The Roles They Left Behind

Here's a list of stars whose movies outlasted them
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 18, 2008 4:50 PM CDT
In this image provided by Fox Searchlight films, actress Keri Russell, left, writer and director Adrienne Shelly, center, and Cheryl Hines on the set of "Waitress".    (AP Photo/Fox Searchlight, Alan Markfield)
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(Newser) – Heath Ledger's posthumous appearance in The Dark Knight prompts Radar to muse on stars whose films debuted after they died, prompting critics to wonder what could have been—or to hold their tongues.

  • Brad Renfro, The Informers. A onetime child star known for run-ins with the law, Renfro completed filming for the Bret Easton Ellis adaption a month before he overdosed on heroin.

  • Adrienne Shelley, Waitress. The success of Shelley's directing debut followed her murder.
  • Brandon Lee, The Crow. Lee's accidental death during a scene in which his character gets shot bestowed an otherworldly quality on this visually arresting revenge film.
  • Aaliyah, Queen of the Damned. Though the film was trashy, most critics went easy on the singer, who died in a plane crash.