Before Amy: a list of Jews who didn’t go to rehab


Amy Winehouse at the Eurockéennes of 2007 (photo by Bojars)

Amy Winehouse was not the first Jewish celebrity to suffer from a drug-related death before.

Here is a list (not too long, but not too short either) of popular Jewish artist who also gave their life away for drugs:

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)

The Austrian-born Jewish neurologist, who is the  founder of psychoanalysis discipline, had a long history of experiencing with different drugs.
Freud started using cocaine in his early adult life, as he believed they have curing abilities for mental health problems, as well as addictions to drugs such as morphine. In his final days, as he was dying of cancer, it was actually an overdose of morphine that killed him to end his suffering.

Sigmund Freud (photo by Max Halberstadt)















Lenny Bruce (1925-1966)

The Jewish comedian (born Leonard Alfred Schneider) was known for his obscure, extreme and often times offensive sense of humor.
Throughout the years, Bruce got into many legal troubles (including one time when he called an officer aschmuck). According to official reports, his death in 1966 was also caused from an overdose of morphine, though unlike Freud, it was accidental.


Brian Epstein (1934-1967)

The “man who invented The Beatles” started his music managing career in the mid 1950s. By the early 1960s he was already the manager of the “Fab Four” (Paul MacCartney’s father was apparently a little edgy about his son being managed by a Jew).

The relationship with drugs started for Epstein after he became the Beatles’ manager, as they were taking preludin stimulants together. He later became addicted to different pills, and also drink heavily, smoke marijuana and take LSD. He eventually died from an overdose of sleeping pills.
The Beatles attended a memorial service for him at the New London Synagogue in London.

Mike Bloomfield (1943-1981)

The talented Chicago-born Jewish musician, was well known for his phenomenal guitar skills (he was ranked 22nd on Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.”

Throughout his career, Bloomfield played with bands such as The Butterfield Band and The Electric Flag. He worked with many blues legends such as B. B. King, Janis Joplin, Muddy Waters, Bob Dylan and Buddy Guy. On his work with many African American artists, Bloomfield said once: “It’s a natural. Black people suffer externally in this country. Jewish people suffer internally. The suffering’s the mutual fulcrum for the blues.”
His drug abuse, which involved LSD and heroin was always a problem, was noticed throughout his career, and though the official cause of his death was never revealed, it was connected to drug overdose.”

Mike Bloomfield playing guitar in the background of Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revised, a song that references Genesis 22.

Hillel Slovak (1962-1988)

Not many know, but the original guitarist of the popular rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers was actually an Israeli who was born in Haifa, Israel (not so far from where Gene Simmons was born). Slovak’s family moved to LA in the mid 60sm and while in school, he met Anthony Kiedis and other future members of RHCP.
Throughout his career, Slovak battled serious heroin addiction, and he eventually died of heroin overdose in the summer of 88, and thus putting a tragic end to a life path that could have brought him to rock fame and glory.


Howie Epstein (1955-2003)

Howie Epstein of Milwaukee, was the bass player of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers until his death of complications of drug use, and also suffered from heroin addiction.

Epstein started his career backing Del Shannon, and was later introduced to Petty. He also played with musicians such as Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, The Village People, Stevie Nicks and others. He was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of his work with the band.

One of the first songs Epstein recorded 


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