Celebrity Overdose Deaths In Hollywood

Celebrities are strange specimens. Some turn to drugs to cope with stress. The public eye is merciless, and while the marketing opportunities it gives you are strong, it also creates opportunities for one to become exploited. But some celebrities turn to drugs to cope with ennui.

Essentially, there is nothing left for them to do once they have secured all the resources they will ever need to live. So, they turn to drugs to fill the void. They consume drugs to stimulate the pleasure centers of their brain directly. But in the end, they are the ones that get eaten.

It is a tale older than Hollywood. And because of that, it is a tale with many tragic figures. Let’s take some time and acknowledge some of the most tragic stories of drug overdose deaths.

Heath Ledger

While it is easy to think of death by drug overdose as the exclusive realm of junkies and people with poor judgment, the case of Heath Ledger emphasizes that addiction happen to anyone.

Essentially what happened to him is that he mixed his stimulants and his depressants wrong. And that’s all it takes: Taking the world pills at the wrong time before going to sleep.

Anna Nicole Smith

This death is the product of being in the public eye as much as it was the product of being hooked on drugs. Anna Nicole Smith was constantly facing criticism. From the way she dressed to her talents as an actor, she was too beautiful for people to let her go.

Or rather, society was too cruel to let her live her live. So, it ended with drug overdose after years of trying to escape.

Philip Seymour Hoffman

This actor struggled with his addiction for years before it finally claimed his life. Like many people, he died in the midst of a relapse. He had been fighting his vice and stayed off of drugs for quite a while. That resulted in his tolerance for drugs going way down.

So, when he took heroin one fateful night, he took as much as he used to before. This proved to be a fatal mistake.

Joan Rivers

This actress died of another mistake in her medication, similar to Heath Ledger. But while Heather Ledger died from unknowingly mixing medications, Joan Rivers arguably died to being prescribed the wrong medications. This is not unheard of in pharmacies.

Always be aware of what your prescription is and what it should look like. Taking a prescription when you do not have the condition it treats can be more dangerous than illegal drugs.

Verne Troyer

The actor who played Mini-Me from the Austin Powers movies died of alcohol poisoning. But uniquely, this alcohol poisoning was brought on by exactly what you think it was: His dwarfism.

Body mass index can tell you a lot about what you can get away with in your diet and with your vices. Verne Taylor did not have the room to maneuver that most other people did.

John Belushi

Turning back the clock somewhat, John Belushi was an actor in the 70s whose life was claimed by the part culture of the 80s. This was the free love fest of the 70s turned up to 11 by corporate interests in drugs. People were more hedonistic than ever in this time.

But more than that, people were being encouraged to live the lives of celebrities at that time. And no one heard this message more clearly than the celebrities themselves.

Marilyn Monroe

Here is a question for the ages: Did Marilyn Monroe kill herself? Answering this question will make you sick if you think about it for too long. Some people think she killed herself due to the pressure of being the real first American celebrity. But others people have other ideas.

For instance, there are those that think she was killed. Others still think she was subject to government experiments that broke her mind. But this highlights the issue with conspiracy theories: They push past the underlying tragedy of a lovely person taken before her time.

Howard Hughes

Most people know Howard Hughes as a genius visionary and inventor. And this was true. But he was also a tortured soul, dealing with the fallout of all of his failed businesses even as the world fell under his sway. This led to him self-medicating for anxiety with alcohol.

This self-medication essentially led to him drinking himself to death. This was not an overdose that took place over one dramatic night. Rather, it was the result of years and years of self-abuse until finally, his body could take no more.

It did not help that there was far less information and assistance for people dealing with alcohol dependency at the time.

Art Bell

This is a recent death, and as such it reflects recent trends. This means that Art Bell died not just of drug overdose, but of drug overdose to highly modern drugs. Things like Oxycodone and diazepam were found in his system.

It just goes to show that the people we perceive to be at the top of the world can get hooked on the same drugs as those living at the bottom of society.

Judy Garland

Another suicide, though that is up for debate. Unlike Marilyn Monroe, however, Judy Garland’s case is a lot more up to interpretation. She did not have an affair with a president, nor was she the proto-celebrity for all of American culture.

She was big early on, but her vice was known well in advance of her death. It is just a question of whether or not her candle burned out fast or slow.


One of the big themes of all of these deaths is that they were preventable. Not just that they were preventable due to being caused by drugs. But also they were preventable if only the people who suffered these deaths had asked for help.

If you need help with your own addiction, browse this site for things that might help you.