As if the strange lives of the rich and famous weren’t already mysterious enough, a number of people in the public eye have throughout history somehow vanished without a trace – leaving the rest of us wondering where exactly they disappeared to.
From historic socialites to NBA stars and cinema legends, we’re taking a closer look at the very public figures whose disappearances – temporary and many times tragically more permanent – shocked the world.
Theodosia Burr Alston
Daughter of the third US Vice President Aaron Burr, and immortalised in the musical Hamilton, Theodosia Burr Alston was born in 1783 and became a glamourous socialite. When her father was accused of treason and effectively exiled to Europe, she petitioned US officials and raised money to successfully bring him home.
But in a tragic turn of events, it was Theodosia who would eventually vanish, never to return. She set sail on the schooner Patriot from Georgetown, South Carolina on December 31, 1812, hoping to reunite with her father in New York. Her ship disappeared at sea and none of the crew or travellers were ever discovered. Some have theorized she may have been the victim of a pirate attack.
He was the adored Welsh singer and guitarist in Manic Street Preachers, penning many brooding, politically charged songs. But the career of Richard James ‘Richey’ Edwards was suddenly cut short on 1 February, 1995, soon after the release of the Preachers album The Holy Bible.
Edwards withdrew money from his bank account every day for a fortnight before he disappeared without explanation on February 1. He also left gifts and notes to his loved ones, before leaving a hotel at 7 am without his suitcase. His vehicle was found abandoned at Severn View service station. Fans have variously reported spotting Edwards in Goa, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote, but officially he’s never been seen again.
Born in 1908, Harold Holt was Australia’s 17th Prime Minister and the leader of the Liberal Party. He encouraged immigration to his nation and was famed for his close engagement with the USA and East Asia. Holt’s disappearance took place while he was still in office.
Holt was a keen spear-fisher and he often found himself drawn to the ocean. On 17 December 1967, he went with a group of friends to the secluded Cheviot Beach in Victoria, Australia, where he and one other man attempted to swim in rough conditions. Holt was dragged out into the ocean, and despite a massive search effort, no trace of the politician was ever found.
Elizabeth Eaton Converse, better known as Connie Converse, was a reclusive singer-songwriter in 50s New York. She only gave one known public performance – on The Morning Show with Walter Cronkite in 1954 – but when a compilation of her music was released in 2009, it became a major critical success. By this point, however, Converse had been missing for over 30 years.
There is no evidence that Converse was ever in a romantic relationship, but she was close with her family. However, in 1974, she missed a family holiday and instead packed her belongings into her Volkswagen Beetle, vanishing without warning, never to be heard from again. In letters that she left behind for friends and family, Converse wrote: “Human society fascinates me & awes me & fills me with grief & joy; I just can’t find my place to plug into it.”
Jim Sullivan made his name as a singer-songwriter by performing across clubs in Los Angeles in the late 60s. His album U.F.O., released in 1969, was a blend of folk, rock and country. But neither U.F.O., nor his second album Jim Sullivan, achieved mainstream success. In the hopes of finding new work opportunities, he left behind his wife and children in 1975 to drive alone in a Volkswagen Beetle to Nashville.
On his journey, Sullivan checked into the La Mesa Motel in Santa Rosa, New Mexico. However, he never slept in the hotel bed, instead leaving his key inside the room and driving away to a ranch owned by the Gennitti family. He was later spotted walking away from the ranch, leaving behind his vehicle, luggage, money, papers and guitar. That was the last Sullivan was seen. The title of his first album has led some fans to speculate that he was abducted by aliens.
Barbara Newhall Follett
The homeschooled Barbara Newhall Follett was a child prodigy, composing poetry from the age of four. When she was eight, she began to write The House Without Windows – the tale of a girl who runs away to live in the wild. When Follett was 15, this tale was published along with her novel The Voyage of the Norman D., and she was hailed as a young literary genius.
In adulthood, Follett became a secretary and settled down with her husband Nickerson Rogers in Brookline, Massachusetts. But when the marriage soured, Follett left the house one day in 1939, with only a notebook and $30 in cash. Rogers did not report Follett’s disappearance to the police for two weeks, and her whereabouts were never discovered.
She was one of the highest paid celebrities in China in 2017, winning widespread popularity for starring in the X-Men franchise and many Chinese blockbusters and TV dramas. Fan Bingbing, born in 1981, became a critically acclaimed actress and used her fame to support medical treatment for children with congenital heart disease.
But in 2018, Bingbing vanished from public life and social media, triggering panic among her fans, who suspected she may have been arrested by the Chinese government. The actress resurfaced four months later, declaring on social media that she had been accused of tax evasion and ordered to pay CN¥883 million (US$127.4 million) in taxes and penalties. Bingbing has never fully explained what happened during her disappearance, although various sources have reported that she was under house arrest or detained in a luxury hotel resort in Jiangsu.
Rico Omarr Harris drew comparisons to Lamar Odom early in his career. He played with International Basketball League and eventually the Harlem Globetrotters – but after only a month with this world-famous team, the 24-year-old was assaulted in the street with a baseball bat and suffered career-ending head injuries.
In 2014, Harris vanished on his route between his mother’s home in Alhambra and his girlfriend’s in Seattle. At the time, he was excited about an upcoming interview for a property appraiser job, and accidental footage from his cellphone showed him singing along merrily to music in his car. Harris’ car was found abandoned and out of gas near Cache Creek in California, with no sign of a struggle. His backpack and phone were also discovered in the area.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Author of The Little Prince, Night Flight and Wind, Sand and Stars, Antoine de Saint-Exupery was a celebrated French writer and aviator. Born into aristocracy in 1900, he joined the French Air Force at the outbreak of World War II and trained in reconnaissance. He petitioned US authorities to join the fight against the Nazis and was eventually deployed to North Africa with the Free French Air Force, despite being in his 40s at the time.
On July 31, 1944, Saint-Exupery flew on a reconnaissance mission from Corsica and never returned. His fate remained completely unknown until the early 2000s, when a diver discovered his wrecked plane off the coast of Marseille. With no evidence of gunfire on the wreck, experts still do not know what brought the author’s plane down.
Jim Thompson co-founded the Thai Silk Company in 1948 and became one of the best-known American businessmen in Asia. A Princeton graduate, he sought to employ some of the poorest people in Thailand and helped many Thai women to become the main breadwinners for their families.
After an Easter service on Sunday, 26 March 1967, Thompson wandered into the Kamunting area of the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia, never to return. Despite an 11-day search with 500 people involved, no clues were found and Thompson was never discovered. His disappearance remains a famous mystery in the area.
John Bingham, 7th Earl of Lucan
Better known as ‘Lord Lucan’, John Bingham remains one of the most famous missing people of all time. This Anglo-Irish aristocrat became a professional gambler and was at one point considered for the role of James Bond. After an acrimonious custody battle with his wife, however, Lucan reportedly attacked his children’s nanny Sandra Rivett and bludgeoned her to death in 1974.
After this murder, Lucan abandoned his bloodstained car in Newhaven and seemingly vanished into thin air. Hundreds of people have claimed to have spotted Lord Lucan in the subsequent decades, but he was declared legally dead in October 1999 in the absence of any concrete evidence.
Amelia Earhart, born in 1897 and raised in Kansas and Iowa, grew up to be an aviation pioneer and America’s sweetheart. In 1932, she became the first woman to make a nonstop solo transatlantic flight. A recipient of the United States Distinguished Flying Cross, Earhart fought for women’s rights and became an aeronautical engineering advisor.
It all ended in tragedy, however. In 1937, Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan vanished while attempting a circumnavigational flight. A few weeks shy of her 40th birthday, Earhart was last seen in Lae, New Guinea, where she took off towards Howland Island in the Pacific Ocean. Search efforts yielded no clues at to what befell the pair, and countless myths and legends have sprung up in the wake of the mystery.
Alton Glenn Miller was a star of the Swing era, playing the trombone in the Glenn Miller Orchestra and becoming the USA’s best-selling recording artist between 1939 and 1942. He scored 16 number one records and 69 top ten hits, records that both Elvis and the Beatles would fail to beat. Then, Miller joined the US military to entertain the troops during World War II.
In 1944, Miller disappeared while flying across the English Channel along with Lieutenant Colonel Norman Baessell and pilot John Morgan. Miller was making the journey from Bedford to Paris in the hopes of moving his band between the countries soon. He vanished without a trace, leaving behind his wife and two adopted children.
Dorothy Arnold was an aspiring writer and heiress in New York City in the early 1900s. Her family made a fortune in importing fine goods. On December 12, 1910, at the age of 25, Arnold went shopping for a dress and bumped into an acquaintance on Fifth Avenue, telling her that she was planning to stroll through Central Park on her route back to the family home. This was the last ever confirmed sighting of Arnold.
Despite his daughter’s disappearance, Dorothy’s businessman father Francis Arnold didn’t want his family’s affairs to reach the press. He hired private investigators to find her, and when their lines of inquiry failed, he contacted the police with a missing person report a month later. Abduction, suicide, amnesia, and her romantic involvement with a man named George Griscom Jr have all featured in explanations for her disappearance.
A basketball star who played for the NBS’s Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls, Bison Dele was born Brian Carson Williams in 1969. He changed his name to reflect his Cherokee and African heritage, and used the name Bison Dele for his final season before retiring at the age of 30.
An adventurous personality, Dele decided to sail his catamaran from Tahiti in July 2002, accompanied by his girlfriend Serena Karlan, his brother Miles Dabord and skipper Bertrand Saldo. However, when the ship returned to Tahiti two weeks later, Dabord was the only person on board. Dabord claimed that Karlan died accidentally as the brothers were fighting, and then Dele killed Saldo in a panic before Dabord killed Dele in self-defence. However, in the absence of material evidence, the FBI concluded that Dabord probably murdered all three.
You may recognise Joe Pichler from the Beethoven movies. Born in Bremerton, Washington in 1987, he relocated to Los Angeles as a child to star as Brennan Newton in the fourth and fifth movies of the famous comedy franchise. Pichler also starred in Varsity Blues and Music from Another Room.
In 2003, Pichler relocated once more to Bremerton so he could graduate high school in 2005. He then made plans to start his acting career again in Los Angeles. Sadly, he was last seen on January 5, 2006, before his Toyota Corolla was found abandoned between Wheaton Way and Sheridan Road. The 18-year-old left a note to family and friends in his car, but the family has denied it contained any suggestion of suicide.
Jean Spangler started her film career in 1948, featuring as an uncredited dancer in movies including When My Baby Smiles at Me (1948), Chicken Every Sunday (1949) and Young Man with a Horn (1950). On October 7, 1949, she told her sister-in-law that she was planning to meet with her ex-husband, the manufacturer Dexter Benner. She was last spotted at a local grocery store at 6:00 pm, and the circumstances surrounding her disappearance remain shrouded in mystery.
Spangler’s friends told police that she was three months pregnant and had discussed abortion, which was then illegal, around the time that she vanished. Two days later, her purse was discovered in a tattered state in Griffith Park, and a note inside it read: “Kirk: Can’t wait any longer, Going to see Dr Scott. It will work best this way while mother is away”. As Spangler had worked alongside Kirk Douglas, fans have speculated that the star may have known more about her death – a suggestion that he vehemently denied.
The photojournalist Sean Leslie Flynn shocked and moved the world by documenting the war in Vietnam. He was the only son of the actor Errol Flynn, and he himself starred in various movies (including Where the Boys Are, The Son of Captain Blood and Duel at the Rio Grande) before switching to journalism. Often heading into the most dangerous warzones, in 1970 he was on an assignment in Cambodia alongside fellow photographer Dana Stone.
Flynn and Stone were travelling by motorbike when they were captured by guerrilla fighters at a checkpoint. Both were never seen again, and it is believed that they were murdered by the Khmer Rouge. Flynn’s mother spent a fortune in search of her son up until her death in 1994, but to no avail. Sean Flynn’s remains have never been found.
Born into the powerful family that commissioned Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, Michael Rockefeller was the son of former US Vice President Nelson Rockefeller. An exceptional student, Michael decided to pursue a career in archaeology and anthropology at Harvard University in the 1960s. He joined a Harvard expedition to study the Dani tribe of New Guinea, and he and a friend then travelled on to meet the Asmat tribe.
Rockefeller would later return to the Asmat tribe to carry out further research, writing, “I am having a thoroughly exhausting but most exciting time here.” On November 17, 1961, Rockefeller and his colleague René Wassing capsized their canoe out to sea, and Rockefeller attempted to swim to the shore. However, he was never seen alive again, with most people assuming that he drowned. His body was never discovered, though Wassing was rescued the following day.
The Italian-born Ylenia Carrisi was the eldest daughter of two showbiz stars, Albano Carrisi and Romina Power. She featured alongside her parents in the movie Champagne in Paradiso. But at the age of 23, while traveling the world solo, this aspiring novelist vanished under mysterious circumstances.
Carrisi visited Belize and Mexico before travelling to the French Quarter of New Orleans, where she was last seen on January 6, 1994. At the time, she was residing at the LeDale Hotel with an older street musician named Alexander Masakela, who was eventually removed from the investigation into her disappearance for lack of evidence.
Daniel Lind Lagerlöf
A Swedish director, Daniel Lind Lagerlöf made his name through movies like Breaking Out, Making Babies and Johan Falk: Operation Nightingale. He also worked on the hugely successful Skärgårdsdoktorn, a TV drama that became popular in Sweden and Norway.
On 6 October, 2011, Lagerlöf was scouting locations for a new movie, Fjällbackamorden, when he disappeared. He went missing whilst exploring the Tjurpannan nature reserve in Sweden; it’s now thought that he was pulled out to sea while walking around steep cliffs in the small village of Tanumshede. Now presumed dead, Lagerlöf left behind a wife and three children
The bassist for the 80s Canadian rock band Loverboy, you may know musician Scott Smith from his work on the hit singles Working for the Weekend and Turn Me Loose. To date, Loverboy have sold over 23 million records, but Scott hasn’t been a part of the band since he disappeared in 2000.
A keen sailor, Smith took two friends on a voyage off the coast of San Francisco in November 2000. A huge wave swept the star out of the 11-metre-long ship Sea Major, and he was never found again despite the best efforts of the Coast Guard. Scott has since been declared missing presumed dead.
‘Sweet Jimmy’ Robinson
There was a great commotion over the vanishing of many of these celebrities – but not Jim ‘Sweet Jimmy’ Robinson. Born in 1925, Robinson was raised in Kansas City, Missouri and became a middleweight and heavyweight boxer. He is best known for stepping into a fight against Muhammed Ali at the very last minute in February 1961 then, after losing to Ali, becoming good friends with the star.
Robinson held his last interview in 1979 with Sports Illustrated – and he has since faded into complete obscurity, with no subsequent contact with the media and no information available on his whereabouts. One Muhammad Ali superfan named Stephen Singer has spent years trying to find Robinson, to no avail.
Oscar ‘Zeta’ Acosta
Oscar ‘Zeta’ Acosta was born in El Paso, Texas in 1935, and he grew up to be an attorney, politician and prominent Chicano Movement activist. He became close friends with the author Hunter S Thompson, who immortalised him as the character Dr Gonzo in his novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
So when Acosta disappeared in 1974 while travelling around Mexico, Hunter S Thompson set out to uncover what happened to his friend. Thompson concluded that Acosta was struggling with an amphetamine addiction and that he was most likely killed by drug dealers – although Thompson also suggested that he may have been assassinated for political reasons.
This Bangladeshi novelist and filmmaker created a famous documentary in 1971 entitled Stop Genocide, which detailed the Bangladesh Liberation War. Zahir Raihan donated generously to the Freedom Fighters’ trust and was father to four sons. On 30 January 1972, Raihan vanished as he tried to track down his missing brother, Shahidullah Kaiser.
A writer like his brother, Kaiser was rounded up by the Pakistan Army for being a leading intellectual. It is assumed that he was then executed. Meanwhile it is believed that Raihan was killed by Bihari collaborators in Dhaka while searching for his sibling.
In the 1950s, jazz musicians and poets were the closest things the world had to rock stars, and Weldon Kees was one of America’s most admired up-and-coming poets. However, before Kees could become the star that everybody expected him to be, he vanished overnight in July of 1952, never to be seen again.
Kees’ car was eventually found abandoned near the Golden Gate Bridge, leading many to assume he had jumped into the water below, but a body was never found. This has led to another theory: that Kees fled from America to Mexico, evidenced by the fact that his wallet, sleeping bag and savings book were also all missing.
In the latter half of the 1800s and early 1900s, Ambrose Bierce was one of America’s most successful short story authors. Bierce fought in the American Civil War and later penned The Devil’s Dictionary, a humorous work of satire that listed common words followed by funny and eccentric definitions.
In 1914, Bierce went back to the Civil War battlefields where he once fought, and promptly disappeared somewhere in the South-West of the country. Many believed that he had accidentally gotten tangled up in the Mexican Revolution, while others claimed that he had committed suicide near the Grand Canyon, but there has never been any conclusive evidence for either theory.
Though you’ve probably never heard the name, in the early 1970s Hale Boggs was one of the most well-known Democratic politicians around. As well as being a Louisiana Congressman, he was also House Majority leader, and he served on the panel that investigated the death of JFK. It is this connection that meant that when he disappeared, conspiracy theories abounded about the cause of his vanishing.
In 1972, Boggs accompanied Alaska congressman Nick Begich on a fundraising trip, and their plane vanished mid-flight, somewhere between Anchorage and Juneau. The wreckage of the plane was never found, leading many conspiracy theorists to conclude that Boggs was assassinated due to his pursuit of the truth surrounding JFK’s death.
There aren’t many famous union leaders in history, but Jimmy Hoffa is by far one of the most infamous. Hoffa made a name for himself by leading the Teamsters, and gained a reputation for treating his fellow union members well. Unfortunately, he also got deeply embedded in the world of organised crime over the course of his career, and even spent time in prison as a result.
When Hoffa was released from jail in 1975, he immediately arranged to meet with two Detroit mobsters, in order to win back the leadership of the teamsters. He was last seen waiting for them to arrive at a restaurant, and then he vanished without a trace. There are many theories about what happened to Hoffa, with the most sensational being that he was buried in the end zone of Giants Stadium.
DB Cooper might be the most famous person to have disappeared in American history… but he also might never have existed at all. In 1971, a man calling himself ‘Dan Cooper’ hijacked a plane travelling from Portland to Seattle, and forced the plane to stop in Tacoma so he could collect a ransom.
The mystery man took over $200,000 and four parachutes from the waiting authorities, and then leapt from the plane as it flew over southwestern Washington. The police investigated in vain for over 40 years, but the man was never found, and investigation of the name he gave never turned up any leads either.
Most strange disappearances live in the annuls of the distant past, but they do still occasionally occur in the present. Shad Gaspard, former actor and professional wrestler with WWE, vanished in 2020. Gaspard was hanging out in the ocean with his son, when the pair were caught in a riptide and both were pulled under the water.
Gaspard asked the lifeguards to rescue his young son first, but when they returned to rescue Gaspard himself, he was nowhere to be seen. The Coastguard, along with many of Gaspard’s wrestling colleagues, searched for him for days to no avail. All hope was lost when his body was found on May 20th, 2020.
Many of the celebrities on this list were famous before they disappeared, but in this case, it was disappearing that brought Frank Morris’ name to the public’s attention. Morris was a prolific but somewhat unsuccessful criminal throughout the 1950s, being convicted of everything from armed robbery to narcotics possession. By 1960, he had landed in the legendary Alcatraz penitentiary, where attention was drawn to his above-average IQ.
In 1962, Morris somehow did the impossible and escaped Alcatraz, with the help of fellow criminals and brothers, John and Clarence Anglin. Scrambling, the guards quickly released a statement saying the three had drowned in the water surrounding the prison, despite the fact that no bodies were ever found. Their fates remain unknown, though in 2013 the San Francisco Police did receive a letter from someone claiming to be John Anglin, claiming that Morris died in 2008 having never been caught.
The disappearance of Henrich Muller definitely wasn’t the most notable thing about his life. A loyal Nazi, Muller worked as the head of the Gestapo in the run-up to and throughout the Second World War, and was instrumental in spreading the misinformation that was used to justify both the Final Solution and the invasion of Poland.
After a lifetime of enabling and committing atrocities, Muller vanished shortly after word of Hitler’s suicide began to spread. Historians have theorised that he also ended his life rather than face torture at the hands of the Soviets or conviction at the hands of the British, but no evidence has ever been found. It’s since been speculated that Muller may have snuck away to Latin America or disappeared under the Iron Curtain during the Cold War.
While he was alive, Solomon Northup had one of the most fascinating lives ever documented, so much so that his memoir would go on to inspire a movie of the same name, 12 Years A Slave. Northup grew up as the free son of a slave in New York in the 1800s, and he had settled down with a wife and family when he was kidnapped and forced into slavery in Louisiana.
Northup was a slave for over a decade, before public pressure from his family and also the Governor of New York finally led to his release. In response to the trauma he had endured, Northup began touring around America to discuss the horrors of slavery, and then published his memoir. Unfortunately, he vanished from the historical record in the late 1850s, with competing theories guessing that he either died of natural causes, was kidnapped back into slavery, or was murdered in retaliation for his outspoken activism.
Azaria Chamberlain’s disappearance is one of Australia’s most famous missing person cases. In 1980, the nine-week-old infant’s mother, Linda Chamberlain, made a hysterical statement to police, claiming that her daughter had been eaten by a dingo while they were camping in the Outback. Despite the mother’s distress, police believed that the story was a cover-up for murder, and both Azaria’s parents were brought up on charges.
However, three years after Linda’s imprisonment, police found scraps of baby clothing near a known Outback dingo den. This evidence was enough to prove Linda’s innocence and suggested once and for all that Azaria Chamberlain had been taken by dingos. Linda was released from jail immediately.
Scott Hutchison was the lead singer of beloved Scottish indie rock band Frightened Rabbit. His struggles with anxiety and depression were well documented, both in the lyrics of the band’s songs and outside of them. In 2018, Hutchison posted a cryptic statement to his social media that read: “Be so good to everyone you love. It’s not a given. I’m so annoyed that it’s not. I didn’t live by that standard and it kills me. Please, hug your loved ones… I”m away now. Thanks”.
Frightened Rabbit urged fans to report any sightings of the singer, but his body was tragically found several days later. His family later confirmed that Hutchison had died by suicide, but no further details were ever discovered, and both the band and their fans were left reeling as a result.
Most disappearances don’t have a happy ending, but things do occasionally work out all right. When pop star J-Kwon vanished in 2010, everybody understandably assumed the worst, from his fans and management to his close family and friends. The singer dropped off the radar for a full month, while fans spammed his social media with concerned messages and requests for reassurance.
After a month of being entirely AWOL, J-Kwon reached out to his management and production company, and later his fans. He gave no explanation for his disappearance except to say that he was “taking some time” for himself, and that he didn’t realise quite how worried people would be when he stopped checking in.
Phillip Taylor Kramer
J-Kwon is not the only popular musician to have vanished off the face of the Earth. Phillip Taylor Kramer was a hugely successful musician in the 60s, a founding member of rock and roll band Iron Butterfly, who was responsible for the hit song In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida. Later in his life, he became a respected aerospace engineer, and reportedly even discovered the secret to faster than light speed transmissions.
In 1995, Kramer began behaving strangely, telling his wife “Whatever happens, I’ll always be with you”, and calling 911 to announce his suicide in advance. Shortly thereafter, Kramer disappeared, and his remains were found four years later, inside a minivan in Malibu. Police ruled the death a suicide as per his statement, but his family remains convinced that he was murdered due to his forbidden scientific knowledge.
Troubled Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain’s suicide is one of the most infamous and widely discussed deaths in the history of music. However, fewer people know that before his conspiracy-theory-sparking death, Cobain disappeared for several days. Nobody knew where he went or why he chose to vanish, and his death shortly after robbed everybody of answers.
Allegedly, Cobain’s partner Courtney Love was so worried about him that she hired a private investigator to track him down, but she never found him or got an explanation. Cobain’s mindset in the last days of his life remains one of the great mysteries in music, and has spawned countless conspiracy theories all by itself.
By 2012, indie rockers Glasvegas seemed poised to take over the world. However, just before their scheduled performance at the Mercury Awards, lead singer James Allan went missing. The band were frantic, but no amount of searching could turn up the singer, who had gone AWOL just a few hours earlier.
Eventually, a coordinated search effort revealed that the singer was safe and sound in New York. He never gave an explanation for why he was motivated to travel so far, alone, before a big performance, but he has since said in interviews that he was dealing with numerous substance abuse issues at the time.
Jason Mewes has enjoyed cult status since appearing as Jay in a series of 90s comedies written and directed by his friend Kevin Smith (who also played Jay’s buddy Silent Bob). Unfortunately, Mewes’ rise to fame came hand-in-hand with a descent into drug addiction.
Mewes hit rock bottom in 2002. Estranged from his old friends including Smith, the actor missed a court hearing for drug possession and was not seen for several months. Eventually, he turned himself in to police, and served six months in a rehab clinic. For the most part, Mewes has been clean and sober since.
The lifelong fame of actress Margot Kidder was assured thanks to her role as Lois Lane in the original Superman movies, but sadly both her career and her physical and mental health suffered in the years that followed. After being seriously injured in a car crash in 1990, Kidder later suffered a nervous breakdown in 1996.
The actress was missing for four days, eventually showing up in a stranger’s garden in a deeply troubled state. Placed in psychiatric care, Kidder was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and with treatment she enjoyed a personal and professional resurgence. Unfortunately, Kidder never lost her demons, and she died from an intentional drug and alcohol overdose in 2018.
The son of Star Trek actor Walter Koenig, Andrew Koenig came to prominence in the supporting role of Richard ‘Boner’ Stabone in 80s sitcom Growing Pains. Sadly, he was also doomed to wage a life-long battle with depression.
Following Growing Pains, Koenig largely fell out of the limelight, taking only a handful of other acting roles in his life. He finally vanished in Vancouver in February 2010, having missed a scheduled flight without any communication with loved ones. He was found dead in the woods of Stanley Park weeks later, having committed suicide.
Katherine Jackson is the matriarch of the legendary Jackson family, including the late Michael Jackson, his brothers in the Jackson Five and their sister Janet Jackson. Three years after the untimely death of her most famous son Michael, Katherine’s nephew Trent filed a missing person’s report.
Happily, Katherine turned out to be absolutely fine, and was staying with relatives. Trent has since faced accusations of elder abuse, with claims that he has tried to manipulate his aunt during legal battles over the will and estate of his late cousin Michael.
After getting his breakthrough as a child actor in the Mel Gibson movie The Man Without a Face, Nick Stahl rose to prominence with key roles in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Sin City and TV’s Carnivàle. In May 2012, Stahl’s wife reported that he had been missing for ten days.
When Stahl eventually resurfaced, he contacted loved ones to let them know he was entering rehab. His marriage soon ended, and he would relapse in the years that followed, but after taking several years off to get sober, Stahl returned to making movies in 2018.
Renowned both as a radio DJ and the voice of Shaggy in Scooby-Doo, Casey Kasem endured troubles in his final years. Whilst suffering Lewy body dementia, Kasem was forcibly estranged from his own children when his second wife Jean refused to let them have any contact with him.
For a time, Kasem’s children had no idea where their father was. Eventually, he was found in Washington state, just a few months before he passed away in 2014. Kasem’s children later sued his widow Jean for wrongful death and elder abuse, although she was ultimately cleared of any wrongdoing by the police.
Chelsea O’Donnell is the daughter of Rosie O’Donnell, the famed American comedian, actress and talk show host. Her mother reported her missing in 2015 when Chelsea had not been seen for a week.
After Rosie made public pleas for information via social media, it eventually turned out that Chelsea was staying with a drug dealer whom she had met via Tinder. Child endangerment charges were filed but later dismissed, as the teenager admitted she had lied to the older man about her age.
Heavy metal singer Ozzy Osbourne has one of the most notoriously eventful and excessive life stories in rock’n’roll history, so it’s not too surprising he has some days that can’t be accounted for. The Black Sabbath frontman went missing in 2016 after a spat with wife Sharon.
Osbourne, who has a long history of drug and alcohol abuse and has suffered numerous relapses into addiction, eventually reconnected with his family after several days in the wilderness. He reconciled with Sharon and they are still together.
Popular singer-songwriter and frequently controversial figure Sinead O’Connor has struggled with mental health issues for many years. Diagnosed as bipolar in 2007, she worried loved ones by disappearing for several days in 2006 after going out for a bike ride.
O’Connor re-emerged after several days, but sadly she’s had no shortage of woes in the years since. On top of being bipolar, she’s been diagnosed with PTSD and borderline personality disorder rooted in childhood traumas, and her son died by suicide in early 2022.
After winning a contest to become an MTV VJ, Jesse Camp became a host on the music station’s popular show Total Request Live, then side-stepped into a rock music career of his own. However, he did not enjoy great success and soon faded from the limelight.
Camp’s sister reported him missing in July 2018; he’d made no communication with family members for over a week, which was out of character. Things were resolved quickly, as it turned out Camp had been located by a police officer in San Bernadino that very same day.