Bloodletting and mayhem whipped up from the author's ""ten years of prying into the careers and private lives of movie stars...

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THE HOLLYWOOD MURDER CASEBOOK

Bloodletting and mayhem whipped up from the author's ""ten years of prying into the careers and private lives of movie stars and tracing the history of the Hollywood Star System. . ."" The murdered, or at least dead, include Marilyn Monroe, Sharon Tate, Ramon Navarro, Bruce Lee, Lana Turner's paramour Johnny Stompanato, mobster Bugsy Siegel (""George Raft's blue-eyed buddy""), Sal Mineo, Gig Young, Thomas Ince, Thelma Todd, William Desmond Taylor. and a drunken buddy cuckolded (perhaps) and beaten to death by actor Paul Kelly. Among the co-actors are JFK, RFK, Peter Lawford, Lana's knife-wielding daughter Cheryl, the Manson Family, Charlie Chaplin, John Wayne, and Stan Laurel. Meanwhile, the three most deeply researched deaths: those of Ince, Taylor, and Monroe. Did jealous William Randolph Hearst, the zillionaire newspaper tycoon, murder film-director Ince by misadventure aboard Hearst's yacht? Misadventure, because he'd meant to kill Chaplin, who was paying too much attention to Hearst's mistress, actress Marion Davies. ""Only those involved knew for certain what happened, and all of them are dead now."" Somewhat more impressive is Munn's redaction of the various leads about Marilyn's death, which turns out to have happened not while she was in the dumps, but on an upswing. That the Kennedy brothers were involved is by now certain. What's more, she apparently died not at home but on her way to a hospital by ambulance, then was returned home for a more laundered ""discovery."" Furthermore, though her death was by an overdose of barbiturates, there were no pills or remains of pills in her stomach--and the specimens of her stomach, liver, and kidneys mysteriously disappeared when medical examiner Dr. Thomas Noguchi sent them to the lab for analysis. The implication is that she died by injection. Not a book you absolutely must have, but a natural history of death among the Hollywood egoists that has its moments.

Pub Date: March 21, 1988

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1988