Nine Notable People Who Died at 35

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

I turned 36 yesterday. Last year, I made a list of nine notable people throughout history that I had officially outlived the moment I turned 35. That was fun, so I'm doing it again, only another year older.

  1. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, 1756-1791. A good example of why one should never compare one's own achievements to those of other people: Even dying young, Mozart was so much more talented and accomplished than any of us will ever be.
  2. Andy Kaufman, 1949-1984. Oddball comic also made quite an impression during his short life.
  3. Ol' Dirty Bastard, 1968-2004. Co-founder of the legendary Wu-Tang Clan, the rapper born Russell Tyrone Jones died of a cocaine-induced heart attack just two days shy of his 36th birthday.
  4. King Henry V, 1387-1422. Shrewd warrior king of England died not on the battlefield, but of an unknown illness.
  5. Domino Harvey, 1969-2005. This woman would have been just a footnote in entertainment history - she was the daughter of famed British actor Laurence Harvey - had there not been a Hollywood movie starring Keira Knightley about her life as a model-turned-bounty hunter. Unfortunately Domino the film flopped, shortly after the real-life Domino died pretty much the same way ODB did.
  6. Henry Purcell, 1659-1695. This English composer may not be as well-known as Mozart, but he is still celebrated by lovers of classical music not only in his native country but around the world. (Even The Who's Pete Townshend counts him as an influence.)
  7. Amedeo Modigliani, 1884-1920. Italian-born Parisian painter, famous for his portraits of ladies with long necks, oval faces and slits for eyes. Like many on this list, Modigliani lived fast and recklessly, with numerous addictions (though meningitis did him in).
  8. Jonathan Larson, 1960-1996. This playwright might have been another footnote had he not died right before the opening of his musical Rent. Whether Rent owes its enormous success in part to Larson's untimely - or, perhaps, timely - death is open to debate.
  9. Robert Smithson, 1938-1973. Anybody who's ever taken a course in art history knows about Spiral Getty, Smithson's 1970 "earthwork" where he built an enormous spiral out of dirt in Utah's Great Salt Lake. He died in a plane crash.