Elizabeth Short: 1947
Her name was Elizabeth Short, and she was just 22 years old when, on Jan. 15, 1947, she was found posed naked in a vacant lot in Los Angeles, sawed in half at the waist, drained of her blood, and slit from the corners of her mouth to her ears.
The Case of "The Black Dahlia": 1947
Short's body lies in the grass of the vacant lot. Her murder has been the subject of books and films, many of them offering up theories about who killed her and why — but in real life, the case remains unsolved. Also unclear is how she came to be known in pop culture as "The Black Dahlia" (a dahlia is a flower): One story has it that friends of the raven-haired young woman gave her the nickname, playing off the title of the 1946 film noir The Blue Dahlia. Still others contend the moniker came after her murder, invented by reporters working the salacious case.
Tupac Shakur, Dead at 25: 1996
Clearly, someone had it in for the charismatic, influential rapper/actor. In 1994, he barely escaped with his life after being shot five times by men in army fatigues upon arrival at a New York recording studio. ('Pac publicly theorized that Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs and his protege the Notorious B.I.G. had set him up, an accusation that was never proved but nonetheless ignited the so-called "East Coast-West Coast" rap war.) Then, on the night of Sept. 7, 1996, as Shakur was riding around Las Vegas with his label chief Suge Knight, a white Cadillac pulled alongside their car and an unknown gunman unloaded about a dozen rounds. Shakur was hit four times and later died at the hospital; Knight was treated for shrapnel that hit his head.
The Notorious B.I.G., Dead at 24: 1997
Less than six months after Shakur's murder, New York rapper Christopher Wallace — a.k.a. the Notorio