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The Top 5 Famous Alcoholics

The Top 5 Famous Alcoholics

Alcoholism is no laughing matter. And while it’s glamorized in the Hollywood sphere with folks like Lindsay Lohan, Keith Urban and Robert Downey Jr. all undergoing treatment for alcohol abuse, it makes one wonder what other famous individuals were alcoholics. For some, alcoholism is a hidden demon not made public until well after treatment is sought and they have been rehabilitated. For others it becomes a trademark of their artistic endeavors, even being written about in many famous novels. And for others still, it has served as their ultimate downfall.

The following is a list of the top 5 most famous alcoholics:

5. Hunter S. Thompson. (Jul. 18, 1937 – Feb. 20, 2005)
Thompson was one of America’s most outlandish and epic journalists and authors. The creator of Gonzo journalism, and made famous by his novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which was later turned into a hit movie starring Johnny Depp, Thompson was well known for his alcohol use, though rarely classified under the term “alcoholic.” In the early 1980’s he was pulled over and detained after running a stop sign at 2 in the morning. After refusing alcohol tests, he was later released and the charges were dropped for lack of evidence. Hunter makes the list of top five most famous alcoholics for the mysterious way he left people wondering. Most of the time, people were never really sure whether he was simply misbehaving because it was his nature to do so, or because he was intoxicated.

4. Truman Capote. (Sept. 30, 1924 – Aug. 25, 1984)
Capote makes the number 4 spot in this list of famous alcoholics due to his inability to stay sober despite numerous attempts at sobriety and treatment. After a drunk-driving arrest in Long Island, he attempted treatment at Silver Hill. Still, he was never able to remain sober, even appearing drunk on a talk show a time or two. Capote is most famous for his works Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and In Cold Blood which was mostly written while intoxicated.

3. Edgar Allan Poe. (Jan. 19, 1809 – Oct. 7, 1849)
Edgar Allan Poe is probably best known for his macabre poetry and gothic fiction, though he also moonlighted as an editor and literary critic. He is also considered the inventor of detective mysteries. Edgar Allan Poe makes this list due to his suspicious death. On the morning of October 3rd, he was found disoriented and delusional in the streets of Baltimore, MD, outside a tavern. It is suspected that he had been bribed with or forced to drink alcohol by poll workers in the corrupt city. The actual cause of death was never entirely determined, though he was also known to be a heavy drinker and opium user throughout his life.

2. F. Scott. Fitzgerald. (Sept. 24, 1996 – Dec. 21, 1940)
Fitzgerald is one of America’s most prized classic writers of short stories during the Jazz Era. A heavy drinker since college, he became known for his elaborate parties and overt intoxication which eventually lead him to poor health and financial turmoil in his late 30’s. He made a name for himself both in the world of literature, and as one of America’s first celebrity alcoholics, making tabloids for his reckless behavior. Unfortunately, likely due in part to his alcoholism, he died at age 44 from a heart attack.

1. Ernest Hemingway. (Jul. 21, 1899 – Jul. 2, 1961)
Ernest Hemingway is probably the world’s most famous and successful literary alcoholic. He began drinking heavily while he was a young man, and especially while working on his most notable masterpieces including The Old Man and the Sea and The Sun Also Rises. Increasingly, he suffered from heavy physical and mental problems as age took hold, and his alcoholism only worsened until his death in 1961 from suicide.

As you can see, alcoholism isn’t just a common-man’s disease. It can happen to anybody. In fact, it seems to run rampant in the literary world with other honorary mentions like Jack Kerouac, William Faulkner, and Charles Bukowski. It’s the plague of the century and will only ever be overcome when the glamorizing and social acceptance of it has finally waned.