Who knew those who brought us so much joy, and many memories would suffer such terrible fates? Take heed before reading this article, there are graphic details, that may upset you. Especially, considering how children are involved.
9. Greg Burson
Greg was a noted voice actor who was trained by legend Daws Butler (Cap'n Crunch, Elroy Jetson, Yogi Bear) and would himself go onto portray Yogi Bear, Snoopy, and famously Bugs Bunny. Yet, things turned for the worse in 2004.
In May of that year, Burson was apprehended by detectives after he'd barricaded his home for six hours and held three women hostage while intoxicated, and armed. Some sources mentioned that a S.W.A.T. team had responded to a call from two of these women. And consequently his career came to an end. Towards the end of his life, he'd been feeling depressed over losing voice over work, and turned to booze.
Four years later, Burson died on June 22, 2008 from arteriosclerosis and diabetes complications.
8. Anissa Jones
In 1966, Anissa Jones was cast on Family Affair after winning over TV producers with her impressive acting abilities. Her character on this series was often seen with a doll named "Mrs. Beasley", who supposedly talked to Buffy, and would spout witty comments. During the height of its popularity, Jones became a child star until its' cancellation in 1971. Jones auditioned for other parts, such as Reagan in "The Exorcist" but the director feared that with the series still being prominent audiences would think Buffy was the one being possessed. But, as a victim of type casting she choose to attend high school to escape the industry.
In 1965, her parents were involved in a bitter divorce that resulted in Anissa's father of winning custody of her, and her brother. Unfortunately, he died some time after and they eventually went to live with their mother. As a teen, Anissa got into oodles of trouble. From shop lifting, drugs, juvenile hall, and skipping classes. On her 18th birthday, she was granted access to saved earnings from Family Affair, an amount that totaled $180,000 (which today would equal more or less $746,000). But, on August 28, 1976 she was found dead in her friend's father's bedroom. The cause of death was stated to be a drug overdose.
7. Dana Hill
Due to her petite stature (caused by diabetes), in front of the camera Dana Hill would typically be cast in adolescent roles such as Audrey Griswold in National Lampoon: European Vacation. And behind the microphone she'd given life to Max Goof (Goof Troop), Jerry (Tom and Jerry: The Movie), Tank Muddlefoot (Darkwing Duck), Charles Duckman (Duckman) and other cartoon characters.
Unfortunately, in May of 1996, Hill slipped into a diabetic coma that she never came out of. The following month she'd a massive paralytic stroke, and on July 15, she passed away. Costars of Hill commented on what a sweetheart she was, and were upset by her death.
6. Bobby Driscoll
When Peter Pan came into production, Driscoll made history as being the first male actor to portray the lost boy (as tradition with the stage show was a woman commonly played the part). Yet, after the release of Peter Pan in 1953, Driscoll's contract with Disney was terminated. The reason being Driscoll was "maturing" and had acne so bad that heavy makeup was required to hide his face.
As with many child actors, Driscoll faced typecasting and despite wanting to escape his image, most directors still saw him as "the Disney kid". The remainder of his career involved TV, and radio spots. In high school he began taking drugs after being teased by his classmates because of his previous fame. And his drug use increased over the years. And by late '67 or '68, Driscoll was poor and left the factory only to be later found lifeless in an unoccupied East Village tenement on March 30, 1968. Driscoll died from heart failure at thirty one years old.
5. Mary Kay Bergman
In the late 80's, Mary had done some radio pieces before landing one of her biggest roles, Snow White. Bergman accepted the role on the condition she'd only be used when Adriana Caselotti (the original voice) wasn't available. But, Disney broke this arrangement when they used Bergman's Snow White award presentation vs. Caselotti's in the 1993 Oscars (which caused an uproar with Disney fans).
During the 90's, Bergman also taught voice over technique, and her student prodigy turned out to be Grey DeLisle-Griffin (Azula, Daphne Blake, and Vicky (Fairly Odd Parents)). Her other famous parts included all the primary, and secondary female characters on South Park from 1997-1999, Vicky/Timmy Turner on Oh Yeah! Cartoon's early Fairy Odd Parents shorts, Mrs. Buttersworth, Daphne Blake (Scooby Doo on Zombie Island: Witch's Ghost, and Alien Invaders), and more.
In 1999, Bergman's film South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut was a hit, and she got to fulfill her dream of walking down the red carpet, and was set to perform at the Oscars. Yet, her mother Pat had been diagnosed with cancer. And Bergman was paranoid over losing her gift, as sessions weren't going well, and genuinely worried that once people discovered this that her career would be over. Unknown to friends and family, Bergman was juggling bipolar depression, and generalized anxiety disorders. And just as the she and Andrade planned to take a Las Vegas vacation getaway, she committed suicide a week later on November 11th of that year.
After her passing, Andrade created the Mary Kay Bergman Memorial Fund (which benefits the Suicide of Prevention Center at the Didi Hirsch Community Health Center), and a Memorial Celebration, and concert was held in her memory. Her student Grey would go onto succeed her roles as Daphne Blake, and Vicky. And recalled Bergman as being, "just the sweetest, and most wonderful person in the world." If you'd like to find more information about Bergman, or look into the Mary Kay Bergman Memorial Fund click on the link below.
4. Gary Coleman
In 1974, Coleman's career began when he did a commercial spot for Harris Bank. And before Diff'rent Strokes he appeared on The Jeffersons, a pilot for The Little Rascals revival, and Good Times. Then in 1978, he was cast on Diff'rent Strokes. Playing Arnold, a boy who he and his older brother Willis are adopted by a rich, white widower and they live together with his daughter Kimberly in Manhattan. The show turned into a wild success, and Coleman's catchphrase became a national hit. But, when the series ended in '86 Coleman's life took a turn for the worse.
Despite making $100,000 an episode during the series' peak, Coleman was left only a quarter of his earnings after compensating his parents, lawyers, taxes, and advisers. Coleman successfully sued his folks, and previous advisers for misappropriation of his funds, and won $1.3 million. In '93, Coleman admitted that he tried to kill himself twice by ingesting pills. Six years later he filed for bankruptcy, and a year prior he was arrested for assault while working as a security guard. Coleman's former castmate Todd Bridges (Willis) mentioned in his book Killing Willis that due to working an unreasonable amount of hours he isolated himself from the cast, and was generally miserable.
Subsequently, he made appearances in video games (such as Postal 2) and was a candidate for California Governor in 2003. And in 2007 he married Shannon Price (an extra he met while filming Churchball), only to divorce a year later. Yet, till his death they lived together despite Price being involved in affairs, and abusing Coleman. Two years later, on May 26th after falling down the stairs in his home and hitting his head, he experienced an epidural hematoma. The next day he was supposedly fine, but the day after he was incapacitated, and put on life support. Finally, on May 28th he was gone.
3. Judy Garland
In 1935, Garland signed on with MGM. During those years she and Mickey Rooney were a popular onscreen duo in many movies,and she appeared in many musicals (such as Meet Me in St. Louis, Summer Stock), and starred in the iconic role of Dorthy Gale in The Wizard of Oz. In 1950, she and studio departed ways. Garland would go onto act in more films (until 1964), produce a short lived TV series The Judy Garland Show, and sing concerts around the world.
Behind the scenes, Garland was given amphetamines, and barbiturates to handle making film after film (which she would become addicted to). She was constantly criticized for weight and appearance, which left Garland feeling insecure and would take pills to maintain her size. And in 1941, when she became pregnant her husband David Rose, and mother suggested she get an abortion to retain her "girl next door" persona, and Garland complied. Her personal life also came into trouble as well, with financial issues stemming from overspending, owing taxes, and being embezzled in the 60's, and a year before her death she was estranged from her children partly due to this, and her drug tendencies.
Then in June 1969, Garland was forty seven years old when she was found unresponsive by her husband Mickey Deans. Leaving behind a legacy as one of the greatest performers of all time, and one of the most grim.
2. Robin Williams
In his earlier years, Williams attended Julliard where he was one of twenty students accepted into John Houseman's Advanced Acting Program. There he met his lifelong friend Christopher Reeves. After Williams left Julliard in '73, he went on to perform stand up comedy in San Francisco during the mid 70's. Unfortunately, stress from stand up comedy partly resulted in Williams turning to alcohol, and drugs (an issue that disappear and reappear throughout his life).
From the late 70's to early 80's, Williams played an alien named Mork on Mork & Mindy. From then on, Williams produced comedy specials, and started making a name for himself in movies. With his most popular repertoire being Good Morning, Vietnam, Dead Poet's Society, Hook, Aladdin, Good Will Hunting, The Fisher King, and Mrs. Doubtfire. Williams received an Oscar for Good Will Hunting, won six Golden Globes, and three Grammys. And from two marriages he had three children whom he adored. "My children give me a great sense of wonder. Just to see them develop into these extraordinary human beings."
Williams was also known for his generous spirit, as he'd visit sick children in hospitals, travel overseas to do stand up comedy for the USO in thirteen countries to about one hundred thousand soldiers, and along with Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Crystal formed Comic Relief USA. An annual HBO TV benefit to assist the homeless, and as of 2014 raised eighty million dollars. But, the world came to a halt on August 11, 2014 when Williams was found dead by his wife, he was sixty three years old. The final autopsy revealed in November concluded suicide was the cause of death. Apparently Williams was severely depressed, and it's been implied that when he was diagnosed with Parkinson's that it was the final straw. Friends, family, and fans expressed their grief, sympathy, and happiness over how Williams has affected their lives. And I can honestly say as a fan of Williams, that he impacted my life to a great extent, and no amount of gratitude can compensate for the years of entertainment he not only gave to me, but everyone else. We love, and miss you Robin Williams. Cheers!
1. Judith Barsi
At the age of five Barsi and her mother Maria were approached by an agent while skating an ice rink. This would be her introduction into show business. Throughout her career, Barsi acted in several commercials, TV guest spots, and films. Barsi's well known roles were as Ducky in Land Before Time, Anne-Marie (All Dogs Go to Heaven), and Thea Brody (Jaws IV: Revenge). Her salary hit $100,000ma year, and with this money Barsi and her family were able to move into a three bedroom house.
Yet, her father ( jealous of her success) became abusive towards his family, and threatened them on a daily basis. An alcoholic, he'd been arrested three times for driving while intoxicated. Maria would go back and forth with the police reporting her husband's reckless behavior, but each time she would drop the charges, or give excuses. Barsi confided to a friend that her father would throw pots, and pans at her. And before the little girl left to film Jaws IV: Revenge in the Bahamas he held a knife to her throat and said, “If you decide not to come back, I will find you and I will cut your throat.”
From the constant abuse Barsi began putting on weight, plucking her eyelashes, and removing her cat's whiskers. She broke down during a singing audition for All Dogs Go to Heaven, and was subsequently taken to a child psychologist. The psychologist diagnosed Barsi's behavior as being the consequences of severe physical and emotional abuse. They reported these findings to Child Protective Services. But, their investigation was dropped when Maria told them that she was in the midst of divorcing her husband, and would move into an apartment that she and Barsi used in the day as a safe haven. Yet, she never followed through.
On the evening of July 25, 1988, Barsi's dad shot her, and her mother. The coward poured gasoline and set them on fire, and then he shot himself. Their (excluding her father) funeral was held on August 9th of that year. Barsi's last works, Land Before Time and All Dogs Go to Heaven were posthumously released. The director of these two films Don Bluth said she was, "absolutely astonishing. She understood verbal direction, even for the most sophisticated situations." Both looked forward to working together in future productions, and the song "Love Survives" in All Dogs Go to Heaven was dedicated to her memory.