The birthday effect is a statistical phenomenon where an individual’s likelihood of death appears to increase on or close to their birthday. The birthday effect has been seen in studies of general populations in England and Wales, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the United States.
According to the researchers, the main reasons for this include stress related to the birthday, increased consumption of alcohol and drugs, and the tendency of terminally ill patients to hold off their passing until their birthday. Also, the risk of suicide significantly increases around the time of people’s birthdays because of psychological factors, and the statistical phenomenon of birthday suicides is known as the “birthday blues.”
The list of people affected by the birthday effect and the birthday blues is long and includes many celebrities.
1. Ingrid Bergman – (August 29, 1915 – 1982)
Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman was probably most famous for her role in the huge movie hit, Casablanca. She received seven Oscar nods, three of which she won. She was born and died on August 29, passing away in the early 1980s. She was not only talented, but extremely beautiful as well. Apparently Roberto Rossellini thought so too. He and Bergman were involved in an affair, which occurred behind the scenes and culminated in Bergman becoming pregnant with Rossellini’s child. Amazingly, Bergman was able to recover from the extramarital affair, and she continued to work well into her golden years. She was 67 years old when she died.
2. William Shakespeare (April 23, 1564 – 1616)
While some say that Shakespeare died on his birthday, others are more skeptical about it. The playwright lived a long time ago; back in the 16th century. Therefore, there is a bit of debate about Shakespeare’s death. He died young, as was the norm back in the day. Add to that the fact that there were so many diseases floating around, and it becomes quite easy to understand why the details of his death are a bit blurry. What with all of the typhus, pneumonia, and tuberculosis going around, it seemed that people were dropping like flies left and right!
3. George Washington Carver (1860s – January 5, 1943)
This man was not only an awesome scientific mind, but he educated people as well. He was a mainstay in the southern United States, born in Missouri and died in Alabama. Carver passed away on January 5, 1943 and achieved fame through his ingenious discoveries involving the humble peanut. Since he spent so much time studying planting and crops, he was a shoo-in for the scientific gains he achieved in peanut planting. It takes over 500 peanuts to make just one (12-ounce) jar of delicious peanut butter, and we can thank Carver for that! The man passed away due to anemia (an iron deficiency in the blood.)