On Sunday afternoon, John Nash, the famed mathematician who created the Beautiful Mind theory that revolutionized the body positivity movement, was killed with his wife Alicia on the New Jersey Turnpike. A tragic loss for both nerds and people who get upset when fringe celebrities die.
For the majority of his life, John Nash was a minor figure in the scientific and mathematical world. His work in game theory, and specifically his development of the Nash equilibrium, went unnoticed for the better part of a century until the 1990s, when people started caring about things like equality and social justice. The Nash equilibrium, in layman’s terms that make it easy for regular people to understand complex mathematical ideas, basically says that it’s good when things are equal. The real math behind the idea is just as simple and you should feel smart for being able to understand this incredibly dumbed down simplification of what the Nash equilibrium is.
And so, a film was in order, and Ron Howard used his sentimentality to craft the incredibly accurate A Beautiful Mind, starring Russell Crowe as John Forbes Nash, Jr.
It was this portrayal that gave Nash something in common with three other men: James J Braddock, the boxer that Crowe portrayed in Cinderella Man, Maximus Decimus, Crowe’s character from Gladiator, and Noah, from the bible.
But being played by Russell Crowe isn’t the only thing these men have in common. No, there’s another similarity: they’re all dead. Coincidence? Maybe. Curse? Well, it’s starting to look like it.
Yes, it seems that everyone Crowe portrays in a biographical film winds up dead one way or another, and John Nash is just the latest victim of what many are calling The Russell Crowe Curse. With the exception of Jeffrey Wigand, a tobacco industry whistleblower who Crowe portrayed in the 1999 film The Insider, and Richard M. Roberts, a defense attorney and former detective played by Crowe in American Gangster, every single person that he has portrayed has subsequently died.
Out of six people that were real, that’s four that are dead now. Is a 67% correlation enough to call it a curse? I would say so, folks. You know who would also say so? John Nash, who loved numbers and percentages. I think that if I were Richard Roberts or Jeffrey Wigand, I’d be looking over my shoulder. The Crowe curse seems to catch up with everyone.
Now, I know what you’re thinking here.
Nicole, you say, don’t be ridiculous. Curses aren’t real!
Yeah, well, neither was Maximus Decimus, but he’s dead now, and that death certainly is real. Why ignore the facts here? The Russell Crowe Curse strikes again.