Actors You May Not Know Are Dead

jonathan brandis

Jonathan Brandis was a staple of TV for a long time, appearing on "Blossom," "The Wonder Years," and "Murder, She Wrote." When "SeaQuest 2032" was cancelled, he fell into depression, and injuries from a suicide attempt resulted in his death at 27.

brad renfro

Brad Renfro shot to fame as a child in "The Client," and he immediately turned that into more roles in "Ghost World," "Sleepers," and "The Informers." Unfortunately, he also had substance abuse and legal problems, and he overdosed and died at 25.

brittany murphy

"Clueless" launched the career of Brittany Murphy, but she never got the level of fame she likely could have achieved. She died at 32 from a combination of drug intoxications, anemia, and pneumonia. Her husband died in the same house five months later, possibly due to toxic mold.

heather o'rourke

The little girl from "Poltergeist" could never outshine her performance from the horror film that made her famous. She appeared in "Poltergeist III" before dying at 12 from cardiac arrest during surgery.

dana plato

Dana Plato was best known as Kimberly on "Diff'rent Strokes," but the network terminated her contract when she became pregnant. She developed drug and alcohol addictions before dying in her home at 35 from an overdose.

harold ramis

Although well known for his role in "Ghostbusters," Harold Ramis was a prominent writer and director. His work behind the scenes included "Stripes" and "Caddyshack." He died from an autoimmune disease at the age of 70.

Skye McCole Bartusiak

Sky McColle Bartusiak caught everyone's eye in "The Patriot" before appearing in "Don't Say a Word" and "The Cider House Rules." Although she suffered from seizures and it looked like that may have been her cause of death, a coroner determined that she overdosed.

lisa robin kelly

"That 70s Show" featured many memorable characters, not the least of which was Laurie. Although her character stole the show several times, Lisa Robin Kelly's issues with addiction caused her to get fired. An accidental overdose killed her at 43.

Michael Clarke Duncan

Michael Clarke Duncan's commanding presence warmed everyone's heart when he appeared on their screens. He earned an Oscar nomination for "The Green Mile" and continued to work before dying of a heart attack at 54.

Taylor negron

Flip through channels long enough and you're bound to catch Taylor Negron on an episode of "Seinfeld" or "Friends," as well as his many film appearances through several decades. He died at 57 after fighting liver cancer.

"Rowdy" roddy piper

After making pro wrestling mainstream in the '80s, Roddy Piper conquered Hollywood with the help of John Carpenter's "They Live." He continued making wrestling and acting appearances until he died in his sleep in 2015.

sage stallone

Sylvester Stallone brought in his real-life son, Sage, to play Rocky Jr. in the fifth "Rocky" film. Sage never stopped working, but coronary artery disease seeped in and took his life at 36.

bernie mac

Bernie Mac started as one of the Original Kings of Comedy, but eventually he broke out on his own, with memorable roles in "Friday," "Ocean's Eleven," and "Bad Santa." His Fox sitcom ran for five seasons, and shortly after it ended, Mac died from pneumonia complications at 50.

Richard Attenborough

Richard Attenborough established a career decades before his instantly recognizable role as John Hammond in "Jurassic Park." He won two Golden Globe acting awards and directed many other projects before dying at 90.

Gary Coleman

It was impossible to not recognize Gary Coleman for his memorable lines and younger characters despite his age. His autoimmune kidney disease required constant treatment, and he eventually died after falling in his home at 42.

chris penn

Although his older brother Sean was (and is) much more famous, Chris Penn burst onto the scene as Nice Guy Eddie in Quentin Tarantino's first major film, "Reservoir Dogs." He also appeared in "Mulholland Falls and "Rush Hour" before dying at 40, having struggled with drugs.

richard griffiths

Richard Griffiths has a legendary career, but no role was bigger for him than that of Vernon Dursley, Harry Potter's surly uncle. He also appeared in "Superman II," "Sleepy Hollow," and "Hugo." Complications from heart surgery ended his life at 65.

james avery

James Avery became everyone's uncle thanks to "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." He also lent his voice to many animated projects, including "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" as Shredder. He died at 68 from complications that followed heart surgery.

richard harris

Before he became Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore, Richard Harris' career spanned film, stage, and TV. He was only able to play the role twice before he succumbed to Hodgkin's disease at 72.

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Actors You May Not Know Are Dead