When we watch movie stars in action, their great skill is to make us feel what they feel. The true talent of an actor lies in their ability to create and disseminate feeling among their audience, and we feel closer to them for it.
This feels wonderful when we see them doing what they love, but terrible when they are taken from us. Some of the brightest stars burn too fast, and many of Hollywood's most beloved darlings are gone before their time.
Here's to remembering five talented young actors who passed away before they could reach the lifelong greatness they would deservedly have achieved.
1. Heath Ledger
Lived: April 4, 1979 - January 22, 2008 (age 28)
Passed Away: Accidental drug overdose.
Movies: 10 Things I Hate About You, Brokeback Mountain
Greatest Role: The Joker in The Dark Knight
See him in action: The monologue
2. River Phoenix
Lived: August 23, 1970 – October 31, 1993 (age 23)
Passed Away: Acute drug overdose
Movies: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, My Own Private Idaho
Greatest Role: Chris Chambers in Stand By Me
See him in action: Chris & Geordie
3. Brandon Lee
Lived: February 1, 1965 – March 31, 1993 (age 28)
Passed Away: Fatally shot on set by a gun that was supposed to contain rubber bullets
Movies: Laser Mission, Showdown in Little Tokyo, Rapid Fire
Greatest Role: Eric Draven in The Crow
See him in action: Making an entrance...
4. Brittany Murphy
Lived: November 10, 1977 - December 20, 2009 (age 32)
Passed Away: Cardiac arrest caused by pneumonia and prescription medications
Movies: Cherry Falls, 8 Mile, Spun, Drop Dead Gorgeous
Greatest Role: Tai in Clueless
See her in action: The famous makeover scene
5. Paul Walker
Lived: September 12, 1973 - November 30, 2013 (age 40)
Passed Away: Fatal car crash
Movies: Fast & Furious 1 - 7, Into the Blue, Varsity Blues
Greatest Role: Brian O'Conner, Fast & Furious series
See him in action: A beautiful Paul Walker tribute video