No matter who you are or what your tastes are, there are certain actors on your list that you can never forget – either through the roles they played that have stuck with you forever, or through certain stories from their personal lives that in turn have left their mark on you.
However, being an actor in Hollywood isn’t always about glitz and glam, sometimes it’s also about sacrifice. Despite the fact that the life these actors lead might seem extraordinary, which is to say anything anyone could ever want, this work can be downright dangerous at times.
It’s a proven fact that certain roles have managed to put certain actors’ lives in danger, and this hasn’t happened just once, but at least ten times, as you’ll see below.
So, I’m going to present you with a list of ten actors and stuntmen who have died due to accidents that occurred while they were on the set of the show or movie they were making, or, as the case may be, died while filming.
Ten actors who suddenly ceased to be
1. Brandon Lee could have made it big, but a terrible accident ended his life
If you were born before the 2000s, you obviously haven’t heard of Bruce Lee’s son Bradon Lee. You might also know how he died. The accident happened during a stunt for the movie The Crow. During filming, Lee happened to walk through a door while another actor shot at him from 50 feet away, according to the Los Angeles Times. He was hit in the lower abdomen by a projectile and died later that day at the age of just 28.
2. 8 Simple Rules was never the same without John Ritter
Ritter suffered a fatal heart condition while filming for 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter (8 Simple Rules). Ritter had fallen ill while working on the ABC series and ended up collapsing on set. He was rushed to the hospital where he was treated for a ruptured aorta. He died later that evening, and the show continued for another season with David Spade and James Garner as replacements.
3. James Dean, idol of a generation: he lived fast and died the same way
By the time James Dean died of a car accident in 1955, the actor had already finished filming Giant. He later received a posthumous Oscar nomination. One particular scene in the film required dubbing, however. Nick Adams lent his voice so that the film could go ahead and thus be released.
4. Martha Mansfield, deceased in a bizarre and stupid incident
You may well not have heard of Martha Mansfield, but that’s only because she was a star of the silent film era, so you’re definitely too young. She died in a rather freak accident, when a passerby lit a cigarette on the street and accidentally threw the match into the car the actress was in. The match landed on her huge, highly flammable dress that served as a Civil War-era prop. Mansfield didn’t stand a chance. Such a costume is extremely difficult to undress, so she couldn’t get it off in time.
5. Steve Irwin was killed by what he loved most
The Australian adventurer and animal rights advocate nicknamed “The Crocodile Hunter” was stung and killed by a stingray on September 4, 2006 while filming “Ocean’s Deadliest”. As reported by the Los Angeles Times, Steve Irwin and his cameraman were in chest-deep water and came across an extremely large and impressive sea cat. After filming the animal for a while, it ended up attacking him and Irwin died before he could get expert help.
6. Paul Mantz, the “limited mission” stuntman
Mantz was a great aviator, for which he got a part in Air Mail, where he flew an aeroplane through a hangar not much bigger than his aircraft. After that, he appeared in several other films, such as For Who The Bell Tolls, Twelve O’Clock High and The Wings of Eagles. Manz died on July 8, 1965, while performing a stunt for a film where he was flying over an Arizona desert when his plane hit a hill and broke apart, killing him instantly.
7. Art Scholl unwittingly sacrificed himself for the “Top Gun” phenomenon
A lot of the scenes in the movie Top Gun were done by skilled stuntmen. Art Scholl was one of them, as well as one of the pilots who died on set while trying to perform a stunt with his plane known as the flat spin. Unfortunately, the filming equipment mounted on the plane added too much weight to the aircraft, which caused the plane to spin out of control and crash into the ocean.
8. Bruce Lee, fate similar to that of his son
Although Bruce Lee technically did not die during filming, the unfortunate event did happen to him during production, however, as the actor collapsed while filming The Game of Death at the Golden Harvest Studio in Hong Kong. He was taken to a local hospital shortly after and doctors found abnormal swelling on his brain. They were able to get the inflammation under control and he was discharged home. But sadly, two months later, Lee went to bed and never woke up, and later that day he was pronounced dead.
9. Heath Ledger, the legend who never was but who everyone will always remember
Heath Ledger died in 2008 of an accidental overdose while in the middle of filming The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. Production on the film stopped for a while, and later Jude Law, Colin Farrell and Johnny Depp each played a version of Ledger’s character in the film to honor his work.
10. Paul Walker, too “fast and furious”
While Paul Walker didn’t die while filming the movie either, he did end up in a car accident in 2013 when he had already finished filming a significant portion of the movie. In order to complete production on the film, however, his brothers, Cody and Caleb, were used as replacements.