Hitting it big in Hollywood can completely change a person’s life, arguably for better or for worse. In this case, these Hollywood stars were given an unfortunate fate and the celebrity experience wasn’t all it was made out to be. Some might even say they were lucky to have made it big before they died or they went out on a high note, but those people are horrifically wrong. There is no "high note" in death, not even in Hollywood. It doesn't matter who a person is or what they've achieved, death is a very real and very tragic thing we all must go through. Additionally, loyal fans, cast members, and producers have to figure out exactly how to cope with these sudden losses.
Cory Monteith starred in the popular musical TV series, Glee, and gained a large, dedicated fanbase. Within a single episode, the large cast of multi-talented youngsters was catapulted into the limelight. The show took place in a high school, reversing the age-old "jocks are cool, nerds are lame" trope by making singing cool. Cory Monteith played heartthrob jock, Finn Hudson. Cory was a Canadian actor and was always described by his co-stars as being incredibly kind and caring. But even the nicest, most caring people have their demons and Monteith had been having trouble with substance abuse since his adolescence. During the span of Glee, the actor spoke openly about his struggles, and how Glee had given him a second chance to clean up his life. Unfortunately, in July 2013, his demons got the best of him and he was found dead after suffering a toxic combination of heroin and alcohol. His death was felt by fans all over the world who idolized his gentle, kind, and honest nature.
Funnyman and TV dad John Ritter's career spanned two decades. Not long after he graduated from the USC School of Dramatic Arts, the offers started to roll in. During the 70s, he guest-starred on Hawaii Five-O, M*A*S*H, and maintained a recurring role on The Waltons. In the decade following, he had made a name for himself and continued to star in many movies and television series. His final outing would be 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter, a sitcom about two middle-class American parents raising their family. One day during rehearsals, Ritter started having chest pains and vomiting. He was rushed to the hospital where they misdiagnosed him as having a heart attack, which was later found to be a growing tear in his aorta. Ritter died during the reparative surgery just a week before he was to turn 55.
Master of Puppets Jim Henson was responsible for inspiring the imaginations of children all over the world. He created The Muppets, The Fraggles, and many other creatures in movies and shows over the years. In addition to creating them, he also voiced some of them — most notably Ernie from Sesame Street and Kermit the Frog. Henson's 1990 death was untimely, sudden, and grieved by Hollywood and fans across the world wholeheartedly. At the beginning of May, he had flu-like symptoms that seemed to be getting worse with time. Those flu-like symptoms turned out to be toxic shock syndrome, a bacterial disease that spreads and eventually shuts down your main organs. To this day, people mourn the death of this creative genius and note his funeral as being the most unbearably moving service ever.
Anton Yelchin, who was best known for his role as Chekov in the new Star Trek films suffered an unpredictable tragedy. His car rolled backward and he was pinned up against a brick wall, resulting in fatal injuries. The actor showed promise throughout his short life and at the time of his death, he was voicing a character in the animated series, Trollhunters. Yelchin had recorded enough dialogue for the first two seasons of the show, as well as bits of the final. Emile Hirsch was recruited to step in and take over for the rest of the episodes. Hirsch and Yelchin were, after all, close friends.
Madeline Kahn was a highly-talented actress and singer who made her name in the comedic outings of Mel Brooks. Before she was a movie star, she took the Broadway stage in 1968 and received Tony nominations. Brooks took her stride in the ’70s when she starred as a supporting actress to Barbara Streisand and Ryan O’Neal in What's Up, Doc? After this came numerous collaborations with director Mel Brooks and the cult classic, Clue. At the time of losing her life to cancer in 1999, she was filming for the sitcom, Cosby.
If you’re a fan of South Park you know voice actress Mary Kay Bergman well. The voice actress was responsible for voicing over 100 cartoons, video games, and movie characters throughout her career. As well as her numerous roles on South Park, Bergman was heard in many different Disney films over the years. Bergman was also hiding a large secret from her family, friends, and fans. She was a long-time sufferer of generalized anxiety disorder and depression that was misdiagnosed. In November 1999, her depression won out with a fatal shotgun shot to the head.
Lee Thompson Young, known for his roles in the television series The Famous Jett Jackson and Rizzoli & Isles's, died a sudden death that shocked his fanbase. The 29-year-old actor failed to show up to film an episode of the crime drama, Rizzoli & Isles's, prompting the show's producers to call the police for a check-in. The police then found him in his Los Angeles apartment where he'd committed suicide. His cause of death was a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Young had secretly been battling bipolar disorder for which he'd been taking medication for most of his life. Showrunners then decided to kill off Youngs’ characters, as they were stunted with this tragic news.
In December of 2005, The West Wing world lost its White House Chief of Staff. John Spencer, who played Leo McGarry on this presidential drama, died of a heart attack just days after his birthday. Having filmed two episodes that were in post-production at the time of his death, the producers were then quickly able to write his death into the show. In the show's final season, they say that McGarry died of a heart attack on election night. They also kept his name in the opening credits until the show's end to honor his death.
Father Ted was one of the most popular British sitcoms of the 90s, earning the starring actors international fame. Graham Norton, for example, was a guest star in a couple of episodes. Dermot Morgan played the titular character, Father Ted Crilly; a perpetually under-performing priest stuck living with two other priests and a housekeeper. Morgan unexpectedly had a heart attack during a dinner party, just a day after recording his last episode.
Freddie Prinze, born Frederick Karl Pruetzel, hit it big in the mid-seventies sitcom, Chico and the Man. Starting in comedy clubs, Prinze was a stand-up comedian who made a name for himself as a rising star. The actor chose the name Prinze in hopes he would one day be the King of Comedy. Unfortunately, Prinze was affected by the comedian's curse and suffered from depression for most of his life. In 1977 his depression took hold of his life and he shot himself in front of his manager. His son, Freddie Prinze Jr., now carries his father's torch and the trauma of this tragedy.
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