Baretta star Robert Blake escaped imprisonment for the murder of his wife Bonny Lee Bakley, but if you believe popular opinion, he is in that grim group: famous people who have taken lives, whether on purpose or accidentally. Here are some others. [2010 note: This list was written before Phil Spector murdered Lana Clarkson.]
- Matthew Broderick. The star of Ferris Bueller's Day Off was driving through Northern Ireland in 1988 with then-girlfriend Jennifer Grey when he crashed their car into another, killing two Irish women: Anna Gallagher, 28, and her mother Margaret Dougherty, 60. Broderick escaped with minor injuries and was ordered to pay $175. Life is cheap in Northern Ireland.
- Rebecca Gayheart. Gayheart, star of a number of indie movies and short-lived TV series and former "Noxzema girl", decided she was too important to sit through heavy Hollywood traffic, made an illegal maneuver, and accidentally ran over 9-year-old Jorge Cruz, Jr., killing him. Her punishment: a few hours of community service.
- Vince Neil. The Mötley Crüe singer got drunk before piling into his car in 1984 with his buddy Nicholas "Razzle" Dingley, drummer for the band Hanoi Rocks. Neil crashed the car, killing Dingley. He got off scot-free.
- James Stewart. One of America's most beloved actors flew twenty bombing runs over Germany in World War II, and while few can fault him for risking his life and serving his country in a time of war, he likely killed hundreds of civilians in the process. In fact, Stewart couldn't wait to fight, and enlisted even before the US officially entered the war. After his death, it was revealed that, while in the reserves, Stewart volunteered to command a reconnaissance mission over Vietnam during the late '60s, which probably added countless Vietnamese casualties to the German ones.
- Oliver Stone. The director who traded in on his wartime experiences to make a name for himself was awarded the Bronze Star in Vietnam for wiping out a nest of machine gunners with a hand grenade. His enemies retaliated by shooting him in the neck. He got the Purple Heart for that.
- Laura Bush. In 1963, when she was 17, the future First Lady was driving her car to a party when she ran a stop sign and crashed into a car driven by 17-year-old Michael Douglas (who, in a darker twist, was allegedly her boyfriend at the time). No charges were filed. She has only spoken about this publicly once, in March 2000.
- John Wilkes Booth. Everybody knows that Booth assassinated President Lincoln in 1865. What tends to get forgotten is that Booth was a very popular stage actor at the time. A contemporary journalist put it this way: "Imagine if Brad Pitt assassinated Bill Clinton, and you'll have some idea of the shock the Washington public felt when they heard that Booth was the man who killed Lincoln."
- William S. Burroughs. The late "Beat" writer drunkenly shot his wife Joan Vollmer in the head in 1951. He was never tried for the accident.
- O.J. Simpson. Do you doubt?