It's very easy for us as an audience to view celebrities in an almost unnatural light. Many of us follow them on Twitter, we watch their interviews, and some of us idolize and look up to them. This makes it very hard to sometimes remember that these are not just characters on a screen, but that they're real people. Real people with their own thoughts and feelings. They laugh like we do, love like we do and even cry like we do.
Death is a natural part of life that will affect everyone's life in one way or another. Whether it be a friend or family, we will all experience loss and have to cope with the grief that we experience afterwards. Natural death is a horrible enough event to handle, but trust me, hearing that someone you know has been murdered makes it so much worse to accept. It isn't just the grief you have to overcome, but also the overwhelming anger that shakes you to your core.
The following list consists of 5 celebrities who have had their parents taken from them at a younger age and who have had to overcome their pain to achieve their success. Sometimes moving past death can feel impossible, but hopefully, this list will show you that nothing is impossible.
In 1967, when Dylan McDermott was 5-years-old, he was playing outside when he heard a gunshot. He and his baby sister were taken in by their grandmother who had told them that their mother was in the hospital. She allegedly waited an entire year before revealing the truth to them that their mom had been murdered and this obviously came as a shock to the children.
The case was originally ruled as an accident, with the mother's boyfriend, John Sponza, stating she had accidentally shot herself after picking up a gun he was in the process of cleaning. Unsatisfied with this, McDermott had the case reopened 40 years later where it was revealed that Sponza was the one to murder his mother, but it was covered up because as a gangster and junkie, he was a valuable informant to the Connecticut Police. Sponza would never answer for his crimes in court because he himself was murdered and found in the trunk of a car in 1972.
In 1993, James Jordan was murdered by two teenagers who attempted to steal his car. They tried to argue that they only meant to tie up Jordan and take his car, but that one of their guns had misfired and killed their hostage. It was only after the murder they discovered he was the father of famed NBA player, Michael Jordan, and even went as far as to steal the NBA rings Jordan had given to his father. Later that year, Michael Jordan retired from the NBA citing his father's death as one of the reasons he lost his passion for the game.
After a few years trying his hand at Baseball, Jordan returned to the NBA and in almost no time at all, became the star player that everyone expected him to be. Michael Jordan is arguably one of the biggest sports icons in the world today. He attributes much of his success to the motivation from his father. Even though he hasn't played professional basketball in years, there hasn't been quite another basketball played to touch his legacy.
Charlize Theron was 15 she witnessed the death of her father. She was home from boarding school when her father and uncle were out drinking and started to become agitated and violent. Theron's aunt called her and her mother to warn her about her father's violent rampage but it was already too late. Her drunk father used his gun to shoot through the home's door and exclaimed that he was going to kill both Charlize and her mother. In an act of self defense, Charlize Theron's mother rushed to get her own handgun and used it to kill her husband.
Since then, Charlize Theron has learned to move past the experience and and developed into one of the most positive forces in Hollywood today. Not only is she a UN Messenger for Peace, but she has also spearheaded the Africa Outreach program to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS in African children. The kindness and affection that she has for those in need is literally boundless.
In 2008, Jennifer Hudson's former brother-in-law, William Balfour, broke into the home of his ex-wife (Jennifer's sister) and unleashed a violent rampage that would devastate the Hudson family. In his rage, he killed Hudson's mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew. Balfour was quickly caught and is serving three consecutive life sentences with a 0% chance of parole.
Jennifer Hudson and her remaining family have since established the Hudson-King Foundation for Families of Slain Victims, a centre where those who have had loved ones taken from them can find the means to move on with their lives.
When Kelsey Grammer was 13, his father was shot outside their home after his car had been set on fire. The shooter, Arthur B. Niles was not rightfully punished because he was deemed clinically insane. Seven years later, his younger sister was gang-raped and murdered by the gang leader. The man who pulled the trigger, Freddie Lee Glenn, was quickly arrested and charged. In 2009 he applied for parole, but Grammer spoke out against this and Glenn was denied. Grammer had this to say on the matter:
I believe the gift of life and freedom he took from my sister precludes him from ever being allowed to enjoy that gift for himself. He took her future from her with no regard for her whatsoever. He assumed he had a right to do so. He assumed she was his property, and that the precious gift God gave her was his to take.
What did Grammer take away from this experience?
That every one of us is going to experience some terrible loss. I just got a big dose. For every story you hear that’s tragic, there’s another that’s equally tragic or more so. I think you come to look at it as part of life.
He's a better man than me. Grammer has gone on to make millions around the world laugh and is one of the most prestigious actors alive today.