Diane Linkletter (October 31, 1948 – October 4, 1969) was the
daughter and youngest child of popular American media personality Art
Linkletter, and his wife Lois Foerster. She was 20 years old when she
committed suicide in 1969.
4 In popular culture
6 External links
Not widely known to the public before she died,
Diane Linkletter was
the youngest of five children born to
Art Linkletter and his wife Lois
Foerster. In 1965 at the age of 17, Linkletter married 19-year-old
Grant Conroy. The brief marriage was quickly annulled and was not
publicized, as both Linkletter and Conroy's families wanted to keep
the marriage quiet.
Linkletter pursued a career in acting. She performed in summer stock
and, in 1968, appeared in a sketch on The Red Skelton Show. That same
year, Linkletter traveled with her father to
Europe to entertain
families of servicemen.
At 9 a.m., on October 4, 1969, Linkletter jumped out of a window of
her sixth-floor apartment at the Shoreham Towers in West Hollywood,
California. She was first taken to Hollywood Receiving Hospital, and
Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center where she died of her
injuries sustained in the fall. Her death was widely reported in
the media at the time. Her father blamed her death on drug use,
Edward Durston had arrived at 3 a.m., and was in Diane’s apartment
at the time of the fall and was the last person to have known to see
her alive. Durston was also the last person to see Carol Wayne
The day after her death,
Art Linkletter held a press conference where
he stated that Diane's death "wasn't a suicide. She was not herself.
She was murdered by the people who manufacture and distribute LSD."
He also stated that Diane had used
LSD in the six months prior to her
death and the two discussed a "bum trip" Diane had experienced.
Although Linkletter hadn't spoken to Diane in the last 24 hours of her
life, he believed that she had taken
LSD the night before her death
and had experienced another bad trip which caused her to leap to her
However, a toxicology test later determined that
Diane Linkletter had
no drugs in her system the day she died. An autopsy conducted by the
Los Angeles Coroner's Office determined that Linkletter died from
"multiple traumatic injuries".
A police investigation was launched to determine the events
surrounding Linkletter's death. Police questioned Edward Durston who
was present in Linkletter's apartment the morning of her death. He
told police that Linkletter had phoned him the night before her death
and "was very upset" and asked him to come over. He went to
Linkletter's apartment at around 3 a.m., and the two stayed up all
night talking. He claimed that Linkletter's behavior was "extremely
emotional, extremely despondent and very irrational at times, in fact
most of the time." He said she was also upset over her career and
complained that she "could not be her own person."
At 9 a.m. the following day, Linkletter went into her kitchen. Durston
told police that when Linkletter did not return, he went to find her.
Before he could reach Linkletter, she approached the kitchen window
and jumped out. He did not mention whether Linkletter had discussed
taking any drugs the previous night. Based on the friend's account and
the toxicology reports, police concluded that Linkletter's death was a
suicide caused by her despondent mental state.
After Diane's death,
Art Linkletter became a prominent anti-drug
In 1970, Art and
Diane Linkletter won the 1970
Grammy Award for Best
Spoken Word Recording for their record "We Love You, Call Collect".
The record, which was released in November 1969—just a few weeks
after her death—sold 275,000 copies in eight weeks, peaking at #42
on the Billboard Hot 100. According to Art Linkletter, royalties from
the sales went "to combat problems arising from drug abuse."
In popular culture
On October 5, 1969, the day after Diane Linkletter's death, filmmaker
John Waters made a nine-minute film entitled The Diane Linkletter
Story, a fictionalized version of the events surrounding Linkletter's
Bobby Darin wrote the song "Baby May" about Linkletter's
suicide. Darin said he felt that
Art Linkletter could have assumed
more responsibility in his daughter's death. The song includes a lyric
"Baby May had to pass away to hear her Daddy say, 'I was wrong.'"
In David Foster Wallace's posthumous novel The Pale King, an IRS
officer recounting his recreational drug use in the 1970s before
joining the Service states that "personally psychedelics frightened
me, mostly because of what I remembered happening to Art Linkletter's
daughter—my parents had been very into watching
Art Linkletter in my
^ a b "TV Show Host
Art Linkletter Dies at 97". foxnews.com.
2010-05-26. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
^ Scott, Walter (1970-01-10). "Walter Scott's Personality Parade". The
Spokesman-Review. p. 2. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
^ Heffernan, Harold (1968-02-18). "Diane's Glad Of Her Show Business
Link". The Pittsburgh Press. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
^ a b c Austin, John (1993). Hollywood's Greatest Mysteries/All the
Scandalous Truth That Hollywood Doesn't Want You to Know. SP Books.
p. 98. ISBN 1-56171-258-2.
^ a b c d e f Mikkelson, Barbara (2005-08-15). "The Scarlet
^ "Linkletter Blames
LSD For Death Of Daughter". The Morning Record.
1969-10-06. p. 1. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
^ "Art Linkletter: It Wasn't Suicide, It Was Murder". The Dispatch.
1969-10-06. p. 4. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
^ "Profits of Tragedy". Time. 1970-01-05. Retrieved 2008-01-16.
^ Plea, Robert L. Filthy: The Weird World of John Waters. p. 54.
^ Bleiel, Jeff (2004). That's All:
Bobby Darin On Record, Stage &
Screen. Tiny Ripple Books. p. 201. ISBN 0-9675973-4-X.
^ D.F. Wallace, The Pale King: An Unfinished Novel (Little, Brown
2011), p. 179.
Diane Linkletter on IMDb
Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album
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