10 Child Actors Who Died Tragically Young


Child actors seem to have the worst of luck. Many of them end of going off the rails while many others end up outgrowing their careers. That’s not all. There is another group of child actors who have ended up dying tragically and not from drug overdoses. Some of them were brutally murdered while many others had serious health problems that ended up claiming their lives. Since we all enjoy a tragic story, we’ve decided to round up all of those child actors out there who were taken from us a little too soon for reasons totally outside their control.

10. Gary Coleman

In 2010, Gary Coleman – star of “Different Strokes” – suffered a brain hemorrhage after falling down a flight of stars. Although the 42-year-old actor was initially conscious and lucid upon arriving in the hospital, his conditioned worsened and, by the next day, he was unconscious and on life support. Just two days after arriving at the hospital, his wife had him taken off life support and he died shortly after.

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9. Sammi Kane Kraft

Sammi Kane Kraft died in 2012 when the car that she was riding in rear-ended a semi trailer and was then hit by another vehicle. The star of the remake of “Bad News Bears” was pronounced dead at the hospital. She was only 21-years-old.

Gregorio Binuya/Everett Collection

8. Carl Switzer

Carl Switzer – who played Alfalfa in “Our Gang” – was fatally shot in 1959 when he and a friend went to collect $50 from a man by the name of Bud Stiltz. They reportedly pounded on Stiltz’s door and then forced their way into his house. A fight broke out and Stiltz fired his gun, which shot 34-year-old Switzer in the stomach. A jury ruled the incident a justifiable homicide.


7. Dana Hill

Dana Hill – who played Audrey Griswold in “National Lampoon’s European Vacation” alongside Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo – was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at a young age. She reportedly hadn’t been taking very good care of herself when she slipped into a diabetic coma in May 1996. The following month she suffered a massive paralytic stroke and forty days later she died at the age of 32.

Source: http://www.childstarlets.com

6. Matthew Garber

Matthew Garber – known for his role as Michael Banks in “Mary Poppins” – unknowingly contracted Hepatitis while in India back in 1976. The disease spread to his pancreas and was untreatable. In 1977, he died of hemorrhagic necrotizing pancreatitis. He was just 21.


5. Michelle Thomas

Michelle Thomas – best known for playing Justine Phillips on “The Cosby Show” and Myra Monkhouse on “Family Matters” – died at the age of 20 in 1998 of a rare form of stomach cancer, Intra-abdominal Desmoplastic Small Round Cell Tumor, that was mostly found in adolescent boys.

Source: http://www.rantlifestyle.com

4. J. Madison Wright Morris

J. Madison Wright Morris – who appeared in the television series “Grace Under Fire” – had been diagnosed with restrictive cardiomyopathy as an adolescent and had a heart transplant at age 15. Although she recovered quickly, she died six years later of a heart attack just after she returned home from her honeymoon. She was just eight days shy of turning 22.

Source: http://www.giornalettismo.com

3. Rob Knox

Rob Knox – who acted alongside Daniel Radcliffe in “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” – was stabbed to death in 2008 while trying to protect his younger brother from two men, one of whom was armed with knives.

Source: http://www.mirror.co.uk

2. Judith Barsi

Judith Barsi – best known for providing the voice for Ducky in “The Land Before Time” – was shot and killed by her father back in 1988. He then shot and killed her mother before he turned the gun on himself. Judith was only 10-years-old.

Source: http://www.pigtailsinpaint.com

1. Heather O’Rourke

Heather O’Rourke – star of the “Poltergeist” movies – died in 1988 at the age of 12 of cardiac arrest and septic shock caused by intestinal stenosis. She was misdiagnosed with Crohn’s Disease the year before her death, but had actually been suffering from a congenital intestinal abnormality.



Cate has a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature and has been the Managing Editor of Fame10 for more than 6 years. Despite having a love for the works of Thomas Hardy, Leo Tolstoy and Lord Byron, she also has an intense fascination with pop culture. When she isn’t writing for Fame10, she’s planning her next big adventure in Southeast Asia.