Formula One race-car driver James Hunt, who is portrayed by Chris Hemsworth in Ron Howard‘s Rush, died at age 45. The film doesn’t exactly say that Hunt paid the price for being a chronic party animal, womanizer and cigarette smoker who burned the candle at both ends, but that’s obviously what happened. He died of Harry Nilsson‘s disease — “He liked to party and he got that, and in the end it got him.” It’s funny how this pathology, which has been dramatized over and over by party-hound types in Hollywood and the music industry for decades…it’s fascinating how this never seems to have the slightest effect upon people in their 20s who love the wild life. Almost everyone in their 20s thinks they’re bulletproof. Or that they’ll start living more moderately down the road. Or that it’s better to burn out than to fade away.
(l.) Chris Hemsworth; (r.) James Hunt.