Most Shocking Death of an Actorby yrnej | created - 12 Jun 2017 | updated - 06 Oct 2018 | Public
Any death can be shocking, and they are all sad. But sometimes a death is so surprising, either due to the manner of death, the age of the deceased or other circumstances that it can be considered shocking. Which of these actors' deaths most shocked you?
Discuss the list here
1. Judith Barsi
Actress | The Land Before Time
The only child of Jozsef Barsi and Maria Benko, Judith Eva Barsi beat 10,000-to-1 odds when she was discovered at a San Fernando Valley skating rink at age 5 1/2 in 1983 and mistaken for a three-year-old. Her first commercial was for Donald Duck Orange Juice and she went on to appear in anywhere ...
Shot in the head by her father at age 10; he also shot her mother and himself
2. Bob Crane
Actor | Hogan's Heroes
Handsome Bob Crane had many careers including working as a disc jockey for a while. He started acting around the age of 33. One of his first acting jobs was in Return to Peyton Place (1961). After a guest appearance on The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961) and a supporting role on The Donna Reed Show (1958)...
Bludgeoned to death at age 49
3. James Dean
Actor | East of Eden
James Byron Dean was born February 8, 1931 in Marion, Indiana, to Mildred Marie (Wilson) and Winton A. Dean, a farmer turned dental technician. His mother died when Dean was nine, and he was subsequently raised on a farm by his aunt and uncle in Fairmount, Indiana. After grade school, he moved to ...
Car crash in the California desert at age 24
4. Jean Harlow
Actress | Bombshell
Harlean Carpenter, who later became Jean Harlow, was born in Kansas City, Missouri, on March 3, 1911. She was the daughter of a successful dentist and his wife. In 1927, at the age of 16, she ran away from home to marry a young businessman named Charles McGrew, who was 23. The couple pulled up ...
Kidney failure at age 26
5. Phil Hartman
Actor | NewsRadio
Phil Hartman was born Philip Edward Hartmann on September 24, 1948, in Brantford, Ontario, Canada. His surname was originally "Hartmann", but he later dropped the second "n". He was one of eight children of Doris Marguerite (Wardell) and Rupert Loebig Hartmann, a salesman. He was of German, Irish, ...
Shot by his wife at age 49; she killed herself the same night
Actor | The Master
Film and stage actor and theater director Philip Seymour Hoffman was born in the Rochester, New York, suburb of Fairport on July 23, 1967. He was the son of Marilyn (Loucks), a lawyer and judge, and Gordon Stowell Hoffman, a Xerox employee, and was mostly of German, Irish, English and Dutch ...
Acute mixed drug intoxication at age 46
7. Rock Hudson
Actor | Giant
Rock Hudson was born Roy Harold Scherer, Jr. in Winnetka, Illinois, to Katherine (Wood), a telephone operator, and Roy Harold Scherer, an auto mechanic. He was of German, Swiss-German, English, and Irish descent. His parents divorced when he was eight years old. He failed to obtain parts in school ...
AIDS-related complications at age 59
8. Steve Irwin
Actor | Dr. Dolittle 2
Steve Irwin was born in 1962 to parents Lyn and Bob Irwin, who were animal naturalists. He shared the love for animals all his life, stemming from being raised at the Queensland Reptile and Fauna Park. There, he partook in daily duties of animal feeding and care. He quickly established himself with...
Pierced in the heart by a stingray at age 42
9. Heath Ledger
Actor | Brokeback Mountain
When hunky, twenty-year-old heart-throb Heath Ledger first came to the attention of the public in 1999, it was all too easy to tag him as a "pretty boy" and an actor of little depth. He spent several years trying desperately to sway this image, but this was a double-edged sword. His work comprised ...
Overdosed on prescription drugs at age 28
10. Bruce Lee
Actor | Meng long guo jiang
Bruce Lee remains the greatest icon of martial arts cinema and a key figure of modern popular media. Had it not been for Bruce Lee and his movies in the early 1970s, it's arguable whether or not the martial arts film genre would have ever penetrated and influenced mainstream North American and ...
Most likely allergic reaction at age 32; was ruled as "death by misadventure"
11. Brandon Lee
Actor | The Crow
Born on February 1, 1965 to Bruce Lee (Martial Arts idol) and Linda Lee Cadwell. Brother to Shannon Lee. In 1970-71, they moved to Hong Kong where Brandon became fluent in Cantonese by the age of 8. He attended Boston's Art-Oriented Emerson College in Massachusetts. He studied Martial Arts and ...
Shot in an on-set accident at age 28
12. Carole Lombard
Actress | My Man Godfrey
Carole Lombard was born Jane Alice Peters in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on October 6, 1908. Her parents divorced in 1916 and her mother took the family on a trip out West. While there they decided to settle down in the Los Angeles area. After being spotted playing baseball in the street with the ...
Plane crash at age 33
13. Jayne Mansfield
Actress | The Girl Can't Help It
One of the leading sex symbols of the 1950s and 1960s, film actress Jayne Mansfield was born Vera Jayne Palmer on April 19, 1933 in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, the only child of Vera J. (nee Palmer; later Peers) and Herbert W. Palmer. Her parents were well-to-do, with her father a successful attorney ...
Car accident with three of her children in the back seat at age 34; because her wig flew off in the crash, rumors were spread that she had been decapitated
14. Marilyn Monroe
Actress | Some Like It Hot
Marilyn Monroe was an American actress, comedienne, singer, and model. She became one of the world's most enduring iconic figures and is remembered both for her winsome embodiment of the Hollywood sex symbol and her tragic personal and professional struggles within the film industry. Her life and ...
Drug overdose at age 36
15. Vic Morrow
Actor | Combat!
Vic Morrow was born in the Bronx, New York, to Jean (Kress) and Harry Morrow, an electrical engineer. His parents were Russian Jewish immigrants. Morrow dropped out of high school at 17 to join the U.S. Navy. When he left the Navy, he used the G.I. Bill to study pre-law at Florida State. While ...
Decapitated by a helicopter blade while filming a scene at age 53; two young children also perished in the accident
16. Heather O'Rourke
Actress | Poltergeist
Heather Michele O'Rourke was born on December 27, 1975 in Santee, San Diego, California, to Kathleen, a seamstress, and Michael O'Rourke, a construction worker. She had German, Danish, English, and Irish ancestry.
Heather entered American cinematic pop-culture before first grade. She was sitting ...
Cardiac arrest caused by an acute bowel obstruction at age 12
17. River Phoenix
Actor | My Own Private Idaho
River Phoenix was born River Jude Bottom in Madras, Oregon. His mother, Arlyn (Dunetz), a Bronx-born secretary, and his father, John Bottom, a carpenter, met in California in 1968. They worked as itinerant fruit pickers, and later joined the Children of God religious group (John was originally ...
Overdosed on heroin and cocaine at age 23
18. Elvis Presley
Soundtrack | Tickle Me
Elvis Aaron Presley was born on January 8, 1935 in East Tupelo, Mississippi, to Gladys Presley (née Gladys Love Smith) and Vernon Presley (Vernon Elvis Presley). He had a twin brother who was stillborn. In 1948, Elvis and his parents moved to Memphis, Tennessee where he attended Humes High School. ...
Heart attack related to obesity and drug abuse at age 42
19. George Reeves
Actor | Adventures of Superman
George Reeves was born George Keefer Brewer in Woolstock, Iowa, to Helen Roberta (Lescher) and Donald C. Brewer. He was of German, English, and Scottish descent. Reeves was raised in Pasadena, California, and educated at Pasadena Junior College. He was a skilled amateur boxer and musician. He ...
Gunshot wound to the head at age 45; the cause has never been determined
20. John Ritter
Actor | Sling Blade
Jonathan Southworth Ritter was born in Burbank, California, on September 17, 1948. He was the son of legendary country singer/actor Tex Ritter and his wife, actress Dorothy Fay. The couple married in 1941 and had their first child, Tom Ritter, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. John was ...
Aortic dissection at age 54
Rebecca began modeling at the age of 16, going off to New York on her own to begin her career. Four months later, she found herself in Japan, modeling. Eventually, she landed a co-starring role on My Sister Sam (1986), for which she is now best known. In 1989 she also became a spokesperson for ...
Shot by a stalker at age 21
22. Adrienne Shelly
Actress | Waitress
The late Adrienne Shelley was born in Queens, New York, to Sheldon Levine and Elaine Langbaum. After graduating Jericho High School, located in Jericho, New York, she enrolled at Boston University, and majored in film production. After her junior year, she dropped out and moved to Manhattan where ...
Strangled at age 40; the scene was arranged to look like a suicide
23. Sharon Tate
Actress | Valley of the Dolls
Sharon's early life was one of constant moving as her father served in the military. When she lived in Italy, she was voted "Homecoming Queen" of her high school. After being an extra in a few Italian films, Sharon headed to Hollywood where she would again start as an extra. Her first big break ...
Stabbed by followers of Charles Manson at age 26; she was 38 weeks pregnant
24. Misty Upham
Actress | August: Osage County
Misty Anne Upham, born in Kallispell, Montana, grew up in south Seattle, the fourth of five children. She began her career at the age of thirteen when she joined a community theater group, Red Eagle Soaring. What began as a summer workshop soon turned into a full-time job. By the age of fourteen ...
Blunt-force injuries to head and torso and left in a wooded area near Seattle at age 32; the cause has never been discovered
Actor | The Sheik
Hollywood's original Latin Lover, a term that was invented for Rudolph Valentino by Hollywood moguls. Alla Nazimova's friend,Natacha Rambova (nee Winifred Hudnut) became romantically involved with Rudy and they lived together in her bungalow, from 1921 (during the filming of Camille) until they ...
Ulcers and peritonitis at age 31
26. Paul Walker
Actor | The Fast and the Furious
Paul William Walker IV was born in Glendale, California. He grew up together with his brothers, Caleb and Cody, and sisters, Ashlie and Amie. Their parents, Paul William Walker III, a sewer contractor, and Cheryl (Crabtree) Walker, a model, separated around September 2004. His grandfather, William ...
Single-car crash at age 40
27. Robin Williams
Actor | Mrs. Doubtfire
Robin McLaurin Williams was born on Saturday, July 21st, 1951, in Chicago, Illinois, a great-great-grandson of Mississippi Governor and Senator, Anselm J. McLaurin. His mother, Laurie McLaurin (née Janin), was a former model from Mississippi, and his father, Robert Fitzgerald Williams, was a Ford ...
Suicide by hanging at age 63
28. Anton Yelchin
Actor | Star Trek
Anton Yelchin was an American actor, known for playing Bobby in Hearts in Atlantis (2001), Chekov in the Star Trek (2009) reboot, Charlie Brewster in the Fright Night (2011) remake, and Jacob in Like Crazy (2011).
He was born in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), Russia, USSR, to a Jewish family. His ...
Crushed by his parked car as it rolled down a hill at age 27
29. Natalie Wood
Actress | Rebel Without a Cause
Natalie Wood was born on July 20, 1938 in San Francisco, California as Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko. Her parents, Maria Zudilov and Nikolai Zakharenko, were Russian-born émigrés who spoke barely comprehensible English; they changed the family name to Gurdin after becoming US citizens. When she was...
Drowned under mysterious circumstances at age 43
30. Gail Russell
Actress | The Uninvited
Gail Russell was born in Chicago, Illinois, on September 21, 1924. She remained in the Windy City, going to school until her parents moved to California when she was 14. She was an above-average student in school and upon graduation from Santa Monica High School was signed by Paramount Studios.
Liver damage and malnutrition caused by extreme alcoholism at age 36
* Russell added 10/6/18