Serial Story Board: Artistic Misfortune

Heath Ledger died in 2008 due to an accidental combination of pills that, when put together, stopped his heart. (SOURCE:
Heath Ledger died in 2008 due to an accidental combination of pills that, when put together, stopped his heart. (SOURCE:

Being   recognized as a talented artist is depicted today as living the life of a rock star. You get tons of money, fans everywhere send you hundreds of letters a day and you can work how you want to, since people now know that you know what you’re doing. But life as a famous artist isn’t as glamorous as the media wants you to think it is.

Typically, being a famous artist is just like being anyone else—only harder. They have to work constantly to keep their image, no matter what their art profession is. If they are a famous painter, they have to keep making works of art, under the pressure that each piece they make should be amazing. Otherwise, people will simply move on to the next best thing.

Being a musician means constant road trips and performances. Musicians also have to keep their voices in top shape year round. If they are suddenly not able to play or sing for a show their popularity may go down, and thousands of fans who had bought their tickets may end up feeling ripped off.

As an actor time is spent auditioning for new projects, making public appearances for film awareness, and trying not to look at the swarms of comments made about them online, where the media has plastered their faces for a week.

For child actors, there are a lot of reasons why the fame does more harm than good, no matter how much popularity they get or money they earn. Growing up in the business is dangerous. Most young actors grow up with bad habits and get into bad activities, like drugs, alcohol abuse, theft, murder, suicide and DUIs.

And it isn’t surprising, given what they have to deal with: the paparazzi following them constantly, no privacy, rumors constructed from the tabloids, etc. Now with YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, they can see hundreds of thousands of people’s opinions about them 24/7. Take Rebecca Black’s experience. Her video has been considered the worst music video in history. She was told by hundreds of strangers that she needed to kill herself herself for putting up her song “Friday.”

Heath Ledger (star of “Brokeback Mountain” and “The Dark Knight”) died at just 28 years of age. He was found with numerous prescription drugs, two kinds of narcotic painkillers, two kinds of anti-anxiety drugs and sleeping medication in his system.

Together, these medications formed a lethal drug that stopped his organs from working. Michael Jackson (“This is It” tour) was found dead in much the same way. These kinds of deaths, or near-deaths, have been happening far more recently today than in past artist history. Owen Wilson, known for many hilarious roles (including “Night at the Museum” and the leading voice in “Cars”), attempted suicide when his life—from an outsider’s point of view—seemed so perfect.

When most artists seem to have less-than-enjoyable lifestyles, is the money and fame really worth it? Many actors, musicians and artists of other renowned areas keep a low-key life, or conquer the darkness they fell into during fame, like Robert Downey Jr. or Wilson, who rebounded and is still making popular films today.