15 Celebrities Who Left The Spotlight Due To Tragedy

With so many people chomping at the bit to find notoriety, it seems almost unfathomable that the people who are fortunate enough to find fame would give it up easily. Sometimes it takes something awful to happen for someone who has reached a certain level of acclaim to step away from the warmth of the spotlight they call home. For this list, we’ll be taking a look at some of the most famous people who had stardom ripped away from them, or made the choice to remove themselves from fame for tragic reasons.

The rules for inclusion into the list were extremely simple. The person in question needs to have acquired a level of fame, so that a large amount of people were aware of them, no matter the country. Then, they need to have given up or lost their hallowed place in society as a result of something gone horribly wrong. Whether the tragedy came upon them personally, or was a more public matter, was of no concern. All that matters is that we could look at their situation and see that it was an extremely unfortunate incident that changed their lives forever.

15 Amanda Bynes, DUI

A sought after star of television and movies throughout the 2000s, it seemed like Amanda’s infectious personality and good looks were going to carry her to success in Hollywood as an adult. The track to continued fame and fortune she was traveling upon has unfortunately completely gone off the rails. The star of two television series, The Amanda Show and What I Like About You, she became popular enough to graduate to movies. Going on to star in popular films like Hairspray, Sydney White and She’s the Man, her most respected film work came as a part of the fantastic high school drama Easy A.

14 Gary Busey, Motorcycle Accident

13 Orson Welles, Media Opposition


Possibly the most talked about man in America at one time because of the hysteria his radio reading of “War of the Worlds” caused, Orson Welles received an incredible contract to try his hand at directing. After years on Broadway, he took the lessons he’d learned and an uncanny ability to tell stories and then wrote, produced, directed and starred in Citizen Kane, the film often cited as the best ever. Involved in only a handful of important films, despite his obvious intellect, including The Third Man, Touch of Evil and F for Fake which are considered amazing, why did his career hit the skids?

12 Michael Barrymore, Drowning Scandal

An English comedian and television host, Michael may have never made much of an impact in North America but he was a pretty big deal in The U.K. during the nineties. The host of a show named after him that ran in between 1991 and 2000, called Barrymore, as well as game shows like Strike It Lucky, he was a major player on comedy stages and TV. Then everything went wrong after a party at his house in March of 2001. After news broke that a man by the name of Stuart Lubbock had been found dead in his pool, Michael found himself the subject of much gossip. Ruled to have died from drowning, the autopsy found traces of drugs and alcohol in his system and concluded he’d suffered severe injuries to his anus. The manner of Stuart’s death changed the way the comedian was seen.

11 Rebecca Gayheart, Vehicular Manslaughter

10 “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, Bribery Charges


An incredibly accomplished athlete who has the third-highest career batting average of all time and the sixth-highest single season average ever, Babe Ruth even said he modeled his hitting after Joe. Ranked thirty-five on The Sporting News magazine’s list of the hundred best players of all time and voted the twelfth best outfielder in a fan poll, he was a popular and beloved star. Then he and seven other White Sox players were accused of accepting bribes to throw the 1919 World Series and his was handed a lifetime ban from the MLB, which essentially ended his career.

9 Linda Ronstadt, Parkinson's Diagnosis


8 Whitney Houston, Addiction

7 Darren “Droz” Drozdov, Paralysis


6 Earvin "Magic" Johnson, HIV Positive

5 John Landis, Death During Filming

4 Rick Moranis, Wife Fallen Sick


3 Christopher Reeve, Paralysis


2 Ke$ha, Abused Under Contract

1 Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, R*pe Charges


A former silent film actor, director and writer, Fatty Arbuckle was a huge star in the infancy of the genre when the odds of breaking through were minute. The star of several successful films, he became a reviled figure after he was charged with the manslaughter and r*pe of Virginia Rappe. Those close to him knew him to be caring and gentle, the fact that doctors found no evidence of r*pe and several witnesses later admitted to being forced to testify did nothing to stop the public from hating him. Held up as a symbol of the decadence of celebrity life and the subject of “yellow journalism” which sensationalized the case, the fact that he was found innocent did nothing to quell the anger. Found guilty in the court of public opinion without trial because of the initial testimony of a woman who was known to blackmail others, actual evidence points to Roscoe trying everything to help the deceased.

Sources: PBS, Telegraph, CNN

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15 Celebrities Who Left The Spotlight Due To Tragedy