On July 15, 1974, as President Nixon was being driven from office, a 29-year-old TV journalist in Sarasota, Florida, interrupted her morning talk show for a dramatic announcement. “In keeping with Channel 40’s policy of bringing you the latest in blood and guts, and in living color, we bring you another first,” Christine Chubbuck told her viewers. “Attempted suicide.” She then pulled out a .38 revolver and shot herself in the back of the head. Chubbuck died 15 hours later, the first person ever to commit suicide on live TV and, according to popular myth, the inspiration for Howard Beale, the mad prophet of the airwaves, in Sidney Lumet’s Network (1976). A new drama, Christine, chronicles the last few weeks of Chubbuck’s life, with a heartrending performance from Rebecca Hall in the title role. Interviewed for the movie’s press notes, Hall is quick to connect Chubbuck to her era: “There’s this woman who’s in a state of nervous breakdown and there’s also a nation in a state of nervous breakdown. And it felt to me in many ways about America in the mid-70s as much as that one woman.” Continue reading >>