A Brief History
On August 12, 30 BC, Cleopatra VII Philopator is alleged to have committed suicide by allowing an Asp (a venomous snake of the cobra family) to bite her. (Yes, she was THE Cleopatra.) We used this occasion to publish our article, “10 Famous Suicides,” and today we list another list of those that took their own lives, “5 More Famous Suicides.” We have also addressed the suicide phenomena in our articles “10 More Famous Suicides,” “10 World Leaders that Committed Suicide,” and “The Origins of Dr. Death (Assisted Suicide).”
Please note that we do not glorify or recommend suicide by anyone and by all means disagree with suicide as an option, unless possibly in the case of terminal illness with severe pain. While we refuse to honor those that commit suicide lest we encourage others to do so, we also do not cast aspersions or disdain on those that choose this grim fate. If you are having suicidal thoughts, please seek help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK ) is a United States-based suicide prevention network of 161 crisis centers that provides a 24/7, toll-free hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.
1. Jeffrey Epstein, Pedophile, 2019.
While being held in Federal custody in New York facing charges of sex trafficking and sexual offenses concerning minors, Epstein allegedly hanged himself in his cell on August 10, 2019, though many suspicious circumstances surround the incident, which we discussed in our article, “Will Jeffrey Epstein Take Down the British Monarchy from the Grave?” Epstein’s death, be it suicide or murder, or even suicide allowed by the jail staff on purpose, may provide cover to numerous rich and famous people implicated as partaking in Epstein’s brand of sexual misconduct. Or will much of the truth have died with this vile child molester? We may never know.
2. Amy Vanderbilt, Etiquette Queen, 1974.
Did she jump or did she fall? We will probably never know, though despite reported dizzy spells brought on by her high blood pressure medicine, we believe it is less likely to fall out of a townhouse window than it is to purposely jump from such a window, in this case a window on the second floor. Vanderbilt was famous for writing about proper etiquette in her 1952 book, (later retitled as) Amy Vanderbilt’s Etiquette. She was 66 when she died.
3. Jean Stein, History and Biography Author, 2017.
Educated at all the high society schools, including Wellesley and the Sorbonne, Stein moved in the tides of high society in the US and Europe. She had an affair with William Faulkner and wrote a biography of Robert F. Kennedy, as well as working on major stage productions such as Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. She even married a Nobel Prize winner (Torsten Wiesel, 1995-2007), but suffered from depression later in life, leaping to her death from a window in New York in 2017, at the age of 83.
4. Brad Delp, Rock and Roller, 2007.
So many notable rock and roll musicians have killed themselves we could makes lists just naming those people. Delp may not jump to your mind as an everyday name, but the fact that he was the lead singer for the 1970’s band, Boston, should make his voice at least familiar to you (unless you are so young or so old that the 1970’s tunes are out of your orbit). Boston’s 1975 self-titled album sold a whopping 20 million copies and contained such rock and roll standards as “More than a Feeling,” “Foreplay/Long Time,” and “Peace of Mind.” Delp not only sang lead, it was his voice overdubbed on the harmony as well. Additionally, he co-wrote many of their songs. Delp was also involved in some other rock and roll acts, but apparently had a falling out with Boston co-founder Tom Scholz and had a variety of personal problems. Leaving several suicide notes around his apartment, he hooked up the exhaust from his car to his apartment ventilation system and killed himself by carbon monoxide poisoning in 2007 at the age of 55. Delp’s death left numerous squabbles in its wake, among his children and heirs as with Scholz, who bristled against insinuation that he was partly to blame for Delp’s suicide. Scholz sued for defamation but lost.
5. Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington, Rock and Rollers, 2017.
Although these 2 rockers did not die in the same incident, they were friends and killed themselves only 2 months apart in 2017. Cornell, singer for Soundgarden, hanged himself after a concert, possibly under the influence of too many Ativan tablets and other prescription drugs. A bereaved Bennington, singer for Linkin Park, performed at Cornell’s funeral, and 2 months later also hanged himself. Cornell was 52 years old when he died and Bennington was only 41. Did Cornell’s death influence Bennington’s decision to kill himself? We do not know, but it sure seems possible, especially as Bennington hanged himself on what would have been Cornell’s 53rd birthday.
Question for students (and subscribers): What recent suicide by a famous person do you believe is especially noteworthy? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Estevez, Benita. Suicide: The Final Curtain in the World of the Famous. RW Press, 2013.
Simon, Robert and Robert Hales. The American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Suicide Assessment and Management. American Psychiatric Publishing, 2012.
Strauss, Alix. Death Becomes Them: Unearthing the Suicides of the Brilliant, the Famous, and the Notorious. Harper Perennial, 2009.
The featured image in this article, The Death of Cleopatra (1892) by Reginald Arthur (1871–1934), is a faithful photographic reproduction of a two-dimensional, public domain work of art. The work of art itself is in the public domain for the following reason: This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 100 years or less. This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published (or registered with the U.S. Copyright Office) before January 1, 1924.