100 Rare Historical Photos That You Never Saw Before

Named by Life magazine as the “The Most Beautiful Suicide” – Evelyn McHale leapt to her death from the Empire State Building, 1947

“The most beautiful suicide” – Evelyn McHale, 1947.
“The most beautiful suicide” – Evelyn McHale, 1947.

This powerful photo taken by Robert C. Wiles was published as a full-page image in the 12 May, 1947 issue of Life Magazine. It ran with the caption: “At the bottom of the Empire State Building the body of Evelyn McHale reposes calmly in grotesque bier, her falling body punched into the top of a car“.

Evelyn McHale is probably the most famous Empire State Building suicide victim. The young and pretty Evelyn leaped from the 86th-floor observatory in 1947 and landed on the roof of a United Nations limousine parked on the street below. Her calmly elegant demeanor, her legs crossed at the ankles, the way the car’s metal folded like sheets and framed her head and arms—perhaps these were the reasons that McHale’s death was given its title as “The most Beautiful Suicide”. When she died, she was still wearing her pearls and white gloves.

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