1. Elvis Presley
On January 8, 1935, Elvis Presley, the King of Rock 'n' Roll, was born in Tupelo, Mississippi. He was discovered in Memphis by Sun Records founder Sam Phillips, who was looking for a white singer with an African-American sound and style.
Elvis catapulted to fame following three appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1956 and 1957. Although he was pushed off the charts by The Beatles and the rest of the British invasion in the early 1960s, he still sold more than a billion records in his lifetime, more than any other recording artist in history.
His movie career kept him in the public eye until his comeback album in 1968, and in the 1970s, he sold out shows in Las Vegas as an overweight caricature of his former self.
Elvis's addiction to prescription drugs was well known, and on August 16, 1977, he was found dead on the bathroom floor in his Graceland mansion. A vomit stain on the carpet showed that he had become sick while seated on the toilet and had stumbled to the spot where he died. A medical examiner listed the cause of death as cardiac arrhythmia caused by ingesting a large number of drugs.
2. Lenny Bruce
Controversial comedian Lenny Bruce was born Leonard Alfred Schneider in October 1925. Bruce was famous in the 1950s and 1960s for his satirical routines about social themes of the day, including politics, religion, race, abortion, and drugs. His use of profanity -- rarely done at that time -- got him arrested numerous times. He was eventually convicted on obscenity charges but was freed on bail.
On August 3, 1966, Bruce, a known drug addict, was found dead in the bathroom of his Hollywood Hills home with a syringe, a burned bottle cap, and other drug paraphernalia. The official cause of death was acute morphine poisoning caused by an accidental overdose.
Scandalous 3rd-century Roman emperor Elagabalus married and divorced five women, including a Vestal Virgin (a holy priestess), who under Roman law should have been buried alive for losing her virginity. Elagabalus also may have been bisexual.
Objecting to his sexual behavior and his habit of forcing others to follow his religious customs, his grandmother Julia Maesa and aunt Julia Avita Mamaea murdered Elagabalus and his mother (Julia Maesa's own daughter) in the emperor's latrine. Their bodies were dragged through the streets of Rome and thrown into the Tiber River.
4. Robert Pastorelli
Born in 1954, actor and former boxer Robert Pastorelli was best known as Candace Bergen's housepainter on the late 1980s sitcom Murphy Brown. He had numerous minor roles on television and also appeared in Dances with Wolves, Sister Act 2, and Michael, as well as a number of made-for-TV movies.
Pastorelli struggled with drug use and in 2004 was found dead on the floor of his bathroom of a suspected heroin overdose.
5. Orville Redenbacher
Orville Redenbacher, founder of the popcorn company that bears his name, was born in 1907 in Brazil, Indiana. Millions came to know him through his folksy television commercials for the specialty popcorn he invented.
He sold the company to Hunt-Wesson Foods in 1976 but remained as a spokesperson until September 20, 1995, when he was found dead in a whirlpool bathtub in his condominium, having drowned after suffering a heart attack.
6. Claude François
Claude François was a French pop singer in the 1960s who had a hit with an adaptation of Trini Lopez's folk song "If I Had a Hammer."
On March 11, 1978, François's obsession with cleanliness did him in when he was electrocuted in the bathroom of his Paris apartment as he tried to fix a broken light bulb while standing in a water-filled bathtub.
7. Albert Dekker
Actor Albert Dekker, who appeared in Kiss Me Deadly, The Killers, and Suddenly, Last Summer, was blacklisted in Hollywood for several years for criticizing anticommunist Senator Joe McCarthy.
Dekker later made a comeback, but in May 1968, he was found strangled to death in the bathroom of his Hollywood home. He was naked, bound hand and foot, with a hypodermic needle sticking out of each arm and obscenities written all over his body. The official cause of death was eventually ruled to be accidental asphyxiation.
8. Jim Morrison
Born on December 8, 1943, Jim Morrison was best known as the lead singer for The Doors, a top rock band in the late 1960s. His sultry looks, suggestive lyrics, and onstage antics brought him fame, but drug and alcohol abuse ended his brief life.
On July 3, 1971, Morrison was found dead in his bathtub in Paris. He reportedly had dried blood around his mouth and nose and bruising on his chest, suggesting a massive hemorrhage brought on by tuberculosis. The official report listed the cause of death as heart failure, but no autopsy was performed because there was no sign of foul play.