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What celebrities owe their career to another celebrity dropping dead?

I still say Leonardo DiCaprio owes his career to River Phoenix dropping dead. Only four years apart in age, River drops dead at 23 in 1993 and Leo explodes onto the scene at 19 in What's eating Gilbert Grape and This Boy's Life in the same year. He filled the void of the brooding blond heartthrob.

Now I think Joseph Gordon-Levitt owes his career to Heath Ledger dropping dead. These two are two years apart and even slightly resemble each other. Ledger drops dead in 2008 and JGL's career takes off with 500 days of Summer and GI Joe the following year.

Can anyone else think of a celeb who owes their career to another celeb dropping dead?

by Anonymousreply 10406/27/2013

Jennifer Lopez owes her career to the death of Selena Quintanilla Perez.

by Anonymousreply 109/29/2012

Jim Belushi

by Anonymousreply 209/29/2012

Dianne Fienstein owes her political career to Harvey Milk being assasinated. Is she a celeb?

by Anonymousreply 309/29/2012

Jim Belushi

He would have been the Clint Howard/Frank Stallone/Don Swayze of the Belushi brothers but he capitalized on John's name recognition and somehow people let him.

by Anonymousreply 409/29/2012

Paul Newman wouldn't have had a career if James Dean had lived.

by Anonymousreply 509/29/2012

I'd have Matt Damon's career if he died!

by Anonymousreply 609/29/2012

Totally agree about Dicaprio.

by Anonymousreply 709/29/2012

I agree about DiCaprio.

by Anonymousreply 809/29/2012

Woody Harrelson and the guy who played Coach

by Anonymousreply 909/29/2012


by Anonymousreply 1009/29/2012

Emma Stone and LiLo's soul

by Anonymousreply 1109/29/2012

If Aaliyah had lived, Beyonce would be "that chubby girl who was in Destiny's Child"

by Anonymousreply 1209/29/2012

Betty White. Would she be America's geriatric sweetheart if Bea Arthur hadn't died?

by Anonymousreply 1309/29/2012

Anyone who saw DiCaprio in WHAT'S EATING GILBERT GRAPE should recognize that his "explosion" onto the scene was independent of River Phoenix not being around. DICaprio's bravura performance was both distinctive and completely outside Phoenix's sphere, whatever intersections later seemed present. DiCaprio's timing was later, Phoenix never could carry off the range, and there was no replacement in parts. What? They both could whimper? Silly "observation."

Levitt? Where is the OP pulling this out of?

If Paul Newman is true with James Dean, you'd better throw in Steve McQueen even more so.

Belushi is very true.

In film, in some ways, and in Bacall's bed, Jason Robards for Bogart.

by Anonymousreply 1409/29/2012

What about on Broadway? Did anyone ever drop dead and therefore let somebody else get the role?

by Anonymousreply 1509/29/2012

Michelle Williams

Luke Russert

by Anonymousreply 1609/29/2012

I guess they count as celebrities...

Nobody would know who Jesse Jackson is if he wasn't in Memphis when MLK got shot. He's been living off of "I was there" ever since.

by Anonymousreply 1709/29/2012

"Now I think Joseph Gordon-Levitt owes his career to Heath Ledger dropping dead. These two are two years apart and even slightly resemble each other. Ledger drops dead in 2008 and JGL's career takes off with 500 days of Summer and GI Joe the following year."

Heath would not have done 500 Days of Summer. More likely, he would have done Blue Valentine,, instead of Ryan Gosling, especially with playing against Michelle. Heath would have also been competiting with Jake G for roles.

by Anonymousreply 1809/29/2012

[quote]Jennifer Lopez owes her career to the death of Selena Quintanilla Perez.

So true. At the time of her death at 23, Selena was already an established Latin star but was on the brink of breaking into the mainstream, was dabbling in acting roles, and had her own fashion line (her first love) and several boutiques. After J.Lo hit it big with the movie "Selena" she said she was inspired to go into the recording studio, which is how her music career came about. She also started her own clothing line. It was like she was living Selena's dream.

Factoid: When Selena's mother was pregnant with her, her parents had decided on the name "Mark Anthony" if she were a boy. Of course, J.Lo later married the singer Mark Anthony.

by Anonymousreply 1909/29/2012

George Burns. He was always an "also-ran" and a loser compared to Gracie Allen.

Then Jack Benny got the part in the Sunshine Boys and got pancake cancer. As he was dying he told them to use his "best friend" George Burns. (They were lovers you know).

George got the part, won an Oscar and his solo career took off.

If Benny had lived, George would only be remembered as Gracie Allen's husband.

by Anonymousreply 2009/29/2012

WTF is pancake cancer?

by Anonymousreply 2109/29/2012

"Paul Newman wouldn't have had a career if James Dean had lived."

I disagree, although I do think that Newman's career would have got off to a slower start if Dean had lived. But I've said before that Dean's career would have fallen apart in the sixties, as Newman was hitting his prime.

by Anonymousreply 2209/29/2012

I think they meant "pancreatic cancer", R21, but Autocorrect got the best of them. Either way, it cracked me up.

by Anonymousreply 2309/29/2012

R19, I wish Selena had lived only because she worshiped the vastly more talented Donna Summer, and might've helped revived her career. Preventing the rise of JLo would've been icing on the cake.

by Anonymousreply 2409/29/2012

29, you're goofy. Benny and Burns were both cast - then Burns had a heart attack, and they waited for him. By the time he was well, Benny was on the way out (it happened quickly) and Matthau stepped in.

by Anonymousreply 2509/29/2012

no r25......r20 had it right.

by Anonymousreply 2609/29/2012

I think Rihanna owes her career to Aaliyah's untimely death as well.

by Anonymousreply 2709/29/2012

Ugh R14. I though DiCaprio was TERRIBLE in Gilbert Grape anyway. He totally overacted just because he was playing a retarded person. He was very much a "movie retard" - cute and blonde and wildly overacting, i.e., nothing like real life.

by Anonymousreply 2809/30/2012

Aaliyah's death was timely. She sucked, and if she had lived, she would've faded by the time Rihanna had her first hit 4 yrs later.

by Anonymousreply 2909/30/2012

Actually no, R29. She would've continued to innovate R&B, electronic and dance music with Timbaland and Missy Elliot and they all would've prospered.

by Anonymousreply 3009/30/2012

[quote]WTF is pancake cancer?

It's when Eddie "Rochester" Anderson colludes with Aunt Jemima to take deadly revenge after decades of racial stereotyping. Rochester would have poisoned Benny's Jell-O, but in real life Jack never ate that shit.

by Anonymousreply 3109/30/2012

Sandra Gould is famous primarily as Gladys Kravitz on BEWITCHED - a role she landed after the original Gladys, Alice Pearce, died of cancer.

by Anonymousreply 3209/30/2012

When THE KING & I opened on Broadway, Gertrude Lawrence was the only member of the cast to receive star billing. In other words, her name alone appeared above the title. The show made new-comer Yul Brynner a star in all but billing. Then Gertrude Lawrence fell ill with cancer and died. The producers were able to put Yul Brynner's name above the title without blinking an eye because people were eagerly buying tickets to see him anyway. So he became a star in the literal show business sense owing entirely to Gertrude Lawrence's death.

by Anonymousreply 3309/30/2012

How long was Gertrude Lawrence in the show? Did it run much longer after her death?

by Anonymousreply 3409/30/2012

Pancake cancer is so tragic. Everyone suffers. The eggs, bacon ... even the waffles take it hard.

by Anonymousreply 3509/30/2012

R34, THE KING AND I opened on March 29, 1951 and closed on March 20, 1954. Gertrude Lawrence left the cast in August of 1952 and died on Sept. 5, 1952. Constance Carpenter, her understudy, succeeded her in the role. I believe Yul Brynner remained with the show for its entire Broadway run and probably toured in too before making the movie.

by Anonymousreply 3609/30/2012

Ethel Merman's daughter-in-law, Barbara Colby, was shot and killed with a friend of hers while she was a cast member of the "Phyllis" spin-off from Mary Tyler Moore.

Barbara's character was then recast with an up and coming Liz Torres who went on to have a pretty decent career of her own.

Does that count?

by Anonymousreply 3709/30/2012

Ronald Reagan got his break in film due to the death of another actor at Warners.

by Anonymousreply 3809/30/2012

Thanks she died just a few weeks after she left the show. I wonder how she lasted in it so long.

by Anonymousreply 3909/30/2012

As usual, pedantic DL-ers are stretching credibility. Changing Yul Brynner's billing did not make him a star, his performance in The King and I did. The fact that Lawrence, a huge stage star of the time, commanded top billing did nothing to eclipse the ascendance of Brynner's career. To pretend that these two were even in competition is ridiculous, especially since one was at the end of her life and the other, a man, went on to play that role continuously until he died several decades later.

And who the fuck is Liz Torres? Or Barbara Colby? Get a clue: when actors die, they have to be replaced. Duh. It doesn't make their replacement a star nor in this instance the actress who was originally cast.

I can't believe how desperate some people are to play.

by Anonymousreply 4009/30/2012

STFU R40. Nobody likes you. Nobody.

by Anonymousreply 4109/30/2012

I guess I have been put wise by r40. I love being bitched out by people who use "duh" in a reply. So witty and wise. I'm surprised he didn't use "Uhmmm" at some point.

Oh and what r41 said.

by Anonymousreply 4209/30/2012

R23, At first when I read it, I figured pancake cancer was what you got in the old days when stage makeup (aka pancake makeup) had lead in it or something. LOL! But your explanation makes more sense.

by Anonymousreply 4309/30/2012

Well, once the maple syrup metastisizes, it's off to the big IHOP in the sky for you!

by Anonymousreply 4409/30/2012

When she died, Gertrude Lawrence was buried in the ball gown from "Shall We Dance?"

And r40 is proud to be stupid

by Anonymousreply 4509/30/2012

"Gertrude Lawrence left the cast in August of 1952 and died on Sept. 5, 1952"

Did she die of pancake cancer?

by Anonymousreply 4609/30/2012

Agree with OP about both, especially about DiCaprio. I even remember thinking it at the time - "the new River Phoenix."

by Anonymousreply 4709/30/2012

r12 sez:

[quote]If Aaliyah had lived, Beyonce would be "that chubby girl who was in Destiny's Child"

That's why the Illuminati had Aaliyah killed, because they knew that she was standing in the way of Beyonce's success, dontcha know?

by Anonymousreply 4809/30/2012

Lyndon Johnson

Camilla Parker Bowles

by Anonymousreply 4909/30/2012

[quote]I love being bitched out by people who use "duh" in a reply.

Have you noticed that when someone begins their reply with "Uh," they're usually wrong? "Uh," is usually a signal that says, "Moron posting."

by Anonymousreply 5009/30/2012

Bette Davis dies in 1989.

Jessica Tandy wins Best Actress Oscar for Driving Miss Daisy, becomes America's geriatric sweetheart.

Coincidence ? I don't think so.

by Anonymousreply 5109/30/2012

It's better if they just go a little blind.

by Anonymousreply 5209/30/2012

Quite a few female R&B singers from 2000 onward owe their careers to the tragic demise of Aaliyah. She was a one-of-a-kind sonic innovator. Without her, we were subjected to the likes of Ashanti, Nivea and Ciara (who, admittedly was the most talented of that lot).

by Anonymousreply 5309/30/2012

Jessica Tandy is not dead. She wunk at me at the corner of Park and 10th. She is not dead.

by Anonymousreply 5409/30/2012

Jayne Mansfield became a megastar after the death of MM.

by Anonymousreply 5509/30/2012

I've often thought about DiCaprio and Phoenix. I wouldn't go as far as you, OP, in attributing DiCaprio's rise to Phoenix's death, but certainly there is some degree of correspondence.

by Anonymousreply 5609/30/2012

I'm a huge Aaliyah fan but honestly, her last album and singles didn't do well until after her death. It's hard to say if her recording career would have rebounded, or if she would have faded away like Brandy and Monica. I had the impression Aaliyah was going to become more of an actress as time went on.

by Anonymousreply 5709/30/2012

Kurt Cobain > Cortney Love

Kurt Cobain > Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters)

by Anonymousreply 5809/30/2012

Ledger and Gordon-Levitt did not resemble each other at all and would not have been in competition for the same roles. Absolutely ridiculous theorem.

by Anonymousreply 5909/30/2012

r54, of course if you had basic reading skills, you'd see that Bette Davis is the one who died paving the way for Jessica Tandy.

by Anonymousreply 6009/30/2012

Jennifer Hudson and Whitney Houston (yes, Oscar blah blah; just look how Hudson is everywhere now: the "new" Whitney).

"Marc" Anthony, not "Mark."

Jay-Z....Biggie Smalls.

Troy Donahue....Brandon de Wilde.

Mick Jagger....Brian Jones.

by Anonymousreply 6109/30/2012

Wonder if The Kardashians would have the careers they do today if Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman had not been murdered?

by Anonymousreply 6209/30/2012

[quote]Jessica Tandy is not dead. She wunk at me at the corner of Park and 10th. She is not dead.

It sort of ruins the joke and calls you out as a fly-over Queen that Park and 10th do not intersect in NYC, Miss Tandy's home city. Park Ave. (South) runs north starting at 23rd Street, and does not officially become Park Ave. until 34th Street.

by Anonymousreply 6309/30/2012

Pope John Paul II

by Anonymousreply 6409/30/2012

Second Emma Stone and Lindsay Lohan's self-destruction.

by Anonymousreply 6509/30/2012

Kathy Selden wouldn't be a star if silent movies hadn't died

by Anonymousreply 6609/30/2012

Oh, Jeebus help me .....I love pancakes .... plese let it skip me, please let it skip me ....

by Anonymousreply 6709/30/2012

Other posters are right about you, R40. You are not only stupid but belligerently and proudly stupid.

by Anonymousreply 6809/30/2012

Spot on R20.

by Anonymousreply 6909/30/2012

Jack Benny and George Burns were lovers?

That's a whole lot of ugly to deal with there...

by Anonymousreply 7009/30/2012

Shane Klingensmith owes his success to the untimely death of Bob Hope.

by Anonymousreply 7109/30/2012

R62 wins.

by Anonymousreply 7209/30/2012

I thought Ledger and Gordon-Levitt were pretty well-cast as brothers in Ten Things I Hate About You! I remember seeing nerd speculation that JGL would take over the Joker role in TDKR and, I mean, I didn't believe it but I could see where they were coming from.

by Anonymousreply 7309/30/2012

As another poster said, Michelle Williams. In fact, she is the owner of this thread. I gag whenever I read an article about her, because they tout her as some sort of survivor. Truth is, she wasn't even romantically involved with Ledger by the time he killed himself. I was sure she was going to get a sympathy Oscar.

by Anonymousreply 7409/30/2012

JGL and Ledger weren't playing brothers in Ten Things...

by Anonymousreply 7509/30/2012

Michelle already had a solid career by the time Heath died.

by Anonymousreply 7609/30/2012

Haha, r75, I never got around to seeing it and just assumed!

by Anonymousreply 7709/30/2012

Disagree about Paul Newman, R5. He seemed laid back, but he was very driven.

by Anonymousreply 7809/30/2012

R73, they didn't play brothers, but both dated sisters in the film.

by Anonymousreply 7909/30/2012

I just don't like Michelle Williams and I hate to see her in any film.

by Anonymousreply 8009/30/2012

I thought Heath Ledger, Joseph Gordon Levitt, and Julia Stiles all looked rather similar. They could've played siblings. It was especially weird in this movie 'cause Julia and Heath were supposed to be love interests.

by Anonymousreply 8109/30/2012

R80 _ Why don't you like MW?

by Anonymousreply 8209/30/2012

Jayne Mansfield did NOT become a "huge star after MM died." Her stardom came about squarely during Marilyn's heyday. Jayne starred in Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter in 1956, both the stage and film versions. She was known as the "Working Man's Monroe." She was around at the same time as Monroe. By the time Marilyn died, Mansfield's star had considerably dimmed and she resorted to nude photo spreads and cheap sexploitation films. And a nightclub act that she travelled around. Monroe's death did not give a boost to her popularity. Mansfield was already on the downhill slide, considered little more than a punchline and a leftover remnant from a bygone era. She and Marilyn both were battling that fate, actually, by 1962.

by Anonymousreply 8309/30/2012

R62 You make a very good point that I've never though of before.

Without their sleezy father and his arrogant racist partner exploiting racial tensions to allow a double-murderer to walk free, it's highly unlikely that the name "Kardashian" would be stinking up the world right now.

"What a country!" Where else could a celebrity double murder lead to a family of whores becoming filthy rich and famous?

by Anonymousreply 8409/30/2012

Not Biggie Smalls and Jay Z, more like Biggie Smalls and kayne west. That is a more fitting example. Or Biggie and puffy.

But if he were around then kayne whack wouldn't be running around claming he's so great and wonderful. Nor would he dare mention anything about a throne again.

by Anonymousreply 8509/30/2012

Lisa "Lefteye" Lopes definitely left a void. TLC made a comeback and Lisa had a solo album in the works but her death hindered that. Lisa's fun and whacky rap style paved the way for someone like Nicki Minaj, who is a fusion of Lisa, Missy Elliot and Lil' Kim.

by Anonymousreply 8609/30/2012

Freddie Prinze Sr.'s death definitely helped up and coming comics at the time. He had just signed a huge deal when he killed himself. I think he would have continued through the 80s as 1 of the premier young comedy guns.

by Anonymousreply 8709/30/2012

I agree with whoever said that Heath Ledger would have been going for Ryan Gosling's roles rather than JGL's. However I still think Ryan Gosling would be a popular as he is if Heath hadn't died. Perhaps people like Tom Hardy and Michael Fassbender fill the space Heath left?

by Anonymousreply 8810/01/2012

Olivia Newton-John owes her career to Janis Joplin dropping dead.

by Anonymousreply 8910/01/2012

Cindy Birdsong.

by Anonymousreply 9010/01/2012

I can't believe no-one has mentioned the fact that Catherine Zeta Spartacus Jones owes her Tony to Natasha Richardson dropping dead.

by Anonymousreply 9110/01/2012

"pancake cancer". OMG that cracked me up. That should be on the list of favorites DL posts.

by Anonymousreply 9210/01/2012

R63 = idiot newbie

Trying learning the in-jokes and reading before you start posting, you moron. Or better yet go back to HuffPo.

by Anonymousreply 9310/01/2012


by Anonymousreply 9410/11/2012

I blame Bruce Lee for Chuck Norris.

by Anonymousreply 9511/11/2012

Guy Woodhouse

Harry Truman

by Anonymousreply 9611/11/2012

Ciara, ashanti, maybe Beyoncé owe their career to the death of Aaliyah

by Anonymousreply 9706/27/2013

Why did Pancake Cancer not join Cak and Graxy in the Datalounge Dictionary?

by Anonymousreply 9806/27/2013

[quote]Dianne F[ei]nstein owes her political career to Harvey Milk being assas[s]inated.

It was the assassination of George Moscone that accelerated her political career. Moscone was Mayor of San Francisco & Milk was a member of the Board of Supervisors -- they were assassinated by Dan White on the same day, & Feinstein (Pres. of the Board of Supervisors) automatically succeeded Moscone as Mayor.

by Anonymousreply 9906/27/2013

Why do you say that, r89?

by Anonymousreply 10006/27/2013

One could argue things looked good for Richard Nixon after Bobby Kennedy was killed.

by Anonymousreply 10106/27/2013

First of all, I thoroughly disagree about DiCaprio. Indiana Jones and the River Phoenix was one of the wormiest, sorriest creeps Hollywood ever tried to shove on the moviegoing public.

Ronald Reagan got his start at Warner Brothers because Ross Alexander had committed suicide. Alexander did it because he was threatened with outing.

by Anonymousreply 10206/27/2013

Tap tap tap. I'm a very patient lady.


by Anonymousreply 10306/27/2013

[R12] I thought this initially, but Beyonce still would've hit it out of the park with "Crazy In Love", a horn-heavy uptempo number that was nowhere near Aaliyah's vibe.

I think Ashanti more so fit the slot Aaliyah had left, so she wouldn't have come and gone instead.

by Anonymousreply 10406/27/2013
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