Many famous celebrities such as actors, singers and politicians have died, many in mysterious circumstances, at various hotels across the world. It’s interesting to take a look at some of the most famous personalities to have passed away at a hotel.
Hotel D’Alsace, Paris, France
Oscar Wilde passed away in a hotel room at the Hotel D’Alsace on 30 November 1900 aged just 46. The Irish writer and poet is said to have failed to pay a rather large hotel bill at the Rue des Beaux Arts hotel and apparently said “I’m dying as I have lived… beyond my means”. Best known for his works The Importance of Being Earnest and The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde was baptised into the Catholic Church on his deathbed, when he died of cerebral meningitis. Today the hotel is simply named L’Hotel. Visitors to Paris can visit Oscar Wilde’s grave at the Pere Lachaise Cemetery.
The Doors frontman, Jim Morrison also passed away at the Hotel D’Alsace on Paris’ Left Bank on 3 July 1971 aged just 27. Again mystery surrounds his death as his body was found in the hotel bathtub but there was no autopsy report – Morrison had actually written in is diaries that he would fake his own death and live as a poet in Africa under the pen name Mr Mojo Risin’ (anagram of his name). His gravesite is one of the most visited in the world, at the Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.
Beverly Hilton Hotel, Beverley Hills, California, USA
Suite 434 of the Beverly Hilton Hotel is where troubled singer Whitney Houston was found submerged in her bathtub on 11 February 2012. Just 48 years old, Whitney had made a brief appearance on stage the day before her death. The toxicology report into her death revealed various drugs including cocaine and marijuana in her system – Whitney’s death was ruled as ‘accidental’. Her funeral lasted four hours with musical tributes from Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys and R Kelly.
Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles, USA
Senator Robert F Kennedy was assassinated on June 5th 1968, just after midnight, just after giving a speech at the Ambassador Hotel, in LA, California. He left the ballroom and went via the kitchens despite being advised by security teams not to) and was shot three times by 24 year old Palestinian-born man named Sirhan Sirhan. Kennedy died the next morning and Sirhan stated that he felt betrayed by the support that Robert F Kennedy showed for Israel during the Six Day War in 1967. Kennedy is buried at Arlington National Cemetery with various other members of his family including his assassinated brother President John F. Kennedy.
The hotel on 3400 Wilshire Boulevard was pretty high profile and was the location for many political meets and Academy Award ceremonies in the 30s and 40s. Closed down in 1989 the empty façade of The Ambassador Hotel has still featured in numerous Hollywood movies such as Pretty Woman, Apollo 12, Forrest Gump (my fav) and LA Story. It was demolished in 2005 with community schools built on the site.
Chateau Marmont, West Hollywood, California, USA
The American comedian, actor and musician John Belushi was found dead at the Chateau Marmont on 5 March 1982. Belushi who was born in Chicago and was best known for the movies Animal House and The Blues Brothers, died from an accidental overdose of cocaine and heroin at Bungalow 3 at Chateau Marmont. Aged just 33 Belushi was posthumously awarded a Hollywood Star in 2004.
Landmark Hotel, Hollywood, USA
Singer Janis Joplin died aged just 27 at room 105 at the Landmark Hotel on 7047 Franklin Avenue in Hollywood. On 4 October 1970 she died of a heroin overdose, three days after finishing recording her now famous rock album, Pearl which was also her nickname. The Landmark Hotel has now been renamed the Highland Gardens Hotel.
Parallels have been drawn with other famous celebrities that have also died aged 27 including Jim Morrison (listed above) and Jimi Hendrix who died just two weeks earlier than Janis Joplin at his girlfriend’s house at the Samarkand Hotel in Notting Hill, London.
Town House Hotel, Norwich, UK
Notorious British gangster Reggie Kray, who committed a reign of terror in 50s and 60s East London, died aged 66 in a former-Beefeater hotel in the city of Norwich. Eventually jailed in 1969 for the murder of a fellow gangster, Reggie Kray served 31 years before being released due to deteriorating health, suffering with bladder cancer. He passed away on 1 October 2000 in the honeymoon suite after specially choosing the hotel so he could overlook the river after so many years confined to a prison cell.
Chelsea Hotel, Manhattan, New York City, USA
The infamous story of Sid Vicious, who was the bass guitarist for the British punk rock band the Sex Pistols who is said to have fatally stabbed his girl-friend Nancy Laura Spungen. Nancy was just 20 years old when the incident took place at Room 100 of New York City’s Chelsea Hotel which is located on 23rd Street in the Chelsea district of Manhattan on 12 October 1978.
Nancy was found dead in their bathroom from a sink stab wound which was traced back to a knife owned by Sid Vicious. Theirs was a turbulent relationship with native New Yorker Nancy said to have introduced Sid to drugs. However just four months later, whilst Sid was on bail for Nancy’s murder, he took a fatal and deliberate heroin overdose, aged just 21.
Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Sydney, Australia
Lead singer of legendary Australian rock band called INXS, Michael Hutchence was found hanged at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Double Bay in Sydney. A cleaner entered room 524 and found Hutchence hanged with a leather belt, the morning after 22 November 1997. Michael Hutchence was 37 and INXS were part way through their Elegantly Wasted world tour. His death was ruled a suicide and claims were that he was depressed and under the effects of alcohol and drugs. INXS had huge success across the world in the 80s and 90s and Hutchence dated many high profile celebrities including fellow Australian Kylie Minogue, model Helena Christensen and Brit Paula Yates.
Lorraine Motel, Memphis, TN, USA
The renowned leader of the African-American Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King, Jr was assassinated on 4 April 1968 in Memphis. He was staying at room 306 at the Lorraine Motel and when he stepped out onto the balcony he was fatally shot, aged 39. Today Lorraine Motel is a National Civil Rights Museum with exhibits detailing his work and his death.
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Miami, Florida
Playboy model Anna Nicole Smith died aged 39 at room 607 of Miami’s Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Miami on 8 February 2007. Anna had been sick for a week with suspected flu and was self-medicating with prescription and over the counter drugs. She passed away in the hotel’s bed and the toxicology review found 9 different legal drugs in her system including a sedative. The verdict was accidental drug overdose.