It is meant as a positive when it is said that a person is catching fire. Those of you who are a certain age may be able to recall the popular arcade game NBA Jam. A shooter who made three consecutive attempts during a game without that run being interrupted by an opponent making a bucket would be “on fire.” That player then literally could not miss an attempt until his hot streak was broken by a score from the opposition. Another example is a young actor “catching fire” as it pertains to his career. That person could be on the verge of stardom so long as his figurative fire is not extinguished for one reason or another.
There are, however, also stories of celebs literally catching on fire. Some could, after the fact, be considered to be humorous or even silly tales. One of those involved is a reality television star and model being at a fashion awards show when the dress that she was wearing went up in flames. Everything worked out well in that situation. Not all celebs caught up in such an event were so fortunate. There is, of course, the famous story involving the former “King of Pop” and a fire that occurred during a commercial shoot. He eventually recovered from the wounds that he suffered on that day, but it was nevertheless a traumatic experience for that celeb.
10 Akshay Kumar
The Indian actor who is an accomplished and skilled martial artist takes pride in the fact that he does his own stunts. Akshay Kumar was reminded in April of 2015 that things can go wrong during such scenes. Kumar was filming for a movie when he, as was planned, performed a somersault through a “ring of fire.” The ring was not all that caught fire, as explained by a story posted by the Times of India. While the existing pictures of what has been referred to as a “freak accident” look terrifying, Kumar fortunately did not suffer any serious injuries because of the fire.
9 Michael Clifford
This is the first of two instances in this piece that involve a musician catching on fire during a show. 5 Seconds of Summer guitarist Michael Clifford was performing at an event in June of 2015 when, per a story from UltimateClassicRock.com, a burst of flame sent Clifford backstage and in need of assistance. The band understandably had to cut that show short, as Clifford required medical treatment at a local facility. He quickly took to social media to inform fans that he was, in fact, alright. Just another price to pay to the rock and roll gods, we suppose.
8 Richard Pryor
The personal demons that plagued Richard Pryor throughout periods of his life were talked about by the talented actor and comedian during interviews. One of his low points, as explained in an LA Times story, occurred when Pryor set himself on fire. Pryor, in his own words, was freebasing cocaine when he thought it best to soak himself in cognac and then light himself on fire. He then, to top it all off, ran down the street. There is, of course, little humor in a person being so gone that they purposely put themselves in this much danger. Pryor was lucky that he made it through that experience.
A famous music producer and DJ such as Skrillex celebrates his birthday just as you and I in one way; he enjoys a birthday cake. It was in January of 2013 when Skrillex was preparing to blow out the candles that had been placed on his dessert. There was a slight mishap in his execution, according to stories published by websites such as RollingStone.com, and Skrillex accidentally set himself on fire in the process. Somebody was quick enough to put the fire out before too much damage was done, and everybody was able to have a laugh about it after the fact.
6 Catherine Tyldesley
Who could have guessed that celebrating a birthday with friends and family could be so dangerous? Just as with the previous example, Catherine Tyldesley was merely getting ready to blow out the candles on her birthday cake when she ventured a little too close to the flames. The English actress and model literally caught fire, as explained in this Reveal.co.uk piece, but she was thankfully immediately rescued before she suffered an injury. Tyldesley was able to joke about the matter via Twitter after the fire had been extinguished. Long hair and candles do not mix, it seems. Remember that.
5 J.R. Martinez
J.R. Martinez was not a celebrity when he caught on fire. He was, on the other hand, a hero, and he remains one for the service that he provided to the United States. Martinez was serving in the U.S. Army when the vehicle that he was operating was struck by an IED. He was badly injured, to the point that he suffered burns to 40 percent of his body per a CNN.com story. Martinez survived to not only tell the tale. He has had a successful career as an actor and also as a winner of ABC competition Dancing with the Stars.
4 Dan Haggerty
Odds are that you may know Dan Haggerty better as Grizzly Adams, the man who had the tremendous facial hair. Men's Fitness once honored the Adams character for having such an impressive beard. That beard, according to stories, was the victim of a fire during an incident that occurred in November 1977. Haggerty was, per UPI.com, celebrating his birthday (what's with birthdays and catching fire?) when he decided to enjoy a flaming drink. Fire, alcohol and facial hair do not mix, and Haggerty suffered burns on that night. Remember, those of you who like a little fire with your liquor: Shave before you drink.
3 James Hetfield
It is arguably the most famous incident that involves a rock star catching fire during a concert. James Hetfield was performing for Metallica at a show in Montreal back in 1992 when a pyrotechnics accident caused Hetfield to catch on fire. Video of that accident has been uploaded to a variety of websites and can be seen to this day. Just as known as is the fire that injured Hetfield is the fact that Guns N' Roses, particularly front man Axl Rose, did not do enough to make up for Metallica having to play a shortened set. Members of the Montreal crowd responded by rioting in anger.
2 Kim Kardashian
It is not uncommon for somebody to say that Kim Kardashian is “hot.” This is not what she is going for when looking for that type of praise. Kardashian was, as detailed by an ETOnline.com story, attending the 2015 CFDA Fashion Awards in June of that year when the dress that she was wearing accidentally caught on fire. Pharrell and his wife Helen Lasichanh were at the right place at the right time to save the day, and Kardashian was able to laugh about the incident via social media the day after. This leads to the obvious question: Is there anything that Pharrell can't do?
1 Michael Jackson
All Michael Jackson wanted to do was shoot a Pepsi commercial back in 1983. Things did not go as planned during one of the takes, and Jackson literally caught fire. While Jackson would recover from the incident, he did, as mentioned in an LA Times piece, suffer from migraines as he was healing. Video of that take has been made public, and that video clearly shows that Jackson's hair was on fire as he made his way down steps. It is amazing that Jackson was not injured even worse when he caught fire. That accident could have been fatal had disaster struck.