Star child suicide and accidental deaths, from Sage Stallone to Cheyenne Brando

By: Justin Nobel | Date: Fri, July 20th, 2012

There may have been crushed up white powder lying about. And some 60 empty prescription pill bottles. Perhaps his father neglected him. What killed Sage Stallone, the 36 year old son of superstar actor Sylvester Stallone?

Sage Stallone is not the first Hollywood star’s child to die a suspicious death. In 1995, Cheyenne Brando, Marlon’s troubled Tahitian daughter committed suicide. And there have been others.

Suicide has been speculated though it seems like it was just a tragic accident. This would not be the first time. There is a long history of children of Hollywood stars committing suicide or dying young accidental deaths…

Cheyenne Brando, daughter of Marlon Brando – While filming Mutiny on the Bounty in Tahiti Marlon met and married a local woman named Tarita Teriipie. In 1970, they had a daughter, Cheyenne. She grew up in Tahiti but life was not as tropical as it sounds. As a teen Cheyenne had issues with alcohol and drugs. At age 19, just as she was beginning a promising modeling career, Cheyenne got in a serious car accident. She broke her jaw and lost part of her ear. Her modeling career was ruined and she fell deeper into drugs and despondency. At the time she was dating Dag Drollet, the son of a prominent Tahitian family. His father had warned him to stay away from the troubled Brando family. “She’s not balanced,” Dag’s father told him. “You will have great difficulties, perhaps suicide, perhaps she can kill you, or you can die, both of you.”

The old man was right. In 1990, Cheyenne’s half-brother Christian shot Dag dead at Marlon’s home on Mulholland Drive. Cheyenne returned to Tahiti, checked into a mental hospital and gave birth to her deceased boyfriend’s son, whom she named Tuki Brando. Soon after, Cheyenne tried to take her own life by overdosing on sleeping pills. She was diagnosed with schizophrenia and lost custody of the child. In 1995, at the age of 25, Cheyenne hung herself. Neither Marlon nor Christian attended the funeral.

Other Great Reads: How to deal with grief after an accidental death

Jonathan Peck, son of Gregory PeckJonathan was tall and handsome. He graduated college a track star, enrolled in the Peace Corps and spent two years in Tanzania working on developing an agricultural syllabus in Swahili. Back in California, he worked at a Los Angeles radio station and later a TV station in Santa Maria. “He was one of the most pleasant people I’ve ever known,” said his former boss. He didn’t do drugs and rarely drank. But some colleagues noticed a dark side. He was intense, ultra self-conscious and deeply troubled. One late summer day he called his boss to say he was having difficulties finding stories. Jonathan was given a new assignment and seemed excited to get going on it. He killed himself later that night. Gregory was devastated by his son’s death, for two years he was unable to act.

Other Great Reads: Centenarian celebrities

Scott Newman, son of Paul Newman – The Newman children were mobbed wherever they went. “When the kids go anywhere with him they can be pushed aside by fans, as if they don’t count, as if they’re nothing in themselves,” said Paul’s wife, the actress Joanne Woodward. Paul was a solitary man, he would bury himself in work and be out of the country for long periods of time. When he returned home he acted overly bossy, or overly indulgent. “I didn’t have any talent to be a father,” he once said.

Scott, the oldest child and only boy, had it particularly rough. As a teenager he experimented with drugs and alcohol and was thrown out of several schools. He became a sky diving instructor but soon grew sick of that. He took low-paying construction jobs. He refused his father’s help and often borrowed money from friends. Paul found him a job as a stuntman but Scott showed up drunk, slashed the tires of a bus and fought the police who came to arrest him. He tried acting but never got large roles. He pursued a singing career but that didn’t work out either. He continued drinking and using drugs. One Sunday night in November 1978 he spent the day watching TV with friends, drinking rum and eating Valium. He had recently crashed his motorcycle and injured his ribs and shoulder. Later in the day he went to a psychologist his father had hired who gave him painkillers. Scott returned home, took the pills, did some cocaine then went to bed. A few hours later he was dead.

“In a way, I had been waiting for that call for ten years,” said Paul. “Scott and I had simply lost the ability to help each other.”

2 thoughts on “Star child suicide and accidental deaths, from Sage Stallone to Cheyenne Brando”

  1. MrPeter

    Interesting article, but factually incorrect concerning Greg Peck: “Gregory was devastated by his son’s death, for two years he was unable to act.” In fact, while Greg was greatly upset by John’s suicide in June 1975, he threw himself right back into his work. Greg featured in “The Omen” as ‘Ambassador Thorn’, which was filmed from October 1975 till January 1976. Curiously, the final scene required Peck to kill his character’s own six year old son – something Mr Peck had great difficulty with … despite the fact that the boy was meant to be the Antichrist! He was only convinced to do the scene once it was agreed that an alternative ending would also be shot in which the boy, ‘Damien’, was not killed. Both scenes were duly made … no prizes for guessing which one was eventually used!

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