Hollywood is known for putting out some of the weirdest and wildest tales that mankind has ever known. While most of those stories are just on screen, in a city full of clever and creative people, there is always some type of crazy story that seems too strange to be true. But since it’s so strange, it’s just as likely to be true as well. These are 10 of the strangest and most enduring conspiracies from Hollywood.
10. Randy Quaid and the Star Whackers
Randy Quaid is a Golden Globe winning actor and older brother of actor Dennis Quaid. Quaid is best known for his roles in National Lampoon’s Vacation movies and Independence Day.
In 2009, Quaid and his wife Evi started to have some legal problems. Their first run in with the law was in September 2009, when they were accused of not paying a bill for a hotel room. Then in September 2010 they were charged again, this time for squatting and vandalizing a guesthouse on a property they used to own. The next month, they were arrested in Vancouver, Canada for the charges stemming from the guesthouse incident. It was at this time that they applied for refugee status, but they cited a very unusual reason for wanting to stay in Canada. Quaid claimed that he was being victimized by a secret group of people called “The Hollywood Star Whackers.” The cabal-style group was trying to “racketeer” money from the Quaids. The Star Whackers were also involved in the much more sinister plot of killing big name movie stars, so that studios could save money by filling in roles with lesser known actors. The Quaids claimed that the Whackers killed Heath Ledger, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and David Carradine. They also said as far back as 2005, the Whackers may have been involved with setting up Michael Jackson and they were quite possibly involved in his death. The Whackers also framed Mel Gibson and ruined his career. The Quaids also said the mysterious group tried to sabotage the career of Jeremy Piven and quite possibly set up Robert Blake.
Of course, none of this has ever been substantiated. It is still believed that Quaid and his wife are in Canada, where they make and post strange online videos.
9. Tom Cruise’s Marriage Contract
There is no shortage of bizarre rumors about Tom Cruise and the fact that he is a legitimately weird guy does not help his case much. One of the most enduring conspiracy theories surrounding Tom Cruise is that he auditions actresses to be his wife and if he likes them and if they embrace Scientology, he offers them a five-year marriage contract. The contract would give the actress a career boost, money and there would be a bonus if there were a baby born. In exchange, Cruise would look less eccentric and the marriage would dispel any rumors about him being gay. It was rumored that after his 10-year marriage to Nicole Kidman ended (she apparently signed two contracts), Cruise auditioned a number of women, and then offered some of them the marriage contract. These women included such notable stars as Sofia Vergara, Scarlett Johansson and Katie Holmes.
What is interesting is that the theory has a bit of truth to it. Apparently, the Church of Scientology, where Cruise is second or third in command, did vet a number of women, including soap actress Nazanin Boniadi, who “tried out” to be Cruise’s wife. As for the three stars, Cruise did meet all of them, but they did not audition to be his wife. He was set up on a date with Vergara by fellow scientologist Will Smith. He also met Scarlett Johansson and Katie Holmes when they auditioned for a role on Mission Impossible III. In the end, Vergara and Johansson turned down Cruise, Johansson even dropped out of the movie, because of Cruise’s strong religious beliefs. Holmes, on the other hand, married Cruise and it lasted for five years.
Cruise has never discussed the possibility of the contract and he, along with the Church of Scientology, deny auditioning women to be his wife.
8. The Death of Anna Nicole Smith
Born in 1967 as Vickie Lynn Hogan, but better known as Anna Nicole Smith, she first became famous after being named Playboy’s Playmate of the Year in 1993. Besides just being a model, she acted in a few films, notably the Coen brother’s The Hudsucker Proxy and Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult. What Smith is probably most famous for is her personal life. In 1991 while working at an exotic dance club in Houston, she met 86-year-old oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall. They carried on a relationship for two years while Smith was still married. She left her husband and married the billionaire in June 1994. He died 14 months later at the age of 90 and left her half of his $1.6 billion estate. Just weeks after Marshall’s death, one of his sons sued Smith saying she didn’t deserve the inheritance.
In 2002, Smith popped up again on the pop culture radar when she got her own reality show, The Anna Nicole Show. On the show, she often appeared disorientated and confused. It became popular because she was obviously a train wreck that said whatever came to her mind. People liked watching it, just to see how much more she could screw up in basic day-to-day life. But then things in the Smith story took a much darker turn. On September 7, 2006, Smith gave birth to a daughter named Danielynn. But tragically, just three days later, her 20-year-old son Daniel died while visiting Smith in the hospital. He died from a drug overdose from mixing methadone and two antidepressants. Seven months later, Smith died like her son, from an overdose of drugs.
While it is highly possible that Smith’s overdose was connected to the grief she felt over her son, there have been a few theories on what actually killed her. One of the most notable ones was that her lawyer/lover/friend Howard K. Stern killed her by constantly feeding her drugs. He certainly did have motive, while they weren’t committed to each other, Smith did get pregnant by another man. No one was ever charged for murder, but Stern and Smith’s psychiatrist, Khristine Eroshevich, were convicted for trying to give her too many prescription drugs. Stern used fake names to obtain the drugs and Eroshevich wrote the prescriptions. In one month, through prescriptions, Smith received 1,500 pills. Stern says he wasn’t trying to harm her and was only trying to help her.
Also, people wondered if Marshall’s son who was suing Smith had something to do with the death of Smith, but it doesn’t look like that is the case. However, it does look like Smith did try to hire someone to kill him though.
7. The Murder of Ronni Chasen
Ronni Chasen was a famous Hollywood publicist who led over 100 campaigns for movies to win Academy Awards. Some of her most successful campaigns were for Driving Miss Daisy, Shakespeare in Love, and The Hurt Locker. Close to 12:30 a.m. on November 16, 2010, Chasen was sitting in her car at a red light in Beverley Hills. Originally the police believed it was some type of road rage incident involving a truck or an SUV and that the killer fired five shots, all hitting her in the back and chest. Two weeks later the police had announced that they had confronted their suspect, 43-year-old transient Harold Martin Smith, and when they did, he pulled out a gun and shot himself. They tested the gun and found it was the same one used in the murder. But many people found glaring holes in the police’s theory about Smith.
Smith was apparently on a bike and he rode seven miles through Beverley Hills to rob Chasen. This just didn’t sit right with anyone who knew anything about Beverley Hills. First off, Smith was a black transient man who was riding through one of the most policed areas in the country. There is a good chance he would have been stopped or at least seen by the police on the way. But he wasn’t, nor was he spotted on any security cameras. Also, how did he bike away after firing five shots without being seen? Then there is his victim, why would he bike seven miles just to rob someone? There were plenty of other easier robbery opportunities along the way.
As for the shots, how did he manage to fire off five perfect shots from a bike as Chasen’s car moved away from him? Gun experts said that the shots were incredibly accurate. Also, in a recreation of the shooting, the angle does not match up with the height of the bike. Then there is the strange feature of the bullets; they were hallow-points. Why would someone like Smith want the more expensive hallow-points? Finally, neighbors of Smith heard him say he was owed $10,000. After the case came to light, they just assumed it was for the hit on Chasen, but they also admitted that Smith could have just been delusional.
Due to all the questions surrounding the murder of Chasen, a number of conspiracy theories have arisen as to who killed Chasen or who had her killed. Some believe it might have had something to do with jealousy over a campaign. For example, at the previous Academy Awards held in March, The Hurt Locker won for best picture, which was a campaign Chasen worked on. While some believe it was a hit by the Russian mafia or a gang initiation. There is currently a reward for information about the case, but the police consider the case closed.
6. Errol Flynn was a Spy
Born in Australia in 1909, Errol Flynn found almost immediate success when he moved to Hollywood in 1935. He was famous for his roles in swashbuckler movies and he is best known for his role as Robin of Locksley in The Adventures of Robin Hood. He was also famous for being a legendary alcoholic and a womanizer. What is not known for sure about Flynn was if he was a spy for either the Nazis or the Allied Forces. In 1980, biographer Charles Higham published a book entitled, Errol Flynn: The Untold Story, in which he claims that Flynn was a Nazi spy during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). According to Higham, using information from declassified CIA files, in Spain Flynn collected information about German socialists who fought against the Spanish rebels. Higham even claims that in 1938, Flynn met Adolf Hitler in a secret meeting.
However, that wasn’t the only time Flynn was apparently involved in espionage. During World War II, he wrote a letter to William Donovan, who was head of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), which later became the CIA. In the letter, Flynn asked to be put in uniform and sent to Ireland where he could be a spy. He thought that since he was so famous, people were more likely to speak openly to him. The letter was even passed on to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Ultimately, the OSS did not take up Flynn on his offer because before the war Flynn was known to be sympathetic to the Nazis.
5. The Death of Natalie Wood
On Thanksgiving weekend, 1981, 43-year-old Rebel Without a Cause and West Side Story star Natalie Wood was on a weekend boat trip to Santa Catalina Island, California, with her husband Robert Wagner, Christopher Walken and the boat’s captain Dennis Davern. Walken and Wood were working on the movie called Brainstorm together.
On the night of November 29, Woods, Wagner and Walken had been drinking. One of the early versions of the story was that late in the evening, Woods and Wagner got in a fight and Wagner went to bed alone. The next morning, Wood’s body was found floating in the water and a dinghy from the boat was washed up on a beach. An autopsy was performed and it was reported that Wood had a blood alcohol level of 0.16 and she was on medication that would have enhanced the effects of the alcohol. It was believed that Woods tried to get into the dinghy and fell into the water, which led to her drowning. Her death was ruled an accident. Ever since that night, a number of conspiracies arose because of the lack of information and from the fact that some witnesses changed their story.
For example, no one claimed they saw or heard Wood enter the water. Then there is the matter of the fight. In his 2009 book about the incident, Davern said that Wood and Wagner got in a fight and it resulted in Wood’s death. He says that the fight was over a possible relationship between Wood and Walken. At some point during the fight between Wagner and Wood, he heard Wagner say something to the effect of “get off my boat.” After she went missing, Davern claimed that Wagner delayed him from calling for help. Wagner, on the other hand, did not admit to fighting with Wood until his 2009 autobiography and he also admitted that it was about his jealousy of Walken. According to Wagner, he got in a fight with Walken, Wagner smashed a wine bottle and Wood left. At the time, Wagner thought that she went to her room. When she wasn’t found on board and the rubber dinghy was missing, he said that he thought that she went to shore.
After the allegations in Davern’s book, the case was reopened. In 2012, the medical report showed that Wood’s body had two dozen fresh bruises on it. It also noted that the left arm was especially bruised. She also had an abrasion on her face and a scratch on her neck. After reviewing the case her death was ruled “drowning and other undetermined factors.” Interestingly enough, in 2011 Daverns took a polygraph test and it indicated he was telling the truth. The police say Wagner is not a suspect.
4. Mirage Men
A theory from English writer Mark Pilkington is that the reason people believe aliens and UFOs exist and have visited Earth is because the U.S. government wants them to. The idea that there is a great UFO conspiracy and the government is hiding the truth, is a narrative constructed by the government itself. According to Pilkington, there is a secret group of people, whom he calls “Mirage Men,” that either set up the sightings and/or encouraged the idea that there was extraterrestrial life visiting on Earth.
One of the most effective and widespread methods of misleading people was by using movies. A classic example that Pilkington points to is 1951’s The Day the Earth Stood Still. It shows a realistic version of what would happen if aliens visited Earth, making an alien visitation a much more plausible scenario in people’s minds.
Pilkington also shows that the movie was executive produced by Darryl Zanuck, who was associated with the CIA’s Psychological Strategy Board. The board was set up to promote American propaganda after World War II. Also, screenwriter Edmund North was formerly with the military. The director, Robert Wise, became convinced there was alien life after visiting Washington and talking to officials there. What is unclear is if any of the filmmakers knew they were making a film to deceive people, or if they were just manipulated by the Mirage Men.
3. The Deaths of Brittany Murphy and Simon Monjack
Brittany Anne Bertolotti, but better known as Brittany Murphy, got her big break playing Ty in the 1990s teen classic, Clueless. She would go on to appear in other hit films like Sin City and Girl, Interrupted and she was the voice of Luanne Platter on the television show King of the Hill. Tragically, on the night of December 20, 2009, Murphy was found unconscious on her washroom floor. She was taken to the hospital but died a short time later. An autopsy said that she died of natural causes at the age of 32. But then, two months after the autopsy, the medical examiner changed his ruling to “multiple drug intoxication.” Then five months after her death, Murphy’s husband, 39-year-old Simon Monjack, died on May 23, 2010, from natural causes.
The death of the young couple took a strange twist after a friend of theirs, Julia Davis, came forward with a bizarre tale. Davis was a former Customs and Border Protection agent who had discovered that 23 people from terrorist countries were all let in on the same day that Osama bin Laden had planned attacks on the United States. She let her supervisors know and because of that, she was branded a domestic terrorist. After being branded a terrorist, she was investigated four times, was subject to two malicious prosecutions, two false imprisonments, and her house was raided by 27 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officers using a black helicopter.
Where Murphy and Monjack play into the story is that Homeland Security claimed that Murphy had given them statements that backed up their allegations against Davis. However, Murphy adamantly denied giving these statements and gave her own sworn statement to her attorneys. After doing so, she was put on a Homeland Security watch list. Then the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency was trying to deport Monjack (he was British) and he was arrested for having an expired visa. Also, just days prior to Murphy’s death, Monjack told a reporter that he and Murphy were under surveillance from helicopters and their phone was tapped.
Davis speculates that Murphy and Monjack were killed in order to silence her. Davis was cleared of all charges in 2010 and she is the subject of the documentary Top Priority: The Terror Within that was released in 2012.
2. Bobby Kennedy Was at Marilyn Monroe’s House the Night She Died
The death of Norma Jean Mortenson, better known as Marilyn Monroe, is one of the most enduring tales from Hollywood. The official story is that her psychiatrist found her dead in the early morning hours of August 5, 1962 after Monroe’s housekeeper called him to the house. She was lying facedown, nude in the bed. There were a number of empty pill bottles lying around her and she had the phone in one hand. It was ruled a probable suicide.
Almost sixty years later, people still have a problem with a number of inconsistencies in the story. For example, the psychiatrist says he found the body at around 3:00 a.m., but didn’t place a call to the emergency line until 4:25 a.m. Secondly, during the first search of the bedroom, no glass was found and there were no water taps in the room for Monroe to ingest all the pills. The glass was only found during a secondary search of the room after it was noted that it was missing.
One of the oddest parts of the story is that apparently there was a visit from three men just hours before Monroe was found dead. A handyman working on Monroe’s house, Norman Jeffries, said that three men arrived at the house some time between 9:30 and 10:00 p.m. A neighbor, Elizabeth Pollard, also saw these three men, but says they were at the house earlier than Jeffries said. One thing that they did agree on was that one of the three men at the house that night was then-Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, who was, of course, brother of then-President John F. Kennedy.
What the men did at the house is unclear; they ordered both Jefferies and the housekeeper out of the house. Some theorists believe that it was during this time, that Monroe was given an injection of pentobarbital to the heart. The reason for the murder was to silence her. They believed that she was planning to reveal that she had affairs with both brothers during a press conference.
1. Stanley Kubrick Faked the Moon Landing
One of the most fascinating conspiracy theories out of Hollywood is that famed filmmaker Stanley Kubrick shot the footage of the moon landing. Theorists point to a few interesting clues to prove it. The basic logic behind the theory is that since the Americans were in a race with Russia to the moon and they had the ability to fake a moon landing, why wouldn’t they? It would be cheaper, easier and it would ensure they got footage of it. It would be disastrous to send astronauts to the moon, only to have the camera malfunction. What conspiracy theorist Jay Weidner believes is that 2001: A Space Odyssey, which is still hailed for its accurate depiction of space, was actually a rehearsal for the moon-landing recording. 2001 was released a year before Apollo 11 mission landed on the moon. After completing 2001, Kubrick secretly went to work for the United States government to create the moon landing. Weidner points to a number of visual clues in the Apollo 11 videos and pictures that prove his point. In one of the images there is a light in the sky. Winder believes that this light was caused by a movie effect know as front screen projection. This effect was a precursor to the green screen and Kubrick used the effect incredibly well in the Dawn of the Apes scene in 2001.
After 1968’s 2001, Kubrick’s next movie came out in 1975 and then it was another five years until he made The Shining. Theorists believe that the stress from keeping such a huge secret led to Kubrick hiding clues in The Shining to tell people what he had really done. For example, the movie he chose was fairly interesting, why would a seasoned director do a horror movie? The answer, he chose it because of the basic plot; the main character Jack makes a deal that leaves him in seclusion, he lies to his wife saying he is doing one thing, but really doing another. His wife finds out about it, and she ends up in danger and she is also a possible threat. Was this a similar problem that Kubrick faced while working with the government?
Then there are also a number of visual clues, such as Danny wearing an Apollo 11 sweater. He slowly stands up making it look like the rocket is lifting off. Then there are the famous sheets of paper where all Jack has written is “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” The way the “All” looks on the typewriter font is A11, or Apollo 11. Then finally there are the jars of Tang in the pantry.
The last piece of evidence Weidner gives to support his theory is what room 237 is supposed to represent. Weidner points out that was changed from the book, which was room 217, because he believes that sound studio 237 was where Kubrick filmed the moon landing. The clues that he points to are that in 237, nothing that happens in that room is real. It is where Jack meets the naked woman who turns into a dead body. So Kubrick is saying that nothing real happened in sound stage 237. Secondly, there is a key that hangs out of the lock with a tag that says “ROOM No. 237”. If you rearrange the letters, the only two words you get are Moon and Room.