The entertainment industry lost singer and actress Whitney Houston February 11, 2012 when she was found unresponsive in her hotel bathtub. Houston's final film, Sparkle, was released on August 17, 2012 to positive reviews, but more for co-star Carmen Ejogo. So, does tragedy translate into box office gold?
1. Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight (2008)
On January 22, 2008, Ledger was found unresponsive in his SoHo apartment after an accidental overdose of prescription medications. The Dark Knight was released on July 18, 2008 and grossed more than $1 billion worldwide. Ledger posthumously won more than 30 awards, including an Oscar and Golden Globe, for his portrayal of the Joker.
2. Natalie Wood, Brainstorm (1983)
Wood's body was mysteriously found in the ocean off the coast of Catalina Island on November 29, 1981 after a boat ride with husband Robert Wagner and actor Christopher Walken. Brainstorm was released on September 30, 1983 to positive reviews, but only made $10 million.
3. James Dean, Rebel Without A Cause (1955)
Dean crashed his Porsche Spyder into another vehicle on September 30, 1955 and died almost instantly from a broken neck. Rebel Without A Cause was released on October 27, 1955 and has since made $4.5 million. His sex appeal and brief career made Dean a cult icon.
4. Brandon Lee, The Crow (1994)
Lee was accidentally shot in the back on the movie's set on March 31, 1993 when a castmate unknowingly fired a prop gun with a bullet head lodged in the barrel that shattered Lee's spinal column.The Crow hit theaters on May 13, 1994 and grossed more than $144 million, securing Lee's legacy alongside his father, Bruce Lee.
5. Vic Morrow, Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983)
On July 23, 1982, on the set of the film, a helicopter crashed on Morrow and two small children, killing them instantly in a freak accident caught on tape. The film was released on June 24, 1983 to mixed reviews and, while not a runaway hit, made more than $29 million.
Shakur was shot on September 13, 1996 while riding in a car with Marion "Suge" Knight, chief executive of Death Row Records. Shakur died six days later. Gridlock'd was met with great reviews from critics, but after its release on January 29, 1997, only made $5.5 million, with the real-world mystery overshadowing his acclaimed performance.
7. Phil Hartman, Small Soldiers (1998)
Hartman's wife, Brynn, who was on a mix of drugs and alcohol, shot and killed him on May 28, 1998 before taking her own life. Small Soldiers had a budget of $40 million and grossed $54 million, cementing his success as voice over actor and gifted comedian.
8. John Candy, Canadian Bacon (1995)
On March 4, 1994, funnyman Candy died of a heart attack in Mexico, having long been overweight with a family history of heart problems. His final film, Canadian Bacon received poor reviews and only grossed $178,104 after its release of September 22, 1995, not resonating with audiences.
9. Bernie Mac, Old Dogs (2009)
Mac died in Chicago on August 9, 2008 from sarcoidosis complicated by pneumonia. The film was released on November 25, 2009, co-starring Robin Williams and John Travolta. Old Dogs received very negative reviews but grossed more than $96 million, proving its star power.
Aaliyah died on August 25, 2001 in the Bahamas when her plane crashed shortly after takeoff. Queen of the Damned was based on the Anne Rice novel of the same name and released on February 22, 2002. It grossed more than $45 million -- a sad reminder of the star's potential.
Too many lives are lost early in Hollywood, but the talent and impact of these stars remains clear in the enduring presence of their work.