The Sentinel

20 Celebrities Who've Been Murdered

Nov 15, 2021
Sharon Tate - August 9. 1969 (Age 26)
Promising young actress Sharon Tate was just 26 years old when she was brutally murdered by Charles Manson’s followers in August 1969. She was eight and a half months pregnant at the time, expecting a child with her husband, director Roman Polanski. Four other people were murdered that night in her Los Angeles home. These murders are a source of fascination to this day: Quentin Tarantino used the tragedy as the background story for his film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Tupac Shakur – September 13, 1996 (age 25)
American rap icon Tupac died at the tender age of 25, just days after his car was shot at, in September 1996. The identity of his murderer still sparks a lot of interest; the Netflix series Unsolved explores the investigation into his death. In 2017, he was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the same year All Eyez on Me, a biopic about his life, was released in theatres.
Selena Quintanilla – March 31, 1995 (age 23)
A young singer from Texas, Selena Quintanilla shot to fame in Mexico and South America in the early ‘90s. Just before the release of her first English album in 1995, she was shot by the former president of her fan club. A movie and a TV series have been made about Selena’s life, and she remains an icon for the Latin community in the U.S.
Marvin Gaye – April 1, 1984 (age 44)
Singer Marvin Gaye defined the musical genres of Motown and soul during his career in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s, and his greatest hits are still very popular. He died tragically in 1984 at the age of 44, shot by his own father for intervening in an argument between his parents.
John Lennon – December 8, 1980 (age 40)
The legendary British musician, also known as a member of The Beatles, left behind a huge musical legacy in his too short time on Earth. In 1980, he was shot by Mark David Chapman just in front of his New York home. A memorial called Strawberry Fields was erected in Central Park five years after Lennon’s death, and it is still a popular site to this day.
Gianni Versace – July 15, 1997 (age 50)
The famous Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace founded his brand in 1978 and was hugely successful. He was murdered by Andrew Cunanan in 1997, but the motive remains a mystery. A 2018 television series, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, recounts the fashion icon’s story.
Biggie Smalls – March 9, 1997 (age 24)
American rapper Biggie Smalls (pictured right), also known as The Notorious B.I.G., was murdered six months after his friend-turned-rival Tupac, in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles. His murder remains unsolved. His real name was Christopher Wallace, and he hit the big time by collaborating with other hip-hop artists like Sean Combs and Mary J. Blige.
XXXTentacion – June 18, 2018 (age 20)
Rapper XXXTentacion, whose real name was Jahseh Onfroy, was just 20 years old when he was shot and killed outside a motorcycle dealership in 2018. He was a controversial figure: his rise in popularity on SoundCloud happened while he was in prison facing assault and battery charges related to his ex-girlfriend, who was pregnant with their child at the time.
Christina Grimmie – June 10, 2016 (age 22)
The young American singer Christina Grimmie was discovered via YouTube and became a household name when she appeared on TV show The Voice in 2014. While on tour opening for the band Before You Exit, Grimmie was shot by a fan while signing autographs after a concert. Her sudden death was a shock to several celebrities and YouTube personalities.
Phil Hartman – May 28, 1998 (age 49)
Canadian-American comedian Phil Hartman rose to stardom performing on Saturday Night Live, on which he was a series regular for eight seasons (1986-1994). He was also part of the Simpsons team by voicing several characters. His third wife, who was suffering from addiction problems, murdered Hartman in his sleep after an argument, then take her own life with the same weapon.
Maurizio Gucci – March 27, 1995 (age 46)
Maurizio Gucci, heir to the Italian fashion house Gucci, was at the helm of the brand for a little over a decade after the death of his father. He was shot down in front of a hotel in Milan in 1995. Two years later, the police discovered that the killer was a hitman hired by Gucci’s ex-wife, Patrizia Reggiani. A movie about their story, House of Gucci, is currently being filmed, starring Lady Gaga as Reggiani and Adam Driver as Gucci.
Dimebag Darrell – December 8, 2004 (age 38)
Darrell Abbott, a.k.a. Dimebag Darrell, was an extremely talented guitarist. After an acrimonious split with Pantera, he formed a new band with his brother, called Damageplan. Just a few months after they released their first album, a Pantera fan shot the guitarist during a concert. Three other people also lost their lives that night trying to intercept the killer.
Nicole Brown Simpson – June 12, 1994 (age 35)
Nicole Brown Simpson became famous after marrying American football star, O.J. Simpson. The couple had two children together before she filed for divorce in 1992. Two years later, she was found dead outside her home, along with her friend Ron Goldman. The prime suspect was her ex-husband: overwhelming evidence pointed to his guilt. However, he was acquitted after a long and highly publicized trial.
Rebecca Schaeffer – July 18, 1989 (age 21)
Promising young actress Rebecca Schaeffer (pictured left) was introduced to audiences on the sitcom My Sister Sam. On the day of her audition for The Godfather Part III, she was shot by a fan at her front door. The young man, who was obsessed with Schaeffer and had tracked down her address, felt betrayed after seeing her in a love scene in another of her movies, Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills.
Bob Crane – June 29, 1978 (age 49)
Radio host-turned-TV star Bob Crane (pictured left) became famous in 1965 for his role in the sitcom Hogan's Heroes. However, his acting career was short-lived: his reputation took a dive for collecting suggestive photos of his s*xual conquests and producing amateur p*rnography. In 1978, he was found dead in his apartment in Arizona, and his murder remains unsolved.
Natalie Wood – November 29, 1981 (age 43)
Actress Natalie Wood was a child star who began her career at just five years old. She played important roles in films such as West Side Story and Rebel Without a Cause. She died in what was initially considered an accidental drowning. An HBO documentary called Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind, however, points to her husband Robert Wagner as the prime suspect in her death.
Dorothy Stratten – August 14, 1980 (age 20)
Dorothy Stratten was a young Canadian from British Columbia, who rose to fame as a Playboy model. When her career began to flourish on the big screen, she started to distance herself from her husband Paul Snider. When she met him to discuss their separation, he shot Stratten before turning the gun on himself.
Jam Master Jay – October 30, 2002 (age 37)
Jason Mizell, a.k.a. Jam Master Jay, was the DJ for the popular rap group, Run-DMC. He also had his own record label, JMJ, and discovered artists such as 50 Cent. He was killed in his studio in Queens, New York in 2002, and the murderer or murderers have still not been convicted. An episode of the documentary series ReMastered on Netflix explores this sordid story.
Sal Mineo – February 12, 1976 (age 37)
American actor Sal Mineo is mainly known for his roles alongside James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause and Giant. Considered a "former teen idol," he had trouble transitioning to more adult roles, and had to hide his homosexuality. He was stabbed outside his Hollywood apartment in 1976, in what appears to have been a robbery gone wrong.
Judith Barsi – July 25, 1988 (age 10)
Young actress Judith Barsi appeared in movies such as Jaws: The Revenge, Slam Dance and The Land Before Time. Her father, an abusive man who struggled with mental health and addiction issues, was responsible for her untimely and tragic death in 1988. After killing both Judith and her mother, he turned the weapon on himself.