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Looking at stars who died young

Last updated on: April 5, 2011 17:41 IST

Looking at stars who died young

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April 5 saw two shocking deaths on either side of the Pacific.

Kurt Cobain, the frontman of Nirvana, committed suicide by swallowing a bullet while actress Divya Bharti allegedly fell off her balcony.

There have been other instances where young talents met with sudden death, cutting short a journey that could have been richer and more inspiring. We look back and remember some of these icons.

Divya Bharti

Divya Bharti started acting in films when she was 14. She was initially noticed for the striking resemblance she had with the then reigning queen of Bollywood, Sridevi. She found commercial success with films like Vishwatma and Deewana -- the latter film introduced Shah Rukh Khan to the world.

Almost as if she had a premonition of things to come, the actress seemed to be rushing through life. After her early break in the movies, the young actress she married film producer Sajid Nadiadwala in 1992.

All went well until the midnight of April 5, 1993, when Divya allegedly fell from her Versova apartment. She was only 19. Speculation is rife about her sudden death, and it's still not certain if it was an accident, suicide or murder.


Image: Divya Bharti

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Kurt Cobain

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Nirvana founder and frontman Kurt Cobain was not just a rocker who made it big, he had become a phenomenon.

Back in the early 1990s when the band's iconic songs like Smells Like Teen Spirit and Come As You Are released, it seemed like teen angst and rebellion had finally found a spokesperson.

Kurt had had his share of troubles with drugs but no one guessed that would eventually lead to his death.

On April 5, 1994, he was found dead in his house with a gun in one hand and a suicide note in the other. He was 27.


Image: Kurt Cobain
Photographs: Frank Micelotta/Getty Images
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Heath Ledger

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Australian actor Heath Ledger moved to Hollywood to develop his acting career and showed immense promise with his witty turn of an outlaw student in 10 Things I Hate About You, followed by a promising supporting role in the romantic film Monster's Ball. He shined through the poignant portrayal of a closest gay cowboy in Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain and proved his acting prowess.

Fans and critics were certain that Heath was destined for great things. Unfortunately, the talented actor died because of an accidental overdose of drugs just weeks before his film The Dark Knight was to be released. He was 28.

He received an Oscar for his portrayal of the menacing Joker in the film posthumously.


Image: Heath Ledger
Photographs: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images
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Smita Patil

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Smita Patil emerged as an actress to be reckoned with, thanks to parallel cinema and Shyam Benegal.

After her breakout role in Benegal's Nishant, she delivered many more power-packed performances in films like Mandi, Bhumika and Arth. She gained commercial success as well with films like Shakti and Namak Halaal.

Her career, however, was cut short when she succumbed to child birth complications after having Prateik -- an actor to reckon with today -- in 1986. She was 31.


Image: Smita Patil

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Bruce Lee

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Bruce Lee, a Chinese American actor from Hong Kong, was considered one of the greatest martial arts exponents of all time.

He is credited with popularizing the martial arts in the west by showcasing his skills in many Hollywood films. But before he could expand his body of work, he died as a result of hypersensitivity to a certain medicine he was being administered at that time. He was 32.

Given his iconic status, there are many conspiracy theories still doing rounds about his death.


Image: Bruce Lee

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Brittany Murphy

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American actress Brittany Murphy rose to fame with films like Clueless, Girl Interrupted and the noir graphic film by Robert Rodriguez Sin City.

The actress died of a supposed cardiac arrest when she collapsed in her bathroom on December 20, 2009. She was 32.


Image: Brittany Murphy
Photographs: David Livingston/Getty Images
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Marilyn Monroe

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Marilyn Monroe was born in abject poverty but was determined to write her own destiny. After spending her childhood in foster care, she took up modelling and subsequently graduated to films.

The rest, as they say, is history.

With films like The Seven Year Old Itch, Some Like It Hot and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Marilyn proved her mettle as an actress. But what truly made her iconic was her sex appeal.

Coveted by men all around the world, Marilyn, however, died alone. Many reports hint at foul play and don't consider her death as suicide. She was 36.


Image: Marilyn Monroe
Photographs: Baron/Getty Images
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Madhubala

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Even today, Madhubala is considered the most beautiful actress to have graced the Indian silver screen. The beautiful actress captured the nation's imagination with films like Mr and Mrs 55, Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi and the magnum opus, Mughal-e-Azam.

Loved by colleagues and her audiences alike, the actress suffered from a heart illness and succumbed to it soon after in 1969. She was 36.


Image: Madhubala

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Silk Smitha

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The name Silk Smitha instantly conjures up the image of a sex-starved trophy wife from Sadma, who goes to great extents to entice the object of desire. The siren from down south fuelled a million imaginations with her raunchy portrayals in films.

The actress died in 1996 of depression, reportedly caused by financial problems, disillusionment in love and alcoholism. She was 36.


Image: Silk Smitha

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Meena Kumari

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Known as the 'tragedy queen' of Hindi films, Meena Kumari rose to fame with her portrayals of tragedy-stricken women and the way they deal with their circumstances.

Her notable performances inlcude Pakeezah, Phool Aur Patthar and Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai. She found success in films but love and happiness eluded her in real life.

Unfortunately, her screen persona spilled over in her real life when she died due to alcoholism in 1972. She was 39.


Image: Meena Kumari

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