Here are five actors who passed away too soon, leaving behind them careers that could have changed cinema forever.
Being famous is not always all it’s cracked up to be.
Unfortunately all too often it takes its toll on those who find fame at a young age. So gather round, shed a tear and lets all commemorate some of the youngest and brightest actors who died young, taken from us far too soon.
Just think for a second how different the world would be if these talented actors were still alive. This list is far too short, much like the lives of those it represents. However this is my list of the most famous and tragic deaths of young actors.
Heath Ledger (1979-2008)
When Heath Ledger first burst onto the scene in 1999, it was easy to tag him as a ‘pretty boy’ with little depth. But this was soon forgotten as he proved to be one of the most talented actors of his generation. As a fellow Aussie, we couldn’t be more proud of him.
This man will probably forever be known as the iconic Joker, and rightfully so. He was brilliant at portraying the murderous psychopath. His most notable films were Brokeback Mountain (2005) and of course The Dark Night (2008), for which he received a posthumous Oscar.
Heath was found dead in his apartment near a bottle of prescription pills from which he accidentally overdosed. He was only 28 years old. His death was probably a result of a seriously method approach to his role of the Joker. He even stayed in his apartment for an entire month to prepare himself mentally and kept a cryptic diary of things he believed the joker would find funny. Farewell, our beloved Aussie, your legacy loves on.
River Phoenix (1970-1993)
Man, this is a hard one for me. I grew up watching River Phoenix. He was everything I wanted to be: magnetic, charming, intelligent, angelic looking and talented as all hell!
Perhaps what made him so captivating was his unique ability to communicate beautiful humanity through his sensitivity and vulnerability on camera. To me this is what makes a great actor. He is best known for his performances in Stand By Me (1986), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) and My Own Private Idaho (1991). He was even nominated for an Academy Award as best supporting actor in Running on Empty (1988).
River died of a drug overdose from a deadly concoction of heroin and cocaine. He was partying outside the Viper Room, Johnny Depp’s Los Angeles nightclub. He was only 23 years old. Rest in peace River, you are sorely missed.
James Dean (1931-1955)1950s ‘bad boy’ James Dean. Source: Indianapolis Star
James Dean was the iconic bad boy of the 1950s. He became a cultural poster figure for disillusioned and rebellious youth during his short career. This image catapulted him to mainstream heart throb in his most well known film, Rebel Without a Cause (1955), in which he played a troubled teenager named Jim Stark. “You’re tearing me apart!” God that line gets me every time. The other two films that made him a star were East of Eden (1952) and Giant (1956). James Dean remains the only actor to be nominated for two posthumous Academy Awards.
He was an avid race car driver which ultimately led to his demise at the tender age of 24. He died of a broken neck due to a car crash while racing. Absolutely tragic.
Cory Monteith (1982-2013)Corey. Source: People.
Corey Monteith was an actor most recognised for playing the singing jock, Finn Hudson, on the American TV show Glee, and films such as Final Destination 3 (2006) and Monte Carlo (2011).
While I was never really much of a Gleek, no one can deny the impact his death had on the world, not just Glee fans. I mean Finn and Rachel were the shiz when it came to #relationshipgoals. Their on camera relationship soon turned into a real life relationship and they remained together until Corey’s death.
Corey had quite a savage battle with depression and substance abuse since he was 13. At the age of 31, he died of a lethal combo of heroin and alcohol.
Rob Knox (1989-2008)Rob Knox. Source: www.tvmovie.de
Rob Knox was a young English actor who appeared to be on the cusp of a promising career after securing the role of Marcus Belby in the movie Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009). Although this was his most famous role, he also had previous acting experience in multiple British TV shows, as well as a small part in the 2004 film King Arthur.
On May 24, 2008, Knox was stabbed five times in the chest outside a bar in London as he was trying to defend his brother from an attacker. Knox was only 18 years old when he died. His attacker, Karl Bishop, was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 20 years in 2009.
As I sit at my desk sipping a coffee, only one one question comes to mind. What if these actors had lived?