Do You Think Fatty Did It?

Freshwire 2013/01/23 02:51:45
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Century of Scandal: Silent film star “Fatty” Arbuckle accused of rape, arrested on charge of murdering young actress

On Sept. 11, 1921, 86 years before Lindsay Lohan’s first arrest for drunk driving, silent film star Roscoe Conkling “Fatty” Arbuckle was accused of rape and arrested on charges of murdering aspiring actress Virginia Rappe. Today, the Arbuckle case is known as Hollywood’s first major celebrity scandal.

Here’s how Arbuckle’s sad story unfolded . . .


In September 1921, Arbuckle — nicknamed “Fatty” for his girth — attended a party at a hotel in San Francisco. Rappe, 26, became ill at the boozy bash. She died days later due to complications from a ruptured bladder. Arbuckle — one of the most popular and highest-paid stars of his time — was accused by a woman at the party of raping Rappe, and police concluded that his hefty size caused her bladder to rupture. Fatty was arrested and charged with murder, with the charge later being reduced to manslaughter due to a lack of evidence.

After two mistrials, Arbuckle was ultimately acquitted, and the jury even issued an apology: “Acquittal is not enough for Roscoe Arbuckle. We feel that a great injustice has been done to him . . . there was not the slightest proof adduced to connect him in any way with the commission of a crime,” the statement read. Experts speculated that Rappe's bladder might have ruptured as a result of a recent abortion.

But the damage was already done. Arbuckle’s movies were banned, he hit the bottle hard and his career never recovered, despite his talents as a singer, dancer and comedian (he’s credited with mentoring Charlie Chaplin and discovering Buster Keaton and Bob Hope).

Fatty died of a heart attack at age 46, but the world never lost its appetite for his “pie in your face” brand of comedy — or for sensational stories about Hollywood stars.
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2016/02/11 17:09:25

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