A Nicole Kidman Movie Was Inspired by the 1990 Murder of Greggory Smart — What Happened?

Greggory Smart deserved a more dignified end to his life, which involved a media circus and a comedy loosely based on his death.

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

Jun. 12 2024, Published 5:39 p.m. ET

Pamela Smart and Greggory Smart hug
Source: YouTube/ABC News (video still)

Pamela Smart and Greggory Smart

In the 1995 movie To Die For, Nicole Kidman plays an ambitious television reporter named Suzanne Stone who befriends three dysfunctional teenagers while filming a documentary. Kidman's character is a perky blonde who is not afraid of pastels, which is a stark contrast to the black T-shirts and torn jeans of the misfit kids she lures into her world. By all accounts they should make her the butt of endless jokes, but Suzanne is manipulative and always gets what she wants.

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What she ends up wanting is loosely inspired by what happened to a man named Greggory Smart in 1990. The 24-year-old was married to 22-year-old Pamela Smart, who came home from work on May 1 to find her husband dead. Although To Die For is a dark comedy, the real story is anything but. Here's what we know.

Pamela Smart testifies during her murder trial
Source: YouTube/NEWS CENTER Maine (video still)

Pamela Smart testifies during her murder trial

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What happened to Greggory Smart?

According to the Atlantic News (via the Lane Memorial Library), police believed Greggory had interrupted a robbery at his condominium in Derry, N.H., which resulted in his being fatally shot. His death was quickly ruled a homicide by state medical examiner Roger Fossum. The couple had been married less than a year, per the Lawrence-Eagle Tribune, but Pamela was not a suspect.

A little over a month later on June 15, the Hampton Union reported that three students from Winnacunnet High School had been arrested in connection to Greggory's murder. What authorities found particularly interesting about them is the fact that this is the same school where Pamela worked as a media coordinator. At least one of the students was apparently working on a media project with Pamela at the time of her husband's death and had even been to her home a few weeks prior.

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Pamela was arrested on Aug. 3, 1990, and was charged with planning the murder of her husband with the three teenagers so that she could engage in an affair with another man, via the Hampton Union. Another possible motive is financial in nature as Pamela was set to receive a $140,000 payout from Greggory's two Metropolitan Life Insurance policies that she would receive upon his death. At that time, the names of the three students were being kept private, though a William F. was thought to have actually done the shooting.

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Apart from Pamela, there were four other people involved in the death of her husband. Three were students and one merely drove the getaway car. Cecelia Eaton was one of the kids in Pamela's media class, and as she told New Hampshire Magazine in October 2016, the police started looking at Pamela after Eaton mentioned a possible relationship between the teacher and a student named William Flynn. After Flynn was arrested, Eaton agreed to wear a wire while speaking with Pamela. She was busted soon after.

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Where is Pamela Smart now? She has maintained her innocence until June 2024.

Pamela Smart was found guilty of being an accomplice to first-degree murder on March 21, 1991, per WMUR. Flynn, as well as the three other students involved, received lengthy prison sentences but have since been paroled. In June 2024, Pamela, amid serving a life sentence, released a pre-recorded statement sharing that she was finally taking full responsibility for her husband's death, reported CNN. She had been in a New Hampshire prison for almost 34 years.

She was able to come to this conclusion with the help of a prison writing group. They encouraged her to dig deep and go beyond what is comfortable. "For me that was really hard, because going into those places, in those spaces is where I found myself responsible for something I desperately didn’t want to be responsible for, my husband’s murder," said Pamela in the video. She claimed that deflecting blame had long been a coping mechanism.

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