With the news of Philip Seymour Hoffman dying from a heroine overdose circulating with the speed of light, we face again the pain of losing yet another talented actor to drugs, pills, over the counter medication and overdose. Why do these things happen? How can an Oscar Award winning superstar die at 46 and get found with a needle and heroin bags by his side? We all found out that he had an addiction history and we all know these things just don’t go away by themselves so easily. But how cruel can fate be to kidnap from among us incredibly talented people? Were their destinies written? Did they bring their demise to themselves by acting irresponsibly? We may never know the answers to this, but all we can say is that Hoffman wasn’t the only one. To honor great actors who died on an overdose, we will take a look back in history and see other names that got lost to us in the favor of drugs.
1. Heath Ledger
He died too young? Too soon? Too early in his career? After looking pretty and managing to impress us with a few roles, especially the one in Brokeback Mountain, A Knight’s Tale or the lighter 10 things I hate about you, Heath managed to leave the entire world with its jaw dropped after playing the role of his life and the role that brought him his death: The Joker. The monumental, unforgettable Joker. A part which would have propelled Heath to the stars and which would have opened any door in Hollywood for any part he would have liked to receive. And yet, at only 28 years old, he was found dead in a hotel room for what it was called a “mix” of medication. Was it the pills or the Joker who killed Keith? We may never know, but among the actors who died on an overdose, he left us with the most shocking void ever.
2. Cory Monteith
Glee was never the same without him and the world was left an emptier, darker place. We lost Cory to a terrible combination of alcohol and heroine and he, just like Keith, were living their glory years.
3. Robert Pastorelli
If you are thinking that his name doesn’t ring any bell to you, it somehow should. He may not have been a star the size of Philip Seymour Hoffman or Heath Ledger at least, but you surely saw him in famous movies such as Michael with John Travolta, Eraser, Miami Vice, Dances with Wolves or some episodes of Cracker: Mind over Murder TV series. He died of a heroine overdose at the age of 49 years old.
4. John Belushi
The ruthless claws of drugs reached the Belushi family in 1982, when John, Jim Belushi’s brother, passed away due to a powerful combination of drugs and alcohol in a hotel room in Los Angeles. He was partying with other two cinema superstars and friends Robin Williams ?i Robert De Niro and chose to end the night in the company of a woman later found to be a drug dealer. John never made it to the next morning and cocaine, heroin and alcohol were mentioned related to his death. The woman was punished by the law, but this was a small compensation for the loss of John.
5. River Pheonix
This young rebel had himself a promising career in the entertainment industry, but he is also among the actors who died on an overdose, at the incredible age of 23 years old. Joaquin Phoenix’s brother died in 1993 when his life and his professional path were just blooming. He was supposed to perform on stage and before that, he stopped to take a “speedball”, the killer combination between cocaine and heroine that is responsible for many less famous deaths, but equally painful. He suffered a heart attack, although used to substance consumption but the ambulance and the doctors that rushed to his aid couldn’t save his life.
This world lost a lot of talented people to accidents and alcohol abuse. We lost musicians, actors and public figures and humanity lost brothers, husbands or best friends. In the memory of Philip Seymour Hoffman and all the actors who died on an overdose, we should enjoy their creations and make their legacy known.