Around 3 a.m. on September 18, 1970, Jimi Hendrix's girlfriend Monika Dannemann prepared him a tunafish sandwich in her London flat. What happened next is not precisely known, but when paramedics arrived on the scene at 11:27 a.m., the guitar virtuoso was alone and unconscious. Hendrix was pronounced dead at the hospital about an hour later. He was 27.
In 2009, more than 50 years after he died in a car crash on September 30, 1955, the Santa Clarita Historical Society brought together a group of historians, biographers and even retired California Highway Patrol officers to see if they could answer a burning question: Did or did not the 24-year-old Dean eat his last meal—apple pie and a glass of milk—at Tip's coffee shop just outside town? No one was able to verify this long-held belief, but nor did anyone shoot it down.
She had been recording "Pearl" with the Full Tilt Boogie Band at L.A.'s Sunset Sound Studio. Done for the night, on October 3, 1970, Janis Joplin and her band hung out at the famous Barney's Beanery, where she consumed drinks and possibly some chili. Then it was back to Room 105 at the Landmark Hotel for her last shot of heroin. The 27-year-old singer was found dead on the floor beside her bed the next day.
On June 19, 2013, while vacationing in Rome, James Gandolfini and his 13-year-old son Michael had dinner at the outdoor restaurant of the Boscolo Exedra Roma hotel. Gandolfini, 51, reportedly consumed a lot of alcohol, along with two orders of fried king prawns and a plate of fois gras. He died shortly afterward of a massive heart attack.
Cass Elliot had just completed two weeks of sold-out solo concerts at the London Palladium when she died in her sleep, in an apartment borrowed from singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson, on July 28, 1974. A partially eaten ham sandwich was discovered on a night table in her room, but the widely circulated story that she had choked on the sandwich is just an urban legend. In fact, the cause of death was a heart attack. Mama Cass was 32.
Like Cass Elliott, Keith Moon was 32 and staying in singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson's London apartment when he died, on September 7, 1978. The night before, the Who drummer and girlfriend Annette Walter-Lax had dined with Paul and Linda McCartney. In the morning, he had steak and eggs for breakfast—along with Heminevrin, a drug used to counter alcohol withdrawal—and then went back to bed. He never woke up.
Philip Seymour Hoffman
On February 1, 2014, Hoffman had dinner with two acquaintances at Automatic Slim's, a restaurant he frequented in Manhattan's West Village. He ate a cheeseburger. The next day he was found dead on the bathroom floor of his apartment, with a syringe stuck in his arm and heroin at the scene. He was 46.
On August 31, 1997, Diana and boyfriend Dodi Fayed ate dinner at the Ritz hotel in Paris. Her order: an omelet, Dover sole and vegetable tempura. Around midnight, the couple climbed into a black Mercedes, which crashed as driver Henri Paul (with a blood alcohol level more than three times France's legal limit) tried to lose the paparazzi on motorcycles chasing the car. Only bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones survived the collision. Diana was 36.
John F. Kennedy
JFK's last meal was the breakfast delivered to his room at the Hotel Texas in Fort Worth on the morning of November 22, 1963. Kennedy had ordered coffee, orange juice, two boiled (five-minute) eggs and toast with marmalade on the side. The 46-year-old president was assassinated at 12:30 p.m. as his motorcade made its way through Dallas.
The only food found in John Belushi's stomach after he overdosed was lentil soup, which he'd eaten in the kitchen of L.A.'s Rainbow Bar and Grill on March 5, 1982, after friends urged him to consume something other than alcohol and drugs. Belushi then returned to his bungalow at the Chateau Marmont, where Catherine Evelyn Smith (the inspiration for Gordon Lightfoot's 1974 hit "Sundown") gave the 33-year-old "SNL" alumnus what turned out to be a lethal dose of heroin and cocaine.
The death of Jim Morrison still has an air of mystery, but his girlfriend Pamela Courson said they stopped at a Chinese restaurant after seeing a movie in Paris on the evening of June 2, 1971. Morrison ordered sweet & sour chicken and beer. Afterward, the couple returned to their apartment, where they snorted heroin ("Chinese junk," in keeping with the dinner). Morrison, 27, died the next day of "heart failure," according to his death certificate. No autopsy was performed.
The Backwoods Barbie who became a country-pop icon
Major stars whose performances landed on the cutting room floor
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Mannequins who came to life on the big screen
On screen, he was the epitome of elegance, but his real life didn’t match what you saw in the movies