How many live suicides have been seen on television?

I am a criminal justice student and we watched a video of a new jersey politician taking his own life, there is also supposedly a video of a news anchor committing suicide on television, is there anyway to see these videos online cause my teacher needs a copy of the news anchor video and i would like to know if there are any others?

Well, journalist Chris Chubbuck shot herself on live television.

The state treasurer of Pennsylvania also killed himself on television. Whether it was live or not is disputed. My husband claims to have seen it live, but can’t prove it, whereas it hasn’t been disproven, either.


There is a clip of R. Budd Dwyer’s press-conference suicide online – I’ve seen it, but didn’t save the link. (He’s the state treasurer MsRobyn mentioned.)

the budd dwyer (the treasurer in pennsylvania) video is everywhere.

From MsRobyn’s link:

Jerome Rodale (died 5 June 1971)

In a New York Times Magazine interview, this 72-year-old longevity guru announced, “I’m going to live to be 100, unless I’m run down by a sugar-crazed taxi driver.” A guest on the Dick Cavett Show the next day, while Cavett was discussing politics with journalist Pete Hamill, Rodale’s head dropped to his chest and he was heard to let out what sounded like a snore. “Are we boring you, Mr. Rodale?” asked Cavett. There was no response – Rodale was dead. The show was never broadcast.

That wasn’t a suicide and wasn’t seen live on TV. You cited it in this thread because…

On the news once (a few years ago) I saw this dude self-immolate. I think it was in the middle-east.

How’s that for vague recollection?

I don’t have a dog in this race but I thought it was an interesting enough tidbit and tangentially related to the topic enough to warrant the slight diversion.

There was guy who shot himself on the LA freeway during live coverage a couple years ago, IIRC.

By the way, I doubt the mods would allow links to the vids in question, so maybe you’ll just have to Google for them.

A friend and I actually witnessed the Chris Chubbuck/WXLT-40 Sarasota thing when it happened all those years ago. It is for the purposes of the main question of the thread deserving of an asterisk. An alert technical director, realizing what was about to happen, managed to punch the video to black a second or so before she pulled the trigger. The sound man, alas, was a bit slower, and the gunshot was clearly audible. So, while the brief build-up to the act was broadcast, the actual act was heard but not seen.

I remember it as a very chilling experience – at first we debated whether it might have been merely a sick gag, but when the station broadcast dead air for several minutes, followed by some old cartoons hastily thrown up on the film chain in lieu of the rest of the scheduled program, we knew that something truly tragic had occurred. Later that day, we heard the whole story.

yup. I found it humourous that he died the day after saying he’d live to 100.

I saw Bowling for Columbine recently, and at one point the movie was quickly going through many short news clips. There was one 1/2-second clip of a guy on a stage. (press conference?) He was holding a cylinder of some kind in his hand, and it looked like he bit off the top of it. Immediately his head was ‘blown away’–I’m pretty sure it was the beginning of an explosion.

Anybody know what I’m talking about/where it’s from?

Yea that’s Bud Dwyer’s suicide. You can find it on the underbelly of the net and on many file sharing networks. It is disturbing beyond words. The cameras stayed on him for a while after he was dead and it wasn’t pretty - lot of blood coming out of places you didn’t think had that much blood.

When the World Trade Centre was attacked, television (at least here in Australia) showed images of people jumping to their deaths from the burning towers. The footage was later withdrawn, for obvious reasons.

Of course, the poor souls who jumped knew or believed they were going to die anyway, but strictly speaking I would think these deaths still fall under suicide.

I saw it myself. I am still 99% sure I saw it live–I was living in PA at the time. Still the worst thing I’ve ever seen on TV…and, unbelievably, some of the local TV channels, in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area, showed the whole thing on the news that night.

The Dwyer suicide was not a live broadcast. Local television stations don’t cut into regularly scheduled programming for anything less than a presidential press conference. Until Dwyer shot himself, there was no reason to think the press conference he called in his office was something that couldn’t wait for the evening news.