This week we learned of the passing of Whitney Houston, one of the most talented singers of this generation, and a pop icon that ruled the charts in the 1980's and 1990's. She was considered America's sweetheart before Jennifer Aniston came on the scene and took that mantra. However, despite her raging popularity and talent, and despite her good girl image, she married someone considered very much her opposite (Bobby Brown) and later in life admitted to her crack cocaine addiction. Despite the rumors surrounding her death, her family said today that her death was a result of drugs and alcohol, according to TMZ.
It makes me wonder why some of the most talented people throw their lives away and check out way too early like her. As you think about the excesses of famous people, just remember that we have seen this before.
Here is a list of some of the best talent in years that tossed it all away because of drug and alcohol abuse:
John Belushi: There were stories that after SNL rehearsals, Belushi would walk unannounced into nearby homes of friends or strangers exhausted, scrounging for food, and often falling asleep unable to be located for the next day's work. He starred in the Blues Brothers and Animal House.
He was found dead on March 5, 1982 due to a speedball, the combined injection of cocaine and heroin.
Jim Morrison: Lead singer of The Doors. Having struggled with with both drug and alcohol abuse throughout his life, Jim Morrison died of a heart attack triggered by an accidental heroin overdose at the age of 27.
Brittany Murphy: Actress in films such as 8 Mile, Girl Interrupted, Sin City, and Clueless. She collapsed in her bathroom on December 20, 2009. The primary cause was pneumonia, with secondary factors of iron-deficiency anemia and multiple drug intoxication.
The drug overdose is what did her in, as vomit was found all around the surrounding areas where her body was discovered.
Chris Farley: Famous SNL alum and star of multiple comedic hits such as Tommy Boy, Black Sheep, Beverly Hills Ninja, and the Wayne's World movies. He died December 18, 1997 at the age of 33 from cocaine and heroin overdose...just like John Belushi.
Dana Plato: The lead female role of Differnt Strokes in the 1980's, Plato fell into a life of drugs and pornography. She overdosed on prescription medication on May 8, 1999, a couple years after she was found with no work in Vegas and having gone to jail for robbing a video store.
Jimi Hendrix: Everyone probably has a copy of his album "Are You Experienced." A drug-drenched life of rock and roll finally led to a respiratory arrest caused by alcohol, barbituate, and vomit inhalation on September 18, 1970.
Corey Haim: The star from the 1980's was in hit movies such as Silver Bullet, The Lost Boys, Dream A Little Dream, Lucas and License to Drive. He was later just as well known for his drug abuse and angry tirades as he was for his movies. He died on March 10, 2010 from pneumonia, with many believing his past drug addiction caused a weakened immune system.
There are too many talented comedians, musicians and actors that have checked out way too early because of their own excesses, too many to list here. You would think that lessons would be learned, but alas we'll only have the chance to wonder who's next in line for a sad ending.