Famous Historic Figures' Public Image vs the Reality of their Lives
Famous Historic Figures’ Public Image vs the Reality of their Lives

Famous Historic Figures’ Public Image vs the Reality of their Lives

Khalid Elhassan - June 3, 2020

Famous Historic Figures’ Public Image vs the Reality of their Lives
Albert Dekker’s death certificate. Imgur

1. A Bizarre Death’s Mystery

Albert Dekker’s death was initially ruled a suicide. However, after S&M toys and porn were found in his apartment, it was changed to accidental autoerotic asphyxiation while masturbating. Despite the coroner’s ruling, foul play was suspected. For one, his fiancee knew that he had been keeping $70,000 cash in the apartment to buy a new house. The money, as well as expensive cameras and filming equipment, was never found.

It also seemed incredible that Dekker could have tied himself in the manner in which he was discovered, all on his own. Whether he acted alone, or had a partner who panicked and fled after a scandalous game went terribly wrong, or he was murdered, is a mystery that remains unsolved to this day. Unfortunately, that weird ending that did more to shape Dekker’s public image and memory than his decades of stellar work and moral stands.


Where Did We Find This Stuff? Some Sources and Further Reading

Atlantic, The, December, 2017 – How John Wayne Became a Hollow Masculine Icon

BBC – Fatty Arbuckle and Hollywood’s First Scandal

Cracked – 5 Famous People Whose Entire Personality Was an Act

Encyclopedia Britannica – Profumo Affair

Guardian, The, February 22nd, 2016 – Last of the Red-Hot Myths: What Gossip Over Rudolph Valentino’s S** Life Says About the Silents

Guardian, The, April 9th, 2017 – Eric Gill: Can We Separate the Artist From the Abuser?

Independent, The, September 18th, 2015 – King Edward VIII: Uncle Who Encouraged Young Queen’s Nazi Salute Plotted With Adolf Hitler to Regain Throne

India Today, November 30th, 1999 – Mahatma & Manuben: Newly Discovered Diaries of Gandhi’s Personal Attendant Reveal How His Experiments With Celibacy Changed Her Life

Live About – Jerry Lee Lewis Married His 13-Year-Old Cousin

Miedzian, Myriam – Boys Will be Boys: Breaking the Link Between Masculinity and Violence

New Yorker, September 18th, 2015 – Charlie Chaplin’s Scandalous Life and Boundless Artistry

New York Times, June 16th, 2018 – Monticello is Done Avoiding Jefferson’s Relationship With Sally Hemings

Open Learn – What is the Evidence That King Edward VIII Was a Nazi Sympathizer?

Schoenberger, Nancy – Wayne and Ford: The Films, the Friendship, and the Forging of an American Hero (2017)

Shadows and Satin – The Life and Death of Albert Dekker

Smithsonian Magazine, November 8th, 2011 – The Skinny on the Fatty Arbuckle Trial

Ultimate Classic Rock – When Jerry Lee Lewis Married His 13-Year-Old Cousin

Vice – Charlie Chaplin Was a Sadistic Tyrant Who F*** Teenage Girls

Vox – Thomas Jefferson Spent Years Raping His Slave Sally Hemings

Washington Post, July 7th, 2017 – Sally Hemings Wasn’t Thomas Jefferson’s Mistress, She Was His Property

Wikipedia – Albert Dekker

Wikipedia – Frances Cleveland