Death On Set: 5 Movies That Someone Died While Making

Sunday, May 12 by John Coon

 

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Creating a movie brings an element of risk. Filming a scene can put actors and stunt people in front of the camera and the crew behind the camera in danger of injury or death. Death on a movie set is more common than people think. These five movies are particularly notable for controversial deaths of actors and crew members

 

1. “Twilight Zone: The Movie” (1983)

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John Landis tarnished his career as a director with the infamous helicopter accident that occurred during his segment of “Twilight Zone: The Movie.” The scene had actor Vic Morrow fleeing with Vietnamese children from a U.S. Army helicopter. Explosions too close to the helicopter caused the pilot to lose control. It crashed and killed all three actors instantly.

 

2. “The Crow” (1994)

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Brandon Lee seemed poised to follow in the footsteps of his father, Bruce Lee, and become an international musketeers.jpg

A horse riding accident led to Roy Kinnear's untimely death in this second sequel to the 1974 version of the “The Three Musketeers.” Kinnear fell from a horse while filming on on location in Spain. He suffered a broken pelvis and was rushed to the hospital. Kinnear died from a heart attack the next day. The accident led to Richard Lester, the film's director, retiring from show business.

 

4. “Catch-22” (1970)

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Before "M*A*S*H*" won huge acclaim for its irreverent take on the Korean War, "Catch-22" skewered World War II in similar fashion. It follows a bomber pilot who tries to escape the madness of the increasingly dangerous missions taken on by his unit. While filming footage for one such bomber sequence, second unit director John Jordan refused to wear a safety harness. Jordan paid for it when he was sucked out through the open plane and fell 4,000 feet to his death.

 

5. “The Right Stuff” (1983)

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An effort to create realistic flights on camera cost a stuntman his life. Joseph Leonard Svec died when he failed to open his parachute while recreating a parachute jump from a stalling NF-104 fighter plane. Real-life pilot Chuck Yeager had escaped from the plane and survived after his ejection seat went through heat exhaust and caused his helmet to catch on fire. Svec used a smoke canister during his fall to simulate the flames, but he lost consciousness from the smoke and fell to his death.   

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