Making movies can be a dangerous task indeed; it certainly wouldn’t be the first time we’ve heard of an accident happening on set. Though it’s usually not death we hear about — it’s often broken ankles, bruises or cuts — acting doesn’t seem to be the fun and games we often think it is. In fact, there have been many times when actors have risked their lives for a film. We know how some artists are; they just have to get the perfect shot. Less than perfect would be unacceptable. Towards this cinematic end, they would insist on doing their own stunts and it’s either things wouldn’t go as planned, or some fluke would just happen in the making of the film. It almost seems like Death sometimes intentionally comes looking for our favorite celebrities. Fortunately, however, many of them have been able to escape his clutches to live another day.
Actually, if we think about it, it’s like celebrities face near-death experiences much more often than us ordinary people would. Could celebrities perhaps be cursed? After all, what are the chances that death would come knocking on your door more than once and that you’d be able to live to tell about it? Such odds would be extremely low — but for some reason, it just appears to happen often to celebrities. Check out these lucky ones who just seem absolutely unwilling to die just yet.
15. George Clooney – Cracked His Head Open
While filming the movie Syriana, there was a torture scene, and it was then that George ended up cracking his head open. It was so bad that many people thought he was going to die. In fact, the pain was so awful for the actor that he admitted he had considered killing himself because of it. “I was lying in a hospital bed with an IV in my arm, unable to move, having these headaches where it feels like you’re having a stroke, and for a short three-week period, I started to think, ‘I may have to do something drastic about this’ … but I never thought I’d get there.” It took a while for doctors to even figure out what was wrong with him. Eventually, a neurologist ended up finding fluid leaking from his spine. “We started doing these things called myelograms, where they shoot contrast into your system, and you can see what’s leaking out,” Clooney explained. “I had a two-and-a-half-inch tear in the middle of my back and a half-inch tear in my neck. The doctors did these blood patches, where they tie you down to a bed, and you’re awake because they have a long needle and need to know if they’re touching your spinal cord, and they take blood out and shoot it directly into your spinal column to try to get the blood to coagulate in those spots. I did about 15 of those over 15 days. It’s like getting a spinal tap every day, and you’re awake… I thought I was going to die.”
14. Isla Fisher – Almost Drowned On Movie Set
While filming Now You See Me, Isla was playing a character that did tricks, the kind of tricks we see from David Copperfield. It was while performing her stunt underwater in a tank that she almost drowned. In fact, what should have been a normal scene turned into a nightmare as she became trapped for three minutes. “My chain got stuck. I had to really swim to the bottom; I couldn’t get up. Everyone thought I was acting fabulously. I was actually drowning. No one realized I was actually struggling.” Thankfully someone decided to pull the safety latch before she ran out of air and died. She’s actually able to speak about the experience casually now, but she admits that the whole experience was very terrifying. “Who wants to die in a swimming costume?” she half-jokingly asked.
13. Johnny Depp – Plane Engines Stop…Then Start Again
During a trip in a small plane with director Bruce Robinson, Johnny Depp almost died. Imagine, we nearly had to live in a world where there was no Jack Sparrow! The two were flying, when suddenly, the engines got cut out. Beyond terrifying for sure! But Johnny’s reaction to the incident, at least when he recalls it, is as collected as we can imagine Jack Sparrow could have dealt with it. “The sound of the engines stopped. There was silence. Bruce and I were looking at each other and I think I said, ‘Is this it?’ It was like this weird extended moment when you’re just floating for a second, and you could feel this unpleasant descent.” Luckily, the engines came back on just moments later, ensuring that Depp wasn’t taken from us sooner than he needed to be.
12. Sarah Silverman – Blockage In Her Lungs
A few years ago, Silverman had a blockage in her lungs, a condition called epiglottitis, which is when you have cartilage covering your windpipe, and it blocks airflow to your lungs. Yikes! She was immediately rushed to the hospital where the doctors went into life-saving mode. “I was drugged just enough to not feel the pain and have no idea what was happening or where I was. They had to have my hands restrained to keep me from pulling out my breathing tube,” said Silverman. And although she scared a lot of people, it didn’t change Silverman’s sense of humor at all. In fact, she slipped a nurse a naughty drawing while she was recovering and high on medication. More specifically, she “stopped a nurse – like it was an emergency – furiously wrote down a note and gave it to her. When she looked at it, it just said, ‘Do you live with your mother?’ next to a drawing of a penis.”
11. Orlando Bloom – Fell From A Rooftop
When Orlando was just in his 20s, he was fooling around with his friends on a rooftop terrace when he fell three stories. He was climbing a drainpipe, and it collapsed, causing the fall. He could have died but was instead paralyzed for four days. Those must have been four terrifying days for him, wondering if he would ever walk again. He broke several vertebrae in his back, and after many surgeries, he found himself in rehab for over a year. “I’m grateful for it,” Bloom said. “I’m always working on my back. It hasn’t prevented me from doing anything. But it’s a constant reminder.” In fact, after his rehab, he was able to manage playing a role in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. “Fear is not a friend of mine. But it’s something to have a healthy awareness of. However, I can’t stop living. It would ruin my creativity, the person I am.”
10. Leonardo DiCaprio – Almost Died Three Times
Leonardo DiCaprio must have the luck of the Irish behind him because he’s had not just one brush with death but three of them. It’s like watching Final Destination all over again with this guy. One time, he almost died on a plane when the engine blew up right before his eyes. He said he was even looking at the wing of the plane when it exploded. Another time, he was skydiving, and the chute wouldn’t open, no matter how many times he pulled on it. Thankfully though, it opened at the last minute, but it was understandably the last time Leo ever went skydiving. The third time, he was in a cage at sea to observe sea creatures. As he recalled it, “A great white jumped into my cage when I was diving in South Africa. Half its body was in the cage, and it was snapping at me. They leave the tops open…[and] then they chum the water with tuna. A shark jumped up and grabbed the tuna, and half its body landed inside the cage with me. I sort of fell down to the bottom and tried to lie flat. The great white took about five or six snaps an arm’s length away from my head. The guys there said that has never happened in the 30 years they’d been doing it.”
9. Diane Kruger – Was Choked For Real For A Movie Scene
We are all for realistic movie scenes, but this one just might have been pushing it too far. However, we all know that Quentin Tarantino is a little nuts, so this shouldn’t surprise us so much. During a scene in the movie Inglorious Basterds, Quentin was having issues with a scene where Diane Kruger was being choked. He thought it would be better if he just strangled her for real to make it look as if it was actually happening, but he went a little too far. Well, it sure worked because Diane lost consciousness and had to be revived. She recalls, “I get strangled, which was especially weird because you feel it when someone is choking you, so it was an interesting day at the office. The funny part is that Quentin’s hands are in the close-up. Quentin said, ‘He’s not going to do it right, it’ll either be too much or too little. I know exactly what I need and I think I should just do it’. I have to say it was very strange being strangled by the director.”
8. Ellie Goulding – The Frozen Lake
Traveling through Europe can be a harrowing experience for anyone, but Ellie Goulding definitely knows it could mean finding oneself in a life or death situation. As she was voyaging along a frozen lake through Norway while on her tour, the singer and her photographer had their vehicle fall through the frozen lake. Worse, the temperature was freezing, and it was nighttime. Luckily, there was a sunroof on the vehicle, and they were able to climb through the roof of the car to escape the water. Conor McDonell, the photographer, recounted the experience, “That moment when you’re in -25C in the middle of nowhere in Norway in the pitch black and your belt wagon crashes through the ice in the middle of a lake, and you have to emergency evacuate through the roof. ‘Oh s**t we’re in’ was my first thought. Second was to take photos. We were in the front cabin. That is pretty much under water in this photo. A few minutes later it was all completely gone under the water and ice for good.”
7. Rachel Bilson – Car Crash
Car accidents are pretty common in the acting world, especially when it comes to teenage celebrities who drink and drive. In Rachel’s case, she really was just 14 when the accident happened, but while there may have been some carelessness involved, drinking wasn’t. She was actually riding around in a car with friends on the Pacific Coast Highway when they crashed into another car. It was a pretty terrifying experience for the actress who recalled, “I basically died and then came back. The window went into my head. It was really gross.” She was left with a scar above her eye to remind her of the accident, and the former O.C. star claims she still experiences memory loss and migraines because of the accident. Actually, she’s lucky to be alive, especially since she could have suffered from much more than just a brain injury due to the incident.
6. Sharon Stone – Car Accident
Sharon was on cloud nine when she finished wrapping up the film, Total Recall in the 90s. However, as she was heading home, she had to swerve out of the way to avoid a driver coming down the same lane that she was. She survived the accident, though she had many severe injuries. It took her many months before she was fully recovered from the accident. “I was hit head on and don’t know how I escaped with my life. I dislocated my jaw, sprained my back, broke a rib, and twisted a knee. I was put in a back brace and told to stay in bed for six months,” she recalled. According to her, however, some good things came out of the accident. “It gave my mind a clear-out. It was an opportunity to write, do a lot of introspective thinking, discover who my true friends were, and get rid of those who showed at that moment they didn’t care at all for me.”
5. Kanye West – Car Accident
In 2002, Kanye was involved in a car accident so serious he had to have his jaw wired shut, a painful consequence of suffering from three broken bones. And in true Kanye form, of the incident, he reflected, “Well, the only thing this accident is saying is, ‘I am about to hand you the world, just know at any given time I can take it away from you.’ To nearly lose your life, to nearly lose your mouth, your voice, your whole face, as a rapper… and I had to be on TV!” The injuries that he incurred from the accident also changed the way he looked, which actually caused him some insecurities. “My face looks crazy to me now. Look at my mouth. … You can’t even see my bottom teeth when I talk. You always see the top teeth, and that’s not how I used to be.”
4. Ozzy Osbourne – ATV Accident
Doesn’t it seem like Ozzy Osbourne is the kind of guy that will last forever? But actually, in 2003, he almost lost his life during an ATV accident. Thankfully the mishap didn’t kill him, but he did suffer from severe injuries because of it. He was actually lucky not to be paralyzed from the accident because he ended up with damaged vertebrae in his neck. Additionally, he ended up with eight fractured ribs that pinched numerous blood vessels. Plus, his collarbone was broken. Needless to say, Ozzy was in recovery for a long time afterward. To this day, in fact, he recognizes how close to death he had been and how fortunate he was that the outcome was what it was. “The bloody thing nearly killed me. I am lucky to be here today and not paralyzed.”
3. Hugh Hefner – Almost Choked On A Pleasure Toy
Hugh Hefner has had a long life, that has, as we all know, been highlighted by him sleeping with multiple women. In fact, it wouldn’t be unnatural for us to think that if anything was going to kill him, it would either be from a sexually transmitted disease or from a heart attack due to experiencing too much pleasure. But somehow, Hugh manages just fine and is still very much alive. However, there was this one time that sex did almost kill him. Well, not really sex, but a sex toy. More specifically, during one of his exploits, he almost choked on a sex toy. Here he is explaining exactly how it happened: “What is the closest I’ve come to death? There was a moment when I was having sex with four Playmates and I almost swallowed a Ben Wa ball.” Good luck getting that visual out of your head…
2. Travis Barker – Survived Plane Crash
Talk about celebrities somehow having an extra lifeline… Travis Barker and DJ AM were on a plane that crashed and killed four people. But just as we would expect celebrities to do, both Travis and DJ AM survived the accident. Barker recalls, “I opened a door, and my hands caught ﬁre. I ran to get out of the plane, but I fell through a wing. I immediately soaked up with jet fuel and caught ﬁre. And then I was on ﬁre, running like hell. I was running for my family: I didn’t care about anything except being with my dad, my sister, Shanna, my three kids. I’m completely naked, holding my genitals — everything else is on ﬁre — and I’m running, trying to put myself out.” Actually, Travis is more than lucky to have survived that incident as we all know that if we ever catch on fire, we’re not supposed to try and extinguish it by running. Sadly, despite the fact that DJ AM survived the accident, a year later, he ended up dying of a drug overdose. Pretty sad that it seems he didn’t appreciate the second chance he got.
1. Sylvester Stallone – Stone Cold Broke His Neck
There were two times in his career that Sylvester Stallone got hit hard enough to almost be killed. The first time was in Rocky IV. Stallone had just watched the legendary fight between middleweight boxers Tommy Hearns and Marvin Hagler, and Stallone foolishly decided to dare Dolph Lundgren to really try to go for a knockout in one of their fighting scenes. Stallone recalls, “Hey I got an idea: for the first 45 seconds, really try to knock me out, I mean go for it. Bad idea. He comes across — boom, boom! — He catches me in the chest. Woah. Cut, cut cut! I am directing so I can do that. CUT CUT. He [Lundgren] says, ‘What?’ I said, ‘What? I thought I had a car accident!’” The incident actually resulted in Sly being in intensive care for five days. Apparently, Lundgren had hit Stallone’s heart so hard that it ended up banging against his ribs and starting to swell.
The second time was 25 years later, when he starred in The Expendables. During a fight scene in the movie where it was more fighting and not so much acting, Steve Austin landed a brutal blow to Stallone and broke his neck. “Actually, my fight with Stone Cold Steve Austin was so vicious that I ended up getting a hairline fracture in my neck. I’m not joking. I haven’t told anyone this, but I had to have a very serious operation afterward. I now have a metal plate in my neck.”