Follow TV Tropes

Following

Useful Notes / Criminals

Go To

This is an alphabetical list of all articles on this site about real-life criminals: murderers, rapists, thieves, smugglers, gangsters, bandits, pirates, terrorists, etc. In some cases, the historical villain's reputation may even have had an upgrade (or downgrade, if not an outright whitewashing), but nevertheless we list them all here.

TV Tropes also wants to make clear that it in no way do we wish to glorify these people's crimes. Their presence on this site usually have to do with their dominant appearances in popular culture and/or legendary reputation. Most of the articles about the criminals listed below are here to separate myth from reality, and to indicate in which media they have become a staple of popular culture.

Advertisement:

NOTE: This list is only meant for people who actually have articles on this wiki; if you want to learn more about every notable criminal who ever lived, check out Wikipedia instead. Also, only add people here if they have any actual criminal convictions, or there is very strong evidence that they committed actions which were illegal in the time and place they lived in. Also, don't add people who committed atrocities on behalf of a government, military, or state organization, because as horrible as they may have been, they were (usually) granted official authority and legal immunity to do so (unless they have eventually been forced to stand trial in court for their actions).


Advertisement:

Notable real-life criminals (with articles on this wiki) include:

  • Muhammad Ali: In 1967, this boxer was arrested for draft evasion when he refused to participate in The Vietnam War. After he was convicted, he was stripped of his boxing license and titles, but he appealed to the Supreme Court. During the appeal, he was allowed to avoid prison. In 1971, the Supreme Court overturned the conviction, allowing him to box again.
  • Tim Allen: Believe it or not, but this American actor/comedian became a convicted felon when he was a young man (and before he became famous). In 1978, he pleaded guilty to trafficking cocaine at an airport, serving two years and four months in a federal prison. Though he has not engaged in a life of crime since then (aside from a DUI conviction in 1997).
  • GG Allin: Infamous American punk rocker who was arrested numerous times for violence, and served time in prison.
  • Advertisement:
  • Kurt Angle: A professional wrestler who was arrested in 2007 for drunk driving and almost hitting a woman with his car, in 2009 for stalking and harassing a girl, then in 2011 twice and 2013 for drunk driving.
  • "Stone Cold" Steve Austin: A professional wrestler who was arrested in 2002 and 2004 for domestic abuse.
  • Elizabeth Báthory: 17th century Hungarian noblewoman and serial killer, who murdered young women and supposedly bathed in their blood. One of the inspirations for Dracula.
  • Batista: A professional wrestler and actor who worked as a nightclub bouncer earlier in life and was arrested for getting into a fight that left two nightclub patrons injured, getting sentenced to one year of probation.
  • Chris Benoit: Canadian professional wrestler who killed his wife, son, and himself in June 2007.
  • Chuck Berry: An American singer and songwriter who was convicted of armed robbery at 18.
  • Billy the Kid: 19th century American outlaw of The Wild West.
  • Osama bin Laden: Saudi terrorist warlord, founding leader of the Sunni Islamic jihadist organization Al-Qaeda.
  • Blackbeard: Infamous 18th century English pirate.
  • Anne Bonny: 18th century Irish female pirate.
  • Booker T: American professional wrestler who was imprisoned for robbery during the late 1980s.
  • Evan Bourne: American professional wrestler who was arrested in 2016 in a Japanese airport for smuggling marijuana in his luggage.
  • Chris Brown: This American singer has had quite a few legal problems, most notably in 2009, when he assaulted his then-girlfriend Rihanna, for which he pleaded guilty to felony assault and was sentenced to probation.
  • James Brown: An American singer who was convicted of theft at age 16 and served three years in a juvenile prison. He was later convicted of carrying an unlicensed pistol and assaulting a police officer and paroled after serving a two-year sentence.
  • William S. Burroughs: An American author who was convicted of manslaughter after drunkenly shooting his wife Joan Vollmer during a supposed "William Tell act".
  • Amanda Bynes: American actress and fashion designer who was arrested in 2012 for drunk driving. In 2013, she was arrested for possession of marijuana and reckless endangerment when she threw her bong out of her apartment window on the 36th floor when the police tried to apprehend her. She was arrested again in 2013 for starting a fire in a stranger's driveway and was given a mental health evaluation. She eventually announced she had bipolar disorder.
  • Al Capone: 1920s/1930s American mobster, boss of the Chicago Outfit.
  • David Carradine: This actor was arrested at several points in his life. In the 1950's for assaulting a police officer. While in the army from 1960 to 1962, he was court-martialed for shoplifting. In 1967 for possession of marijuana. In 1974 after getting high on peyote, running around naked, breaking into someone's home, and accosting two women. In 1980 for possession of marijuana. In 1984 and 1989 for drunk driving. Finally, in 1994 for knocking down a door at SkyDome during a The Rolling Stones concert, trying to sneak in.
  • Chyna: A professional wrestler who was briefly arrested in 2005 for domestic assault after beating up her then boyfriend Sean Waltman.
  • Bill Cosby: American actor/comedian/musician, who was accused of over 60+ incidents of rape and other sexual offenses, and was eventually convicted of three counts of aggravated indecent assault.
  • Snoop Dogg: A rapper and actor who was arrested several times for drug possession, traffic violations, and having weapons in his car or luggage, once in 1993 after his bodyguard shot someone, and once in 2006 for vandalizing an airport store.
  • DMX: American rapper who has had various legal issues.
  • Robert Downey Jr.: In the late 1990s, this actor was arrested numerous times for drug use and possession, and ended up spending a year in prison and rehab.
  • Guy Fawkes: 17th century terrorist who tried to blow up the English Parliament. The British still celebrate the day the plot was uncovered as Bonfire Night. He also inspired V in V for Vendetta.
  • Ric Flair: A professional wrestler who was arrested in 2005 for a road rage incident where he dragged another driver out of his car by the neck, beat him up, and kicked the man's car door off its hinges. In 2011, a warrant for his arrest was issued for being in contempt of court when he refused to pay off a loan. In this incident, he managed to avoid jail when some of his friends helped pay off the loan.
  • Scott Freeman: A former anime voice actor whose career was ended in 2015 when he was convicted for possession of child pornography.
  • Stephen Fry: English actor and comedian who spent three months in prison in 1993 for theft.
  • Edward Furlong: An actor who was arrested several times in 2012 and 2013 for assaulting his girlfriend Monica Keena.
  • Mel Gibson: An actor who was arrested in 2006 for drunk driving, having an open container of alcohol in the car, and making an Anti-Semitic rant to the officer. In 2010, he got in trouble for domestic abuse of his now ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva.
  • Kelsey Grammer: An American actor who was convicted of various drug-related offenses.
  • Eddie Guerrero: A professional wrestler who was arrested in 2001 for drunk driving.
  • Jeff Hardy: American pro-wrestler who served time in jail in 2011 for drug trafficking. He was arrested in 2018 for driving while impaired and in 2019 for public intoxication.
  • Mata Hari: Dutch courtesan who was executed by France for spying for Germany during World War I. She is the most iconic Femme Fatale Spy of all time.
  • Lauryn Hill: This American singer and rapper served three months in prison in 2012 for tax evasion.
  • Paris Hilton: American actress and socialite who has served time in jail and been arrested numerous times for drug use and possession.
  • L. Ron Hubbard: American science fiction author and founder of Scientology who was convicted of fraud in 1978.
  • Saddam Hussein: The former President of Iraq, who led a brutal dictatorship with massacres that killed thousands of people in his own country. After his overthrow, the new US-backed government convicted him of crimes against humanity, and had him executed by hanging.
  • Jack the Ripper: 19th century British serial killer, who murdered and mutilated several prostitutes in London. He was never caught, and his true identity is still unknown.
  • Chris Jericho: Canadian professional wrestler who was arrested in 2009 for supposedly attacking a woman who spit on him, and in 2010 for getting into a Bar Brawl.
  • Jesse James: 19th century American outlaw of The Wild West.
  • Jeffrey Jones: An American actor who plead no contest to solicitation of a minor. He was sentenced to five years probation and required to register as a sex offender.
  • Jim Jones: 20th century American cult leader who ordered his own followers to drink a cyanide cocktail, thus killing off about 800 people in a mass murder-suicide in their community of Jonestown, Guyana.
  • Ned Kelly: 19th century Australian outlaw.
  • Ron Killings: Professional wrestler and rapper who was arrested four times in his early 20s for selling drugs.
  • Shia LaBeouf: American actor who was arrested a number of times due to intoxication.
  • Lampião: Early 20th century Brazilian outlaw.
  • Lil' Kim: This American singer and rapper served a year in prison in 2005 for lying to a jury about her friends' involvement in a shooting four years earlier.
  • Lil Pump: American rapper who has been arrested a number of times, including for drug possession and driving without a license. He also supposedly spent a year in prison at some point, though no other details are known.
  • Lil Wayne: This American rapper has had a number of arrests, and served eight months (out of an original year) in prison in 2010 for illegal possession of a weapon.
  • Jake Lloyd: In 2015, this Former Child Star was arrested for driving without a license, reckless driving, and resisting arrest. He spent 10 months in prison before being transferred to a psychiatric facility after he was diagnosed with schizophrenia.
  • Lindsay Lohan: This actress was arrested in 2007 for driving under the influence, possession of cocaine, and driving with an expired license. In 2010, she was arrested for violating her probation by failing to show up for several mandatory classes and meetings, and again for failing a drug test. In 2011, she was arrested for stealing a necklace from a store. In 2012, she was arrested for driving recklessly and causing a crash, then trying to lie to a police officer about it. In each of her arrests, she was released from prison after only a few days or hours due to overcrowding and was given probation instead. Her probation ended in 2015.
  • Norman Mailer: An American novelist and playwright who was convicted of assault in 1960 and sentenced to three years probation.
  • Charles Manson: Infamous American cult leader who drove his followers to murdering people, including the actress Sharon Tate (who was the wife of Roman Polanski, who also happens to be another criminal listed below).
  • George Michael: British singer who served four weeks in prison in 2010 for driving while under the influence of drugs.
  • T.J. Miller: American actor, writer, and producer who was arrested in 2016 for assaulting an Uber driver. In 2018, he was arrested for calling in a fake bomb threat at Penn Station in New York City. He is also being tried for sexual assault.
  • Samy Naceri: French-Algerian actor who did prison for robbery in the 1980s and was arrested multiple times for assaulting people (some cases veered into attempted murder) and drug consumption.
  • Sean Penn: American actor who was jailed for 33 days (out of an original 60) in 1987 for assaulting a photographer.
  • Roman Polanski: A French-Polish filmmaker and actor who worked in Hollywood. In 1977, he was convicted of the statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl; he has since fled the United States as a fugitive, living mostly in France to avoid deportation and imprisonment.
  • Eric Roberts: An American actor who was arrested in 1987 for possession of cocaine and marijuana, and attacking the officer who tried to arrest him. In 1995, he was arrested for assaulting his wife.
  • Winona Ryder: An American actress convicted of shoplifting, grand theft and vandalism and sentenced to three years probation.
  • Albert Salmi: An American character actor who murdered his wife and then killed himself in 1990.
  • Jimmy Savile: A popular British TV presenter and philanthropist during his lifetime, after his death revealed to have been a multiple sex offender with many underage victims.
  • Tupac Shakur: In 1995, this American rapper served nine months in prison for sexual assault, a charge he denied.
  • Charlie Sheen: An American actor who plead guilty to misdemeanor assault in 2010.
  • O.J. Simpson: American football player and actor, who was charged (though acquitted) of the murder of his ex-wife in a controversial trial. He was later convicted and imprisoned for armed robbery.
  • Christian Slater: This American actor had a number of legal issues, including serving 10 days in jail for drunk driving, and two months in prison for assaulting his girlfriend and a police officer while on a drug binge.
  • Wesley Snipes: This American actor was imprisoned from 2010 to 2013 for repeatedly refusing to pay his taxes and then trying to falsify tax refund forms and trying to pay his taxes with Counterfeit Cash.
  • Jimmy Snuka: Fijian-American professional wrestler, who was charged with third-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in 2015 due to his then-girlfriend's suspicious death in 1983. However, he was deemed mentally unfit to stand for trial and died in 2017.
  • Phil Spector: American record producer convicted of murdering actress Lana Clarkson in 2003.
  • Kiefer Sutherland: In 2007, this actor served 48 days in jail after pleading no contest to DUI charges and violating the terms of his probation (it was his fourth DUI arrest).
  • Rip Torn: American actor who was arrested in 2010 for breaking into a Litchfield Bancorp branch office with a gun while drunk.
  • Danny Trejo: In the 1960s, before he was famous, this American actor spent a great deal of time in prison for armed robbery and drug use.
  • Mike Tyson: A famous American boxer who, in 1992, was sentenced to six years in prison for rape. He was released after serving three years.
  • Mark Wahlberg: This American actor had an extensive criminal record in his youth; including making racist threats at black children, beating up two Vietnamese men in racist assaults, and also attacking one of his neighbors.
  • Nobuhiro Watsuki: In 2017, this mangaka was convicted for possession of child pornography.
  • Sam Worthington: In 2014, this Australian actor was arrested for assault after beating up a paparazzi man who was bothering him and his wife. At the trial, he was eventually given a misdemeanor assault charge, therefore avoiding any jail time.
  • XXXTentacion: American rapper who served time for a number of crimes, including robbery and assault with a deadly weapon.

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report