"Live fast, die young."

This quote, famously attributed to former movie star James Dean, took on an ironic twist when the Hollywood icon did just that. Dean is far from the only celebrity to lose their life at a young age and now researchers say they have enough data to prove a shorter lifespan may be the price of being rich and famous.

Australian researchers C.R. Epstein and R.J. Epstein set out to determine occupational hazards that seem to shorten the lifespans of most actors, performers, and sports stars.

The research team analyzed 1,000 obituaries from the New York Times between 2009 and 2011 searching for factors that included gender, occupation, and terminal disease.

One staggering piece of data their results uncovered was that male obituaries outnumbered females 813 to 186 but the average age of death for men was 80.4 and women 78.9.

The analysis also showed that famous athletes had an average lifespan of 77.4, performer's lifespan around 77.1, and creative workers 78.5. On the other hand more common professions such as military work recorded an average lifespan of 84.7, finance around 83.3, and politics an average lifespan of 82.1.

High profile celebrities were also more likely to die from accidents at around 66.2, infection at about 68.6, and some type of specific organ cancer at 73. Death from "old age" was more likely to be associated with professional careers such as doctors and academics.

Researchers can only speculate as to what causes a shorter lifespan with creative performers and famous athletes. However, they believe that celebrities' propensity to indulge in large quantities of alcohol and harmful drugs such as cocaine and heroin are behavioral risk factors that could lead to an earlier death.

Lead author Richard Epstein stated:

Indeed, our data raise the intriguing speculation that young people contemplating certain careers may be faced, consciously or otherwise, with a faustian choice:

1. To maximize their career potential and competitiveness even though the required psychological and physical costs may be expected to shorten their longevity.

2. To fall short of their career potential so as to balance their lives and permit a normal lifespan.

The entire study was published in the online journal QJM: An International Journal of Medicine.