Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

Arts and Entertainment

The Museum Of Death In Hollywood Bought Dr. Kevorkian's Suicide Machine

thanatron.jpg
Kevorkian's niece, Ava Janus, with the Thanatron at an auction in NYC (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
LAist relies on your reader support, not paywalls.
Freely accessible local news is vital. Please power our reporters and help keep us independent with a donation today.


The Thanatron is, essentially, a suicide machine that previously belonged to the infamous Jack Kevorkian. It now belongs to J.D. Healy and Cathee Schultz over at Hollywood's Museum of Death, and they're preparing a Jack Kevorkian exhibit. One of L.A.'s most interesting attractions, the Museum of Death contains many macabre items, and the Thanatron is just the latest. They already have a serial killer room with authentic Gacy paintings and Nightstalker letters, an entire room devoted to the Manson Family and a collection of crime scene photos and other morbid artifacts.

The Thanatron went up for sale at WeHo's Gallerie Sparta last spring with a number of Kevorkian's oil paintings, L.A. Times reports. Schultz and Healy bought the machine and one of the paintings titled "Fever."

The Museum of Death will feature a Kevorkian-themed exhibit in September, and then the Thanatron will be sent permanently to the couple's new museum branch in New Orleans, Musee de Mort Orleans.

The Thanatron was one of two suicide machines Kevorkian used. The Thanatron delivered a painkiller, then euthanized the patient; the Mercitron used carbon monoxide gas. Both devices would ultimately be activated by the patient themselves, not Kevorkian.

Support for LAist comes from

Jack Kevorkian, "Dr. Death," said he helped 130 people achieve death in the '90s before being convicted of murder in 1999. In this particular instance, he gave a patient a lethal injection himself and did not use the machine. He served eight years in prison before being released early on the condition that he would no longer participate in or advocate assisted suicide. He died in 2011 at the age of 83 in a Detroit area hospital after suffering from liver cancer and kidney issues.

Kevorkian's legacy is one of much debate over whether or not an ailing patient can choose to end their own suffering. The museum's exhibit will not seek to answer the question, but will explore it.