Actors and Actresses who died before their time

by cthejtheizzo | created - 11 Apr 2012 | updated - 11 Apr 2012 | Public

Sort of in order of overall popularity / media coverage of the event of death.

1. Marilyn Monroe

Actress | Some Like It Hot

Marilyn Monroe was an American actress, comedienne, singer, and model. She became one of the world's most enduring iconic figures and is remembered both for her winsome embodiment of the Hollywood sex symbol and her tragic personal and professional struggles within the film industry. Her life and ...

2. James Dean

Actor | East of Eden

James Byron Dean was born February 8, 1931 in Marion, Indiana, to Mildred Marie (Wilson) and Winton A. Dean, a farmer turned dental technician. His mother died when Dean was nine, and he was subsequently raised on a farm by his aunt and uncle in Fairmount, Indiana. After grade school, he moved to ...

3. Elvis Presley

Soundtrack | Girls! Girls! Girls!

Elvis Aaron Presley was born on January 8, 1935 in East Tupelo, Mississippi, to Gladys Presley (née Gladys Love Smith) and Vernon Presley (Vernon Elvis Presley). He had a twin brother who was stillborn. In 1948, Elvis and his parents moved to Memphis, Tennessee where he attended Humes High School. ...

4. River Phoenix

Actor | My Own Private Idaho

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 ...

5. Heath Ledger

Actor | Brokeback Mountain

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. His work comprised ...

6. Brittany Murphy

Actress | Just Married

Brittany Murphy was born Brittany Anne Bertolotti on November 10, 1977 in Atlanta, Georgia, to Sharon Kathleen Murphy and Angelo Joseph Bertolotti. Her father's ancestry is Italian, and her mother is of Irish and Slovak descent. Her father moved the family back to Edison, New Jersey as a native New...

7. Sharon Tate

Actress | Valley of the Dolls

Sharon's early life was one of constant moving as her father served in the military. When she lived in Italy, she was voted "Homecoming Queen" of her high school. After being an extra in a few Italian films, Sharon headed to Hollywood where she would again start as an extra. Her first big break ...

8. John Belushi

Actor | Saturday Night Live

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 ...

9. Aaliyah

Soundtrack | Romeo Must Die

Talented. Beautiful. Modest. These three words described R&B singer-turned-actress Aaliyah perfectly.

Aaliyah Dana Haughton was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Diane (Hankerson) and Michael Haughton. Her uncle was music manager Barry Hankerson and her brother is director Rashad Haughton. Aaliyah was ...

10. Bruce Lee

Actor | Meng long guo jiang

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 ...

11. Corey Haim

Actor | The Lost Boys

Corey Haim was born in Toronto, Ontario, to Judy Haim, an Israeli-born data processor, and Bernie Haim, a clothing sales representative. He has a sister, Carol, and a half-brother, Daniel. His family is Jewish. He was raised mostly in Willowdale.

Corey appeared in 26 episodes of the early 1980s ...

12. Carole Lombard

Actress | My Man Godfrey

Carole Lombard was born Jane Alice Peters in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on October 6, 1908. Her parents divorced in 1916 and her mother took the family on a trip out West. While there they decided to settle down in the Los Angeles area. After being spotted playing baseball in the street with the ...

13. Carole Landis

Actress | I Wake Up Screaming

Carole Landis was born on New Year's Day in 1919 in Fairchild, Wisconsin, as Frances Lillian Mary Ridste. Her father, a railroad mechanic, was of Norwegian descent and her mother was Polish. Her father walked out, leaving Carole, her mother and an older brother and sister to fend for themselves.

...

14. Bernie Mac

Actor | The Bernie Mac Show

Bernard Jeffrey McCollough was born in 1957 in Chicago, the son of Mary McCullough and Jeffery Harrison. He grew up in the city, in a rougher neighborhood than most others, with a large family living under one roof. This situation provided him with a great insight into his comedy, as his family, ...

15. Phil Hartman

Actor | NewsRadio

Phil Hartman was born Philip Edward Hartmann on September 24, 1948, in Brantford, Ontario, Canada. His surname was originally "Hartmann", but he later dropped the second "n". He was one of eight children of Doris Marguerite (Wardell) and Rupert Loebig Hartmann, a salesman. He was of German, Irish, ...

16. Anna Nicole Smith

Actress | Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult

Anna Nicole Smith was born on November 28, 1967 in Houston, Texas, USA as Vickie Lynn Hogan. She is known for her work on Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult (1994), Be Cool (2005) and Illegal Aliens (2007). She was married to J. Howard Marshall II and Billy Smith. She died on February 8, 2007 in ...

17. 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 ...

18. John Candy

Actor | Planes, Trains & Automobiles

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 (1989) and Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987). His career has handed him some dry spells but Candy always rebounded.

Born in Newmarket, Ontario, in ...

19. Chris Penn

Actor | Reservoir Dogs

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, ...

20. Patrick Swayze

Actor | Dirty Dancing

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. ...

21. John Ritter

Actor | Sling Blade

Jonathan Southworth Ritter was born in Burbank, California, on September 17, 1948. He was the son of legendary country singer/actor Tex Ritter and his wife, actress Dorothy Fay. The couple married in 1941 and had their first child, Tom Ritter, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. John was ...

22. Natalie Wood

Actress | Rebel Without a Cause

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...

23. 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 ...

24. Christopher Reeve

Actor | Superman

Christopher D'Olier Reeve was born September 25, 1952, in New York City, to journalist Barbara Johnson (née Barbara Pitney Lamb) and writer/professor F.D. Reeve (Franklin D'Olier Reeve). He came from an upper-class family; his paternal grandfather was CEO of Prudential Financial, and one of his ...

25. Nicole DeHuff

Actress | Meet the Parents

Nicole DeHuff was born on 6 January 1975 in Oklahoma. She began her acting studies at the prestigious Carnegie Mellon Acting Conservatory. Her first screen role was in the comedy hit Meet the Parents (2000), in which she co-starred with Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller. Her character (Deborah Byrnes)...

26. Heavy D

Actor | Big Trouble

Heavy D was born on May 24, 1967 in Mandeville, Jamaica as Dwight Arrington Myers. He is known for his work on Big Trouble (2002), The Cider House Rules (1999) and Life (1999). He died on November 8, 2011 in Los Angeles, California, USA.

27. Brad Renfro

Actor | Apt Pupil

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 (1994), which starred Susan Sarandon and Tommy Lee Jones. Although this ...

28. Judy Garland

Actress | The Wizard of Oz

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 ...

29. Grace Kelly

Actress | Rear Window

On November 12, 1929, Grace Patricia Kelly was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to wealthy parents. Her girlhood was uneventful for the most part, but one of the things she desired was to become an actress which she had decided on at an early age. After her high school graduation in 1947, Grace ...

30. Gary Coleman

Actor | Diff'rent Strokes

Without a doubt Gary Coleman was THE child TV star of the late 1970s and early 1980s. A refreshingly confident little tyke with sparkling dark, saucer-like eyes and an ingratiating, take-on-anyone burst of personality, the boy charmed the pants right off of TV viewers the minute he was glimpsed in ...

31. Michael Landon

Actor | Little House on the Prairie

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, ...

32. John Garfield

Actor | Four Daughters

John Garfield was born Jacob Julius Garfinkle on the Lower East Side of New York City, to Hannah Basia (Margolis) and David Garfinkle, who were Jewish immigrants from Zhytomyr (now in Ukraine). Jules was raised by his father, a clothes presser and part-time cantor, after his mother's death in 1920,...

33. Vivien Leigh

Actress | A Streetcar Named Desire

If a film were made of the life of Vivien Leigh, it would open in India just before World War I, where a successful British businessman could live like a prince. In the mountains above Calcutta, a little princess is born. Because of the outbreak of World War I, she is six years old the first time ...

34. Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopes

Soundtrack | Space Cowboys

Controversial, flamboyant, and spontaneous are probably the best words to describe Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes. Born in Philadelphia, and raised throughout the world as the daughter of a U.S. Army serviceman, Lisa Lopes became one of the most important trendsetters in the 1990s music scene. After ...

35. Glenn Quinn

Actor | Angel

Quinn was born in Dublin, Ireland, and moved to the United States with his mother and two sisters in 1988. His first role was as a pool shark in the Richard Marx video Satisfied. He later landed a major role in the John Travolta film Shout (1991), where he shared a screen kiss with Gwyneth Paltrow....

36. 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 ...

37. Dana Reeve

Actress | Above Suspicion

Dana Reeve was born on March 17, 1961 in Teaneck, New Jersey, USA as Dana Charles Morosini. She was an actress, known for Above Suspicion (1995), Everyone's Hero (2006) and Oz (1997). She was married to Christopher Reeve. She died on March 6, 2006 in Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA.

38. Katherine Walsh

Actress | The Chase

Actress, born in Northern Kentucky on April 11, 1947. The first born daughter out of five children born to Thomas and Martha Katherine Walsh. From the moment of birth, Kathy was not only beautiful and brilliant, but she had a confidence unlike that of most newborns. She was exceptionally talented ...

39. Steve McQueen

Actor | The Great Escape

He was the ultra-cool male film star of the 1960s, and rose from a troubled youth spent in reform schools to being the world's most popular actor. Over 25 years after his untimely death from mesothelioma in 1980, Steve McQueen is still considered hip and cool, and he endures as an icon of popular ...

40. Ryan Dunn

Actor | Close-Up

Ryan Dunn (June 11, 1977 - June 20, 2011) was an American reality television personality, actor and stunt man. He was a member of the Jackass and Viva La Bam crew.

Ryan Matthew Dunn was born in Medina, Ohio, to Linda Sue (Reese) and Ronald James Dunn. He came to prominence as a member of the CKY ...

41. Natasha Richardson

Actress | The Parent Trap

Natasha Jane Richardson was born in Marylebone, London, England, to director and producer Tony Richardson and actress Vanessa Redgrave. She was the sister of actress Joely Richardson, the niece of actors Corin Redgrave and Lynn Redgrave, and the granddaughter of actors Michael Redgrave and Rachel ...

42. Pete Duel

Actor | Alias Smith and Jones

Born on 24 February 1940 in Rochester, New York, Pete Duel moved to West Hollywood in 1963 following a tour with the National Road Company's "Take Her, She's Mine". After landing small guest spots on various TV series, Pete was cast in a recurring role alongside Sally Field on Gidget (1965) in 1965...

43. Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer

Actor | Pat and Mike

Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer was born on August 7, 1927 in Paris, Illinois, USA as Carl Dean Switzer. He was an actor, known for Pat and Mike (1952), Night 'n' Gales (1937) and The Pinch Singer (1936). He was married to Dian Collingwood. He died on January 21, 1959 in Mission Hills, California, USA.

44. 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 ...



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