Road crashes kill over one million people each year, and sadly, some of these fatal crashes involve famous celebrities. The celebrities on this list of 15 stars who lost their lives in serious car crashes were among the best in Hollywood, and they lost their lives way too soon. Other celebs on the list include television and sports stars and even royalty. All of these 15 deaths were untimely and affected not only their family and friends, but also their fans who cherished their work.
The most well-known celebrity car crash on this list is undoubtedly the one that fatally killed Princess Diana back in August of 1997. The Princess of Wales lost her life when her driver lost control of the vehicle while fleeing a swarm of paparazzi. One of the most recent crashes that resulted in a celeb’s death involved Fast and Furious star Paul Walker. Walker was only 40 years old when his Porsche Carrera GT crashed into a light pole in 2013. These celebrity deaths have made an impact on our lives and were difficult to hear, especially if we have adored these stars growing up. It shows that it doesn’t matter who you are or how much money you have, life has a way of throwing a curve ball, and these deaths are truly unfortunate. Here is the list of 15 stars who lost their lives in serious car crashes.
15. James Dean – Cultural Icon Dies After Car Hits Him Head-On
James Dean only starred in three major films before his death, but he became known as both a Hollywood and cultural icon. James Dean began his career on television and on stage and ultimately landed his first major film gig in Hollywood starring in the film adaptation of John Steinbeck’s novel, East of Eden. After starring in his second film, Rebel Without A Cause, James Dean earned the nickname of Hollywood’s bad boy and embodied anything that had to do with teen angst. James Dean also starred in the film Giant, but died before production was completed. Dean tragically lost his life on September 30, 1955, when he and his mechanic, Rolf Wuetherich, drove his Porsche 550 Spyder to a race in California. While driving along Route 466, a young student named Donald Turnupseed collided with Dean’s vehicle. The cars hit each other head-on, instantly killing James Dean and seriously injuring Wuetherich. The actor was only 24 when he died.
14. Bob Simon – Driver Lost Control Of Wheel
Bob Simon was one of the most respected journalists in the U.S. and was the correspondent for 60 Minutes for over four decades. Some of the most important events that Simon covered included the withdrawal of troops from the Vietnam War and the student protest in China’s Tiananmen Square. Simon and his TV crew were even captured and imprisoned in Iraq for 40 days during the Persian Gulf War. Sadly, Bob Simon lost his life at the age of 73, when he was involved in a car crash in New York City on February 11, 2015. Simon’s driver lost control of the vehicle, which collided with another car. The journalist sustained severe head trauma and a broken neck and died at St. Luke’s–Roosevelt Hospital.
13. Billy Martin – Driver Was Intoxicated
Billy Martin managed the New York Yankees five different times and was widely known for his antics on and off the field. From bar fights to throwing dirt on an umpire, Martin was notorious for his ruthless behavior. Besides all of his controversy, Martin was a great motivator to his players and even won the World Series with the Yankees in 1977. However, tragedy struck when Martin was killed in a car crash on December 25, 1989. Martin was a passenger in a friend’s pickup truck when it skidded off the road and continued 300 feet down an embankment, stopping near the manager’s home in New York. Martin’s friend was driving while intoxicated, and it resulted in Martin losing his life. He was 61 years old at the time of his death.
12. Jayne Mansfield – Died Instantly After Car Goes Under Tractor Trailer
Jayne Mansfield was supposed to be The Blonde Bombshell of the 1960’s, but she was tragically killed along with her lover and driver in a very gruesome car crash. Mansfield, her lover Sam Brody, her driver Ronnie Harrison, and three of her five children were on their way to New Orleans when the driver rammed into a tractor trailer and actually went right under the trailer. All three adults died instantly, but her three children luckily survived. One of her children is actually Law & Order SVU star Mariska Hargitay. The terrible accident led to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requiring all semis to have a DOT bar in the back.
11. Dale Earnhardt – Fatally Died During Daytona 500
Dale Earnhardt, Sr. was one of the most spectacular NASCAR drivers, winning seven Winston Cup championship victories and 76 careers wins, including the 1998 Daytona 500. Earnhardt was an incredible race car driver but fatally died on the race track on February 18, 2001. During the Daytona 500, Dale crashed into the retaining wall after making contact with driver Ken Schrader. Dale was only 49 years old, and since his death, NASCAR began to make stricter policies regarding safety. His son, Dale Earnhardt Jr., continues to race and had previously drove the No. 8 Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt, Inc., which was his father’s team.