When it comes to fame, it is always passing. One day you are famous, the next you are a nobody who is homeless. Everything depends on the work that you do and when your work starts to go downhill, people tend to forget you. There are many celebrities who were once at the peak of fame and then everything went south for them. People forgot all about them and yet when their name is mentioned, something sparks in their mind and they always tend to ask, “Whatever happened to him?” We have curated a list of 50 such stars who passed away and the world did not even take notice of the end of their lives.
Jonathan Brandis debuted as Kevin Buchanan in One Life to Live, a soap opera on ABC, and went on to become a teen idol for his roles in The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter and SeaQuest DSV. However, that is when his career started to go downhill. It caused him to suffer from depression and he ended up taking his own life.
Bill Nunn was a true superstar. He appeared in more than 70 movies and shows. Some of his most notable roles include Radio Raheem in Do The Right Thing and Robbie Robertson in the Spider-Man movie. Sadly, when he was only 62 years old, Bill Nunn died of leukemia on September 24, 2016. He never had any unhealthy habits, but there was nothing he could do.
Alexis Arquette was always known to be a hero, especially to the LGBT community. She was always fighting to support the community apart from being a talented cabaret performer, actress, and underground cartoonist. Unfortunately, she passed away on September 11, 2016, due to a sudden cardiac arrest caused by her HIV infection.
Best remembered for his role as Det Ron Harris in the hit sitcom, Barney Miller, Ron Glass appeared in numerous movies and TV Shows. He also played Derrial Book’s role in the show, Firefly, and Serenity, its sequel. Unfortunately, Ron wasn’t meant to have a long and fruitful life ahead of him when he passed away on November 25, 2016, due to respiratory complications.
The American actress, singer, and songwriter received a platinum certification for her signature song “Gloria” in 1982. Her blockbuster hits were also featured in movies like Ghostbusters and Flashdance. Tragically, she passed away on August 26, 2004 at the age of 47 due to an undiagnosed brain aneurysm.
The English actor rose to prominence as Richard Rich in A Man for All Seasons and enjoyed a career that encompassed almost five decades. He is considered to be one of the finest actors to come out of Britain. In 2015, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and eventually passed away on January 25, 2017.
Teena Marie was a singer, songwriter, and producer who received worldwide acclamation for her soulful vocals and garnered huge success in soul music and R&B. Back in 2004 and six years before her death, a large picture frame fell on her head which caused some brain damage and for her to experience seizures for the rest of her life. It was the cause of her death on December 26, 2010.
Leslie Carter was the sister of pop stars Nick and Aaron Carter, the former a member of Backstreet Boys. Even though she wasn’t as well-known as her siblings, Leslie also pursued a singing career. In 2012, she passed away because of a drug overdose on prescription drugs at the age of 25.
Pat Morita was one of the most popular and talented Asian-American actors of all time. He gained immense fame for playing Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid films. Sadly, on November 24, 2005, he died of kidney failure at the age of 73.
Corey Haim quickly became one of the most popular and biggest teen stars of the 80s, particularly for his role in the movie, The Lost Boys. He starred in many films, including Murphy’s Romance, Silver Bullet, Dream a Little Dream, and License to Drive. Haim had trouble with illegal substances and booze. He passed away on March 10, 2010 from pulmonary edema and an enlarged heart.
Appearing in movies such as Reservoir Dogs, Rush Hour, All The Right Moves, The Funeral, and At Close Range, Chris Penn quickly rose up the ladder of fame and caught the attention of the American viewers. Chris was going through treatment for heart disease and his addiction to drugs did not do his health any favors. He passed away back in 2006 at just 40 years of age due to his heart disease.
Leonard Nimoy is most famous for his role as Spock in Star Trek. The popular film director, actor, author, photographer, and singer also gained recognition for his portrayal of the title role in the film Kid Monk Baroni. His doctor diagnosed him with a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease due to a smoking addiction. He received treatment, but passed away in 2015, owing to complications of the disease.
The Swedish DJ and producer carved a niche for himself with his number “Levels” in 2011. One of the world’s biggest dance music stars, Avicii was found dead at the age of 28. He announced in 2016 that he was retiring from live concerts due to his complex medical condition, and the news of his death shocked the international dance community and his fans.
Thuy Trang attained fame playing the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers‘ original Yellow Ranger and went on to play Kali, the lead villain in The Crow: City of Angels. She tragically died from a car crash with her friend and fellow actress, Angela Rockwood. The fatal accident took place just outside San Francisco in 2001.
The popular American actress became known for her portrayal of Audrey Griswold in the comedy film, National Lampoon’s European Vacation, in 1985. Ever since she was a child, she suffered from Type 1 Diabetes and the disease was eventually the trigger that led to her death at only 32 years of age.
Nelsan Ellis became known for True Blood and also appeared as Shinwell Johnson the popular drama series, Elementary. Ellis had problems with alcohol abuse and he tried to quit drinking himself. Unfortunately, the alcohol withdrawal syndrome brought on heart failure, and he breathed his last on July 8 in 2017.
You might remember James Avery as Uncle Phil from the TV show The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. He was named as one of the 50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time. James suffered from a kidney disease, a heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and was receiving treatment, but sadly, he died from complications of a heart surgery at 68.
Michael Clarke Duncan
Michael Clarke Duncan always had the roles as the big and intimidating guy and was best known for his heart-wrenching portrayal in The Green Mile. He also appeared in many movies like The Whole Nine Yards, Armageddon, The Scorpion King, KungFu Panda, Daredevil, and Green Lantern, and had a small role in popular TV show, Two and a Half Men. Sadly, he passed away on September 3, 2012 at the age of 54 due to a heart attack.
Rolfe Ake Mikael Nyqvist, famous as Michael Nyqvist, garnered popularity with his portrayal of police officer Back in the famous Martin Beck television series. He got parts in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and John Wick. Sadly, lung cancer took him in 2017 after treatments failed to completely cure the disease.
The American actor gathered a lot of appreciation for his portrayal of Leo McGarry in The West Wing. His performance earned him a Primetime Emmy in 2002. John struggled with his addiction to alcohol but sadly, even though he committed to healthier living, he passed away on December 16, 2005 at 58 from a heart attack.
Alice Playten was an actress and singer who initiated her career with Gypsy, a Broadway musical in 1959 and appeared in several other Broadway hits such as Henry, Sweet Henry, Seussical, Hello, Dolly! Caroline, Or Change, and Oliver. She battled with juvenile diabetes and pancreatic cancer. She fought hard, but tragically, she passed away on June 25, 2011 at 63 due to heart failure.
Holly Lewis was an actress who appeared in minor roles, and her best-known project may be voice acting in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Holly passed away on June 22, 2012 at the age of 46 due to unknown circumstances, and her death is still a mystery to the public.
Marcia Wallace was a well-known actress, comedian, and voice artist who is best known for her portrayal of Carol Kester in The Bob Newhart Show. She was also famous for voicing Bart Simpson’s teacher Mrs. Krabappel and even won an Emmy award for her role. She battled with breast cancer, but unfortunately, the treatment didn’t succeed, and she died in 2013.
Sunny Johnson was recognized for her roles in the 80’s hit movie, Flashdance. She also made appearances in Charlie’s Angels and starred in films such as The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia and Dr. Heckyl and Mr.Hype. Sadly, a blood vessel burst in her brain which caused her to fall into a coma without any use of treatment or any hopes of recovery.
The American actress made her debut with Meet The Parents, landed a regular role in The Court, and also starred in CSI: Miami, Without a Trace, The Practice, Dragnet, and Monk. She died from a misdiagnosis. The doctors initially thought she suffered from bronchitis and prescribed the wrong medications, and by the time they found out it was pneumonia, it was too late.
Richard Griffiths became internationally famous for his role as Uncle Vernon in the Harry Potter films. Richard underwent treatment for heart problems but sadly passed away in 2013 due to complications from a heart surgery. He was 65 at that time.
Romi Koch was a woman shrouded in mystery. She was known as the doll in the movie Dead Doll back in 2004. Just a year later, she passed away. The public doesn’t know if she died from natural causes, addiction, or even from foul play, and all we know is that she died in 2005.
Justin Pierce was a popular British actor and a professional skateboarder and was known for his roles in the films Kids and Next Friday. Justin had a troubled childhood, and this may have caused his depression and ultimately, suicide. He hanged himself in a hotel room.
The English actor was well-known for portraying the role of Kano in the live action Mortal Kombat movie. Trevor had a terrible drug addiction and died from an overdose of different drugs on June 7, 2003.
Andrew Koenig was an actor and the son of Star Trek actor Walter Koenig. He portrayed a recurring role of Richard Stabone in Growing Pains, a popular sitcom on ABC and guest starred in 21 Jump Street and My Sister Sam. Andrew was apparently a troubled man and was found by his loved ones hanging from a tree in 2010.
Michael Jeter amazed the audience with his portrayal in television shows such as Evening Shade and Sesame Street and films such as Tango & Cash, Jurassic Park III, Waterworld, Patch Adams, and Welcome to Collinwood. He was HIV positive and received treatment early on. Sadly, on March 30, 2003 at 50 years old, Michael was found dead inside his home after suffering from an epileptic seizure.
J. T. Walsh
James Thomas Patrick Walsh starred in several films such as A Few Good Men, Miracle on 34th Street, Sling Blade, Good Morning, Vietnam, The Negotiator, and Pleasantville. While he played bad guys in the movies, he was a really good guy in real life. Sadly, Walsh died from a heart attack on February 27, 1998 at the age of 54.
Richard Attenborough was an actor, director, and producer who held the position of President at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and will always be remembered for his roles in The Great Escape, The Sand Pebbles, Jurassic Park, and Miracle on 34th Street. He suffered from heart problems and a stroke back in 2008 and due to his age and deteriorating health, he passed away on August 24, 2014.
Len Lesser was known for his roles in Kelly’s Heroes, Everybody Loves Raymond, and Seinfeld. He also starred in several TV shows like The Untouchables, The Amazing Spider-Man, Family Affair, and Boy Meets World. Len passed away on February 16, 2011 at the age of 88 from cancer-related pneumonia.
Barney Martin worked as an NYPD officer for twenty years before going into show business and then was remembered for his role as Jerry’s father in the hit sitcom, Seinfeld. Barney was diagnosed with lung cancer, and treatment for his disease extended his life for a few years, but he lost the battle in 2005 at 82.
Brittany Murphy was one of the hottest and sweetest actresses in Hollywood and debuted at Broadway with A View From The Bridge in 1997. She passed away in 2009 at the age of 32 years old, and the official cause of her death was traced to pneumonia and anemia.
Drag queen Antoine Ashley was a well-known reality TV star who also went by the name of Sahara Davenport. Sahara had an addiction to designer drugs such as ketamine, and with the help of her mother and undergoing rehab and counseling. Sadly, the drugs were too much for her body, and so she died from heart failure in 2012.
Actor and director Bill Paxton had starred in scores of films such as The Terminator, True Lies, Aliens, Edge of Tomorrow, Vertical Limit, Apollo 13, and Titanic. Unfortunately, the movie veteran had to undergo a heart and aorta surgery on February 14, 2017. Bill couldn’t survive the operation and passed away on February 25, 2017 due to a stroke.
David Graf was best known for his role of trigger-happy Sgt. Tackleberry in the movie Police Academy. We also saw him in MAS*H, Hardcastle and McCormick, The A-Team, and The Dukes of Hazzard. David died of a heart attack on April 7, 2001 during a family wedding, and it’s unclear if he had a heart disease and was going through treatment.
Wendie Jo Sperber
Wendie Jo Sperber was Marty McFly’s sister in the classic 80s movie, Back to the Future. Wendie battled breast cancer, and after undergoing intensive treatment, she went into remission, but cancer returned with a vengeance and defeated her. She succumbed to the disease on November 29, 2005 at 47.
Gina Mastrogiacomo was discovered by famous and veteran director Martin Scorsese. Gina died from a heart infection called myocarditis on May 2, 2001.
Anita Mui was an actress and singer dubbed as The Madonna Of Hong Kong, mainly because of her powerful voice and attention-grabbing performances. Anita had cervical cancer and was receiving chemotherapy treatment to fight the disease, but alas, it was a fight she didn’t win. She died on December 30, 2003 at the age of 40.
Lynne Thigpen was best known for her roles as “The Chief” in the Carmen Sandiego television series. She earned a Tony Award for her portrayal of Dr. Judith Kaufman in the famous play, An American Daughter. In 2003, Lynne died from a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 54.
James Rebhorn was a veteran actor who appeared in more than a hundred films and TV shows throughout his long career. Twelve years before his death in 2004, James was going through chemotherapy treatment for his melanoma cancer.
Malcolm McLaren was a performer, musician, clothes designer, and much more who created a space for himself in the music world with his prolific talents. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2009 called peritoneal mesothelioma and had been receiving treatment at a hospital in Sweden. A year later, he died of the disease on April 8, 2010, and 64 years old at the time of his death.
Andy came to prominence with his portrayal of Lorne in Angel and also displayed his singing talents with Angel: Live Fast, Die Never, his soundtrack album. Andrew started to have medical issues around 2005 and had tried different medical treatments for several years until his heart gave up due to a congestive cardiac failure in 2009.
His portrayal of Jesse James and Zach Crandell in Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter Is Dead made him quite famous. Just like many Hollywood stars, Pettiet had succumbed to the underground life with his drug addiction problems. His life ended after a drug overdose in 2004.
Guillaume Depardieu was the eldest son of French actor Gérard Depardieu and was known to be a fantastic actor, winning numerous awards. He starred in films such as Tous les matins du monde, Count of Monte Christo, and Les Apprentis. In 2008, Depardieu was filming one of his movies, L’Enfance d’Icare, when he contracted pneumonia.
Jean Stapleton would be best known for her portrayal of Edith Bunker in All in the Family. This lady came a long way with over 60 appearances in movies and TV series, but in 2013, at the ripe age of 90, she said her last goodbyes. Jean died of natural causes after a long and happy life.
James was prominent in the 1970s and the 1980s with appearances in American Ninja, The Delta Force, Enter the Game of Death, and The Exterminator. Unfortunately, he left too soon. He was only 41 and had a battle with pancreatic cancer behind him. Years of different medical treatments could not save his life.