Price of fame: Performers and sports stars die younger

Wed Apr 17, 2013 7:18pm EDT
 
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By Belinda Goldsmith

LONDON (Reuters) - The price of fame can be high with an international study on Thursday finding that people who enjoy successful entertainment or sporting careers tend to die younger.

Researchers Richard Epstein and Catherine Epstein said the study, based on analysing 1,000 New York Times obituaries from 2009-2011, found film, music, stage performers and sports people died at an average age of 77.2 years.

This compared to an average lifespan of 78.5 years for creative workers, 81.7 for professionals and academics, and 83 years for people in business, military and political careers.

The Australian-based researchers said these earlier deaths could indicate that performers and sports stars took more risks in life, either to reach their goals or due to their success.

"Fame and achievement in performance-related careers may be earned at the cost of a shorter life expectancy," the researchers wrote in their study published in QJM: An International Journal of Medicine.

"In such careers, smoking and other risk behaviors may be either causes of effects of success and/or early death."

Britain's most high-profile celebrity publicist, Max Clifford, said the pressure that celebrities and sports stars put on themselves to succeed had to play a part, and even at the top they were always worried about who could replace them.

"People assume that fame and success is all about riches and happiness but as someone who has worked with famous people for 45 years I know that is not the case," Clifford told Reuters.   Continued...