Nothing grabs the public’s attention than the slaying of a household name. Celebrities taken out by jealous competitors, jilted lovers, or crazed fans. But celebrity murders are also captivating: O.J. Simpson’s trial was watched by an estimated 95 million people, with coverage interrupting the 1994 NBA Finals. Selena Quintanilla was mourned by millions, even sparking the then-governor of Texas, George W. Bush to name her birthday, April 16, Selena Day.
Celebrity murders always lead us back to the same questions. Why would someone take out one of the world’s biggest stars? What did they have against a person they’d never even spoken to? What did they have to gain?
We have gathered a list of the most tragic and most captivating celebrity murders in Hollywood. From Tupac and Christina Grimmie, to Versace and William Desmond Taylor, these are podcasts about some of the most tragic celebrity murders.
Murder in Hollywoodland
Wondery’s “Murder in Hollywoodland” is a real life whodunnit. On February 2nd, 1922 Hollywood woke up to the murder of the most famous director in town. William Desmond Taylor was found dead in his home, and the investigation led authorities down a trail of Hollywood’s best kept secrets. Scandalous affairs, backdoor dealings, and secret drug dens that served Hollywood’s most famous shrouded the search for the killer. Taylor’s murderer managed to get away, making this case one of the greatest murder mysteries fit for the screen.
Anything For Selena
When Selena Quintanilla-Pérez was murdered in 1995, Maria Garcia was just nine years old. Twenty five years later, Garcia is on a quest to discover what it means for people to love and lose one of the biggest stars in the world. “Anything For Selena” has intimate conversations with fans of the Queen of Tejano music, dissecting life on the U.S.-Mexico border and what it means to be family.
Hellbound: Episode 82: The Murder of Gianni Versace
Lara McCall Whitley hosts “Hellbound”, a podcast about people we plan on seeing in hell. In this episode, she looks at the murder of the famous Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace. She walks us through the actions of Andrew Cunanan, the man who murdered 5 people in 2 months, one of them being Versace on his own Miami Beach mansion’s doorstep. This episode digs into everything surrounding this brutal murder, including the effect on the LGBTQ+ community, Cunanan’s psyche, and the history of the fashion industry.
Confronting: O.J. Simpson
One of the most famous celebrity murders, or a celebrity murder and a celebrity acquittal: a quarter of a century after Ron Goldman was murdered alongside Nicole Brown Simpson, his sister, Kim Goldman, looks back into the O.J. Simpson case. Ever since the jury declared Simpson not guilty of murder, there has been endless debate about if he really did it. In “Confronting: O.J. Simpson”, Kim searches for the answers to her brother’s brutal murder that have haunted her for 25 years. She sits down with investigators, prosecutors, witnesses and jurors, even those who voted not guilty.
Death of a Starlet
Playboy Playmate Dorothy Stratten was found dead at just 20 years old in the bedroom of her home. There were 3 people with plenty of motive: Hugh Hefner, who hoped he had found the next Marilyn Monroe, director Peter Bogdonovich, who wanted to launch her to fame, and her husband, Paul Snider, desperate for fame and fortune. Wondery’s “Death of a Starlet” follows the short life of the beautiful and talented Stratten, and the big dreams that led her to her end.
Slow Burn: Season 3
For its first two seasons, Slate’s “Slow Burn” looked at some of the biggest political stories of the 20th century – Watergate and Bill Clinton’s impeachment. In its third season, “Slow Burn” pivots to a different genre with the murders of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls. At the heights of their careers, when hip-hop was rising to the top of pop culture, they were gunned down within one year of each other. A story of friends turned enemies, and a rivalry that unseated rap royalty. “Slow Burn” season three: Biggie and Tupac is not to be missed.
Christina Grimmie: The Murder of a Rising Star
Christina Grimmie had just earned third place on NBC’s The Voice after starting her singing career on YouTube. She was quickly rising through the music world, having already become one of YouTube’s most popular creators, when the 22-year-old was gunned down after her show at The Plaza LIVE in Orlando, Florida. The coverage of her shocking murder was overshadowed, though, in one of Florida’s darkest weeks: she had been shot within days of the Pulse nightclub massacre and the death of two-year-old Lane Graves at Disney World. The Orlando Sentinel’s “Christina Grimmie: The Murder of a Rising Star” honors the young singer whose story was overshadowed by a murderous weekend in America.
DISGRACELAND: Marvin Gaye
The Prince of Motown, the Prince of Soul, sank into depression after battling an addiction to sex and cocaine, resulting in him moving back in with his parents. Unfortunately, this would ultimately be what killed him. On the eve of his 45th birthday, April 1, 1984, Gaye was killed by his own father as he was trying to break up a fight between his parents.