T Nation

Died Too Soon?


Howard Rollins, Jr.

One of my sisters sent me an e-mail this morning about wasted talent and many who died too young. One on the list was Howard Rollins, Jr.

If you haven't seen "Ragtime" or "A Soldiers's Story"; RENT THEM...

He had the potential to be one of our greatest actors EVER, but eventually succumbed to AIDS-related lymphoma after a life-long battle with drugs.

To My "Nation" Friends:

Who, in your estimation, either "wasted" their talent OR died "too young" before they reached the Fullness of their Potential?

It can be in Sports, entertainment or a Local Kid you knew growing up or in High School who had the World ahead of them, but it wasn't meant to be.

Let's see how it goes.



James Dean

Only THREE films made.

Only person to receive Posthumous Academy Award Nominations. (He received TWO).

Influenced a Generation.

Died at age 24 in an auto accident.



I don't have any nominees on my mind right now, but are you sure this is a pic of Jame Dean, Muf? Seems quite recent for a pic taken in the 50'


Don't hesitate to add a name of someone still living, but may have still been a talent wasted...



Just off the top of my head I'll start with comedians.

John Belushi
Chris Farley
Phil Hartman
Gilda Radner

All SNL stars, coincidence?


Bill Hicks.

He had just done an HBO special and was finally coming into his own with his blend of philosophy and comedy as seen in his relentless and revelations bit.

He finally had quit smoking but too late to escape lung cancer, which he had throughout his famous final routines, but kept secret from most people.


Wow Mufusa,

How about Janice Joplin, Jon Belusi, Jimi Hendrix, (I just started "hearing" him), and Chris Farley.

Your thread made me think a little differently than maybe you might have expected.

I am a high school teacher and coach. Every year, (20), I see wasted talent, academically and athletically. It is so sad, and sometimes it really bothers me, physcially, mentally, and spiritually.

It does however spur me to be a good example to my own kids, work out with them daily, and try to give them sound advice.



Stevie Ray Vaughn
Buddy Holly
The Big Bopper
Kurt Cobain (like him or not)
Ritchie Valens
Notorious B.I.G.


I think I just called you Mufusa. Sorry about that. Maybe I better start teaching spelling.



Curt Henning died way too soon.


First name that pops into my head is Jim Henson. (The Muppet Show, Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, etc.)

He died relatively young--I think he was in his early 50s?--because he was too busy to go to the hospital when he developed some pneumonia-related condition in his lungs.

Really ticks me off to think of all the wonderful fantasy movies that didn't get made because he didn't have the sense to take a break.



John F. Kennedy
Bobby Kennedy (and yet Ted is still alive, where is the justice)

Not a politician per se but....

Dr. Martin Luther King






Agreed on all.
Steve Prefontaine


Freddie Mercury
Doug Henning
Brandon Lee