5 Famous People That Engaged In Shocking Violence
Sometimes you can't even bat an eye at those sleazy tabloid headlines. "Brad Pitt's a womanizer!" We figured. "Russell Crowe starts hobo fight club!" Yeah, that's in character. "Gary Busey straight-up eats a guy!" Practically inevitable. But if one of them told you that Bill Nye stabbed a hooker in the face, or that Emma Watson set a homeless guy on fire, then they'd have your attention. Thankfully, we made up all of those previous examples, but the rest of these are absolutely true ...
AC/DC Drummer Phil Rudd Put A Hit Out On His Former Personal Assistant
Phil Rudd was the drummer for AC/DC from 1975 to 1983, when he left the band due to drug and alcohol abuse, which you'd think would be mandatory for AC/DC. He joined the band again for 1994-2015, and started getting into meth. He was a man of the times.
"An artist always has to evolve."
In 2014, Rudd released a solo album tastefully titled Head Job, but it didn't perform so well. Rudd also did not perform so well when he heard of the album's commercial failure. First he fired his entire staff for incompetence, because he knew the quality of his music couldn't possibly be the issue. But for reasons unknown (or at least not revealed to the media), Rudd had a particular vendetta against one former, unnamed personal assistant. Not content with merely giving passive-aggressive references, Rudd called another former associate of his and demanded that the PA be "taken out." And not to "a lovely brunch."
The associate thought Rudd was blowing off steam, until Rudd followed up and offered him a choice between $200,000, a car, a motorcycle, or a house if he got the job done. It seems Australian assassins work under Let's Make A Deal compensatory rules.
"The mystery door was a lifetime supply of Vegemite."
Rudd also bucked another conventional rule of murder-for-hire by repeatedly calling his victim to tell him that he was coming to kill him. For some reason, the guy eventually stopped picking up the phone. When police finally came to arrest Rudd for the torrent of death threats, they also found a mother lode of meth and other drugs hidden around his home. Presumably so he could find them later, like a wonderful surprise!
However, Rudd is still a wealthy musician, which means that he was only sentenced to eight months home detention. Having completed his sentence, Rudd now regularly sees a psychiatrist and has "quit all the crazy shit." He will tour Europe in the Spring of 2017, and the fact that he did not call that tour "All The Crazy Shit" leaves us direly disappointed.
Norman Mailer Tried To Murder His Wife (In Public!)
Norman Mailer was one of the world's preeminent journalists, the winner of two Pulitzers and a co-founder of "New Journalism" -- a style he shares with the likes of Truman Capote and Hunter S. Thompson. He's a giant in the 20th century literary canon. He also tried to stab his wife to death in full view of dozens of horrified witnesses.
See, Mailer had a slight problem with alcohol. We know: A writer? Alcohol?! Say it ain't so!
You can't tell from the photo, but he's standing knee-deep in a kiddie pool filled with tequila.
On November 19, 1960, Mailer threw a party to announce that he was running for mayor of New York City. In an attempt to set up a dialog between the rich and the poor, he invited all of the city's most elite citizens, as well as a whole bunch of homeless people. He got a bit upset when, for some reason, most of the rich people canceled. It turns out that it's not easy to get Rockefellers, Hearsts, du Ponts, or even Trumps to attend a party where the well liquor is Mad Dog 20/20. Purple flavor, of course. We're talking about high society here.
As the night wore on, Mailer started getting mean drunk. Eventually, his mortified wife, Adele, stepped in to subdue him, and this escalated into a full-scale screaming match, which ended when Mailer pulled out a two-and-a-half-inch pen knife and stabbed her several times in the chest. Hopefully he had some sort of quip about pens and knives at the ready, but honestly, it was probably all rage-screaming at that point.
"Knife knowing y- hold on, I can do better."
Adele survived. She told doctors that she'd "fallen on some glass" and stayed with Mailer for another two years. And literary types spent the next forever carefully debating whether or not Mailer's genius was "super duper great," or "just regular great."
J. Robert Oppenheimer Was A Murderous Lunatic (Well Before He Worked On The A-Bomb)
J. Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the atomic bomb, may have been responsible for some violence. We know, we court controversy. But Oppenheimer is remembered as the guy who regretted his role in the Manhattan Project, so much so that he spent the rest of his life trying to stop people from doing it again. You probably think of him as a gentle pacifist who sold his soul to science, and then tried to buy it back with good deeds.
"Al, what sounds better: bake sale or car wash?"
But actually, Oppenheimer was kind of a violent, unhinged maniac -- at least in his youth, before he settled down for a respectable career of building weapons of mass destruction. In 1925, while aboard a train traveling to Cambridge, he tried to make a move on a woman who rejected his advances. According to a close friend of Oppenheimer's, Francis Fergusson, he later spotted the woman standing underneath a staircase he was standing on and tried to drop his suitcase on her head.
Later, as a grad student, Oppenheimer had an opportunity (Oppentunity?) to work for future Nobel-Prize-winning physicist Patrick Blackett. However, Oppenheimer's strength was in theoretical physics, and he struggled with the hands-on laboratory work Blackett required. Once again, he had a coping mechanism for this stress: He injected an apple with toxic chemicals from his lab and left it on Blackett's desk. To be fair, maybe he'd seen a Disney movie and assumed Blackett would just take a long nap afterward.
"Calm down; I would have had a prince kiss him after finals."
Thankfully, Blackett didn't eat it, and Oppenheimer was only given probation and sent to a psychiatrist, rather than given an injection of his own and sent to the grave. But even treatment didn't do much good, because when Fergusson later paid a visit, Oppenheimer leapt on his friend's back and tried to strangle him do death for no apparent reason.
It's like he was a time-traveler sent back to warn us about his own future self.
Harry Potter Actor Jamie Waylett Wasn't In The Last Two Movies Because He Was In Prison For Rioting And Looting
Jamie Waylett is better known as Vincent Crabbe, the dumb bully stereotype who serves as Draco Malfoy's sidekick in the Harry Potter movies. Crabbe didn't appear in the last two films, though, and for good reason: Waylett had been fired for, uh ... "method acting."
We should have known when the sorting hat yelled "PRISON!"
In 2011, protests over a suspicious London police shooting boiled over into violence, and after the ensuing riots, authorities pored through massive amounts of CCTV footage to find the people responsible. That's when they saw this:
He's gone full Death Eater.
That's Waylett carrying a goddamn Molotov cocktail. Look, you can shoot fireballs out of a wand or you can huck them in a bottle. It's really the same thing.
After being arrested and charged, Waylett argued that he had no intention of throwing the firebomb. He just liked holding it. It felt good in his hand. Warm, most likely. Even if they bought that, though, the court also saw evidence that Waylett had "participated" in the looting of a nearby liquor store, and sentenced him to two years in prison. In a later interview, Tom Felton, who played Draco Malfoy, commented: "He's let himself down hugely really, and it's a disappointment for him and the franchise."
You let down your Bully King, Waylett! There is no greater shame.
Isaac Newton Oversaw Dozens Of Executions
Sir Isaac Newton was the father of modern physics, and is still synonymous with both that field and science in general. But science was only his secondary passion. His first was ensuring the security of England's currency, and he was deadly serious about it. Literally.
More deadly than his dead, dead eyes.
After completing all of his most important work on math and physics, Newton suffered a nervous breakdown and decided to quit science for good. He took up a new career with the British Mint, rising through the ranks until he wound up running the whole show for the last 30 years of his life. By the time he got the job, England was going through a counterfeiting crisis, and Newton was precisely the hardass to fix it.
"You pass fake cash, I pass my foot in your ass."
For one thing, he reinstituted the death penalty for counterfeiting, which these days seems ... a little on the harsh side? And this was the 1600s, so the "death penalty" often meant drawing and quartering. In his time as Master of the Mint, Newton completely revised and standardized the British currency, modernized the minting process ... and personally oversaw the brutal execution of dozens of counterfeiters. He even took a role in investigating potential leads, occasionally mingling with the rabble in local bars and taverns in order to suss out information. In short, Isaac Newton was basically a 17th-century Eliot Ness, only if the bootleggers got chopped into fractions at the end. Hey, there's still math involved! Way to tie it all together, Newton.
Counterfeiting: not even once.
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Check out Robert Evans' A Brief History of Vice: How Bad Behavior Built Civilization, a celebration of the brave, drunken pioneers who built our civilization one seemingly bad decision at a time.