This list contains information about all of the Saturday Night Live cast members who died too soon. The SNL curse has been attributed to the deaths of many SNL cast members who died young. Some of these hilarious comedians died as the result of cancer and other illnesses while other SNL members who died overdosed on drugs.
Who will you find on this list of SNL cast members who died young? With such hilarious characters as the Samurai Clerk and the Blues Brothers, John Belushi quickly became a breakout star from Saturday Night Live's original cast. Sadly, he struggled with drug addiction for many years and on March 5, 1982 he was found dead of an overdose in his Los Angeles hotel room at the age of 33. Chris Farley ("Da Super Fans," "The Chris Farley Show," "Matt Foley Motivational Speaker," etc) also died of an overdose at the age of 33 in 1997.
Perhaps the most tragic SNL death was that of Phil Hartman who was the victim of a murder/suicide when his wife Brynn Omdahl shot and killed him in 1998. Other SNL cast members who died too soon include Gilda Radner, Jan Hooks, and Charlie Rocket.
After spending time at Second City Toronto and The National Lampoon Radio Hour, Gilda Radner joined the cast of the very first season of Saturday Night Live in 1975. "Roseanne Rosannadanna," "The Nerds" (also featuring Bill Murray), and "Weekend Update" guest Emily Litella were among Radner's most popular sketches.
She met her future-husband Gene Wilder on the set of the 1982 film Hanky Panky - though she was married to musician and future SNL bandleader G.E. Smith at the time – and the pair were married two years later. In 1986, Radner was diagnosed with cervical cancer and she died, in Los Angeles, in 1989. She was 42 years old.
Age: Dec. at 42 (1946-1989)
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, United States of America
Cause Of Death: Ovarian cancer
Chris Farley joined the cast of Saturday Night Live in Season 16 (1990-1991) as did his frequent collaborators David Spade (Tommy Boy, Black Sheep) and Adam Sandler (Airheads, Billy Madison). Sketches including "Da Super Fans," "The Chris Farley Show," and "Motivational Speaker Matt Foley" were among his most popular bits.
Addiction was an ongoing issue for Farley, and he had attempted rehab over a dozen times. At the age of 33, he died from an overdose of cocaine and morphine in his Chicago apartment on Dec. 18, 1997. His last films Almost Heroes and Dirty Work were released posthumously in 1998.
Age: Dec. at 33 (1964-1997)
Birthplace: Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America
Cause Of Death: Drug overdose, Morphine, Heroin overdose
John Belushi was an instant hit with comedy fans as a member of the very first Saturday Night Live cast in 1975. From his Samurai Clerk character to musical numbers with the Blues Brothers (which he created with fellow cast member Dan Aykroyd), Belushi often generated big laughs with the smallest of gestures. He also perfected hilarious impressions of Elizabeth Taylor, William Shatner and more during his four-season run.
Belushi struggled with drug addiction for many years and on March 5, 1982 he was found dead of an overdose in his Los Angeles hotel room at the age of 33. Robin Williams - who was reportedly partying with Belushi the night before his death – stated that Belushi's overdose provoked him and many other comedians to get sober. Belushi was survived by his wife, Judith, who was his high school sweetheart.
Age: Dec. at 33 (1949-1982)
Birthplace: USA, Chicago, Humboldt Park, Illinois
Cause Of Death: Heroin overdose
After co-writing Pee-Wee's Big Adventure with Paul Reubens, Phil Hartman joined the cast of Saturday Night Live in 1986. His impressions of Bill Clinton, Frank Sinatra, and Barbara Bush were hilarious as was every sketch he was in as a straight man or star. Coinciding with his SNL tenure, Hartman also did voice work for The Simpsons and appeared alongside Mike Meyers in So I Married and Axe Murderer among other projects.
Hartman married his third wife Brynn Omdahl in 1987 and they had two children. On May 28, 1998, Omdahl shot and killed Hartman while he was sleeping before turning the gun on herself. He was 49 years old.
Age: Died at 50 (1948-1998)
Birthplace: Brantford, Canada
Cause Of Death: Homicide