‘Live fast, die young and leave a good-looking conspiracy’: Celebrity death conspiracies | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 3, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2045-5852
  • E-ISSN: 2045-5860



Conspiracy theories surrounding the death of celebrities have become an integral facet of the millennial western culturescape, particularly in relation to iconic celebrity figures such as Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, John Lennon and Princess Diana Spencer. This article delineates these ‘celebrity death conspiracies’ as distinct forms of conspiracy theory that function to assert and develop processes of spectacle and attention integral to the concept of celebrity and the operations of celebrity culture. Such conspiracy theories also serve as a means for publicizing normally marginalized conspiracist world-views within the contexts of popular culture. The article concludes by discussing two contemporary trends associated with celebrity death conspiracies: the deliberate elaboration of such theories by celebrities for publicity purposes, and the rise of ‘New Age Illuminism’ as a conspiracist world-view in which celebrity plays a major role, as illustrated by the celebrity death conspiracies that have developed around the late singer Michael Jackson.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): attention; celebrity; conspiracy theory; icon; Illuminati; politics; spectacle
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