Celebrities Who Died Tragically While Filming >
From camera crews and special effects to lighting, sound and late night rehearsals, not everything always goes according to plan on movie sets. In fact, bad things happen even in Hollywood as cast and crew members face life-threatening tragedies that completely interrupt film production and life as they know it.
Whether it’s a tragic accident or even an unexpected illness, movie sets have seen their fair share of devastation that leave cast and crew members to cope with heavy hearts as they live by the motto, “The show must somehow go on.” But, exactly what kind of tragedy do we mean?
The history of Hollywood is filled with a wide variety of accidents simply because technology and safety standards were obsolete and even uncommon at the time. Thanks to today’s technological advancements and digital filmmaking, movie sets have become much safer than in decades past. However, tragedies still occur – people drown, get hurt, are shot, or have unforeseen medical issues. Life happens in Hollywood.
Today, we’re taking a look at Hollywood history by sharing with you 18 celebrities who died tragically while in the middle of filming. From early Hollywood stars and stunt pilots to martial artists and comedians, these celebs lost their lives far too soon leaving Hollywood with one less star on the illustrious red carpet. Let’s get started!
#5 – Roy Kinnear (The Return of the Musketeers)
Widely considered as one of the hardest working character actors in all of Britain, Roy Kinnear appeared on dozens of television shows and movies, especially in the comedy genre.
Out of his many roles over an astonishing 44-year career, Kinnear was best known for The Three Musketeers and its two sequels as well as Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, in which he played Veruca Salt’s father.
While filming The Return of the Musketeers, the second sequel to The Three Musketeers, Kinnear was riding a horse for the cameras in Spain when he fell off and broke his pelvis.
Rushed to the hospital in Madrid, Kinnear suffered from internal bleeding and later had a heart attack and died at just 54 years old. Devastated by the loss, Kinnear’s family sued the production company and was granted a $1 million settlement. The director of the film even quit the film business altogether because he was so distraught by Kinnear’s death.
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#4 – Vic Morrow (Twilight Zone: The Movie)
Born and raised in the Bronx, Vic Morrow dropped out of high school when he was 17 years old and joined the Navy.
After his service was over, Morrow launched his acting career in the 1950s and, within a few years, had landed a role alongside Elvis Presley in King Creole. With appearances in television shows such as The Restless Gun, The Untouchables and Bonanza, Morrow is best known for the 1960s series Combat!
In 1982, Morrow was selected as Bill Connor, one of the lead roles in Twilight Zone: The Movie. While filming in California, Morrow was part of a scene that required him to run from a helicopter that was hovering about 20 feet off of the ground. In the middle of filming, the helicopter was damaged by pyrotechnic explosions, causing it to come crashing to the ground. Morrow, who was 53 years old, and his costar were decapitated by the helicopter blades and killed instantly.
#3 – Bruce Lee (Enter the Dragon)
Who doesn’t know Bruce Lee? When it comes to martial arts and film, there is no other name in history that is bigger than Bruce Lee.
A native of San Francisco, Lee was raised in Hong Kong and was a child actor until he returned to the United States at the age of 18 to attend college. Teaching martial arts while filming movies, Lee forever changed how Asians were presented in American films with his most notable roles in The Big Boss, Fist of Fury and Way of the Dragon, which he directed.
In 1973, Lee was dubbing his film Enter the Dragon into English at the Golden Harvest Studio in Hong Kong when he suffered from seizures and headaches. Rushed to the hospital, doctors discovered that he had a cerebral edema. Just two months later on July 20th, Lee suffered a similar incident that caused his brain to swell; only this time, doctors were unable to revive the 32-year-old star in what was later referred to as a “death by misadventure.”
#2 – Brandon Lee (The Crow)
Like father, like son. Brandon Lee is not only the son of Bruce Lee, he also passed away at an even younger age from an even stranger situation.
Lee’s acting career kicked off in the 1980s after he starred in the film Kung Fu: The Movie. Appearing in numerous action flicks throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, some of Lee’s acting credits include Showdown in Little Tokyo, Rapid Fire and The Crow.
Filming The Crow in North Carolina in 1993, Lee’s scene involved him getting shot by his costar, Michael Massee, as he walked into the room.
The gun was supposed to be loaded with blank cartridges but the crew had attempted to make their own blanks, causing an unseen malfunction in the gun. As Massee fired the blank, Lee was shot with a fatal round in the abdomen. Rushed to a local hospital, the 28-year-old underwent six hours of surgery before surgeons pronounced him dead at 1:03 p.m. on March 31st.
#1 – Paul Walker (Furious 7)
From a part time soap opera star on The Young and the Restless to an international icon and heartthrob, Paul Walker rose to fame after breakout roles in coming-of-age films like She’s All That and Varsity Blues.
Easy on the eyes with a mischievous grin, Walker landed the biggest break in his career when he starred in The Fast and the Furious franchise which led to other leading roles in films like Eight Below, Into the Blue, Joy Ride and Running Scared.
Walker was in the midst of filming Furious 7 in 2013 when he and his financial advisor, 38-year-old Roger Rodas, arrived at a charity event in Rodas’ red Porsche.
With Walker in the passenger seat, the two sped off, topping anywhere between 80 and 90 miles per hour in a 45 miles per hour zone when they crashed into a concrete post and hit two trees. Burned beyond recognition and pronounced dead on the scene, Walker was only 40 years old at the time. Walker’s brothers, Cody and Caleb, stepped in to help finish his Furious 7 scenes.