Try this: make a temporary, backup copy (if you don't already have a backup copy) of the library and try the following:
1 - delete the iPhoto preference file, com.apple.iPhoto.plist, that resides in your
2 - delete iPhoto's cache file, Cache.db, that is located in your
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3 - reboot.
4 - launch iPhoto and try again.
NOTE: If you're moved your library from its default location in your Home/Pictures folder you will have to point iPhoto to its new location when you next open iPhoto by holding down the Option key when launching iPhoto. You'll also have to reset the iPhoto's various preferences.
If that doesn't help log into another user account on your Mac and see if iPhoto will work as it's suposed to there. If it does then the problem lies with your account. If iPhoto crashes in the other account a reinstall of iPhoto is indicated.
To do so you'll have to delete the current application and all files with "iPhoto" in the file name with either a .PKG or .BOM extension that reside in the HD/Library/Receipts folder and from the /var/db/receipts/ folder,
Then install iPhoto from the disk it came on originally and apply all appropriate updaters.
Thanks for posting the very detailed instructions. I performed steps 1 - 4 with the same results, crash. iPhoto works fine from another user account on the same machine, so that indicates something wrong with the myriad of files under ~/Pictures/iPhoto Library/Database/...
I was getting a bit worried that I had lost over 150,000 photos (mostly astrophotography) and edits. I found a product online called iPhoto Library Manager that has a Rebuild Library function. It took all night, but it worked! I learned my lesson -- I've purchased an external disk drive to be my Time Machine backup. I don't want to go through this again!
Thanks again for your help!
Since iPhoto works OK in thje other account there is something in your account that is causing the issue. It could be a preference file other than iPhoto's. Here's a way to check that out:
Trouble Shooting Preferences
1 - close all applications.
2 - open your Library folder, Home/Library, and drag the Preferences folder to the Desktop. A new Preference folder will be immediately created in the Library.
NOTE: if dragging the Preference folder to the desktop only copies the folder then after the copy has been completed go back and drag the contents of the Preferences folder from the Library to the Trash in the dock. You will be asked to enter your Admin password. Then reboot and try again.
3 - run the application again and determine if the problems is fixed.
4 - If the problem is fixed:
A - open the working Preferences folder (HD/Users/your_name/Library/Preferences).
B - Open the Preferences folder on the Desktop, select all of the contents and drag them into the working Preferences folder.
C - When the Copy window pops up check the "Apply to All" check box and then click on the Don't Replace or Skip button.
5 - If the problem is NOT fixed, drag the contents of the Preference folder on the Desktop into the Preference of the Library folder are replace the new one that was created by clicking on Replace.