• Death

Famous People Who Died Of Barbiturate Overdose

Tragically, there have been many famous people who died of barbiturate overdose. Celebrities who overdosed on barbiturates include Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, and Aimee Semple McPherson. What are barbiturates, and what is barbiturate overdose? Barbiturates are depressant drugs that have strong sedative effects on the nervous system, but aren't as commonly prescribed in present day as in the '60s and '70s, when death by barbiturates was far more common.

When people ask, "How did Judy Garland die," the answer is Seconal. Other types include Phenobarbital and Amytal. A fatal overdose on barbiturates is typified by difficulty breathing. Barbiturate overdose may be intentional or accidental. In Garland's case, it was ruled accidental. 

This list includes notable barbiturate overdose victims’ hometown and biographical info, when available. Everyone on this list has overdosed on barbiturates as a cause of death somewhere in their public records, even if it was just one contributing factor in their autopsy.

  • Photo: user uploaded image
    Kenneth Williams was an English comedic actor who was most famous for his numerous appearances in the long running film series "Carry On." According to his diaries, Williams was a closeted homosexual which may have contributed to his depression later in his career. On April 15, 1988, he died from an overdose of pills which was ruled an accident.
    • Age: Dec. at 62 (1926-1988)
    • Birthplace: Islington, London, United Kingdom
  • Photo: user uploaded image
    Margaret Sullavan was a famous actress who appeared in many films alongside James Stewart. She had a successful film career until the she was found dead from barbiturate overdose at age 50. She was reading the script to her next movie at the time, so it is widely assumed that her death was an accidental overdose. As a tribute to her life and work, she was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
    • Age: Dec. at 50 (1909-1960)
    • Birthplace: Virginia, United States of America
  • Photo: user uploaded image
    R. H. Barlow was an author and professor who was friends with prolific horror author H.P. Lovecraft. He moved to Mexico later in his life an taught anthropology, but was blackmailed by a disgruntled student who threatened to reveal Barlow's homosexuality. He killed himself with an overdose of barbiturates in his office, leaving a note in hieroglyphics which read "Do not disturb me. I want to sleep a long time."
    • Age: Dec. at 32 (1918-1951)
    • Birthplace: Leavenworth, Kansas
  • Photo: user uploaded image
    Alan Wilson was the lead singer of the American blues band Canned Heat, which is most famous for performing the song "Going Up the Country" at the Woodstock music festival. This song was prominent in the Woodstock documentary, and became the unofficial theme song for the festival. Wilson tried to commit suicide in 1970 by driving his car off of a bridge, but failed. Later that year he was found dead in his camper of barbiturate overdose, an apparent suicide.
    • Age: Dec. at 27 (1943-1970)
    • Birthplace: Arlington, Massachusetts

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