Car accidents, randomness and fame.
June 14, 2006 12:34 AM   Subscribe

Can you name famous (or notable) people who died in car accidents at the height of their fame?

I actually saw a disturbing documentary about a tragic car crash and it got me thinking about notable lives cut short by way of car accident.

There are a few conditions.
1. The accident can't have been as a result of the intoxication of the famous person.
2. The person can't have driven vehicles for a living (e.g. race car drivers, stuntmen)
3. The accident wasn't as a result of a successful suicide attempt.

I guess I am looking for truly random car crashes that might have happened to anybody but instead happened to the famous person. So not events where someone could argue (even feebly) "Oh yes but that's just because they were living so close to the edge." Princess Diana's crash might qualify but isn't the ideal example because most people aren't chased by the paparazzi.
posted by zaebiz to Travel & Transportation (47 answers total)
 
Surely James Dean is the top of that list. Stick to the right, Jimmy!
posted by wilful at 12:40 AM on June 14, 2006


Jayne Mansfield is probably the iconic example.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 12:41 AM on June 14, 2006


Lady Di.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:46 AM on June 14, 2006


Princess Grace?
posted by clarahamster at 12:46 AM on June 14, 2006


D'oh! Read the question, stupid.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:47 AM on June 14, 2006


Harry Chapin?
posted by Opposite George at 12:50 AM on June 14, 2006


Jayne Mansfield
T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia)
Lisa Lopes
Princess Grace
Sam Kinison
Jackson Pollack
and many more here
posted by fandango_matt at 12:51 AM on June 14, 2006


Start with the Wikipedia Category Entertainers who died in a road accident.
posted by cgc373 at 12:54 AM on June 14, 2006


Albert Camus, 1957, three years after receiving the Nobel Prize.
posted by ldenneau at 1:01 AM on June 14, 2006


Oops, Camus received the Nobel in 1957, died in 1960.
posted by ldenneau at 1:03 AM on June 14, 2006


Trinidad Silva.
posted by fandango_matt at 1:04 AM on June 14, 2006


Tim Horton, 1974, ten years after opening his first store.
posted by Opposite George at 1:08 AM on June 14, 2006


The first person I thought of was running legend Steve Prefontaine. There seems to be some disagreement over whether or not the drinks he consumed before getting behind the wheel actually played any significant role in the accident (just before the crash, he had driven a friend home without incident).
posted by roomwithaview at 1:09 AM on June 14, 2006


Actually, look at the broader Category of Road accident victims. Jackson Pollock? Richard Fariña? Steve Prefontaine? Eddie Cochran? Jesus. Well, not Jesus. I mean, whoa. Lotta dead here.
posted by cgc373 at 1:09 AM on June 14, 2006


...JFK?
posted by disillusioned at 1:12 AM on June 14, 2006


Oh yeah, one more: Jessica Savitch, really horribly, after the car she was in flipped and landed upside down in a canal.
posted by Opposite George at 1:12 AM on June 14, 2006


Marc Bolan of T-Rex. His girlfriend lost control of their Mini, and crashed into a tree. She survived, he didn't.
posted by featherboa at 2:18 AM on June 14, 2006


Do they have to be driving? Roland Barthes (Death of the Author) was killed by a laundry van after meeting François Mitterand.
posted by randomination at 2:30 AM on June 14, 2006


A car, an accident (not a crash), and surely random: Isadora Duncan's final curtain call.
posted by rob511 at 2:31 AM on June 14, 2006


Isadora Duncan? Unless you call that a scarf accident.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 2:34 AM on June 14, 2006


Jeff Buckley died in a motorbike accident when he was doing fantastically well musically.
posted by twirlypen at 3:05 AM on June 14, 2006


I thought Jeff Buckley drowned? Also, Jackson Pollock was drunk.
posted by equalpants at 3:26 AM on June 14, 2006


D.Boon [1] [2]
posted by john m at 3:54 AM on June 14, 2006


Already mentioned, but Richard Farina. Still missed.

Also, there's nothing in the question that says the victim had to be driving. So, no need to look at a "broader category".
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:24 AM on June 14, 2006


Eddie Cochran
posted by TheRaven at 5:01 AM on June 14, 2006


Margaret Mitchell.
posted by orange swan at 5:29 AM on June 14, 2006


Jeff Buckley died in a motorbike accident when he was doing fantastically well musically.

No.
posted by grabbingsand at 5:34 AM on June 14, 2006


Cliff Burton of Metallica.
posted by blaneyphoto at 5:34 AM on June 14, 2006


Clifford Brown.
posted by Speck at 5:37 AM on June 14, 2006


Great German expressionist film director, F.W. Murnau.
posted by Adam White at 5:57 AM on June 14, 2006


Gen. George S. Patton didn't actually die in a car crash, but he died from one.
posted by cerebus19 at 6:18 AM on June 14, 2006


Pixar's Joe Ranft
posted by kirkaracha at 6:30 AM on June 14, 2006


Michael Hedges.
posted by plinth at 6:41 AM on June 14, 2006


Wallace Stegner

link
posted by bukvich at 7:31 AM on June 14, 2006


Alan J Pakula.
posted by blueshammer at 7:50 AM on June 14, 2006


Harry Chapin
posted by bcnarc at 8:46 AM on June 14, 2006


Ernie Kovacs
posted by Rash at 9:05 AM on June 14, 2006


Sam Kinison and Helmut Newton
posted by dieguido at 9:09 AM on June 14, 2006


Duane Allman
Berry Oakley
Randy Rhoads
posted by JekPorkins at 9:34 AM on June 14, 2006


Randy Rhoads was in the plane, though...
posted by SuperSquirrel at 9:45 AM on June 14, 2006




Herb Brooks, Miracle On Ice coach.

I knew there would be one person on this list I didn't know was dead.
posted by any major dude at 10:20 AM on June 14, 2006


James Darroch, leader of the marvelous Australian band The Eastern Dark.
posted by Scram at 11:30 AM on June 14, 2006


Tim Horton was drunk and on drugs at the time of his car crash.
posted by acoutu at 1:27 PM on June 14, 2006


Classical musician Dennis Brain.
posted by oldtimey at 2:35 PM on June 14, 2006


And Frank O'Hara (conversational poet/ MOMA curator), hit by a dune buggy on Fire Island.
posted by Scram at 9:58 PM on June 14, 2006


Gen. George Patton
posted by pmurray63 at 10:27 AM on June 15, 2006


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