October 31, 1948 - October 4, 1969
"Somebody was always putting me down. I was never free to be myself."
In the words of her famous father, "Kids do the darndest things!" Diane, daughter of television host Art Linkletter, did the darndest thing of all on October 4, 1969. She was living in apartment #610 of the Shoreham Towers.
It is located just off the Sunset Strip, at 8787 Shoreham Drive, in West Hollywood, CA.
Her apartment was neatly kept, festooned with family pictures and a psychedelic poster which read FRODO PUFFS PIPE WEED. The actual door to the apartment had a handwritten sign attached to it, reading:
To those of you entering, please give a minutes thought to the vibrations and feelings of which you brought with you. If they be of sound, sincere, and honest quality, do enter. On the other hand, be they different from those qualities listed above, do enter for I'll try to understand, " signed Lady of the Manor, M. Diane L.
Bit of history: Some people claim that Diane was no stranger to drugs and that she was into heroin at the age of 14, and mentioned suicide on several occasions. She also supposedly dropped LSD three or four times a week. This was published elsewhere, those that knew Diane deny this.
the evening of the 3rd of October, Diane was on a date at the Griffith Park
Observatory with a guy named Robert Rietman, returning home about midnight.
At Diane's request, friend Robert Durston arrived around 3 a.m., and Diane said
she was going to make cookies. According to Durston, Diane had told him
she had dropped LSD. They talked a lot. Around what he thought was
daybreak, they went out to the balcony. Diane looked down and saw one of
the building attendants named Scottie, walking his St. Bernard. The leash
fell off, and Scottie threw the leash at the dog and gave chase. Diane
became hysterical, convinced that Scottie was going to kill the dog.
Durston drags her inside the apartment and restrains her physically, until she
calms down. Durston leaves the room and calls Diane's brother to tell him
she had dropped acid.
2010 - Findadeath friend Shannon Kent sends us these terrific images of the
interiors. Shannon explains,
"I just wanted to forward this to you. It appears unit #610 is for sale. According to your article this was Diane Linkletter's apartment. The apartment is totally remodeled but if you click on the "more photos" there's a picture of the infamous kitchen window!"
It should be noted that 20 minutes prior to the incident, Diane did make a phone call, and the operator said that Diane sounded like she was under the influence of "something." It should also be noted that she was wearing a pair of jeans, a sweater, and was carrying $14.66 in cash, and credit cards (The Broadway of course, and a couple more).
Durston returns to the room, and Diane was more relaxed. She got up calmly, left the bedroom,
crossed the living room, Durston following her the entire time.
She entered the kitchen,
passed the plate with two uneaten cookies, climbed on the yellow tile countertop and proceeded out the kitchen window.
Proceeded. I find that word fascinating. It was no spectacular dive, she just walked out the window. Durston reached for her, but couldn't stop her. He got a handful of the beige drapes. The end. She died with all her belt loops intact.
neighbor across the street was looking out his bay window and saw Diane in the
air, heard a scream, and watched in horror as she hit the pavement.
calls the police, then heads down to the lobby and calls the police again, he
meets them outside.
was taken by ambulance first to Hollywood Receiving Hospital, then to the USCMC
on State Street. She was pronounced dead on arrival, just two weeks short
of her 21st birthday.
Official Cause of Death: Cerebral Contusions, Extensive, Massive Skull Fracture, and Multiple Fractures of Extremities. Interestingly, Diane has the distinction of being pronounced dead at 10:04 a.m. on 10-4 1969.
was fast tracked to autopsy at 3 p.m. that very day. (Being a celebrity's
daughter still has its perks.)
than hide from the press, her father went public with an anti-drug campaign.
Art said on that day that Diane had taken "a much stronger dose of this
poison than she should have." He focused
his anger on Timothy Leary, the drug advocate and former educator, but also
blamed the companies that manufacture LSD.
NEW JUNE 2010: When the autopsy was released, it was discovered that Diane was completely sober at the time of her death.
drugs, no booze. Her father then insisted she was suffering
from an LSD flashback.
Diane is a now a permanent resident of Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills, Enduring Faith section.
Her tombstone reads: "Darling, we loved you so much."
Trivia: Diane was reading The Story of O at the time of her death.
Findadeath friend Mike Crews reminds us that Art Linkletter made a record titled "We Love You, Call Collect" prior to Diane's death. It won the Grammy for best spoken word recording in '69. Here is also a fun commercial with Art and Diane.
By the way, Durston was also present at the mysterious death of busty television personality and Johnny Carson Art Fern's Tea Time Movie Matinee Lady, Carol Wayne. Coinkydink?
Even jucier - Durston was actually a suspect in the Sharon Tate murders.
Art became a columnist for the National Enquirer.
Goss from Joel, June 1999:
I was an airline employee in Chicago
for several years, and am also a working stagehand.
I've had direct contact with the old bastard (Art Linkletter) on
three separate, one-on-one occasions, and he is -- without a single doubt -- the
most obnoxious, disgusting, miserable and hateful SOB I have ever encountered in
my 52 years on this Earth. As the flight attendant in tears told me as I opened
the door of the aircraft on which he arrived during my O'Hare days: No wonder
his daughter jumped out of the window. And, he was every bit as miserable
when I paged a curtain for him backstage in 1992.
Findadeath friend Lanny sends this:
It was 1968, a year before his daughter's suicide, I was 13
years old and discovered Art Linkletter sunning himself in front of the famous
Royal Hawaiian Hotel. He was reading Variety. I was nervous, shy and had only the best
of intentions. I got a pen and paper and said: "Excuse me, Mr. Linkletter,
would you PLEASE sign my autograph?"
"F*CK OFF!" was his reply.
met Timothy Leary once. He did a gig as a "Stand-Up
Philosopher," at a theatre I was working in, as a kid. I honestly didn't
know anything about the guy, but I knew he was somebody.
gig, itself, was a disaster. He talked for about 90 minutes, showing a
slide show about which particular drugs he would take. I wish I was more
clued in to him at the time. I did get him to autograph a poster for me,
ever the fame hag.
I should also note, out of the 600 tickets available, Leary's crowd numbered
about 10. Honest. I remember one wasted loser who ventured up to the
stage to present Leary with a "bottle with a hole blown into the
side." Leary got nervous, but accepted the gift with graciousness.
Anyway ... Here is an amazing phone altercation that Leary had with Art
Trivia: The late film star "Divine" had her first acting role in John Waters film, "The Diane Linkletter Story."
I find it appropriate to follow Divine with the notice that Art himself finally bit the big one on May 26, 2010. Seeya.
Thanks Roger for the snap, Harry for the proof, and C for your continued support.