Televised suicide

I recently read in an internet blurb about Chris Chubbuck. She was a 30 yr. old reporter from Sarasota, Florida who committed suicide on live tv in 1974.
Apparently, during the broadcast, she suddenly made a statement like this…“In keeping with our policy of bringing you blood and guts reporting, you will now witness another tv first…a suicide attempt.” She then pulled out a gun and shot herself. She passed away later that night.
I have been intrigued about this, and would like to know about her life, her last day, and the circumstances surrounding this bizarre end to a promising young life.
My efforts to obtain details have been to no avail. Does anyone know anything about this woman? Is this a true event, or an urban legend? Any help would be greatly appreciated.


That’s all I could find using Google.

I had never heard of this, but quick googling gave the following results: - a list of people who ‘died’ onstage. Alhtough it’s an urban legends website, the status is ‘true’, so it might have happened. offers the same story, again no details.

She’s also listed on several sites as a ‘famous virgo’ :slight_smile:

Actually, all of the sites I’ve found tell exactly the same story, without any details, which is not a good sign for the truth of the story.

Looks like ** QED ** beat me to it. The quote on the second page goes:

“AT 9:38 A.M. ON July l5th, 1974, about eight minutes into ‘Suncoast Digest’, a variety show on WXLT-TV in Sarasota, Florida, anchorwoman Chris Chubbuck, 30, looked straight at the camera and said:
“In keeping with Channel 40’s policy of bringing you the latest in blood and guts in living color, you’re going to see another first — an attempt at suicide.”
Whereupon, she pulled a gun out of a shopping bag and shot herself fatally in the head.”

I don’t know about Chris Chubbuck, however there is one instance of a televised suicide i know of. it was a man (i’m pretty sure he was a senator, maybe a congressman. his name i don’t know) who while resigning over/apologizing about some infidelity pulled a gun out of an envelope and shot himself in the mouth.
i’ve seen the clip like thirty times cause my friend has it on videotape. craziness…

That was Bud Dwyer, Pennsylvania’s State Treasurer. That was crazy.

Yes, it was; a friend of mine has the full unedited video of the event. To me the most interesting thing was how long the blood kept pouring out after he shot himself; it seemed like a good 5 minutes.

Two d’s. That’s R. Budd Dwyer. He was a PA state represenative before he was treasurer, and represented the district I lived in as a kid.

One of the reasons the tape has continued to circulate is that it was often used in journalism classrooms, both to illustrate how the unexpected can happen at things like press conferences, and to stimulate discussion concerning how such graphic stuff should be handled. One of the Pittsburgh stations got itself heavily criticized by running the thing unedited. Most of them cut away before he actually blew his brains out.

I have no reason to doubt snopes on Chris Chubbuck. There are enough details there - date, TV station, name of show, that the story should be easily verifiable or refutable.

You probably won’t find much in the way of biographical background on either of these people without digging a bit. The reason they are interesting is their bizarre suicides.

Except Dwyer, while he was at a press conference - wasn’t live, I don’t think. I can’t be sure, though, I only remember seeing the coverage on the news that night.

Right before he shot himself, he said it was going to be the biggest news story of the decade.

Wasn’t the song “Hey man nice shot.” by Filter refering to the Dwyer incident?

No, it wasn’t live, but he intentionally killed himself explicitly for the news cameras, like Chubbuck. It’s a fine distinction.

And yeah, “Hey man nice shot” was about the Dwyer case.

One of the many accounts you can find, with an excerpt of Dwyer’s speech, and the lyrics to the Filter song:

It was WPXI in Pittsburgh that broadcast the tape in full. They were engaged in a rating war at the time, and were willing to do anything to grab attention.

You can watch the video on though it’s not for the faint of heart. I watched two videos on that website a couple weeks back and haven’t dared go back to that site.