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Hollywood Celebrities and the Deaths of Their Children

A list of famous actors and musicians who have lost their children to tragic deaths through either accidental drug overdoses or other methods of suicide.

It is not unusual for celebrities, like other people, to suffer the loss of a child through death. When that death is a suicide or accidental drug overdose, however, it can compound to the tragedy of death itself.  A few famous Hollywood figures have lost only children to such deaths, making it a challenge for the parents to continue on in the work they do. Below is a list of some actors and musicians who have lost their children in this manner:

Matthew Ansara, the son of Barbara Eden and Michael Ansara, died in June 25, 2001 from a heroin overdose. Matthew was supposed to have gotten married to his fiance Leanna Green. He was born on August 29, 1965. Like his parents, he was also an actor, appearing in “Your Mother Wears Combat Boots”,  an episode of “Harper Valley PTA”, and “To Protect and Serve.” He supposedly suffered from clinical depression which led to his drug overdose.

Jenny Lee Arness, the daughter of actor Jim Arness and actress Virginia Chapman, died on May 12, 1975 as the result of a drug overdose. She was an actress, appearing in several episodes of “Gunsmoke” with her father. She was born on May 23, 1950.

Nikki Bacharach, the daughter of songwriter Burt Bacharach and actress Angie Dickenson, died in January 2007 from using helium combined with a plastic bag. She had Asperger’s Syndrome, which may have led to her bizarre death. Nikki was born in 1966.

Michael Charles Boyer, the son of actor Charles Boyer and actress Pat Paterson, died on September 22, 1965 while playing Russian roulette. He reputedly had a major quarrel with his girlfriend when it happened. Michael Charles was born in 1943.

Cheyenne Brando, the daughter of Marlon Brando, and Tarita Teriipia, died from hanging herself on April 16, 1995. Cheyenne battled drug use and depression for most of her life. She was born on February 20, 1970.

Dennis Crosby, the son of Bing Crosby and actress Dixie Lee, died on May 7, 1991 from a self inflicted gunshot wound. A third brother, Gary Crosby, recounts in a biography of their father how Bing had moments of abuse towards his children. Dennis also suffered from alcohol and drug abuse. He was born on July 13, 1934. As an actor, he appeared in a few episodes of “Ben Casey.”

Lindsay Crosby, the son of Bing Crosby and actress Dixie Lee, died on December 11, 1989 from a self inflicted gunshot wound. He was born on January 5, 1938. He was an actor who made appearances in “Zebra Force” and “Outlaw Riders.”

Andy Griffith’s adopted son  Andy Jr was born in 1957 but died in 1996 after a long battle with alcoholism. Sometimes called Sam Griffith, he was a real estate developer in California. Andy Griffith was married to Barbara Griffith when they adopted Andy Jr.

Louis Henry Jourdan, the son of actor Louis Jourdan and Berthe Frederique, died in 1981 from a drug overdose.

Diane Linkletter, the daughter of Art Linkletter and Lois Foerster, died on October 4, 1969 by jumping out of the kitchen window in her sixth-story apartment. She was an LSD user and it is believed the drug use contributed to her bizarre death. Diane was born on October 31, 1948.

Richie Meeker, the son of actress Mary Tyler Moore and Dick Meeker, was born in 1956 and died in 1980 from an accidental gunshot. The gun he was cleaning accidentally went off due to its “hair trigger.”

Daniel David Milland, an actor and writer, born in March 6, 1940, died March 24, 1981. He was found in his bed with a gun beside him and a gunshot to his head. He was the son of noted Welsh actor Ray Milland and Malvina Weber. Daniel appeared on an episode of “Wagon Train” and “Escala en Hi-Fi.”

Scott Newman, the son of actor Paul Newman and Jacqueline Witte, died November 20, 1978 from a drug overdose. He was born on September 23, 1950. He was an actor, appearing in “Fraternity Row”, and episodes of ‘Harry O” and “Marcus Welby MD.”

Hugh O’Connor, the adopted son of actor Carroll O’Connor and Nancy O’Connor, died on March 28, 1995 from a self inflicted gunshot wound. Hugh was born in Italy and had Hodgkin’s disease but had chemotherapy to destroy it. He eventually experimented with drugs and was never able to overcome them. He was born on April 7, 1962.

Jonathan Gregory Peck, the son of actor Gregory Peck and actress Greta Kukkonen, died on June 26, 1975 from a self inflicted gunshot. He was born on July 20, 1944. Jon suffered from arteriosclerosis, severe fatigue, and a broken relationship.

Oscar Scaggs, the son of Boz Scaggs and Carmella Storniola, died on January 1, 1999 at the age of 21 from a heroin overdose. Oscar fell into drug use several years earlier and was in treatment when the overdose occurred.

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