Most Shocking Death of an Actor

by yrnej | created - 12 Jun 2017 | updated - 1 week ago | Public

Any death can be shocking, and they are all sad. But sometimes a death is so surprising, either due to the manner of death, the age of the deceased or other circumstances that it can be considered shocking. Which of these actors' deaths most shocked you?

Discuss the list here

1. Judith Barsi

Actress | The Land Before Time

The only child of Jozsef Barsi and Maria Benko, Judith Eva Barsi beat 10,000-to-1 odds when she was discovered at a San Fernando Valley skating rink at age 5 1/2 in 1983 and mistaken for a 3-year-old. Her first commercial was for Donald Duck Orange Juice and she went on to appear in anywhere ...

Shot in the head by her father at age 10; he also shot her mother and himself

2. Bob Crane

Actor | Hogan's Heroes

Handsome Bob Crane had many careers including working as a disc jockey for a while. He started acting around the age of 33. One of his first acting jobs was in Return to Peyton Place (1961). After a guest appearance on The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961) and a supporting role on The Donna Reed Show (1958)...

Bludgeoned to death at age 49

3. 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 ...

Car crash in the California desert at age 24

4. Jean Harlow

Actress | Libeled Lady

Harlean Carpenter, who later became Jean Harlow, was born in Kansas City, Missouri, on March 3, 1911. She was the daughter of a successful dentist and his wife. In 1927, at the age of 16, she ran away from home to marry a young businessman named Charles McGrew, who was 23. The couple pulled up ...

Kidney failure at age 26

5. 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, ...

Shot by his wife at age 49; she killed herself the same night

6. Philip Seymour Hoffman

Actor | The Master

Film and stage actor and theater director Philip Seymour Hoffman was born in the Rochester, New York, suburb of Fairport on July 23, 1967. He was the son of Marilyn (Loucks), a lawyer and judge, and Gordon Stowell Hoffman, a Xerox employee, and was mostly of German, Irish, English and Dutch ...

Acute mixed drug intoxication at age 46

7. Rock Hudson

Actor | Giant

Rock Hudson was born Roy Harold Scherer, Jr. in Winnetka, Illinois, to Katherine (Wood), a telephone operator, and Roy Harold Scherer, an auto mechanic. He was of German, Swiss-German, English, and Irish descent. His parents divorced when he was eight years old. He failed to obtain parts in school ...

AIDS-related complications at age 59

8. Steve Irwin

Actor | Dr. Dolittle 2

Steve Irwin was born in 1962 to parents Lyn and Bob Irwin, who were animal naturalists. He shared the love for animals all his life, stemming from being raised at the Queensland Reptile and Fauna Park. There, he partook in daily duties of animal feeding and care. He quickly established himself with...

Pierced in the heart by a stingray at age 42

9. 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 ...

Overdosed on prescription drugs at age 28

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 ...

Most likely allergic reaction at age 32; was ruled as "death by misadventure"

11. 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 ...

Shot in an on-set accident at age 28

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 ...

Plane crash at age 33

13. Jayne Mansfield

Actress | The Girl Can't Help It

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 ...

Car accident with three of her children in the back seat at age 34; because her wig flew off in the crash, rumors were spread that she had been decapitated

14. 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 ...

Drug overdose at age 36

15. Vic Morrow

Actor | Combat!

Vic Morrow was born in the Bronx, New York, to Jean (Kress) and Harry Morrow, an electrical engineer. His parents were Russian Jewish immigrants. Morrow dropped out of high school at 17 to join the U.S. Navy. When he left the Navy, he used the G.I. Bill to study pre-law at Florida State. While ...

Decapitated by a helicopter blade while filming a scene at age 53; two young children also perished in the accident

16. 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 ...

Cardiac arrest caused by an acute bowel obstruction at age 12

17. 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 ...

Overdosed on heroin and cocaine at age 23

18. 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. ...

Heart attack related to obesity and drug abuse at age 42

19. George Reeves

Actor | Adventures of Superman

George Reeves was born George Keefer Brewer in Woolstock, Iowa, to Helen Roberta (Lescher) and Donald C. Brewer. He was of German, English, and Scottish descent. Reeves was raised in Pasadena, California, and educated at Pasadena Junior College. He was a skilled amateur boxer and musician. He ...

Gunshot wound to the head at age 45; the cause has never been determined

20. 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 ...

Aortic dissection at age 54

21. Rebecca Schaeffer

Actress | Radio Days

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. Eventually, she landed a co-starring role on My Sister Sam (1986), for which she is now best known. In 1989 she also became a spokesperson for ...

Shot by a stalker at age 21

22. Adrienne Shelly

Actress | Waitress

The late Adrienne Shelley was born in Queens, New York, to Sheldon Levine and Elaine Langbaum. After graduating Jericho High School, located in Jericho, New York, she enrolled at Boston University, and majored in film production. After her junior year, she dropped out and moved to Manhattan where ...

Strangled at age 40; the scene was arranged to look like a suicide

23. 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 ...

Stabbed by followers of Charles Manson at age 26; she was 38 weeks pregnant

24. Misty Upham

Actress | August: Osage County

Misty Anne Upham, born in Kallispell, Montana, grew up in south Seattle, the fourth of five children. She began her career at the age of thirteen when she joined a community theater group, Red Eagle Soaring. What began as a summer workshop soon turned into a full-time job. By the age of fourteen ...

Blunt-force injuries to head and torso and left in a wooded area near Seattle at age 32; the cause has never been discovered

25. Rudolph Valentino

Actor | The Sheik

Hollywood's original Latin Lover, a term that was invented for Rudolph Valentino by Hollywood moguls. Alla Nazimova's friend,Natacha Rambova (nee Winifred Hudnut) became romantically involved with Rudy and they lived together in her bungalow, from 1921 (during the filming of Camille) until they ...

Ulcers and peritonitis at age 31

26. Paul Walker

Actor | The Fast and the Furious

Paul William Walker IV was born in Glendale, California. He grew up together with his brothers, Caleb and Cody, and sisters, Ashlie and Amie. Their parents, Paul William Walker III, a sewer contractor, and Cheryl (Crabtree) Walker, a model, separated around September 2004. His grandfather, William ...

Single-car crash at age 40

27. Robin Williams

Actor | Mrs. Doubtfire

Robin McLaurin Williams was born on Saturday, July 21st, 1951, in Chicago, Illinois, a great-great-grandson of Mississippi Governor and Senator, Anselm J. McLaurin. His mother, Laurie McLaurin (née Janin), was a former model from Mississippi, and his father, Robert Fitzgerald Williams, was a Ford ...

Suicide by hanging at age 63

28. Anton Yelchin

Actor | Star Trek

Anton Yelchin was an American actor, known for playing Bobby in Hearts in Atlantis (2001), Chekov in the Star Trek (2009) reboot, Charlie Brewster in the Fright Night (2011) remake, and Jacob in Like Crazy (2011).

He was born in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), Russia, USSR, to a Jewish family. His ...

Crushed by his parked car as it rolled down a hill at age 27

29. 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...

Drowned under mysterious circumstances at age 43

30. Gail Russell

Actress | The Uninvited

Gail Russell was born in Chicago, Illinois, on September 21, 1924. She remained in the Windy City, going to school until her parents moved to California when she was 14. She was an above-average student in school and upon graduation from Santa Monica High School was signed by Paramount Studios.

...

Liver damage and malnutrition caused by extreme alcoholism at age 36

* Russell added 10/6/18



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