They Died Too Soon

By | Jan 24, 2008

When I put together today’s 6 Things to Consider it originally was going to be some information on the California Gold Rush, but after learning of the death of Actor Heath Ledger, I thought I would change to a list of people who died before their time. Check back tomorrow for the piece on the California Gold Rush.

Rudolph Valentino was one of the most popular stars of Silent Films in the 1920’s. When he died at the age of 31 in 1926, it is estimated that 100,000 people attended his funeral in New York. His image as the Latin Lover has lasted for decades.

When Amelia Earhart disappeared over the Pacific Ocean on her attempt to be the first woman pilot to fly around the world in 1937 she was already a legend. She was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, set many other records and wrote best-selling books about her flying experiences. Even today many people are fascinated with her life and mysterious disappearance.

James Dean only appeared in three movies, two of them after his death in a motor vehicle accident on September 30, 1955. But he will always be remembered as The Rebel Without a Cause. He was the first actor to receive a posthumous Academy Award nomination for Best Actor and remains the only person to have two such nominations posthumously.

It wasn’t one or even two but three of the children of Joseph P. Kennedy who died before their time. It’s not hard to forget the death of President John F. Kennedy on that day in Dallas in 1963 or Senator and Presidential Candidate Robert Kennedy in 1968. But the Kennedys also lost their older brother Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. in 1944 during the 2nd World War.

Janis Joplin was a hard living rocker of the 60’s. She blew away the crowd in Monterey during the pop festival there in 1967 as part of the Big Brother Holding Company. And she was reaching the top levels with her LP Pearl recorded just prior to her death via a drug overdose in 1970.

Heath Ledger was a star on the rise when he was discovered dead in New York City on January 22. He was only 28 and had already appeared in outstanding roles in movies such as The Patriot, A Knight Tale, Brokeback Mountain and the up coming Batman film, The Dark Knight. His talent will be missed.


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