13 Child Stars Who Tragically Died Young


13 Child Stars Who Tragically Died Young

Growing up, we all dreamed of being TV or movie stars, but that was only because we didn't understand the pressure of being in the spotlight.

As a child star you miss the chance to grow up like a regular person, and that can really complicate your life.

There's lots of pressure to look and act a certain way, plus your schedule is totally hectic. These child stars learned that the hard way, because in many cases their grueling experiences in show business probably contributed to their early deaths.

1. Brittany Murphy

Real Style Network

This actress had roles on TV shows like Boy Meets World before starring in Clueless, but sadly she died from pneumonia at age 32.

2. Judith Barsi

Lighting Their Way Home

We've written before about the sad case of this voice actress for the Land Before Time series who was murdered by her father when she was only 10 years old.

3. Anton Yelchin

The Wrap

This Star Trek actor died in a freak accident when his car's parking break malfunctioned, pinning him against a wall. He was only 27.

4. Sawyer Sweeten

TV Guide

Sawyer played one of Ray Romano's twins on the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, alongside his twin brother Sullivan. He committed suicide when he was just 19.

5. Jonathan Brandis


This teen heartthrob from seaQuest committed suicide at age 27.

6. Matthew Garber

Woman's Day

Garber, who played one of the Banks children in the Disney classic Mary Poppins, died of pancreatitis when he was only 21.

Click the next page to learn about 7 more stars who left us too soon.

These cases are all tragic, but it's worth remembering that lots of child lead long, happy lives, either in the spotlight or out of it.

While some, like the original Annie, are happy to leave Hollywood, others spend their whole lives living up to their early roles.

Whatever the case, these child stars live on in our hearts and in their memorable performances.

7. Dana Plato


Like many child stars, Plato lead a troubled life after leaving her show, Diff'rent Strokes. She died of a drug overdose at age 34.

8. River Phoenix


The older brother of actor Joaquin Phoenix died from a drug overdose at age 23.

9. Heather O'Rourke


You may remember this child star as Carol Anne from Poltergeist. Unfortunately, her career was cut short at age 12 when she died during a routine surgery.

10. Gary Coleman

NBC News

The Diff'rent Strokes star lead a troubled life after his early success, and died from a brain hemorrhage at age 42.

11. Bobby Driscoll


Driscoll was an early child star famous for films like The Song of the South and Treasure Island, but he died poor and unknown. He died age 31, was buried in an unmarked grave and was unidentified for nearly 2 years, when his mother went looking for him.

12. Josh Ryan Evans


Known for his role on the soap opera Passions, Evans was born with a disease that kept him from growing. He died aged 20 from a heart condition.

13. Corey Haim


As one of the "two Coreys," Haim was one of the biggest heartthrobs of the 80s. He died at age 38 from pulmonary congestion.

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