When most people think of famous actors, they think of the “good life”- the cars, mansions, and Caribbean vacations. And while being an actor has its fair share of glitz and glam, it can also be quite dangerous- and the top 10 actors are perfect examples. As you’ll come to see, each one of the actors in this article died while on set. Most people never imagine that accidents like these can happen to world-famous actors, but the truth is that it’s happened more than you think (you won’t look at the acting industry the same after reading this article).
Some actors, like Heath Ledger (played Joker in Batman) for example, died after finishing the movie. But that’s not the case here. Below, we’re going to show you actors who died while on the set. That’s pretty crazy! So, next time you think that actors have it all, keep this in mind: at least you have your life. With that being said, let’s take a look at 10 actors who died in the middle of filming (you’re about to have your mind blown).
10 John Ritter
On September 11th, 2003, John Ritter collapsed while on set of 8 Simple Rules for Dating my Teenage Daughter. While working on the ABC TV series, he became ill and eventually collapsed. After arriving at the hospital, it was discovered that he had a tear in his aorta. Keep in mind that this is a rare medical condition that can occur without warning. Unfortunately, he died that same evening, despite being under medical supervision. The show ended up being called “8 Simple Rules”, and continued for one more season with James Garner and David Spade as replacements. This just goes to show that even multi-millionaire actors aren’t invincible.
9 Redd Foxx
Some actors on this list you might know, and some you might have never heard off. We’re betting that Redd Foxx is part of the latter group. In 1991, Redd Foxx died while on set of The Royal Family. The cause? A massive heart attack that came completely out of the blue. But here’s the ironic part: he had become world-renowned for gripping his chest and calling out to his dead TV wife (on the show). That makes this story a little more dramatic than some of the others you’ll find on this list. The sad part is that Red Foxx was only 68 years old when he died.
8 Roy Kinnear
The day was September 19th, 1988. Kinnear was filming the movie, The Return of the Musketeers, in Toledo, Spain. After sustaining a broken pelvis, the 54-year-old British actor was taken to a Madrid hospital. Ironically, he died the next day from a heart attack! According to witnesses, this came completely out of the blue. In fact, it was so bad that the director of the film, Richard Lester, ended up retiring shortly after. What makes this death hard to swallow was that it happened while in the direct supervision of the hospital! Then again, healthcare wasn’t as good back then as it is today.
7 Jon-Erik Hexum
On the set of Cover Up, a CBS adventure series, Hexum was accidentally shot in the head and killed. But you’ll NEVER guess how it happened: he was napping between scenes on October 12th, 1984. Then, all of a sudden, he picked up a .44 Magnum pistol that was loaded with blanks. Before pulling the trigger, he said, “Can you believe this crap?” Well, this was the worst decision he could have made, because the blast ended up fracturing his skull. This drove a piece of bone into his brain, killing him. Although rushed to the hospital, there was nothing they could do. This goes to show that even blanks can be dangerous while on set.
6 Tyrone Power
While on set of Solomon and Sheba, Power died from a sudden and massive heart attack. This happened during a fencing scene, which may or may not have contributed. Either way, on the way to the hospital on March 15th, 1958, he lost his fight with death. As you can see by now, heart attacks and gun accidents seem to be a common theme for actors who died while on set. Don’t worry- the next one has neither. In fact, it’s probably going to be the craziest and most unexpected one on this list. Let’s check it out!
5 Vic Morrow
Ever heard of Twilight Zone: The Movie? Well, if you have, you might be disappointed to hear that Vic Morrow was killed on set. But the way that it happened is absolutely going to blow your mind. The script required a dangerous combination of pyrotechnics (fire) and helicopters. During one of the scenes, the pyrotechnics exploded, which cut a piece off of the helicopter. This caused the helicopter to crash, resulting in the decapitation of Morrow (two children were also killed). This has probably got to be one of the craziest and most unfortunate accidents to happen while on set of a movie or television show.
4 Steve Irwin
Steve Irwin sort of falls in that grey area between being an actor or just a TV personality. But because of his contributions to the world, and his unexpected death, we thought that we would mention it here for you today. The day was September 4th, 2006. While filming a piece called Ocean’s Deadliest, Irwin was attacked by a giant 8-foot stingray. Within a few seconds, Irwin was struck through the heart. Right before he died, his last words were “I’m dying”. This is definitely one of the most tragic instances of an actor/TV personality dying while on set. Steve, you will be missed.
3 Martha Mansfield
While on set for The Warrens of Virginia, Mansfield was taking a break in-between a scene. Then, all of a sudden, the car she was relaxing in caught fire and killed her. The reason? A passerby had tossed their lit cigarette onto the car. She ended up dying the next day from severe burns. The day was November 30th, 1923. This is one of those freak accidents that you just can’t predict, and it’s pretty unique compared to all of the heart attacks and gun accidents that seem to fill up this list.
2 Brandon Lee
On March 31st, 1993, Brandon Lee (son of the martial arts master Bruce Lee) died on set. He was on set of The Crow when he died during a stunt accident. While shooting the scene, Lee was supposed to get shot by a fake gun. But the crazy part was that the gun contained a fragment of a real bullet! So, rather than get hit by a “blank”, he was shot with a real bullet from just 15 feet away. Lee was hit directly in the abdomen, and died later in the day. This event could be considered both good and bad considering that after his death, huge safety issues were addressed for using fake guns in future movies.
1 Paul Mantz
After landing a role in the movie The Flight of the Phoenix, this legendary aviator ran into some bad luck. While performing a stunt, he crashed and died. The day was July 8th, 1965. Not a lot of people recognize Mantz, but he did accomplish a lot throughout his career. For example, he had landed a role on the movie Air Mail, and also appeared in films like The Wings of Eagles and Twelve O’ Clock High. The accident happened while he was flying over an Arizona desert. As he struck the desert hill, his plane crashed into pieces, and he was killed almost instantly.