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A Surprisingly Long List of People Who've Attempted Suicide

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I was surprised and saddened last week to read of the reported suicide attempt by actor Owen Wilson. Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums are staff favorites here, and we're definitely hoping and wishing for Wilson's full recovery. But as I started thinking about the comedy star, and mulling over the constant stress of his profession, it made me realize just how pervasive attempted suicide is among high-profile people. Here are some selected 20th century celebs who attempted suicide, but managed to turn their lives around:

Halle Berry - admitted to Parade magazine that, distraught over her failed marriage to baseball star David Justice, she tried to end her life by carbon monoxide poisoning.

Greg Louganis - depressed, abused and confused, Greg attempted suicide three times (including once by an aspirin-and-Ex Lax combo) after a knee injury at age 12 ruined his dream of becoming an Olympic gymnast. Luckily, he recovered, and made it to the Games as a diver.

James Stockdale - H. Ross Perot's former running mate attempted suicide while a POW at Hoa Lo Prison in Vietnam in 1969 to avoid torture.

Donna Summer - tried to leap from an 11-story window at a New York hotel at the peak of her career in 1976, but was discovered by a housekeeper.

Drew Carey - after a rough childhood that included sexual molestation by an unknown party and his father's death, the lovable Price is Right host attempted suicide twice in his teen years.

wallace.jpgMike Wallace - in a 2006 retrospective honoring his retirement as a 60 Minutes correspondent, Wallace revealed a suicide attempt twenty years prior.

Paul Robeson - the "Ol' Man River" vocalist tried to off himself by slashing his wrists in a Moscow hotel room in 1961, although his son (Paul Jr.) claims the event was caused by a CIA/FBI conspiracy that drugged him with LSD.

Elizabeth Taylor - hoped to end her life in February 1962 with an overdose of Seconal, although she said she did so only because she "needed to get away."

Fred "Rerun" Berry - the What's Happening!! star said he tried to kill himself three times prior to finding religion in 1984.

Robert Young - yes, even the Father Knows Best father fell victim to depression later in life, culminating in a 1991 attempt on his own life.

And an alphabetical list of some others:

adamant.jpgMaxene Andrews - survived after attempting suicide via a pill overdose in 1954, distraught over the breakup of the vocal group she'd formed with her siblings, The Andrews Sisters.

Adam Ant - tried to OD on pills in his early 20s after breaking up with his girlfriend.

Mary Astor - alcoholism led to a reported suicide attempt in 1951 with sleeping pills; she maintained it was an accident.

Tai Babilonia - attempted suicide after she became addicted to alcohol and amphetamines following her Olympic skating disappointment in 1980.

Drew Barrymore - after leaving drug rehab in 1989 at the age of 14, she tried to kill herself, but received treatment and successfully kicked the habit.

Brigitte Bardot - attempted suicide several times, first as a teenager. At 26, she downed a bottle of sleeping pills and slit her wrists, but recovered. "I took pills because I didn't want to throw myself off my balcony and know people would photograph me lying dead below."

Danny Bonaduce - made headlines by attempting suicide in 2005 during the filming of the reality show Breaking Bonaduce after his wife asked him for a divorce. Neither the attempt (nor the subsequent hospitalization) was shown on-screen.

Maria Callas - frustrated with her efforts to lure Aristotle Onassis away from then-wife Jackie Kennedy, she reportedly tried to OD on barbiturates in May 1970 (but later denied the attempt).

Martine Carol - thought that a triple-whammy of alcohol, drugs, and drowning would end her life when this French actress threw herself into the Seine at the age of 26. The cab driver who drove her there ended up saving her life.

Nell Carter - became addicted to cocaine and attempted suicide during the run of her hit TV show Gimme a Break.

cash.jpgJohnny Cash - in 1967, the "man in black" withdrew to a cave just north of Chattanooga, Tennessee, hoping to lose his way (and his life). He found his way out.

Gary Coleman - announced in 1993 that he had tried to commit suicide twice by taking sleeping pills.

Nadia Comaneci - while she denied it for years, the gymnastics legend was so stressed out (due to several factors, including her parents' divorce) that she tried to end her life by drinking bleach just two years after her 1976 Olympics success.

sammy.jpgSammy Davis, Jr. - the biography Me and My Shadow reveals that a distraught Davis, fed up with cracks about his race, religion, and height, tried to kill himself on his wedding night by driving off a cliff.

Diana, Princess of Wales - told an interviewer that she threw herself down some stairs while pregnant with William, hoping to put an end to her unhappiness.

Walt Disney - the Leonard Mosley biography Disney's World reveals a rumored suicide attempt.

Micky Dolenz - performed a suicide scene in The Monkees' 1968 film Head, then tried it for real a few years later after the band had broken up by walking into traffic and sitting down in the roadway.

Patty Duke - bipolar disorder resulted in several attempted suicides during her life.

eminem&kim.jpgEminem - tried to overdose on Tylenol in 1996 after wife Kim Mathers dumped him. She attempted suicide four years later by slitting her wrists.

Marianne Faithfull - attempted suicide in Australia 1969, after which she broke up with boyfriend Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones.

Peter Fonda - in 1950, a few months after his mother committed suicide, the 10-year-old shot himself in the stomach. Claims it was "stupid and accidental," but some believe it was the youngster's attempt at taking his own life.

Clark Gable - hoped to die during a high-speed motorbike rampage shortly after wife Carol Lombard was killed. He then joined the Army and flew missions over Germany during World War II.

Stan Getz - the celebrated saxophonist became addicted to heroin and tried to kill himself with a drug overdose in 1954 when police confronted him over an ill-fated attempt to rob a Seattle pharmacy. He spent three days in a coma.

Dwight "Doc" Gooden - in 1994, the troubled former Cy Young Award winner held a 9mm pistol to his head before his wife took it from him.

griffeyjr.jpgKen Griffey, Jr. - in 1988, just months after signing a lucrative pro baseball contract, the 18-year-old ingested over 200 aspirin to escape insults from fans and arguments with his father. He recovered after time in intensive care.

Mariette Hartley - attempted suicide (as did her mother) after her father died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 1962. Now an advocate for suicide prevention.

Susan Hayward - the breakup of marriage to Jess Barker, and the related custody battle for her sons, led to a 1966 suicide attempt.

Houston - the R&B singer was stopped after he tried to throw himself out of a hotel window in 2005, and then gouged out his own eye. Reports vary as to the reason behind this behavior.

Betty Hutton - her father killed himself after leaving her mother. In 1970, Betty tried to take her own life when her singing voice faltered.

Michael Jackson - in June 2005, a bogus, trojan-laced email reporting on a suicide attempt by the "king of pop" (just before he was found not guilty) infected computers worldwide. While that report was false, some sources claim Jackson did try to off himself that December.

Billy Joel - after the failure of his band Attila, attempted suicide in late 1970 by drinking furniture polish. "It looked tastier than bleach," he later revealed.

Elton John - tried to kill himself by sticking his head in a gas stove, but writing partner Bernie Taupin found him "lying on a pillow, and he'd opened all the windows." The two collaborated on the song "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" to tell the story.

Sally Kirkland - the actress spent her 20s mired in drugs until a suicide attempt literally scared her straight.

shelley.jpgShelley Long - despite tabloid reports that her 2004 overdose on painkillers was a suicide attempt, the Cheers star claims she simply overmedicated herself in order to cope with the breakup of her marriage to Bruce Tyson.

Ginger Lynn - at the age of 12, the future porn star ingested a cocktail of medications to escape from her mother's constant abuse.

Jeanette MacDonald - tried to overdose on pills after learning of Nelson Eddy's marriage in 1939; was saved by W.S. Van Dyke (who later killed himself).

Mindy McCready - the country singer announced in 2005 that she had twice attempted suicide due to problems with boyfriend William McKnight, who had once nearly choked her to death.

Robert McFarlane - the National Security Advisor tried to end his life in 1987 over his involvement with the Iran-Contra scandal. He took an estimated 30 tablets of Valium.

Sinéad O'Connor - claims to have been haunted by thoughts of suicide her whole life. Reportedly attempted it in 1993, and then swallowed 20 Valium tablets in a failed 1999 suicide attempt.

Jennifer O'Neill - first attempted suicide at the age of 14, and then "accidentally" shot herself in the stomach in 1983, but recovered.

ozzy.jpgOzzy Osbourne - not only did he supposedly inspire self-slaughter with the song "Suicide Solution," but Ozzy admits to having attempted to off himself several times during his life, even as a teenager.

Marie Osmond - The National Enquirer reported that the singer's hospitalization in the summer of 2006 was due to an attempted suicide, but she and her publicists wrote it off to a reaction to medication.

Terrell Owens - the volatile NFL star denied a September 2006 report that he'd tried to kill himself by overdosing on prescription painkillers he had been taking for a broken finger.

bird.jpgCharlie Parker - the jazz legend known as "The Bird" wanted to end his life in 1954, but failed in two attempts. He was then admitted to the Bellevue clinic, where he received much-needed therapy.

Barbara Payton - in a love triangle with Franchot Tone and Tom Neal, she ingested several sleeping pills in an attempt on her own life, but was discovered by Tone. (See Jean Wallace entry below.)

Dennis Price - consumed by alcohol, the tall British actor left the gas on in his oven at his London apartment in 1954. A servant found him and summoned help.

Richard Pryor - later admitted that the fire that injured him while free-basing cocaine in June 1980 was really a suicide attempt.

raye.jpgMartha Raye - after breaking up with husband David Rose, she went into a depression and took an overdose of sleeping pills in 1956, but recovered.

Nina Simone - the singer attempted suicide due to depression and a sense of helplessness after being attacked in London during the mid-1970s.

Britney Spears - earlier this year, tabloid headlines claimed that the pop diva had experienced a breakdown and tried to kill herself twice, first by walking into traffic, then by ODing on Xanax.

Tina Turner - in her biography I, Tina, she revealed a failed suicide attempt in 1968.

Mike Tyson - in September 1988, the then-undisputed heavyweight champion crashed his car into a tree in what the New York Daily News described as a suicide attempt.

vanilla.jpgVanilla Ice - in 1994, less than five years from the peak of his success, the depressed rapper twice tried to kill himself.

Jean Wallace - the actress hoped to end her life with sleeping pills in 1946 while married to Franchot Tone, then by stabbing herself in 1949 after their divorce.

Tuesday Weld - began drinking at a young age and attempted suicide at the tender age of 12 by ingesting aspirin, sleeping pills, and a bottle of gin. "I had fallen in love with a homosexual and, when it didn't work out, I felt hurt."

Hank Williams, Jr. - the combination of drugs and alcohol abuse led to a suicide attempt in early 1974.

Brian Wilson - some sources claim the Beach Boys genius tried to kill himself in the mid-1980s, a low point from which he has since rebounded.

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5 Things We Know About Stranger Things Season 2
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Netflix

Stranger Things seemed to come out of nowhere to become one of television's standout new series in 2016. Netflix's sometimes scary, sometimes funny, and always exciting homage to '80s pop culture was a binge-worthy phenomenon when it debuted in July 2016. Of course, the streaming giant wasn't going to wait long to bring more Stranger Things to audiences, and a second season was announced a little over a month after its debut—and Netflix just announced that we'll be getting it a few days earlier than expected. Here are five key things we know about the show's sophomore season, which kicks off on October 27.

1. WE'LL BE GETTING EVEN MORE EPISODES.

The first season of Stranger Things consisted of eight hour-long episodes, which proved to be a solid length for the story Matt and Ross Duffer wanted to tell. While season two won't increase in length dramatically, we will be getting at least one extra hour when the show returns in 2017 with nine episodes. Not much is known about any of these episodes, but we do know the titles:

"Madmax"
"The Boy Who Came Back To Life"
"The Pumpkin Patch"
"The Palace"
"The Storm"
"The Pollywog"
"The Secret Cabin"
"The Brain"
"The Lost Brother"

There's a lot of speculation about what each title means and, as usual with Stranger Things, there's probably a reason for each one.

2. THE KIDS ARE RETURNING (INCLUDING ELEVEN).

Stranger Things fans should gear up for plenty of new developments in season two, but that doesn't mean your favorite characters aren't returning. A November 4 photo sent out by the show's Twitter account revealed most of the kids from the first season will be back in 2017, including the enigmatic Eleven, played by Millie Bobby Brown (the #elevenisback hashtag used by series regular Finn Wolfhard should really drive the point home):

3. THE SHOW'S 1984 SETTING WILL LEAD TO A DARKER TONE.

A year will have passed between the first and second seasons of the show, allowing the Duffer brothers to catch up with a familiar cast of characters that has matured since we last saw them. With the story taking place in 1984, the brothers are looking at the pop culture zeitgeist at the time for inspiration—most notably the darker tone of blockbusters like Gremlins and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

"I actually really love Temple of Doom, I love that it gets a little darker and weirder from Raiders, I like that it feels very different than Raiders did," Matt Duffer told IGN. "Even though it was probably slammed at the time—obviously now people look back on it fondly, but it messed up a lot of kids, and I love that about that film—that it really traumatized some children. Not saying that we want to traumatize children, just that we want to get a little darker and weirder."

4. IT'S NOT SO MUCH A CONTINUATION AS IT IS A SEQUEL.

When you watch something like The Americans season two, it's almost impossible to catch on unless you've seen the previous episodes. Stranger Things season two will differ from the modern TV approach by being more of a sequel than a continuation of the first year. That means a more self-contained plot that doesn't leave viewers hanging at the end of nine episodes.

"There are lingering questions, but the idea with Season 2 is there's a new tension and the goal is can the characters resolve that tension by the end," Ross Duffer told IGN. "So it's going to be its own sort of complete little movie, very much in the way that Season 1 is."

Don't worry about the two seasons of Stranger Things being too similar or too different from the original, though, because when speaking with Entertainment Weekly about the influences on the show, Matt Duffer said, "I guess a lot of this is James Cameron. But he’s brilliant. And I think one of the reasons his sequels are as successful as they are is he makes them feel very different without losing what we loved about the original. So I think we kinda looked to him and what he does and tried to capture a little bit of the magic of his work.”

5. THE PREMIERE WILL TRAVEL OUTSIDE OF HAWKINS.

Everything about the new Stranger Things episodes will be kept secret until they finally debut later this year, but we do know one thing about the premiere: It won't take place entirely in the familiar town of Hawkins, Indiana. “We will venture a little bit outside of Hawkins,” Matt Duffer told Entertainment Weekly. “I will say the opening scene [of the premiere] does not take place in Hawkins.”

So, should we take "a little bit outside" as literally as it sounds? You certainly can, but in that same interview, the brothers also said they're both eager to explore the Upside Down, the alternate dimension from the first season. Whether the season kicks off just a few miles away, or a few worlds away, you'll get your answer when Stranger Things's second season debuts next month.

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Food
The Gooey History of the Fluffernutter Sandwich

Open any pantry in New England and chances are you’ll find at least one jar of Marshmallow Fluff. Not just any old marshmallow crème, but Fluff; the one manufactured by Durkee-Mower of Lynn, Massachusetts since 1920, and the preferred brand of the northeast. With its familiar red lid and classic blue label, it's long been a favorite guilty pleasure and a kitchen staple beloved throughout the region.

This gooey, spreadable, marshmallow-infused confection is used in countless recipes and found in a variety of baked goods—from whoopie pies and Rice Krispies Treats to chocolate fudge and beyond. And in the beyond lies perhaps the most treasured concoction of all: the Fluffernutter sandwich—a classic New England treat made with white bread, peanut butter, and, you guessed it, Fluff. No jelly required. Or wanted.

There are several claims to the origin of the sandwich. The first begins with Revolutionary War hero Paul Revere—or, not Paul exactly, but his great-great-great-grandchildren Emma and Amory Curtis of Melrose, Massachusetts. Both siblings were highly intelligent and forward-thinkers, and Amory was even accepted into MIT. But when the family couldn’t afford to send him, he founded a Boston-based company in the 1890s that specialized in soda fountain equipment.

He sold the business in 1901 and used the proceeds to buy the entire east side of Crystal Street in Melrose. Soon after he built a house and, in his basement, he created a marshmallow spread known as Snowflake Marshmallow Crème (later called SMAC), which actually predated Fluff. By the early 1910s, the Curtis Marshmallow Factory was established and Snowflake became the first commercially successful shelf-stable marshmallow crème.

Although other companies were manufacturing similar products, it was Emma who set the Curtis brand apart from the rest. She had a knack for marketing and thought up many different ways to popularize their marshmallow crème, including the creation of one-of-a-kind recipes, like sandwiches that featured nuts and marshmallow crème. She shared her culinary gems in a weekly newspaper column and radio show. By 1915, Snowflake was selling nationwide.

During World War I, when Americans were urged to sacrifice meat one day a week, Emma published a recipe for a peanut butter and marshmallow crème sandwich. She named her creation the "Liberty Sandwich," as a person could still obtain his or her daily nutrients while simultaneously supporting the wartime cause. Some have pointed to Emma’s 1918 published recipe as the earliest known example of a Fluffernutter, but the earliest recipe mental_floss can find comes from three years prior. In 1915, the confectioners trade journal Candy and Ice Cream published a list of lunch offerings that candy shops could advertise beyond hot soup. One of them was the "Mallonut Sandwich," which involved peanut butter and "marshmallow whip or mallo topping," spread on lightly toasted whole wheat bread.

Another origin story comes from Somerville, Massachusetts, home to entrepreneur Archibald Query. Query began making his own version of marshmallow crème and selling it door-to-door in 1917. Due to sugar shortages during World War I, his business began to fail. Query quickly sold the rights to his recipe to candy makers H. Allen Durkee and Fred Mower in 1920. The cost? A modest $500 for what would go on to become the Marshmallow Fluff empire.

Although the business partners promoted the sandwich treat early in the company’s history, the delicious snack wasn’t officially called the Fluffernutter until the 1960s, when Durkee-Mower hired a PR firm to help them market the sandwich, which resulted in a particularly catchy jingle explaining the recipe.

So who owns the bragging rights? While some anonymous candy shop owner was likely the first to actually put the two together, Emma Curtis created the early precursors and brought the concept to a national audience, and Durkee-Mower added the now-ubiquitous crème and catchy name. And the Fluffernutter has never lost its popularity.

In 2006, the Massachusetts state legislature spent a full week deliberating over whether or not the Fluffernutter should be named the official state sandwich. On one side, some argued that marshmallow crème and peanut butter added to the epidemic of childhood obesity. The history-bound fanatics that stood against them contended that the Fluffernutter was a proud culinary legacy. One state representative even proclaimed, "I’m going to fight to the death for Fluff." True dedication, but the bill has been stalled for more than a decade despite several revivals and subsequent petitions from loyal fans.

But Fluff lovers needn’t despair. There’s a National Fluffernutter Day (October 8) for hardcore fans, and the town of Somerville, Massachusetts still celebrates its Fluff pride with an annual What the Fluff? festival.

"Everyone feels like Fluff is part of their childhood," said self-proclaimed Fluff expert and the festival's executive director, Mimi Graney, in an interview with Boston Magazine. "Whether born in the 1940s or '50s, or '60s, or later—everyone feels nostalgic for Fluff. I think New Englanders in general have a particular fondness for it."

Today, the Fluffernutter sandwich is as much of a part of New England cuisine as baked beans or blueberry pie. While some people live and die by the traditional combination, the sandwich now comes in all shapes and sizes, with the addition of salty and savory toppings as a favorite twist. Wheat bread is as popular as white, and many like to grill their sandwiches for a touch of bistro flair. But don't ask a New Englander to swap out their favorite brand of marshmallow crème. That’s just asking too Fluffing much.

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