Diane Linkletter, the youngest child and daughter of American media figure Art Linkletter, passed away under tragic circumstances on October 4, 1969. For years, rumors persisted about the nature and potential influencing factors that led to her death. While officially, her death ruled a suicide. Many people have led to believe that her death somehow tied to an LSD trip gone awry.
Join Facts Verse as we attempt to determine the truth as to what actually happened on that ill-fated autumn day in 1969, the death of Diane Linkletter. The same year that The Beatles played their last show on the roof of Apple Records. The first Concorde jet plane made it’s pioneering test flight and Woodstock forever changed the way we look at live music.
A Very Famous Father
Canadian-radio and television personality Art Linkletter hosted the CBS radio and television talk show program House Party for 25 years. Likewise, he hosted NBC’s popular People Are Funny radio and television game for 19 years.
Born in 1912 in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Linkletter raised by his adoptive parents Mary and Fulton John Linkletter. When he was just five years old, Linkletter’s family relocated to San Diego, California. Where he attended San Diego High School until he graduated at the age of 16.
During the Great Depression, Art rode freight trains across the nation like a hobo picking up odd jobs and meeting a fairly wide range of people along the way. Eventually, he settled down from his nomadic lifestyle and enrolled at the San Diego State Teachers College, earning his bachelor’s degree in teaching.
In 1935, Art met his wife-to-be, Lois Foerster, and after a brief courtship, the two married. Their marriage would last until Linkletter’s death in 2010 – some 74 years later.
Linkletter would get his start on television appearing on shows such as 1969s Life With Linkletter and 1965s Hollywood Talent School. However, he had previously acted in two films, 1946s People are Funny. Which was based upon his popular radio show, and 1950s Champagne For Caesar.
In total, Art would have five children with his wife Lois; Arthur Jack, Robert, Sharon, Dawn, and Diane.
Tragically, three of these children would pass away within Art’s lifetime. Diane Linkletter’s son Robert died in a car accident in 1980 and his son Arthur in 2007 after a bout with Lymphoma. But perhaps the most infamous death that he had to witness in his life was the death of his youngest child; Diane, who died at the age of 20 on October 4, 1969.
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Diane Linkletter’s Upbringing Gave Her A Promising Head Start In Life
The news of the death of a gorgeous young woman named Diane Linkletter, who jumped to her death out of her sixth-floor apartment window On October 4, 1969; came as a shock to not only her parents but also to the world at large. And no doubt, when she plunged out of that window. She had little idea that her death destined to become one of the central talking points of the burgeoning anti-drug movement in the United States.
Diane was, as we already mentioned, just 20-years old when she died. Previous to her untimely demise, she’s not a widely known figure to the public. Her father was a popular radio and television personality. But she never managed to gain the same kind of fame that he achieved.
Diane was born on Halloween in 1948. When she was 17, she married 19-year-old Grant Convoy. Even though Convoy had previously signed up for the NAVY’ AVCAD Program, his marriage to Linkletter offered him a deferment from the draft.
Diane and Grant’s marriage was a brief one, as it quickly annulled and not publicized. Both Convoy’s and Linkletter’s families desired to keep the marriage hush-hush. And considering how quickly it ended, it’s probably a good thing that they did.
After breaking things off with Convoy, Linkletter decided to pursue a career in acting – following in her father’s footsteps. She performed in Summer Stock theater productions before appearing, albeit briefly, on The Red Skelton Show in 1968. She then traveled for a while with her father, entertaining active-duty servicemen and their families in Europe.
The Death Of Diane Linkletter Left Many Questions Unanswered
Even before an autopsy performed, Art Linkletter had speculated when talking to the media that his daughter had taken the psychedelic drug LSD the evening before her death. But it would have been difficult for him to know this. Seeing as how he had not spoken to her before she died. Rather, he convinced that she had taken the drug solely because of the testimony of his son Robert. Who claimed that she had told him that she had taken acid.
Linkletter quoted as saying at the time that her death couldn’t have been a suicide because she hadn’t been herself that evening. He further insisted that she had, in fact, murdered by the people who manufacture and distribute LSD.
But when Diane’s autopsy results came back. And it determined that she didn’t show any signs of having any drugs in her system, he quickly changed his tune. Instead of believing that she had driven to suicide by the direct effects of the mind-altering drug. He now insisted that it actually an LSD flashback that she had months earlier that prompted her to take her own life.
The media had a field day with this anecdotal information and ran a story in the Connecticut-based newspaper The Morning Record on October 6, 1969. Reiterating Linkletter’s unfounded and unsubstantiated claims. In that article, Linkletter further quoted as saying that LSD brought out his daughters emotional and dramatic side with disastrous results. But a careful reading of the article gives the reader the distinct impression that Linkletter was deep in denial about the cause of his daughter’s death. And was merely grasping at straws trying to make sense of it.
Regardless, this article was the perfect vehicle to elevate the anti-drug narrative that was already beginning to pick up steam in the media at the time. Without doing much research or investigating the issue in more depth. They ran with it, and in time, once the dust had settled, the story had evolved in most people’s minds to be gospel truth. This urban legend about a young girl who jumped to her death while high on LSD. Because she convinced that she could fly is a tale that you still occasionally hear about to this day.
Diane’s Boyfriend Painted A Much Clearer Picture Of What Really Happened
According to Edward Durston, Diane’s boyfriend who was present when she died. Linkletter had called him and requested that he come to her apartment around 3 am. He then spent the next six hours with her before she jumped out of the window.
Durston told investigators that she extremely depressed, desperate, and determined to follow through with suicide. He also said that he had no reason to believe that she had taken any drugs before ending her life.
Art Linkletter reasonably devastated by his daughter’s death. And went on to become one of the most outspoken critics of the counterculture movement. Pretty much every opportunity that he had. He would speak out against drug use while sharing the story of Diane’s alleged LSD-influenced demise.
In the process, Linkletter would make an enemy out of the famed LSD advocate. Timothy Leary, who notoriously encouraged young people to “Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out”.
One particularly intriguing video from 1980. Leary was surprised to receive a phone call on a talk show he was involved in from Linkletter himself. In that shocking video, Linkletter screamed at Leary, saying that he hoped he would die and be hung. This was particularly unsettling considering Linkletter’s public image as a gentle, loving father.
The Real Reason Why Diane Committed Suicide
it’s not uncommon for family members of an individual who committed suicide to try. And attempt to convince others that their death was less deliberate than it actually was. No one wants to believe that their child or loved one actually wanted to die.
There is still, to this day, a great deal of stigma attached to suicide. So, it’s not difficult to understand why family members would try and obscure such matters to be a bit more socially acceptable.
Back in the late 60s, this stigma was a lot more intense than it is today. Then, it wouldn’t have been permissible for someone that committed suicide to even be buried in places like church cemeteries.
People grieve in wildly different ways. Some simply go into denial, rejecting any evidence that their loved one’s death could have been anything but accidental. Art Linkletter’s reaction to his daughter’s death is a prime example of this.
According to Diane’s boyfriend, Edward Durston, she had been very concerned about her identity and career. He says that she also complained that she couldn’t be her own person.
Diane’s statements paint a picture of a deeply unhappy woman who ultimately became determined to put an end to her suffering. Furthermore, despite Art Linkletter’s claim that his son Robert was told by Diane that she had taken LSD the night before her death. There is no evidence that this call ever actually transpired. Even if it did, it would be impossible to conclusively determine that her death was actually tied to any alleged drug use.
Beyond that, as far as LSD flashbacks go, the jury is still out whether or not they are actually possible. Some believe that they are, but other experts remain skeptical. We also don’t know if Diane had even ever taken LSD prior to her death. Since the only thing that indicates that she might have are just the words of her father. Who was clearly very disturbed by her death and might have come up with the theory in a desperate attempt to make some semblance of sense out her death.
While we may never actually know all of the details of what pushed Diane Linkletter to commit suicide. It doesn’t seem very likely that LSD actually played a part in her death. But it doens’t really matter what factors were involved. Her death was nothing short of devastating for everyone involved.
Do you personally believe that her suicide was somehow tied to the psychedelic drug LSD. Or do you think that she was deeply troubled for other reasons and simply wanted to find a way to end her suffering?
Let us know in the comments down below.
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