It is apparent, fame and fortune go hand and hand, but there is third, and much darker side of celebrity culture that has led to tragic endings of promising careers, and groups such as the ’27 club’ referring to celebrity musicians who died at the age of 27. Amongst the group of talented musicians, actors and celebrities who have lost their lives way too young, are a group of amazing women whose legacies will never be forgotten. Listing ten women who tragically passed before their time.
10. Jackie Kennedy Onassis
Recognized in the world simply as ‘Jackie O’, Jackie Kennedy Onassis remains an iconic American figure and one of the most beloved First ladies. She was married to President John F. Kennedy in 1953 until his assassination in 1963, famously sitting beside him in a bright pink Chanel suit when he was shot. Five years later, Kennedy remarried, and this time it would be to the world’s most infamous shipping tycoon, Aristotle Onassis. The couple was married on Onassis’ private Greek island, Skorpios and remained married until his death in 1975. Mrs. Onassis was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 64 and died later that year. Her fortune, almost $44 million was left to her children. She remains a global fashion icon today.
9. Grace Kelly
A successful American actress turned Princess, Grace, Princess of Monaco, became royalty after marrying Prince Rainier III at the age of 26. A professed movie star earning both Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations, the young beauty retired from acting after her nuptials in order to partake in her new Princess duties. The lavish wedding was considered the wedding of the century, while Kelly’s gown is still emulated by brides worldwide today. Using Monaco as her new habitat, Princess Grace gave birth to three children; Caroline, Albert, and Stephanie. In early fall of 1982, the Princess was driving with her daughter Stephanie, when she lost control of the car (due to the effects of a stroke) and went tumbling down a mountain side. Princess Grace died a few days later after not regaining consciousness. Her daughter Stephanie survived the accident. Princess Grace of Monaco was 52 years old.
8. Christina Onassis
His name is reminiscent of arguably the most successful shipping tycoon of modern time. Extraordinarily powerful, wealthy, and successful, Aristotle Onassis built a fortune that eventually made his only grandchild, the richest girl in the world. Onassis had two children, Alexander and Christina. Alexander died in a plane crash at the age of 24, and Christina was left to take over the family business at her father’s request. Christina’s mother died the following year, while her father, Aristotle Onassis parted the next year. Christina was said to have severe battles with weight, depression, and insomnia, while being constantly criticized in the media for her personal life. The shipping heir was married four times. Her fourth marriage to French business Thierry Roussel produced a daughter, and the heir to the Onassis fortune, Athina. Christina’s final marriage would end in divorce soon after her discovery of Roussel’s extramarital affair with a Swedish model (Roussel also fathered her child during this time). Known as a playboy, reports claimed Christina was always trying to keep up with Roussel, with whom she was infatuated by. In 1988, Christina was found dead in her Argentina home. The heiress was discovered by her maid in the shower, and while rumors of suicide soon surfaced, autopsy reports showed Christina died of a fatal heart attack. Christina was 37 years old.
7. Marilyn Monroe
Perhaps the most iconic American actress, singer, sex symbol, and model in history, Marilyn Monroe also lost her life in her thirties. Monroe had humble beginnings growing up in foster homes, then landed a gig as a model, leading her to a career in acting. Monroe’s career took off in the late 40’s and early 50’s leading her to be on the cover of the first ever Playboy edition in 1953. Monroe married three times, and was also romantically linked to several high profile men including, President John F Kennedy, Frank Sinatra, Robert F. Kennedy, and Marlon Brando. The final years of Monroe’s life were not as glamorous as her illustrious career would have it seem. As portrayed in a documentary about her life, and death, Marilyn was a manic-depressive, addicted to sleeping pills, and was found dead in her bedroom, with her hand by the telephone. Her death was listed as an overdose; she was 36 year old.
6. Princess Diana
Forever remembered as the people’s princess, Diana, Princess of Wales, was unlike any other royal in history. Her shy demeanor and gentle character won over the hearts of people worldwide. Diana was involved in several charities and had particular interest in visiting terminally ill patients around the world. Her marriage, and later divorce from Prince Charles of Wales, threw her into an even brighter spotlight, scrutinizing her every move. Princess Diana was linked to heart surgeon Hasnat Khan, and later to Dodi Fayed, son of wealthy businessman, Mohamed Al-Fayed. On the last day of August in 1997 Diana Princess of Wales was with Dodi Fayed in Paris when the car they were in was involved in a high speed chase with the paparazzi causing it to crash and end the lives of the beloved Princess, Fayed, and the driver. Princess Diana was just 36 years old.
5. Amy Winehouse
She was pegged as one of the most exceptionally talented singer/songwriter’s of our time. Her unique soulful, jazzy pop sound, earned her numerous awards including five Grammy’s for her second album Back to Black; a record for a female British artist. Amy Winehouse was on her way to a monumental career, until of course she tragically died at the age of 27. While her struggle with drugs and alcohol became publicly apparent in the months leading up to her death, a documentary about the songstress’ life depicts her boyfriend and later husband Blake Fielder-Civil as the culprit behind her addiction. The former video production runner has admitted to introducing crack cocaine to his on and off again love. Winehouse was found dead by her bodyguard in her hotel room on July 23, 2011. The cause of death was cited as alcohol poisoning. Blake Fielder-Civil did not attend the funeral.
4. Janis Joplin
Described as a psychedelic acid rocker, Janis Joplin was the lead singer of the band Big Brother and the Holding Company as well as a solo artist in the 1960’s. She became a popular act in music festivals such as Woodstock, recognized for her “eclectic style” performances even being cited as “The Queen of Psychedelic Soul.” In 2004, Rolling Stones listed the musician in the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time in 2004. In October of 1970, Joplin was discovered on the floor of a Hollywood motel. She died at the age of 27 from a heroin overdose. Her death came 16 days after the death of another 27-year old gifted musician, Jimi Hendrix.
She had the voice of an angel, and was the first Latin breakthrough artist of her generation, known simply by her first name, Selena was considered the Mexican Madonna. She was the top Latin artist of the 1990’s and had also begun recording in English before tragic events ended her life much too early. At the tender age of 23, Selena was gunned down, murdered in cold blood by the former president of her fan club, Yolanda Saldivar. The senseless murder of the “Queen of tejano music” inspired the 1997 film Selena starring Jennifer Lopez. Texas Governor George W. Bush declared her birthday ‘Selena Day’ in Texas.
Talented, award nominated recording artist and later actress, Aaliyah had the world at her feet. Working with sought after producers Timbaland and Missy Elliott, her second album, One in a Million, sold 3.7 million copies in the United States alone and over double that worldwide. On August 25th of 2001 tragedy hit when Aaliyah and eight other members of her team were boarded a plane to the Bahamas on route to completing the music video for the song “Rock the boat.” Shortly after takeoff the plane went crashing down, bursting into flames. All passengers aboard the plane were killed. According to investigations, the plane was overloaded, carrying one passenger over capacity, while alcohol and cocaine were found in the pilot’s system (who was said to be unlicensed at the time). Aaliyah died at the tender age of 22, however her music lives on today. Several of her tracks have been remixed becoming worldwide hits.
1. Anne Frank
The name Anne Frank is reminiscent with one of the scariest and profoundly horrific periods in modern day history, The Holocaust. The diary of the teenager describes her experience during the German occupation in the Netherlands during World War II. Frank and her family hid in a building where her father worked for two years until they were captured, and Frank and her sister were sent to a concentration camp where they later died. The sole survivor of the family, Otto Frank discovered Anne’s diary in which the teenager wrote about her life form June 12, 1942 until August 1, 1944. The diary which was originally written in Dutch, was published and translated into several languages. Anne Frank died at the age of 15, but her story, and life is still studied in schools worldwide today.