Gig Young's murder-suicide

October 19, 1978

By Peter Bowen | October 19, 2009

Gig Young had only been married to Kim Schmidt, a 31-year-old script supervisor he’d met while making Game of Death, for three weeks before he shot her in the back of the head and then turned the gun on himself.

Gig Young had only been married to Kim Schmidt, a 31-year-old script supervisor he’d met while making Game of Death, for three weeks before he shot her in the back of the head and then turned the gun on himself. Was this a murder-suicide? Or a suicide pact? What had brought the faded movie star to this extreme action? Born Byron Barr, Young got his first role in 1941 and found success playing in minor roles in many Hollywood vehicles, getting Oscar nods for Best Supporting Actor for playing a drunk in the 1951 Come Fill The Cup and a stuffy know-it-all teacher in the 1958 comedy Teacher’s Pet. But his greatest honor would occur in 1970 when 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 problems, after winning an Oscar his troubles seemed to multiply. He had difficulty finding films. His drinking got worse until he was fired from the set of Blazing Saddles after collapsing. 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.

Share This: