Can You Identify All of These Celebrities Who Died Too Young?



By: Olivia Cantor

7 Min Quiz

Image: Warner Bros.

About This Quiz

Since celebrities and public figures get immortalized in our culture, just how long do we expect them to live out their human years? 

According to the World Health Organization, the average life expectancy of a human being these days is 72 years. So, it's no surprise to see the likes of Tom Cruise, Madonna or Sylvester Stallone still doing things the way they've been doing them all these decades. Never mind if they've already hit or are about to hit the 50, 60 or 70 mark. Never mind if you're aging with them as you witness them sing their heart out, act their guts out, or jump into action scenes as if there's no body double being used. This is how pop culture immortalizes our favorite silver screen, TV and music celebrities. We can always rewind the decades and watch their early works, again and again. Or, we can eagerly wait for their newer works and see how these will accommodate their aging talents.

But what about those unlucky ones who got immortalized early on but who also went on ahead earlier than most? These public figures belong to a different category altogether. Since they died young, they got forever preserved in ways that defy time, age and beauty. Their influential music lives on in the hearts of fans. Their movies and TV shows become time machines that take us back to forgotten days and ways. Their life's legacy is also one for the books — the history books. But unlike lessons we skip in class, we revisit these people and their works like long-forgotten friends.

Can you name these famous figures? Can you still recall their contributions? Open up the quiz and see! 

She sang "Happy birthday, Mr. President" to that politician who also died young. What was her name?

Second ex-husband Joe DiMaggio was the one who took care of Marilyn Monroe's funeral services at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery when she died in 1962. The two divorced in 1955. She got divorced from third husband Arthur Miller prior to her death.


This "Fast and Furious" actor sadly died of a car crash. Know his name?

People noted the sad irony of Paul Walker dying because of a car crash when he made a name for himself by starring in car race films. He was 40 years old at the time of his death. His family cremated his remains.


"The day the music died" refers to his death. Who was this rock 'n' roll legend?

A line from Don McLean's classic 1971 hit "American Pie" featured the line "the day the music died." That day was February 3,1959, when a charter plane crashed, killing early rock 'n' roll artists Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson (aka The Big Bopper).


Grunge fans mourned upon learning of his death at the height of his fame. Who was this musician?

When two unorthodox rockers marry each other, they can produce strange stuff and get away with it. For example, Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love took a sonogram and included it in the design of a Nirvana single's cover.


This "Brokeback Mountain" star broke hearts when he went too soon. Can you name him?

Australian-born Heath Ledger died in New York City when he was 28 years old. He separated from partner Michelle Williams before his death. His body was cremated and brought back to his hometown of Perth where they interred it in Karrakatta Cemetery.


"SNL" fans mourned upon learning of his passing at age 33. Who was this genius comedian?

The great comedian John Belushi was one of the original comedians on "Saturday Night Live" when it first aired, which also included his good friend Dan Aykroyd. Their longtime collaboration later led to the successful film "The Blues Brothers."


He lit our fires as The Doors' frontman. Do you know him?

Jim Morrison was taking some time off from his musical career when he died. At the time of his death, he was staying in France, so he was interred in the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. Speculations abound regarding the real cause of his death because French officials didn't perform an autopsy on his body.


Can you name this "Rebel Without A Cause"?

If it doesn't feel too eerie for you to visit a site where a famous person died, you can cruise along SR 46 in California to visit the James Dean Memorial Junction along the way. There's a commemorative marker there near the spot where the actor's Porsche 550 Spyder crashed back in 1955.


Kung-Fu became popular the moment he graced screens doing it. Who was this skilled fighter?

Bruce Lee already made a name for himself as Hong Kong's action star hero before Hollywood beckoned and made a star out of him and his martial arts skills. If you want to find his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, it's near the facade of Madame Tussaud's, along Hollywood Boulevard.


Through song, he encouraged us to "Get Up, Stand Up" for our rights. Do you know him?

The most recognizable face of reggae music worldwide belongs to Bob Marley. His signature '70s hits include "Jamming," "Get Up, Stand Up," "Iron Lion Zion" and the favorite of many brokenhearted beach bums, "No Woman, No Cry."


She was an international celebrity even though she didn't work in the entertainment industry. Do you know this royal lady?

Princess Diana's death brought the paparazzi problem to the spotlight since several photographers tailed her car before its crash. She was inside a Mercedes with friend Dodi Fayed when their driver lost control. The accident took place in Paris in 1997. She was just 36 years old when she died.


He made a mark as a "Star Trek" reboot film star before an accident beamed him up from us. What was his name?

Originally from Leningrad (now known as St. Petersburg), Russia, Anton Yelchin died from a freak accident in front of his California home in 2016. His Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled down and trapped him between a pillar. He was only 27 years old during that time.


They wanted her to go to rehab but she said "no, no, no." Can you name her?

If you find yourself visiting London, head to Camden Town where they erected a bronze statue of Amy Winehouse. It's somewhere in the Stables Market area, so it's hard to miss. The singer lived near there in Camden Square where she died of alcohol poisoning at age 27.


She wasn't "2proud 2beg" back in the '90s. Who was this singer-rapper?

Lisa Lopes supplied the rap verses as Left Eye, the third member of the '90s group TLC; the other two were Tionne Watkins, or T-Boz, and Rozonda Thomas, or Chilli. She was driving a Mitsubishi Montero, and swerved to avoid hitting an oncoming car. She was thrown out of the window because she wasn't wearing a seat belt.


His talent flowed in Hollywood but dried up early. Can you name this BFF of Johnny Depp?

If you're in West Hollywood, walk along Sunset Boulevard and stop in front of The Viper Room. Outside the club's entrance was the spot where young actor River Phoenix suddenly collapsed and had convulsions back in 1993. Johnny Depp owned this club during that time.


As a musician, she was on "Top of the World" when she suddenly left us. What was her name?

Unhealthy body image issues affecting women became a prominent topic upon the death of Karen Carpenter in the early '80s. She died from complications of the eating disorder called anorexia nervosa. The CBS TV movie "The Karen Carpenter Story" highlighted the problems that led to her death.


"Glee" fans felt gloomy when the news of his death broke out. What was his name?

It's sad to note that two "Glee" stars died very young: Cory Monteith and Mark Salling. Monteith, pictured here, had a heroin-related death in 2013 while Salling took his own life before facing sentencing due to a child pornography case.


At her best, she was love. Who was this '90s R&B girl?

The "Queen of Urban Pop" Aaliyah died in a plane crash in the Bahamas in 2001. In 2002, her last film, entitled "Queen of the Damned," premiered worldwide. While the film got panned by critics, it was a bit creepy, since the role she played was the undead vampire named Akasha.


Her brilliant acting chops stretched from comedy to drama. Can you name this thespian?

She was the funny "sidekick friend" Tai in "Clueless," and she was also the bulimic cutter Daisy in "Girl, Interrupted." This acting range showed how versatile Brittany Murphy could get when given varied roles. She was only 32 when she died in 2009.


We can't "bailar la bamba" anymore when he danced away from us. Who was this early rock 'n' roll great?

Another musician included in "the day the music died" incident that killed Buddy Holly was Ritchie Valens. His first big hit was "La Bamba" and he had another hit called "Donna." The other star in that plane crash was The Big Bopper, who sang "Chantilly Lace."


Madonna mentioned her in "Vogue" as the "picture of a beauty queen." Who was this stellar beauty?

Jean Harlow was the "Blonde Bombshell" of 19'30s Hollywood. Her kidneys failed when she was just 26 years old, leading to conditions that contributed to her death. She was unable to finish shooting her film with Clark Gable, called "Saratoga," so they used acting doubles for her.


"Dream a Little Dream" of this "Lost Boy" of the '80s. Know this actor?

Kids who grew up in the '80s are familiar with The Two Coreys, namely Corey Feldman and Corey Haim. Feldman is still active in showbiz today, but Haim died in 2010. He was 38 at the time and was living with his mother in California.


This legendary baseball superstar died of a disease they later named after him. Do you know this player?

New York Yankees fans of the '20s and '30s rooted for Lou Gehrig, also known as "The Iron Horse." In 1939, he announced his retirement upon learning of his diagnosis of ALS, which is now known as "Lou Gehrig's disease."


She took another little piece of our hearts when she died in the '70s. What was her name?

The openly bisexual singer Janis Joplin unfortunately belongs to the infamous "27 Club," or a group of famous musicians who all died at the age of 27. The original Rolling Stones founder Brian Jones and The Doors' Jim Morrison are in this club, too.


Before JLo hit it big, she was the big name in Tejano music. Name her, por favor!

The Mexican-American entertainment scene treated Selena as the "Tejano Madonna" due to her popularity in that music industry. Unfortunately, a former manager shot her during an argument, and the 23-year-old singer died from her wounds. Jennifer Lopez played Selena in a 1997 biopic.


"Tommy Boy" was also a "Beverly Hills Ninja" back in the '90s. Know this comedian?

Comedian Chris Farley got famous on "Saturday Night Live," but the show's producers also suspended him several times because of his drug abuse problem. The 33-year-old actor-comedian died from a speedball overdose in 1997. This dangerous concoction is responsible for the deaths of many celebrities.


Rappin' "Straight Outta Compton," he tasted success before succumbing to AIDS complications. What was his name?

The 2015 biopic "Straight Outta Compton" chronicled the rise to fame of pioneering gangsta rap group N.W.A. The story also highlighted member Eazy-E's medical condition as he tested positive for HIV. He was 30 years old when he died in 1995.


Like father, like son, this legend's offspring also died young. Do you know him?

Brandon Lee's death sparked controversy in Hollywood because he was shot with an improperly prepared prop gun. The scene they were shooting was for his film "The Crow." The filmmakers used CGI effects to finish the film without him.


She became more of a celebrity because of her Charles Manson "connection." Do you know this actress?

Charles Manson's name became bigger than Sharon Tate's because his cult followers killed the actress. This case gave him prominence in the media and revealed his cult following. Sharon Tate was controversial director Roman Polanski's wife; she was pregnant with his baby when she was killed.


"Imagine" what this Beatle could still produce if he lived past 40. Name this legend!

Mark Chapman cited novelist J.D. Salinger's "The Catcher in the Rye" as a kind of inspiration-manifesto for killing John Lennon. Murdered in 1980, the former Beatles member was 40 years old.


Country music fans were so lonesome they could cry when this musician died at age 29. Do you know him?

Even though Hank Williams died at the young age of 29, he had forged a strong career in the country music industry, which made him a pillar of the genre. Some of his most popular songs include "Your Cheatin' Heart" and "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry."


He let us experience some "Purple Haze" before making his final bow on earth. Name this rocker!

Another member of the so-called "27 Club," Jimi Hendrix died at the age of 27 in 1970. The U.K. honored him with a blue plaque, indicating his place of residence, at 23 Brook Street in London.


This Sex Pistols guy helped blast punk to global stardom. What was his name?

Sid Vicious is arguably more famous due to his biopic, "Sid and Nancy," which was about his destructive relationship with American Nancy Spungen, than for his role in the Sex Pistols. Gary Oldman portrayed the notorious rocker while Chloe Webb starred as Nancy.


She was the face of Guess in the '90s before her death left people guessing. Who was this beauty?

Former Playboy playmate Anna Nicole Smith transitioned to modeling when she was featured in a Guess ad campaign. She became infamous when her romance with an 89-year-old billionaire hit the tabloids. She died from prescription drug overdose in 2007 at the age of 39.


He knew "how to party in the city of L.A."before being gunned down. Can you name this gangsta rapper?

In true gangster style, rapper Tupac Shakur got into an altercation with gang members which led to his death. An investigation concluded that he was murdered as an act of revenge for beating one of those gang members. The shootout happened in Las Vegas in 1996, leaving Shakur dead at age 25.


As the INXS frontman, he was a "New Sensation" in the '80s and '90s before bowing out. What was his name?

U2's 2001 hit "Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of" was referring to INXS singer Michael Hutchence's death in 1997. He was a close friend of Bono, so the Irishman wrote it for this Australian who took his own life when he was 37 years old.


Don't cry for her if you remember this South American political figure. "The Lady's Got Potential" all right but what was her name?

The notoriously lavish lifestyle of Argentine First Lady Eva Peron became the inspiration for the hit musical "Evita" by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. She died of cervical cancer in 1952 at the age of 33.


He was "Surfin' USA" with his brothers before he died of drowning. What was his name?

The Beach Boys' drummer, Dennis Wilson, died of drowning in December 1983 when he tried to retrieve things he threw out from his yacht. His special wish of being buried in the sea got granted by the government. The U.S. Coast Guard oversaw the ceremony and handling of the event in January 1984.


If he were "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay" that day, he wouldn't have died right away. Can you name this singing legend?

Too many musical greats died in airplane crashes. Soul/R&B legend Otis Redding's plane crashed in Wisconsin in 1967. He was flying from Cleveland to go from one gig to another when the accident happened; he was only 26 years old.


The Bee Gees mourned his death closely. What was his name?

People sometimes confuse Andy Gibb as a member of the original Bee Gees; he wasn't. The youngest Gibb brother had a solo singing career apart from his brothers' group career; but he wasn't able to maintain this status due to bouts of depression and drug abuse. He was 30 when he died in 1988.


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