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Rediff.com  » Movies » Paul Walker, Marilyn Monroe, Bruce Lee: Stars who died before 40

Paul Walker, Marilyn Monroe, Bruce Lee: Stars who died before 40

December 03, 2013 16:36 IST

Paul Walker, Marilyn Monroe, Bruce Lee: Stars who died before 40

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The Fast And The Furious star Paul Walker, who died on December 1, had just celebrated his 40th birthday on September 12 this year.

His life was cut short by a horrific car crash that was followed by an explosion of sorts.

There have been many Hollywood celebrities under 40, who have passed into the ages, due to causes ranging from drug overdose to accidents.

We take a look.

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Image: Paul Walker
Photographs: Paul Walker/Facebook

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Anna Nicole Smith

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American model, actress and television personality Anna Nicole Smith rose to fame as Playboy magazine's 1993 Playmate of the Year.

While she never found success as an actress -- she made her acting debut with screwball comedy The Hudsucker Proxy in 1994 -- she led a largely troubled life until her death at 37 in 2007, caused by prescription drug overdose.

Her 20-year-old son Daniel had passed away only a few months before her, leaving her devastated.


Image: Anna Nicole Smith
Photographs: Bradely Bower/ REUTERS

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Marilyn Monroe

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Actress Marilyn Monroe, one of the most glamorous Hollywood actresses of all time, was found dead in her Los Angeles home in 1962. She was 36.

While several conspiracy theories hinted at murder, the official coroner report cited drug overdose resulting from 'probable suicide' as the cause of death.


Image: Marilyn Monroe


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Ryan Dunn

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US reality television personality and actor Ryan Dunn died at 34 in June 2011 after his Porsche veered off the road and hit a tree.

The police report stated that speed may have been a contributing factor in the accident while the toxicology report showed that Dunn's blood-alcohol level was twice over the permissible limit. 


Image: Ryan Dunn
Photographs: Jim Ruymen /Reuters
Tags: Ryan Dunn , US

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Brittany Murphy

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Actress Brittany Murphy, who passed away in 2009 after collapsing in her bathroom, was dead by the time she was brought to the hospital following a cardiac arrest.

She was 32 at the time.


Image: Brittany Murphy
Photographs: Mario Anzuon/Reuters

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Bruce Lee

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The most legendary martial artist of all time in Hollywood, Bruce Lee passed away in 1973, reportedly after he took a painkiller for his nagging headache. He was 32.

According to medical reports, he died from an allergic reaction to one of the components in the painkiller but the doctor who was treating him ruled that possibility out.

Bruce Lee's death, ever since, has been surrounded by several conspiracy theories. 


Image: Bruce Lee on a stamp to mark at a post office in Zhengzhou, China
Photographs: Reuters

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Cory Montieth

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Glee star Cory Montieth, 31, who had his own share of run-ins with drugs, overdosed on Heroin and alcohol and was found dead in his hotel room in Vancouver in July this year.

Montieth, who was dating his Glee costar Lea Michelle, had checked himself into a treatment facility for substance addiction in March this year.


Image: Cory Montieth
Photographs: Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for Chrysalis

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Heath Ledger

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Twenty eight-year-old Australian actor Heath Ledger was found dead -- following an accidental overdose of prescription medicines -- in his apartment by his housekeeper and masseuse in January 2008.

He received an Oscar posthumously for his exceptional turn as The Joker in Christopher Nolan's widely feted Batman film The Dark Knight.


Image: Heath Ledger
Photographs: Lucas Jackson/Reuters

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James Dean

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James Dean, who went on to become a cultural icon for teens of his generation and posterity, passed away in 1955 following a car crash at the young age of 24.

A common fixture on Best Actor lists even today, Dean was the first actor to receive a posthumous Oscar nomination for Best Actor for East Of Eden and remains the only actor to have had two posthumous acting nominations --  the second one came a year later for his role in Giant.



Image: James Dean


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River Phoenix

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Like his Oscar-nominated younger brother Joaquin Phoenix, River was a gifted actor who passed into the ages at 23 following mysterious convulsions and seizures at a 1993 party that was also attended by Joaquin and their sister Rain and good friend Johnny Depp.

A popular actor and activist of his time, he was often likened with James Dean owing to their cinematic work and early deaths.


Image: River Phoenix
Photographs: Wikimedia Commons/Alan Light

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