27 January 2013

Christine Chubbuck

Christine Chubbuck was born on 24 August 1944 in Hudson, Ohio. In 1965, she earned a degree in broadcasting at Boston University, and worked at WVIZ in Cleveland for a year in 1966 till 1967. She attended a workshop in the summer of 1967, and worked at various tv and radio stations until 1971 when she joined WXLT-TV.

Christine started at WXLT as a reporter, but was later asked to do a morning community affairs show called Suncoast Digest,  which ran at 9:00 in the morning. It was described in the local paper as "It will feature local people and local activities. It will give attention, for instance, to the storefront organizations that are concerned with alcoholics, drug users, and other 'lost' segments of the community."

In 1970, Christine attempted to kill herself by overdosing on medications, but failed. She suffered from depression and suicidal tendencies, and often talked to a psychiatrist , but her mother chose not to inform the station, as she thought it would cause Christine to be fired.

Her brother, Greg, later said that he believed the driving force behind her depression was her lack of relationships. Her 30th birthday was fast approaching, yet she had only been on two dates in her life, neither of which she was able to connect with. It is believed that she had a crush on a co-worker, George Peter Ryan, and sought his affection. However, she was hurt when she learned that he was already involved with sports reporter Andrea Kirby.

In late June, 1974, Christine asked the station's news director if she could do a news piece on suicide, which she was permitted to do. She visited the local sheriff's department and asked an officer about different methods of committing suicide, and the officer answered all her questions, even telling her the best type of gun to do it with.

A couple weeks later, in early July, she brought a gun into the studio and joked about killing herself. A co-worker scolded her for the comment, but she wasn't taken seriously. On 12 July 1974, a few days after the incident, one of her stories was replaced with one about a shooting. The news director told the staff to put more of a focus on "blood and guts" stories

On the morning of 15 July 1974, Christine confused co-workers by claiming she had to read a newscast to open her program which she had never done before. She sat in the anchor's chair and read of a few stories about shootings. Then, looking directly into the on-air camera, on live tv, she said, "In keeping with Channel 40's policy of bringing you the latest in blood and guts, and in living color, you are going to see another first—attempted suicide."

She drew the revolver and shot herself behind her right ear. The on-set crew thought it was a sick joke, Then the camera operator notice the blood on the desk, and that Christine's body was twitching, and faded to black.

The station quickly ran a standard public service announcement and then a movie. Some viewers called the police, while others called the station, believing that the shooting had been staged.

Christine Chubbuck was pronounced dead 14 hours later at a local hospital. It was later found out that her last line, as well as her suicide, was in her script, given to her by the studio.

Her family brought an injunction against WXLT to prevent the release of the video of her suicide, and a copy of the video was released to her family. The whereabouts of the original remain unknown. For the first time since 1974, Greg Chubbuck spoke publicly about his sister in a 2007 E! Entertainment Television special titled "Boulevard of Broken Dreams".

Christine Chubbruck


  1. Christine's family received a COPY of the video, not the original. No one seems to know what happened to the original.

    1. Oh. Thank you. I just updated the post with the correction. =]]


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