The Most Bizarre 911 Calls Involving Celebrities

There are many possible explanations as to why we obsess over celebrity news the way we do, but one potential answer points to our incredible access to celebrity information. There used to be a time when we would only hear about biggest events in a celebrity's private life. Nowadays, we hear almost everything, interesting or not.

These days, for example, we not only gain access to celebrity arrest records, medical reports, and death details, we hear the actual 9-1-1 recordings placed at the time of these major incidents. While listening to these extremely personal calls may seem invasive, 9-1-1 calls involving celebrities are so in demand, TMZ has a entire section of its website dedicated to them.

Over the years, these 9-1-1 calls have captured celebrities during their lowest, most violent, and most tragic moments. Some calls detail occasions of celebrities acting violent, while on others, the violence is being committed against celebrities. There is nothing mundane, uninteresting, or straightforward about the following phone calls because we've collected only the most bizarre 911 calls involving celebrities.

River Phoenix's last moments

Perhaps more heartbreaking than bizarre, the 9-1-1 call placed during the early hours of Halloween morning in 1993 outside The Viper Room nightclub in West Hollywood will live on in infamy. That call, placed by Joaquin Phoenix, captured the horror in his voice as he detailed the final moments of brother River Phoenix's life.

According to author Gavin Edwards' book, Last Night at The Viper Room (via The New York Daily News), River, Joaquin, and their sister, Rain, went to a star-studded party that night that was reportedly also attended by Leonardo DiCaprio. Later, they ended up at The Viper Room, the nightclub owned by Johnny Depp, where stars like Christina Applegate and Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers were also hanging out. At some point, knowingly or not, River drank back a liquid speedball, a concoction of heroin and cocaine. It wasn't long afterward, he slumped in his seat and began vomiting.

Helped outside by his brother, River regained control of his faculties for a brief period. According to Ron Davis, a celebrity photographer who saw the Phoenix's exit the club, River "looked liquid. ... Then they laid him out on the sidewalk and he began having a really violent series of seizures." Approximately 25 minutes later, Joaquin called 9-1-1 in a panic. Though he stated that his brother was still breathing during the call, by the time first responders arrived, "Phoenix had no pulse and was not breathing."

Losing is hard for Lucas Glover

The night after PGA golfer Lucas Glover missed the cut at TPC Sawgrass in 2018, 9-1-1 dispatchers received a call from his wife, Krista, stating that she had been "attacked" by her mother-in-law. After the call was disconnected, the dispatcher called back, and Lucas answered with some bizarre comments. He introduced himself as "the husband, the sane one of the bunch." He went on to say that his wife was the aggressor and had "gone crazy." When the dispatcher asked to speak with Krista, Lucas denied the request. "No you cannot," he said, adding, "and when the deputies get here, they need to talk to the male, that would be me, because the other two are out of their heads at the moment."

According to, When police arrived on the scene, Lucas reportedly informed them that "every time he plays poorly in a tournament, Krista begins yelling at him, stating he is a 'loser' and a 'p****y." Police noted that both Lucas and his mother showed lacerations on their arms, while Krista had no injuries. Despite Lucas downplaying the events via Twitter, Krista was arrested and "charged with domestic violence and resisting arrest." The latter charge was the result of Krista "screaming while forcefully kicking the rear driver's side door" as police escorted her into custody.

Faking it with T.J. Miller

While the recording of the 9-1-1 call allegedly placed by T.J. Miller on March 18, 2018, was never released, some of the details were made public. According to Variety, Miller reportedly called the authorities, claiming he was aboard an Amtrak train headed to New York from Washington, D.C. During the call, he reported that a female passenger had "a bomb in her bag."

When authorities arrived, no evidence of an explosive device was found, and Miller's story kept changing. The officer on scene, who suspected that Miller might be under the influence of alcohol, investigated the issue further and found that Miller wasn't even on the train he said he was. In fact, Miller had been removed from that train for being intoxicated and unruly.

The official press release from authorities stated (via Variety), "The attendant also advised that Miller had been involved in hostile exchanges with a woman who was sitting in a different row from him in the First Class car." Authorities determined that Miller, motivated by this feud, lied about the bomb. The actor was arrested and charged with "intentionally conveying to law enforcement false information about an explosive device on a train traveling to Connecticut," a charge that could land the not-so-funnyman in prison for up to five years. 

Tommy Lee is punch drunk

In March of 2018, TMZ reported of police responding to a fight between Tommy Lee and his son, Brandon Lee. According to the initial report, Tommy was drunk, and Brandon defended himself by punching his father. Tommy took issue with these reports, taking to Twitter to state, "My fiancé and I were in bed when my son busted into the room and assaulted me. I asked him to leave the house and he knocked me unconscious. He ran away from the police."

Not long after the exchange between Lee and TMZ, the 9-1-1 call from that evening leaked and revealed some strange additional details. In the call placed by Brittany Furlan, Tommy's fiancé, Furlan discloses that "My step-son has guns in his room." She then added, "That's why I'm freaked out. I just locked the door." During the call, Tommy can also be heard groggily responding to Furlan.

After the incident, Brandon's mother, Pamela Anderson, suggested that her son was attempting to host an intervention for his father that night when things took a violent turn. Despite police investigating Brandon for criminal battery, Tommy did not pursue any legal action and the charges were dropped.

Ving Rhames meets his neighbors

Even though racism is a constant and pressing societal issue, incidences that involve celebrities tend to make more noise than the average cases involving civilians. That's why, when actor Ving Rhames spoke on his experiences with racial profiling, people took notice.

While a guest on the Clay Clane Show, Rhames detailed a 2016 event that he was involved in. One afternoon, according to Rhames, a neighbor of his allegedly called 9-1-1 with the claim that "a large black man was breaking into the house" across the road. When police arrived and knocked on the door, Rhames answered. Here, he was met with armed officers aiming their guns at him.

This was particularly strange because Rhames was in his own house. Thankfully, one of the officers on the scene recognized Rhames, and the situation was deescalated. Rhames was then informed that it was his neighbor who called the police, a claim that she denied when police awkwardly escorted the actor across the street to address the issue with her. To make matters more awkward, police then initiated a "Meet Your Neighbors" event shortly afterward to ensure that these mix-ups didn't happen again.

The sad final chapter for Daniel von Bargen

Actor Daniel von Bargen was a familiar face for film and television fans for a long time, but in the final years of his life, which ended in 2015 due to an unspecified illness, the actor stayed away from the spotlight. Sadly, after stepping away from acting in 2009, von Bargen began a battle with depression and medical complications, which primarily resulted from diabetes.

In 2012, von Bargen attempted to take his own life. After surviving the self-inflicted gunshot to the head, he called 9-1-1. The actor said he was supposed to go to the hospital that day to have toes amputated, but he didn't want to go. He informed the dispatcher that his illness already resulted in one leg amputation and that the toe amputations were the beginning of the end for the other.

During the heart-rending call, the diabetic actor lamented his loneliness, saying, "I have no children and no life, and I'm tired." Though tragic, this call is instructional. While the American Diabetes Association warns that "people with diabetes have a greater risk of depression," the disease can also simulate the effects of depression. "Poor control of diabetes can cause symptoms that look like depression," the association states, which tragically, seems to have been the case with von Bargen. 

If you or someone you know is seeking help and support to deal with substance abuse or mental health issues, please call SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

It's hammer time for Tim Donaghy

Despite all his years officiating basketball games for the NBA, Tim Donaghy is probably best known as the referee who bet on games and got caught. A few years after his release from prison for those charges, however, Donaghy found himself arrested again, this time for aggravated assault after allegedly threatening a man with a hammer.

Though the charges were later dismissed, the 9-1-1 call that Donaghy placed on the night of the altercation was leaked, and it certainly doesn't cast a flattering light on the ex-referee. The confusing call begins with Donaghy outside the home of his daughter's friend. He claims that his "daughter was held at a house against her will." He then adds that she was trying to leave, but she was "stoned out of her mind" on marijuana, so he "ripped the keys out of her hand."

It was at this point, according to Donaghy, that "the mother [of the friend] came out of the house screaming and yelling." Donaghy then informs the dispatcher that "there's about to be a major altercation," adding, "I did bring a hammer up here with me. If I need to use it, I will use it." Donaghy then threateningly states, "The hammer is right here with me pal. If anyone comes near me ... I will crack him right in his f***ing head."

Tony Robbins gets burned

In 2016, 9-1-1 dispatchers and Dallas Fire-Rescue received several calls of people suffering burns at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. But there was no fire. Well, not really. There was, however, a Tony Robbins "fire walk" as part of his "Unleash the Power Within" seminar. During the event, Robbins urges participants to "turn fear into power" and walk across hot coals. Many do so, and many, at least on this occasion, turned healthy feet into blistered feet.

According to reports, at least 30 people suffered injuries, including five who were taken to hospital. TMZ got a hold of one of the 9-1-1 calls, in which the caller told the dispatcher that there were "not enough" emergency responders on site to help all the injured people. But Robbins wasn't convinced. On Good Morning America, he claimed that "no one was injured" aside from a few "hot spots and blisters." Almost comically, as Robbins addressed these reports in the interview, the show played video clips of injured people on gurneys being treated. It seems that some people did get injured.

Plies is saved from neighborhood hero

Rap videos can look pretty violent to viewers, but when the rapper Plies was shooting a music video in Florida, the simulated violence almost became very real. In 2015, a passerby noticed some criminal activity in his neighborhood and, being a responsible gun-toting neighbor, almost took matters into his own hands.

Luckily for him, Plies, and the other actors and musicians involved, the quick-working 9-1-1 dispatcher on the other end of the call sorted things out before they became deadly. According to the caller, the man was spooked when he saw "black men walking around with rifles." Which, the mens' ethnicity aside, seems justifiably scary. He then describes "three Rasta guys" who were "gonna shoot this white boy." It's at this point that the caller mentions that he has a shotgun with him, warning the dispatcher that "they ain't gonna shoot this boy."

Thankfully, no shots were fired. Police arrived on scene quickly to find that the unloaded guns and dangerous looking situation was all part of filming for Plies' new music video.

John Bowlen, the Blood of the City

When John Bowlen's girlfriend called 9-1-1 in 2015, the dispatcher heard her scream and then hang up. The dispatcher called back, but Bowlen (above left) answered and started right into a rambling statement: "This is the owner of the Denver Broncos. I am sorry, OK? I have a crazy girlfriend that is leaving my house right now. Nothing is wrong at all. You can call the sergeant of police, Mickey Morton. You can call Dave Abrams. You can call anyone you want. Please do not do anything right now. Nothing is wrong. I swear on my life. OK?"

Aside from the obvious, one of the more bizarre parts of this speech is that Bowlen was not the owner of the Broncos. His father, Pat Bowlen was. According to USA Today, John was a marketing assistant for the NFL team's stadium. Predictably, the dispatcher needed more assurances than just John's word that nothing was wrong in the home.

Yet John continued trying to reassure her, calling himself "the blood of the city," "a man of my word," "a man of the city," "a friend of the mayor," and someone that "everybody knows." He then finished the call by saying, "She is leaving right now, nothing is wrong, I love you guys. Thank you. Bye bye." After hanging up the phone on the dispatcher, police arrived and arrested Bowlen for domestic violence.