DEAD: ON THIS DATE
Ed Wood (aged 54)
American screenwriter, director, producer, actor, author, and film editor
Edward Davis Wood Jr. (October 10, 1924 – December 10, 1978) was an American filmmaker, actor, and author. (Plan 9 from Outer Space)
In the 1950s, Wood made a number of low-budgetfilms in the science fiction, crime and horror genres, intercutting stock footage. In the 1960s and 1970s, he made sexploitation movies and wrote over 80 pulpcrime, horror and sex novels. In 1975, he was awarded a Golden Turkey Award as Worst Director of All Time, renewing public interest in his work.Wood’s career and camp approach has earned him and his films a cult following.
Following the publication of Rudolph Grey’s 1992 oral biography Nightmare of Ecstasy: The Life and Art of Edward D. Wood Jr., the public took a greater interest in Wood, leading up to director Tim Burton’s biopic of Wood’s life, Ed Wood (1994), a critically acclaimed film starring Johnny Depp as Wood that earned two Academy Awards.
DEATH: By 1978, Wood’s depression had worsened, and he and his wife Kathy had both become alcoholics. They were evicted from their Hollywood apartment on Yucca Street on Thursday, December 7, 1978 in total poverty. The couple moved into the North Hollywood apartment of their friend, actor Peter Coe. Wood spent the weekend drinking vodka. Around noon on Sunday, December 10, Wood felt ill and went to lie down in Coe’s bedroom. From the bedroom, he asked Kathy to bring him a drink, which she refused to do. A few minutes later he yelled out, “Kathy, I can’t breathe!”, a plea Kathy ignored as she later said she was tired of Wood bossing her around. After hearing no movement in the bedroom for 20 minutes, Kathy sent a friend to check on Wood, who discovered him dead from a heart attack. Kathy later said, “I still remember when I went into that room that afternoon and he was dead, his eyes and mouth were wide open. I’ll never forget the look in his eyes. He clutched at the sheets. It looked like he’d seen hell”.
Wood was cremated, and his ashes were scattered at sea.