While every lifetime has a certain amount of karma associated with it, simply through the normal process of interacting and resolving Lesson, the karma associated with fame tends to be particularly heavy, and is much more difficult to dismantle and resolve after death.
Karma is the magnetic energy attracted by Thought and Action within the physical third dimension. The karma associated with fame tends to have a stronger magnetic base, and depending on the nature of the fame and a person's association with that fame, it may become particularly difficult for famous persons in the non-physical dense to free themselves of that energy.
It is normal for Souls to detach from their physical forms, yet it is difficult to detach from physical-dense association with that fame. Elvis Presley would be a good example of a dead person haunted by his last known physical incarnation, and the Lessons he learned or challenges he faced would have carried over to his next lifetime. The particular "karmic lesson" that Elvis, for example, would have carried would probably stem from his utter isolation from "normal" life, imposed on him by both his fans and his manager, Colonel Parker. Second, that because of his relationship with his manager, he was no longer free to exercise his natural expression as a spiritual, conscious person, but was instead turned into a puppet and a circus clown in later years. Third, the anger associated with that isolation, and the feelings of powerlessness and sense of being "his own worst enemy" for having created the music that eventually seemed to serve against him as a foundation for exploitation.
The nature of one's fame, and how one chooses to handle it in life, is often difficult to manage. As a "famous" person, it is hard to know what is true admiration and respect of compatible minds and feelings, and how to distinguish this from idolatry, fanaticism, and exploitation.
Artists, in particular, whether literary, musical, film, or media, tend to be the ones most held up as cult figures, and it seems that a "pitch" is created between the performer and the audience that somehow establishes a "church of art". Thus, whatever it is the artist is famous for actually runs the risk of being the least positive, or inert, form of detachment. People who idolize "stars" and attempt to vampirize the fame associated with that person are attempting a sort of etheric necromancy that drains the spirit and consciousness of the famous person.
At the end of Elvis' life, he was virtually a shell of his former persona. He became known as the King, and was imprisoned by the fame that claimed him to be the king. Elvis did not create that condition, and did not apparently have the strength of Will, or the critical acuity, to discern the consequences that were to result from decisions made and enforced by Colonel Parker. This is somewhat understandable for several reasons; Elvis was, in a sense, a test case, and second, Colonel Parker was revolutionary in his masterful strategy to exploit Elvis' career, controlling his music, movies, and associations.
There were famous people before Elvis who were idolized almost as strongly; Judy Garland is a good example, and so is Liz Taylor, who has generated millions of dollars for being a face on the cover of tabloids, and is often treated as a religious obsession because of her natural strength, grace, and beauty. Yet it is that same strength that allows her to rise above and to resist the tabloid exploitation, though the tabloids themselves are the proof of her battle to remain a whole and healthy person.
Another way of putting this would be to say that the tabloids make money every time they report that Liz in in therapy for alcohol and drug abuse. We state that it is conditions such as those created by the tabloids that continue to foster her need for external substances as a "shield" between herself and the ever-encroaching world.
It would also be appropriate to interject the case of Frank Sinatra, certainly a famous person who was used to having articles of clothing thrown at him at one point in his career, and at a later point, was not even recognized while walking down the street; then he got a major role in a movie and all of a sudden Sinatra was "born again" as a star - but Sinatra's case differs from many a star. Sinatra knew what it was like to be somebody, then be a nobody, and then be a somebody again. He did not have to die to find out that fame was an illusion, and he somehow came to terms with his role as a public persona.
Princess Diana was another who was exploited relentlessly by the media, and is a fine example of tabloids literally killing people - and then the tabloids continue to make money by exploiting her even after death, and exploiting themselves as well. The writers of this dreck have no shame.
It is the musical artists, and comedians, who tend to have the worst time of it. In terms of exploitation, the Beatles outdid Elvis only by virtue of having four men to exploit rather than one. John Lennon was the first to speak up and to resent the press. Later, he and his wife Yoko Ono deliberately turned the tables to exploit the press in order to give voice to their intent to revolutionize the world with peace. Lennon stated publicly that as he was apparently never going to be left alone by the press, he might as well do something constructive with it and use the press to his advantage. This worked to a large extent, yet also continued the conflict by laying Lennon open to criticism from the press for his own humanitarian motives. "They're gonna crucify me", indeed.
In the 1990's, Kurt Kobain of Nirvana was developing into a prolific, sensitive, and astute song-writer, and was struck down just as he was reaching a turning point, and was about to transform himself into a responsible and effective artist who would rise above the instant fame he had acquired, and would have had the potential to redirect expressionism and cult-associations into a more positive direction. Instead, he was snuffed, and his girlfriend Courtney Love immediately stepped into the spotlight left in the shadow of Kobain, and began to exploit her career by feeding the hungry vampires of the Kobain cult. "A Star is Born" was not the case, and Love's attempt to fool the masses into thinking she had musical or theatrical pretension did not survive beyond a couple of mediocre records and creative drug/violence busts.
We can think of other examples: Marilyn Monroe, who complained that she was famous as the most beautiful woman of America, but couldn't get a date on Saturday night. Jimmy Dean ("You are tearing me apart!", he screams in "Rebel Without a Cause") who was known to frequent S-M bars and ask the patrons to put their cigarettes out on his body. John Belushi, snuffed at the pinnacle of his career, dead and unloved in a Hollywood bungalow. Sharon Tate, a rising star, snuffed because she was "famous enough" to get good press for the Manson killers. John Lennon, murdered in front of his wife for being an ex-Beatle over a decade before by a born-again Christian with an identity problem.
The list goes on, and on.
In almost all of these cases (Sinatra being the exception), the probable cause of death was "Fame". Andy Warhol once said that every person experiences it for 15 minutes. Coffee-break fame isn't terminal, but for the people who get 15 minutes a day of NOT being famous, it is apparently terminal. As Jesus was a martyr for the Christians, it appears a social pattern was set to demonstrate that if you love something, you must kill it. This is necromantic again, for not only thriving vampirically on someone's life, but also ghoulishly feeding on their death as another sensation event. Long live the King.
The persons that survive celebrity experience and come to terms with their fame, and yet manage to enforce a certain amount of healthy isolation and privacy from their "adoring public", tend to have the least negative karma associated with their fame, and also have less trouble effectively managing the mental and astral planes of their physical expression. (Sinatra, again?)
It is not drugs or alcohol that kill famous people; it is the idolatry of the fans who seek to choke the very life and existence out of their icons, clinging to their shirt-tails and dragging them into the astral mire of their own puny existences. It is entirely vampiristic, and nothing positive is ever achieved by idolatry of another human being. The human who is idolized is often destroyed by that idolatry, and they have three choices: to align with their Souls; to "split" the persona (one for home, and one for public) in effect creating a secondary role; the third choice is to exit, or be destroyed.
Princess Diana was able to align with her Soul (yet was destroyed anyway); Liz Taylor is also aligned, but due to the nature of her fame, also has to battle with the split persona/roles, as John Lennon did; Kobain and Belushi were destroyed before they were able to effectively construct their persona/roles; Jimmy Dean chose to exit, through voluntary death of a car accident. Elvis, also, was a voluntary death, whose fame was so overwhelming that it was virtually impossible for him to sustain persona/role distinctions.
It is more difficult for musicians, in particular, to maintain the facade of roles. Since music and song-writing, by its very nature, is self-analytic and revealing, it is almost impossible to separate the "Man from the Music", so to speak, and if he is to give an honest performance, he has to be vulnerable in order to be receptive to musical creativity and harmonization. The flip side is that the artist, by opening the Door of astral harmonics, so that he may effectively weave his magic, also leaves the door open for the audience, who may or may not be of compatible vibration and harmonic relationship.
Jerry Garcia, oddly enough, had virtually no troubles detaching from his physical form, and much of this is due to the nature of the Grateful Dead audiences, which tend to be comprised of people with their own healthy and strong sense of mental and astral relationship. While the 'Dead is considered somewhat of a cult, simply by virtue of the number of people who follow their road shows, the fact is that Deadheads truly love and feel part of the 'Dead experience, and do not worship, idolize, or deify the members or the group.
The same is true of Frank Zappa, known for his very strong sense of mental balance and perception, who was also creative and dynamic enough that he could "play" with music, and was effectively able to "master" his relationship both with the audience and with the music. (It might be coincidence that Zappa exited just as there was a strong campaign being developed within the grass roots community to "Elect Zappa for President". Any serious effort to "politicize" Frank Zappa might very well have attempted to destroy his integrity as an artist, and as an independent watch-dog of social movements.)
Two other factors that kill famous people are greed, and management - often one and the same. It is management that determines how to turn artists into money machines, and it is the rise of the press relations and facade built around the stars that truly give the public a "handle" by which to seize the emotional lapels of their chosen icons.
There is nothing wrong with being widely acclaimed and appreciated by many people; it only becomes wrong when the famous person/s then becomes a yardstick or voice elevated by the media as the "Voice of the People", and is then held accountable for the actions of others. It seems that the more famous televangelists have bypassed the fame-equals-death clause; they don't die, they just go to jail.
Many famous people would probably prefer to go to jail, for a little while, if it might ease their burdens of public responsibility, and free them from imposed cultural dictatorship of the masses. Unfortunately, however, going to jail is simply more fodder for the tabloids, and reinforces both martyrdom and division within the idolatrous masses.
The etheric problem with fame is that it can generate from 5 to 125
times the amount of karmic energy associated with a person, and is considerably
imbalanced and unfair, and can create untold problems with astral disruption
and mental and associative relationships between that famous person and
his environment. If a famous person dies, but his hero-worship continues
and even escalates, that person has to be very careful to avoid the physical
plane and finds himself isolated in Spirit as well as Thought. This condition
is a tragedy and needs to be remedied, at the very least to return the
Light and Love the famous person had generated within the physical third
dimension, and so balance the karmic scales.
Frank Sinatra is an excellent example of someone who does not have karma associated with his fame. Certainly he was screamed over, and had just as many articles of clothing thrown at him as did Elvis and the Beatles. The difference was that Sinatra personally determined his own affairs, and personally determined his own choices as to what songs he would record, how they were recorded, what movies he would play in, and whom he would associate with. Sometimes his choices were somewhat controversial, but Frankie insisted on doing things "his way", and got away with it. He did not have to have a degree in Accounting to know if he was being cheated, and did not have to have a degree in Fashion Design or Micro-management to know how to be a performer and negotiator.
The Rolling Stones are another example of a musical group that learned to take affairs out of the hands of management. In the early 1970's, Mick Jagger started taking an interest in the "books", and learned to ask questions to find out what the numbers meant. He used his own sense of "practical" knowledge to find out why some numbers were strong and some were weak. The Stones do have management, but they are not CONTROLLED by management.
Any artist, in any field, who does not give himself any credit for basic intelligence is asking to be exploited. It is only a myth that management can control numbers better than you can. There is nothing a manager can tell you that you could not find out for yourself, simply by doing the homework, making phone calls, and asking questions. Management is supposed to do the grunt work, take care of details while you are being an artist. Management is NOT supposed to tell you who to be or how to be an artist. By NOT asking questions of your management, you are letting them fill in the blanks any way they want to, and your artistic career will careen and merge into the one they dictate to you for commercial purposes.
Good art, music, and comedy, sells itself. Don't let your management sell YOU.