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For Whom The Bell Tolls: 8 Actors That We Lost Too Soon

Here are eight stars we lost before their time.

By Matthew BaileyPublished 7 years ago 4 min read

Death is something that we all eventually must face; it's just one of the eternal truths of the universe that will never change. Over the years in Hollywood there have been several stars who appear to have become immortalized on the big screen. Yet as immortal as their appearances were, they were taken from us far too soon. Here are eight stars we lost before their time.

1. Paul Walker

September 12, 1973 — November 30, 2013 (40 years old)

This one is pretty obvious. Many of you probably remember hearing the news and thinking that it wasn't possible. Walker served as the cornerstone of The Fast And The Furious franchise and although that is what he was most widely know for, he had ambitions outside of the average vehicular action thriller. He began expanding his reach beyond the genre with projects like the ensemble comedy Pawn Shop Chronicles and the Hurricane Katrina-inspired Hours.

Known for: The Fast And The Furious franchise, Hours, Into The Blue and Eight Below.

2. Chris Farley

February 15, 1964 — December 18, 1997 (33 years old)

Probably known best for his special blend of slapstick humor on Saturday Night Live, Farley was a truly remarkable comedian. He spent five years on SNL, appearing beside several other incredible talents like Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, David Spade and Mike Myers. While starring opposite these comedians, Farley began appearing in feature films, all while his fame was growing; he was one of the premiere comedy stars of his generation. Sadly, much like his idol John Belushi, he died too early due to an overdose of morphine and cocaine.

Known for: Saturday Night Live, Wayne's World, Tommy Boy and Beverly Hills Ninja.

3. Philip Seymour Hoffman

July 23, 1967 — February 2, 2014 (46 years old)

Hoffman was arguably one of the greatest actors of his generation. Early on in his career he carved out a niche of being "that guy" in several films, before taking a lead role in Hard Eight. After this he bounced around for a while, covering all the genres: mainstream comedies, arthouse dramas and even an epic action film here and there. Sadly, though, after 20 years of sobriety, he relapsed and overdosed on a lethal cocktail of drugs.

Known for: The Master, Doubt, Capote and Charlie Wilson's War.

4. Bruce Lee

November 27, 1940 — July 20, 1973 (32 years old)

The legendary Bruce Lee had a career that only seemed to be beginning when he died due to brain swelling at the age of 32. He made a number of timeless kung fu films and had several films hit the Chinese market before taking Hollywood — and the world, for that matter — by storm when he first portrayed Kato, both on the television series The Green Hornet and also on the 1960s Batman show.

Known for: The Green Hornet, The Big Boss, The Way Of The Dragon and Enter The Dragon.

5. Lee Thompson Young

February 1, 1984 — August 19, 2013 (29 years old)

Probably the least known on this list, Young had a promising career before his untimely death from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He started his acting career at a young age by starring in several Disney Channel shows and movies. He signed a talent development deal with ABC in 2008 and scored roles in several highly acclaimed shows before his death in 2013.

Known for: The Famous Jett Jackson, Friday Night Lights, Rizzoli & Isles and Smallville.

6. John Belushi

January 24, 1949 — March 5, 1982 (33 years old)

Another incredible humorist, Belushi was a one-of-a-kind talent who almost wasn't. In high school he planned to become a football coach, but took an interest in acting and was encouraged to pursue it. John moved to New York and was hired as a writer for National Lampoon's Radio Hour, which became the National Lampoon Show in 1975. Then his big break came when he joined Saturday Night Live. He continued to perfect his physical humor but also dove headfirst into a life of cocaine and heroine, ultimately dying from an overdose.

Known for: 1941, Animal House, The Blues Brothers and Saturday Night Live.

7. Heath Ledger

April 4, 1979 — January 22, 2008 (28 years old)

We all know the tale of Heath Ledger. Shortly after he portrayed the intense character of the Joker in Batman film The Dark Knight, we learned about his dependency on prescription meds. These same drugs are what caused the fatal accidental overdose that took him tragically too soon.

Known for: The Dark Knight, Brokeback Mountain, 10 Things I Hate About You and A Knight's Tale

8. Michael Clarke Duncan

December 10, 1957 — September 3, 2012 (54 years old)

Duncan was a larger-than-life talent, and not just because he was 6'5" and 325 pounds, but that definitely added to his on-screen presence. Before his acting days began, Duncan worked as protection detail for several actors and musicians including Will Smith, Jamie Foxx and The Notorious B.I.G. After Notorious B.I.G.'s murder, Duncan pursued acting full time, even scoring an Oscar nomination for his role in The Green Mile. His death was due to complications from a myocardial infarction earlier in 2012.

Known for: The Green Mile, Sin City, Armageddon and The Finder.

Sources: Looper : NY Daily News : Celebuzz


About the Creator

Matthew Bailey

Husband. Father. Gamer. Cinema Lover. Mix it all together, and there I am. I love all things pop-culture and coffee; but coffee is the best.

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