5 Famous People With Mind-Blowing Connections To Evil Crimes
Remember how after 9/11, stories started coming out about celebrities like Seth MacFarlane and Mark Wahlberg, who were dangerously close to being passengers on the doomed flights? It's hard to imagine a world without A Million Ways To Die In The West, or a world where Marky Mark single-handedly stopped the hijackers and saved the day like he says he totally could have. But our point is that being a celebrity doesn't make you immune from being connected to terrible crimes that permanently change your life. For example ...
The First Lady Took A Photo With John Wayne Gacy Just Months Before He Was Arrested
Throughout the 1970s, John Wayne Gacy was responsible for sexually assaulting and murdering over 30 young men, as well as further ruining clowns for generations to come.
But despite paving the way for It, Gacy seemed like a regular guy who was an active member of his community. Among other things, he helped organize Chicago's annual Polish Constitution Day Parade, second only on the Chicago parade calendar to the Lithuanian Supreme Court Establishment Parade. In May 1978, first lady Rosalynn Carter decided to attend the parade, and then this happened:
Yes, Gacy was given the honor of posing for a photograph with the first lady, and Mrs. Carter even signed a copy and wrote "best wishes" to a man who would turn out to be evil incarnate. If you look at his jacket, you'll see a pin that indicates the Secret Service had given him special clearance to meet her.
A few months later, Gacy was arrested, and the remains of most of his victims were found in his home, which proved to be most embarrassing thing to happen to the Secret Service until several of its members decided to give some Colombian prostitutes an extremely thorough body cavity search. Sure, it's not their job to enter the homes of everyone who gets a photo-op and rip it apart in search of dead bodies, but Gacy had already spent time in an Iowa prison for coercing a teenager into sex and then paying another teenager to beat the shit out of him when he went to the police.
Gacy had kept his conviction a secret when he moved to Chicago, and you couldn't just look up sex offenders on Google in the 1970s, but if there's anyone who should have been capable of digging this information up, it was the Secret fucking Service. He didn't even change his name!
America's Most Wanted's Host Had His Meal Prepared By A Fugitive Featured On His Show
In February 2000, Indianapolis man Asgar Ali was wanted for questioning in a murder, which tends to happen when your fingerprints show up near the body. Unfortunately, he was too busy attempting to murder someone in Orlando to pop in for a chat, an excuse that's cost us at least one job interview. Ali managed to disappear and start a new life, but his escapades got him featured on the true-crime reality show America's Most Wanted, which must be a mixed source of pride and concern for a fugitive.
When the episode aired, it didn't take very long for someone to tell the show's host, John Walsh, that not only did they know where Ali was, but that he had just fucking cooked dinner for Walsh a couple of weeks ago.
See, in May of that same year (two weeks before Ali's episode aired), Walsh had traveled to Jacksonville to shoot footage for the America's Most Wanted / COPS crossover America had apparently been clamoring for (not the episode featuring Ali -- this was blind coincidence). One night, Walsh treated the crew and local police Sgt. Michelle Cook to dinner at a restaurant called the American Cafe, the best place to get French food in all of Jacksonville. Two weeks later, the episode airs and tips immediately came in from viewers who recognized the fugitive as ... a cook at the American Cafe in Jacksonville.
And, yes, Ali happened to be working the same night the host of America's Most Wanted had dinner, and he had personally prepared John Walsh's steak. There's no word as to whether the tastiness of the meal factored into the criminal trial that presumably ensued.
The coincidences don't end there. Ali worked a second job as a busboy at a Jacksonville bar called Jocks and Jills, because no one in Jacksonville can come up with a good restaurant name. On the night Ali's case aired on America's Most Wanted, Cook and two of the crew members got together to watch the show. Where they did watch it? That's right -- at Jocks and Jills. Before the show even ended, Cook got a tip that Ali was at a nearby homeless shelter. Cook and the crew arrived just in time to film Ali's arrest and prove that the universe itself was conspiring against him.
Wrestler Ric Flair Was A Black Market Baby In An Illegal Adoption Ring
If you were a rich American in the early 20th century and lacked the necessary plumbing to conceive a child, you could always turn to the Tennessee Children's Home Society. Headed by Georgia Tann, the Society was a respected orphanage that found homes for more than 5,000 babies over 25 years. Sure, Tann had a sketchy habit of destroying adoption records and a tendency to provide children to out-of-state families so she could charge them a much bigger bundle than the stork carries, but if unwanted children were getting homes with well-to-do parents, that's just a win-win, right?
Unfortunately, many of the children were less "unwanted" and more "flat-out stolen in a criminal scheme even the Joker would have rejected for being over the line." The biological parents were often poor, uneducated, and coerced into losing custody with the help of a corrupt judge, and newborns were taken from unmarried women who were told their children had died, presumably before being informed that the coroner was single and sexy.
The state shut down the Tennessee Children's Home for victims of Lemony Snicket-esque schemes in the 1950s, but most parents continued to have no idea they had adopted black market children and figured the inclusion of a free phonograph that had fallen off the back of a truck was just standard industry practice. Two of those children were famously adopted by Joan Crawford. Meanwhile, another one grew up to be that stylin', profilin', limousine-ridin', jet-flyin', wheelin'-and-dealin' son-of-a-gun professional wrestler, "Nature Boy" Ric Flair.
The future 16-time World Heavyweight Champion was born on February 25, 1949 as "Fred," was put up for adoption by that stylin', socioeconomically profilin', baby-stealin', wheelin'-and-dealin' son-of-a-gun Georgia Tann, and ended up with a loving couple named Dick and Kay Fliehr. They soon renamed their child Richard, which was probably for the best considering the Nature Boy's larger-than-life wrestling persona might have lost some of its impact had his name been Fred.
Flair never met his biological parents, as the (quite possibly fabricated) documentation from his adoption says they willingly abandoned him. Whatever the truth, we can't help but wonder if they ever found out how their child's life turned out.
Dustin Hoffman's Home Was Accidentally Destroyed By Domestic Terrorists
In spite of having the least badass name since a handful of extremist Care Bears formed the People's Tickle Brigade, the radical left-wing organization Weather Underground made it their mission to wreak havoc on America throughout the 1970s. They particularly loved bombing government buildings to protest the government's bombing of Vietnam, but like most terrorist organizations, the Weather Underground failed to understand irony on several levels and wasn't immune to accidentally blowing themselves up.
On March 6, 1970, five Weathermen (so lame, you guys) gathered at a Greenwich Village townhouse to construct a nail bomb. The house belonged to the family of one of the members, because nothing says radical like borrowing your yuppie parents' basement. The plan was to detonate the bomb at an Army base that night, but they set off the bomb in the home by mistake. The resulting explosion destroyed the townhouse, killed three of them, and nearly took out a young man named Dustin Hoffman, who happened to live next door with his wife and daughter.
The Hoffmans were lucky enough to be out when the bomb set fire to their place, blew a massive hole in the wall, and caused Hoffman's desk to fall into the rubble below. If Hoffman had been sitting around reading scripts, we might be living in a bizarre alternate universe where Tom Cruise played Rain Man, Michael Richards starred in Kramer vs. Kramer, and hamburgers eat people. Hoffman still lost most of his possessions, but he was photographed saving a painting from his collection, which made it out alongside two other pieces and a lampshade from Tiffany's before he quipped to a friend, "Thank God I'm not poor." That probably made the 23 people who were left homeless feel much better.
Ashton Kutcher's Date Was Murdered By An Alleged Serial Killer
In June 2008, Santa Monica man Michael Gargiulo was arrested and charged with attempted murder after he broke into his neighbor's home and stabbed her. DNA testing would eventually tie Gargiulo to two unsolved murders, and investigators believe he may be responsible for the deaths of several more women. So ... don't message him on OkCupid.
One of those deaths occurred on February 21, 2001, when Ashley Ellerin was murdered inside her Hollywood home. On the night of her death, Ellerin was planning to go to a Grammy Awards after-party with her new beau ... Ashton Kutcher.
While Kutcher only had the Oscar-winning Dude, Where's My Car? and something called That '70s Show under his belt (hence why they were stuck going to the, ugh, Grammys), the following scenario sounds like something Kutcher would have pulled on Punk'd if he had slipped into an incredible depression shortly before filming.
Ellerin didn't answer her door when Kutcher showed up at her house, so he looked through the window and saw what appeared to be spilled red wine on the floor. Finding absolutely nothing suspicious about that whatsoever, Kutcher resigned himself to being stood up and left. It wasn't until the following morning that Ellerin's roommate came home and found her body. You can probably guess what the red wine was.
Even weirder, we still don't know the exact time Ellerin was murdered, so it's possible the killer was still in the freaking house when Kutcher arrived. If he had called the police or tried to force his way inside things may have turned out better ... or worse, or exactly the same. Gargiulo is currently awaiting trial, and there's a possibility that Kutcher may be called in as a witness.
Also be sure to check out 5 Famous Celebrities With Insane Family Backgrounds and 5 Beloved Celebrities Everyone Forgets Did Terrible Things.