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Actors who've had the worst on-screen lives


While most actors are happy to play wisecracking detectives or sassy single women, there's a select few who choose to truly suffer for their art.

Refusing to follow the easy route, these guys are happy to see their children die, their siblings commit suicide and their bodies fall foul to cancerous tumours.

To celebrate their perma-frowns, we've looked at the on-screen lives of some of Hollywood's most understandably miserable actors.

There are spoilers ahead...

(Images: All Star)

Leonardo DiCaprio


  • Suffers abuse as a child from his stepfather (This Boy's Life)
  • Robs and prostitutes himself to support his heroin addiction (The Basketball Diaries)
  • Commits suicide after wrongly believing his true love to be dead (Romeo + Juliet)
  • Drowns on a scrap of wood after a sinking(Titanic)
  • Dies of gunshot wounds (Blood Diamond)
  • Gets shot after mistakenly being accused of criminal activity (The Departed)
  • Becomes a widower after his wife kills herself during a failed abortion (Revolutionary Road)
  • Heads to an insane asylum after his wife drowns their kids (Shutter Island)
  • Witnesses another wife killing herself and gets framed by her (Inception)

Jennifer Connelly


  • Dies in a car bombing (Waking The Dead)
  • Supports her drug habit by performing in a degrading sex show (Requiem For A Dream)
  • Suffers from alcoholism and is evicted from her house before she inadvertently causes the deaths of a family (House of Sand and Fog)
  • Haunted and then drowned by a ghost (Dark Water)
  • Cheated on by her husband (Little Children)
  • Loses her son in a car accident (Reservation Road)
  • Cheated on by her husband (He's Just Not That Into You)
  • Marries her cousin and loses her daughter at a young age (Creation)

Jack Nicholson


  • Beaten to death by rednecks (Easy Rider)
  • Given a lobotomy and then smothered to death (One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest)
  • Gunned down in the back of his car (Hoffa)
  • Suffers a slow transformation into a full werewolf (Wolf)
  • Loses his daughter in a car accident (The Crossing Guard)
  • Killed during a negotiation with aliens/trampled to death by a rolling earth globe (Mars Attacks!)
  • Loses his wife near the end of an unhappy life (About Schmidt)
  • Dies of lung cancer (The Bucket List)

Meryl Streep


  • Is forced to choose which child she wants gassed and later commits suicide (Sophie's Choice)
  • Killed in a car crash which may or may not have been deliberate (Silkwood)
  • Wrongfully accused of killing her baby who was stolen by a dingo (A Cry In The Dark)
  • Falls down the stairs but stays alive as a sort-of zombie who ultimately falls down more stairs and ends up in pieces (Death Becomes Her)
  • Suffers the death of her entire family and then ultimately dies herself (The House Of The Spirits)
  • Discovers that her son has murdered his girlfriend (Before And After)
  • Dies of cancer (One True Thing)
  • Loses her husband and then faces a struggle with dementia (The Iron Lady)

Charlize Theron


  • Haunted by demons and sectioned, she finally commits suicide (Devil's Advocate)
  • Impregnated by her husband while he is possessed by an alien who she eventually has to kill (The Astronaut's Wife)
  • Thrown off a second floor landing and killed (The Yards)
  • Dies of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (Sweet November)
  • After a childhood of abuse, she becomes a prostitute who is eventually executed for murder (Monster)
  • Kidnapped by a mob and murdered (Head In The Clouds)
  • After most of the world is killed, she loses the will to carry on and commits suicide (The Road)
  • Flattened by a spaceship (Prometheus)

Denzel Washington


  • Beaten to death in police custody (Cry Freedom)
  • Killed by a police sniper (For Queen and Country)
  • Gunned down in a drive-by shooting (Heart Condition)
  • Assassinated while making a speech (Malcolm X)
  • Smokes a poison-laced cigarette to kill himself (Fallen)
  • Paralysed from the neck down in an accident (The Bone Collector)
  • Killed by a gunshot wound (Man On Fire)
  • Brainwashed, forced to kill his friends and left mentally scarred (The Manchurian Candidate)
  • Shot and killed (The Book Of Eli)

Kate Winslet


  • Marries her cousin, lives in poverty and then loses her children after they commit suicide (Jude)
  • Goes mad and ends up drowning herself (Hamlet)
  • Sees her lover die after barely surviving a sinking boat (Titanic)
  • Suffers from Alzheimer's (Iris)
  • Dies from a mystery illness, leaving her young children (Finding Neverland)
  • Attempts to give herself an abortion and ends up dying (Revolutionary Road)
  • Falls victim to a virus and dies (Contagion)



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