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Artists Who Needed Rehab: In Memoriam Betty Ford

First Posted: 07/13/11 04:35 AM ET   Updated: 09/11/11 06:12 AM ET

With Betty Ford's death last week, the world at large lost a great humanitarian. But the art world, in particular, lost a benefactor in the former First Lady and founder of the Betty Ford Center for addiction recovery. Ford wasn't an arts maven in the traditional sense, perhaps, but think of the great actors, musicians and artists whose lives have been saved by rehab.

Drug dependency often goes hand in hand with stardom in creative fields, and rehab programs like that of the Betty Ford Center have given many creative people a place to be honest and unashamed of their addictions. In some cases, rehab can pave the way for significant career resurgence, as was the case with artists from Johnny Cash to Robert Downey Jr.

But for every beloved artist who has saved by such treatment, there is another who waited too long or never got the help they needed. The slideshow below commemorates artists whose drug- and alcohol-related deaths were as preventable as they were shocking. We all know the stories of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison, but take a look at these other tragic cases of artists, from Jean-Michel Basquiat to Diane Arbus, who might have lived longer with the help of a benefactor like Betty Ford.

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Charlie Parker
Jazz saxophonist and composer
Cirrhosis, pneumonia, heart attack and ulcer
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Filed by Travis Korte  |