Everyone needs a little help now and then. Most of us get through life without anyone knowing about when we need to rely on others or why. If you’ve ever hired a gardener or a masseuse or an entire petting zoo to come entertain you, that’s probably your business. But the higher profile someone gets, the more likely their endeavors towards hiring someone to assist them with any random task will be scrutinized. Most often these cases will be as mundane as they are for you and me. But not always.
10. Angelina Jolie Tired to Hire a Hitman to Kill Herself
Hiring a hitman is not an everyday event. You see it in movies now and then and you may even come across stories in the news about someone falling for a Rent-a-Hitman website and trying to have their ex killed. And then there’s a story like Angelina Jolie’s.
Jolie is arguably one of the biggest stars in Hollywood though her personal life often overshadows her professional one in the media despite having won an Academy Award, several Golden Globes and SAG awards among others. Back in 2001, however, she made a stunning and unexpected revelation.
Never one to shy away from talking about her struggles with mental health issues, Jolie admitted she once attempted to hire a hitman. The target? Angelina Jolie. She was suicidal but felt that it would be less of a burden to her family if her cause of death was something else. So, rather than take her own life, she considered having someone else do it, reasoning that murder would be less traumatic.
This was no fly-by-night idea, either. She planned how to collect the money over time so as to not be suspicious and then found and even contacted a hitman. It was the hitman himself who suggested that she take some time before making the final decision. If she still wanted to do it, he told her to call him back after a month or two.
Obviously things changed, and she never followed through, but who knows what might have happened had her contact not had some empathy.
9. Jeff Goldblum Tried to Hire a Prostitute When He Was 13
Not many actors can stand toe to toe with Jeff Goldblum for sheer weirdness and charm. His performances are memorable and enigmatic and he just comes across like a wholly unique and curious man. And he’s been curious in more ways than one ever since he was a kid if this story is to be believed.
In 2016, Goldblum was on the Graham Norton show and shared a tale of illicit wonder from his childhood. When he was 13, he stole money from his father with the intent of hiring a prostitute. He explained that he’d hit puberty but was not entirely successful with the girls at school so he tried to improvise.
He took $5 and headed to the red light district of his town and apparently that was a reasonable amount of money at the time as he was heading back to the room with a woman when he got cold feet. He explained he had another engagement, and he’d be back later. He never went back.
8. The CIA Hired a Magician to Write a Magic Book for Spies
The CIA has a bit of a reputation in the world at large, some of it built on their real life exploits and some of it built on fiction. But, in general, this is the part of the American government that we most closely associate with spies. There are undercover operations and breakneck exploits with international espionage and intelligence gathering. And then there’s the time they hired a magician to write a book for spies.
Rumors of a CIA manual that taught magic to spies was considered a rumor for a long time until a former agent finally dug one up. The book dates back to the 1950s and was written by magician John Mulholland and covered techniques like sleight of hand and covert signaling that might help spies in the field at the height of the Cold War.
In the ’70s, it was revealed that Mulholland’s techniques were used to secretly administer drugs, like slipping a sedative into a drink without being noticed, perhaps. And he was even consulted to help explain and evaluate the inexplicable, like a mystic who claimed he could send and receive psychic messages.
7. San Diego Hired a Rainmaker and Then it Flooded
Bad weather can wreak havoc on any city, and catastrophic weather can bring one to its knees. And that’s just in the modern world when we have technology to help overcome almost anything. In 1915, you can imagine things were much more touch and go.
Lack of rain became such an issue for San Diego thanks to a drought in 1915 that their reservoirs were all but depleted and they needed a miracle. So they paid for one. The city paid $10,000 to a man named Charles Hatfield, a “moisture accelerator” who promised he’d make it rain.
Hatfield, a sewing machine salesman, built a 20 foot tower atop of which he burned a chemical mixture he claimed would see the clouds and cause rain. And while it sounds ludicrous, the fact that it later did start to rain so much that the city flooded probably made a lot of people believe he was the real deal. Unfortunately for him, the flood was so bad he wasn’t getting praised but blamed.
It started to rain on January 1, 1916 and kept going for literally the entire month, dumping 30 inches on the city. A dam was washed out, dozens of people died, and no one paid Hatfield because it was labeled an act of God.
6. The Mayor of Bogota Hired Mimes to Make Fun of Bad Drivers
Most of us have had experience with a politician who’s maybe a little quirkier than we’d consider normal. Just because someone is weird doesn’t mean they’re unelectable. The city of Bogota in Colombia elected a mayor who fit that bill when they gave the job to mathematician and philosopher Antanas Mockus.
Mockus had a tall order reigning in a city of 6.5 million known to be riddled with all manner of crime. How’d he handle it? He started wearing a Superman costume. He also enacted numerous unusual and inventive policies to help change the direction of the city.
He developed a “Night for Women” and encouraged all men to stay home so women could have a night out. 700,000 women took advantage of the first one. He took a shower on TV and turned off the water in the middle of it to encourage water conservation. Water usage dropped by 14%. When people realized it was saving them money, it dropped further to 40%.
For social change his ideas were just as weird. He gave out 350,000 thumbs up/thumbs down cards to be used in public to express support or disdain for other people’s behavior. He asked people to pay 10% more taxes. He didn’t make anyone do it, he just asked. 63,000 people agreed to it. He even lowered the murder rate in a year from 80 per 100,000 to 22 per 100,000.
The mayor’s office painted stars on the road where people died in traffic accidents. By the next year, fatalities were cut in half. In part, this was achieved by hiring over 400 mimes to make fun of pedestrians and drivers alike who didn’t follow the rules of the road. It worked so well they were able to eliminate the former and corrupt traffic police force.
5. The Rolling Stones Hired Hells Angels As Security
The Rolling Stones often find a place in the top ten list of the greatest rock bands of all time and have done so for decades now. They’re certified legends of the genre and when a band gets that big, they need their own infrastructure. Security, for instance. Concerts and appearances can get rowdy.
In 1969, the Stones tried to put on their own Woodstock at Altamont Speedway with the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and some others. Security for this slapdash event was to be provided by several dozen members of the Hells Angels biker gang in exchange for $500 worth of beer.
The Stones were the headliners, and the Grateful Dead were the second last act. But the Dead bailed when they found out that the lead singer of Jefferson Airplane got knocked out by a biker during their set. So when the Stones took the stage, tensions were high. And then one member of the gang stabbed another man who was armed with a gun to death right in front of Mick Jagger.
The band didn’t see what happened, so they kept playing. By the time the show was over, three other people had died by accident and somehow four babies had been born.
4. Gary Oldman Hired a Voice Coach to Re-Learn His British Accent
Gary Oldman is considered one of the great actors of our time, and his work has required him to take on many personas. He’s often been described as a chameleon on the big screen, changing his look dramatically from roles in things like the Harry Potter franchise, to portraying Winston Churchill, to his bizarre but iconic turn as an over-the-top villain in The Fifth Element, there’s not much he can’t do. Except, apparently, always sound like a Brit.
British by birth, he’s played an American many times and in a way that caused him some personal strife. After living in LA for too long, he lost his accent. And to remedy that, he hired a dialect coach to teach him how to sound British again.
3. Ozzy Osbourne Once Hired a “Personal Dwarf”
Ozzy Osbourne has had one of the more colorful careers in music history. From his time in Black Sabbath to his reality TV show and that whole bat incident, he’s had some success making weird headlines.
When Ozzy went solo in the ’80s, he apparently became fixated on the idea of hiring a personal little person. He hired actor John Edward Allen who performed under the name Ronnie the Dwarf, a dig at new Sabbath member Ronnie James Dio.
Allen became a staple of Osbourne’s stage show where he’d be ritualistically hung every performance, and also bring drinks to Ozzy when he was chatting up the crowd. Osbourne and Allen had a toxic relationship off stage and at one point Allen was locked in the luggage compartment of the tour bus by Ozzy because he got mad at him for being drunk.
2. Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift Hired a Fake Director
It can take a crew of hundreds and even thousands to make a movie if it’s big enough but one job you rarely see listed in credits is decoy director. The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift had to have one on set for a very specific reason, however.
The producers were unable to get the permits to legally film where they wanted to film in Tokyo so instead they just didn’t. They filmed anyway knowing full well that they’d get in trouble for it and that’s where the decoy comes in. They hired a fake director specifically so he could take the fall when cops showed up and the real director could finish what he needed to do.
1. Bill Murray Hired an Assistant No One Could Communicate With
Bill Murray has been a beloved comedian since the ’70s but his real life persona has become even more well known in the internet age with stories spreading far and wide of perplexing and quirky interactions people have had with the man. Some are obviously fake, and some are harder to pin down.
What is known as that he can be difficult to work with. This is true for strangers and friends alike. Harold Ramis, with whom Murray worked on numerous movies from Stripes to Ghostbusters, was directing Murray in the movie Groundhog Day and the two clearly had troubles.
Murray was going through a divorce which perhaps contributed to the breakdown on set. Bill was not happy with production and he was notoriously hard to communicate with. Someone suggested he hire an assistant, and so he did. His assistant was deaf, had no oral speech abilities, and could only communicate via American sign language with neither Murray nor anyone else understood.