Alcohol destroyed Gig Young

Troubled gig ends with .38-caliber slug


On the afternoon of October 19, 1978, in his Manhattan apartment, American actor Gig Young pointed a .38 caliber snub-nosed revolver at the back of his wife’s head and pulled the trigger. Kim Schmidt died instantly. She was 31.

Then he stuck the gun in his mouth and blew his brains out. He was 64. They had been married three weeks — the actor’s fifth wife. Police said it was either a suicide pact or murder-suicide. There was no note.

Addiction destroyed Gig Young
Gig Young and Kim Schmidt

Gig Young won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor as the heartless marathon dance emcee in the 1969 psychological drama They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?

The highly acclaimed movie starred Jane Fonda, Michael Sarrazin and Susannah York and was directed by Sydney Pollack. It was nominated for nine Academy Awards. Gig Young was the only winner.

Alcohol and pills destroyed Gig Young’s career. He collapsed on the set of the comedy Blazing Saddles on his first day of shooting and was fired by director Mel Brooks. 

He was hooked on the tranquilizer Valium, taking seven pills a day, washed down with booze.

Addiction destroyed Gig Young
Ronnie Howard and Gig Young in The Twilight Zone’s ‘Walking Distance’

Through all this he managed to keep working, including a famous role in a Twilight Zone episode called Walking Distance where he goes back to his home town and meets his former boyhood self.

But it all ended in Suite 1BB of the Osborne Apartments on West 57th Street in New York City with a .38-caliber bullet.

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