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It Happened Here

Joan Rivers

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Janis Joplin

A prodigiously talented singer, Janis Joplin broke through rock and roll’s glass ceiling in the mid 1960s and became the first bona fide female rock superstar. But a serious alcohol addiction, and an on-again off-again dalliances with heroin tragically cost Janis her life at the age of 27. Being a gentle soul and a free spirit made Janis an outcast in her conservative hometown of Port Arthur, Texas, which is where our journey starts, before heading to the stage of Threadgill’s in Austin, where Janis found her voice and her confidence with the bluegrass group The Waller Creek Boys. In San Francisco, we’ll discover the North Beach bar where she met one of the loves of her life, and in Los Angeles, room 105 of The Landmark hotel, the room where Janis she spent her final night alive, and a hidden location across the street that might hold secret to her accidental overdose.

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Joan Rivers

Legendary comedian Joan Rivers was a woman ahead of her time – the quintessential New York comic who paved the way for all female stand-ups who came in her wake. But her early life was filled with rejection, insecurity, and failure. And even after she did make it – and was primed to take over The Tonight Show from Johnny Carson – a series of mistakes and misunderstandings lead to the suicide of her husband Edgar in 1987, causing her own despair and depression that she nearly succumbed to. We’ll visit the locations that shaped and impacted who Joan became – the street on Crown Heights in Brooklyn where she grew up; The Bitter End club in Greenwich Village, where a chance encounter with Lenny Bruce changed her life; the sprawling Bel Air mansion where she lived in the 1980s with her husband Edgar before his death; and a plastic surgeon’s office in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, where years after her remarkable comeback, she died after a botched operation.

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John Belushi

John Belushi achieved international fame by expertly playing abrasive, obnoxious, and juvenile characters, both as a cast member on Saturday Night Live and in iconic films like The Blues Brothers, and Animal House. Everything about Belushi was larger than life, and his desire to be the life of the party drove him down a dark path of substance abuse, culminating in his untimely death in 1982 at the Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood. We��ll discover how John became the life of the party at the Seven Dwarfs restaurant in his hometown of Wheaton, Illinois, and visit the main stage of the Second City in Chicago where he cultivated the characters that would later make him famous, discover a little-known location in Toronto, Canada where John and his best friend Dan Aykroyd created the Blues Brothers, and tour The Rainbow Room and On the Rox – two of John’s favorite Sunset Strip hot spots, and where he went on an epic bender with shadowy figure Cathy Smith on the final night of his life.

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John Lennon

A true pop culture icon, John Lennon gave us some of the most enduring and memorable music of the twentieth century as part of The Beatles, and as a solo artist. His enormous popularity also gave him an unprecedented platform to promote his political views, which caused him serious problems when he moved to New York in the early 1970s. In his hometown of Liverpool, we’ll visit the locations that lead to the founding of The Beatles – the childhood home where he lived with his Aunt Mimi and first started writing music, the bus stop on Menlove Avenue where his mother was tragically killed when John was a teenager, and the church hall where he famously met Paul McCartney for the first time in 1957. And in New York City, we’ll trace John’s political activism at his apartment in Greenwich Village where he was hounded by the FBI, the New York City Bar Association where he fought deportation, and The Dakota Building, where he tragically lost his life in 1980.

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Kurt Cobain

As an alternative rock legend, Kurt Cobain changed the course of music history with a single song. He seemingly had it all – the adoration of millions of fans, a beautiful family, and more money than he ever could have imagined. But Kurt was hiding secrets – a lifelong bout with depression, a painful chronic stomach problem, and a predilection for self-medication that escalated into a heroin addiction that lead to his suicide in 1994. We’ll travel to iconic locations in Washington State – Kurt’s mother’s home, his grandfather Leland’s trailer, and the bridge over the Wishkah River where Kurt would go to be by himself after his parents divorced, and his girlfriend’s apartment in Olympia where he wrote some of Nirvana’s iconic rock anthems. And we’ll uncover two hidden locations that played a role in Kurt’s death, a room in an obscure Seattle motel where he would shoot heroin, and try to find some peace during the maelstrom that was the final months of his life, and the Los Angeles rehab facility that he broke out of a week before his suicide

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Marilyn Monroe

On August 5, 1962, silver screen legend Marilyn Monroe was found dead in her home in Brentwood, California of an apparent suicide. She was found by her housekeeper, face down on her bed, with an empty pill bottle at her side at the age of 36. Marilyn’s life was full of mysteries and contradictions, and we’ll visit the locations that tell her life story through that lens – the Hollygrove Home for Children, where Marilyn found herself living after her mother was institutionalized, Zuma Beach where she had her first modeling photo shoot; the small town of Hemet, California, where she would search for the man she thought was her father; San Francisco City Hall where she famously married Joe DiMaggio; The Actor’s Studio in New York City where she strove to be more than a Hollywood bimbo, but drove her to briefly be institutionalized herself; and outside the gates of her home in Brentwood, where her death shocked the nation.

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Marvin Gaye

Soul music legend Marvin Gaye’s life was cut short a day before his 45th birthday on April 1, 1984, when he was shot dead by his own father in their family home in Los Angeles. Marvin and his father’s tumultuous relationship goes all the way back to his troubled childhood in Washington DC, which is where we’ll visit Bo Diddley’s House, site of Marvin first recording session, and the iconic Howard Theatre, where the aspiring singer first performed in the late 50s. In Los Angeles, we’ll follow Marvin’s downward spiral from his early 70s peak – at a secret hideaway above Pacific Palisades that he would visit with his brother Frankie and sister-in-law Irene, the Malibu beach where he jogged and meditated during his darkest days, and the Gaye family home, where Marvin’s sister Zeola will walk us through the tragic day of Marvin’s murder.

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Notorious BIG & Tupac Shakur

In the mid 90’s the infamous East Coast – West Coast hip hop rivalry was in full swing, and two of raps biggest icons – former friends The Notorious B.I.G, and Tupac Shakur – were caught in the middle of it. It was a battle that tragically cost both starts their lives before the end of the decade, in a pair of murders that are unsolved to this day. We’ll trace the story of these two legendry rappers by visiting the locations that lead to their rise and fall – the gritty streets of Biggie’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn where he hustled, sold drugs, and became a freestyling legend; a hidden set of train tracks in Vernon, California; New York City’s Quad Recording Studios, where a 1994 assassination attempt on Tupac ignited the biggest feud in the history of rap, and the corner of Fairfax and Wilshire in Los Angeles, where Biggie was tragically gunned down in a hit and run.

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Richard Pryor

Richard Pryor was a comedy truth teller, who busted taboos about race, language, and sexuality. But what made Richard so raw and honest, was also the source of his troubled and tumultuous personal life – bouts of addiction, domestic abuse, and host of other personal demons, which culminated in a very public drug-induced meltdown on Parthenia Street in Los Angeles, where he lit himself on fire and ran down the street in an unhinged suicide attempt. We’ll travel to Richard’s hometown of Peoria, Illinois to find the source for his demons, and for his brilliant comedic mind – the elementary school where he first performed comedy, and the Community Center where he honed his craft, and to his compound on Parthenia Street in the San Fernando Valley, where he nearly died in 1980, before making a remarkable comeback.