Comedian and actor Chris Farley, of Saturday Night Live fame, was found dead in his downtown Chicago apartment on December 18, 1997. The Cook County medical examiner’s office later reported that he died of an opiate and cocaine overdose (James Barron, “Chris Farley, 33, a Versatile Comedian-Actor,” New York Times, 19 December 1997, sec. A, p. 21;).

According to Mark Caro and Allan Johnson in the Chicago Tribune, Farley’s problems with drugs were no secret, and his death at age thirty-three, though a shock, was no surprise to his friends. He had been in and out of various programs to clean up his life many times (Mark Caro and Allan Johnson, “For Farley, Comedy Was His Life,” Chicago Tribune, 21 December 1997, sec. 1, pp. 1, 20; Steve Mills, “Drug Overdose Killed Comedian Farley,” Chicago Tribune, 3 January 1998, sec. 1, p 1.).

In Farley’s obituary in the New York Times, James Barron quoted from a recent interview of Farley in Playboy: “I used to think that you could get to a level of success where the laws of the universe didn’t apply,” said Farley. “But they do. It’s still life on life’s terms, not on movie-star terms. I still have to work at relationships. I still have to work on my weight and some of my other demons. Once I thought that if I just had enough in the bank, if I had enough fame, that it would be all right. But I’m a human being like everyone else. I’m not exempt.”

Sadly, his words proved to be prophetic.

(Larson, Craig Brian: 750 Engaging Illustrations for Preachers, Teachers & Writers. Grand Rapids, MI : Baker Books, 2002, S. 525)