Johnny Ace’s Death Was an Accidental Suicide

johnnyace

John Marshall Alexander, Jr. (June 9, 1929 – December 25, 1954), known by the stage nameJohnny Ace, was an American rhythm-and-blues singer.

It was widely reported that Ace killed himself playing Russian roulette. However, Big Mama Thornton‘s bass player, Curtis Tillman, who witnessed the event, said, “I will tell you exactly what happened! Johnny Ace had been drinking and he had this little pistol he was waving around the table and someone said ‘Be careful with that thing…’ and he said ‘It’s okay! Gun’s not loaded… see?’ and pointed it at himself with a smile on his face and ‘Bang!’ — sad, sad thing. Big Mama ran out of the dressing room yelling ‘Johnny Ace just killed himself!’

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