“Reality” Turns into Suicide for these Contestants

It’s called a “reality” show for a reason. Wikipedia defines “reality” as the state of things as they actually exist, rather than as they may appear or might be imagined.

Dr. Bethany Marshall who appeared on the Good Morning America show when they were discussing the death of Paula Goodspeed said, “Here’s the problem with these kinds of shows. If you have a personality disordered, fragile, vulnerable contestant who is very sensitive to criticism, and you put the image of them being criticized on YouTube… plastered in front of millions of people – they’re not Teflon-coated. They cannot handle it.”

Paula Goodspeed aka Sandra May McIntyre

Paula Goodspeed Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Paula Goodspeed Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Paula Goodspeed, who auditioned for American Idol but didn’t make it, killed herself in front of Paula Abdul’s house on November 11, 2008.

Some say it was a suicide. Some say it was an accident.

Born Sandra May McIntyre on July 4, 1978, of all the “Reality” contestant deaths, this, by far is the saddest. Sandra idolized singer/dancer Paula Abdul. So much so she changed her name to “Paula” when she was 16. When she was in her 20s, she took her grandparents’ last name, Goodspeed.

She did some modeling, took singing lessons and did everything she could to get to an American Idol tryout. And finally, there she was, in front of Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and her own “Idol” Paula Abdul.

But her tryout did not go well. Simon Cowell ridiculed her for the braces on her teeth and even questioned, “I don’t think any artist on earth could sing with that much metal in your mouth… that’s like a bridge.”

That statement just proves that the man is an idiot. I’m sure he’s encountered singers with braces before. But this is his persona.

Millions of viewers saw Cowell mock Goodspeed’s braces. After the footage aired, she wrote on her MySpace blog that she was finding it hard to cope with the “haters” who mocked her.

Sandra McIntyre aka Paula Goodspeed is just one of the reality show suicides.

Danny Bonaduce

I’m not saying it started with Danny Bonaduce slashing his wrists during his train wreck VH1 show in September of 2005, but it could have. Then again it could have just been him living for the drama.

In an attempt to stop his wife from leaving him, he did allow the cameras to roll during his efforts to beat alcohol and drug abuse. He just had no idea he’d go so far as to attempt suicide on the show, or so he says.

On this particular episode, the TV star breaks down in tears, confesses he’s completely lost all control of his life and then slashes both of his wrists with a disposable razor.

His wife replied, “that’s it, I can’t take it anymore. I want a divorce.”

To which Bonaduce replied, “I can’t live without you” and cut his wrists.

The police were called, he was taken into custody and detained in a psychiatric ward for 24 hours.

Najai “Nitro” Turpin

Najai "Nitro" Turpin

Najai “Nitro” Turpin

Najai “Nitro” Turpin, 23, is actually listed as the first American reality show contestant to take his own life. He was a contestant on NBC’s boxing competition show The Contender.

Turpin committed suicide on February 14, 2005 while sitting in a car. He was with his girlfriend and his 2-year old daughter. His motive was unclear. He had low self-esteem, he was defeated on the show and he was in an ongoing custody battle for his daughter. The Contender was produced by Mark Burnett, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Sylvester Stallone.

Several experts whose job it was to analyze all of the contestants prior to going on the show say Turpin should not have been included as a contestant. So was he thrown in the lineup in the hopes of making it a better show?

Rachel Brown

The second season of Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen aired on June 12, 2006 and concluded on August 14, 2006. Rachel Brown, 39, from Dallas, Texas was a personal chef and contestant of Hell’s Kitchen. Brown was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in her family home in May of 2007.

While on Hell’s Kitchen, Brown had a romance with a fellow female contestant, which the show’s producers made a prominent part of the program.

Joseph Cerniglia

Two years after he appeared on Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, Joseph Cerniglia jumped to his death off the Washington Bridge (Sept. 2010). He apparently told one of his friends that he was in financial trouble and that the debt of his restaurant was overwhelming.

Kitchen Nightmares is a reality show in which Ramsay attempts to help struggling restaurant owners turn their businesses around.

The former president of the American Academy of Suicidology stated it’s unlikely these shows drive either Brown or Cerniglia to suicide. Speaking to CBS News, he said, “My guess is that both of these people had major problems before appearing on the show,” said Dr. Robert Yufit. “I would almost bet that the show itself should not be held responsible. I would say that the show might have tripped off something else that was going on in their lives.”

The American Association of Suicidology is a membership organization that is committed to reducing the number of suicides and suicide attempts.

Julien Hug

Julien Hug, the onetime Bachelorette contestant and the only son of Bertrand and Denise Hug felt suicide was the only way out. On November 5, 2010, they decided to address the media only after being devastated by comments they saw from sources outside the family. The Hugs stated their son was outgoing, but was an extremely private person who internalized everything.

Authorities said several notes were found on the passenger side of Hug’s jeep, but the details of the notes were not initially released.

His live-in girlfriend of two years described Julien as misunderstood. “People wanted him to be this ‘Bachelorette’ star.” Hug was the second bachelor eliminated in Season 5 of the ABC romance reality show, which aired in 2009 and featured Jillian Harris as “The Bachelorette.”

Russell Armstrong

Taylor & Russell Armstrong. Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for One Voice

Taylor & Russell Armstrong. Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for One Voice

Russell Armstrong, estranged husband to Taylor Armstrong, was not only living under a cloud of financial problems, he was also in the spotlight of the reality show, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

“It got really overwhelming,” Russell told People Magazine just weeks before his death. He said to a photographer from the show, “It’s funny how a reality show can ruin your entire life.”

Russell was found dead on August 16, 2011. A roommate found Russell and called 911. He was found hanging in his bedroom on Mulholland Drive by the Los Angeles City Fire Department at 8:16pm. A suicide note was not found.

Taylor filed for divorce, claiming that Russell physically abused her. The divorce petition filed in a downtown Los Angeles Superior Court made no mention of abuse or domestic violence.

Russell was 47. (BTW, almost every picture I could find of Taylor Armstrong has her smiling that way.)

Sgt. Wesley Durden

Sgt. Wesley Durden

Sgt. Wesley Durden

Sgt. Wesley Durden, 28, a contestant on TLC’s Next Great Baker died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on December 21, 2011 after the show had wrapped in October. The show announced his death after his elimination show aired. Durden was an Iraq War veteran, was a cook with the 82nd Airborne Division and had been deployed to Iraq twice. He had a wife and two young children.

Joey Kovar

Joey Kovar starred in MTV’s The Real World: Hollywood in August 2012. He was 29 and had struggled with drug and alcohol abuse on and off camera. He had also appeared on Season 3 of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. Kovar’s death was ruled as “opiate intoxication” and ruled an accident but his friends claim he had been sending suicidal text messages leading up to his death.

Gia Allemand

Bachelor star Gia Allemand died on August 14, 2013 at the age of 29. She was a contestant on Season 14 of The Bachelor. Her NBA player boyfriend Ryan Anderson found her hanging and unconscious in her New Orleans home. She was put on life support but later was removed and died the following day after suffering “critical loss of brain and organ function.”

Mindy McCready

After a very public struggle with drugs and alcohol on the television show Celebrity Rehab, Mindy McCready was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in February 19, 2013. She was the fifth Celebrity Rehab cast member to die in two years.

Just a month earlier, her boyfriend had committed suicide by a self-inflicted gunshot wound. It appears that she shot and killed a dog that belonged to her late boyfriend, record producer David Wilson, before shooting herself.

Mindy left behind two sons, a 6-year-old and a 10-month old. Well at least she didn’t kill her children, and then herself.

Cheryl Kosewicz

Cheryl Kosewicz was a deputy district attorney from Nevada. She had specialized in the prosecution of sexual abuse cases.

Pirate Master was another Mark Burnett-created reality competition show that was filmed on Dominica. CBS pulled it due to poor ratings. Cheryl Kosewicz had been the fourth contestant eliminated from the CBS reality show.

Kosewicz, whose boyfriend killed himself two months before her death on January 27, 2007 had posted comments on MySpace that she was having a very difficult time copying with her boyfriend’s death. She also blamed the series for the events leading up to her death.

Mark Balelo

Mark Balelo

Mark Balelo

Mark Balelo would show up now and then on A&E’s Storage Wars with a man purse and a lot of money.

He died in February of 2013, the victim of what the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office said was “asphyxiation from carbon monoxide and exhaust fumes.” His body was discovered in a car parked in a garage at his Simi Valley auction house, days after he was arrested on charges of methamphetamine possession.

Nathan Clutter

Nathan Clutter

Nathan Clutter

Originally Paradise Hotel (FOX) covered Nathan Clutter’s October 12, 2007 death by saying he had died in a fall in a climbing accident but it was later revealed that he actually died in an apparent suicide.

Video surveillance footage showed he draped a sweater over a barbed-wire fence that surrounded an Alltel cellular telephone tower in Amarillo, TX early in the morning on Oct. 12, 2007. Nathan Clutter then scaled the fence, climbed the tower and jumped to his death. He was 26.

No suicide note was found. His family believed Clutter was suffering from bi-polar/manic depressant behavior, however he had never been diagnosed as such.

James Scott Terrill

Terrill was a single dad from Georgetown, Ky., that appeared on the ABC reality show Supernanny in January of 2008. He went on the show seeking help in managing his two sons after their mother had abandoned them. But once the cameras left, Terrill was still struggling with being a single parent.

On July 4, 2008 he called Georgetown police from the cemetery where his father was buried, threatening suicide. Police remained on the phone with him for nearly an hour but in the end, the 37-year old father of two took his own life.

Mark Balelo Dead: ‘Storage Wars’ Star Dies At 40

‘Storage Wars’ buyer Mark Balelo found dead at workplace – The Clicker.

Brandi gave Mark Balelo the nickname of Rico Suave. When he showed up at Storage Wars auctions, it wasn’t a surprise if it turned into a bidding war between him and Hester. I remember one episode where Barry, as a joke, said that lockers might be going for $10,000.

Apparently he was found dead inside his car which was parked and running in the garage at his auction house in Simi Valley CA. His death was ruled as a suicide and came two days after he had been arrested for a drug-related offense.

I’ve been searching for a statement from A&E, but have not found one. He was one of those auction extras, on the same order as Nabila. Not a regular, but definitely a force to be reckoned with. The episode where he had an old game console that he swore was worth $13,000 (or something similar) was hysterical. The link above has some of that episode.

This is the link to his AETV storage wars biography:

http://community.aetv.com/service/displayKickPlace.kickAction?u=33807159

Even More New Years Day TV Marathons (Updated)

Brandi from Storage Wars

Brandi from Storage Wars

It doesn’t matter what you’re doing or what  you have planned for New Years Eve or New Years Day, sooner or later, you’ll turn on the television. (Times are given in Central Time.)

I’ve been compiling some lists from some of my favorite channels to see who’s playing what all day December 31st and January 1st (2013). To start, AMC announced they were playing all three seasons of The Walking Dead beginning December 31. Bob82 posted a comment that it looked like that was cancelled, and I checked this morning. Bob82 was right, only Season 3 is on the schedule beginning at 8pm on December 31.

So here’s what I’ve come up with so far and I’ll keep adding to it as I find more. Hope I’ve hit on some of your favorites.

Updated: I googled “TV Marathons New Years Eve/Day” and I can not believe how many reliable sources are coming back unreliable. Most, if not all still have AMC running The Walking Dead Marathon. I’ve added a couple of other marathons that I checked out with DirecTV programming so I’m 90%+ they’re correct.

New Years Eve Day

AMC – The Walking Dead, Season 3, starting 12/31 at 8pm

Current – Final 24 Hours, starting 12/31 at 7pm mixed in with other programming: John Belushi @7pm; The 25 Best Things about 2012 8pm; followed by The Final 24 Hours every hour beginning at 9pm with Marvin Gaye; Jim Morrison at 10pm; repeat of The Best 25 Things at 11pm.

History Channel – Pawn Stars, starting 12/31 at 7am

Nat Geo – Locked Up Abroad, starting 12/31 at 8am
at 6pm on 12/31 – Evacuate Earth
at 8pm on 12/31 – Maya Underworld: The Real Doomsday
at 9m on 12/31 – The Mayan Apocalypse

Syfy – The Twilight Zone with Rod Serling, 1959-1963, starting 12/31 at 7am and continuing through Jan. 1

New Years Day

Moe, the foot doctor, from Storage Wars Texas.

Moe, the foot doctor, from Storage Wars Texas.

A&E – Storage Wars Marathon, starting 1/1 at 7am. Two new Storage Wars Texas at 8pm and two new episodes of the newest Storage Wars, SW: New York at 9pm.

Current – Tupac Shakur’s Final 24 at Midnight on 1/1; Biggie & Tupac at 1-3am; with a repeat of Tupac Shakur’s Final 24 at 3am; River Phoenix’s Final 24 at 4am; Janis Joplin’s Final 24 at 5am; Hunter S. Thompson’s Final 24 at 6am; David Koresch’s Final 24 at 7am.

History Channel – Swamp People, starting 1/1 at 6am

Investigation Discovery – Deadly Women, starting at 5am-5pm

ION East/West Feeds – Criminal Minds/Numbers almost all day, depending on which feeds you get, check your local listings

Military Channel – Clash of Wings, starting at 5am; Hitler’s Bodyguards, starting at 8am, Secrets of World War II, starting at 2pm

Nat Geo – Doomsday Preppers, starting 1/1 at 8am, Diggers starts at 9pm

Science Channel – Fringe, starting 1/1 at 9:30am

Spike – 1,000 Ways to Die, starting 1/1 at 8am

WGN – Cheers, starting at 8am and pretty much running all day