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7 Actresses Who Died Too Young

It’s always sad to see an actress pass on, but even more tragic when they leave us too soon.

Life can be a lottery and sometimes even the most talented and gifted of actresses can’t escape death, be it from health issues or murder or suicide. Here is AboutHer’s list of actresses who died too young as they still had so much more to give the world before departing the mortal stage.

1 of 7

Gilda Radner
As one of the original cast members of Saturday Night Live, Radner made herself known on the classic comedy skit show with her remarkably funny and obnoxious character of Roseanne Roseannadanna. She also appeared in a handful of comedy films with Hanky Panky (1982) and Haunted Honeymoon (1986), both of which she starred alongside her husband Gene Wilder. After many health issues, however, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and passed away after a long fight. She died in 1989 at the age of 42 with Wilder by her side.

2 of 7

Brittany Murphy
Singing, dancing and acting since she was a little girl, Brittany Murphy worked as hard as she could to stay in the spotlight. She got her big break in Clueless (1995) and continued to star in many films including 8 Mile (2002), Uptown Girls (2003) and Sin City (2005). She even had a regular gig as the voice actress of Luanne on TV’s King of the Hill, playing the role for 13 seasons. She unfortunately had a big drug problem which made it tougher for her to find movie roles as she grew older. In 2009, she was found dead in her home from pneumonia and drugs at the age of 32.

3 of 7

Lana Clarkson
Clarkson is best known as a B-movie legend in such Roger Corman fantasy epics as Deathstalker (1983), Barbarian Queen (1985) and Wizards of the Lost Kingdom II (1989). In 2003, she went over to record producer Phil Spector’s mansion after a night at the House of Blues and was shot dead by him. According to limo driver who heard the shot from outside, Spector came outside and said that he thought he shot her, reasoning that her death was an accidental suicide. He was tried and convicted for the murder of Clarkson, dead at age 40.

4 of 7

Dana Plato
Plato is best known from television as Kimberly on Diff'rent Strokes, but she also had small movie roles in California Suite (1978) and Prime Suspect (1989). Her career did not go very well as she suffered drug addiction, alcoholism and financial problems. In 1999, she went on The Howard Stern radio show where she was mocked and insulted by people who did not believe she had sobered up in the last decade. A day after that interview, she committed suicide by overdosing on painkillers at the age of 34.

5 of 7

Michelle Thomas
Michelle was slowly rising up as a young star on television. She played Justine Phillips, the love interest of Theo, on The Cosby Show and Myra Monkhouse, the nerdy love interest of Steve Urkel, on Family Matters. But she unfortunately succumbed to a rare form of cancer in 1998, dying at the age of 30.

6 of 7

Heather O'Rourke
O’Rourke seemed to be a child star on the rise with a bright future ahead of her. She was discovered by Steven Spielberg, had a regular role on TV’s Happy Days and was the star of Poltergeist (1982), where she delivered the film’s most quotable bit of dialogue: “They’re here!” But in 1988, she became frightfully ill with Crohn's disease and died while in surgery at the age of 12.

7 of 7

Judith Barsi
The youngest and most tragic of all, Judith was a prominent child actor of the 1980s that met a bitter end far too early at the age of ten. She had played little girls on television in Punky Brewster and The Tracey Ullman Show, but is best remembered as the cute voices of Ducky from The Land Before Time (1988) and Anne-Marie from All Dogs Go To Heaven (1989). Both those animated films were released posthumously after Judith was murdered by her abusive father that shot his daughter, his wife and later himself.

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