In music it’s called “Club 27.” No one wants to be part of this club because the unfortunate group of people who are part of it are musicians who died too soon – at age 27. People in this club include Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain and most recently Amy Winehouse.
Although I don’t think there is a club like this in the movie business, there are definitely too many actors and actresses who have died too soon with the most recent example being Paul Walker. Best known for his roles in the Fast and the Furious movies, Walker tragically died in a car crash on Saturday. He was 40 years old. In addition to the Fast and the Furious flicks, Walker was also memorable in high school movies such as Varsity Blues and She’s All That.
Walker’s death was not his fault (as opposed to drug and alcohol-induced deaths caused by some of our favorite stars) but the result remains the same. He died too soon just like these actors:
River Phoenix: At age 23 Phoenix collapsed and died of drug-induced heart failure on the sidewalk outside the West Hollywood nightclub The Viper Room in 1993.
Brittany Murphy: In 2010, the coroner stated that the primary cause of Murphy’s death was pneumonia, with secondary factors of iron-deficiency anemia and multiple drug intoxication. All of the drugs were legal and the death was ruled to be an accident.
Brad Renfro: Found dead in his apartment in 2008, the 25-year-old actor’s death was ruled accidental, attributing it to acute heroin/morphine intoxication.
Heath Ledger: Rising star Ledger also died in 2008 from an accidental toxic combination of prescription drugs. He was 28 years old.
What’s both sad and interesting about a famous person dying is that it feels like we know them even though we don’t. How many times have we seen Paul Walker’s face in a magazine or on TV or on the big screen at a movie theater? I feel for his family and loved ones – 40 years old is too young and he will be missed.