Hollywood is filled with sad stories of promising and well-known actors and actresses that died before their time. In many cases, these actors and actresses died right after filming a film or show. Some actors' last roles have been some of their most memorable ones.
James Dean as Jett Rink inGiant (1956)
James Dean was an innovator and eccentric figure. So much so that 67 years after his death in a car accident in 1955 at the young age of 24, you still see posters that highlight his timeless good looks. In 1953, he was an unknown when cast in East of Eden. In 1955, he had completed filming on his last film, Giant.
Bruce Lee as Lee in Enter the Dragon (1973)
Bruce Lee is another actor who, despite being gone for decades, still has a huge impact on pop culture. Lee died in 1973, at the age of 32. His greatest film, Enter the Dragon, was released just a few months after his death.
Bill Connor plays Vic Morrow in Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983)
Vic Morrow, an experienced actor who played a racist guy during a stunt that went wrong, was never revealed. The film would be rebuilt and released, and Morrow would be remembered as a hero forever.
Heather ORourke stars as Carol Anne Freeling in Poltergeist III (1988)
Poltergeist, a 1982 horror film by Tobe Hoopers, is considered to be one of the worst horror films ever made. She showed strength beyond her years as a young girl who is taken to the other side by spirits. Her utterance of Theyre heeeere is one of horror cinema's most famous lines. Six years later, ORourke was filming the second sequel, with her Carol Anne character now living with her aunt and uncle in Chicago, after the actress died at the tender age
Brandon Lee as Eric Draven in The Crow (1994)
Brandon Lee was only eight years old when his father, Bruce Lee, passed away. Brandon was also on the verge of being a household name when, like Vic Morrow, he was killed during the filming of his last film. The Crow, a film about a man returning after killing his wife, would be one of the greatest films of the 1990s. Its also one of the most difficult films to watch, since the film's star passed away during production.
Almost Heroes stars Chris Farley as Bartholomew Hunt.
Chris Farley was one of the best performers on Saturday Night Live in the 1990s, and his transition to feature films was a smash hit with 1995's Tommy Boy. After follow-ups like Black Sheep and Beverly Hills Ninja, Farley was on the verge of becoming a reliable lead actor (he even was cast as Shrek), but a drug overdose tragically ended his life in late 1997. But, released six months after his death, it was a fitting way for fans to say goodbye to
Queen of the Damned (2002): Aaliyah as Akasha
Aaliyah was a well-known pop star who had transitioned into being an actress with a prominent role in the well-received film Romeo Must Die. She would star alongside Stuart Townsend in a loosely based adaptation of novelist Anne Rice's work, Queen of the Damned, which charted at the box office on its opening weekend.
The Dark Knight (2008) stars Heath Ledger as the Joker.
After seeing films like 10 Things I Hate About You and Brokeback Mountain, Ledger was immediately recognized as the Joker in Christopher Nolans' sequel to Batman Begins, which broke box office records and is still regarded as one of the best superhero films ever made. The Academy Awards agreed, awarding him an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.
Philip Seymour Hoffman plays Plutarch Heavensbee in Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 (2014).
Hoffman was one of cinema's greatest character actors, according to 2005's Capote, in which Hoffman's portrayal of the author won him an Oscar for Best Actor. At the height of his popularity, Hoffman died of a heroin overdose. Both films were released posthumously.
In Furious 7, Paul Walker plays Brian OConner.
Walker was one of the top-grossing film franchises in the early 2000s. Along with Vin Diesel, he crafted the series one of the greatest film franchises of the 21st century. While filming of Furious 7 was still on hold, visual effects and the help of his brothers as stand-ins gave fans closure.
Levee Green as played by Chadwick Boseman in Ma Raineys Black Bottom (2020)
Boseman was a pioneering action film actor thanks to his participation as TChalla in Black Panther and other Marvel Universe films. With a string of critically acclaimed films, Boseman played a disgruntled musician in the 1920s, the film was made a critical hit, and Boseman was nominated for Best Actor.