celebrities who died young

like James dean… Jimi Hendriz would they had a career as older people or did their early demise make them more famous. I love Hendrix by the way.

Hendrix was groundbreaking, and at the very least probably would still be a legend even if he never did another thing creatively and coasted along like Las Vegas Elvis.

James Dean was a handsome, sensitve, young actor at the same time a lot of handsome, sensitive, young actors were coming along. He might have become another Brando, but the odds are he would have ended up more along the lines of another Sal Mineo or Anthony Perkins.

Janis Joplin (who died at 27 like Hendrix) was probably at the peak of her career anyway, but if Karen Carpenter had lived long enough for her type of singing to come back into style, she’d be an icon.

Her singing will always be “in style,” and she IS and icon.

Marc Bolan

What’s young to you? For me, “young” changes as I get older.

Anyway, Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones, Curt Cobain, and the Princess of Wales all died fairly young.

I thought Vic Morrow died too early in his career (53.)

Helen: Poor Marvin Kessler, he went too early.

Jerry: He was 96 years old.

Kramer: Oh yeah, yeah I heard, Marvin Kessler. Boy, that makes you think. If he could go…
Anyhoo, to my embarrassment, my reaction to John Lennon being killed was, well, his career was pretty much over anyway, at 40.

Heather O’Rourke qualify? She did some TV and movies and may have/could have made the transition to adult actress had she survived.

I was surprised how young Elvis Presley was. I had assumed he was old, because his career seemed long (also I was only seven when he died and I didn’t really know of him at the time), but he was only 42.

I’m 46 now, so that makes it particularly weird.

I just clicked on this link and read your post about Elvis GuanoLad…and at the very same time, an ad came up on the telly about a program devoted to his death (coming up on Sunday night!)

Now THAT’S weird. :eek:

Leave it to Wiki: the 27 Club

River Phoenix, Lee Morgan, Len Bias

Kay Kendall, admired actor, famous party girl and owner of the greatest third reel never to be made into a movie.

Read that last paragraph again and wonder why no-one has ever made a film about all that. How did he convince Palmer about his crazy plan? How did he keep it all secret from Kendall? Fascinating.

Similar to Jimi and Janis, it might be interesting if some of my musical influences were around today.

Randy Rhoads - 25
Jim Croce - 30
Shannon Hoon - 28
Bradley Nowell - 28
Cliff Burton - 24

Dorothy Stratten.

Murdered by her husband.


She might have had some success had she not been killed.

Not super young, but certainly younger than you’d expect.

Bobby Darin - 37
Kirsty MacColl (Fairy Tale of New York) - 41
Laura Branigan - 52

Darin, apparently, always expected to die young after having rheumatic fever in childhood.

Back to the OPs questions. Dying young isn’t correlated with extra skill at their art or at self-promotion. So we would expect the careers of the young dyers to be about the same as other peers of the era. Some will become legends, others will end as one-hit wonders.

And as folks have pointed out upthread, there’s a boatload of early dyers who you and I have never heard of. IOW, there’s no assurance that dying early causes or even contributes to later long-lasting celebrity.

Each case is individual and no general rule can be made.

Kurt Cobain would have gone on to be an icon, I think. He had acting aspirations as well.

I’ll argue the opposite.

The celebrities who self-destruct were destined to go not too much farther than they actually did. e.g. if Cobain hadn’t ODed that month, he’d have done it next month or the month after that. His talent and celebrity-ness was tightly coupled to his drug problems. He would not / could not have one without the other.

OTOH, somebody like Vic Morrow who died when a helicopter fell on him could have gone on for many more years. The lack of self-destructive tendencies means he wasn’t burning an already short fuze. (Vic wasn’t so young when he died, but I’m not enough of a celebrity follower to recall a younger example.)

Bottom line IMO: We’d need to segregate the self-destructive celebs from the others. The former never had a future; they (and we) just hadn’t realized it yet. The latter might have, depending on the breaks of show biz.

Just yesterday my wife was watching a documentary on Tammi Terrell, who had a string of hit duets with Marvin Gaye in the late 1960s–“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing,” and “You’re All I Need to Get By” being the best known. She died of a brain tumor in 1970, at the age of only 24. Several people have speculated that her death was one of the contributing factors to Marvin Gaye’s later problems with depression and drugs.

The documentary itself made the point that while many Motown performers of that era, like Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, and Gaye himself have gone on to enduring fame, Tammi Terrell, because she died so young and there is very little film footage of her performing, has been kind of forgotten over the years.