The production of a film is never a walk in the park. Making great movies require a lot of hard work, dedication, and determination. Actors train and practice to perfect their roles in the film. Producing great films also costs a lot of money. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is said to cost a whopping $379 million followed by the Avengers: Infinity War produced in 2015 at $365 million. Apart from costs, other challenges face the film industry. Actors often run into severe injuries during production. Some end up fatal, even with strict safety measures in place. Many great actors have lost their lives while on set for a film. Some of the actors were very young, and others were at the peak of their film careers. Below are the top ten actors who died while filming
Born in 1965 in California, Brandon Lee was the son to the martial arts legend, Bruce Lee. Just like his father, he was famously known for his exceptional talent in martial arts and acting. He gained the martial arts skills from Dan Inosanto who was his father’s friend and top martial art student. Brandon made his debut into the film industry in 1985 when he acted in the film Crime Killer as a gangster alongside George Pan Andreas. In 1986, Brandon secured his first lead role in the film Legacy of Rage directed by Ronny Yu in Hong Kong. It was the only film he acted in, in his parent’s home country. In 1987, Brandon featured in The Next Generation, a kung fu series that never sold. In 1992, Brandon secured a lead role in the film The Crow, the film that would later claim his young life.
While on set for the film The Crow in March 1993, Brandon lost his dear life ending his young and promising film career. The film depicts Brandon as a character who was shot and killed by thugs at his apartment. Well, the unfortunate shot to his abdomen was with a live bullet. He died at New Hanover Regional Medical Center after the surgery to save his life proved futile. His death was ruled as an accident, and the filming of The Crow continued. It was released in dedication to Brandon Lee who died seventeen days shy to his wedding to Eliza Hutton who he set to marry on April 17, 1993.
Born on December 24, 1931, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin as Arthur Everett Scholl, Art Scholl is another great actor whose life came to a sudden halt when on his line of duty. Scholl was a celebrated American pilot, a cameraman, flight instructor, and a teacher. After 18 years as an aeronautics instructor in San Bernardino, Art thought he was stagnating in his career and opted to become a full-time pilot. From the late 1950s, Scholl toured the globe showcasing his aeronautics prowess. Still remembered for flying the famous N1804Q before eighty million fans, his four certificates in FAA confirm for the fact that he was not only talented in operating massive engines up to the sky but also an honored pilot in the world. Scholl acquired his first ever aircraft which he would modify to suit his desires in 1963.
In 1978, Scholl made a debut in the film industry and starred in several TV series and movie shows. His notable films are The Right Stuff, The Great Waldo Pepper, Blue Thunder, Chips, The A-Team, and Top Gun which claimed his life while on set. On September 16, 1985, at the age of 53, Scholl went down with his plane into the heart of the Pacific ocean while filming Top Gun and was never recovered, neither was the aircraft. However, this did not stop the production of Top Gun which was dedicated to the memory of Art Scholl.
Actor Vic Morrow also joins this list of great actors who died while filming. He was born Victor Morozoff on February 14, 1929, to Jewish parents in New York City. Morrow was an actor and a movie director who made his grand entrance into the film world when he starred in the movie Blackboard Jungle in 1955. Years after he would appear in various TV shows and act in more than 65 films. Some notable movies he featured in were The combat, Naked City, The Untouchables and The Tall Man. In 1963, he was nominated for the Emmy Awards category being “Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Series (Lead)” for the movie The Combat.
His life came to a sudden end on July 23, 1982, while on set for the film Twilight Zone: The Movie with two other kids aged six and seven years. In the scene, he was to rescue two Vietnamese children and dodge the U.S. Army helicopter. Unfortunately, the plane crashed on them killing them on the spot. He left behind his wife who had separated before his death and his two children.
Born as Stephen Robert Irwin on February 22, 1964, Steve was an actor and a conservationist. His love for zoo life started while he was young. His parents had Reptiles Park at their home in Queensland. Animal feeding at the park became part and parcel of Irwin’s life. Bob Irwin (Steve’s father), gifted him during his sixth birthday with a scrub python as his present. Steve started his film career after he married Terri Raines from Oregon in the United States.
His first TV series The Crocodile Hunter which earned him his stage name “The crocodile hunter” ended in 2006. Steve featured in animals documentaries, and his career saw him star in more than 20 films. They include Mystery Hunters, Croc files, The Ten Deadliest Snakes in the World, Ice Breaker, Oceans Deadliest and many more. His latest work, Crikey! It’s the Irwin’s was released in 2018, although Steve lost his life to a stingray while on set in Batt Reef, Queensland, Australia while filming Ocean’s Deadliest on September 4, 2006. He lost too much blood and died.
Foxx was born on December 9, 1922, in St. Louis, Missouri. Famously known as “Chicago Red” because of his signature look of red hair, he tore fans ribs with his most celebrated comedies. Foxx made his entrance into the film industry when he starred in Sanford and Son which premiered in January 1972. He later featured in many other films including All the Fine Young Cannabis, Cotton Comes to Harlem, Norman… is That You and Harlem Nights. His TV shows included Sanford and Son, Sanford, The Redd Foxx Show, and many others.
Redd Foxx was not only a standup comedian but also a great singer. He recorded massive 78 singles. Redd died on set while filming The Royal Family. He had the worst heart attack which took his life. When he fell, the film crew thought it was one of his jokes and for a moment failed to respond to his distress call. A few moments later after falling down the team realized it was more severe than they thought. They rushed him to Queen of Angels Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Hospital where he took his last breath at the age of 68.
Jon was a multi-talented actor who featured in many films during his short-lived film career. He was born to Norwegian parents on November 5, 1957, in Inglewood New Jersey. In 1980, Jon met Bob LeMond who propelled his dreams. In 1981 he auditioned for Summer Lovers but did not make it. However, this opened a bigger opportunity for him to feature in Voyagers as the lead role. His good looks doubled up with great personality earned him more lead roles. He starred in Making of a Male Model, Hotel, The Beer and later Golden Opportunity which claimed his life.
On October 12, 1984, while filming an episode for the series Golden Opportunity, the crew had delayed, thereby making Hexum bored. Jon-Erik Hexum jokingly picked up the handgun, pointed it to his head and pulled the trigger. He was in a six-hour surgery to save his life at the Beverly Hills Medical Center, but the bleeding was too severe, and he was pronounced brain dead. With his mother’s permission, his organs were harvested and donated to various people who needed them, the remains of his body cremated, and the ashes scattered in the Pacific Ocean. The film production continued, and it premiered on November 3, 1984. Hexum died at the age of 26, and the cause of death was ruled as an accident.
Sonja is another great actress who died while on set for film production. Born on June 1, 1962, Sonja Davis was a great stunt actress. She featured in many stunt films including Heart and Souls, Live Wire and many others. Sonja died while on set for a film Vampire in Brooklyn. The scene wanted her character to fall backward from a 42 feet height. She did and died on November 14, 1994, at the age of 32.
Sergei Bodrov Jr.
This Great Russian actor Bodrov was born in Moscow on December 27, 1971, to the then great film director, Sergei Bodrov and fine art artist Valentina Nikolaevna. Bodrov Jr. starred in his first ever film Prisoner of the Mountains filmed by his father. He bagged an award as the best actor with his co-actor Menshikov. In 1997, he was the lead actor in the film The Brother directed by Aleksei Balabanov. The film became controversial and was harshly criticized. It won an award despite the entire backlash.
Other notable films he featured in were White King; Red Queen, Prisoner of the Mountains, East/West, Sisters, Morphine and many others. Bodrov died on September 20, 2002 while on set for the film The Messenger. He was buried under by ice in Karmadon Ravine.
My-Ca Dinh Le
The very talented Vietnamese child My-Ca had a promising career as young as he was. Born on January 23, 1975, in Vietnam, My-Ca Dinh Le was in the scene for the film Twilight Zone; The Movie. He was one of the child actors who were to be rescued by Vic Morrow from the U.S. troops. He died at the age of 7 on July 23, 1982, at Indian Dunes.
Renee Shin-Yi Chen
She is another child actor whose life came to an end abruptly while on set for the film Twilight Zone; The Movie. She was born on April 1, 1976, to Mark and Shayan Hue-Chen in Taiwan. The talented little girl lost her life at the age of six together with My-Ca Dinh Le and Vic Morrow in that unfortunate movie scene.