Being a celebrity isn't all glitz and glamour, with Hollywood sometimes being an extremely dangerous place. From helicopter crashes to stingray attacks, there have been a few fatal accidents during filming, but also a few unfortunate deaths offset - both have huge consequences for the future production of television shows and films. Here are a few celebrities who sadly lost their lives during filming and what the production team did to overcome the tragedy…
One of the worst deaths whilst filming was the horrific death of Vic Morrow, who died during a climactic scene during the production of the Twilight Zone: The Movie, where he was scripted to rescue two Vietnamese children from a helicopter fire during the Vietnam war. Dramatically, the helicopter was hovering just above the ground, when the heat from a special effect explosion led to a damaging of the rotor blades. The chopper crashed down and killed a 6-year-old actress, a 7-year-old actor and Vic Morrow.
Shrek is a firm favourite in the film industry, from household to household, the ogre is a family name, but did you know that Shrek was originally voiced by Chris Farley? The comedian finished his voice work before dying of an overdose in 1997, but there was not enough to put a film together, so SNL colleague Mike Myers stepped in to take over the role and became part of the Dreamworks hit.
The voice of Mr. Potato Head, Don Rickles died in 2014, before the production of Toy Story 4 began. After the actor's passing, his family requested that his voice was still used, and luckily, because there was enough performance footage from the previous films, Disney was able to use his prior recordings to allow Mr. Potato Head to return for the fourth installment.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, the director explained shortly after his death: “Unfortunately, we did not get a chance to record him for the film…but we went through, jeez, 25 years of everything we didn’t use for ‘Toy Story 1’, ‘2’, ‘3’, the theme parks, the Ice Capades, the video games — everything that he’s recorded for Mr. Potato Head. And we were able to do that. And so I’m very honoured that they asked us to do that, and I’m very honoured that he’s in the film. Nobody can replace him.”
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Steve Irwin died in 2006, after he was stabbed by a stingray whilst taking part in the production of the documentary series Ocean's Deadliest. The television personality and conservationist died at the age of 44, whilst his cameraman, Justin Lyons, captured his death on video. The footage was handed to Terri, Irwin's widow and has never been aired.
The actress died of a cardiac arrest in December 2016, at the age of 60. The sudden death of the iconic Star Wars actress led to questions about the future storylines of the films. Although Carrie died after all the filming for The Last Jedi was complete, the production team had to make a tough decision, to alter the next episode, or to change parts from the filmed The Last Jedi film to allow Episode IX to go ahead as planned.
The director, Rian Johnson was sure that the captured footage of Carrie would not be altered, explaining to the New York Times: "I felt very strongly that we don't try to change her performance."
Paul Walker died at the age of 40 when he was a passenger in a single-car crash with his friend Roger Roda, the driver. The actor was on his way home from attending an event for his charity, Reach Our Worldwide, when the vehicle lost control and crashed into a lamppost, before exploding and killing both Paul and his friend instantly. To finish the filming for Fast and Furious 7, director James Wan enlisted help from Walker's brothers Cody and Caleb.
The 31-year-old, known for his role as Finn Hudson in Glee, died of an overdose of heroin and alcohol in a Vancouver hotel room in 2013. In an interview with People, his mother admitted that her son had battled with substance abuse since the age of 13 when he started drinking and smoking marijuana. Finn's death was marked with a special episode on the fifth season of the show, the special episode featured the death of the character and a tribute to the Canadian actor.
Heath Ledger died in 2008 due to an accidental intoxication from prescription drugs. A few months before his death, the 28-year-old finished filming his performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight. However, the death occurred during the editing of the film and in the middle of filming his last role as Tony in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, and Jude Law stepped in to replace the 28-year-old following the tragic news.
Marilyn Monroe, died in August 1962, before she could finish filming Something's Got to Give. It is reported that the blonde bombshell was fired and then rehired, but the death of the actress led to the abandoning of the film, with the clips that were captured, used in the Marilyn Monroe: The Final Days documentary.
Philip Seymour Hoffman
The 46-year-old actor passed away in February 2014 of a drug overdose, with his official cause of death due to mixed drug intoxication and classified as accidental. The director, who was best known for his role as Plutarch Heavensbee in the Hunger Games and his appearances in Mission: Impossible III and Twister, managed to amass a remarkable list of film accreditations before his death.
The Oscar-winning actor had finished many of the scenes for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- part 2 before he died, however, there was a key moment that had not been filmed. An emotional conversation between Jennifer Lawrence's character, Katniss and Hoffman were yet to be captured, with production opting to use digital trickery to disguise his absence and Woody Harrelson's character reading his words in a letter. A clever recovery from a tragic death.
Luke Perry passed away on 4th March 2019, after he suffered a stroke in February 2019 in his Los Angeles home. The American actor was taken to a local hospital where he remained for five days before the family made the heartbreaking decision to take him off life support. The 52-year-old played Fred Andrews in Riverdale, in the final scene that was filmed following his passing, Perry had a prominent role comforting his on-screen son after he'd been stabbed.