Actors/Actresses who have died before their time

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1.
Heath Ledger
When hunky, twenty-year-old heart-throb Heath Ledger first came to the attention of the public in 1999, it was all too easy to tag him as a "pretty boy" and an actor of little depth. He spent several years trying desperately to sway this image, but this was a double-edged sword. Heath Ledger was born on the fourth of April 1979...
 
2.
Heather O'Rourke
Actress, Poltergeist
Heather Michele O'Rourke was born on December 27, 1975 in Santee, San Diego, California, to Kathleen, a seamstress, and Michael O'Rourke, a construction worker. She had German, Danish, English, and Irish ancestry. Heather entered American cinematic pop-culture before first grade. She was sitting alone in the MGM Commissary waiting for her mother when a stranger approached her asking her name...
 
3.
River Phoenix
River Phoenix was born River Jude Bottom in Madras, Oregon. His mother, Arlyn (Dunetz), a Bronx-born secretary, and his father, John Bottom, a carpenter, met in California in 1968. They worked as itinerant fruit pickers, and later joined the Children of God religious group (John was originally Catholic...
 
4.
Corey Haim
Corey Haim was born in Toronto, Ontario, to Judy Haim, an Israeli-born data processor, and Bernie Haim, a Canadian-born clothing sales representative. He has a sister, Carol, and a half-brother, Daniel. His family is Jewish. Haim broke into the film industry in 1984, playing a young child caught up in a family war in the movie Firstborn...
 
5.
Brad Renfro
Brad Renfro was born on July 25, 1982 in Knoxville, Tennessee, to Angela Denise McCrory and Mark Renfro, a factory worker. He was discovered at age 10 by director Joel Schumacher and was cast in the motion picture The Client, which starred Susan Sarandon and Tommy Lee Jones. Although this would be his zenith...
 
6.
John Belushi
John Belushi was born in Chicago, Illinois, USA, on January 24, 1949, to Agnes Demetri (Samaras) and Adam Anastos Belushi, a restaurant owner. His father was an Albanian immigrant, from Qytezë, and his mother was also of Albanian descent. He grew up in Wheaton, where the family moved when he was six...
 
7.
Marilyn Monroe
Probably the most celebrated of all actresses, Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortenson on June 1, 1926, in Los Angeles General Hospital. Prior to her birth, Marilyn's father bought a motorcycle and headed north to San Francisco, abandoning the family in Los Angeles. Marilyn grew up not knowing for sure who her father really was...
 
8.
Dominique Dunne
Actress, Poltergeist
Dominique Dunne was born to a life of privilege in Santa Monica, California, the daughter of Ellen Beatriz (Griffin) Dunne and Dominick Dunne, a producer, actor, and writer. Actor Griffin Dunne is her brother. After her parents' divorce, she moved first to New York, and then to a posh home in Beverly Hills...
 
9.
Aaliyah
Soundtrack, Boyhood
On January 16th 1979 the world was blessed with the birth of Aaliyah Dana Haughton in Brooklyn, New York. Aaliyah was raised by her father, mother and brother Rashad Haughton in Detroit. At age 9 she appeared on Star Search, the TV program and sang "My Funny Valentine", a song which her mother had sung years earlier...
 
10.
John Candy
Actor, SCTV
Candy was one of Canada's greatest and funniest character actors. His well-known role as the big hearted buffoon earned him classics in Uncle Buck and Planes, Trains & Automobiles. His career has handed him some dry spells but Candy always rebounded. Born in Newmarket, Ontario, in the year 1950, Candy was the son of Evangeline (Aker) and Sidney James Candy...
 
11.
Judy Garland
One of the brightest, most tragic movie stars of Hollywood's Golden Era, Judy Garland was a much-loved character whose warmth and spirit, along with her rich and exuberant voice, kept theatre-goers entertained with an array of delightful musicals. She was born Frances Ethel Gumm on 10 June 1922 in Minnesota...
 
12.
Chris Farley
Actor, Tommy Boy
Christopher Crosby Farley was born on February 15, 1964, in Madison, Wisconsin, to Mary Anne (Crosby) and Thomas Farley, who owned an oil company. Among his siblings are actors Kevin P. Farley and John Farley. He was of Irish heritage. Farley studied theatre and communications on Marquette University...
 
13.
Carole Lombard
Carole Lombard, the 5' 2" beauty was a comedy hit during the 30s and 40s. Born in Fort Wayne, Indiana on October 6, 1908 under the name of Jane Alice Peters. Young Jane Alice loved the Friday night movie night with her family and would perform the night before's show in the morning. Her mother and her father divorced in October of 1914...
 
14.
Sabu
Sabu Dastagir (or Selar Shaik Sabu, depending on your resource) was born on January 27, 1924, in the little town of Mysore, India, which is nestled in the jungles of Karapur. The son of an elephant driver (mahout) in service for the Maharajah of his town, the young stable boy learned responsibility early in life when...
 
15.
Natalie Wood
Natalie Wood was born on July 20, 1938, in San Francisco, California, as Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko. Her parents, Maria Stepanovna (Zudilova) and Nikolai Stepanovich Zakharenko, were Russian-born émigrés, of Ukrainian and Russian descent, who spoke barely comprehensible English; they changed the family name to Gurdin after becoming US citizens...
 
16.
Bruce Lee
Bruce Lee remains the greatest icon of martial arts cinema and a key figure of modern popular media. Had it not been for Bruce Lee and his movies in the early 1970s, it's arguable whether or not the martial arts film genre would have ever penetrated and influenced mainstream North American and European cinema and audiences the way it has over the past four decades...
 
17.
Brandon Lee
Actor, The Crow
Born on February 1, 1965 to Bruce Lee (Martial Arts idol) and Linda Lee Cadwell. Brother to Shannon Lee. In 1970-71, they moved to Hong Kong where Brandon became fluent in Cantonese by the age of 8. He attended Boston's Art-Oriented Emerson College in Massachusetts. He studied Martial Arts and drama...
 
18.
Jean Harlow
The dentist's daughter eloped at age 16 with a young businessman and wound up in Los Angeles where she found work as an extra and bit player (examples: Moran of the Marines and Liberty) and somewhat more prominently in Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy shorts (Double Whoopee, Bacon Grabbers)...
 
19.
Jayne Mansfield
One of the leading sex symbols of the 1950s and 1960s, film actress Jayne Mansfield was born Vera Jayne Palmer on April 19, 1933 in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, to Vera J. and Herbert W. Palmer. Her parents were well-to-do, with her father a successful attorney in Phillipburg, New Jersey, where Jayne began her girlhood...
 
20.
James Dean
James Dean was an American actor. He is a cultural icon of teenage disillusionment and social estrangement, as expressed in the title of his most celebrated film, Rebel Without a Cause (1955), in which he starred as troubled teenager Jim Stark. The other two roles that defined his stardom were loner Cal Trask in East of Eden (1955) and surly ranch hand Jett Rink in Giant (1956)...
 
21.
Dana Plato
Dana Michelle Plato was born in Maywood, California, on Saturday 7 November 1964. Her first excursion into the film world occurred when she was eleven in the television film Beyond the Bermuda Triangle. Dana never really made an impact on the TV screen until she landed the part of Kimberly Drummond in the TV hit sitcom Diff'rent Strokes from 1978-1984...
 
22.
Tupac Shakur
Soundtrack, Django Unchained
Notorious 25-year-old gangsta MC and actor Tupac Shakur was shot and killed before he had a chance to fulfill the promise of a successful career in both fields. He was born in New York City and his mother, Afeni Shakur, was a member of the Black Panther Party. Shakur spent much of his youth in Harlem...
 
23.
Sharon Tate
Sharon Tate won the first of many beauty contests before her first birthday. Her looks, charm, and grace would be her passport into the acting world, initially as an extra in movie shot on location in Italy, where her army officer father was posted in the early 1960's. Commercials and modeling assignments followed...
 
24.
Jack Wild
Born September 30, 1952, in Royton, near Oldham, England, Jack Wild was discovered by talent agent June Collins, mother of rock star Phil Collins. His breakthrough came when he landed the role of Oliver in the London stage production of "Oliver!" When it came to casting the film, the role of the Artful Dodger went to Jack...
 
25.
Andy Kaufman
Actor, Taxi
Referred to by some as a dadaistic comedian, Andy Kaufman took comedy and performance art to the edges of irrationality and blurred the dividing line between reality and imagination. Born in New York City on January 17, 1949, the first son of Stanley and Janice Kaufman, Andy grew up on New York in the town of Great Neck...
 
26.
Chris Penn
Christopher Shannon Penn was born on October 10, 1965 in Los Angeles, California, the third son of actress Eileen Ryan (née Annucci) and director, actor, and writer Leo Penn. His siblings are musician Michael Penn and actor Sean Penn. His father was from a Lithuanian Jewish/Russian Jewish family, and his mother is of half Italian and half Irish descent...
 
27.
Francesco Quinn
Actor, Platoon
Francesco Quinn was born into Hollywood as the son of the legendary Anthony Quinn. It has been a blessing and a curse, perhaps, to have such a famous father, but Francesco Quinn has maintained his own image on the screen in both television and movies. Born in Rome, Italy, to Anthony Quinn and Jolanda Addolori (whose career was also in the movie business)...
 
28.
Patrick Swayze
Actor, Ghost
Patrick Wayne Swayze was born on August 18, 1952 in Houston, Texas, to Patsy Swayze (née Yvonne Helen Karnes), a choreographer, and Jesse Wayne Swayze, a chemical plant engineer draftsman. His mother owned a dance school in Houston, where Patrick was also a student. His father passed away in 1982...
 
29.
Michael Landon
Actor, Bonanza
Michael Landon was born Eugene Maurice Orowitz, on Saturday, October 31st, 1936, in Forest Hills, Queens, New York. In 1941, he and his family moved to Collingswood, New Jersey. When Eugene was in high school, he participated -- and did very well -- in track and field, especially javelin throwing, and his athletic skills earned him a scholarship to USC...
 
30.
Montgomery Clift
Montgomery Clift was an American film and stage actor. He is best remembered for roles in Red River (1948), The Heiress (1949), George Stevens's A Place in the Sun (1951), a Catholic priest in Alfred Hitchcock's I Confess (1952), soldiers in Fred Zinnemann's From Here to Eternity (1953) and Edward Dmytryk's...
 
31.
Freddie Prinze
Comedian Freddie Prinze seemed to have everything going for him by 1977. He was the star of a hit network series. Beautiful women were drawn to his good looks and natural charm. He was the father of a baby boy named after him. But there were a lot of things Freddie Prinze had against him: a failed marriage...
 
32.
Rebecca Schaeffer
Rebecca began modeling at the age of 16, going off to New York on her own to begin her career. Four months later, she found herself in Japan, modeling there. Eventually, she landed her role on My Sister Sam, for which she is best known. In 1989, she became a spokesperson for Thursday's Child, a charity for at-risk teens...
 
33.
Thuy Trang
Thuy Trang was born on December 14th of 1973 in Saigon, Vietnam. After the fall of Saigon in 1975 to Communist forces, her father who had fought in the Vietnam War, traveled to America to seek political asylum. However, his entire family, unable to follow, were left behind. In 1979, Thuy and her family boarded a cargo ship with other refugees to travel to America...
 
34.
Jonathan Brandis
Born in Danbury, Connecticut, USA, to Greg and Mary, Jonathan Brandis began his career at age 5, acting in television commercials. He appeared in small parts in several films and TV shows before his first starring role in the 1990 film The Neverending Story II: The Next Chapter. He starred in popular films such as Ladybugs and starred as Lucas Wolenczak in Steven Spielberg's television series SeaQuest 2032...
 
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36.
Rudolph Valentino
Actor, The Eagle
Born in 1895 to a French mother and Italian father Rudolph Valentino grew up in Italy. His father died while he was young, and his mother spoiled him. He did poorly in school, and eventually ended up studying agriculture. After a stint in Paris he returned to Italy broke. Many times Valentino referenced something he did being the cause of being sent away...
 
38.
Bobby Driscoll
Actor, Peter Pan
Bobby Driscoll was a natural-born actor. Discovered by chance at the age of five-and-a-half in a barber shop in Altadena, CA. and then convincing in anything he ever undertook on the movie screen and on television throughout his career spanning 17 years (1943-1960). Includes such notable movie screen appearances as The Sullivans...
 
40.
Jonathan Brandis
Born in Danbury, Connecticut, USA, to Greg and Mary, Jonathan Brandis began his career at age 5, acting in television commercials. He appeared in small parts in several films and TV shows before his first starring role in the 1990 film The Neverending Story II: The Next Chapter. He starred in popular films such as Ladybugs and starred as Lucas Wolenczak in Steven Spielberg's television series SeaQuest 2032...