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A Surprisingly Long List of People Who've Attempted Suicide

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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10 Things We Know About The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2
Hulu
Hulu

Though Hulu has been producing original content for more than five years now, 2017 turned out to be a banner year for the streaming network with the debut of The Handmaid’s Tale on April 26, 2017. The dystopian drama, based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 book, imagines a future in which a theocratic regime known as Gilead has taken over the United States and enslaved fertile women so that the group’s most powerful couples can procreate.

If it all sounds rather bleak, that’s because it is—but it’s also one of the most impressive new series to arrive in years (as evidenced by the slew of awards it has won, including eight Emmy and two Golden Globe Awards). Fortunately, fans left wanting more don’t have that much longer to wait, as season two will premiere on Hulu in April. In the meantime, here’s everything we know about The Handmaid’s Tale’s second season.

1. IT WILL PREMIERE WITH TWO EPISODES.

When The Handmaid’s Tale returns on April 25, 2018, Hulu will release the first two of its 13 new episodes on premiere night, then drop another new episode every Wednesday.

2. MARGARET ATWOOD WILL CONTINUE TO HELP SHAPE THE NARRATIVE.

Fans of Atwood’s novel who didn’t like that season one went beyond the original source material are in for some more disappointment in season two, as the narrative will again go beyond the scope of what Atwood covered. But creator/showrunner Bruce Miller doesn’t necessarily agree with the criticism they received in season one.

“People talk about how we're beyond the book, but we're not really," Miller told Newsweek. "The book starts, then jumps 200 years with an academic discussion at the end of it, about what's happened in those intervening 200 years. We're not going beyond the novel. We're just covering territory [Atwood] covered quickly, a bit more slowly.”

Even more importantly, Miller's got Atwood on his side. The author serves as a consulting producer on the show, and the title isn’t an honorary one. For Miller, Atwood’s input is essential to shaping the show, particularly as it veers off into new territories. And they were already thinking about season two while shooting season one. “Margaret and I had started to talk about the shape of season two halfway through the first [season],” he told Entertainment Weekly.

In fact, Miller said that when he first began working on the show, he sketched out a full 10 seasons worth of storylines. “That’s what you have to do when you’re taking on a project like this,” he said.

3. MOTHERHOOD WILL BE A CENTRAL THEME.

As with season one, motherhood is a key theme in the series. And June/Offred’s pregnancy will be one of the main plotlines. “So much of [Season 2] is about motherhood,” Elisabeth Moss said during the Television Critics Association press tour. “Bruce and I always talked about the impending birth of this child that’s growing inside her as a bit of a ticking time bomb, and the complications of that are really wonderful to explore. It’s a wonderful thing to have a baby, but she’s having it potentially in this world that she may not want to bring it into. And then, you know, if she does have the baby, the baby gets taken away from her and she can’t be its mother. So, obviously, it’s very complicated and makes for good drama. But, it’s a very big part of this season, and it gets bigger and bigger as the show goes on.”

4. THE RESISTANCE IS COMING.

Just because June is pregnant, don’t expect her to sit on the sidelines as the resistance to Gilead continues. “There is more than one way to resist," Moss said. “There is resistance within [June], and that is a big part of this season.”

5. WE’LL GET TO SEE THE COLONIES.

A scene from 'The Handmaid's Tale'
Hulu

Miller, understandably, isn’t eager to share too many details about the new season. “I’m not being cagey!” he swore to Entertainment Weekly. “I just want the viewers to experience it for themselves!” What he did confirm is that the new season will bring us to the colonies—reportedly in episode two—and show what life is like for those who have been sent there.

It will also delve further into what life is like for the refugees who managed to escape Gilead, like Luke and Moira.

6. MARISA TOMEI WILL APPEAR IN AN EPISODE.

Though she won’t be a regular cast member, Miller recently announced that Oscar winner Marisa Tomei will make a guest appearance in the new season’s second episode. Yes, the one that will show us the Colonies. In fact, that’s where we’ll meet her; Tomei is playing the wife of a Commander.

7. WE’LL LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ORIGINS OF GILEAD.

As a group shrouded in secrecy, we still don’t know much about how and where Gilead began. That will change a bit in season two. When discussing some of the questions viewers will have answered, executive producer Warren Littlefield promised that, "How did Gilead come about? How did this happen?” would be two of them. “We get to follow the historical creation of this world,” he said.

8. THERE WILL BE AT LEAST ONE HANDMAID FUNERAL.

A scene from 'The Handmaid's Tale'
Hulu

While Miller wouldn’t talk about who the handmaids are mourning in a teaser shot from season two that shows a handmaid’s funeral, he was excited to talk about creating the look for the scene. “Everything from the design of their costumes to the way they look is so chilling,” Miller told Entertainment Weekly. “These scenes that are so beautiful, while set in such a terrible place, provide the kind of contrast that makes me happy.”

9. ELISABETH MOSS SAYS THE TONE WILL BE DARKER.

Like season one, Miller says that The Handmaid’s Tale's second season will again balance its darker, dystopian themes with glimpses of hopefulness. “I think the first season had very difficult things, and very hopeful things, and I think this season is exactly the same way,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “There come some surprising moments of real hope and victory, and strength, that come from surprising places.”

Moss, however, has a different opinion. “It's a dark season,” she told reporters at TCA. “I would say arguably it's darker than Season 1—if that's possible.”

10. IT WILL ALSO BE BLOODIER.

A scene from 'The Handmaid's Tale'
Hulu

When pressed about how the teaser images for the new season seemed to feature a lot of blood, Miller conceded: “Oh gosh, yeah. There may be a little more blood this season.”

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Researchers in Singapore Deploy Robot Swans to Test Water Quality
NUS Environmental Research Institute, Subnero
NUS Environmental Research Institute, Subnero

There's something peculiar about the new swans floating around reservoirs in Singapore. They drift across the water like normal birds, but upon closer inspection, onlookers will find they're not birds at all: They're cleverly disguised robots designed to test the quality of the city's water.

As Dezeen reports, the high-tech waterfowl, dubbed NUSwan (New Smart Water Assessment Network), are the work of researchers at the National University of Singapore [PDF]. The team invented the devices as a way to tackle the challenges of maintaining an urban water source. "Water bodies are exposed to varying sources of pollutants from urban run-offs and industries," they write in a statement. "Several methods and protocols in monitoring pollutants are already in place. However, the boundaries of extensive assessment for the water bodies are limited by labor intensive and resource exhaustive methods."

By building water assessment technology into a plastic swan, they're able to analyze the quality of the reservoirs cheaply and discreetly. Sensors on the robots' undersides measure factors like dissolved oxygen and chlorophyll levels. The swans wirelessly transmit whatever data they collect to the command center on land, and based on what they send, human pilots can remotely tweak the robots' performance in real time. The hope is that the simple, adaptable technology will allow researchers to take smarter samples and better understand the impact of the reservoir's micro-ecosystem on water quality.

Man placing robotic swan in water.
NUS Environmental Research Institute, Subnero

This isn't the first time humans have used robots disguised as animals as tools for studying nature. Check out this clip from the BBC series Spy in the Wild for an idea of just how realistic these robots can get.

[h/t Dezeen]

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