The September 4 1934 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained a piece of sad news about a singer who was accidentally killed by a shotgun.
Russ Columbo (1908-1934) was the twelfth child born to his family of Italian immigrant parents. He left school at 17 to play the violin and sing professionally. He had just finished acting in the film Wake Up And Dream when he was shot.
According to Columbo’s Wikipedia page, his friend Lansing Brown Jr. was “absent-mindedly fooling around” with one of his collection of firearms when it accidentally went off. The shot didn’t hit Columbo directly; it ricocheted off a table before striking him above the eye and entering his brain.
The photo caption above states that Columbo’s mother was dying and unaware of her son’s death. As it turned out, she recovered from the heart attack that she had suffered – but none of Columbo’s surviving brothers and sisters ever told her of his death, and she remained alive for ten more years without learning the truth.
The understandably devastated Lansing Brown Jr. went on to become a photography instructor during the Second World War. He passed away in 1962.
Russ Columbo can be found in several places on YouTube, including: