When people become famous, they start living lives of excess that they aren’t psychologically prepared to deal with. Many stars turn to alcoholism after becoming famous. Whether as a result of performance anxiety or other issues that may relate or not with success itself. There are numerous stars who pass away from alcoholism and we’ll look at the most tragic tales in this video! Join Facts Verse as we take a look at celebrities who died from alcohol.
The first star is Barbara Payton, whose tale involves one of the most tragic deaths from alcoholism in Hollywood history! Not everyone will recognize the name, Barbara Payton, as she wasn’t as big of a star as some other celebrities. However, that wasn’t for lack of trying. Barbara’s fame, she’s a notable film star that can socialize with superstars, Gary Cooper, Gregory Peck, and Frank Sinatra. Sadly, it turns out that the actress isn’t fit to handle her success.
Barbara was born in 1927 and exhibited a streak of rebellion from a young age. At the age of 15, she runs away from her comfortable life at home to marry her boyfriend. A man by the name of William Hodge. Not long after the two elope, Barbara tracks down by her parents and bring back home. Several years later, Barbara married for a second time, this time to a man by the name of John Payton. John Payton is an Air Force Captain, and the two move to California after marrying. They have a child after Barbara takes the child and runs off to Hollywood, hoping of becoming a movie star.
Career in Universal
Barbara was a beautiful young woman, and it wasn’t hard for her to get attention in Hollywood. However, she was perhaps a little bit too willing to use her sexuality to get ahead. Barbara signed with Universal and started finding some success, around which time she became involved with comedian Bob Hope. Bob set Barbara up in her own apartment, and the two partook in an affair. He marries and when Universal discovers the affair, they decide to fire Barbara thinking that the affair hurts Bob’s image. Bob was the bigger star, and Barbara found herself out of work.
Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye
After following Bob Hope around and begging him for money to no avail, other work thankfully comes Barbara’s way. She appeared in a 1949 film by the name Trapped, which was fairly successful. Her appearance in the film secured her a role alongside James Cagney in the 1950s Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye. The following year, she appears alongside Gary Cooper in the film Dallas and Gregory Peck in Only the Valiant. She can in nightclubs hanging out with such superstars as Lana Turner and Frank Sinatra. Arguably, the burgeoning celebrity cared more about partying than she did about performing, which didn’t prove a sustainable outlook.
Affair in Hollywood
Barbara enjoyed sleeping around in Hollywood, whether to further her career or just to pass the time. She continued the habit of sleeping around after becoming involved with actor Franchot Tone. While dating Franchot, Barbara started an affair with a boxer. When Franchot found out, he started a fistfight with him that ended up putting Franchot in a coma!
Barbara develops a habit of heavy drinking during her time in Hollywood, and things get pretty bad by the 1950s. Barbara is inactive in the entertainment industry and moves to Chicago starting a prostitution ring with a fellow ex-actress. When the police busted up their ring, Barbara narrowly escaped incarceration. Barbara’s business partner is put in prison, forcing Barbara to continue working as a prostitute alone.
Alone on the streets, Barbara lived for several years as a drug-addicted prostitute before dying at the age of only 39. At the height of her desperation, she had returned to the home of her parents. She collapse on the floor of her parents’ bathroom in 1967 and says to die in the arms of her mother. At the time of her death, Barbara looked nothing like her former self. She weighs 200 pounds, and her face bloats from years of alcohol abuse.
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Unlike Barbara Payton, Veronica Lake got to experience legitimate Hollywood stardom over the course of her career. However, that doesn’t make her eventual demise from alcoholism and schizophrenia much less tragic. During Veronica’s final years, she holes up in her home, believing that the government is spying on her. This came after the actress’s iconic appearances in films such as This Gun for Hire and The Hour Before Dawn. She had been one of the biggest names in Hollywood during the 1940s, but her career suffered alongside her personal life in the 1950s.
During the 1950s, Veronica began suffering from schizophrenia. This schizophrenia makes worse by the fact that the actress is a very heavy drinker. She died in 1973, at the age of only 50. She had only appeared in a small handful of films since 1952 and had lived her final years in a state of alcohol addiction and loneliness. After her death, Veronica’s family financially struggled to bury her. Her estranged son reportedly had to take out a loan to fly to where his mother’s body was located, and she was then cremated. Some claim that her ashes sell to fans.
Hollywood actors and actresses certainly have a propensity for becoming addicted to alcohol, but their counterparts in the music industry often outdo them. One musician that could’ve likely out-drunk every one of her contemporaries in Hollywood was jazz singer Billie Holiday. Billie is addicted to alcohol and sex, as well as a variety of illicit substances. She used her success to fund her partying but tried her best not to let her various habits affect her artistic output. Still, she couldn’t stop the negative health effects that her many years of partying were taking on her body.
Billie had started out on the music scene as a nightclub singer before finding some success and dropping out of high school. She starts drinking at an early age and turns to opium after introduces by a partner. Billie ends up passing away in the late 1950s after admits to the hospital with both liver and heart disease. Though the actress had been able to hold it together for a good deal of her career, the final years of her life saw her on a downward spiral. The singer had reportedly quit drinking soon before her death on the advice of her doctor, but it was too late.
Richard Burton is another Hollywood star that ended up meeting his end at the hands of alcoholism. Besides acting, Richard is perhaps equally famous for being romantically involved with actress Elizabeth Taylor. The two starred together in the box-office failure Cleopatra, and their relationship didn’t prove healthy for either of them.
Richard hated being a Hollywood actor, preferring to be on the stage. Arguably, he also hated Elizabeth Taylor. Both his Hollywood career and his marriage to Elizabeth inspired the actor to drink, and the habit eventually killed him. For a time, Richard was able to continue performing successfully while drinking as many as four bottles of hard alcohol a day. This was during the 1970s when he starred in such films as the Hollywood adaptation of the controversial play Equus.
Richard Burton died at the age of only 58 after suffering from cirrhosis of the liver for a number of years. He famously undergoes a surgical operation to alleviate some back pain that he is experiencing, only for the doctors to find that crystallized alcohol forms on his spine. Despite his poor health, the actor continues to drink until his 1984 death, which causes by a brain hemorrhage.
Mickey Mantle recognizes as one of the greatest baseball players of all time, but he torments by alcoholism. The athlete turned to the bottle soon after the start of his career due to the death of his father. He continued drinking throughout the duration of his fame before dying in 1995 from declining health related to his years of consumption. Although Mickey was apparently plagued by demons during his career, those who knew him said he was always kind and considerate to even his lowliest teammate.
Back in the days when country music actually meant something, the country music scene was notorious for being filled with depressed and alcoholic singer-songwriters. Perhaps the most iconic depressed and alcoholic singer-songwriter that ever graced the country music scene was Hank Williams, who became the archetype that many followed. While his alcoholism made him appear authentic to both his contemporaries and his audience, it ended up killing him. Hank died at the age of only 29 in 1953. He was being driven to a New Year’s Day performance in Ohio and had mixed alcohol with various illicit substances.
While fame and success can bring with it plenty of good qualities, there seems to be something about becoming a celebrity that makes people more likely to turn to alcoholism. Now it’s time to hear from you: did you know that many celebrities have died from alcoholism, or did you think that their fame made them immune to such things? As always, like this video to show your support, and subscribe and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!