Franklin Park man presents program that examines seedier side of Hollywood
Actress Natalie Wood was 43 when she drowned off the California coast after a boat trip to Santa Catalina Island in November 1981.
But her death was no accident, if you ask film fanatic Tom Madden of Franklin Park.
“The case remains open,” said Madden, a professional screenwriter, executive producer and director of Asylum Entertainment and creator of “Hollywood Homicide,” a fast-paced, photo-filled show.
“It takes a look at the darker, seedier side of Hollywood,” Madden said about his original production, a sort of slide show and lecture-to-go.
“I was hooked on Hollywood as a kid,” said Madden, also artistic and managing director of the Legacy Theatre at Cumberland Woods Village in McCandless. “I've done a huge amount of research on Sharon Tate and Natalie Wood.”
Madden also is a Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama graduate and former member of the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, or SAG-AFTRA.
Madden recently screened and staged “Hollywood Homicide” at Hampton Fields Village in Hampton and Lighthouse Pointe Village at Chapel Harbor in O'Hara, both UPMC Senior Communities.
More than 70 people attended the program at Hampton Fields Village as part of an ongoing series of seminars and concerts — all open to the public at no charge — to acquaint people with UPMC Senior Communities.
“These programs are very good, very different,” said Lois Weichel of Shaler, who attended “Hollywood Homicide” with husband, Don Weichel.
Bob and Bea Magill, also of Shaler, liked “Hollywood Homicide,” too.
“It was interesting,” she said.
Madden opens “Hollywood Homicide” with a review of some famed victims of car accidents — James Dean, Grace Kelly and Jayne Mansfield — followed by a look at some musicians who died aboard planes — Buddy Holly, Jim Croce, Ricky Nelson and Patsy Cline.
“Hollywood Homicide” also explores the saga of overweight silent-film star Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, who was accused — and then acquitted — of raping and killing actress Virginia Rappe.
Madden's show then examines, among others, the deaths of Elizabeth Short, the “Black Dahlia,” who was cut in half; George “Superman” Reeves; Marilyn Monroe; Playboy Playmate Dorothy Stratten; actor Keith Carradine; Bob Crane of “Hogan's Heroes”; stalking victim and TV actress Rebecca Schaeffer; Phil Spector's girlfriend Lana Clarkson; actor and stabbing victim Sal Mineo; movie star Lana Turner's boyfriend Johnny Stompanato; Robert Blake's wife Bonnie Lee Bakley; actress Sharon Tate; and actress Natalie Wood.
Wood, wife of actor Robert Wagner, was filming “Brainstorm” with actor Christopher Walken — he also was on the boat with Wood and Wagner that fateful night — when witnesses reported people screaming on the vessel in the wee hours before Wood's bruised body was found in the waters near Santa Catalina Island.
Two years ago, the Los Angeles coroner's office changed the official cause of Wood's death from “accident” to “undetermined.”
As a follow-up to “Hollywood Homicide,” singer Donna Groom of The Skyliners will perform at 2:30 p.m. April 23 at Hampton Fields Village. Advance registration is required. Admission is free.
For reservations, call 412-492-8448.
Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Photo Gallery: Ice cream-eating contest at Bruster’s of Ingomar
- Residents asked to provide input on future development in Millvale
- Photo Gallery: Ross Township fishing tournament