Fame is linked to Shorter Lives, Study Says

May 31, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. obituary [oh-BICH-oo-er-ee] (n.) – an article or an announcement of a person’s death, often in newspapers
Example: The famous actor’s death was announced in obituaries of several newspapers.

2. life span [lahyf span] (n.) – the amount of time that a living organism exists
Example: Studies show that Japanese people have long life spans.

3. academe [AK-uh-deem, ak-uh-DEEM] (n.) – a learning institution, especially a college or a university
Example: She wants to work for the academe because of her love for education.

4. conclusive [kuh n-KLOO-siv] (adj.) – proven as a fact or without a doubt
Example: Several studies present conclusive findings that confirm the link between smoking and lung cancer.

5. stressor [STRES-er, -awr] (n.) – an activity or situation that causes stress
Example: Peer pressure is one of the man’s major stressors.


Read the text below.
A recent study revealed that performers and athletes die earlier compared to people with different professions.

Australian researchers analyzed 1,000 obituaries from the New York Times to observe the relationship between fame and shorter life spans.  The study was published in an international journal of medicine.

Results showed that actors, singers, musicians, and athletes died at an average age of 77, while authors, composers, and artists died at 79. On the other hand, people working in the academe such as historians and economists lived for an average of 82 years, while those who were successful in business and politics lived until the age of 83.

The study also found that lung cancer was the most common cause of death among the performers. An author of the study believes that the tendency among performers to smoke or use harmful drugs to improve their performance may have caused this particular result.

To provide a scientific explanation for the findings, psychologist Honey Langcaster-James stated that a career established in fame may present stressors that encourage risk-taking behaviors. She also believed that certain types of personality influence one’s desire for fame.

Although the findings of the study are not conclusive, the authors pointed out that the results raise important questions about the possible consequences of fame. The findings also serve as a warning among young individuals who dream of becoming famous in the future.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you agree that fame can be negative and destructive in some situations? Why do you think so?
·         What do you think are the disadvantages of being a celebrity and living in fame? Please explain your answer.

Discussion B

·         Do you think it is difficult to live a very famous life? Why do you think so?
·         How do you think people can live normally despite being famous?


May 31, 2013