Gig Young (Byron Barr)

Actor Gig Young was outwardly debonair but he led a troubled life. Alcoholism curtailed his promising acting career and ruined more than one marriage, including a turbulent wedlock with Elizabeth Montgomery.

Elizabeth Montgomery and Gig Young

Although he won an Oscar for his 1969 portrayal of a dance marathon emcee in They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, Young's acting jobs became increasingly scarce during the 1970s. He was fired after just one day on the set of Blazing Saddles for alcohol-related problems.

On September 27, 1978 Gig married his fifth wife, a 31-year-old German girl named Kim Schmidt who had been the script girl on his last film, The Game of Death. Three weeks after the wedding  later on October 19, 1978,  Gig Young ended the marriage in their condo apartment, Suite 1BB of the Osborne Apartments on West 57th Street in New York City, on Oct. 19, 1978.\

He ended it by loading a Smith & Wesson .38-calibre revolver — one of many, many firearms he kept in the apartment — and putting one slug through his wife’s head and one slug through the roof of his mouth.

Gig Young 2

The police theorized that it was a suicide pact, but were baffled by the additional three revolvers and 350 rounds of ammunition found in the apartment. After the investigation the police stated Gig had definitely acted on the spur of the moment and his actions were not planned. The case was ruled a murder-suicide, with Young the perpetrator. No note was found to explain the motive.

Adding insult to felonious injury, his will left the bulk of his estate to his 1970s agent, Marty Baum of CAA, and $10 to his daughter, Jennifer Young.

In 1970 he received his Oscar for playing the cruel taskmaster emcee in They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? While Young had always suffered from a series of physical and emotional (wife beating had been reported) problems, after winning an Oscar his troubles seemed to multiply. 

More stress indicators:

He had difficulty finding films. His drinking got worse until he was fired from the set of Blazing Saddles after one day for collapsing drunk. He began to have a harder and harder time remembering lines until he started to leave large chunks of dialogues out of his stage performances. His former wife sued him for child support. Botched plastic surgery marred his face. And then on October 19, he ended it all.


Freddy said...

Mmm.mr young is still .The loving legend movie star no matter what...

IrishEllen said...

Yeah, loving legend that beats women and puts bullets in the backs of their heads. Sounds like a fycked up coward to me. The only good thing he left was the make believe land of film.

Anonymous said...

The section on Young being fired for being drunk on the set of Blazing Saddles is erroneous. Mel Brooks, the director of the film never wanted Young on the set because of the rumors Brooks had heard about him and that Young would drag the film down but was forced by the studio to accept him. All Brooks did was put pressure on the actor and Young (who was overly sensitive) collapsed due to panic attacks. After being fired, Young filed a 100,000 damage suit and was awarded half the amount.

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