Research Outline

Celebrity Death Experiences


To identify celebrities who have experienced death. This could include near death experiences, death of a loved one following tragedy or illness, or their own personal illness. This is background research for a podcast.

Early Findings

Near Death Experiences

  • Mark Walberg was due to be on American Airlines flight 11 on September 11, 2001. He changed his plans at the last minute electing to fly to Toronto instead of LA. Walberg has discussed the impact this had on him often in interviews. Walberg is represented by William Morris Endeavor Entertainment. Their phone number is (310) 285-9000.
  • Seth MacFarlane was also meant to be on American Airlines flight 11 on September 11, 2001. He said in an interview, "I was booked on that flight and I was drinking the night before and hung over and I missed the plane by about 10 minutes. It was a very close call for me. MacFarlane can be reached at Celebrity Talent. Their number is (760) 729-2000.
  • Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York was due at a meeting in the north tower of the World Trade Center but was running late that morning. She said of her experience, "I take every minute as a blessing, I really do, and I really work hard at it." The Duchess of York is represented by the Spotlight Agency. Their phone number is 1.844.640.2398.

Tragic Death of Loved One

  • Prine Harry, Duke of York tragically lost his Mother, age 11 when the car she was traveling in hit a Paris underground tunnel and she was killed instantly. He has often talked of the impact her death had on him. Prince Harry is represented by the Harry Walker Agency
  • Liam Neeson's wife, Natasha Richardson was tragically killed in a ski accident. He said, "I was told she was brain dead… She was on life support and stuff," the actor said. "And I went in… and told her I loved her. I said, ‘Sweetie, you’re not coming back from this. You’ve banged your head. It’s I don’t know if you can hear me, but that’s this is what’s gone down." Neeson is represented by Celebrity Talent International.
  • Keanu Reeves lost his best friend River Phoenix to a drug overdose, his child was stillborn, and he lost his girlfriend in a car accident. His sister was later diagnosed with cancer and survived.

Loss of Loved One Following Illness

  • Louis Tomlison of One Direction lost his sister to an accidental overdose in 2019. Her death came just Two years after his Mother died from Leukemia. Tomlison said, "I think that's wh.y I feel good about singing the lyrics because it was a moment for me to speak about it publicly. My mum was always obsessed with the idea of me playing piano and they said what about me playing the opening verse on piano," he added. "Normally I might have said no but knowing that she liked that idea... again, I kind of just zoned into that idea and just went for it."