Celebrities: Live Short and Prosper

Celebrities—with their flush bank accounts, trails of homes around the world and constant adoration—inspire a lot of jealousy among the non-bold-faced names.

New, but fairly unsurprising research out of Sydney, Australia suggests that perhaps that jealousy should be curtailed: celebrities die sooner than the rest of us common folk.

On first glance, it would seem that fame and fortune would lead to longer-term happiness and security. Instead, those cry-for-help buzz cuts and frequent hospitalizations for “exhaustion” are a sign that being famous is not a straight shot to longevity.

Research published in QJM: An International Journal of Medicine, validates some myths read in the supermarket checkout line. The researchers reviewed 1000 different obituaries, taken from the New York Times during 2009-2011. The reasoning was that anyone whose death warranted an article in the Grey Lady must have accomplished some level of fame or notoriety.

The writers of Death in The New York Times: the price of fame is a faster flame, categorized the departed as either famous or successful. The differentiation was made in that certain people, such as writers with a solid body of work or businessmen, rarely attract the flash and volumes of tributes reserved for on-screen stars. So while they are successful, they aren’t famous in the way of an Elvis Presley or Marilyn Monroe.

Those classified as both famous and successful died, on average, 5.8 years before those who were just successful. Performers, athletes, and creatives, associated with true celebrity, rarely died of “old age.”

The take-away: whatever the reason, fame, which may sound appealing with its constant adoration and accolades, isn’t a road that leads to longevity.

Image via Brian Gratwicke / CC BY 2.0

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