Death does not distinguish or discriminate among people. It chooses on its own a king or pauper, an ordinary person or a celebrity. Death is a certainty and imminent in the long run. However what i more painful is the death of young ones, who had a long way to go. It becomes all the more painful for millions of people if the dead is a celebrity. There have many untimely and shocking deaths in Hollywood. Since this article is on stars who died young, here is a list of 11 Hollywood stars who died tragically before they crossed forty tear of age.
Checkout the top 11 Famous Stars Who Died Too Young
11. James Dean, died at 24
James Dean, the popular American actor of the 1950’s, had become a cultural icon of the teenagers. The teenage disillusionment and social estrangement was depicted in his character as teenager Jim Stark in the film Rebel Without A Cause. James Dean died on September 30, 1955 due to a car accident, while behind the wheel of his Porsche 550 Spyder. He was just 24.
James Byron Dean was born February 8, 1931 in Indiana, US. He worked in film, debuting with Sailor Beware (1952); Fixed Bayonets! (1951) and Has Anybody Seen My Gal (1952). After Rebel Without A Cause (1955), he worked in East of Eden (1955). His last film was Giant (1956). He met with the fatal accident just as this movie got completed. He got a posthumous Oscar nomination for Giant. This was just the beginning of what could have been a long illustrious career in Hollywood. However, it was not meant to be so. His instantaneous violent death and funeral made him a timeless icon.
10. Jean Harlow, died at 26
American actress Jean Harlow rose to fame as a sex symbol and starred in several films with Clark Gable in the 1930’s before her untimely death at age 26. Jean Harlow was one of the most popular American film actress during the 1930’s. She was born on March 3, 1911, in Kansas, US. Her full name was Harlean Harlow Carpenter, but she adopted her mother’s name Jean Harlow when she entered movies. She got married when she was 16, which ended in a divorce.
She made her debut in the hit film Hell’s Angels in 1930. She was nicknamed the blonde bombshell. In 1931, she appeared in six films including The Public Enemy and Platinum Blonde. In Red Dust, she was paired with Clark Gable. In 1932, she acted in the film Red-Headed Woman. Later, she worked in hit films like Dinner at Eight, Hold Your Man and Bombshell. Harlow’s personal life was miserable. Her second husband committed suicide. Her third marriage lasted less than a year.
Her health kept failing miserably, just as her career was soaring. In 1937, while the film Saratoga with Clark Gable was in making, she was bedridden with sickness. She fell into coma and died in a hospital on June 7, 1937, due to kidney failure. The film was completed with other actresses standing in as doubles for the recently deceased starlet. She is remembered as one of the biggest stars of the Thirties era in Hollywood. So far three bio-pics have been made on her life,
09. Brad Renfro; died at 25
Brad Renfro was born on July 25, 1982 in Tennessee, US. When he was just ten year old, he was discovered by director Joel Schumacher, who gave him a role in the film The Client, based on John Grisham’s novel. In this film he acted opposite Susan Sarandon and Tommy Lee Jones. In his 1996 film Sleepers, he worked with Brad Pitt, Robert De Niro and Dustin Hoffman. Soon he became a teen icon. His fans thought he would rule Hollywood. But he was embroiled in drugs and alcohol addiction. He also got himself deep in legal problems. He had earlier been arrested and penalized for substance abuse and possession of drugs. But he violated the probation and rehab terms.
He was found dead on January 15, 2008 in his Los Angeles apartment. At the time of death, he was just 25 years old. His death was ruled as accidental, caused by acute heroin and morphine intoxication. He is most remembered for his roles in the films The Client, Tom and Huck, Apt Pupil, Ghost World and The Bully.
08. Jonathan Brandis; died at 27
Jonathan Brandis was born in Connecticut, US; on April 13, 1976. He began his career as a child actor at the age of five. He worked in TV shows and commercials, in bit roles. He got his break in films in 1990 with the film, The Never Ending Story II: The Next Chapter. His next films were Stephen King’s It, Sidekicks, and Ladybugs. He starred as Lucas Wolenczak in Steven Spielberg’s television series SeaQuest DSV which was very popular in NBC television. His other notable work was in Ghost Dad, Stepfather II, One Life to Live, Her Last Chance, Born Free: A New Adventure etc.
Thereafter there was a slowdown in his career. He had high hopes on his supporting role in Hart’s War, but his scenes were cut at editing. He was under stress and depression. On November 12, 2003, Brandis committed suicide by hanging himself in his apartment. It was a sad end to such a promising career and disappointment for his fans.
07. John Belushi, died at 33
John Belushi was born in Chicago, on January 24, 1949. In 1971, John performed in various on-stage comic performances at ‘Second City’, a very popular show. In 1973, he joined the ground-breaking TV variety series Saturday Night Live which made him a star. Later he worked in films like Goin’ South, Animal House, 1941, The Blues Brothers etc. During this time he became a drug addict. He also released an album Blues Brothers. His later films were Continental Divide, Neighbors (1981).
On March 5, 1982, John Belushi was found dead in his hotel room. He was 33. The cause of death was a lethal injection of cocaine and heroin. He was the elder brother of actor James Belushi. John Belushi was known as the comic genius. Drugs have taken toll of another Hollywood young talent and star much before his time.
06. River Phoenix, died at 23
River Phoenix’s real name was River Jude Bottom, and he was born in Oregon. He died of drug-induced heart failure on October 31, 1993. He fell down unconscious on the sidewalk outside a nightclub owned by actor Johnny Depp, where he was scheduled to perform a musical show.
River began acting on TV when he was ten year old. He later worked in big Hollywood movies like Explorers (1985), Stand by Me (1986), The Mosquito Coast (1986), Running on Empty (1988), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) and My Own Private Idaho (1991). He became a teen icon. He was adored for his role of a young Indiana Jones alongside Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. He was a vegetarian, member of PeTA and animal-rights activist. He was 23 when he died of acute multiple drug intoxication involving lethal levels of drugs. It was a shocking revelation to his fans as he had the best possible positive image for a star. He was the eldest brother of actors Rain, Joaquin, Liberty, and Summer Phoenix.
05. Brandon Lee; died at 28
Brandon Lee was the only son of the late martial arts superstar and legend Bruce Lee. He was only eight years old when his father died. He was born on Feb.1, 1965; in Oakland, California. He had been a martial arts student since his childhood. He started his film career by making a feature film, Legacy of Rage (1986), in Hong Kong. Later, he acted in Hollywood movies and was all set for a great career, taking off from where his father left.
He acted in the movies Laser Mission, Showdown in Little Tokyo, Rapid Fire, The Crow. On March 31, 1993, on the sets of the film The Crow, there was a scene where he was shot by a revolver. The crew had prepared the props with dummy bullets. However, due to some technical glitch, he was hit by the bullet and fatally injured. He died even before medical help could be rushed. He was buried next to his father, Bruce Lee’s grave in Seattle. The film, which was completed and released after Lee’s death, was a big commercial hit.
04. Heath Ledger; died at 29
Heath Ledger was the actor who starred as the Joker in the Batman series film, The Dark Knight. With his powerhouse performance he even overshadowed the Batman. His stellar performance earned him rave reviews and later a posthumous Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Heath Ledger was born on April 4, 1979 in Australia. He died on 22 January 2008 due to an accidental toxic combination of prescription drugs. One theory suggests that took lots of sleeping pills for his insomnia, which was caused due to the intense emotional effort required for his role as The Joker.
He has made his Hollywood debut in 1999. He came into prominence with the award-winning movie Brokeback Mountain. His other films were 10 Things I Hate About You, A Knight’s Tale, The Patriot, and The Dark Knight. With the success of The Dark Knight, he was all set for a remarkable illustrious Hollywood career.
03. Paul Walker; died at 40
Paul walker was the star of the block buster movie series The Fast And The Furious. In that series he played the unforgettable and most loved character Brian O’Conner. He died in a car crash on November 30th, 2013 during a charity event. The accident occurred when he was riding in the passenger seat of his friend Roger Rodas’ Porsche. The car smashed into a tree and light pole. There was an explosion and a fireball that killed both passengers instantly. His untimely death; in a road accident; sent shock waves throughout the world.
Paul William Walker IV, his full name, was born on September 12, 1973, in Glendale, California. He began his career as a guest actor in TV shows such as The Young and the Restless and Touched by an Angel. Walker gained recognition in films like She’s All That and Varsity Blues. His film Fast and Furious 7 was the last, where his fans see him.
02. Bruce Lee; died at 33
The celebrated iconic martial artist and actor Bruce Lee died on July 20, 1973. The cause of death was due to haemorrhage of brain and cerebral oedema which was caused by hypersensitivity to certain medicines. Bruce Lee was an American film star who had acted in several successful martial arts film. He popularised Chinese martial arts in Hollywood, America and the world. He called his own martial arts style Jeet Kune Do. Bruce Lee, decades after his death, still remains the greatest icon of martial arts in cinema.
Brice Lee was born on November 27, 1940 in San Francisco. He was named Lee Jun Fan. His family moved to Hong Kong, where he grew up learning Kung Fu. Bruce Lee came to San Francisco in 1959. Bruce started his acting career starring in a TV series called the Green Hornet. He worked in another TV series Longstreet (1971), after working in films like Marlowe (1969). In Hong Kong he worked in several highly successful films like The Big Boss (1971), Fist of Fury (1972). He also wrote, produced and directed the film Return of the Dragon in 1972. His biggest hit, produced by Warner Bros. Enter the Dragon was released in 1973. On July 29, 1973, Bruce Lee took head-ache pills and slept, never to wake up again.
There was shock and mourning world-wide. His film Game of Death was released posthumously in 1978. Later in 1994, his only son Brandon Lee, an upcoming actor and martial artist like Bruce Lee, was killed in an accident on the sets of a studio. Bruce Lee left behind an impressive legacy of martial arts in cinema.
01. Marilyn Monroe; died at 36
When Marilyn Monroe died on August 5, 1962 at the age of 36; the news shocked millions of her fans. She died of drug overdose, but it was never clear whether it was an accident or suicide. During the 1950’s and early sixties, she starred in a number of hit Hollywood movies. She was one of the most popular sex-symbols in the 1950’s. Her movies grossed $200 million. Marilyn Monroe was one of the most famous American actress, model, and singer. She played the comical roles of a dumb blonde. She is considered a popular culture icon.
Marilyn Monroe was born on June 1, 1926. Her real name was Norma Jeane Mortenson. She was born in Los Angeles and grew up there. She came from a poor family and spent her childhood in orphanages and foster homes. She married at the age of sixteen. She worked in a factory in 1944, during the Second World War. She met a photographer from the First Motion Picture Unit. He helped her becoming a successful pin-up model. She worked in small roles with Twentieth Century Fox and Columbia Pictures, during 1946 to 1948. Later from 1951 onwards she became a major star with Twentieth Century Fox. After 1953 she became the top marketable popular star.
She had a very troubled personal life. She had married baseball star Joe DiMaggio. After her divorce, she married playwright Arthur Miller, which also ended in a divorce. She became a victim of depression and anxiety. She became a drug addict and died of drug overdose. Many think it was suicide. There are many other theories of her death. She was close to President Kennedy, and some doubt CIA’s role in her death. She continues to occupy an iconic status as the hottest bombshell the world has ever seen.
These larger-than-life, iconic Hollywood legends will always remain alive in the hearts of millions of fans of every generation. Films are not just stories and entertainment but also the dreams and aspirations of the viewers. They have an emotional connect with their idols and role models. This chains them with the memories of their favourite stars, which makes a cherished unbreakable bond. May their souls Rest In Peace.