Morbid Curiosity by Alan W. Petrucelli
Book Information
Perigee Trade
Paperback: 240 pages

The Disturbing Demises of the Famous and Infamous

Advance Praise from Celebs Who Are Not Dead. Yet.

“Alan has written a very funny, very clever book—it’s shocking and sinful, and I couldn't put it down. He leaves no gravestone unturned, nothing buried. Morbid Curiosity is part Six Feet Under, part Mad magazine. It’ll make a killing!” — Joan Rivers

“Even celebrities die, and they do so in far more grand-scale ways than mere mortals. Now that they've met their maker, they've also found their chronicler, Alan W. Petrucelli. He unearths the demises of the rich and infamous—from Valentino to Heath Ledger and beyond—with detailed research, dishy wit and insight. This book is to die for!” — Michael Musto

“Morbid Curiosity is a cornucopia of Hollywood gossip and tidbits, much more humorous than macabre, delivered from a different point of view than any book I’ve read about celebs. It’s breezy, pithy, informative, odd and, despite its subject matter, certain to amuse.”— Robert Osborne, host of Turner Classic Movies

“I couldn’t put the book down until I finished every word. Morbid Curiosity is a terrific read for those who have to know every little detail about the famous and infamous. Some great stories to be told at the dinner table. Can’t wait to give my next dinner party!”  — Rona Barrett

The Critics Rave & Raise the Dead! 

"Dead Celebrities, Big Bucks"
Lisa Respers France features Morbid Curiosity for CNN, October 28, 2009  Read story

“Alan Petrucelli unleashes his Morbid Curiosity about dead celebrities”
Melissa Meinzer, Pittsburgh City Paper, October 22, 2009 Read story

Alan digs the dirt on the dead on Pittsburgh Today Watch segment

Morbid Curiosity gets a five-star review from the Seattle Times  Read review unearths the Top 10 celebrity after-death atrocities  Read story

Michael Musto of The Village Voice raves . . .
There's a new book that's to die for! It's Morbid Curiosity: The Disturbing Demises of The Famous and Infamous by Alan W. Petrucelli, and it's a Hollywood Babylon-style rundown of the best (as in worst) star deaths--how they croaked, what they last ate, what they last said, and who smoked their ashes.

Among the saddest anecdotes:
Playboy model Dorothy Stratten was killed by her psycho boyfriend Paul Snider, who proceeded to fuck her corpse for 30 minutes before offing himself! Even Chris Brown wouldn't do that.

Rex Harrison found his girlfriend, actress Carole Landis, passed out on the floor of the bathroom, but he went out without calling for help because he sort of felt a pulse. When he came back, her suicide attempt had succeeded, though her mom always alleged that it wasn't suicide.

Susan Cabot (star of the immortal Wasp Woman) was killed by her "dwarf son" with the help of a dumbbell. That makes two dumbbells.

And Albert Dekker (Dr. Cyclops) was found not only dead, "he was naked, kneeling in the bathtub, a noose tightly wrapped around his neck," with handcuffs, a blindfold, a gag, needles in his arms, and a vagina drawn on his stomach. Even David Carradine couldn't top that--though he gave it the old college try. 

Kacy Muir of the Times Leader Weekender raves in a five-star review . . .
Claudette Colbert, who won an Academy Award for Best Actress in “It Happened One Night” in 1934, once said: “I must never think about death. People who think about death are mentally sick.” Colbert died at the ripe age of 92 in 1996.

While some people would much rather live life in the now, many of us can’t help but wonder about tomorrow, and more specifically, death. Some of us even obsess about it.
Luckily, we’re not alone in our sickness. Alan W. Petrucelli, author of Morbid Curiosity: The Disturbing Demises of the Famous and Infamous, is one of them.

Petrucelli is not just a writer. He is a fanatic when it comes to celebrities. It just so happens that most of them are dead. However, Petrucelli has worked as a freelance writer for such publications as the New York Times, People and US Weekly, gaining credibility throughout the entertainment industry as the know-it-all for dead celebrities.

This book does not only seek to inform readers about current deaths but also inform us about celebrities who were part of the silver-screen era. The book, though petite at only 222 pages including references, is compact with facts about every type of celebrity ranging from the classics—Rudolph Valentino and Lya De Putti—to the contemporary—Tupac Shakur and Natasha Richardson.

Maybe you don’t want to admit that you sat watching the television for three hours waiting to hear how Heath Ledger died, but those facts are in here.
Likewise, Petrucelli goes backwards in time, taking readers to 1822 when “Frankenstein author” Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was given her deceased husband’s heart by writer Edward Trelawny who snatched it at the funeral pyre as a way to relieve her sorrows.

There is one commonality in this book. Not all of the celebrities are connected, and certainly, you may not be aware of all of their accolades, but every single one of them has a story to tell.   Among the fatal stories of gruesome car wrecks, victims of serial killers, suicides and crimes of passion, the rumors are dispelled and the facts are presented.

Whatever type of novel you enjoy best, it’s a guarantee that you will enjoy this book if you have any interest in “the strange, startling and utterly fascinating stories behind the world’s most notorious celebrity deaths.”

It may fit into the genre of infotainment, but it is the best book seen to date that has managed to take the topic of death and make it enjoyable.

Petrucelli molds fact and observation by using his humorous and wildly creative mind in order to share his product — a love for famed history with a slew of us who can’t help but be fascinated by the morbid nature of death.

Melora North of The Provincetown Banner raves in a five-star review . . .

Petrucelli deals out the dope with a sometimes respectful tone, often a sarcastic twist and always a generous dose of humor peppered with side remarks that are genuinely clever and catching, if you can take the inevitable subject of death with a grain of salt.

For those of you who are interested in gleaning some insight into the morbid side of the sometimes rich and now famous characters that have made an imprint on history, Morbid Curiosity is the ticket. It is a short read; actually it is one of those books you can just keep around and flit through to open randomly on a whim just to get some insight into the wacky stuff that will probably tickle just about anyone’s fancy, but again, only if you are possessed by morbid curiosity.

For instance, did you ever hear the rumor that actress Jayne Mansfield was decapitated in the car accident that took her life in 1967? Well, put that thought out of your head, again no pun intended. According to Petrucelli’s research her death certificate states that she died of  “a crushed skull with avulsion of cranium and brain,” which means in laymen’s terms, per the author, “she was scalped.” The driver of the car, Sam Brody, was also killed while Mansfield’s three children from her ex-husband, Mr. Universe, Miklos Hargitay, survived the crash with only minor injuries.

You’ve all heard of the actor John Belushi, who died of an overdose administered by his girlfriend. (With friends like that who needs enemies?). He now rests on Martha’s Vineyard in Abel’s Hill Cemetery. Well, if and when you visit the graveyard don’t be deceived by the marker in his memory. A large boulder may be there but no one’s home. He’s in the ‘hood but not where the officials want you to believe.  

Then there are the jumpers. Supermodel Ruslana Korshunova took a dive from her New York City apartment balcony on the ninth floor in 2008, just days before her 21st birthday. Crashing through some netting that had been hung for a construction job, it was reported by witnesses that her body was askew, her head resting in a pool of blood. A suicide was the final verdict for cause, though no note was ever found. Another jumper was the writer for the theme song to the television program, “Maude,” Donny Hathaway, who died in 1979 when he jumped 15 stories from his room at the Essex House hotel in New York City after a dinner party at singer Roberta Flack’s. One can only wonder what was on the menu that evening.

Jumps are not exclusive to New York. Starlet Peggy Entwistle had one too many one evening back in 1932 in Hollywood so decided to climb the electrician’s ladder of the HOLLYWOOD sign, and when she reached the top of the H she dove off, landing 50 feet below. Death was instantaneous. A suicide note in her purse declared “I am afraid I am a coward….” Some would disagree, that final act was certainly not a fete of cowardice.

Got you hooked yet? If not, read on and learn a little something about last meals. Serial killer John Wayne Gacy, executed in 1994, enjoyed a banquet of deep fried shrimp, a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken, French fries, a pound of strawberries, and get this, a diet Coke. Diet Coke? Why bother. And speaking of weird last choices, serial killer Aileen Wuornos, executed in 2002, chose some snack foods, a hamburger and a cup of coffee — of all things, why would she want to stay awake for that event? There was no dessert being served in the execution chamber. raves . . .
Someone once said the only two interesting things to write about were sex and death. Sex is covered everywhere you look nowadays, but Mr. Petrucelli covers death with wit, style and insouciant good humor.

From Atilla the Hun to Rin-Tin-Tin, politicians, patriots, performers and perverts may not live in these pages, but they certainly do die, each and all in fascinating, fabulous, or nefarious manner. While a font for trivia buffs or simply people looking for great conversation starters, Petrucelli does not side step the bigger darker picture of our universal fascination with death.

Petrucelli is a well known celebrity journalist, and his often irreverent take on the lives of the great and not so great adds a lot to his meditations on an incredibly wide variety of deaths. The wit can be zany or reflective, and the subjects can be incredibly familiar, such as Michael Jackson, or fairly obscure, such as the actress Susan Cabot. The variety and the diversity of the material, as well as the really clever arrangement of topics and descriptions, add greatly to one’s enjoyment of Morbid Curiosity.

This book is funny, moving, and really has something for everyone. It will make you smile, laugh out loud, and, most important, realize that it doesn't matter how great, rich or famous anyone is: everybody dies. You may devour the book in a single sitting, then go back to re-sample some of the tastier portions. Or maybe simply slowly savor it, a chapter or two at a time. The book is funny, fabulous and fascinating, and everyone should buy a copy! 

La Daily Musto raves . . . (June 8, 2009)
Who Was The Original David Carradine?

Way before David Carradine's sad and possibly kinky death by strangling, obscure character actor Albert Dekker (Dr. Cyclops) met a similar freaky fate. According to an upcoming book called Morbid Curiosity by Alan W. Petrucelli, in 1968 Dekker was found not only dead, "he was naked, kneeling in the bathtub, a noose tightly wrapped around his neck and looped around the shower's curtain rod," plus Dekker was decked out in handcuffs, a blindfold, and a ball gag in his mouth.

What's more, there were needles sticking out of his arm, a vajayjay was drawn on his stomach, and his nipples had been . . . no, you sickos will have to wait for the book for the rest of the bizarre details. You can't make this shit up!!! 

Page Six raves . . . (New York Post, August 1, 2009)

Ha, Ha, I’m Outta Here!
FAMOUS people have a knack for being witty when they're about to die. In his upcoming book, Morbid Curiosity, out in October from Perigee, Alan W. Petrucelli recounts some of their famous last words. Liberace: "It's beautiful in heaven, Mother. Yes, of course I'll play the piano for you." Elvis Presley: "I'm going into the bathroom to read." James Brown: "I'm going away tonight." Eugene O'Neill: "I knew it. I knew it. Born in a hotel room and Goddamn it! Died in a hotel room." Tallulah Bankhead: "Codeine, bourbon." P.T. Barnum: "How were the receipts today at Madison Square Garden?" Oscar Wilde: "Either that wallpaper goes or I do." Dylan Thomas: "I've had eight straight whiskeys, I think that's the record." Joan Crawford: "Damn it! Don't you dare ask God to help me!" Gary Gilmore: "Let's do it!"

Liz Smith raves . . . (WOWOWOW, August 11, 2009)
Wandered into Orsos after theater and ran right into Ali MacGraw who is still beautiful and now lives quietly in Sante Fe, NM. The star of the classic movie Love Story doesn’t always get the credit she deserves. As a matter of fact, later in life she made one of my all-time favorite movies with, of all people, the comic Alan King. Just Tell Me What You Want is partly the story of a tempestuous couple who stage a fight in Bergdorf Goodman. It is simply terrific as directed by Sidney Lumet and you should look for it on DVD.

I told Ali I had just been thinking of her because I had read that very day the details of her late love Steve McQueen’s unhappy death from cancer. It’s all in the coming new book Morbid Curiosity: The Disturbing Demises of the Famous and Infamous.

Ali mused for a moment: "Yeah, yeah, you know Liz, all these rumors and feelers that they are looking to film the Steve McQueen story. Where in the world do you think they’ll ever come up with anyone who looks and acts like Steve!?"

Cindy Adams raves . . . (New York Post, July 29, 2009)
FORGET locusts. We got us a plague of showbizzy celebrity-style books. Like Alan W. Petrucelli's Morbid Curiosity: The Disturbing Demises of the Famous and Infamous. Hopping onto Michael Jackson, it's about if Jayne Mansfield was decapitated and what went to the grave with Princess Di, and it runs from Attila the Hun to Heath Ledger.