20 Celebrities Who Died from Breast Cancer

Rue McLanahan

Breast Cancer is the second most common type for women in the United States. One in three women will contract the disease. According to Cancer.org, almost 50,000 women will die from breast cancer in 2022. Losing someone to Cancer is difficult. When someone is in the public spotlight, and has helped affect change, people often commune over their loss. All the women are in the spotlight, and some contributed to changing the trajectory of the world. Some were the women behind the men, but still found ways to blaze their own trails. Others are in the history books for doing things their foremothers didn’t. Sadly, these women were taken too soon from the disease or complications stemming from it. This list is 20 celebrities who died from breast cancer.

20. Elizabeth Edwards (1949-2010)

She was the wife of Senator John Edwards. According to The Los Angeles Times, she received her diagnosis the day after the 2004 election. Despite the diagnosis that eventually killed her, Elizabeth Edwards never slowed down throughout her life, even publishing several books. This wasn’t the first tragedy the family suffered. Edwards’ 16-year-old son died in a 1996 car accident and was the subject of one of his mother’s books.

19. Irene Kral (1932-1978)

Jazz singer Irene Kral was born in Chicago in 1932. She first performed with the group Jay Burkhardt band in 1957. Additionally, she worked with Herb Pomeroy’s orchestra. However, after getting married in California, she put her career on hiatus. However, just before cancer took her life,

18. Sarah Harding (1981-2021)

According to IMDB, before she was a well-known actress-model and dancer, she worked in the restaurant industry. She starred in movies like 2008’s Wild Child and Bad Day. Twenty of her songs became top singles in the United Kingdom, including four number one hits.

17. Claire Shulman (1926-2020)

Shulman was raised in New York City and later went to give back to her hometown as a director of community boards and president of Queens Borrough. During her career, she also served as deputy president after the previous one resigned amid scandal. In addition to her work with the Borrough, she started the Flushing Willets Point Corona Local Development corporation. She survived breast cancer, but later in life got lung and pancreatic cancer.

16. Jean Keene (1923-2009)

Keene was a rodeo trick rider until a tragic accident in Olympia Arena in Detroit, Michigan, ended her career. After her time on the circuit ended, she spent her time caring for animals, but is best known as the Eagle Lady. She first garnered press when she fed the local Eagle population in Homer, Alaska. Although Keene had breast cancer, it was sadly an upper respiratory infection that took her life.

15. Sandra Feldman (1939-2005)

Feldman’s interest in politics first started when she heard the civil rights activist Bayard Rustin speak. After receiving her master’s degree in English literature, she started her teaching career and started organizing a teachers’ union. By 1966, her original inspiration was instrumental in her being hired at the United Teachers Union. Over the years, she worked her way to the first female president of the union.

14. Linda McCartney (1941-1998)

Many people remember her as the wife of Paul McCartney. However, she was also a successful photographer and animal rights activist. She was born Linda Eastman in Scarsdale, New York. She was an art history major at the University of Arizona, where she discovered her love of photographers like Dorothea Lange. One of her most notable achievements is to be the first female photographer featured on the cover of Rolling Stone; Eric Clapton in 1968.

13. Gloria Stuart (1910-2010)

Stuart is best remembered for her role as the elder Rose in the Academy Award-winning movie Titanic. However, she has a storied career spanning decades. She majored in drama and philosophy at the University of Berkley. Additionally, she was one of the founding members of the Screen Actors Guild. Over the course of her career, she starred in 42 different movies. Stuart took a 30 year break from acting, but returned despite her husband being in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s. Apart from her acting career, she worked with many organizations and published several books. One of Stuart’s most notable achievements is that she was the oldest person to win an academy award.

12. Lynn Redgrave (1943-2010)

According to The Guardian, Redgrave’s battle with cancer lasted seven years. Sadly, she is one of three members of the family who died in the same year, although she is the only one who passed away from breast cancer. Throughout her career, some of her other famous siblings overshadowed her, although she was nominated for several of her movies, including her performance in Gods and Monsters. Although she was passed up for an academy, she won a Golden Globe award for her performance.

11. Rue McClanahan (1934-2010)

Her career started in Pennsylvania at the Erie Playhouse. When she passed, she was a member of the Actors Studio. Although she is best known for her work on The Golden Girls, she also starred on Broadway. It was the role of Caroline Johnson on the TV show Another World, where she was first noticed on the small screen. Her next role was on Where The Heart Is, another soap opera. McClanahan also did an Al-Anon commercial in the 1970s called slight drinking problem with Patty Duke. She was also a passionate animal rights activist and one of the first celebrities to embrace PETA. Never one to shy away from controversy much like her outspoken role as Blanche; she wrote a letter to Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, letting him know that despite her staunch liberal views, his choice to pheasant hunt was the reason she didn’t vote for him.

10. Shirley Temple Black (1928-2014)

Temple-Black’s mother encouraged her daughter to take dance lessons at age three, which led to early appearances on Baby Burlesks. Shortly after, she starred in the movie Stand Up and Cheer, which launched the actresses’ career. According to Britanica, Temple gained so much popularity because her career started taking off during the Great Depression, when many people felt hopeless. So seeing her brand of upbeat musicals helped some of the stress of everyday life. However, her popularity waned as the 30s drew to a close. Although she starred in several films after the height of her career, she never regained her initial popularity. However, she enjoyed a second career far from the golden screen. In 1972, they diagnosed her with breast cancer. Several years later, she was U.S. ambassador.

9. Dusty Springfield (1939-1999)

She was born Mary O’Brien. Later, she created her stage persona from several drag queens she saw on stage. Early inspirations for her musical career were American folk artists. Although she had immense talent, she is remembered for her difficult personality brought on by heavy alcohol usage. Two weeks after she passed away from breast cancer, they inducted Springfield into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

8. Susan G. Komen (1943-1980)

Komen’s name is associated with the largest breast cancer group, founded by her sister after her diagnosis. She is described as a “high school homecoming queen, and college beauty queen.” Her sister describes the day she received the call that they diagnosed her sister with breast cancer, and how little she knew about the terrible disease. In the end, Komen’s sister decided to start the foundation to celebrate her sister’s life.

7. Bette Davis (1908-1989)

Davis had several nicknames; The Fourth Warner Brother and The First Lady of Film. The actress was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, and died in Neuilly-Sur-Seine, France. Originally, she wanted to be a dancer, but caught the acting bug and changed paths. Portions of her early career were met with opposition, but always strong. She kept trying, and eventually Universal Studios hired her in 1930. One of her last awards was AFI’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 1977. Aside from her movie career, Davis also wrote several books, including The Lonely Life, which chronicled her life.

6. Minnie Pearl (1912-1996)

She was one of the most iconic faces on the Opry Stage. Born Sarah Ophelia Colley Cannon, she created the character of Minnie Pearl to pay homage to the small town where she grew up; 50 miles from Nashville and the stage that made her famous. She once said, “most women comics don’t want to get down on the level of a country girl who makes a fool of herself.” Nevertheless, each time she went on the Opry Stage, she put on the iconic straw hat and spoke her catch phrase, howdy, done in a way only Minnie Pearl could.

5. Rachel Carson (1907-1964)

Carson’s mother first fostered her love of all things outdoors, although her first papers were in marine biology, not the groundbreaking studies she did later. One of her first post college jobs was writing for the Baltimore Sun, as well as the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries. Throughout her career, she stayed at the forefront of the war on climate change. As well as educating people on why nature is so important. One of the biggest opponents of her work was the chemical industry. Even after her death, her work inspires people who want to do more to protect the environment.

4. Betty Ford (1918-2011)

One of her most famous roles was as first lady to President Gerald Ford. He was her second marriage, the first to William Warren, only lasted several years. Aside from her political duties, one of her biggest passions was dance. She is also an accomplished writer, penning a book chronicling her addiction issues. Additionally, she helped create programs for children with handicaps. Leonard Firestone worked with her to create The Betty Ford Center, a treatment center to help people suffering from similar addiction issues. Throughout her lifetime, Ford has also received many awards and commendations for her work, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom from George W Bush.

3. Henny Van Andel-Schipper (1890-2005)

Even with breast cancer, she still lived to be the oldest person in the world. During an autopsy, it revealed that her genetics allowed her to age less rapidly than other people. It is thought that she was the one who first said, “I was born too early and will die too late.” Many asked her what her secrets were for a healthy life, and she said it was to keep inhaling and exhaling. Additionally, she strongly recommended pickled herring and orange juice.

2. Juliette Gordon Low (1860-1927)

She founded the Girl Scouts in 1912. Many who knew her called her “Daisy.” From an early age, she wanted to work with young women to help them achieve their goals and improve their lives. Even though she moved to England with her husband, she maintained strong ties to her hometown of Savannah, Georgia, where she lived out her days sadly cut short by breast cancer.

1. Rose Bird (1936-1999)

She was one of the Chief Justices of the California Supreme Court. Besides this impressive achievement, she also shattered several glass ceilings during her life as the first female clerk of the Nevada Supreme Court and the first to serve in the California State Cabinet. Bird served on the California Supreme Court in 1977. However, many felt her viewpoints didn’t align with the growing number of conservatives in California. Many feel she lost reelection because of her staunch opposition of the death penalty. Others think it may be Proposition 13, which passed in 1978 despite her opposition.

You can also read:

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply