|Stalking The Stars|
Celebrities are common targets of stalkers, and some celebrities even have been known to stalk each other. Too often, these cases claim innocent lives.
Eddie Waitkus, a baseball player for the All-Star Phillies, survives a rifle shot to the chest, inflicted by Ruth Ann Steinhagen. The 19-year-old was later found to have newspaper clippings and photos of Waitkus all over her room. Steinhagen was sentenced to a mental institution.
Aug. 12, 1969
Bill Lennon, father of the singing Lennon Sisters, is shot and killed by Chester W.H. Young, who for several years had been stalking Peggy Lennon in particular. Young is found dead Oct. 11, 1969, apparently having shot himself with same gun he had used to kill Lennon.
Dec. 8, 1980
John Lennon is shot and killed outside his New York City apartment building by Mark David Chapman, who earlier that day had received an autograph from the former Beatle. Chapman is serving a life sentence in Attica.
March 30, 1981
Trying to gain the notice of actress Jodie Foster, John Hinckley Jr. attempts to assassinate President Ronald Reagan. He is consigned to a psychiatric facility in Washington, D.C.
March 15, 1982
Actress Theresa Saldana is assaulted and nearly stabbed to death by Arthur Richard Jackson, a drifter. Jackson served a 14-year prison term and was then extradited to England for a 1966 robbery.
Obsessed with the eyes of Olivia Newton-John, Michael Perry tries camping out on her estate. He goes home to Louisiana, only to kill his parents, cousins and baby nephew by shooting them all in the eyes. He is on death row.
After four years of writing letters to Olivia Newton-John, alternately believing her to be his sister and his wife, Ralph Nau travels to Australia to be with her. Upon his return, he beats his autistic stepbrother to death. He is confined to a psychiatric facility in Illinois.
Margaret Ray starts to tell people that she married to David Letterman, beginning an obsession that would drive her to break into his house nearly 10 times and to steal his car. Ray, who was diagnosed as suffering from schizophrenia, committed suicide in 1998.
After his marriage to actress Tracy Pollan, Michael J. Fox is besieged with as many as 10 letters a day from obsessed fan Tina Ledbetter. When he takes her to court to force her to stop, he estimated that she sent him as many as 6,000 letters in a two-year period.
July 18, 1989
Actress Rebecca Schaefer, 21, is shot in the chest and killed by stalker Robert John Bardo after she answers her door. He is serving a life sentence, with no possibility of parole.
Gary Benson marries the housekeeper of Jerry Lewis. ALthough the union soon ends in divorce, Benson, a diagnosed schizophrenic, claims he heard voices commanding him to kill Lewis, and spends the following years in and out of prison. Benson dies in prison Aug. 4, 2001.
Throughout the decade, Mark Bailey, 42, an accountant from New Jersey, sends threatening letters to actress Brooke Shields. On Sept. 5, 2000, he is sentenced to 10 years' probation and ordered to attend counseling sessions twice a week.
After writing a series of letters to actress Sharon Gless, threatening to shoot herself in front of her, Joni Leigh Penn, gun in tow, breaks into a house owned by Gless and is arrested after a standoff with police. She is sentenced to six years in prison.
Tina Sinatra takes actor James Farentino to court on two counts of stalking and threatening. A restraining order is issued against him after he pleads no contest.
Robert Hoskins threatens to kill Madonna's bodyguards for keeping them apart, and vows to cut her throat because she will not marry him. Hoskins is eventually arrested and sentenced to 10 years in prison after he trespasses on Madonna's estate.
July 15, 1997
Designer Gianni Versace is killed at the gates of his home in South Beach, Miami, Fla., with two gunshots. His killer turns out to be Andrew Cunanan, an alleged spree killer of four other men, who takes his own life eight days later.
July 11, 1998
Jonathan Norman is caught breaking into the home of director Steven Spielberg with the intention of raping the director. Testifying in court, Spielberg says, "I feel to this day that I am prey to this individual."
April 26, 1999
Jill Dando, 37, a British TV journalist who hosted a popular travel show and presented the news for the BBC, is killed on her own doorstep in London by a single gunshot to the head. An alleged obsessed fan named Barry George is serving a life term for the crime.
Dec. 14, 2000
Dante Michael Soiu is convicted of stalking Gwyneth Paltrow and sent to a high-security mental facility after the judge determines he is insane. Soiu sent hundreds of letters, e-mails and packages to the actress and showed up at her parents' home, authorities said.