In preparation for every actor's favorite holiday, I give you a presentation in Spook-e-Vision! As all of Hollywood is haunted by the macabre tragedies of its past, and as every glittering star seeks to hide a hideous face he or she wants no one to see, Halloween seems the most fitting celebrity celebration. Accepted truths are hidden behind ghoulish masks, the dark corners of life we normally deny are openly indulged in, and all the world salivates over disturbing and heart-pounding stories of violence and terror just for kicks-- to feel alive while indulging in death. This ain't no Christmas. Therefore, amidst the rest of the black-hearted mayhem, let us summon a few more spirits from the ugly bowels of Movieland's history and bring forth the ghosts of Tinsel Town's gruesome past. (Mwah ha ha ha)! The theme of this group of tales is the curse of foresight. The supernatural, the uncanny, but mostly the unfortunate will greet you in what follows. Say your prayers for the lost souls.
Some consequence yet hanging in the stars
Shall bitterly begin his fearful date
With this night's revels and expire the term
Of a despised life closed in my breast
By some vile forfeit of untimely death."
More than one have seen Paul's lonely ghost roaming the various rooms of his old home. During Sharon's stay there, she would come face to face with him. Lying in bed one night, all alone in the house, she woke to see Paul's dark, transparent figure looming over her. She was terrified! She ran from the room and down the stairs to the first floor. As if that shock wasn't enough, Sharon then had a premonition: she saw herself tied up at the foot of the staircase, covered in blood, with her throat slashed open. Then as quickly as the phenomenon occurred, it was over. Sharon was shaken. She stumbled upon a hidden bar in the wall, which she previously had no knowledge of but was naturally led to, and had a nice, stiff drink. She told Jay about her experience the next day, and he calmed her down, but the images she had seen continued to plague her. Three years later, in her house on Cielo Drive, which was just down the way on Benedict Canyon from the Bern home, Sharon would lose her life when some unexpected visitors came calling. Ironically, Jay was visiting her at the time and was another victim. Had Paul been trying to warn her? Did the curse of Easton Drive rub off on both Sharon and Jay, who had died trying to protect her? Even Roman caught a hint of the tragedy to come when he said goodbye to Sharon for the last time (before he left for a shoot). Feeling her pregnant belly pressed against his own, a great weight of danger fell on his shoulders. He shrugged it off, but her sad fate was not to be denied. It would be written in blood.
The celebrity intuition continues.... The slogan "Live fast; die young" was coined for James Dean, the poster boy for discontented adolescence. In his film work, Dean was always clawing his way through existence, searching for some deeper meaning or some greater truth than his parents or peers could offer. Rebellion was the name of the game, and the unhappy sorrow that naturally accompanies the unfulfilled revolutionary was his cross to bear. Off screen, his true life was not much different. Jimmy always carried that tragic air about him, which drew women (and men) to him like moths to a flame. The pain behind his eyes, the uncertainty, made him even more desirable: the typical boy everyone wanted to save because he couldn't save himself. The particulars of his life, the pains he suffered, sent him into an almost reluctant spiral of self-destruction. He showed his contempt for society and himself by tempting fate, usually behind the wheel of a car or in the seat of a motorcycle. Just how fast did one have to go until he could outrun his demons? He was determined to find out.
Carole Lombard may have had her dizzy head in the clouds, but she also had her feet on the ground. She was a worldly dame and a realistic one. Her mother, on the other hand, was much more spiritually curious-- she was fascinated in numerology and incredibly superstitious. For this reason, "Bessie" begged her daughter not to take the flight home after a bond rally for WWII. Carole was in a hurry to get back to her hubby, Clark Gable, whom she heard was getting a little too cozy on the set of Somewhere I'll Find You with Lana Turner, but Bessie tried to persuade her to take a more lengthy train ride instead. The number three was an important one in Bessie's life, as she considered it unlucky, and her heart filled with foreboding as they prepared to take off. Threes were popping up everywhere. There were three in their party-- Carole, Otto Winkler, and herself-- they were taking TWA Flight 3, and there were 3 members on crew (along with 19 passengers). Carole too was 33 years old. The stubborn screwball refused to hear of such nonsense. She was exhausted after a long fundraising tour, and she just wanted to go home. Enough is enough, she decided! She would flip a coin, that way they could stop arguing and the decision would be fair. Carole tossed and won... and lost. The plane Bessie was desperately trying to keep them out of would crash into Mount Potosi in Nevada on January 16, 1942, 23 minutes after taking off. (All good girls should listen to their mothers). Carole's last film, To Be Or Not to Be, was in post-production when she died. Director Ernst Lubitsch immediately cut out a scene in which Carole was to say, "What can happen on a plane?"