On 11. February 2012, Whitney Houston, one of America's most successful singers, has died aged 48 in a suite on the fourth floor of the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles where she was a guest. She was pronounced dead at 3.55pm local time.
John Belushi was just 33-years-old when he died from a drug overdose at the Chateau Marmont hotel off the Sunset Strip in L.A. Actors Robert De Niro and Robin Williams apparently had gone to see him in Bungalow 3 just before he passed away.
Janis Joplin also died in a Los Angeles hotel. She died from an overdose in 1970 at the Landmark Hotel - which is now the Highland Gardens Hotel. Anna Nicole Smith was found unresponsive in room 607 of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Miami in 2007. She was rushed to hospital but pronounced dead an hour after the 911 call had been placed.
The Ritz in Paris had reason to turn away luminaries from the stage and screen, especially after the famous silent-screen actress Olive Thomas reputably died in one of its rooms in 1920. For many years, the cause remained cloaked in secrecy. A more recent version of the mini-scandal claims that an apparently drunk and distressed Olive Thomas accidentally ingested a large dose of mercury bichloride that had been prescribed for her playboy husband Jack Pickford's chronic syphilis. She actually died several days later at the American hospital and not in the Ritz itself.
Some other famous people have spent their last hours at the Ritz in less than ideal circumstances. Pamela Churchill Harriman's early years were pretty wild: as a teenager, she was personally introduced to Hitler. She married Randolph Churchill before turning twenty. She had several other marriages and affairs, all to men of prominence, including the son of Aga Khan III, and the son of Baron Robert Phillippe de Rothschild. In 1971 she married one of her previous lovers, American millionaire Averill Harriman. A successful fundraiser for the Democratic Party, Pamela Harriman was appointed Ambassador to France in 1993 by President Bill Clinton. Aged 77, she died after having a heart attack while taking her customary morning swim in the Ritz's pool. President Chirac was at the Elysée Palace nearby when he heard the news, and rushed over. As always, the Ritz handled the death with tact and discretion.
Fashion legend Coco Chanel died at the Ritz Hotel in Paris in 1971 at the age of 87. The esteemed fashion designer had lived at the hotel for three decades.
In 1923, the manageress of The Oriental Hotel in Bangkok had serious worries about writer Somerset Maugham, who had conducted malaria. "I hope he is not going to die at my hotel!" she remarked to the doctor, right outside of the room of the patient. Maugham recovered soon and spent so much time at the hotel, that The Oriental has enough reason to name one of her best suites after him. Reconvalescent he spent more weeks at the hotel and left us a cute short story, certainly written at The Oriental.
Click here for the full story, including anecdotes on the deaths of Oscar Wilde, Janis Joplin and more at famoushotels.org, the archive of hospitality.