Luke Perry, Kate Spade, Steve Irwin, Roy Horn, Leonard Nimoy and Verne Troyer Are the Focus of New Stories in ‘Autopsy: The Last Hours of… ‘ About Their Remarkable Lives, Careers and Final Days
‘Shark Terror: USS Indianapolis’ Reveals the Harrowing Real Story of 900 Sailors Stranded on Open Waters Teeming with Aggressive and Hungry Sharks in a Brutal Battle for Survival
‘Amy Fisher: Kill for Me’ Features Failed Hitman Steven Sleeman Discussing His Role in the Sensational Scandal
‘Susan Smith: Sex Behind Bars’ Details the Devious Tryst Between the Convicted Murderer and a Prison Guard Who Gives a Shockingly Candid Interview About Their Illegal Conduct Behind Bars
(Albuquerque, NM) Tuesday, June 15, 2021 – REELZ today announced its July 2021 lineup with all new original stories in Autopsy: The Last Hours of… celebrating the lives of Luke Perry, Kate Spade, Steve Irwin, Roy Horn, Leonard Nimoy and Verne Troyer. Shark Terror: USS Indianapolis leads new original specials with the remarkable story of sailors who survived their ship sinking only to face a nightmare scenario of being attacked by sharks while Amy Fisher: Kill for Me and Susan Smith: Sex Behind Bars reveal the lurid scandals through never-before-heard interviews with those directly involved including Steven Sleeman who pulled the trigger for Amy Fisher as a would-be hitman and prison guard Alfred Rowe who risked everything for inmate Susan Smith.
“With new stories about ’90s TV megastar Luke Perry to the cherished crocodile hunter Steve Irwin, July premieres celebrate beloved stars whose contributions went far beyond entertaining,” said Steve Cheskin, SVP of Programming at REELZ. “We’re also excited to show viewers new original specials about the real lives entangled in the infamous Amy Fisher and Susan Smith cases and the powerful real stories of true grit and bravery among the crew of the USS Indianapolis.”
Kicking off July premieres is Shark Terror: USS Indianapolis on Saturday, July 10 at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT about courage in the face of unimaginable odds. The sinking of the USS Indianapolis is the U.S. Navy’s largest ever single loss of life at sea and for the crew who survived the ship sinking they faced a daunting struggle for survival on the open waters of the Pacific Ocean. Nearly 900 sailors confronted the threat of death from above, below and within combating sun exposure, swarming hungry sharks and salt water poisoning. Then on Sunday, July 11 in back-to-back new episodes of Autopsy: The Last Hours of… starting at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT it’s the story of Luke Perry who skyrocketed to fame in the ’90s as bad boy heartthrob Dylan McKay on Beverly Hills, 90210 whose death at just 52-years old stunned fans. To help unlock the mystery of his passing medical examiner and forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Hunter examines the case including new medical research relating to Perry’s health that may indicate his face was hiding a secret to his untimely death. Another life cut short is that of fashion mogul Kate Spade whose shocking suicide at 55 years old thrust mental health into the discussion surrounding her death. Autopsy: The Last Hours of… “Kate Spade” at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT examines her story which on the surface seemed like a triumphant success as Spade was a loving and dedicated mother, wife and business woman with no vices or medical issues. So why in the prime of her life did she feel there was no other option but to end it all?
On Thursday, July 15 it’s back-to-back new original specials about infamous scandals and tragedies that captivated the nation with Amy Fisher: Kill for Me at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT followed by Susan Smith: Sex Behind Bars at 10pm ET/ 7pm PT. In 1992 16-year-old Amy Fisher shot the wife of her lover in the head in a gruesome act of violence that ended a salacious series of events that involved crimes committed against and by minors. In Amy Fisher: Kill for Me Fisher’s former friend Steven Sleeman sheds new light on the story detailing his first-hand account of the murder-for-hire plot hatched by Fisher. Then in Susan Smith: Sex Behind Bars it’s been more than 25 years since Susan Smith was sentenced to life in prison for the drowning murders of her two children. While in prison Smith had sex with two prison guards who would eventually both lose their jobs and face convictions for illegal conduct. One of those guards, Alfred Rowe, shares a shockingly candid account of how the devious double murderess seduced him and how their secret sexual relationship left a devastating path of carnage in its wake.
Wildlife icon and passionate conservationist Steve Irwin wrestled crocodiles on The Crocodile Hunter watched by millions. When it emerged that the 44-year-old Irwin had been killed from a stingray barb to the heart there was disbelief given his decades of experience with dangerous animals and the fact that stingrays are relatively docile. Autopsy: The Last Hours of… “Steve Irwin” on Sunday, July 18 at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT examines Irwin’s untimely death through the lens of his health leading up to that fateful day. Was there anything in his medical history that played a factor in the tragedy? Like Irwin, magician Roy Horn wowed audiences working with dangerous animals in what would become the world famous Siegfried and Roy shows featuring tigers, big cats and other large animals. Roy performed more than 30,000 live shows in 45 years with Siegfried grossing more than $1 billion but the show abruptly ended after a tiger attacked Horn. He survived but was partially paralyzed and lived for several more years but on May 8, 2020 at the age of 75 Horn became one of the first celebrities to die from complications with COVID-19. Autopsy: The Last Hours of… “Roy Horn” on Sunday, July 18 at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT examines what was going on inside Horn’s body that left him vulnerable to the disease.
Leonard Nimoy gave life to one of television’s greatest characters in the half-human, half-Vulcan alien Spock on Star Trek. Although he spent only three years on the original Star Trek series before it was canceled Nimoy demonstrated a relentless work ethic. For nearly two decades his constant drive to achieve eventually started to cast a shadow on his health. In Autopsy: The Last Hours of… “Leonard Nimoy” on Sunday, July 25 at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT see how years of smoking cigarettes led to the complex lung disorder chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). If proper treatment is established early people with COPD can live for several years so why did Nimoy die so quickly after his diagnosis? Joining Spock as a treasured and instantly recognizable character is Verne Troyer’s Mini-Me in the hit Austin Powers movie franchise which launched Troyer to global stardom but his success came with a heavy toll on his health. With Troyer’s fame came over indulgence in the form of heavy drinking exasperating his struggles with depression and severely stressing his body. His death at 49 years old from a reported suicide by excessive alcohol consumption seemed like a tragic end but in Autopsy: The Last Hours of… “Verne Troyer” on Sunday, July 25 at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT, Dr. Hunter reveals an integral and overlooked piece of Troyer’s autopsy report that could turn the suicide conclusion on its head.
Below is July 2021 programming listed by premiere date and time. Full synopses for every show follow this list.
Saturday, July 10
*NEW* Shark Terror: USS Indianapolis at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT
Sunday, July 11
*NEW* Autopsy: The Last Hours of… “Luke Perry” at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT
*NEW* Autopsy: The Last Hours of… “Kate Spade” at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT
Thursday, July 15
*NEW* Amy Fisher: Kill For Me at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT
*NEW* Susan Smith: Sex Behind Bars at 10pm ET/ 7pm PT
Sunday, July 18
*NEW* Autopsy: The Last Hours of… “Steve Irwin” at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT
*NEW* Autopsy: The Last Hours of… “Roy Horn” at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT
Saturday, July 25
*NEW* Autopsy: The Last Hours of… “Leonard Nimoy” at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT
*NEW* Autopsy: The Last Hours of… “Verne Troyer” at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT
Below are detailed descriptions for July 2021 programming listed by premiere date and time:
Shark Terror: USS Indianapolis Premieres on Saturday, July 10 at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT. It’s the worst shark attack in history. While returning from a top secret mission to deliver components for the nuclear bomb Little Boy the heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis with 1,195 crewmen aboard is torpedoed and sunk. The rapid decent of the fragmenting ship immediately took hundreds of trapped sailors to their deaths. For the surviving 900 sailors the sinking ship was just the beginning of their nightmare. Shark Terror: USS Indianapolis reveals the terrifying real life story of the doomed cruiser and its crew as the surviving sailors faced four days of brutal sun exposure, dehydration and worst of all relentless attacks from countless hungry and aggressive sharks. Initially packs of Oceanic Whitetip and Tiger sharks focused on the floating dead but eventually they massed into a ruthless army and picked off the injured and struggling killing an estimated 150 sailors. Ultimately through shear tenacity and courage 316 survived the horrific ordeal. The disaster would become the greatest single loss of life at sea from a single ship in U.S. Navy history. The scale, shock and tragedy of the story served as inspiration for several blockbuster movies including Jaws and USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage starring Nicholas Cage. Shark Terror: USS Indianapolis is produced by Hoff Productions.
Autopsy: The Last Hours of… “Luke Perry” Premieres on Sunday, July 11 at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT. On March 4, 2019 Luke Perry died after suffering a massive and unexpected stroke. He was just 52 years old. Born in Mansfield Ohio Perry learned to appreciate the simple things in life but his desire to escape small town living took him to California where after years scraping by for a living Perry hit the big time when he landed the role of bad boy Dylan McKay in the hit TV series Beverly Hills, 90210. Idolized by millions around the world Perry never succumbed to his celebrity status. A humble, generous and talented actor who lived a quiet family life Perry was far from a ‘live hard, die young’ superstar cliché. Forensic pathologist and medical examiner Dr. Michael Hunter uses Perry’s death certificate, first-hand accounts of his life and new medical research to uncover the mystery behind what may have caused the catastrophic stroke that killed this seemingly healthy and active 52-year-old star. Sharing their personal stories of Perry are colleagues and friends Dean Winters, OZ creator Tom Fontana, Smallville director Alexandra La Roche and his former agent Chris Nassif. Autopsy: The Last Hours of… is produced by Potato, part of ITV Studios.
Autopsy: The Last Hours of… “Kate Spade” Premieres on Sunday, July 11 at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT. A Kate Spade handbag has been one of the world’s most desired fashion accessories. Spade was the fun-loving and exuberant fashion journalist who created an international fashion empire. Despite no formal design training she mocked up her first handbags from tracing paper. Then she and husband Andy took those designs and created a fledgling business which grew from their small Manhattan apartment to stores and offices worldwide. They expanded from handbags to shoes, women’s wear, accessories and stationary. In 2006 they sold the company and settled down to have a family before launching a new fashion company but all along Spade was nursing a secret. She was prone to severe anxiety and depression. Her mental health deteriorated to the point that she took her own life on June 6, 2018 at just 55 years old. Now renowned medical examiner and forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Hunter investigates the mystery of Spade’s mental health and if there was anything in her medical history that could have prevented her tragic suicide. Autopsy: The Last Hours of… is produced by Potato, part of ITV Studios.
Amy Fisher: Kill for Me Premieres on Thursday, July 15 at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT. The affair between 16-year-old Amy Fisher and the married 35-year-old Joey Buttafuoco was one of the most infamous scandals in modern history. After Buttafuoco’s wife, Mary Jo, was shot in the head by Fisher in an attempt to end their marriage authorities stepped in and the media latched onto the story. Everyone involved had conflicting accounts of what actually happened. Fisher claimed it was an accident. Mary Jo said Fisher was lying and meant to kill her. Joey denied everything. Now in Amy Fisher: Kill for Me former Fisher friend Steven Sleeman speaks out about his first-hand experience. He disputes Fisher’s version of events and discusses his involvement that at one point included firing shots into the Buttafuoco home. Sleeman agreed to kill Mary Jo after striking a deal with Fisher for payment in sex. Sleeman’s personal insights shed new light on many of the well-known aspects of the scandal from Joey’s denial of the affair to Fisher’s portrayal of being an innocent girl led astray by an older man. Also sharing their experiences of the case are former Nassau County District prosecutor Fred Klein and Fisher’s defense attorney Eric Naiburg. Amy Fisher: Kill for Me is produced by AMS Pictures.
Susan Smith: Sex Behind Bars Premieres on Thursday, July 15 at 10pm ET/ 7pm PT. In 1994 Susan Smith was sentenced to life in prison for murdering her two young children. In the days after Smith lied claiming she was carjacked which led authorities on a fruitless hunt for a perpetrator that stirred up the quiet community of Union South Carolina. In a bombshell confession, Smith revealed her crimes and in the subsequent trail prosecutors believed the reason she killed her sons was because she was in love with a man who didn’t want children. During the trial Smith’s personal history was laid bare including being sexually assaulted as a child by her stepfather, with whom she would continue a sexual relationship with as an adult, and her numerous suicide attempts. Despite being locked behind bars Smith’s insidious nature revealed itself again on several occasions as she attempted to get a prison transfer. Two prison guards have since been convicted of having sex with her behind bars. Susan Smith: Sex Behind Bars features an interview with former prison guard captain Alfred Rowe discussing what led to his illegal conduct with Smith, why he believes Smith seduced him for her own personal gain and how their relationship almost destroyed his life. Susan Smith: Sex Behind Bars is produced by AMS Pictures.
Autopsy: The Last Hours of… “Steve Irwin” Premieres on Sunday, July 18 at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT. On September 4, 2006 Australian zookeeper and wildlife expert Steve Irwin was tragically killed while filming an underwater documentary on the Great Barrier Reef. Irwin had earned global notoriety as the Crocodile Hunter with unrivaled exuberance and physicality handling deadly snakes, toxic reptiles and apex predators on programs watched by hundreds of millions worldwide. But the world was shocked to learn that at the age of just 44 the seemingly invincible conservationist had been killed by a stingray which are not known for being aggressive or dangerous. Now, renowned forensic pathologist and medical examiner Dr. Michael Hunter is investigating what led one of the world’s most iconic wildlife experts to be killed by an otherwise docile animal. By 2006 Irwin had spent more than 30 years working closely with the most dangerous predators in the world so was there something in Irwin’s health or lifestyle that could have possibly played a role in his untimely demise? Autopsy: The Last Hours of… is produced by Potato, part of ITV Studios.
Autopsy: The Last Hours of… “Roy Horn” Premieres on Sunday, July 18 at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT. On May 8, 2020 the entertainment world was rocked by the news that legendary illusionist Roy Horn had succumbed to complications after contracting COVID-19. As one half of world renowned Siegfried and Roy he was the animal tamer who helped reinvent the magic act as a billion-dollar spectacle. It was during a traumatic childhood in post-war Germany that Roy developed a unique ability to work with animals. In partnership with budding magician Siegfried he took his talent to the stage and the pair developed a live act that starred cheetahs, lions and tigers. They went from touring the clubs of Europe to scoring their own headline residency as the hottest act in Las Vegas going on to perform more than 30,000 shows becoming one of the most successful live performances of all time and in 2000 were named Magicians of the Century. But in 2003 tragedy struck when Roy was mauled onstage and almost killed by a tiger. He was left partially paralyzed but his strength to survive and recover from the incident was heralded as miraculous. Years later at the age of 75 he died from complications with COVID-19. It’s a highly contagious disease but has a low mortality rate with 94% of those who’ve died from it having at least one other pre-existing health condition. So what made Horn’s infection turn fatal? Renowned forensic pathologist and medical examiner Dr. Michael Hunter analyzes every detail of Horn’s available medical history to piece together what else was going on inside his body to find the answers. Autopsy: The Last Hours of… is produced by Potato, part of ITV Studios.
Autopsy: The Last Hours of… “Leonard Nimoy” Premieres on Sunday, July 25 at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT. On February 27, 2015 Leonard Nimoy known for his iconic role as the half-human, half-Vulcan alien character Spock in Star Trek died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) at the age of 83. Born in Boston’s West End when Nimoy was 17 years old he went against his parents’ wishes and pursued an acting career. Over the next 16 years while supporting his young family he became the ultimate bit-part actor mostly playing tough guys but in 1966 an opportunity came on a new show called Star Trek. With an insatiable drive to succeed Nimoy put everything he had into the character of Spock. Over the next two decades he worked at a blistering pace taking on producing and directing duties in addition to acting much to the detriment of his family life and especially his health. Along the way Nimoy picked up a few vices to cope with his stress resorting to smoking cigarettes and eventually heavy drinking after long taping days. Nimoy developed COPD which is known as a smoker’s disease but he quit smoking 30 years before he died so were there other contributing factors to his death? Renowned pathologist and medical examiner Dr. Michael Hunter uses first-hand accounts of Nimoy’s life to find the truth behind the character traits and lifestyle choices that ultimately caused the global pop culture figure’s death. Autopsy: The Last Hours of… is produced by Potato, part of ITV Studios.
Autopsy: The Last Hours of… “Verne Troyer” Premieres on Sunday, July 25 at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT. Verne Troyer was the massively popular diminutive star who played Dr. Evil’s pint-sized sidekick Mini-Me in the hugely successful Austin Powers movie franchise. His death at just 49 years old was ruled as a suicide attributed to excessive alcohol intoxication but was his death really a suicide or a tragic accident? At 2’8″ tall Troyer was born with the rare genetic condition cartilage-hair hypoplasia disorder of bone growth characterized by short stature dwarfism which can include painful skeletal abnormalities, immunodeficiency and a predisposition to cancer. In addition to physical pain from his condition Troyer also battled with depression despite his immense popularity as Mini-Me which saw him living a party lifestyle that included becoming a regular at the Playboy mansion. But after the buzz of the Austin Powers movies faded so did Troyer’s career despite his efforts to take on more serious roles. In managing his physical pain, depression demons and dwindling fame Troyer’s heavy drinking spiraled into suicidal behavior with calls to 911 wanting to end his life. But now renowned forensic pathologist and medical examiner Dr. Michael Hunter investigates the medical evidence surrounding Troyer’s case and uncovers some startling revelations that could flip the suicide ruling on its head. Autopsy: The Last Hours of… is produced by Potato, part of ITV Studios.
About REELZ – REAL LIVES. REAL STORIES. REAL CELEBRITIES.(R)
REELZ is a leading independent cable and satellite general entertainment network focused on celebrity culture with poignant stories about Hollywood in revealing documentaries and character profiles of the famous and infamous. Programming ranges from the critically acclaimed and award-winning The Kennedys to Real Story of… revealing the true stories behind hit movies including American Made and Selena. Along with shows about movies, fame and celebrity lifestyles the network is also home to true crime stories and Autopsy: The Last Hours of… which examines the final days of popular celebrities from Lucille Ball to Prince.
REELZ is available in 70 million homes on DIRECTV channel 238, DISH Network channel 299, Verizon FiOS TV channel 692HD, AT&T U-verse channels 799/1799HD and cable systems nationwide. Find REELZ in your area by visiting www.reelz.com. REELZ is a High-Definition network and if it is not available, or not in HD, on your cable or telco provider, we encourage viewers to call them and ask for it. Owned by Hubbard Media Group, REELZ is headquartered in Albuquerque, NM with national ad sales based in New York City with offices in Boston and Chicago. As one of the last truly independent television networks remaining in today’s media landscape REELZ has created the Independence Happens Here(R) website to help keep free thought and innovation alive by highlighting the importance of independent businesses. The website can be found at http://IndependenceHappensHere.com.