Celebs Who Died While Filming A Movie Or TV Show, Part 2
The untimely death of a celebrity often comes as a great shock, especially when they are working on an upcoming film or television series. Many times, editing, replacements and even whole projects are scrapped when an actor passes away. Check out our second list of celebrities gone before the completion of their last project. If you missed the first list, here it is.
The cute little blonde girl from all of the “Poltergeist” movies was Heather O’Rourke. She’s best known as Carol Ann from the popular horror film series from which she was handpicked by director, Steven Spielberg himself. She went on to star in other projects such as “Happy Days” from 1982 to 1983. At just 12 years old she died of cardiac arrest and septic shock due to a misdiagnosis in 1988. She died four months before the theatrical release of “Poltergeist III.”
Professional wrestler Owen Hart died during a World Wrestling Federation (WWF) match in 1999 when he fell 50 feet. The stunt was supposed to have him lowered into the ring, but the the wire holding him either broke or became undone. The tragic accident happened in front of 16,000 people in the stands, but the viewers on pay-per-view did not see the fall take place.
Robin Harris was one comedian who always had people laughing. Whether he was Kid’s father in “House Party” or “Sweet Dick Willie” in Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing,” he was hilarious. In many of his “Bébé’s Kids” standup routines, he would mention how his girlfriend would always want to bring her son and his friends on their dates, which is where the feature film idea came from for “Bébé’s Kids.” Unfortunately, he died of a heart attack in the early stages of production in 1990, so it was changed to an animated feature film.
Vic Morrow was an actor well-known for his roles in “Blackboard Jungle” and NBC’s “The Lawless Years.” In 1982, he starred in “Twillight Zone: The Movie” where he played Bill Connor, a racist man who was put in different situations where he was the victim of racism to teach him a lesson. In one scene he plays a Vietnamese man about to be killed by U.S. troops along with two children Le and Chen, however during the scene a helicopter hovered closely to them and there was an explosion that killed all three of them instantly.
Roger Delgado was known for being the villain in many of his British action-adventure television shows, “Danger Man,” “The Saint” and “The Champions.” In 1973, he died while filming “Bell of Tibet” when the car he was riding in veered off into a ravine in Turkey.
Richard Jordan was a well established actor in television and feature films, such as “Lawman,” “The Yakuza,” “Raise the Titanic,” and many others. He won a Golden Globe award, and an Emmy nomination for his role in the television miniseries, “Captains and the Kings.” In 1993 he was diagnosed with a brain tumor while filming “The Fugitive,” which caused him to leave the film. He died later that year.
Andy Whitfield became popular in the US for his role as Spartacus in the television series “Spartacus: Blood and Sand.” He portrayed the historical figure perfectly in leading the rebellion against the Romans. Sadly, in March 2010, while filming the second season of “Spartacus: Vengeance” he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and underwent treatment and was cancer-free in June 2010. But the cancer returned in September 2010, which forced him to leave the show completely. He died one year later.
Oliver Reed starred in many films to include “Sword of Sherwood Forest,” “The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll,” and “Captain Clegg” just to name a few. In 1999, he died of a heart attack while on break from filming Gladiator at the age of 61. The film was completed using several of his scenes from the movie, while the rest had to be completed using computer-generated imagery.
Michael Conrad had a long run in television as an actor in series such as “The Case of the Bigamous Spouse” and “Delvecchio.” He went on to win two Emmy awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series in “Hill Street Blues” in 1981 and 1982. During the fourth season of the show he died of urethral cancer.
Chris Farley was a funny comedian known for his pranks and jokes on “Saturday Night Live” (SNL). On SNL he often impersonated Andrew Giuliani, Benito Mussolini, Boris Yeltsin and others. He starred in several films, such as “Wayne’s World,” “Coneheads,” and “Airheads.” He died of a coke and morphine overdose at the age of 33 in 1997. At the time of his death, he was the original voice chosen for DreamWorks’ “Shrek,” but died just before recording was finished.
Nancy Marchand was an actress who starred on stage and in many feature films like “Ladybug Ladybug,” “Me, Natalie,” “Tell Me That You Love Me, and Junie Moon.” She died of lung cancer and emphysema in 2000 while filming HBO’s “The Sopranos.”
Freddie Prinze was a young star who made many television appearances on “Jack Paar Tonite,” “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” and “The Midnight Special.” He committed suicide by shooting himself in the head and was rushed to UCLA Medical Center where he was placed on life support, but was removed and died in 1977 at the age of 22. At the time of his death, he starred in NBC’s television series “Chico and the Man” for which he signed $6 million deal over five years.
Natalie Wood was a well-established actress who starred in 56 films for television and the big screen and was a three-time Oscar nominee, all before the age of 25. She starred in “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir,” “Driftwood,” “Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay!” just to name a few. In 1981, she died by drowning while taking a trip to Santa Catalina island in California with her husband Robert Wagner. She was in the middle of filming “Brainstorm” when she died at the age of 43 years old. The details of how she fell into the water are still unclear.