Fame Dangerous to Your Health

Fame comes with price, they say. Along with money and notoriety, those seeking a life in the spotlight should be prepared for the chance that it may be a shorter one than if they remain one of the common folks. New research out of Australia that studied 1,000 New York Times obituaries between 2009 and 2011 found that actors, singers, professional athletes, and other performers died at an average age of 77, while the average age of death for composers, artists, and writers was 79. Academics, including historians and economists, tend live a bit longer, to 82 on average, while those who work in business or politics tend to make it to 83. While the researchers couldn’t pinpoint one reason why those in the public eye tend to die young, one professor posited, “If it is true that successful performers and sports players tend to enjoy shorter lives, does this imply that fame at younger ages predisposes to poor health behaviors in later life after success has faded?” Then again, as one psychologist who studies celebrity behavior pointed out, the amount of people who have actually achieved fame is so small, it’s hard to scientifically study the effects of celebrity on their lives.