It was just another day in the life of a 70-year-old Hollywood legend: Peter Fonda cruises along Sunset Boulevard in his ethanol-fueled (not with Loko, wethinks), highly sustainable driving machine — or it better be, unless he's a dirty hypocrite — feeling the January wind in his hair, a much younger woman by his side and the open road beneath his pimped-out rims. (OK, we're totally making this up. We just wanted to recreate “Easy Rider” in 2011, and there will be no more perfect an opportunity than Peter Fonda finding a dead man in a car on the side of the road.)
So yeah, the dead-man thing happened. Yesterday at about 2 p.m., Fonda spotted a parked vehicle on the 300 block of Los Liones Drive, just off Sunset…
… and thought, for some paranoid but ultimately very perceptive reason, that he should pull over and stick his meddling nose into the driver's beeswax.
LAPD Sergeant Carlton Cook of the West L.A. Station told City News Service that when Fonda approached the black sedan, he saw that the man was slumped over the steering wheel and, eventually, that the man was very much not alive. So Fonda called 911 like the proactive neighborhood helper he is (Fonda lives in Santa Monica, as far as we know).
A coroner's investigator rushed to the scene, surely hoping to meet the bad-ass 1960s icon, and found the body in the car — just like Fonda had claimed. Coroner's Lieutenant Brian
Elias confirmed today: “It appears to be an apparent suicide.” TMZ reports the body may have been in the car for three days. Yikes.
Though an autopsy is pending, the suicidal driver is thought to be somewhere in his 50s. We'll update with his identity as soon as we know. Until then — hat's off, Fonda. Our hero, then and still.