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Famous People That Got Related To Killers In History

todayApril 4, 2024

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We can’t deny our fascination with true crime. From gruesome details to captivating documentaries, serial killers hold a strange allure. This obsession isn’t recent; back in the Victorian era, families flocked to public executions, and gruesome souvenirs like killer figurines were hot sellers.

But where do we draw the line? Profiting off tragedy has always been a debate. The Son of Sam Laws aimed to stop criminals like David Berkowitz from cashing in on their notoriety. This controversy continues today, with the wife of a Long Island Serial Killer suspect securing a million-dollar book deal.

But it gets even more personal. Can you imagine your favorite celebrity having a brush with a notorious killer? Believe it or not, some famous faces have closer ties to these dark chapters in history than you might think.

Dave Rubinstein

Dave Rubinstein, co-founder of the hardcore punk band Reagan Youth, is remembered for the band’s controversial image and strong anti-fascist stance. Their prominence in the East Coast punk scene was overshadowed by tragedy when Rubinstein took his own life. In an attempt to rewrite the band’s legacy, fellow band member Paul Bakija reformed the group in 2013, hoping to give Rubinstein a different legacy.

The band’s story is further darkened by the murder of Tiffany Bresciani, Rubinstein’s partner, at the hands of Joel Rifkin, a serial killer responsible for numerous deaths. Bresciani’s murder led to Rifkin’s capture and confession to 17 murders. In a tragic turn, shortly after Rifkin’s confession, Rubinstein’s father was involved in a fatal car accident that claimed his mother’s life, and Rubinstein himself died from an overdose soon after, marking a series of calamities for the family and the band.

 

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Alan Alda

In a 1973 episode of the game show To Tell the Truth, actor Alan Alda and other panelists were challenged to identify the real Ed Edwards, author of Metamorphosis of a Criminal. The memoir chronicled Edwards’ transformation from a petty criminal to the FBI’s Most Wanted List, and finally, to a seemingly respectable family man. Only two panelists guessed Edwards’ identity correctly, unaware of the full extent of his dark past.

Years later, Edwards’ daughter, April Balascio, harbored suspicions about her father’s secretive lifestyle, which involved frequent, unexplained relocations. Her intuition led her to a shocking discovery: her father was linked to multiple murders, including those of two couples and his own son. Balascio’s call to the authorities ultimately brought Edwards to justice, and he passed away in prison in 2011, leaving behind a legacy of deception and tragedy.

Danny Trejo

Danny Trejo’s life story is so extraordinary that it might defy belief as a Netflix series, especially the part where he encountered Charles Manson in jail. In his memoir Trejo, he recounts a chilling episode where Manson, who later orchestrated horrific crimes with his followers, displayed his hypnotic abilities on Trejo. At 17, Trejo was incarcerated with Manson, whom he describes as a disheveled and impoverished figure, capable of guiding others through a meditative experience so vivid it simulated the sensation of a heroin high.

Trejo’s experience with Manson was so profound that he believed Manson could have been a professional hypnotist if not for his criminal path. The encounter left a lasting impression on Trejo, who, despite his own history with heroin, was deeply affected by Manson’s hypnotic session. This eerie anecdote adds a layer of complexity to the already fascinating life of Danny Trejo and his brush with one of history’s most infamous criminals.

Kelsey Grammer

In a poignant interview with People magazine in 2022, actor Kelsey Grammer shared the enduring pain of losing his sister, Karen, to a brutal murder in 1975. Karen’s life was tragically cut short after she was abducted, sexually assaulted, and stabbed. Her struggle for survival ended just steps from help. Grammer’s reflection on the loss speaks to the perpetual sorrow that lingers, likening it to an “ancient grief that is forever fresh.”

The case saw the conviction of three men: Freddie Glenn, Michael Corbett, and Larry Dunn, with Glenn being the sole survivor still serving a life sentence. The tragedy of Karen Grammer’s death is compounded by the other lives taken by Glenn, including Daniel Van Lone and Winford Profitt. Despite Glenn’s occasional claims of innocence and expressions of responsibility, Kelsey Grammer has remained steadfast in opposing his parole, underlining a commitment to justice for his sister and the other victims whose lives were irreversibly altered by these heinous acts.

Lisa Rinna

David Carpenter, known as the Trailside Killer, terrorized California’s hiking trails in the late ’70s and early ’80s, culminating in his arrest for multiple murders. His history of violence emerged long before his killing spree, as revealed in 2010 when DNA evidence linked him to another tragic case. Carpenter’s pattern of brutality began with an attack on Lois Rinna, an incident that would later resurface in a personal account shared on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills by her daughter, Lisa Rinna.

Lois Rinna’s harrowing encounter with Carpenter, who was an acquaintance of the Rinna family, was a close call that could have ended fatally if not for the timely intervention of a military police officer. The traumatic event left a lasting impact on the Rinna family, particularly on Lisa, who expressed deep sadness for her mother’s experience. The story serves as a chilling reminder of the close encounters some have had with notorious criminals, often without realizing it until much later.

Angela Lansbury

Angela Lansbury’s life took a dramatic turn when her family moved to Los Angeles following her father’s death from cancer when she was nine. This move eventually led to a dangerous brush with Charles Manson, as her daughter Deirdre became associated with the infamous cult leader and his followers. Lansbury described Manson as a charismatic figure who captivated many young people, including her daughter.

To escape the dangerous influence of Manson and address their children’s heroin addiction, Lansbury and her husband Peter Shaw relocated the family to Ireland. Lansbury expressed her belief that this drastic move saved their children’s lives, as it removed them from a destructive environment and allowed them to receive the necessary treatment for their addictions. The experience left Lansbury with a sense of dread, reflecting on what could have been a tragic outcome had they not intervened.

Ashton Kutcher

In 2019, actor Ashton Kutcher recounted a chilling incident in court from 2001, when he found what he mistakenly thought was spilled wine at the home of his date, Ashley Ellerin. The grim reality was that Ellerin had been brutally murdered, discovered by her roommate the next day with 47 stab wounds. The case remained unresolved until 2021, when Michael Thomas Gargiulo was sentenced to death for Ellerin’s murder, along with the murder of Maria Bruno in 2005, and the attempted murder of Michelle Murphy in 2008. Gargiulo was also implicated in another murder in Illinois.

Despite the convictions, Gargiulo protested his innocence, criticizing his lawyers for not allowing him to testify in his defense. The sentencing brought to light the enduring pain of the victims’ families, particularly Ellerin’s father, who lamented the profound and lasting impact her death had on their lives. The case against Gargiulo, who faced additional charges, highlighted the complex and often delayed path to justice for victims and their loved ones.

Matthew McConaughey

The notorious Edward Harold Bell, whose criminal history culminated in the murder of former Marine Larry Dickens, met his end in 2019. Bell, a convicted sex offender, had evaded justice for 14 years after posting bail, only to be apprehended following the broadcast of an Unsolved Mysteries episode featuring Matthew McConaughey as Dickens. McConaughey’s portrayal contributed to Bell’s capture, as he was found in Panama just 11 days after the episode aired.

Bell’s conviction brought a 70-year sentence, and during his imprisonment, he admitted to the murders of “eleven who went to Heaven,” though these cases remained unsolved at his death. The gravity of his crimes left a lasting impact, with law enforcement acknowledging the closure his passing brought to the victims’ families, despite the unresolved nature of his broader confessions.

Gianni Versace

The enigmatic demise of fashion icon Gianni Versace in 1997 remains shrouded in mystery, with the motives of his assassin, Andrew Cunanan, dying with him. Versace, revered by celebrities and the fashion world alike, was tragically the final name in a series of murders committed by Cunanan. Prior to Versace’s murder, Cunanan had left a trail of violence across the United States, claiming the lives of four men, ranging from a young architect to an elderly real estate developer.

The quest to understand Cunanan’s psyche and his reasons for targeting Versace has been exhaustive yet inconclusive. Vanity Fair’s investigation into Cunanan’s past revealed a man who was a master of deception, with a penchant for grandiose fabrications. Those who knew him admit in retrospect that there were signs of his dangerous potential, leading to a collective sense of remorse for not recognizing and acting upon the warning signs sooner.

Dennis Wilson and Mike Love

Dennis Wilson’s act of kindness towards two hitchhikers led to an unexpected and dark twist when they introduced him to Charles Manson, their “spiritual guru.” The Beach Boys’ drummer found himself entangled with Manson, initially sharing a hedonistic lifestyle. However, the relationship turned sour when Manson’s aspirations for a music career, which Wilson had tried to support, failed to materialize. The fallout was severe, with Wilson abandoning his home after Manson’s followers squandered a substantial amount of his wealth.

Mike Love, Wilson’s bandmate, reflected on these events in his memoir Good Vibrations, expressing Wilson’s regret over not preventing the subsequent Manson family murders. Love’s personal life also intersected with the Manson circle; following his divorce, his children were occasionally cared for by Susan Atkins, a member of the Manson family who infamously left a grim message at the crime scene of Sharon Tate’s murder. This connection added another layer of complexity to the Beach Boys’ brush with one of history’s most notorious killers.

Dick Van Dyke and Stephanie Hollman

Randall Woodfield’s journey from a promising NFL draft pick to the notorious I-5 Killer is a chilling tale of missed opportunities and hidden crimes. Drafted by the Green Bay Packers from Portland State University, Woodfield’s criminal activities, including an arrest for indecent exposure during his college years, went unnoticed. After being cut from the Packers for undisclosed reasons, Woodfield’s life spiraled into violence. By 1980, he had committed a series of brutal attacks, culminating in the rape and murder of multiple victims, one as young as 14.

The I-5 Killer’s infamy reached pop culture when Stephanie Hollman, of Real Housewives of Dallas fame, revealed in a 2021 Valentine’s Day post that her husband had been babysat by Woodfield. This startling personal connection was compounded by another celebrity link: during Woodfield’s trial for his heinous crimes, the prosecutor was Chris Van Dyke, son of the beloved entertainer Dick Van Dyke, bringing an unexpected twist to the tragic narrative.

Rob Kelvin

In a tragic chapter of Australian history, the renowned news anchor Rob Kelvin faced a personal tragedy when his son, Richard Kelvin, was kidnapped and murdered in 1983. Rob Kelvin, who had been a familiar face on Channel 9 for over three decades, became part of a harrowing news story he had to report. Richard, only 15 at the time of his abduction, was held captive for five weeks before his life was brutally taken. The following year, Bevan Spencer von Einem was convicted for the murder and sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.

The case of Richard Kelvin is linked to a series of crimes known as the Family Murders, which involved the deaths of numerous young men and remain largely unsolved. Crime writer Debi Marshall has indicated that up to 150 murders could be connected to a secretive group, including von Einem. Despite von Einem’s silence, Marshall managed to lift a suppression order, revealing chilling details of the group’s activities, including the drugging and assault of young boys, leading to a pattern of fatalities marked by severe injuries.

Written by: Best Classic Bands Staff

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