12 Actors Who Died Before They Were 30

The sudden and tragic death of Academy Award-nominated actor Heath Ledger on Tuesday is the latest in a long line of actors who have passed away at the prime of their life. Shocking as Ledger’s death may be, it isn’t the first time a well-known actor died before they even reached the age of 30, and, with the unpredictable nature of death, certainly wouldn’t be the last.

1. James Dean
February 8, 1931 – September 30, 1955


Killed in a car accident at age 24

2. Sharon Tate
January 24, 1943 – August 9, 1969


Murdered by members of Charles Manson's "Family" at age 26

3. Freddie Prinze
June 22, 1954 – January 29, 1977


Committed suicide by shooting himself in the head at age 22.

4. Dominique Dunne
November 23, 1959- November 4, 1982


Strangled by ex-boyfriend John Thomas Sweeney, died a few days later at age 22.

5. Rebecca Schaeffer
November 6, 1967 – July 18, 1989


Murdered by stalker Robert John Bardo at age 21

6. Brandon Lee
February 1, 1965 – March 31, 1993


Died at age 28 in an accidental shooting on the set of his last movie “The Crow

7. River Phoenix
August 23, 1970 – October 31, 1993


A very young sufferer of drug addiction, River died of a heroin and cocaine overdose at age 23.

8. David Strickland
October 14, 1969 – March 22, 1999


Committed suicide by hanging himself with a bed sheet at age 29.

9. Aaliyah
January 16, 1979 – August 25, 2001


Died in a plane crash at age 22.

10. Thuy Trang
December 14, 1973 - September 3, 2001


Died in a car accident at age 27

11. Jonathan Brandis
April 13, 1976 – November 12, 2003


Committed suicide by hanging at age 27

12. Brad Renfro
July 25, 1982 – January 15, 2008


Found dead in his LA apartment at age 25, cause of death still undetermined

Suicide and drug-overdose, often one in the same, seem to be the prevalent causes of premature celebrity deaths nowadays. Perhaps the public and media's fascination with famous celebrity alcoholics and drug addicts, on shows such as A&E's Intervention or Dr Drew's Celebrity Rehab, really has more to do with our innate interest in death and mortality since the list of drunks reads like Nostradamus' celebrities going to an early grave bet pool.

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6 Responses to “12 Actors Who Died Before They Were 30”

  1. [...] when these female celebrities met their ultimate fate at the hands of a murderer. Most of them died before they were 30, and that makes their deaths all the more [...]

  2. [...] Guess they’re just luckier than those other celebrities who died young. [...]

  3. What about Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain?

    Jimi died in his sleep after an overdose, 27 years old
    Cobain shot himself in the head with a shotgun after loads of drugs.

  4. EDIT: Kurt Cobain was 27 years old when he died aswell.

  5. Some more:

    Jim Morrison died at 27.
    Christine Chubbuck died just, just, just before her 30th birthday, so she counts too.

  6. The list is actors, not musicians or news people so I’m sure that’s why they weren’t included.

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