As hundreds of tearful friends and fans filed past two closed coffins Sunday in Charleston, W. Va., a slideshow of family photos showed the simple country life that Buckwild reality TV star Shain Gandee lived long before the cameras started rolling.
Set to country music were snapshots of the 21-year-old before his 15 minutes of TV fame: as a uniformed pee wee football player, in a tuxedo for prom, kissing a bride. In some, he wore hunting camouflage, holding a slain buck by its antlers and displaying a batch of gray squirrels.
Gandee, his 48-year-old uncle, David Gandee, and 27-year-old friend Donald Robert Myers were found dead April 1 in a sport utility vehicle partially submerged in a deep mud pit near Sissonville. They had been missing since leaving a bar at 3 a.m.
Autopsies determined all three died of carbon-monoxide poisoning, possibly because the vehicle's tailpipe was submerged in mud.
Shain, nicknamed "Gandee Candy" by fans, was a breakout star of the show following the antics of a group of friends enjoying their wild country lifestyle.
Gandee favored four-wheelers, pickups, and SUVs over cellphones and computers, and "mudding," or off-road driving, was a favorite pastime. It was no coincidence that some mourners arrived at the Charleston Municipal Auditorium in mud-splattered trucks.
Dreama and Charlie Frampton, who live a few doors down from Gandee, said he'd been playing in the mud since he was 5. "If it wasn't a four-wheel drive truck," Dreama said, "it was a four-wheeler or a dirt bike." "He was dedicated to the sport," Charlie added. "That's all you can do out in the country."
Gandee's family asked mourners to wear camouflage or Gandee Candy T-shirts to the visitation and service because he didn't like to dress up.
Shooting was under way on season two at the time of Gandee's death, but MTV spokesman Jake Urbanski said film crews were not with him over Easter weekend. MTV says it will be at least a few weeks before producers and cast members decide whether to continue.
MTV said the half-hour series in the old Jersey Shore time slot was pulling in an average of 3 million viewers per episode since its premiere and was the No. 1 original cable series on Thursday nights among 12- to 34-year-olds.
Demons and dinos at the box office
Resurrected demons and resurrected dinosaurs helped put some life back into the weekend box office. The horror remake Evil Dead debuted at No. 1 with $26 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. In a fight for second place were two holdovers, the animated The Croods and action flick G.I. Joe: Retaliation, both with an estimated $21.1 million.
The 3D version of Steven Spielberg's dinosaur blockbuster, Jurassic Park, debuted in fourth with $18.2 million. That's on top of the $357.1 million domestic haul for Jurassic Park in its initial run in 1993.
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