Art Bell, the radio host and conspiracy theorist who died at the age of 72, was married four times and leaves behind five children.
Airyn Bell, a young woman from the Philippines, was Bell’s last wife. His third wife, Ramona Bell, died tragically from an asthma attack while the couple was on vacation. Art Bell’s family weathered other tragedies over the years, including his son’s molestation by a substitute teacher.
Art Bell died on April 13, 2018 at the home he shared with Airyn in Pahrump, Nevada. She is also the mother of Bell’s child, a daughter named Asia.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Bell’s Last Wife, Airyn, Reached Out to Him When His Third Wife Died
Airyn and Art Bell endured their share of controversies. They sued the radio host Michael Savage, accusing him of making false and disparaging comments about Airyn Bell. The case resulted in a settlement. They married shortly after his third wife’s sudden death. However, the couple shared numerous family photos on their Facebook pages.
Bell’s most recent wife is from the Philippines. She identifies herself as a “full-time mother” on her Facebook page.
The lawsuit against Savage stated that Airyn Bell was 22-years-old at the time she married Art Bell. According to Insider Radio, Art Bell married “his wife Airyn Ruiz Bell in the Philippines.”
2. Bell Was With His Third Wife, Ramona, Every Day Before She Died
The Conspiracies and Secret Societies book, which is authored by Brad and Sherry Steiger, states that Bell’s first wife, Ramona Bell, 47, who was married to him for 15 years, died of an asthma attack in 2006. They were on a vacation when this tragedy occurred, but only weeks after Ramona’s death, Bell revealed to his listeners that there was a mystery in his life.
According to the book, that mystery was his marriage to Airyn, who was described as a “recent college graduate” who contacted Bell to express condolences when his wife died. They “dated” on the Internet for “hundreds of hours,” according to the book, before he went to her home country and married her.
Ramona’s Find a Grave page contains photos of her.
Coast to Coast radio wrote, “Art Bell’s beloved wife of fifteen years, Ramona, died unexpectedly last night after an asthma attack. …It apparently took place during her sleep. Until her death, Art and Ramona Bell had not been apart a day since they were married. Mrs. Bell had suffered from asthma for years, and took her normal steps to control the attack, which occurred sometime last night in Laughlin, Nevada where the Bells were taking a brief vacation. Ramona Bell was 47 years old.”
3. Bell & Airyn Had a Daughter & Son Together
Art and Airyn Bell married in 2006, and she gave birth to their daughter, Asia, one year later. Airyn Bell’s Facebook page contains many photos of herself with Art Bell and the girl. “Thank you all, they are my everything and my life! Enjoy every moment you spend with them while you can!” she wrote on Facebook in 2016. The couple welcomed son, Alexander, in July 2017, according to proud posts that Bell made on Facebook.
A friend wrote under one photo of Airyn, “You are SO pretty Airyn, Art is a lucky man, but then again you’re both lucky to have one another, we all love you both..!” Airyn responded, “Thanks…We are just even.”
According to The Washington Times, “In 2006 he married a much younger Philippines national, Airyn Ruiz Bell, and announced his retirement the following year.”
According to the book Conspiracies and Secret Societies: The Complete Dossier, Art Bell told radio listeners that he wanted to spend more time with his family, the book reports, adding that Airyn allegedly had some trouble getting a green card. As a result, says the book, the couple briefly returned to the Philippines, and Art Bell hosted a radio show in Manila. However, the family had returned to Nevada at the time of his death, as he died in the couple’s home there, per the Sheriff’s Department.
4. Bell Was Married Two More Times & Had Three Other Children, Including a Son Who Faced Tragedy
Bell was also married to Vickie L. Baker – for 10 years – and to Sachiko Toguchi Bell Pontius. His other children were Vincent Pontius Bell, Lisa Minei Bell, and Arthur William Bell.
According to Adweek, “Bell also turns out to have an unacknowledged son who works in Philadelphia magazine’s mailroom. Vincent Pontius, the magazine’s 41-year-old mailroom supervisor, was abandoned by Bell when he was just three-years-old.” That article was written in 2007.
The article recounts a now deleted Philadelphia Weekly article as saying, “According to Pontius’ mother Sachiko Toguchi, when they married she was 22 and Bell was 20. They met in Japan, where Bell served in the Air Force, and moved back to the States after marrying. Vincent Michael Bell was born in 1965, in Newark, N.J., but the trio moved back to Okinawa when Toguchi grew homesick. The marriage lasted only a few years. Toguchi says that after she gave birth to Vincent’s sister Lisa, Bell told her he was leaving.”
Bell’s son, Art Bell, was the focus of a tragedy in the family. According to People Magazine, in 2007, Bell’s son Art Bell IV, t”hen 16 and living across town from his father in Pahrump, Nev., 63 miles northwest of Las Vegas, decided to spend the evening with friends. At the time, the younger Bell shared a house with his mother, Vickie Bell, while his father, Art III, lived nearby with his second wife, Ramona Bell.”
Brian Lepley, a substitute teacher, was accused of sexually assaulting Art Bell’s son. “It had been discovered that Lepley was HIV-positive, and the younger Bell became suicidal,” People reported.
5. Art Bell Died at Home But the Cause of Death Was Unknown
News that Art Bell had died came from the Nye County Sheriff’s Department in Nevada, where he lived with his wife. “Community Announcement — Long time resident, and radio show host, Art Bell died today at 72 years old in his home in Pahrump Nevada,” the Sheriff’s Department has announced on Facebook.
Few other details were provided. Sharon Wehrly, Nye County Sheriff, said that Bell passed away on April 13, 2018, adding that he was “best known for his conspiracy theories.” How did Bell die? That’s unknown, at least for now. He is scheduled for an autopsy later this week to determine the cause of death and was 72-years-old, the sheriff said in a videotaped press announcement. You can watch that video press conference above.
The Nye County sheriff also shared the news of Art Bell’s death on Twitter:
Bell did suffer from a chronic lung ailment over the years that landed him in the hospital. He attributed it to smoke. In 2016, he wrote about a hospitalization on his website, saying, “I am not in good shape, so weak I cannot dress myself. I want to publicly thank my wife Airyn who never left my side and helped every moment day and night and still is. I went through every test known to man. Had a hole punched in my lung, MRI, PET scans, X-Rays, more blood tests then could be counted, was on Morphine the whole time.”
On Twitter, Bell’s last tweet was a retweet about UFOs. On Facebook, where he frequently posted photos of his family, Bell posted on April 12: “Download the free TuneIn app to listen LIVE FREE starting at 9 PM Pacific time!” On April 9, 2018, Bell seemed in typical form on his Facebook page, writing, “The FBI has just Raided the office of the President’s Lawyer. This is pretty serious stuff and I want to say again if the hate of Trump continues to be manifested by investigating everything Trump has ever done they will get him on something eventually. If you tear anybody’s life apart and look at every little thing they have ever done, you can get them.”
Bell was a controversial radio personality. According to KTNV-TV, “Bell was the original owner of the Pahrump-based radio station KNYE 95.1FM and was known across the U.S. and in Canada for his paranormal radio program, ‘Coast to Coast.'” According to The Review Journal, Bell’s show “was syndicated on about 500 North American stations in the 1990s before he left the nightly show in 2002.” He was born in North Carolina, the newspaper reported.
According to Coast to Coast AM, “Art Bell is no ordinary talk show host, not just because ‘Coast to Coast AM’ is the dominant live all-night show in America today, but because Art’s a true radio fanatic, the ultimate ‘new media’ personality.” The site continued, “Art Bell’s grasp of the electronic revolution–and how to make it personal–is unique; he’s a talk show host primed to influence 21st century America in more ways than one.”
In 2015, KNPR reported that “Radio host Art Bell suddenly ended his long-running program this weekend, citing alleged threats made against him and his family.” The site continued at that time, “Bell says shots have been fired outside his residency, and that he has spotted trespassers near his home late at night.” However, authorities gave no indication that Bell died of unnatural causes.