Who is the celebrity (or a married couple) who lived the most tragic life?

I’d like to know who you think is the one celebrity (or married celebrity couple) who lived the most tragic life.

They don’t have to necessarily be actors or singers. I’d be interested to hear about any celeb you think fit that category.

For me, the answer is a married couple. It is Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee. They got married but then both died at a very early age. Bobby Darin was, IMHO, a great singer. His rendition of many songs (including Mack the Knife, Beyond the Sea, Dream Lover and others) were some of the most moving songs ever sung. At age eight he was stricken with recurring bouts of rheumatic fever and that left him with a weakened heart. He was born in 1936 and died in 1973. He was only 37 years old when he died.

Sandra Dee didn’t make out much better. She was a tremendously beautiful girl and lady. She was born in 1942 and died in 2005. She was only 63 when she died. But she suffered from anorexia, drug and alcohol problems for much of her life.

They were certainly a tragic couple. It is very rare to find any one couple with each of the spouses suffering as many health problems as they did.

Christopher Reeve and his wife Dana Morosini are up there for me. He turns quadriplegic in his early 40s, dies in 2004, she takes care of him through it all only to die of lung cancer though she was not a smoker in 2006.

My definition of tragic is different, to me it isn’t so much major health problems as it is a constant drumbeat of psychological torture due to mental illness and trauma.

As to who that would be, I have no idea. Carl Panzram once said (about being tortured in prison) that after a certain point pain doesn’t get any worse than it already is. I am not sure if the same applies to psychological pain. But I am sure a lot of musicians would be up there in the ‘most tragic’ lives stories.

Both Michael Jackson and Marvin Gaye went through a lot of abuse as children that later shaped their lives.

Moe Howard also comes to mind. I can’t imagine losing your oldest and youngest brothers within a few years of each other.

That had to have been devastating.

The Kennedy family always seemed kinda death prone. Joe Sr. lost one son to WWII, two sons to assasinations, one daughter to a plane crash, and a second was incapacitated by a lobotomy.

Jan Berry was never the same after his car crash.

Oddly enough, I asked my wife this same question as we were watching Judy Garland in The Harvey Girls about 2-3 nights ago.

Our answer?

Frances Farmer.

Child actors have a bad time of it. Bobby “Weezer” Hutchins of the Our Gang comedies was a sad case. His family beat him and malnourished him so he’d stay small, then he was killed in training during WWII. Years ago I visited his grave in Parkland Washington. It was a small flat stone on an overgrown plot.

And Carole Landis. :frowning:

Oh no, I hadn’t heard his wife died. I’d hoped she’d find some new love to be happy with.:frowning:

I was nnja’d by Simplicio while compiling this post, but yeah, the Kennedy family… (and I missed the lobotomy?)

Who lived the most tragic life? How about the Kennedy family? Joe Kennedy, Sr. and Rose Kennedy witnessed several tragedies for their children. Sure, the kids ascended to great heights, but of their nine children, four met early and untimely deaths:

1943-08-02: son JFK injured in WWII (PT-109) - not a true tragedy but stress-inducing, I’d think
1944-08-12: son Joe, jr killed in action in WWII
1948-05-13: daughter Kathleen “Kick” killed in plane crash at age 28
1963-11-22: son and President JFK assassinated at age 46
1968-06-06: son and senator Bobby assassinated at age 42
1969-07-18: son and senator Teddy, the Chappaquiddick incident - more stress

That’s a bit much for one family.

Grandson JFK, jr died in 1999 in a plane crash, but Joe, Sr. had long since passed away in 1969, and Rose in 1995, so they did not suffer that tragedy.

The Kennedy’s are right up there. I’d also nominate Barry Gibb. Lost Andy in 1988 at 30, then Maurice in 2003 at 53, and then Robin in 2012 at 62. All of his brothers gone, and young.

I just remember seeing his mom during coverage of Robin’s death, and thinking that she had outlived three of her four sons. What a bummer.

Dear old Richard Attenborough and his wife of 60+ years Sheila have had a hard time since the Boxing Day Tsunami in 2004, where they lost their eldest daughter and a grand-daughter. It seems like they are both suffering from some sort of dementia, and are in full-time care.

I thought of Mrs Gibb too. Burying three of your four sons…brrrr

Keanu Reeves had a pretty rough couple years, when his daughter was stillborn at 8 months into the pregnancy and then less than 2 years later, his girlfriend was killed in a car accident.

My entry would be Bill Bixby, the star of The Incredible Hulk, and his wife, Brenda Benet. They had a young son who died of a rare infection when he was 6, and his wife committed suicide a year later. Although Bill had a steady career in Hollywood, that has to pale against his private life’s tragedies.

On a different tack, for which I apologize, when I read the title my immediate thought was James Dean. Not for the tragic life he lived, which by most accounts was a steady and solid climb from obscurity to international fame in a matter of a few years, less than ten for sure.

The tragic nature of his life is in the “what might have been” category. He died as I was coming of age and I was saddened by his passing for years. Others who have died young haven’t affected me as much because I spent most of that energy mourning Dean.

I finally read Motley Crue’s group autobiography “The Dirt” last year, and it’s really obvious that Vince and Nikki were horribly abused as children. Definitely physical and emotional, and probably sexual too.

In the early 1990s, I read a bio of Judy Garland, and this was when Guns N’Roses (another band whose members have led very tragic lives) were at the height of their fame. For much of the book, I found myself thinking, “Am I reading about Judy Garland or Axl Rose?”

Jean Harlow was another. She came from a very dysfunctional background, and was beaten severely on her wedding night (one of them, anyway) when she discovered that he had a condition called micropenis, and she laughed at him (or at least, that’s the story). She never fully recovered, and died from kidney failure in her mid 20s.

Roy Orbison’s first wife and two of his children died in an accident in the late 1960s, too.

There’s also the fact Orbison was in the middle of huge career comeback when he suddenly died at age of 52.