i'd never heard of her before, but apparently chris chubbuck was the first person to ever kill herself on live tv, way back in 1974. i found a lot of sites that mentioned her that were merely tantalizing, with little more information than i've already mentioned. a little digging revealed a pdf of what seems to be the definitive account of the event, a story that appeared in the washington post. i decided to host it on my own web space, which you can access here. it's a lousy scan, but readable, and worth the trouble.
chris chubbuck was about to turn 30. she very much wanted to get married and have children, but she was still a virgin. her mother said about her: "She'd walk into a room and every head would turn, yet nobody ever asked for her phone number."
chris talked to a policeman about suicide methods, on the pretext of using the information for a segment on her tv show. the cop said the most effective way would be to get a .38 with "wadcutter" ammunition, that "disintegrates into tiny pieces in the body," and shoot yourself in the lower back of the head. she followed his instructions to the letter.
totally apart from this being a great story, it's also very well written. the author didn't feel the need to "speak well of the dead," it seems. everyone interviewed has some good things to say about the deceased, and some bad. no one has an axe to grind, and no one is trying to make her into a posthumous saint. i love that kind of balance.
yeah, i'll be back with a real update one of these days. i'll have a lot to write about, once i get past a few real-life restrictions.