Have you ever wondered what deceased celebrities were working on just before their tragic and untimely passing? Many stars who have gone down in history as the greatest to ever live, had extremely short careers due to an early death. You might even refer to them as shooting stars, here for just a brief moment. Although Tupac Shakur didn’t make the list because he was seemingly able to complete all of his scheduled workings before his tragic passing, he’s a prime example of someone who passed away by age 25 and still managed to leave behind a tremendously impacting legacy, just like some who have made it on this list. It’s absolutely heartbreaking to think of what the world missed out on due to their early passing. This list explores the uncompleted projects of 8 deceased celebrities.
8. Marilyn Monroe 1926-1962
In the last weeks of her life, Marilyn Monroe was filming Something’s Got To Give, a film for which she was initially fired due to her unreliable behavior and constant late arrivals to set. Because the leading man, Dean Martin insisted that Marilyn appear in the film, and production company FOX was unable to find a suitable replacement for the role, the movie star was re-hired, only to pass away just a few weeks before wrapping up production. The picture was later released incomplete as a film short, less than 40 minutes in length. Towards the end of her life, Marilyn was also in negotiations to star in numerous different films, including a role as Jean Harlow in the biographical, Harlow. A film that instead starred Carrol Baker and was later panned by critics. Though the cause of death was ruled an overdose due to a probable suicide, Marilyn had many career opportunities lined up that she reportedly was very excited about, including a renewed $1 million contract with 20th Century Fox for a 2 picture deal, as well as an Italian four-film deal, giving her script, director and co-star approval, which was worth approximately $10 million.
7. Jimi Hendrix 1942-1970
Before his death in London on September 18, 1970, Rock & Roll legend Jimi Hendrix was in the middle of finishing up his Cry of Love World tour. His first posthumous album Cry Of Love, released the year following his death and named for his final tour, is a collection of songs the musician was working on just weeks before his death, many of which were actually incomplete. The album was to be Jimi’s first solo venture since the dismantling of his band, The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Jimi had been eagerly looking forward to embarking on a solo career after 7 years of fronting his band. The legendary instrumentalist was only 27 at the time of his death. Jimi is one of the few musicians to be inducted into the Rock & Rock Hall of Fame posthumously, 23 years after his passing.
6. Michael Jackson 1958-2009
Just before his sudden passing, Pop icon Michael Jackson was rehearsing for his much anticipated and eerily titled This Is It tour, right down to the final day of his death. The superstar felt it was the perfect time to embark on what would be his final tour because his children were finally old enough to see him in concert and appreciate his live performances; something they hadn’t had the chance to do before. The musician was also reportedly in dire financial straits in the final year of his life, another reason for his deciding to tour for the first time since MJ & Friends, back in 1999. Fifty dates were planned for the sold out This Is It tour, organized as a residency at the O2 Arena in London, and the first 10 dates alone were expected to earn Michael $61 million. After the musician’s death, Columbia Pictures acquired the rights to his rehearsal footage for an astounding $60 million, scrapping together the documentary-concert film, Michael Jackson’s This Is It.
5. Selena Quintanilla-Perez 1971-1995
Popular Latin songstress, Selena Quintanilla-Perez was on the precipice of making a huge crossover from Latin music to the mainstream pop American market. The 23 year old beauty was in the middle of recording her first and much anticipated English speaking album, when her life was tragically taken by the president of her fan club, Yolanda Saldivar. The Grammy winner was murdered in cold blood in a hotel room when she had confronted Yolanda about embezzling money, and attempted to fire her. The biographical film Selena, released 2 years after her passing, was the platform that made Jennifer Lopez a household name. Her crossover and final album out of six, Dreaming Of You, was released four months after her passing and received rave reviews. Though she was taken from the world far before her time, the singer has sold over 90 million albums worldwide, and has heavily influenced generations succeeding her.
4. Aaliyah Haughton 1979-2001
Known as the princess of R&B at the time of her death, Aaliyah was only 22 years old when she died in a tragic plane crash. The singer was on her way back to The States from shooting her very last music video for Rock The Boat, in the Bahamas. It was later determined that the small plane she’d been aboard was designed to only carry a certain amount of weight and had gone over capacity and with too much equipment and passengers on board, causing the crash. A budding actress, Aaliyah was in the middle of shooting The Matrix Reloaded at the time of her passing and though she’d shot many scenes, she hadn’t completed enough to remain in the film. Subsequently, her role had to be re-cast. The singer was also cast as the lead in Honey, a role which later had to be replaced with Jessica Alba after Aaliyah’s unexpected passing. Many close to the young singer say she had plans to become a huge movie star at the time, considering multiple movie roles being offered to her.
3. Heath Ledger 1979-2008
The role for which Heath Ledger was awarded his first and only Oscar as The Joker, was a role he hadn’t even completely finished while filming The Dark Knight. The role turned out to be the most critically acclaimed of his career, garnering numerous awards and positive reviews. Though he’d been working for nearly two decades, many believe Heath was only just beginning to reach his full acting potential. Also incomplete was his very last role as Tony in The Imaginarium of Doctor Pernasus. With a few modifications of the script, Director Terry Gilliam reached out to Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law, to pick up where Heath left off. All three friends of the late actor, were happy to oblige, reportedly giving all the income they earned from the role to Heath’s only daughter Matilda Ledger, who was three years old at the time.
2. Paul Walker 1973 – 2013
Actor Paul Walker was in the middle of filming the 7th installment of the Fast & The Furious franchise, when he died in a tragic car accident in winter 2013. As a result of his passing, his two brothers Caleb and Cody Walker were asked to fill in as body double and stand-in for uncompleted scenes. The movie is due out spring of 2015. Paul was cast as the lead in the movies Hitman: Agent 47 and The Best of Me, but sadly died before production could begin. In December of 2013, the actor, along with his professional race car driver friend Rodger Rodas, fatally lost their lives while allegedly racing a 2005 Porsche Carrera GT at over 100 mph. This according to coroner reports. Much like his character Brian O’Connor, in the Fast & Furious movies, Paul had a penchant for speed racing.
1. Robin Williams 1951 – 2014
Comedic genius Robin Williams’ sudden passing came as a shock to fans across the globe when the cause of death was ruled an apparent suicide. Following Robin’s death it was revealed to the public that the actor was in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease, and the illness contributed to his long time battle with alcoholism, as well as severe depression. It was later revealed that the early Parkinson’s disease diagnosis was in actuality Lewy Body Dementia, that the actor was suffering from. Those close to the actor believe that the cancellation of the final sitcom he worked on, The Crazy Ones, left the actor devastated, also contributing to his decision to commit suicide. Robin’s very last starring role can be seen in an animated movie called Absolutely Anything, where he voices Dennis, a teacher who experiences a series of mishaps after discovering he has magical powers, due out summer 2015.