20 Child Stars Who Died WAY Too Young

child stars that died young
River Phoenix
River Phoenix

Died in 1993 at age 23 after speedballing cocaine and morphine.

Heather O’Rourke
Heather O’Rourke

“Carol Anne” from Poltergeist died in 1988 at the age of 12 from a bowel obstruction.

Matthew Garber
Matthew Garber

The Mary Poppins star died in 1977 at age 21 after contracting hepatitis in India.

Gary Coleman

The troubled Diff’rent Strokes star died in 2010 at age 42 from a brain hemorrhage.

Dana Plato
Dana Plato

The Diff’rent Strokes star died at 35 after she took Lortab and Valium and died in her sleep.

Rob Knox
Rob Knox

The Harry Potter actor died at age 18 while defending his brother from a man with a knife.

Carl Switzer
Carl Switzer

Alfalfa from the Our Gang comedies died at the age of 31 when he was shot during a fight.

Scotty Becket
Scotty Becket

The Our Gang star died at the age of 38. Though the cause of death wasn’t made clear, it is suspected he overdosed on barbiturates and alcohol.

Christopher Pettiet

The star of Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead died at 24 from a drug overdose.

Jonathan Brandis
Jonathan Brandis

The star of SeaQuest DSV died at the age of 27 after he hanged himself.

J. Madison Wright Morris

The Grace Under Fire actress died at age 21 of a heart attack the day after her wedding.

Dana Hill
Dana Hill

The star of National Lampoon’s European Vacation at 32 from a diabetes related stroke.

Ashleigh Aston Moore
Ashleigh Aston Moore

The Now and Then actress died at age 26 of an accidental heroin overdose.

Judith Barsi
Judith Barsi

The star of Jaws: The Revenge died at age 10 when her father shot and burned her.

Lee Thompson Young
Lee Thompson Young

Disney child star Lee Thompson Young died in 2013 at age 29 after he shot himself.

Brad Renfro
Brad Renfro

The star of The Client died in 2008 at age 25 from an accidental heroin overdose.

Bridgette Andersen
Bridgette Andersen

The Savannah Smiles star died at age 21 of an accidental drug overdose.

Bobby Driscoll
Bobby Driscoll

The former Disney star was found dead in a New York tenement at age 31. He died from heart failure caused by an advanced hardening of the arteries because of his longtime drug abuse

Josh Ryan Evans
Josh Ryan Evans

Passions star died in 2002 at age 20 from a congenital heart defect.

Corey Haim
Corey Haim

Died at the age of 38 officially from pneumonia. Some argue drugs were also involved.

The curse of the child star appears to be very real in Hollywood. It is quite common to hear stories of many getting into trouble with drugs, falling into disagreements with their families, and sometimes losing their lives all too early.

According to psychologist Ginger Clark, an associate professor of clinical education at the University of Southern California, “If you don’t have a really stable parental unit [where childhood stars are concerned] that’s seeing limits ahead of time, then the roles get flipped easily and the child becomes the parent. They’re not ready for the responsibility. And you can see kids spin out a little bit.”

The above slideshow features a number of stars who did indeed spin out of control, others who were the wrong place at the wrong time, and a few who battled illness.

Regardless of how they died, each of these stars should have lived much longer and graced us with their talents.