What might have been?

by mark_e_womack | created - 14 Aug 2015 | updated - 1 month ago | Public

Actors dying before their times - under 30

1. 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 ...

2. Jonathan Brandis

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 ...

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 ...

4. Josh Ryan Evans

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), ...

5. 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 ...

6. 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.

7. Robert Knox

Actor | Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

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.

8. Sammi Kane Kraft

Actress | Bad News Bears

Sammi Kane Kraft was born on April 2, 1992 in Livingston, New Jersey, USA. She was an actress, known for Bad News Bears (2005) and Today (1952). She died on October 11, 2012 in Los Angeles, California, USA.

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 ...

10. 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 ...

11. 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...

12. 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 ...

13. 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 ...

14. 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 ...

15. 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 ...

16. 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...

17. 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 ...

18. 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 ...

19. Lee Thompson Young

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 ...

20. 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 ...

21. 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 ...

22. 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 ...

23. 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...

24. 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!

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. Wendie Jo Sperber

Actress | Back to the Future

Though she was known best for drawing laughs as whiny, excitable characters throughout her raucous film and TV career, actress/comedienne Wendie Jo Sperber showed a brave, compassionate and humane side in the last years of her life. The Los Angeles-born performer developed a driving passion for ...

27. Lisa Robin Kelly

Actress | That '70s Show

She first made her acting debut, at age 21, in a 1992 episode of Married with Children (1986), and went on to guest-star in many popular television shows, such as Murphy Brown (1988), The X-Files (1993), Sisters (1991) and Silk Stalkings (1991) and appeared in many obscure, straight-to-video/TV ...

28. Romi Koch

Actress | Dead Doll

Romi Koch was an actress known for her role in Dead Doll she died on August 22, 2005. No one knows how she died which leaves us curious on how she died and if she's still alive. It's mysterious on what happened Who knows if she died or not,it leaves a mystery that needs to be solved.

29. Lynne Thigpen

Actress | The Warriors

Multi-talented actress Lynne Thigpen was born Cherlynne Thigpen in Joliet, Illinois, on December 22, 1948. She performed in community theater and university theater productions while attending the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. Following graduation, she taught high-school English for a...

30. Michelle Thomas

Actress | The Young and the Restless

Michelle Thomas was born in Boston but raised in New York and New Jersey. She attended the Montclair School of Arts and the Broadway Dance Center. She is survived by her parents, Phynjuar Thomas (a stage actress and acting coach) and Dennis D.T. Thomas (a founder and current member of the 1970s ...

31. Vanity

Actress | The Last Dragon

Vanity was a glamorous Canadian model and lead singer of the all-girl group "Vanity 6". She specialized in playing sultry female characters often in trouble with the law.

Vanity was born Denise Katrina Matthews in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, the daughter of Helga Senyk and James Levia Matthews. ...

32. Sunny Johnson

Actress | Flashdance

Sunny Johnson was born on September 21, 1953 in San Bernardino County, California, USA as Sunny Suzanne Johnson. She was an actress, known for Flashdance (1983), The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia (1981) and Charlie's Angels (1976). She died on June 19, 1984 in Los Angeles, California.

33. Justin Pierce

Actor | Kids

Born in London, England to a Welsh mother and an Australian father, Justin Charles Pierce was raised in the Marble Hill section of Manhattan, New York City. He attended P.S. 7 in the Bronx for Elementary School and J.H.S. 141 in the Riverdale section of the Bronx for Junior High School. Pierce's ...

34. 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....

35. Trevor Goddard

Actor | Mortal Kombat

Trevor Goddard was born in Croydon, Surrey, England on October 14, 1962. His parents, Eric and Clara, and baby Trevor moved to Bromley, Kent, where he grew up. As a natural athlete, Trevor was highly interested in sports. As a youngster, he played football (soccer) and cricket and enjoyed running ...

36. Andrew Koenig

Actor | InAlienable

Andrew Koenig was born on August 17, 1968 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Joshua Andrew Koenig. He was an actor and editor, known for InAlienable (2007), Batman: Dead End (2003) and Growing Pains (1985). He died on February 14, 2010 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

37. Michael Jeter

Actor | Open Range

Michael Jeter was born on August 26, 1952 in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, USA. He was an actor, known for Open Range (2003), The Green Mile (1999) and Jurassic Park III (2001). He was married to Sean Blue. He died on March 30, 2003 in Los Angeles, California, USA.

38. J.T. Walsh

Actor | Sling Blade

J.T. Walsh was born on September 28, 1943 in San Francisco, California, USA as James Thomas Patrick Walsh. He was an actor, known for Sling Blade (1996), Breakdown (1997) and A Few Good Men (1992). He was married to Susan West. He died on February 27, 1998 in La Mesa, California.

39. Paul Gleason

Actor | Die Hard

Character actor Paul Gleason was adept at playing tough guys and white collar sleazebags, making his film debut in Winter A-Go-Go (1965). He made a name for himself portraying these unlikeable characters. A native of Jersey City, New Jersey, Gleason studied extensively at the Actor's Studio in New ...

40. Teena Marie

Soundtrack | Top Gun

Teena Marie was born on March 5, 1956 in Santa Monica, California, USA as Mary Christine Brockert. She died on December 26, 2010 in Pasadena, California.

41. Bubba Smith

Actor | Police Academy 6: City Under Siege

The athletically gifted 6' 7" Charles Aaron "Bubba" Smith played defensive end / defensive tackle for the National Football League's Baltimore Colts (1967-1971), Oakland Raiders (1973-1974), and Houston Oilers (1975-1976). After the conclusion of his football career, Smith moved into a TV & film ...

42. David Graf

Actor | Police Academy

David Graf was a Lancaster, Ohio native. He was a graduate of Lancaster High School in 1968. He went on to attend college at Otterbein University where he graduated in 1972 as a theater major. He attended Ohio State University grad school until 1975 when he dropped out to pursue an acting career in...

43. Gina Mastrogiacomo

Actress | Goodfellas

Gina Mastrogiacomo was born on November 5, 1961 in Great Neck, Long Island, New York, USA. She was an actress, known for Goodfellas (1990), The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear (1991) and The X-Files (1993). She died on May 2, 2001 in California, USA.

44. James Rebhorn

Actor | Independence Day

James Robert Rebhorn (September 1, 1948 - March 21, 2014) was an American actor who appeared in over 100 films, television series, and plays. At the time of his death, he had recurring roles in the current series White Collar and Homeland.

An early performance was in Butterflies are Free at the ...

45. Les Lye

Actor | You Can't Do That on Television

Les Lye was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on November 18, 1924. Following a stint in the armed forces after high school, he attended the University of Toronto, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, and then enrolled in Lorne Greene's Academy of Radio Arts. In 1948, he moved to Ottawa to ...

46. Fred Berry

Actor | What's Happening!!

For a while in the 1970s, Fred Berry was one of the biggest stars on American television. The former dancer, who became a star in the sitcom What's Happening!! (1976) ballooned until his weight became a threat to his health. He battled with food, drink, drugs and women, marrying 6 times to 4 women ...

47. Gregory Hines

Actor | Running Scared

Gregory Hines was born on February 14, 1946 in New York City, New York, USA as Gregory Oliver Hines. He was an actor, known for Running Scared (1986), History of the World: Part I (1981) and Waiting to Exhale (1995). He was married to Pamela Koslow and Patricia Panella. He died on August 9, 2003 in...

48. Bill Bixby

Actor | The Incredible Hulk

The son of a sales clerk and a department store owner, Bill Bixby was the sixth-generation Californian born as Wilfred Bailey Bixby, on January 22, 1934, in San Francisco, California. An only child growing up in the 1940s and 1950s, he attended schools in the same area, took ballroom dance lessons,...

49. Charlie Murphy

Actor | Norbit

Charlie Murphy was born on July 12, 1959 in New York City, New York, USA as Charles Quinton Murphy. He was an actor and writer, known for Norbit (2007), Night at the Museum (2006) and Beverly Hills Cop II (1987). He was married to Tisha Taylor Murphy. He died on April 12, 2017 in New York City.

50. Chaney Kley

Actor | Darkness Falls

Chaney Kley was born on August 20, 1972 in Manassas, Virginia, USA as Chaney Kley Minnis. He was an actor and writer, known for Darkness Falls (2003), Legally Blonde (2001) and NCIS (2003). He died on July 24, 2007 in Venice, California, USA.

51. Ricky Harris

Actor | Heat

Ricky Harris was born October 5, 1965 in Long Beach, California as Richard George Harris II. He was an actor known for roles in Everybody Hates Chris (2005-2009), Bones (2001), Moesha (1996-2001), Poetic Justice (1993), and Dope (2015). He gained fame after appearing on HBO's Def Comedy Jam in the ...

52. Linda Gary

Actress | The Secret of the Sword

Linda Gary was born on November 4, 1944 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Linda Gary Dewoskin. She was an actress, known for The Secret of the Sword (1985), Switch (1991) and Happily Ever After (1990). She was married to Charles Howerton. She died on October 5, 1995 in North Hollywood, California.

53. Brent Briscoe

Actor | Mulholland Dr.

After graduating from the University of Missouri, Brent Briscoe began his career as an apprentice at The Burt Reynolds Jupiter Theatre in 1985. Thereafter, he spent several years on the road, starring in the theatrical productions "Greater Tuna" and "A Tuna Christmas." In 1994, he switched gears ...

54. Merritt Butrick

Actor | Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Merritt Butrick was born on September 3, 1959 in Gainesville, Florida, USA. He is known for his work on Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984) and Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987). He died on March 17, 1989 in Los Angeles, California, USA.

55. 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 ...

56. Steve James

Actor | To Live and Die in L.A.

Steve James was often cast in action movies as the hero's sidekick, despite usually being a better actor and fighter than the star. James was raised in New York City, attended C.W. Post College as an Arts and Film major, and upon graduating, became involved in stage work and TV commercials. He ...

57. Michael Clarke Duncan

Actor | The Green Mile

Michael Clarke Duncan was born on December 10, 1957 in Chicago, Illinois. Raised by his single mother, Jean, a house cleaner, on Chicago's South Side, Duncan grew up resisting drugs and alcohol, instead concentrating on school. He wanted to play football in high school, but his mother wouldn't let ...

58. Dorothy Stratten

Actress | Galaxina

Dorothy Stratten's story was brief, glorious and tragic. She was born Dorothy Ruth Hoogstraten on February 28, 1960 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. She grew up in a rough neighborhood in Vancouver, but kept out of trouble and went through the motions of school. While not a beauty as a child...

59. Amanda Peterson

Actress | Can't Buy Me Love

Amanda Peterson was born on July 8, in Greeley, Colorado. With a natural beauty, powerful charm and a strong personality this talented and truly gifted actress began her career in film industry at age "nine-and-a-half", with the feature film Annie (1982), directed by Academy Award-winner John Huston...

60. Stevie Ryan

Actress | The Heavy Show

Actress and writer Stevie Ryan was born and raised in the small town of Victorville, California. She made the move to Los Angeles at the age of 19 to pursue her dreams in the entertainment industry. An innate go-getter equipped with a tenacious work ethic, she hit the ground running, booking and ...

61. 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 ...

62. 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 ...

63. Linda Sobek

Linda Sobek was born on July 9, 1968 in the USA as Linda Elaine Sobek. She died on November 9, 1995 in Los Angeles, California, USA.

64. 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 ...

65. Rick Zumwalt

Actor | Over the Top

Rick Zumwalt was born on September 24, 1951 in St. Louis, Missouri, USA as Richard Lee Zumwalt Jr. He was an actor, known for Over the Top (1987), Batman Returns (1992) and The Presidio (1988). He died on March 19, 2003 in Desert Hot Springs, California, USA.

66. Reg E. Cathey

Actor | Fantastic Four

Born into a military family in Huntsville, Alabama -- his father was an army vet who had served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, while his mother held a somewhat mysterious job in the Department of Defence -- Reg E. Cathey spent much of his early childhood living on a rural farmhouse in Germany....

67. Tammy Lynn Leppert

Scarface

Tammy Lynn Leppert was born on February 5, 1965. She is an actress, known for Scarface (1983).



Recently Viewed