Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Another Movie Star

Are movie stars and other celebrities especially likely to die in their youth of a drug overdose?

My snap judgment, based on absolutely no research, is no.

Sure, it's easy to name any number of Hollywood celebrities who've died prematurely after involvement with drugs (River Phoenix, John Belushi, and Chris Farley come to my mind immediately). But what you have to remember is that movie star deaths are reported. That makes it difficult to judge whether they are more likely to die young from a drug overdose than anyone else.

Doubtless there are hundreds, probably thousands, of drug overdose deaths that we never hear about. Movie star deaths have high salience.

The moral is to be careful about judging frequencies based on casual knowledge. It takes a real study to make a judgment about something like this.


Anonymous said...

It also takes a real study to make a judgment that he died of a drug overdose. We won't know until the autopsy.

Anonymous said...

A study WAS done: