PHOTOS: Paul Walker, James Dean And Others Who Died Young

Gone-670x274Paul Walker, star of The Fast and the Furious film franchise, was only 40 years old when he died Saturday evening. His shocking death when his Porsche crashed was spookily reminiscent of  James Dean’s in 1955, which caused us to remember some of our other favorite male celebrities whose lives ended far too soon.


James Dean (1931-1955)

The embodiment of the”live fast, die young” philosophy, the star of Rebel Without a Cause  was killed on September 30, 1955 in a car crash on his way to a racing event in Salinas, California.


Sal Mineo (1939-1976)

The out actor who rocketed to fame opposite Dean in the 1955 classic Rebel Without a Cause, was stabbed to death in an alley behind his apartment building in West Hollywood. He had just arrived home after rehearsal for the play P.S. Your Cat is Dead in which he was playing the role of a bisexual burglar.


Brad Renfro (1982-2008)

Renfro was plucked from obscurity to appear opposite Susan Sarandon in The Client. He’d go on to star The Cure and Apt Pupil but spent the last few years of his life battling addiction before dying of an accidental overdose.


Corey Monteith (1982-2013)

The Glee star had been battling substance abuse problems from an early age. In March he sought treatment for addiction but would tragically died from a heroin and alcohol overdose in July.


Jon-Erik Hexum (1957-1984)

The dashing young star of the television series Voyagers! also made a splash opposite Joan Collins in the wonderfully trashy TV movie Making of a Male Model. Hexum died from an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head on the set of his CBS series Cover Up.


River Phoenix (1970-1993)

The 23-year-old Oscar nominee for Running on Empty and star of My Own Private Idaho was a dedicated animal rights advocate. Phoenix died of a drug-induced heart failure on the sidewalk outside of the Viper Room in West Hollywood.

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Bruce Lee (1940-1973)

The film star, martial arts icon and one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People of the 20th Century” died from an apparent allergic reaction to a muscle relaxant.


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Brandon Lee (1965-1993)

The 28-year-old son of Bruce Lee was accidentally shot while filming a scene for The Crow.  Since most of Lee’s scenes had been completed, the remainder of The Crow was completed posthumously using a stunt double and special effects.


Jonathan Brandis (1976-2003)

The young star of seaQuest DSV and Ladybugs was reportedly depressed about his career, which had declined in recent years. He hung himself and died the next day from his injuries.


Corey Haim (1971-2010)

The star of ’80s hits such as The Lost Boys and License to Drive fought substance abuse for much of his short life. His passing was initially reported as an accidental overdose of prescription pills. However, pneumonia was eventually listed as the cause of death.


Alexander McQueen (1969-2010)

The openly gay designer won “British Designer of the Year” four times and his avant-garde clothing revolutionized fashion. McQueen, who had been diagnosed with mixed anxiety and depressive disorder, took his own life at age 40.


Heath Ledger (1979-2008)

The actor who broke hearts in Brokeback Mountain, was filming The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus when he died of an accidental intoxication of prescription drugs. He’d posthumously win an Oscar for his chilling work as the Joker in The Dark Knight.

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  • Caleb in SC

    Sorry, Heath Ledger was a drug addict, the same as Bred Renfro. The fact that Renfro was omitted from the Oscar’s memoriam is a disgrace. I guess addiction is ok, but only if you are A-List.

  • 2eo

    Lets not forget the people who have lived to be old when they should be dead.

    Pope Ratzinger
    Pat Robertson
    John Sentamu
    Vladimir Putin
    Henry Kissinger
    Jenny McCarthy
    George W Bush
    Tony Blair

    Still, at least Thatcher died, which is a pick me up in the face of such sadness.

  • avesraggiana

    RIP all of them. They will never have to suffer the indignity of growing old. In our minds, they will always be forever young.

  • Cam

    Interesting that Renfro died from an “Overdose” and Leadger from intoxication of prescription medication. I believe you meant to say “Overdose”.

  • UnprodigalSon

    Not exactly A-list, but I always think of Glenn Quinn, tomorrow will be 11 years.

  • iMort

    I didn’t mind letting my straight friends pick the Fast & Furious movies to watch together. Everybody liked Paul Walker.

  • BJ McFrisky

    Most of these men died by their own hand or their own reckless behavior.

    How about the nameless and faceless men and women of our military who’ve died protecting us? Or do they have to be smoking-hot underwear models to be recognized?

  • Stache1

    @avesraggiana: Well, as the late great Betty Davis famously said..”getting old is not for sissies”.

  • Stache1

    @BJ McFrisky: Except for Sal Mineo who died by someone else’s hand.

  • Charlie in Charge

    I had the biggest crush on Jonathan Brandis when he was in Seaquest. Will always think fondly of my middle school crush.

  • viveutvivas

    @BJ, sure, except you are hallucinating if you think they died protecting us. They died in invasions calculated to advance a military-corporate-industrial hegemony that has nothing to do with protecting us.

  • BJ McFrisky

    @Stache1: Yeah, that’s why I said “most” and not “all.”

    @viveutvivas: Stop listening to NPR. Talk to a soldier. Enlighten yourself beyond the pettiness of manufactured dissent.

  • Bee Gaga

    Paul Walker was sooooo damn fine, its sad. And all these poor men dying in tragic often self-inflicted ways. Idk maybe its the, as Britney said, “somewhat girl” in me but I just want to help them or wish I could. Coming around people like that with their drug problems I just become mama/girlfriend and want to help/change them its sad

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