5. James Dean
Of course there was no other place to start this list than the man that defines this unfortunate trend. The death of James Dean at the age of only 24 made him a cultural icon. He was one of Hollywoods brightest young stars having only broken onto the scene with his performance in 1955s East of Eden, which is the same year as his untimely death. Dean was one of the earliest teen idol bad boy movie stars, and an icon to millions of teenagers In the 50s, when attitudes towards freedom and expression were beginning to change. He would truly represent these changing attitudes with his next and most famous performance. Rebel Without a Cause is perhaps the most celebrated teen film in Hollywood history- it helped popularise many staples of storytelling which would be used repeatedly in the years since- such as the bad boy enrolling in a new school, standing up to the bullies and though I wont spoil it here, I can guarantee that even if you havent seen the film, you will have seen its ending in something else, as it is one of the most mimicked scenes in movie history. James Dean was killed in February of 1955, when his car collided with another at a reported speed of 85 miles per hour. In the following October, Rebel Without a Cause was released and cemented his status as the poster child for the fast life, to live free and die young. Though most would probably agree that it would have been preferable that he lived, few movie stars will ever reach the iconic status that James Dean has with only one living year in the spotlight.