Coroner to the stars dies of natural causes

Dr. Ronald N. Kornblum, the L.A. County Coroner who oversaw the autopsies of John Belushi, William Holden, Natalie Wood, Karen Carpenter, and Truman Capote passed away last week at the age of 74.

While his legacy will associated with celebrity, he was also an expert witness in cases nationwide regarding chokehold deaths, and “earned high marks as a forensic pathologist recognized for his knowledge of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and fatalities involving Taser guns.”

He once said he wanted to change the public image of the coroner.

“Everyone thinks of a coroner walking with a limp; he’s got a humped back, he’s covered with blood,” he said in 1988. He said that image was no closer to reality than the version popularized in the long-running TV drama “Quincy, M.E.,” in which actor Jack Klugman played a Los Angeles County coroner who was a medical examiner, action hero, Sherlock Holmes-style sleuth, judge and jury all rolled into one. “Life,” Kornblum said, “isn’t like that.”

More at the L.A. Times.