Making it to the big screen is never an easy task. With thousands of would-be actors and actresses being turned down for potential roles they thought they could earn, many have found themselves giving up on the Hollywood dream for a career elsewhere. But for those who made it to stardom, many have crumbled on and off camera. From drugs to arrests to high profile relationships, being an adult celebrity can take its toll (if not properly mitigated). It’s even a lot worse for child actors. Even at a young age, negative influences can quickly grasp them and pull them down under. While some were fortunate enough to recover, others were not.
Here are 15 of the most promising child actors who left the world at a very young age:
1. River Phoenix
River, a child star who starred in Explorers and Stand By Me, passed away at 23 years of age in 1993. He was set to perform on stage with a close friend when he overdosed on Speedball (a mix of morphine and cocaine). He collapsed and died shortly after.
2. Heather O’Rourke
Heather shot to stardrom as Carol Anne Freeling in the 1982 classic horror film Poltergeist. In 1988, she became ill as a result of a misdiagnosis by doctors. She died from septic shock complications and cardiac arrest. She was only 12 years of age.
3. Corey Haim
Corey, known for her role in The Lost Boys, passed away in 2010 at just 38 years old. His death was a result of a drug-induced pneumonia triggered by the 550-plus pills he took one month before his death.
4. Gary Coleman
Gary, known his role of Diff’rent Strokes for playing Arnold Jackson, died from a brain hemorrhage in 2010. This came from a seizure incident which led to him fall from a flight stairs in his home. He fell into a coma and died days after. He was only 42 years old.
5. Bridgette Andersen
Bridgette was known for taking an important role in the 1982 TV comedy series Savannah Smiles. Over the years, she was battling with heroin addiction. She died at just 21 years of age in 1997.