Monday, December 3, 2007

15 Celebrity Suicides

Happy Monday! Kick off your week with a little sad and tragic. How terrible it must be to see suicide as the only escape from your troubles.

Jonathan Brandis
Actor (SeaQuest DSV, Ladybugs, Kate & Allie)

Brandis, 27, hanged himself in 2003 for unknown reasons, although some of his friends said he had been depressed about his faltering career. Brandis had just worked in the Bruce Willis film, Hart’s War, but his role ended up being cut completely from the movie.

Brian Keith
Actor (Family Affair, The Parent Trap, Hardcastle & McCormick)

Keith, best known as Uncle Bill in the TV series, Family Affair, died in 1997 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after being diagnosed with lung cancer. The actor was reportedly also still distraught over his daughter Daisy's suicide a year earlier.

Hugh O'Connor
Actor (In The Heat Of The Night), son of actor Carroll O'Connor.

O’Connor shot himself in 1995 at age 32. He was diagnosed with Hodgkins disease at age 16 and became addicted to drugs, and battled that addiction until his death. Moments before his suicide, O'Connor called his father to tell him that he could not beat drugs and had decided to take his own life.

Dana Plato
Actress (Diff'rent Strokes)

Plato, 34, died in Oklahoma in 1999 from a drug overdose. Authorities first thought her death was accidental, but the state medical examiner later ruled that the actress had "too high a level of drugs in her system and stomach for her death to be anything but a suicide." Plato had a history of drug and alcohol abuse and legal problems, including arrests for armed robbery and forging prescriptions.

Freddie Prinze
Actor (Chico & The Man)

Prinze died from a self-inflicted gunshot in 1977. His wife, Kathy, had recently left him because of his escalating addiction to quaaludes. In January 1977, soon after his final public appearance (at the Inaugural Ball for President Jimmy Carter), 22-year-old Prinze called his mother, friends and manager and announced that he was about to kill himself. Even though his manager arrived in time to try and stop Prinze, the actor shot himself in the head.

George Sanders
Oscar-winning British actor (All About Eve, Rebecca, The Jungle Book)

Known for playing debonair cads and providing the voice of the villainous tiger, Shere Khan, in The Jungle Book, Sanders took his own life in 1972 with an overdose of barbituates. His suicide note attritubed the action to boredom: "Dear World, I am leaving because I am bored. I feel I have lived long enough. I am leaving you with your worries in this sweet cesspool. Good luck.”

Ray Combs
Comedian, TV game show host (Family Feud)

Combs succeeded Richard Dawson in 1988 as Feud host and was an immediate success, but he was fired in 1994 when ratings began to lag. Later that same year, Combs suffered a near-fatal car accident. By 1996, the former TV star faced marital problems, financial ruin and deteriorating mental and physical health as a result of his accident. While receiving treatment at a hospital psychiatric ward, Combs hanged himself with bedsheets. He was 40.

Herve Villechaize
French actor (Fantasy Island, The Man With The Golden Gun)

Villechaize, who suffered from dwarfism, shot himself in 1993 at age 50. Best known as “Tattoo” from the TV series, Fantasy Island, Villechaize suffered from alcoholism, legal problems and a lagging career, but, according to his suicide note, chronic health problems (due primarily to his small size) ultimately caused him to take his own life.

Richard Farnsworth
Oscar-nominated actor (The Natural, The Straight Story, Comes A Horseman)

The veteran stunt man and actor was diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer in the early 90s, but in 1999, was diagnosed with terminal bone cancer. After completing his final film, The Straight Story, reportedly while in considerable pain, Farnsworth shot himself in 2000 at his New Mexico ranch.

Margaux Hemingway
Actress (Lipstick), granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway.

Hemingway, 41, died in 1996 from an overdose of sedatives. While some, including her sister, Mariel, believe her death was an accident, authorities ruled it a suicide due to the excessive amount of narcotics in her system. Once a top model, Hemingway had limited success as an actress, and suffered from public bouts of alcoholism -- including a 1988 stint at The Betty Ford Clinic -- and bulimia.

Richard Jeni
Actor, comedian (The Mask, Platypus Man, The Tonight Show)

Jeni died in 2007 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 49. After his death, Jeni’s family revealed that he had been diagnosed with “severe clinical depression” and "psychotic paranoia” just a year earlier. “He was not down or blue, he was ill,” his family’s statement read. “If you knew Richard, you could understand, this was as much a shock to those close to him as it is to his fans and colleagues.”

Charles Rocket
Actor, comedian (Moonlighting, Saturday Night Live, Dumb & Dumber)

A former SNL cast member best known for being fired after uttering an obscenity on a live 1981 broadcast, Rocket stabbed himself to death in 2005 at age 56. No reasons for his suicide are known; Rocket continued to work despite his SNL dismissal. "I'm horrified," said Chris Frantz, Rocket’s friend and co-founder of Talking Heads. "I know that Charlie had some pretty big disappointments in his life. The world of Hollywood movies and television can be pretty rough for a person."

Mary Kay Bergman
Voice actress (South Park, Beauty And The Beast, Toy Story 2)

A popular and successful voice artist, Bergman, 38, died from a gunshot in 1999 after suffering for years from a progressive anxiety disorder that she kept secret from her family and friends. “That makes it a double tragedy,” a friend said. “They (her family) feel there was nothing they could have done” to stop her. Bergman was best known as the voice of Disney’s Snow White and the majority of the female voices on South Park.

Brad Delp
Guitarist and lead singer of Boston

Delp committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning in 2007. He left a suicide note that read, “I am a lonely soul.” Delp’s fiance' told police that he “had been depressed for some time, feeling emotional (and) bad about himself.” Delp joined Boston in the mid-70s and sang on two of the band’s biggest hits, “More Than A Feeling” and “Long Time.”

Spalding Gray
Actor, writer and monologuist (The Killing Fields, Swimming To Cambodia)

Gray was found drowned in the East River in New York City two months after disappearing in January 2004. Authorities believe that the actor jumped from the Staten Island Ferry. Gray had attempted suicide several times since a car accident in 2001 left him physically and mentally debilitated, and had previously threatened to jump from the ferry. Gray’s mother committed suicide in 1967.


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