When Real People Dies in Film & TV
111 6.6 6.81. Battle of Britain (1969)
Spanish airforce pilot Don Federico Eglesias Lanzo was killed in a crash at Tablada, Seville
67 7.4 7.92. Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925)
The first attempt to film the chariot race was on a set in Rome, but there were problems with shadows and the racetrack surface. Then one of the chariots' wheels came apart and the stuntman driving it was thrown in the air and killed.
A staged fire on one of the ships got out of control. Armor-clad extras had to jump in the water. There is conflicting information as to whether any of them were killed.
254 7.3 7.13. Catch-22 (1970)
Second Unit Director John Jordan refused to wear a harness during a bomber scene. While giving a hand signal to another airplane from the tail gunner position in the camera plane, he lost his grip and fell 4 000 feet to his death.
41 7 74. The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936)
During the filming of the charge sequence, a stuntman was killed when he fell off his horse and landed on a broken sword that was lying on the field where the charge was being shot, and was unfortunately wedged in such a position that its blade was sticking straight up.
BUT, what really made a difference was that 125 horses were trip-wired during filming and 25 died or had to be killed afterward, resulting in the US Congress passing new laws to protect animals used in motion pictures. Stuntmen could still die though :)
18 6.5 6.15. Comes a Horseman (1978)
Filming the scene where Robards' character is dragged to (presumably) his death, stunt man Jim Sheppard was killed when a horse that was dragging him veered from its course and caused him to hit his head on a fence post. The scene made it into the movie, although it is cut right before the horse passes through the gate which killed Sheppard.
36 4.4 3.26. The Conqueror (1956)
The exteriors were shot near St. George, Utah. Unfortunately, St. George lies downwind of one of the desert locations where the US Military had tested nuclear weapons just 2 years earlier. Official members of the military said it was safe to film in the area, but over the next few years, 91 of the 220 cast and crewmembers contracted some form of cancer. 46 died, including John Wayne, John Hoyt, Agnes Moorehead and Susan Hayward and the movie's director, Dick Powell. Pedro Armendariz shot himself learning he had gotten cancer. The count did not include several hundred local Native Americans who played extras, or relatives of the cast and crew who visited the set, including John Wayne's son Michael Wayne
5 7 7.77. Cover Up (1984)
Jon-Erik Hexum died after he shot himself in the head with a prop gun during a break in filming (Cover Up), playing Russian Roulette using a revolver loaded with a single blank cartridge. Hexum apparently was not informed that blanks have gunpowder that explodes into gas with enough force to cause severe injury or death if the weapon is fired as contact shot. This is the principle that gives a powerhead its lethality.
1938 7.3 7.68. The Crow (1994)
For a scene in which a character loads a gun, where a film would normally use fake bullets, the crew instead used real bullets, believing they had removed the possibility of danger by dumping the gunpowder propellant. Unfortunately, they left the primer attached, so when the trigger was pulled, the gun's firing pin shot the bullet slug into the gun's barrel. The character of Eric's death scene flashback was saved for the end of production, reportedly so actor Brandon Lee could spend the last few days of production out of his intricate makeup. So when the time came for the villains to shoot blanks at Lee, the slug was already stuck in the barrel. The bullet shot out and struck Lee in the stomach, hitting his spine.
122 5.8 6.39. The Eiger Sanction (1975)
A number of accidents occurred during the filming of The Eiger Sanction. A twenty-seven-year old English climber, David Knowles, who was a body double and photographer, was killed during a rock fall, and mountaineer Mike Hoover narrowly escaped with his life
735 6.5 6.810. The Expendables 2 (2012)
A stuntman died and another was left in a critical condition while filming an action scene for the movie in Bulgaria, that included an explosion on a rubber boat.
208 4.8 5.311. Exit Wounds (2001)
During filming in Hamilton, a van was being towed along a street upside-down as part of a chase scene; stuntman Chris Lamon and another man were supposed to roll safely out, but Lamon apparently struck his head, and died six days later. Todd Schroeder suffered a concussion in the same incident. The scene was re-shot with the van moving slower and the stuntmen placed differently.
8 6 6.512. The Final Season (2007)
A helicopter used to film a parade scene crashed during production on 30 June 2006. Witnesses said the helicopter was carrying the pilot, a producer and a photographer when it hit power lines and crashed into a field about 10 miles southwest of Cedar Rapids. The cinematographer, Roland Schlotzhauer, was killed in the crash.
108 7.1 7.513. The Flight of the Phoenix (1965)
The plane they leave on at the end of the film was to be a C-82 Boom. The stunt of taking off was too dangerous, so legendary stunt pilot Paul Mantz was asked to merely come in low, run his landing gear along the ground, then take off again, simulating a take-off. On the second take the plane crashed and was destroyed, killing Mantz. As all main footage had already been shot, a North American O-47A observation plane from the Air Museum was substituted for the remaining close-ups.
449 6.5 6.814. For Your Eyes Only (1981)
Stuntman Paolo Rigoni died during the filming of the bobsled chase. Additionally the stunt double for Cassandra Harris (Lisl) was injured when hit by the dune buggy in the beach scene.
66 4.3 4.315. Gone Fishin' (1997)
An accident during filming killed stuntwoman Janet Wilder and injured her husband, stuntman Scott Wilder, and his father, stuntman Glenn R. Wilder. A boat was supposed to go over a ramp, fly over a mangrove hedge, land between two other boats, and stop in the water. Instead the boat slid off the side of the ramp, flipped over, and landed in a crowd of crew and extras.
56 5.8 5.116. Hands of Steel (1986)
Actor Claudio Cassinelli was killed in a helicopter crash during the making of this film.
51 8.1 7.617. Hell's Angels (1930)
Three pilots were killed during the filming.
1846 5.8 5.918. Jumper (2008)
Set dresser David Ritchie was helping to dismantle an artificial wall of sand and rock, when a large chunk collapsed onto him.
0 0 619. Kolilakkam (1981)
While a helicopter stunt was being carried out for this Indian action film, the 3rd attempt went wrong after 2 successful shots. The helicopter crashed, killing the actor Jayan.
0 0 020. Live from Her Majesty's (1982)
Tommy Cooper, British comedian, died of a heart attack while performing during a live TV broadcast at Her Majesty's Theatre in London. Initially the audience, thinking it was part of the act, continued to laugh as he lay collapsed on the stage. He was then pulled from sight as attempts were made to revive him off stage.
7 8 6.922. Love Serenade (1996)
During the filming of a scene on a grain silo, stuntman Collin Dragsbaek (doubling actor George Shetsov) died when he fell onto a faulty airbag.
0 0 4.723. Million Dollar Mystery (1987)
Stuntman Dar Robinson died in a motorcycle accident after the most dangerous stunt had been filmed and the medics on the set had been dismissed
4 8 6.724. Noah's Ark (1928)
Three people died, one man lost a leg and a number were injured in a scene where several hundred extras were caught in the 'Great Flood'. The deaths were instrumental in the introduction of film safety regulations in the following year
297 7 7.325. Red Cliff (2008)
During post-production, a 23-year-old stuntman was killed when fire broke out after a small boat rammed into a larger warship, while filming miniatures.
26 6.1 5.726. The Return of the Musketeers (1989)
During a sequence on horseback, English actor Roy Kinnear suffered a fall while filming a scene. The 54-year-old actor sustained a broken pelvis and died in a Spanish hospital of complications the following day. Director Richard Lester decided to quit making films directly after this event.
7 4.3 4.427. Shark! (1969)
A stuntman was mauled to death on camera when a shark, which was supposed to have been sedated, suddenly attacked.
0 0 028. The Skywayman (1920)
Pilots Milton Elliott and Ormer Locklear were killed on August 2 1920 during filming.
25 5.6 6.129. Solomon and Sheba (1959)
Co-producer/star Tyrone Power had completed shooting more than half of the film when he collapsed during a duelling scene with George Sanders and died a few minutes later. Power was replaced in the role of Solomon by Yul Brynner, who refilmed all of Power's scenes. Power, however, is still visible in the film in long shots.
2 0 5.830. Steel (1979)
A.J. Bakunas died doubling for George Kennedy in a fall from the Kincaid Towers in Lexington, Kentucky. Bakunas had successfully performed a fall from the ninth floor of the construction site, but when he learned that Dar Robinson had broken his record high fall for a non-film related publicity stunt, Bakunas returned to perform the fall from the top of the 300-foot (91 m) construction site. Bakunas performed the fall expertly, but the airbag split and he was killed.
369 6 6.331. Taxi 2 (2000)
August 17, 1999 cameraman Alain Dutartre was killed when a car driven by a stuntman overshot a jump over tanks and struck him also injuring Jean-Michel Bar.
2437 6.2 6.732. Top Gun (1986)
Pilot Art Scholl, while performing a flat spin, was unable to recover from his maneuver and ended up accidentally crashing his jet because of it.
4149 6.5 7.133. Troy (2004)
George Camilleri, a keen bodybuilder who won the title of Mr Malta in 1989, broke his leg while filming an action sequence at Ghajn Tuffieha, Malta on 30 May 2003. He was treated at the hospital, but days later suffered a heart attack from a blood clot in his leg. He was treated once again and released only to have another heart attack which lead to his death.
332 6.5 6.434. Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983)
During a scene in which Vic Morrow was being attacked by American soldiers in Vietnam, some unknown error caused a helicopter to crash. The helicopter's main rotor decapitated Morrow, along with child actors My-ca Dinh Le and Renee Shin-Yi Chen.
361 4.4 4.335. Vampire in Brooklyn (1995)
Sonja Davis, Angela Bassett's stunt double, died in an accident on the set.
0 0 4.236. The Warrens of Virginia (1924)
On November 30, 1923, while working on location in San Antonio, Texas, Martha Mansfield was severely burned when a match, tossed by a cast member, ignited her Civil War costume of hoopskirts and flimsy ruffles. Mansfield was playing the role of Agatha Warren and had just finished her scenes and retired to a car when her clothing burst into flames. Her neck and face were saved when leading man Wilfred Lytell threw his heavy overcoat over her. The chauffeur of Mansfield's car was burned badly on his hands while trying to remove the burning clothing from the actress. The fire was put out, but she sustained substantial burns to her body and died
3 0 4.237. Warriors of Virtue: The Return to Tao (2005)
Kevin Smith died in an accidental fall soon after completing filming of his scenes
4 8.5 6.238. World War III (1982)
Director Boris Sagal was killed early in the production, in a helicopter accident in Oregon.
1706 5.4 5.739. XXX (2002)
Stunt player Harry O'Connor was killed when he hit a pillar of the Palacky Bridge in Prague, para-sailing during one of the actions scenes. The accident occured while filming the second take of the stunt; O'Connor's first attempt was completed without incident and can be seen in the completed film.
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