On January 5, 1971, Sonny Liston, the former heavyweight champion of the world, was found dead in his home in Las Vegas. The casino executives showed off their families, and celebrities dropped checks on worthy charities as hedonism was put on hold. In the early afternoon, he set off for L.A. in his new Cadillac. Police sergeant Gary Beckwith, however, discovered some heroin in a balloon and a syringe near the body. It suggested that he’d crossed another threshold, perhaps to a place even she couldn’t reach. Getty Images. It’s time to end the LeBron James-Michael Jordan debate Read now
Another Liston biographer, Rob Steen, noted that Liston was terrified of needles. According to the poster, Merrick’s office confirmed the meeting and the studio’s front gate logbook showed that it lasted until 5:30 p.m. Sonny then took a cab back to the hotel, where front desk records purportedly showed that he checked out after midnight for the long drive back to Las Vegas. After all they’d been through together, it must have taken a lot for Geraldine to call her husband that. Dept. There was no sign of Sonny’s tall white mistress, although she may have been on the fringes, her junkie eyes hidden under thick mascara and her big breasts covered by the mink coat Sonny had bought her. In a corner booth he spied Clyde Watkins and strolled over to him with the girls. There were a half-dozen people on the Las Vegas Police Department who also could have fit the description of an “undercover narcotics agent.” But in the end, the candidate who makes the most sense is the one who’d fallen the farthest. Cline also apprised Swaim of the existence of a movie script that would explain all. He was worried about his gambling debts and his bank account and whether Ali was going to keep his end of whatever bargain they’d struck. Yet at the same time, Sonny was having his loudest, most argumentative meetings with his former promoter, Ash Resnick. Sonny’s friends from Jackson Street said their good-byes to him over shots at Love’s Cocktail Lounge. His chequered past was legendary, littered with tales of beating policemen to a pulp, armed robberies and jail stints. Geraldine Liston had spent the Christmas period with her mother in St. Louis. She found his decomposing body alongside a glass of vodka and a bag of marijuana, and she called the police several hours later, after first contacting a doctor and her lawyer. Ira Gay Sealy/The Denver Post via Getty Images. You can also choose to be emailed when someone replies to your comment. “I went in the kitchen and didn’t see anything,” she’d say. We should only speak good of the dead: it is a dogma of the Church and Almighty God is all-merciful.” He ended by saying: “Sonny had qualities most people don’t know about.”, After the ceremony was done, a procession of Cadillacs followed Sonny’s hearse down the Strip. More-over, the autopsy ascertained that Liston's blood contained traces of codeine and morphine – common when heroin is broken down. Dr. Herman . Ash and Joe went first and I went behind them. When he was sober enough to remember he had a seven-year-old kid, he worried about Daniel and how he was growing up.
He was born on a farm in Arkansas, a state which did not require mandatory birth certificates until 1965. The sheriff’s department report makes no mention of Resnick, Louis, or Watkins being at the scene. But he was earnest and caring and one of the best friends Sonny ever had, and certainly he was the only one to ever say, “Sonny will do very well. To judge from Watkins’s recollection, Sonny was feeling good, possibly for the first time in months. Keeping to tradition, they visited their friends Davey Pearl and Lem Banker, trading gifts and tidings for the coming year. It was a depressing statement, the kind that someone who’d been drinking hard and wallowing in self-pity would say. After they fit it on a gurney, one of the paramedics slipped going down the stairs and it went tumbling off. The death was ruled as natural causes, and Caputo accepted the verdict. . Joe Louis, one of six pallbearers, was the only heavyweight champion there and came late because, as he explained, he was shooting craps and “Sonny would understand.”.
At the time, Ali was about to fight Joe Frazier in a massively hyped bout. The press release from the coroner that concluded Sonny’s death was due to natural causes. Why would she leave a balloon of heroin out in plain view in the kitchen?
Please be respectful when making a comment and adhere to our Community Guidelines. Geraldine’s first call to the police did not come until 11:59 p.m. Clyde Watkinsan old friend who worked as a bellman at Caesars, says that he heard about it from a friend on the police force not long after.
It was not until 11:00 p.m. —more than two hours after she found the body—that Geraldine finally reached a doctor. His former trainer, Johnny Toco, said he would avoid doctors due to this phobia. The grave of former World Heavyweight Boxiing Champion Charles ‘Sonny’ Liston at Paradise Memorial Gardens on Eastern Parkway, Las Vegas, November 1979.
Your life will be in danger.". Amid all the caroling and caterwauling, the Listons tried hard to act like a family. Tissue and body fluid samples were taken for toxicological and microscopic examination, but these tests will not be completed for several days. Sonny Liston was found dead of a heroin overdose at his Las Vegas home in 1970. According to a report from the Las Vegas Police Department, she dashed out of the bedroom and drove a half mile to a friend’s home, where she “was observed by the people there to be in a very hysterical manner.” According to the LVPD, she spent more than ninety minutes trying to reach Sonny’s doctor before heading back to Ottawa Drive with her friend.
“His feet were still on the ground and the gases that built up all went into his penis so it was all swelled up and standing up straight.”, Lovato said he looked in the bathroom and found a case of works, leading him to believe that Sonny had shot up and then stumbled back before collapsing backward on the bed.
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