There’s quite a few actors and musicians that have died while in their youthful prime. Others, have passed before their ability and/or genius was fully realized. In any case, they are now immortalized for their accomplishments in their arts, perhaps more so because of their untimely passing. The following is a list of the most memorable examples of young legends away too early.
Jean Harlow 1911-1937
The original blond bombshell, Jean Harlow stared in 36 movies from the age of 18 until her death at 26. Her official cause of death was due to complications of uremic poisoning. In her short but tragic life she was married three times, and was working on a fourth when she died. Harlow was known to be the most beautiful actress when film was transitioning from silent to “talkies,” she is also credited as being the main inspiration for Marilyn Monroe.
James Dean 1931-1955
Though James Dean only starred in three movies, he became a Hollywood Icon following his death at the age of 24. His handsome face and debonair demeanor continue to be used as inspiration for young actors looking to break into the business. Though his career was short, his iconic image remains a mainstay in the immortal Hollywood landscape.
Buddy Holly 1936-1959
Buddy Holly died in a plane crash at the young age of 23. Unfortunately for Holly, Gary Busey stared as Buddy in a lack luster Hollywood biopic in 1978. Though the film was subpar, from Weezer to Rogue Wave, Buddy Holly’s musical influence can still be felt in today’s rock music scene.
Marilyn Monroe 1926-1962
Many believe Marilyn Monroe to be the most glamorous movie star ever; her iconic looks have inspired generations of dark haired girls to go platinum blond. Tragically she died at the age of 36, but from Madonna to Gwen Stefani, Marilyn Monroe will forever inspire the perception of beauty in the celebrity mainstream.
Jimi Hendrix 1942-1970
Jimi Hendrix created iconic guitar licks that are still inspire musicians from all genres of music. His most famous works continue to be used in television shows and hit movies. For as much as Hendrix loved music, his love for psychedelic drugs got the best of him in 1970, at the young age of 28. Many wonder what he kind of musician he could have grown into if he only had the chance.
Jim Morrison 1945-1971
Jim Morrison’s is one of the most well known vocalists of all time. And as a result, his grave is still visited and decorated by thousands of fans each year. To this day it is still unknown to what caused Morrison’s death at age 26; but regardless, his artistry has left an undeniable impact on the world of music and poetry for the past 40 years.
Bruce Lee 1940-1973
For all of Bruce Lee’s accomplishments in Hollywood and around the world, the only thing that is marked on his grave is, “Founder of Jeet Kune Do.” After staring in numerous martial arts films, tragically Bruce Lee died at the early age of 33 – an age younger than action stars of today. In any case, he is the most popular martial arts icon in the Western Hemisphere – and maybe the world – and, he continues to inspire the young and old through his unique artistic style.
John Belushi 1949-1982
The inscription reads on one of John Belushi’s headstones, “I may be gone, but Rock and Roll lives on.” In John’s short 33 years he left an unforgettable impression on the world of comedy. His legacy still remains on college campuses around the world, and he continues to remain a college poster mainstay through his infamous and iconic role in in Animal House.
If James Brown is the “God Father of Soul” then Eazy-E would be considered the “God Father of Gangster Rap.” Eric “Eazy-E” Wright died at the early age of 31 due to complications with the AIDS virus. He was buried in an 18k gold casket at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, Ca. Fans continue to visit his site and pour 40 ounce bottles of malt liquor in appreciation of his artistic legacy.
Kurt Cobain 1967-1994
Kurt Cobain single-handedly changed the face of rock music when Nirvana’s Nevermind was released in 1991. His quick rise to prominence proved difficult to handle, and as an escape Cobain found a fleeting serenity in heroin. Towards the end of his life, while his records were reaching # on the charts, we was consistently in and out of rehab. In early 1994 he tragically committed suicide. Though he died at the age of 27, his influence continues to be felt in the alternative music scene today.
Bradely Nowell 1968-1996
Known for his beautiful voice and reggae beats, Bradley Nowell died at age 28 from a heroin overdose before his band received the notoriety they deserved. Sublime’s popular brand of ska, punk, and hip hop were known for being ahead of its time. Since his untimely passing, Bradley’s post-mortem proceeds have gone on to support the wife and son he left behind.
Tupac Shakur 1971-1996
Arguably the greatest hip-hop star ever, Tupac Shakur was tragically gunned down on the Las Vegas strip in 1996 at the age of 25. Recently Tupac’s memorial statue was unveiled at the Tupac Amaru Shakur Center for the Arts, 9 years after his death at Stone Mountain in Atlanta Georgia. Through his center for the arts, his legacy of activism and art will continue and remain an inspiration for many years to come.
Jeff Buckley 1966-1997
Jeff Buckley died at the age of 30 after a tragic drowning accident in Memphis, Tennessee . Buckley and Tupac Shakur have something in common, they both have released, as much, if not more music after their tragic and untimely deaths. Interesting enough Buckley’s grave resides at the Memphis Zoo in Memphis, Tennessee. His memorial marker overlooks the Sumatran Tigers, and continues to be visited each year by adoring fans that leave flowers and gifts in his memory.
Chris Farley 1964-1997
Not only did Chris Farley use his quick wit to entertain the masses, but he used physical comedy – not to mention, his comedic physical apperaance – as well. Through entertaining, Fariley was able to make being overweight funny and even use it to generate huge laughs. After his stint on Saturday Night Live, Farley made an easy transition into film. After he gained huge success at the box office, Farley developed a cocaine problem that eventually got the best of him in 1997 at age 33.
Heath ledger 1979-2008
Heath Ledger is perhaps known as Generation Y’s greatest actors. Unfortunately he passed away at the young age 28, shortly before the merit of his performance in The Dark Knight was realized. Fortunately, he has left the world an impressive film reel that catalog this actor’s great talent. Recently his talent was realized by the academy and he was posthumously given an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor by his portrayal as the Joker.