5 Actors Who Have Died During Filming

Vic Morrow and 2 Child Actors at Twilight Zone Movie Accident

In the early morning hours of July 23, 1982, Morrow and two children, Myca Dinh Le (age seven), and Renee Shin-Yi Chen (age six), were filming on location in Ventura County, California, between Santa Clarita and Piru. They were performing in a scene for the Vietnam sequence in which their characters attempt to escape from a pursuing U.S. Army helicopter out of a deserted Vietnamese village. The helicopter was hovering at about 24 feet above them when pyrotechnic explosions damaged it and caused it to crash on top of them, killing all three instantly. Morrow and Dinh were decapitated by the helicopter rotor. Chen was crushed by a helicopter strut.

WARNING: THIS VIDEO FEATURES THE ACTUAL ACCIDENT

 

 

John Ritter

On September 11, 2003, Ritter was rehearsing for 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter when he fell ill. He began sweating profusely, vomiting and complained of having chest pains. He was taken across the street to the Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center. Physicians misdiagnosed Ritter and treated him for a heart attack but his condition worsened. Physicians then detected that Ritter had an aortic dissection. Ritter died during surgery to repair the dissection at 10:48 p.m. He was six days from his 55th birthday.

 

John Erik Hexum

On October 12, 1984, the cast and crew of Cover Up were filming the seventh episode of the series, "Golden Opportunity", on Stage 17 of the 20th Century Fox lot. One of the scenes filmed that day called for Hexum's character to load blanks into a .44 Magnum handgun. When the scene did not play as the director wanted it to play in the master shot, there was a delay in filming. Hexum became restless and impatient during the delay and began playing around to lighten the mood. Apparently, he had unloaded all but one (blank) round, spun it, and in what would appear to be a game of Russian roulette, at 5:15 p.m., he put the revolver to his right temple and pulled the trigger.  The paper wadding in the blank that Hexum discharged did not penetrate his skull, there was enough blunt force trauma to shatter a quarter-sized piece of his skull and propel the pieces into his brain, causing massive hemorrhaging.

 

Brandon Lee

Lee died of a gunshot wound on March 31, 1993 in Wilmington, North Carolina, at the age of 28, after an accidental shooting on set of The Crow.

In the scene in which Lee was accidentally shot, Lee’s character walks into his apartment and discovers his fiancée being beaten and raped by thugs. Actor Michael Massee's character fires a .44 Magnum revolver at Lee as he walks into the room. A previous scene using the same gun had called for inert dummy cartridges fitted with bullets (but no powder or percussion primer) to be loaded in the revolver for a close-up scene; for film scenes which utilize a revolver (where the bullets are visible from the front) and do not require the gun to actually be fired, dummy cartridges provide the realistic appearance of actual rounds. Instead of purchasing commercial dummy cartridges, the film's prop crew created their own by pulling the bullets from live rounds, dumping the powder charge then reinserting the bullets. However, they unknowingly or unintentionally left the live percussion primer in place at the rear of the cartridge. At some point during filming the revolver was apparently discharged with one of these improperly-deactivated cartridges in the chamber, setting off the primer with enough force to drive the bullet partway into the barrel, where it became stuck (a condition known as a squib load). The prop crew either failed to notice this or failed to recognize the significance of this issue.

 

Steve Irwin

On 4 September 2006, Irwin was killed at the age of 44 while snorkelling at Batt Reef  near Port Douglas, Queensland. He was in the area filming a documentary, Ocean's Deadliest, and during a period of bad weather, he decided to film some shallow water shots for his daughter Bindi's television programme (Bindi the Jungle Girl). Irwin approached a stingray allegedly 8 ft wide in chest-deep water from behind in order to film it swimming away. According to the only witness to the attack, the fish reacted to Irwin as if a shark was attacking, striking him several hundred times in the body with its tail spine in a few seconds. Irwin initially believed he only had a punctured lung but the spine had pierced his heart and he bled out. The ray's behavior appeared to have been a defensive response to being boxed in. Crew members aboard Irwin's boat administered CPR and rushed him to shore, but medical staff pronounced him dead at the scene