33 Child Actors Who Died Young

Child actors who died young include some of the most recognizable names in Hollywood, as well as some who starred on stage and screen many decades ago. All of the actors and actresses listed here were in the business as kids, and sadly, all passed away way too early in their lives. Their causes of death vary from health-related problems, to suicides or accidents, but every child actor listed here was taken from this Earth way too soon.

The untimely death of a star is always a tragedy, and when it comes to child actors who died at a young age, it’s especially tragic. This list is, unfortunately, proof positive that no matter how famous you are, you are not immune from pain and sadness in life. The names here on this list are among¬†the most famous people who died young.

Some of the child actors listed here died very young, like¬†Poltergeist¬†star Heather O’Rourke, who passed away in 1988 at the age of 12 during surgery to repair an acute bowel obstruction. Other stars, like River Phoenix, died in their early 20s (in Phoenix’s case, he died of drug-induced heart failure). Sometimes drug abuse was involved, sometimes not. Actor Brad Renfro battled addiction demons in the last years of his life. After starring in¬†The Client¬†as a young teen, Renfro died of a heroin overdose in 2008.

Child actors who committed suicide are also included on this list. In August of 2013, for example, former Disney star Lee Thompson Young, who appeared on the show “Famous Jett Jackson” and had a part in the TV crime drama ‘Rizzoli & Isles,’ took his own life at the age of 29. In November of 2003, ‘seaQuest DSV’ star Jonathan Brandis committed suicide at the age of 27.

 

In June of 2016, 27-year-old Anton Yelchin died at his home in Los Angeles after being struck by his own car. He was standing behind his car when it suddenly rolled backward down his steep driveway and pinned him to his brick mailbox and security gate. Yelchin was best known for playing Pavel Chekov in the Star Trek reboot by JJ Abrams.

He also appeared in Alpha Dog, Fright Night, and Charlie Bartlett.

“Carol Anne” from¬†Poltergeist¬†died in 1988¬†from complications during surgery to remove an acute bowel obstruction. She was 12 years old.

The child and teen star of Stand by Me and Explorers died in 1993 at age 23, after speedballing cocaine and morphine. The scene unfolded in front of The Viper Room, a legendary Sunset Strip music venue, while then-owner Johnny Depp was performing onstage with Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Gibby Haynes of the Butthole Surfers.

As news circulated through the club about Phoenix’s collapse outside, the show stopped, but he was never revived.

(Source)

“Arnold Jackson”¬†from¬†Diff’rent Strokes¬†died¬†of a brain hemorrhage¬†in 2010 at age 42. The former child star had lapsed into a coma in a hospital near his Provo, UT, home and passed away shortly after being take off life support.

(Source)

The young star of¬†Jaws: The Revenge¬†and¬†The Land Before Time¬†(voice of “Ducky”)¬†died in 1988 at age 10. In a murder-suicide carried out by her father, Judith and her mother were shot, killed, and subsequently set on fire before he shot himself to death in the family’s garage.

( Source)

“Kimberly Drummond” from¬†Diff’rent Strokes¬†died in 1999 at age 35 while visiting her fianc√©’s mother in Moore, OK. Plato took a lethal dose of Lortab and Valium before laying down for a nap and never woke up. The death was eventually ruled a suicide.¬†

The star of¬†The Client¬†died in 2008 at age 25 from a heroin overdose. Renfro’s death from acute heroin/morphine intoxication was ruled accidental.

(Source)

Alfalfa from the Our Gang comedies died in 1959 at age 31. Switzer was shot during an altercation with a man he believed owed him money.

( Source)

The star of SeaQuest DSV died in 2003 at age 27. Brandis was found alive, but unconscious, hanging from the neck in his home. The friend who happened upon the scene summoned paramedics immediately, but the star of Ladybugs died at Cedars-Sinai hospital the next day.

( Source)

The teen star of ’80s hit films like¬†Lucas, The Lost Boys, and¬†License to Drive¬†turned to drugs when his career slowed. In 2010, he died at age 38, officially from pneumonia – though he notably procured 553 prescription pills from 7 different physicians in the 32 days prior to his death, including 195 Valium, 149 Vicodin, 194 Soma, and 15 Xanax.

( Source)

Savannah Smiles star Bridgette Andersen died in 1997 at age 21. Her death was ruled an accidental drug overdose.

Bobby Driscoll, who grew up in front of the cameras in Disney films like¬†Song of the South¬†and¬†Treasure Island, died in 1968 at age 31. Driscoll’s body was found in a New York tenement and went unidentified at the time of his death.

It wasn’t until two years later, when his mother began inquiring about his whereabouts, that it was discovered the young actor¬†was buried in an unmarked grave in Potter’s Field.

(Source)

Disney child star Lee Thompson Young died in 2013 at age 29. The titular character on Disney’s¬†The Famous Jett Jackson, Thompson Young’s death by gunshot to the head was ruled a suicide.

(Source)

The Now and Then actress died in 2007 at age 26 of an accidental heroin overdose. 

The Passions star died in 2002 at age 20. On the same day, his soap opera character was killed off, the diminutive star died of a congenital heart defect at a San Diego hospital.

(Source)

The star of¬†Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead¬†and¬†The Young Riders¬†died in 2000 at age 24, of an accidental drug overdose.

The Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince actor died in 2008 at age 18 defending his younger brother from another man wielding a knife. He was stabbed to death in London.

( Source)

Skye McCole Bartusiak died in her sleep at the age of 21, in July 2014. Her death was ultimately ruled an overdose. Said the Harris (Texas) County Institute of Forensic Sciences, “The exact cause of death is an accident due to the combined effects of hydrocodone and difluoroethane with carisoprodol.”

The child star was known for her role as Mel Gibson’s daughter in¬†The Patriot.

( Source)

The Family Matters star (aka Myra Monkhouse) died in 1998 at age 30. The television star succumbed to a rare form of stomach cancer in a New York hospital days before Christmas.

( Source)

The star of¬†Shoot the Moon, Fallen Angel,¬†and¬†National Lampoon’s European Vacation¬†died in 1996 at age 32. Diagnosed in her youth with Type 1 diabetes, Hill slipped into a diabetic coma in May, suffered a massive stroke in June, and died in July.

The Make Room For Daddy star died in 1990 at age 42. Hamer killed himself with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head at his home in DeRiddler, LA.

( Source)

The Mary Poppins star died in 1977 at age 21. While on tour in India, Garber contracted hepatitis which spread to his pancreas before he could return to London for treatment. The official cause of death listed on his death certificate is Haemorrhagic Necrotising Pancreatitis.

( Source)

The Judging Amy star died in 2005 at age 16. The young star, whose character was killed by gang members, met a similar fate when a shotgun blast in Inglewood, CA, ended her life.

( Source)

The Our Gang star died in 1968 at age 38 from an overdose of barbiturates. 

“Buffy” from¬†Family Affair¬†died in 1976 at age 18. After finally receiving her share of royalties from the show Jones sank into a life of drugs and alcohol and died from a massive overdose of barbiturates, phencyclidine, cocaine, and methaqualone.

( Source)

The silent movie actress died in 1925 at age 14. Ricken fell ill during filming one day and was subsequently diagnosed with tuberculosis. She died two weeks after her mother, who had kept vigil on her ailing daughter, suffered a fatal heart attack at her daughter’s bedside.

The Grace Under Fire actress died in 2006 at age 21. After having received a heart transplant in 2000 to correct a heart muscle disease, the young actress succumbed to a heart attack the day after her wedding.

( Source)

The Our Gang star died in 1936 at age 21. Chaney died from complications that arose from a surgery to correct a glandular disorder.

( Source)

The¬†2ge+her¬†star died in 2001 at age 16. Cuccione had survived Hodgkin’s disease at age 9 after chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant, but was left with a respiratory problem as a result of the treatments.

After a minor car accident, the actor was hospitalized and never recovered, ultimately succumbing to respiratory failure.

(Source)

The Our Gang star died in 1948 at age 16. While delivering papers with a friend, he was hit from behind by a bus. Both boys died instantly.

The Wharf Angel and Little Miss Marker actress died in 1934 at age 19. After avoiding death several times over the years, Dell was finally felled in an auto accident that killed her instantly.

( Source)

The star of the Bad News Bears remake died in 2012 at age 20. The actress was a passenger in a car that rear ended a semi truck and subsequently another vehicle. She died at Cedars-Sinai hospital from injuries sustained in the accident.

( Source)

April 23, 2015:¬†Sawyer Sweeten, who played Ray Romano’s son on¬†Everybody Loves Raymond, passed away from apparent suicide. The 19-year-old actor and his twin brother, Sullivan, played Romano’s kids on the show from 1996 to 2005.

According to one report, Sweeten was visiting his family in Texas when he went out on the porch and shot himself.

ūüćÄViraLuck