress and the limo driver really were accidents. If neither Spector nor Williams had a fondness for firearms, wouldn't it be safe to say Clarkson and Christofi would be alive today?

And what if Blake's eggshell-fragile alibi is legit? If Blake hadn't gone around strapped all the time, that means he wouldn't have been in the position of forgetting his gun, which means Bonny Lee Bakley wouldn't have been alone when that mystery assassin approached the car.

Ah, yes, the gun advocates will say, but what if Blake hadn't forgotten his gun that night? He'd have been armed and ready to defend himself and his wife from the supposed attacker.

But that type of scenario doesn't play out much, does it? I know there are stories about citizens using their guns to protect themselves and their families--but there are also tons of stories about children who find handguns in the home and kill themselves or someone else, and spouses who use a handy shotgun to blow away their betrothed in a fit of mad passion, and people who shoot themselves by mistake with their own guns.

And, in the world of the famous and the infamous, the wrong people always seem to have access to guns at the wrong time.

"Don't worry, it's not loaded," said guitarist Terry Kath of the rock group Chicago as he pointed a gun at his head and pulled the trigger, accidentally killing himself.

In 1984, the great Marvin Gaye got into a disagreement with his 71-year-old father at his parents' home. Gaye's father took a .38-caliber handgun and fired two shots into his son's chest, killing him.

Comedian and "Saturday Night Live" veteran Phil Hartman was shot and killed by his wife, who then turned the gun on herself. Mary Tyler Moore's son accidentally shot and killed himself. Singer/actress Claudine Longet, who claimed she accidentally shot and killed skier Spider Sabich, was found guilty of criminal negligence. Singer Johnny Ace accidentally shot and killed himself playing Russian roulette backstage in Houston. Actress Jennifer O'Neill accidentally shot and seriously wounded herself with a gun her then-husband kept in the home.

Ernest Hemingway, Kurt Cobain, Freddie Prinze and George "Superman" Reeves are among those who committed suicide with guns.

Gun owners: I don't want to take away your weapons. If we could start all over in this country and have gun control, I'd be all for it. But we can't. So arm yourself if you so desire.

I'm just asking you to explain this: With so many stories about celebrities and guns, where are the tales of self-defense? Where are the stories with happy endings?

Of course, an awful lot of those stars get to keep bodyguards and others around them, so that they don't have to be responsible for their own self-defense...
Bad news and stories which engender and promote fear sell many
more newspapers than happy stories where an armed citizen saves someones life and the bad guy goes to jail.

Hollywoodland and professional sports are full of self indulgent drug addled miscreants who do not represent mainstream

Folks who use a gun to thwart a crime are probably reluctant to report the event due to heavy handed police and prosecutors
who are looking for an easy target for harassment or indictment.

This article plays into all the misconceptions and pitfalls
played out by the gun grabbers.

I was surprised by the last line about arming ourselves
it was almost like a parent saying "Fine do what you want..see if I care"
I'm just asking you to explain this: With so many stories about celebrities and guns, where are the tales of self-defense? Where are the stories with happy endings?

How extensively did you research the histories to find that there are NO examples of firearms used by celebrities for self defense? How many dead celebrities would be alive today if they had had a pistol with which they to stop their murderers? Why does it matter how many celebrities have died by gun/fire/drugs/beatings? How is that in any way indicative of a problem?

Did it never occur to ask how many of the celebrities have been saved by the fact that they have ARMED bodyguards? That is every bit as good as having a gun in your own pocket.

Did it ever come to mind that 90% of the celebs don't need to worry overmuch about the subject because they live in gated communities with security only moments away?

The entire article is based on a senseless position that there is some relevance in how a celebrity died. In every one of the cases cited, there were serious underlying mental health issues that went untreated or ignored. Suicidal people will find a way to end their lives if a gun isn't around; look at all the overdoses that go on in that circle!

This writer hasn't a wit about him and the article only goes to support my position.
So, the price of celebrity status is losing one's sense? OK, that explains why Hollywood is hollow headed.
Richard, I'm all for making it really easy for celebrities to have guns, in fact, their having them at all times should be mandatory. And that goes doubly so for those in the media.

Attrition should improve the regard I have for the celebrity and media pool if your premise has ANY merit, which I'm afraid it doesn't.... :rolleyes:
You show me a Hollywood star with a brain and I'll show you a republican. Can't think of any either can ya Mr. Newspaperman?!
fake people who play fake people .. I don't think highly of the so called stars it's what they do for a living , why should they have all the glamour the real stars are those of us who work everyday for a living.. well let me rephrase that since I am out of work ... :rolleyes:
I'm just asking you to explain this: With so many stories about celebrities and guns, where are the tales of self-defense? Where are the stories with happy endings?

They aren't reported...try reading American Rifleman in the front section you'll find stories that are REAL
How long do you suppose it will take before the antis start crowing about banning guns to save our precious chiillldrren... err... I mean... celebrities?
How bout when Ted Nugent pulled a gun out on a guy and put him under citizens arrest for threatening the lives of his family.

Don't confuse me or the millions (?) of other law abiding, responsible gun owners with a celebrity. I obey the laws. I'm told I can't carry concealed so I don't. I can't get a full size "high cap" gun so I leave it alone. I do what I'm told. Celebrities make up their own rules -- I can't. I don't have the money, talent or the looks to do so. Celebrities can buy the permit, get the gun of their choice -- I can't. I'm restricted in my choice in firearms and how I use it. I also had to submit to an extensive background check. What's with Phil Spector? I'd like to know too. I'm not Bipolar -- he is, so why does he have any gun he wants and I can't? In fact, why does someone that's Bipolar even have a gun? They're not mentally fit to own them. Moreover, in Spector's case, he's a violent abusive man with a history to prove it. You don't believe me -- ask his ex-wife Ronnie who had the bad luck to be married six years to the vindictive, abusive bastard. I don't break the rules and yet I pay for every celebrity that does. How fair is that?:fire:
How do you accidentally shoot yourself playing russian roulette? Richard Roper has far too many accidents in his report, and not enough stupid people doing dumb tricks. Oh well he is a reporter and lives in Chicago.
Celebrities arent anybody special they usually were in the right place at the right time some may actually have talent. But all in all they are just people like us they just have more money.:)
....hummmm,.....celebrities that used guns for saving other peoples lives......there's more than this writer may know....perhaps it depends on the definition of "celebrity".

I think these are the ones that were wounded in combat...

Audey Murphy
Lee Marvin
Eddie Albert
Norman Schwartzkopf
James Whitmore

then there are the celebrities that served and took up arms to protect their country...

Charlton Heston
Clark Gable
Ronald Reagan
Jimmy Stewart
Clint Eastwood
Teddy Roosevelt Jr
Andy Rooney

and probably a few more.....
He's (in)conveniently ignoring that celebrities, being mostly leftists, are the last people who are going to want to own a gun in the first place. And if they do own a gun or two, for whatever hypocritical reason, they're not the types to seek out training ('cause they already know better than the rest of us, don'tcha know?). And those who DO own guns AND get training are NOT the ones we're going to hear about--because even if John Milius or Charleton Heston et al uses a gun to defend himself, what media organization is going to actually RUN such a story?

But I just love the celebrity/Hollywood reaction to having successfully used a gun: Sharon Stone uses her gun to "defend" her home, then freaks out and gets rid of them (of course, very publicly). On "ER," Dr. Green(e) uses a handgun to protect himself from punks on the El, then freaks out and throws it into the river.

Late, great actor Neville Brand was the next most decorated soljer to Audie Murphy in the Big One. There have been a few that had cojones, unfortunately, mostly all gone now.
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