Deaths and Ghosts at the Knickerbocker

When a death takes place at a hotel, people take notice. Especially when the indiviudal is famous, it’s easy to imagine its ghost coming back to haunt the premises. In this article, you will learn of some of the famous deaths that have taken place at the Knickerbocker.

Deaths at the Knickerbocker

Actor William Frawley called the hotel his home for decades. He played Fred Mertz on the I Love Lucy television series. In 1966, he was walking into the Knickerbocker when he suddenly dropped died on the sidewalk. He had suffered a heart attack and was carried him into the lobby by his nurse who was unable to revive the actor.

Some deaths were planned, as a costume designer at MGM named Irene Lentz (or Gibbons in the film world) took her own life in 1962. Known for designing costumes for well-known actresses, such as Marlene Dietrich, Elizabeth Taylor, Claudette Colbert, and Judy Garland, Gibbons made a nice name for herself. During her later years, she worked on Doris Day films , even befriending the actress.

One day in 1962, Day saw that her friend seemed upset and nervous. Gibbons told her that she had been in love with actor Gary Cooper and that he was the only man that she ever had these kinds of feelings for. Cooper had died in 1961. On the 15th of November, Gibbons stayed at a room at the Knickerbocker , checking in under a different name. At first, she cut her wrists, but she did not immediately die and instead, chose to jump to her death. She exited out of the window, which was located on the 14th floor. Reportedly, her body landed at the top of the hotel awning and was not readily found. She left behind a suicide note that spoke of financial debt that she had with her husband. The note was to hotel guests as an apology for any inconvenience that her death might cause them.

Taking up residence on the 10th floor, D.W. Griffith called the Knickerbocker his home. The man was best known for directing ‘The Birth of a Nation’ (1915) , a highly controversial yet groundbreaking film that touched upon race. He was also an alcoholic, which may have contributed to his death. Some reports say that he dragged himself downstairs and collapsed dead under the Art Deco chandelier decorating the lobby. Other reports state that he died of a cerebral hemorrhage on route to the hospital after he was found unconscious in his room at the Knickerbocker Hotel. He had been living alone at the hotel at the time of his death.

Ghost Sightings at the Knickerbocker

It’s only natural that the hotel that catered to so many celebrities would become a haunted location for ghost hunters to consider. Supposedly, some people claim to have sighted the ghost of Rudolph Valentino. The ghost of Marilyn Monroe has been reported to appear in the women’s bathroom.

Paranormal activity is also documented, as staff members recall lights that turn on and off on their own, or objects that have been mysteriously moved out of place.