It's a strange thing about society that we tend to whitewash celebrities who have passed away. We find a certain romanticism in their untimely demise and put them on such an unattainable pedestal—almost as if they had achieved sainthood with death. But let's take a look at the truth behind some of these beloved icons—from a quick look at some of their less glamorous behavior to a deep dive into bad people who've been glorified.
This blog post will explore which dead celebrities may not actually deserve all this adoration!
1. Chris Kyle
Christopher Scott Kyle was a sharpshooter for the United States Navy SEALs. He was sent to Iraq four times and got a lot of praise for being brave and doing great work in combat.
One Redditor shared, “No one will say it because Americans have a hard time grappling with the military not being heroes, but Chris Kyle was a racist and a liar.”
Another added, “Yep. Jesse Ventura sued his widow and won the case for the completely fabricated story in Kyle's autobiography. Piece of s**t scum ‘sniper'. His life was bulls***.”
A third user ended the thread with a comment, “I know how we can help our PTSD, possibly schizophrenic friend. Let's take him to a gun range. I don't want to speak ill of specific dead, but stupid people are stupid.”
2. Ray Charles
Ray Charles Robinson Sr. was a singer, composer, pianist, and alto saxophonist from the United States. He is considered one of the most famous and influential vocalists in history and was often referred to as “The Genius” by his contemporaries.
One Redditor posted, “Ray Charles. Made children all over the place and refused to acknowledge them.”
Another replied, “Never even tried to see them.”
“His backup singer group was called the ‘Raylettes'… Quote was if you wanted to be a Raylettes, you had to ‘let Ray',” one commenter added.
3. Jerry Lewis
Jerry Lewis was a comedian, actor, singer, film director, producer, screenwriter, and humanitarian from the US. Lewis was dubbed “The King of Comedy” after his contributions to comedy and charity made him a global icon in pop culture.
One user said, “Jerry Lewis. Watch some clips on YouTube of him and his behavior. Terrible. Most likely stemming from when he and Dean Martin split from being Martin & Lewis, everyone thought Dean would disappear and Jerry would go on to be a massive star. As it turned out, it was the complete reverse. He was a bitter, bitter person.”
“He later said that it was his fault that he and Dean Martin broke up. He said his ego had grown too big and was full of himself. It doesn't excuse his behavior, but at least he recognized it. Breaking up was the best thing for them, as Dino had an amazing career after. Apparently, they also remained friendly with each other afterward, contrary to popular belief,” someone replied.
4. Bing Crosby
Harry Lillis “Bing” Crosby Jr. was a singer and actor. He was the first multimedia star and one of the twentieth century's most popular and influential musical performers.
One user shared, “Bing Crosby. Father of the Century. He was physically and mentally abusive to all his kids, an alcoholic, an adulterer, slimy businessman. Check it out….”
“This is the fourth mention of him I've seen so far,” another responded.
A third user ended, “It sounds like he mellowed out and learned from his mistakes as he got older. It helped that his second wife, Kathryn Grant, had a good head on her shoulders. His youngest son, Nathaniel, doesn't make excuses for Bing's behavior but does say that Bing never hit him. IMO, it's more accurate to say he was an abusive POS in his younger days but changed for the better in later life.”
5. Frank Lloyd Wright
A Redditor shared, “Frank Lloyd Wright. He is seen as a visionary in architecture, but he was a horrible person IRL. Raging narcissist, abandoned his wife and kids to run off with the wife of one of his clients, nailed down his selected furniture in a client's home because he didn't like what the client wanted, etc.”
Another user commented: “I don't know if this is true – if not, it's still a good story – but I remember hearing a biographer of Frank Lloyd Wright tell a story about a court case in which Wright appeared as a witness. His testimony went something like this:
Judge: Please identify yourself to the court.
FLW: My name is Frank Lloyd Wright, and I am an architect. In fact, I am the greatest architect in the world.
Judge: Mr. Wright, how are you able to make this claim?
FLW: Well, your honor, I am under oath.”
Another Redditor added, “Architecture is a field where only ego maniacs seem to manage to get on top.”
6. Coco Chanel
A commenter posted, “Coco Chanel revered fashion icon and also a Nazi sympathizer.”
“She was more than a sympathizer. She was an actual agent for the Nazis. She tried using anti-Jewish Nazi laws to get her two Jewish business partners removed to leave her the sole owner of her brand. But they had outsmarted her before fleeing to the United States. They gave their majority share of the company to someone else who was not Jewish and whom they trusted. Chanel would use her place in high society to spy on all the other high society people and report back to her lover, who was a Nazi officer, if anyone were a possible threat to the Nazi party to be dealt with. So, she was more than sympathetic. She was literally in bed with them,” one Reddit user responded.
One user asked, “So not only was she a sympathizer, but she actually sucked N*zi d*ck? wow?”
“Mistress of a head of the SS foreign intelligence branch Walter Schellenberg. Well, she was more of a sugar mommy to him instead of the other way around.” one user added.
7. Michael Landon
One user shared, “I haven't seen Michael Landon's name come up yet… he did amazing on Little House on the Prairie, but apparently, he was actually a raging alcoholic and even his own kids made a documentary [called] The Father I Knew.”
Another user added, “This was the one I was looking for. Michael Landon played wise, kindly characters on TV, like Charles Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie and Jonathan, a literal angel in ‘Highway to Heaven,' and many people seemed to think he was actually that saintly in real life. And he could be quite kind sometimes—he adopted his first wife's children and initially treated them like his own kids, even though he was barely 12 years older than the oldest boy- but he had a cruel, almost sociopathic side, too.
He eventually left his first wife and married someone else, which isn't that unusual in Hollywood. He adopted his second wife's daughter, and initially treated her the same as his biological kids, of which he had several. However, he then left his second wife and family for a much younger woman who worked on the Little House set, and then he publicly stated that he never really loved his second wife, which absolutely broke his children's hearts. He then told his kids that if they didn't accept his new wife with open arms, he'd have nothing to do with them.
“He had two kids with his third wife and left the bulk of his estate to them and very little to any of the kids from his previous relationships. It's like Michael Landon could only love certain people at certain times. Once he moved on, he gave all his love to the new people in his life and treated the people he supposedly once loved as if they never really mattered to him at all.”
“His first wife was actually the person who inspired the movie ‘The First Wives Club.' She had a little group of Hollywood wives that had that in common,” one Redditor replied.
8. Jimmy Savile
One Redditor shared, “Jimmy Savile. Absolute monster. His celebrity as an English radio and TV personality gained him unrestricted access to hospitals with disabled children whom he abused. That's putting his life very lightly. Beware if you go on to read more about him.”
Another replied, “Such an evil man. I wouldn't say he was treated like a saint after this death though. All this stuff came out like a week after he died, if I remember correctly, and he was very much relegated to the trash bin where he belongs.”
“It was about a year before the truth came out. There was a period after his death where he was treated with a bizarre amount of reverence by the media,” one user added.
“We know he's scum now. There was a (brief) time when the majority of people did not… the truth about him only really became public about a year or so after his death. We're talking about a man who, when he died, was laid in state in a gold coffin and visited by thousands of people. I also remember plenty of people who thought the initial documentary that brought the abuse to light was – at first – in extremely poor taste and attacking a “great man” who couldn't defend himself anymore. It took quite a while for some people to accept the reality…
“We know he was scum now, but there absolutely was a brief period towards the end of his life, and just after he died, where a significant part of the population honestly didn't think he was anything other than a philanthropist who made kids' dreams come true…
EDIT: I can only assume the person who's downvoted me has somehow misread this as a defense of Savile. It is not. I'm just stating a fact: between Savile's death in 2011 and the truth coming to light in 2012, coverage of the man and his funeral was completely fawning in nature. People were literally lining the streets for his funeral, for crying out loud. The Royal Marines turned out to be his pallbearers. There were celebrities and politicians at his funeral, which included a procession through the streets of Leeds. That's hardly the kind of send-off you give someone if you know they're going to be unmasked as one of the vilest men in British history 12 months later,” one user confirmed.
9. Johnny Carson
A user shared, “Johnny Carson. He cheated on his wives.” They continued, “The most widely known example was him telling Joan Rivers that she'd never become the star of The Tonight Show (she was the permanent guest host at the time), then refusing to ever speak to her again after she got a job elsewhere.”
Another user commented, “Ed McMahon wrote a diet book (weird, I know), and in it, he talks a lot about how Johnny Carson would absolutely torment Ed about his weight.” And they were supposedly best friends. Imagine how he treated other people in his life if he made his best friend feel like hot garbage daily.”
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