News / World

AFP
Wire Service
2 minute read
23 Oct 2021
12:02 am

Killed on set: Famous Hollywood tragedies

AFP

With a cinematographer killed and a movie director wounded after US actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun during filming, we look at other deadly movie accidents.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on June 22, 2021 US actor Alec Baldwin attends DreamWorks Animation's "The Boss Baby: Family Business" premiere at SVA Theatre in New York City. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP)

– ‘The Captive’ –

Gun related deaths go back to the dawn of cinema with extra Charles Chandler shot in the head in 1915 while filming the Cecil B. DeMille movie “The Captive”. He died after a bullet was left in a rifle after soldiers shot at a door with live ammunition to give the scene more realism.

– ‘Twilight Zone: The Movie’ –

Actor Vic Morrow was decapitated and two Vietnamese-born child extras killed in 1982 when a helicopter crashed on them after being hit by pyrotechnics during the shooting of a night battle scene for the sci-fi horror movie near Los Angeles.

Director John Landis was later acquitted of the manslaughter of the 53-year-old star as well as the children, aged six and seven, in the first such case in Hollywood history.

– ‘The Crow’ –

US actor Brandon Lee, a martial arts legend and the son of Bruce Lee, was shot and killed on the set of “The Crow” in 1993 in a case which set off a whirl of conspiracy theories about him being murdered by Hong Kong gangsters. 

But investigators found his death was caused by negligence. An actor fired at Lee with a gun which was supposed to contain blanks. However, there was a bullet in the chamber and Lee, 28, died hours later from his injuries. 

– ‘Batman: The Dark Knight’ – 

Rumours of a “Curse of Batman” circulated after the 2007 death of stuntman Conway Wickliffe during a test run for a scene involving the Batmobile in “The Dark Knight” was followed by the drugs overdose of Heath Ledger, 28, who played The Joker. 

Co-star Morgan Freeman was later badly injured in a car crash and Batman himself Christian Bale faced accusations of assaulting his mother and sister the day before the film’s UK premiere.

– ‘Jumper’ –

A set dresser was killed on the Samuel L. Jackson sci-fi movie in 2008 when frozen sand, earth and ice from an exterior set collapsed onto staff below during shooting in Toronto.

David Ritchie, 56, died instantly.

– ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood’ –

Emmy-winning sound mixer James Emswiller died after falling from a second-floor balcony during the filming in 2018 of a biopic about US television icon Fred Rogers for which Tom Hanks was later nominated for an Oscar.