A morbid tourist attraction | EW.com


A morbid tourist attraction

Next time you visit Los Angeles, check out the latest, weirdest Hollywood hot-spot that has had celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, Janis Joplin, and River Phoenix drop in: the coroner's department

Got your California vacation all mapped out? You’ll probably hit the Hollywood Walk of Fame, pop into Universal Studios, and of course, drop by the morgue. That’s right: The latest must-see stop on stargazers’ itineraries these days is the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Department. Turns out people are flocking to the house of the dead just to catch a glimpse of the last stop for such celebs as Marilyn Monroe, Janis Joplin, John Belushi, and River Phoenix. ”People think they’re going to see a knife from a famous crime and other evidence when they come here,” says the department’s assistant chief of investigations, Juan J. Jimenez. ”But all we have is a gift shop.” Yes, a gift shop. The morbidly curious can drop into the coroner’s store, Skeletons in the Closet, and buy such grim tchotchkes as body-bag garment bags ($18), beach towels with chalk outlines ($25), and toe-tag key rings ($5). Last year, Skeletons raked in more than $500,000 in sales. Its website — of course it has a website (www.lacoroner.com) — sums up the experience best: ”Part of you thinks it’s in poor taste. Part of you wants an XL.”