What might have been?by yrnej | created - 26 Jul 2014 | updated - 30 Aug 2014 | Public
All of these actors died before age 30. Which one's career do you actively wonder would have been like today?
Discuss the list here
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 ...
2. 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 ...
Actor | Seaquest DSV
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 (1990). He starred ...
4. 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 ...
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 ...
Actor | Passions
Despite being one of the smallest actors in Hollywood at 37 inches, Josh proved quality early on in life. By creating and distributing his own business cards before he was even a teenager, Josh landed a spot on "The Dancing Baby" ice cream commercial, which led to his role in Baby Geniuses (1999), ...
7. Jean Harlow
Actress | Bombshell
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 ...
8. Anissa Jones
Actress | To Rome with Love
Anissa Jones was born on March 11, 1958 in West Lafayette, Indiana, USA as Mary Anissa Jones. She was an actress, known for To Rome with Love (1969), Family Affair (1966) and The Trouble with Girls (1969). She died on August 28, 1976 in Oceanside, California, USA.
9. Robert Knox
Son of Colin and Sally Knox. Brother of Jamie Knox.
Stabbed to death in bar brawl in London on 24 May 2008, while protecting his 16-year-old brother, four days after his last scene on Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince was shot. His attacker was convicted of his murder on 4 March 2009.
11. 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 ...
12. 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 ...
13. Johnny Lewis
Actor | Sons of Anarchy
Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, the middle of three siblings, Johnny began performing from the age of 5 at a small performing arts school, making his debut as a Chanukah candle.
Pursuing the acting profession, he appeared with success in many TV and film projects, handling both drama and...
14. 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 ...
15. 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 ...
16. Freddie Prinze
Actor | Chico and the Man
Freddie Prinze was born Frederick Karl Pruetzel in New York City, New York, to a Puerto Rican mother, Aurea Elena Ruiz, and a German immigrant father, Edward Karl Pruetzel. Freddie grew up in the Washington Heights section of New York City. As a chubby child, he was often bullied, but was quite ...
17. 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 ...
18. Merlin Santana
Actor | Showtime
Originally from New York, both of Merlin's parents were from the Dominican Republic. His mother pushed for a career in show business to keep him out of trouble and off the mean streets. He began as an advertising model for a fast-food chain at the age of 3. He first began getting noticed as Stanley...
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 ...
20. Tupac Shakur
Soundtrack | Poetic Justice
Born in New York City, Tupac grew up primarily in Harlem. In 1984, his family moved to Baltimore, Maryland where he became good friends with Jada Pinkett Smith. His family moved again in 1988 to Oakland, California. His first breakthrough in music came in 1991 as a member of the group Digital ...
21. 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 ...
22. Andy Whitfield
Actor | Spartacus: Blood and Sand
Andy Whitfield was born on October 17, 1971 in Amlwch, Anglesey, Wales. He was an actor, known for Spartacus (2010), Gabriel (2007) and Spartacus: Gods of the Arena (2011). He was married to Vashti Whitfield. He died on September 11, 2011 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
OOPS...our math is terrible! Andy Whitfield was actually 39 when he passed, not 29. Sorry for the mistake!
Actor | Friday Night Lights
Lee Thompson Young was born as the son of Velma Love and Tommy Scott Young. When he was in second grade his parents split up and he went to live with his mother. At age ten, he portrayed Dr. Martin Luther King in a play called "A Night of Stars and Dreams". That's when Lee decided he wanted to be ...
24. Jon-Erik Hexum
Actor | Voyagers!
In the early 1980s, this ruggedly handsome young man of Norwegian parentage was seen as the "next big thing", and then suddenly he was dead from an accident via a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Hexum was born and raised in Tenafly, New Jersey, where he was a musically gifted student at school playing...