ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Entertainment and Media»
  • Celebrities

Hollywood Deaths: Celebrities Who Have Died From A Drug Overdose

Updated on April 5, 2017
angela_michelle profile image

Angela loves history and feels it is essential to our future to know the past. Without it, we are destined to repeat the past.

When you think of Hollywood, there are three things that come to mind: fame, sex, and drugs. It seems like anyone who is attracted to the fame aspect of Hollywood manages to get caught up in one of the latter two. Maybe it's less prevalent, than it appears, but too often we hear of celebrity deaths due to drug use. Why does it affect those in Hollywood? What is it about the lifestyle that causes such a large group of people to struggle? Some say it's the stress of fame; others will say it is just as rampant in regular society and that Hollywood is no different.

Corey Haim
Corey Haim | Source
Heath Ledger
Heath Ledger | Source
Anna Nicole Smith
Anna Nicole Smith | Source
Jerry Garcia
Jerry Garcia | Source
Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley | Source

This drug use brings out a poor image for our youth, and what is acceptable behavior. We can only hope that they get the message that excessive drug use can lead to death. Hollywood stars are quite notorious for their crazy antics, heavy drug use, partying, and drunkenness. Although I am sure there are the exceptions, there seems to be a higher prevalence amongst those in the public eye. That doesn't make their death less sad, or more sad for that matter. Every life is valuable, regardless of how they died, or how they lived. Each of these people were a son or a daughter, they had a mother or a father, perhaps a sister or a brother, some had children, but they ALL had someone who loved them.

Here is a brief list of others in the limelight that died before their times due to their wild lifestyles and bad choices:

Corey Haim - age 38, best known for the movie The Lost Boys. His face surfaced on almost all Teeny Bopper magazines in the eighties. Click here for more about Corey Haim.

Heath Ledger died in February 2008 - best known for acting in Brokeback Mountain and 10 Things I Hate About You. He died before he got to see his best work The Dark Knight revealed to the world. His death was considered an accidental overdose of prescription drugs.

Brad Renfro died in 2008- best known as an actor. He was best known for acting in The Client, The Cure and Tom and Huck. He died of an accidental heroin overdose.

Anna Nicole Smith whose real name was Vicky Lynn Hogan died in 2007 - best known for her Playboy stint, and her reality tv show. She died of an accidental overdose of prescription drugs.

Dana Plato died in 1999 - best known for her acting in Different Strokes. She is believed to have committed suicide by taking an overdose of a painkiller due to the large dose found in her system, as well as her history of previous suicide attempts.

Chris Farley died in 1997 - best known as a comedian and made many movies including Tommy Boy and his numerous appearances on Saturday Night Live. He died of accidental cocaine overdose.

Jerry Garcia died in 1995 of a drug related heart attack - most well known for his amazing guitarist, singer, and songwriter with the Grateful Dead. His full name is Jerome John Garcia.

Kurt Cobain passed away in 1994 after leaving rehab for drug abuse and then committing suicide. He left behind a note for his wife Courtney love and his daughter. He was best known for being the lead singer of Nirvana. Click here to read more about Kurt Cobain.

Elvis Presley aka the King died in 1977 - best known for his singing and swaying hips, but also acted in several films like Love me Tender. Although there is a long standing belief that he is not truly dead due to the hero worship many gave him. His death report states, Cardiac arrhythmia. Click here to read more about Elvis Presley.

Jim Morrison died in 1971 - best known for being a lyricist for The Doors. He was a singer, songwriter, and filmmaker. His death report states that he died of heart failure. Although it is believed that his favorite drug was LSD.

Jimi Hendrix died in 1970 - best known as a guitarist and for his distinctive clothes. He died of an accidental drug overdose. His drugs of choice were marijuana, pep pills, and cocaine. Click here for more about Jimi Hendrix.

Janis Joplin died of a heroin overdose in 1970 - and was most well known for her amazing voice.

Judy Garland born Frances Ethel Gumm died in 1969- best known for acting especially in The Wizard of Oz and repeated starring opposite Mickey Rooney. She died of an accidental overdose. Click here for more about Judy Garland.

Marilyn Monroe born Norma Jean Mortensen died in 1962 - best known for being a blond beauty who was both a singer and actress. She starred in Some Like it Hot! She grew up most of her childhood in various foster homes. She eventually died of a drug overdose. Click here for more about Marilyn Monroe.

Though I know there are many more, it is sad that so many have such a preventable death. The pressures of Hollywood may have done them in, but hopefully someday this pattern will stop. If you want to see a tribute to some of these talented women and men, there is a nice video to the bottom.

© 2010 Angela Michelle Schultz


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Joshua 3 years ago

      According to, the most common type of prescription drug abuse comes from painkillers like OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin. ePharmacies has taken up a campaign to increase awareness among prescription drug users regarding the safe usage of these drugs to promote general health among the public.

    • profile image

      karina 4 years ago

      that really sad. :(

    • mtkomori profile image

      mtkomori 5 years ago from Yokohama, Japan

      According to wikipedia, Whitney's autopsy revealed that she had multiple drugs in her system which caused her to drown in a bathtub. So sad, because her talent was obvious and when she had her big break in the mid 80s, she really seemed to "have it all".

    • angela_michelle profile image

      Angela Michelle Schultz 5 years ago from United States

      That's true, I could add them. Was Whitney Houston's confirmed as a drug overdose though?

    • mtkomori profile image

      mtkomori 5 years ago from Yokohama, Japan

      Informative and interesting! I saw the video you posted and it's really so sad that there are so many celebrities who have died from a drug overdose. Most recently, you can add to the list Amy Winehouse who passed away last summer from alcohol poisoning and Whitney Houston, who was also probably a victim of drug overdose.

    • profile image

      justin 5 years ago

      again where in the hell is layne staley on these lists? he had way more talent in his hair than kurt cobain had in his whole body. R.I.P. Layne Staley since nobody else will comment on it

    • profile image

      ruffridyer 6 years ago from Dayton, ohio

      I kinda wonder if drug use is an attempt to commit suicide by default. Anna Nicole Smith died the same day my wife suffered a massive heart attack and almost died herself. My wife died the following year.

    • profile image

      Check021 6 years ago

      Nice hub. I know, and I realized what is actually "Hollywood" since I was 15. It's sad that kids overseas grow up that slow...and beside computer,dating over internet,smoke weed and chat,and doing heroin and then go be social.Don't think that that wave didn't catch up Eastern Europe countries, like Serbia - who did really fought against "Bad Western Influence". I don't approve that policy like that is "o.k" - but , in nova-days , MAYBE i do.

      Anyway, huge respect for this , and I am your follower now,as an "ad clicker" :D

      I hope you will enjoy in mine hubs,and follow me too.

      Milanovic Boris.

    • profile image

      Darvocet Lawsuit 6 years ago

      Why do Hollywood stars are into drugs? Mostly illegal. ;-(

      Old stars or fresh in the row, today.

      Such a nice hub, thanks for sharing.

    • angela_michelle profile image

      Angela Michelle Schultz 6 years ago from United States

      Thank you for the nice compliment. And it is very sad. Especially as you see some of these up and coming stars with so much talent, losing their way with drugs. It's sad.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 6 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Your hub is eye opening. It is amazing to read about all the celebrities who have died as a result of drug overdoses.

      The immense pressure of performing and being in the public spotlight must be beyond incredible. I watched the film "Walk the Line" (again) recently; a recreation of the life of Johnny Cash. It showed some of this pressure on performers and the ready availability of substances. Sad that drugs take such a toll on these lives and those who admire them.

      BTW, I loved Heath Ledger in "A Knight's Tale" - It was a funny and loveable role for him. So sad for his untimely death.

      A belated thank you for linking to my hub on Elvis. Thank you so much. I'm very grateful.

    • angela_michelle profile image

      Angela Michelle Schultz 6 years ago from United States

      Thanks for the compliment, but it really is sad. There are so many more who are suffering from their addictions whether it be personally or professionally.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 6 years ago from Sunny Florida

      How sad that so many talented people have given in to drugs. There are more than I realized. Great hub.

    • angela_michelle profile image

      Angela Michelle Schultz 7 years ago from United States

      I'm so glad that you were able to figure it out. I guess I do know people who are users, some of them have gotten clean, for the most part, but of my close friends, they don't. Honestly, when an acquaintance has gotten into the stuff, they would usually push me away.

    • profile image

      Mike 7 years ago

      Great post guys! It seems like everyday there is a different story about Hollywood drug abuse. I do feel compassion for those in the limelight. Not only do they have to deal with their substance abuse problems, they have do it in public and absorb everyone else's critical statements. You say that it's probably more prevalent in Hollywood because you don't know anyone that does drugs. Well I can say for a fact that there are more users all around you than you might think! It really surprised me when I got into heavy using. (heroin/cocaine) I was using with respected doctors and lawyers! I've been clean for about 2 years now and feel thankful that I was finally able to figure it out.

    • angela_michelle profile image

      Angela Michelle Schultz 7 years ago from United States

      Thank you so much Valerie. I think you are right about the emotional aspect of fame. I also think that they are more exposed at a younger age, as well as have the means to live out any life they so choose, since they have almost infinite money.

    • valeriebelew profile image

      valeriebelew 7 years ago from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA

      Now, we can add Michael Jackson to the list. I think artists are highly emotional people who are more likely to seek emotional release through destructive means than say business types. That said, I believe we can find constructive ways to channel our artistic natures, and helping people learn to do so is what I studied for years to do. Great hub. Voting up and awesome. (:v

    • angela_michelle profile image

      Angela Michelle Schultz 7 years ago from United States

      Yeah he was!

      That's kind of neat. Right now my cousin has a movie being made not only in her town, but on her street. They were in her backyard, so her and her husband kept spying out the window!

    • jgw899 profile image

      jgw899 7 years ago from Santa Cruz

      Awww ! I thought he was awesome in lost boys ! That movie was made in my town of Santa Cruz.