Here's What Celebrities Who Died Young Would Look Like Today, According to AI
Billy Joel once said, "only the good die young" - okay, well, maybe a lot of people said that before Billy Joel, but he also said it too! But no matter. The point is there have been numerous beloved celebrities over the years that we've lost way too soon. Some of these people have left behind a huge legacy that has cemented their place in pop culture, making them well-talked-about even to this day.
Moreover, these celebrities have taught us to live life to the fullest, because you never know when your time on this Earth (sorry to exclude anyone reading this from a space station) has come to an end. But cliches aside, it really is hard not to miss some of these celebrities and wonder what they would be like today.
Personality-wise, it would be hard to surmise just exactly what they would be like as people, but thanks to AI technology, we can predict what they might look like today. And that's just what we've done.
Here you'll find some of the most iconic celebrities in history, who died much too young, and what they would look like if they were alive today, according to AI. Let's take a look!
We all remember Elvis and his hips. The King of Rock ‘n Roll passed away at the age of 42, which isn’t extremely young, but he was still taken too soon. He’d fallen on hard times, but there was still a lot of gyrating in those hips. Ever wonder what he would look like today?
Experts have asked several times where the hip-swaying performer would’ve been if he was still around today. Some believe he would’ve stayed in the limelight as long as possible, touring for years until his age caught up with him. Tickets would be insanely expensive, but it would be worth it to see the legend in person.
Before she was known as Marilyn Monroe, Norma Jeane Mortenson was just a regular girl from Los Angeles. She spent most of her time in foster homes and orphanages, but she eventually grew up to become an icon of beauty and style. While she died of an overdose, rumors of her death still circulate today, some claiming JFK murdered her.
Most models don’t last long in the spotlight as they grow older. Monroe likely would have moved on from being a mere model and would focus on becoming one of the greatest actresses of her generation. It wouldn’t be a big jump, especially since some directors said that she was a great actress – all she needed was a bit of direction.
Freddie Mercury is possibly the best musician and performer that has ever lived. As the lead singer of Queen, he rallied everyone to sing with him and inspired LGBTQ people all over the world. Even though he passed away, he’s still doing just that. Needless to say, Mercury is an icon in more than one way, and he was certainly taken too soon.
Freddie Mercury is unique as he once mentioned where he would be when he grew older. He explained how he would eventually retire from music, but he would continue composing. Mercury was confident and flamboyant, so he would have continued to inspire young artists who didn’t know how they felt about themselves. He likely would have gone on to produce and write several amazing new albums.
Sid Vicious wasn’t always as “vicious” as his name made it seem. Many close to him claim he was kind and nice, even going as far as to call him a “marshmallow.” Once he got the name “vicious,” he felt he had to live up to it and became beyond self-destructive. This lifestyle ended with him dying of an overdose while under investigation for a murder charge of his girlfriend, Nancy.
We doubt Sid Vicious would’ve lived long enough to get wrinkles even if he didn’t pass away from an overdose at the age of 21. However, we can guess, right? The years of substance abuse would’ve taken a heavy toll, but we could see him performing in music for many, many years. Since he died so young, it’s hard to imagine where he’d be.
Jim Morrison, the lead singer of The Doors, was a loose cannon who loved alcohol as much as he loved poetry. He never wanted to be a rock star, but he thought it was the only way he’d get his word out to the masses. He passed away in 1971 at the age of 27 from cardiac arrest, but many believe he faked his death so he could exit the spotlight and live like the poet he always wanted to be.
It’s hard to see Jim Morrison living to see such an old age, but it’s possible. Had he not drank as much and abused himself as he did, this is what he would’ve looked like. Jim Morrison could have even gone on to be the poet he always wanted to be, emulating those he loved most like William Blake. It was, after all, his dream to be known as a prophetic poet rather than a beautiful rock star.
No one can deny that John Lennon isn’t one of the greatest icons of music. Lennon arrived on the scene with the Beatles, but eventually split off and did his own thing while promoting peace. That’s precisely why his assassination came as such a shock to everyone – why murder someone that loved and encouraged peace?
Where would John Lennon be today? Considering the success of Paul McCartney, we don’t doubt he would have had a stellar career as a solo act. It also isn’t hard to see Lennon getting involved with politics in some way, as he was already very driven before his murder. He likely would have gone on to do many charitable acts that would’ve changed the world.
Anne Frank is one of the most prolific writers of the 20th century and she never even really intended to be. The Jewish girl who died at the age of 15 kept her life well-documented while in hiding under Nazi persecution. Hiding in an Amsterdam attic, Frank wrote a diary that was published posthumously.
Because of her diary, she is one of the most discussed of all Jewish victims of the holocaust, but what would her life be like had she survived? And What would she look like if she had lived longer? This image just gives us a glimpse of what she might have looked like today. And perhaps she would have published her diary on her own but we’ll never know. Anne was eventually captured, taken to a camp and died from typhus
Those who were alive in the ’90s can’t forget Selena. She was the Queen of Tejano and became one of the most influential Mexican-American artists in the late 20th century. She was the top-selling Latin artist of 1990 and helped paved the way for Latina women in music today. When news broke in 1994 that she had been murdered, the world was blown away; such a huge star had snuffed out so early.
Selena’s death was a tragedy, especially since she was on the road to being one of the greatest artists of all time. Many believe she would have continued performing, winning countless awards. Even today, she’s Tejano music’s greatest icon, so that isn’t a far jump. Maybe she would even become a mentor to newer stars. However, there is one thing many experts agree on: she would’ve been a mother and a wonderful one at that.
When the “People’s Princess” perished on August 31, 1997, the world stopped. 36-year-old Diana, Princess of Wales, was a beloved public figure. Her death was sudden and unexpected, which is why it became a media sensation. She was vacationing in Paris with her socialite boyfriend Dodi Fayed when she became the victim of a fatal car crash. Dodi and the driver, Henri Paul, were pronounced dead on the scene. Princess Di was taken to a local hospital, but was declared dead just hours later.
Although many believed the paparazzi to be the cause of the crash, it was later revealed that Henri Paul was guilty of manslaughter. He had been under the influence of drugs and alcohol at the time of their death. Her funeral was held at Westminster Abbey on the 6 of September. More than 2.5 billion people watched and mourned as Princess Diana was laid to rest. The overwhelming reaction to her death was a testament to who she was in life. She left behind two sons—Prince William, who was 15, and Prince Harry, who was 12. If only she could have seen her kids thriving today...
Bruce Lee was an actor, director, martial artist, and so much more. His movies became the stuff of legend, and he even helped train people like Jackie Chan. When he passed away at 32, rumors went wild, including murder and a supposed curse on his family. After his son passed away in 1993, the rumors strengthened and are still around today.
If Bruce Lee would have lived, we’re guessing that he would have continued to make a major impact on martial arts films. He would have lived a comfortable life and would have been able to see his son grow up to be a young man. Some also believe he may have become a politician.
Kurt Cobain is one of the most well-known and iconic singers in history. Kurt Cobain was the lead singer of Nirvana, and together, the band sold so many records that they became one of the best-selling bands of all time. Sadly, Cobain passed away at the age of 27, just as his star was shining the brightest.
We can only imagine what would have happened if Kurt Cobain hadn’t died so young. Would Nirvana become even bigger? What would become of the other band members, who went on to do big things? These questions won’t ever receive an answer, but at least we can answer what he’d look like if he lived long enough to get wrinkles.
Judy Garland’s legacy has stuck around for ages, especially considering many of us watch the Wizard of Oz at least once a year. She started performing at the age of two and a half and continued doing so until 1963. Sadly, she passed away in 1969 at the age of 47.
Judy Garland had trouble with drug use even as early as the Wizard of Oz. That isn’t to say she couldn’t beat it and become one of the greatest actors that ever was. After all, Garland had it all. She could act, she could sing, and she could perform better than many people can today.
Where would rock music be today if it wasn’t for Buddy Holly? When he hit the scene, he showed that rock and roll could be much more. His lyrics were poetic, and his chords were new. Holly departed from the “formula,” which we’d all gotten bored with. Then on February 3, 1959, Buddy Holly died (along with Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson) in a plane crash, and the day became known as The Day the Music Died.
Buddy Holly loved performing, but we believe he would have moved on from singing. Instead, he would choose to produce. It was always his dream, and he even said that he didn’t like the studio as it stifled his creativity. Maybe he would have collaborated with the Beatles – who knows?
James Dean was an actor that everyone adored. He became a cultural icon, especially for teenagers. He performed in several features at a young age, but it wasn’t until East of Eden that his name became sealed in history. Soon afterward, he starred in Rebel Without a Cause. He was planned to be in several more movies, but he passed away in a car accident on September 30, 1955, at the age of 24.
James Dean’s death came as a surprise to everyone. Still, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine where he’d be today. James Dean would have been another Marlon Brando. He would have stormed the movie scene, making hit after hit until he decided to retire – although he certainly wouldn’t have to. Considering his passion for race cars, he likely would have a vast collection today.
Janis Joplin is one of the members of the infamous 27 Club – celebs who passed away at the mere age of 27. Janis Joplin was America’s first female rock star, and she dreamed to be just like Elvis and Aretha Franklin. When performing, she gave everything she had, but she also believed “if it feels good, do it,” which was what led to her death in 1970.
Janis Joplin had a troubled life, and the day she passed was certainly a sad one. If she hadn’t, we’re guessing this is what she’d look like. While she would have continued her career, it’s very possible she may have blown out her voice as she was known for singing loudly and roughly. Still, it’s hard for anyone to know for sure.
Jimi Hendrix is a household name. This rock singer is regarded as one of the most influential guitarists in history. Even the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame regards him as “the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music.” If he were alive today, he would be moving into his 80s.
Many people have speculated where Jimi Hendrix would be today. No doubt he would still have a massive cultural impact that would have changed music forever, but maybe he would have helped train a new generation of musicians. It certainly isn’t difficult to see him headlining major festivals that draw thousands of people.
Ritchie Valens was a pioneer of rock and roll, a founding father of the Chicano rock movement, which brought us music legends like Carlos Santana. Valens had a number of hits, but his most famous song by far was “La Bamba.” But just eight months into his music career, Valens tragically died.
On February 3, 1959, he along with Buddy Holly and J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson were killed in a plane crash that claimed their lives. Valens was just 17 years old when he died. If he were alive today, he would not be in his 80s and maybe would have had a chance to see himself inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a moment that happened in 2001.
The murder of Sharon Tate was one of the most shocking moments in Hollywood history. The wife of Roman Polanski and actress in such films as Valley of the Dolls and The Fearless Vampire Killers was killed at the age of 26 by members of the Manson Family cult. The tragic death of the young Hollywood actress cut short her career and sadly, her death remains more remembered than her life.
Had Sharon Tate lived, she’d be nearly 80 years old today. She probably wouldn’t be married to Roman Polanski today for a whole lot of reasons, but the beautiful she might have had a successful film career for which we’d remember her for. But now we’ll never know as her story is one of tragedy.
Jayne Mansfield, a sex symbol for the ‘50s and ‘60s, was no stranger to publicity stunts. Constantly compared to Marilyn Monroe, as a stunning blond herself, it’s no surprise that she found herself posing for the cover of playboy and even wearing the crown as Miss February 1955. She wasn’t afraid to show off what she had, and she definitely did! One of her most famous roles was as the fictional actress Rita Harlowe in the Broadway play Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? - a role that she ended up reprising for the film version.
At the time it was as if people couldn’t keep her name out of their mouths, so she gave them something to talk about…constantly. But being a nice silhouette to look at wasn’t her only talent. She was a singer, a nightclub entertainer, and even an actress for Fox Studios. If she were alive today, it’s hard to know whether people would still be talking about her as much but she’d certainly be as remembered.
Australian actor Heath Ledger made his acting debut in the United States in 1998, which was when he starred in the romantic comedy 10 Things I Hate About You. But this wasn’t his most impressive accolade. He’s most remembered for his role as Ennis Del Mar in Brokeback Mountain and the Joker in The Dark Knight. During filming of The Dark Knight, Heath admitted he was having trouble sleeping due to the stress and anxiety caused by his career. Soon after filming had wrapped, Heath was found dead in his SoHo apartment. His death was ruled as an accidental overdose after the New York City medical examiner’s office found painkillers, sleeping pills, and anti-anxiety drugs in his system.
Heath would be close in his 40s by now and it’s sad to think we’ll never see Heath Ledger grow old. Anyone who met Heath Ledger loved him, and he was a phenomenal actor. Ledger would have gone on to win many awards, but we could see him eventually moving behind the camera to be a director and producer. He loved all things film, so we’re guessing he would grow to be a lot like Clint Eastwood is today.
Actress Brittany Murphy made her Hollywood debut at only 14. In the years following, she landed roles in Clueless, Girl, Interrupted, 8 Mile, and many other major films. All her dreams were coming true. She had aspired to be a star since she was a young child and had finally become an actress. But in the midst of her career, her life tragically ended. In December of 2009, after suffering flu-like symptoms, Brittany collapsed in her home. Paramedics rushed her to an LA medical center, but they couldn’t save her. She was pronounced dead at 10:04 a.m. on December 20th.
Because she passed away at the young age of 32, many questions and speculations arose about her death. Reports revealed that she died of acute pneumonia and anemia and ruled her death an accident. But this conclusion didn’t satisfy everyone. In the years since, there have been many theories surrounding her death—possible drug use, an eating disorder, murder, and potential toxic mold. Regardless of Brittany’s cause of death, her passing was unexpected and heartbreaking. Her life and career were cut short. She'd be in her 40s if she were alive today.
Tupac Shakur has become an icon since his death. He was already one of the most influential rappers in history and remains one of the best-selling music artists with over 75 million records sold worldwide. His music was renowned for touching on issues of social inequality and now his face has become a symbol for activists.
The hip-hop star died in September 1996, after suffering from multiple gunshot wounds in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas. It was suggested at the time that a fellow rapper Christopher "Notorious B.I.G." Wallace had something to do with the shooting but he denied involvement and even had an alibi. Evidence was inconclusive. Were Tupac alive today, he’d likely remain a legend and he’d be almost 50 today.
Actor Paul Walker, who was best known for the Fast and Furious franchise, tragically died in a car crash on November 30, 2013. He was in the passenger seat of a Porsche Carrera GT, and his friend Roger Rodas was in the driver’s seat. They were in Los Angeles when Roger, who was driving, lost control. The car crashed into a tree and both Paul and Roger died. It was almost unbelievable that an actor who starred in six movies about street racing would die tragically in a car accident.
It was almost unbelievable that an actor who starred in six movies about street racing would die tragically in a car accident. Paul, who was only 40 years old, was in the process of filming Fast and Furious 7 when he passed away. If he were alive today, he'd be in his 50s and might still be alongside his costar, Vin Diesel.
Actor, singer, and comedian John Belushi skyrocketed to fame in 1975 when he became the seventh original cast member in the landmark comedy skit show, Saturday Night Live. On the show he created and cultivated several comedy sketches and characters such as a sword-weilding samurai, a killer bee, and a cone-headed alien, and his most famous character of all: Jake Blues of The Blues Brothers.
According to People Magazine, in the early '80s Belushi was spending an exorbitant amount of money on drugs, weekly. The final night of his life he was reportedly partying with Robin Williams, but was found dead in his hotel room the next day of an apparent drug overdose. Sadly, John was only 33 at the time of his death in 1982. He would be in his 70s if he were alive today.
The death of 23-year-old River Phoenix was heartbreaking. The Oscar nominee had a promising career ahead of him. He had starred in multiple films, including Stand by Me, Running on Empty, and My Own Private Idaho, and was projected to star in many other upcoming films. But his premature death changed everything. On October 30, 1993, River walked into the Viper Room—an iconic Los Angeles landmark and club. Sadly, the talented, influential, and sensitive River Phoenix passed away that same night.
River’s then-girlfriend Samantha Mathis recalls that tragic night more than 20 years later. Not only was she there, but so were two of his siblings, Joaquin and Rain. The young actor died of an accidental overdose outside of the Viper Room after consuming a mixture of heroin and cocaine that was dissolved in a drink. He dropped to the ground and began seizing. Joaquin called 911, but it was too late. The beautiful, youthful River is still revered today. He is remembered for his talent, gentility, and activism. He'd be in his 50s today.
Otis Redding was a singer and songwriter who is widely considered to be one of the greatest singers in the history of American music. He was a pioneer of soul music and was even dubbed the “King of Soul.” Heavily inspired by gospel, his music influenced numerous soul artists in the ‘60s.
Were he alive today, he might be in his 80s but sadly he died at the age of 26. In December 1967, Otis Redding was in his private jet when it crashed into a small lake just a few miles away from a runway. He and several other men were killed in the crash. In 1989, he was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Marvin Gaye is another one of the most influential singers and songwriters in American history, a man who came to define the sound of Motown. He has himself earned the titles of Prince of Motown as well as “Prince of Soul.” Some of his most beloved hist include "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You),” “Sexual Healing,” and “Let’s Get It On.”
Posthumously, he’s been inducted into the Rhythm, and Blues Music Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as his legacy lives on. Gaye was nearly 45 when he was shot and killed by his own father during a physical altercation. His father pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter. Had that fight not happened or Gaye had survived, he would be in his 80s today.
Anna Nicole Smith
Anna Nicole Smith was a model, actress and television personality who was at the height of her career in the ‘90s and early 2000s. She had appeared on the cover of Playboy, Marie Claire and GQ. She’d starred in movies alongside the likes of Tim Robbins and Leslie Nielson. In 2002, she had her very own show, The Anna Nicole Show.
Even though things had seemed to be going fairly well for her, behind the scenes she was suffering from drug addiction. She was found unresponsive at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida and was pronounced dead upon arrival at the Memorial Regional Hospital. Her death was ruled as an accidental overdose due to her use of chloral hydrate along with several other drugs. Had she survived, she would be in her 50s today.
Dana Plato was one of the most influential teen idols of the ‘80s. Before she even began acting in television shows like Diff’rent Strokes, she was an athlete, a figure skater who trained as an Olympic athlete. After her skating pursuits, she had a breakthrough role in the Academy Award-winning film California Suite that changed her life.
Her role in that film would lead to her most recognized role as Kimberly Drummond in Diff’rent Strokes. Following that, her career took a bit of a dive. She began doing B movies and even ventured into softcore pornography. In 1999, she overdosed on prescription drugs, and it was ruled a suicide. Had she not decided to take her life, she would be in her 50s.
Gary Coleman was another Diff'rent Strokes star who died too young. He was known for his role as Arnold Jackson on the show, known for his catchphrase, "Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis?" It was a role that was so beloved he reprised it on several other shows including The Facts of Life and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Later in life, Coleman would struggle financially in part due to both his parents and financial adviser misappropriating his assets. He sued them but ended up declaring bankruptcy nearly a decade later. In 2003, he ventured into politics and made a run for governor, only to lose to Arnold Schwarzeneggar.
Coleman died in 2010 from a hemorrhagic stroke he suffered from after falling down the stairs in home. He would have been in his 50s today.