It seems like more famous figures are passing away each day. Every time you turn around, there is grim news that we have lost beloved stars such as Fred Willard, Jerry Stiller, and Little Richard.
However, the truth is much worse than you
think. Plenty of celebrities pass away without many of their fans knowing about
it. And how can you mourn the loss of a beloved celebrity when you don’t even
know they are gone?
That’s why we’ve assembled this list of 25 celebrities you might not have known died. Be warned: you might need a box of tissues before you start!
Michael Clark Duncan
In The Green Mile, Michael Clark Duncan gave the kind of performance that immortalized him in cinematic history. While he died from a heart attack in 2012 at the age of only 54, his iconic performances live on within the hearts and minds of his fans.
Lisa Robin Kelly
If you were a fan of That ’70s Show, Lisa Robin Kelly’s performance as the abrasive Laurie Foreman, older sister of Topher Grace’s character, is quite memorable. Unfortunately, her personal struggles resulted in her leaving the show. Sadly, Kelly passed away in 2013 due to multiple drug intoxication at age 43.
David Graf rose to prominence thanks to roles in both Police Academy and The West Wing. However, his career was cut short when he died of a heart attack at age 50 in 2001. To make things worse, the heart attack happened at his brother-in-law’s wedding, leading to some complicated memories for the family.
Many celebs on this list are famous for a single role. That is especially true of Bob Peck, the British actor who wrangled raptors as the warden Robert Muldoon in Jurassic Park. He died in 1999 from cancer at the age of 53, but amazing delivery of lines such as “clever girl” will never be forgotten.
While every death on here is tragic, some of them are more shocking than others. Child actress Judith Barsi is best remembered for her amazing voice performances in two hit animated films of the late ’80s. She played the little orphan girl Anne-Marie in All Dogs Go To Heaven and the comedic dinosaur Ducky in The Land Before Time. But tragically, Barsi did not live to see either film released. Horrifically, she was murdered, along with her mother, in a double murder-suicide committed by her father in 1988. She was just 10 years old.
Jonathan Brandis was a genuine teenage heartthrob back in the ’90s. He starred in movies like Ladybugs and The Neverending Story II. On TV, you could see him in the mini-series Stephen King’s It and the cult hit SeaQuest DSV. Sadly, he committed suicide in 2003 at the age of 27, marking him as a member of the infamous “27 club.”
Diff’rent Strokes star Gary Coleman was a bona fide ’80s icon. However, the child star had trouble finding work as an adult and largely faded from the public eye. He died from a hemorrhagic stroke in 2010 at only 42 years old.
Many stars have a fall from grace, but it’s rare that we can watch it happen in real time. Dana Plato achieved major fame alongside Gary Coleman on Diff’rent Strokes. After that show, though, she struggled to make money and succumbed to drug addiction. She appeared on The Howard Stern Show in 1999 and received cruel calls from “fans.” The next day, she died of an overdose that was later ruled a suicide.
While Trevor Goddard had a number of minor roles, he is most famous for portraying the antagonist Kano in the first Mortal Kombat movie. His career did not really grow after that film, and he died from a drug overdose in 2003 at only 40 years old.
Sometimes, TV stars vanish from their shows and fans never know the full story of why they left. That’s the case for Suddenly Susan star David Strickland who was eventually written out of the show. As it turns out, this was because the actor had tragically committed suicide in 1999.
Nicole DeHuff had a career-making role in the hilarious comedy Meet the Parents. She played the sister of Ben Stiller’s love interest, and memorably gets hit in the face with a volleyball in a swimming pool. It seemed like the hit film would launch her into the next phase of her career. Unfortunately, that career was cut short when she died of viral pneumonia when she was only 30 years old in 2005.
Skye McCole Bartusiak
If the name “Skye McCole Bartusiak” doesn’t ring a bell, think back to the Mel Gibson movie The Patriot. Skye played his daughter, and this role helped launch an early acting career. However, she tragically died in 2014 from a drug overdose at only 21 years of age.
Angel, the spinoff of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, experienced many changes over its five seasons. The most infamous change was when executives fired Glenn Quinn, the actor who played fan-favorite character Doyle, after just nine episodes. Quinn had struggled with drugs for much of his life and died of a heroin overdose at age 32 in 2002.
It’s possible that Angel was a haunted television show. Andy Hallett, whose green-skinned character Lorne basically replaced Glenn Quinn’s Doyle, would later die of congestive heart failure. He died in 2009, approximately five years after the end of the series. He was just 33 years old.
Dana Hill was famous as both a screen actor and voice actor. She was hilarious in movies like National Lampoon’s European Vacation and versatile in providing voices for shows like Goof Troop and Rugrats. Sadly, she died due to diabetes in 1996 when she was only 32.
While there have been many different Power Rangers shows, there is something special about being part of the very first American adaptation of this Japanese series. While much of that core cast now attends pop culture conventions, Thuy Trang (our first Yellow Ranger) cannot. That’s because she died in a car crash back in 2001. She was 27 years old.
Many of the actors on this list were known for their supporting roles. Andy Whitfield, however, became world famous as the leading man in the Starz series Spartacus: Blood and Sand. After filming the first season, though, the actor died in 2011 at age 39 to non-Hodgkin lymphoma. We’ll never get to see what else he would have accomplished.
Fame often runs in the family, and Hollywood is filled with celebrity siblings. Chris Penn was the younger brother of Sean Penn and made big waves in movies like Footloose and Reservoir Dogs. However, he died in 2006 at age 40 due to cardiomyopathy.
Rob Knox was best known for playing the Ravenclaw character Marcus Belby in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and he was slated to appear in its follow-up. But he tragically died in 2008 from a stab wound, trying to protect his brother in a fight outside a bar. He was only 18 years old.
Thanks to his roles in soap operas like As The World Turns and One Life to Live, Nathaniel Marston’s face was famous all around the world. Sadly, he died in 2015 at age 40 from surgical complications after a car accident.
Brad Renfro had that kind of brooding intensity that future leading men are made of. And his brooding nature helped him land roles at a young age in movies such as Apt Pupil and Ghost World. Sadly, he died in 2008 due to heroin overdose at age 25, making those movies his bittersweet legacy.
Lee Thompson Young
Lee Thompson Young was one of the rare child stars to successfully transition into adult roles. He got his start on the Disney Channel’s The Famous Jett Jackson. When he grew up, he became a beloved character on TNT’s Rizzoli and Isles, but he struggled with bipolar disorder and depression. This culminated in his tragic suicide in 2013 at the age of 29.
For child actors, Hollywood is a lot like a crucible. You either emerge a stronger actor or you don’t emerge at all. In Christopher Pettiet’s case, he is best known for the film Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead, where he played Christina Applegate’s little brother. Tragically, he died from an accidental drug overdose in 2000, at the tender age of 24.
Windell Middlebrooks is a real “that guy.” Thanks to appearances in everything from Hannah Montana to Miller beer ads, everyone recognizes his face (if not his name). Unfortunately, he died from a pulmonary embolism at age 36 in 2015.
Because life imitates art, there is nothing that audiences love more than a good comeback story. And Heavy D was working on the greatest comeback at all. When he performed at BET’s 2011 hip-hop awards after 15 years of avoiding the small screen, it looked like he was ready to take the world by storm. But within a month of that performance, he died of a pulmonary embolism at age 44, ending his comeback before it had really begun.