Death by Hollywood Sign

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Death by Hollywood Sign

The view from atop the world-famous Hollywood sign.

David McNew/Getty Images

Hollywood has left more than a few dreams of fame and fortune shattered over the years. The most famous of these sad stories is probably that of Peg Entwistle, a young actress from Wales. Enwistle had some success on the stage, even winning roles on Broadway in New York City, but like so many others, she was drawn to the bright lights of Hollywood in central Los Angeles.

Once in California, she found a small measure of success when she played a part in the film "Thirteen Women," but the fame she desired still eluded her. Test screenings of the film went poorly, and much of her work was edited out of the final product. On Sept. 16, 1932, she climbed up to the famous Hollywood sign for her final act. At the time, the sign still read "Hollywoodland" and was merely an advertisement for a new housing development. Entwistle left her belongings, including a suicide note, at the base of the sign and then climbed up and leapt from the top of the letter "H."

Her body lay there for two days before it was spotted and later identified by her uncle, who lived in the hills near the sign. Her suicide note simply said, "I am afraid, I am a coward. I am sorry for everything. If I had done this a long time ago, it would have saved a lot of pain. P.E." In an ironic twist, a letter arrived for Entwistle the day following her death offering her a part in a movie about a woman on the verge on suicide.

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