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Why Hollywood's Obsession with Youth and Beauty is Out of Control!

Updated on April 11, 2012
A star awaits for a name on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Hollywood, California
A star awaits for a name on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Hollywood, California

Every actor who comes to Hollywood knows the risks of trying to make a career in the entertainment industry. These actors become vulnerable, consumed with the temptations in Hollywood that involves sex, drugs, and a decadent lifestyle that have destroyed many people before them. However, most individuals who seek stardom are willing to take that chance despite the risks involved. While there have been many success stories in tinsel town, there have been tales of a dark history as well.

The media loves to glorify these celebrities for their youth and beauty, but what happens when they are old and gray? These older actors and actresses are disposed of in a cruel twist of fate and left to fade from the spotlight.

Many stars at an older age have to deal with life without the stardom and fan adulation during their later years. While most stars cope by finding other means to survive, there are the few who find it hard being away from the camera that cannot adjust to life without the adoration.

Demi Moore, a recent symbol of Hollywood's obsession with "youth."
Demi Moore, a recent symbol of Hollywood's obsession with "youth." | Source
Lindsay Lohan mugshot
Lindsay Lohan mugshot | Source
Ryan O'Neal mugshot
Ryan O'Neal mugshot | Source

A Decadent Lifestyle

Hollywood is famous for decadent parties and excessive consumption of drugs and alcohol. Many stars and celebrities have been in trouble for their partying ways. The long list of stars who have been in trouble for drug and alcohol abuse problems include Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Nick Nolte, Kiefer Sutherland, Courtney Love, Charlie Sheen, Rip Torn, Michelle Rodriguez, Ryan O'Neal, Demi Moore, and countless others.

Demi Moore, 49, is a recent actress who was in trouble for partying and substance abuse when on January 23, 2012, her daughter called 911 because the actress had a seizure after taking "whip its" or nitrous oxide (aka "laughing gas"). Sources said Moore was distraught about her non-existent acting career. Gone were the starring roles and the only available acting jobs for her were "bit parts," normally reserved for small-time actors. Friends said that Moore had no future projects lined up at the time.

TMZ and Radaronline reported that Moore had become obsessed with being young and she tried to party like a 20 year old. She had become addicted to the energy drink Red Bull and prescription drugs. This behavior was apparent before she broke up with her husband "Two and a Half-Men" star Ashton Kutcher.

Sources said Kutcher tried to help his wife from her substance abuse problems and disturbing behavior but she refused. Many believe that Moore's problems was a contributing factor in their split last year.

At the time of her seizure, Moore was already in a fragile state, racked with anorexia and prescription drugs. Combined with the depression of her fading acting career and the breakup of her marriage, the nitrous oxide had a near disastrous effect on her and she lapsed into a seizure.

The actress had become another victim in Hollywood. The only difference is--she survived.

Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe | Source
Heath Ledger
Heath Ledger | Source

The Game of Hollywood "Survivor"

Actors and actresses who live the "Hollywood lifestyle" have temptation peeking through every corner, and the seduction of drugs and alcohol becomes even more magnified because of the money and the influence of people behind them. Hollywood is filled with stories about people who make it through tinsel town "without a scratch," individuals who have a life-long struggle with drugs and alcohol, and the ones who die "too young."

The list of actors and actresses who died "too young" from substance abuse are filled with individuals who were either on the low-end or at the zenith of their careers. These are the ones who met an untimely death due to substance abuse (or cases where drugs and alcohol may have been a contributing factor):

  • Heath Ledger, 28, (The Dark Knight, Brokeback Mountain)
  • Dana Plato, 34, (TV's Different Strokes)
  • Judy Garland, 47, (Wizard of Oz, A Star is Born)
  • Richard Burton, 59, (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Cleopatra)
  • River Phoenix, 23, (Stand by Me, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade)
  • John Belushi, 33, (Animal House, Blues Brothers)
  • Margaux Hemingway, 41, (Lipstick, They Call Me Bruce)
  • Anissa Jones, 18, (TV's Family Affair)
  • Alan Ladd, 50, (Shane, The Proud Rebel)
  • Bruce Lee, 32, (Enter the Dragon, Game of Death)
  • Lani O'Grady, 46, (TV's Eight is Enough)
  • Anna Nicole Smith, 39, (TV's The Anna Nicole Show, Be Cool)
  • Elvis Presley, 42, (Love Me Tender, Blue Hawaii)
  • Freddie Prinze, 23, (TV's Chico and the Man)
  • Jeff Conaway, 61, (TV's Taxi and Grease)
  • Dorothy Dandrige, 42, (Carmen Jones, Porgy and Bess)
  • Brad Renfro, 26, (The Client, Sleepers)
  • Brittany Murphy, 32, (Uptown Girls, 8 Mile, Clueless)
  • Corey Haim, 38, (Lucas, The Lost Boys)
  • Chris Farley, 33, (Tommy Boy, Black Sheep)
  • Marilyn Monroe, 36, (Some Like it Hot, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes)

All are a stark reminder of the dark history and the pressures of Hollywood can do to a person.

Most of them are just lucky enough to make it out alive.


Helen Mirren
Helen Mirren | Source
Jennifer Aniston
Jennifer Aniston | Source

Hollywood Won't Stop the Obsession

As long as Hollywood and the media continues to promote "youth and beauty," this superficial nonsense will not go away. The television, music and film industries thrive on youth and beauty and they also support multi-billion dollar businesses in the fashion, plastic surgery, cosmetics, travel and hospitality, and pharmaceutical drug industries. This is big business based on these two aspects and it won't stop in the near future!

Actresses and models are clearly the ones that have to live with the burden of "looking good" in front of the cameras. The paparazzi and the tabloids' only purpose is to focus on youth and beauty. Tabloids tend to mock actors and actresses who appeared "old" or begin to "show their age in their later years." The photographers or video operators are the ones who incessantly focus on an actor's face and body, especially female stars. The society pressures placed on an actress "to look good" are a heavier burden than it is for a male actor, who may show a few wrinkles but is excused for looking "older and dignified."

It is rare for an actress over 40 to find consistent work in Hollywood. Luckily, actresses like Meryl Streep, Kyra Sedgewick, Jessica Lange, Dianne Keaton, and Helen Mirren, who are in their late 40s and above don't have that problem, but they are only a select few.

Who knows when "time will run out" for actresses just over 40 like Jennifer Aniston, Halle Berry, Eva Longoria, Sandra Bullock, and Courtney Cox?

The clock is ticking.

"Knot's Landing" Actress Joan Van Ark, before and after photos that show a major alteration from  an unsuccessful face-lift
"Knot's Landing" Actress Joan Van Ark, before and after photos that show a major alteration from an unsuccessful face-lift | Source
Joan Rivers
Joan Rivers | Source
Disney star Ashley Tisdale, before and after
Disney star Ashley Tisdale, before and after | Source
Wayne Newton
Wayne Newton | Source
Mickey Rourke
Mickey Rourke | Source
Burt Reynolds, before-and-after
Burt Reynolds, before-and-after | Source
Model Gisele Bundchen, before and after
Model Gisele Bundchen, before and after | Source

When Plastic Surgery Attacks!

Plastic surgery reigns supreme in Hollywood, which is not a secret. It is a sad truth for women in Hollywood and the pressures they go through. This is a "cut throat" business that thrives on beauty, and if your looks start to fade or your age starts to show, your career will be in jeopardy. As a result, many actresses are spending millions on plastic surgery to make them have a youthful appearance.

There have been surgical procedures that have been successful and no one hardly notices a thing. Then, there are the ones that have failed so much that the actress looks downright scary to look at.

Many actresses, despite their repeated denials, have been criticized for "going under the knife" while other actresses, who are tired of the criticism, have flat out confessed to plastic surgery. Although most actors do not have plastic surgery, there are a few that have done it with creepy results.

Notable Actors/Actresses/Celebrities Who Had Plastic Surgery Are:

  • Burt Reynolds
  • Heidi Montag
  • Jennifer Grey
  • Selma Hayek
  • Anna Faris
  • Ashley Tisdale
  • Audrina Patridge
  • Mickey Rourke
  • Sylvester Stallone
  • Jennifer Aniston
  • Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson
  • Cameron Diaz
  • Bruce Jenner
  • Lisa Rinna
  • Gisele Bundchen
  • Jane Fonda
  • Tara Reid
  • Courtney Love
  • Michael Jackson
  • Barbara Walters
  • Bruce Jenner
  • Nicole Kidman
  • Pamela Anderson
  • Priscilla Presley
  • Kathy Griffin
  • Janice Dickinson
  • Patricia Heaton
  • Sharon Osbourne
  • Dolly Parton
  • Jessica Simpson
  • Wayne Newton
  • Cher
  • Kim Catrall
  • Simon Cowell
  • David Hasselhoff

and many more.

Despite public criticism for condoning "altered looks," Hollywood has remained largely silent about the issue.

The Hollywood Sign is filled with promise for most actors but it is also an ominous sign for others.
The Hollywood Sign is filled with promise for most actors but it is also an ominous sign for others. | Source

Hollywood, the True Meaning of "Survival of the Fittest"

Hollywood is like any other business where everything is "cut throat" and competitive-driven. However, the difference lies in the employees (the actors and actresses) who not only have to work hard but they have to play the game of looking young and beautiful.

Hollywood wants to keep a "youthful and beautiful appearance" at all times and if there is anything that might alter that landscape, it quickly disposes it without mercy.

At the same time, the actors and actresses have to survive a gauntlet of temptation and hedonism, a place where money and power reign. Only the strong individuals who refuse to be seduced by Hollywood will survive. These are the actors and actresses who have a better perspective on ignoring the Hollywood excess and know when to "get out" of the business when "their time has come."

Only a handful "make it big" and are in the "A and B-list" category (e.g. George Clooney, Angelina Jolie/Brad Pitt, Wil Smith, Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Aniston). The others are mostly in the "C and D-list" who find some work but barely enough to sustain a career. Then, there are the ones in the lower category who had a little work but continue to struggle, "chasing the dream." Like in life, the success stories are few but to the majority of actors in the D-and below list, who work in restaurants, bars, hotels, and other establishments near Hollywood, dream that an opportunity would open for him or her but it never comes.

In the end, the few lucky survivors escape with their sanity and careers intact while the unfortunate ones evolve into life-long substance abuse addicts or become victims of an untimely death.

This is the sad reality of Hollywood today.


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    • Sheri Faye profile image

      Sheri Dusseault 

      6 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      I agree with you on a culture based on superficial values. What really worries me is the message it send to our young girls who try to live up to the impossible standards of photo shopped beauty. Maybe that is why there are so many eating disorders for young women. Great hub!


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