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Fatal Method Acting

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"I think the worst time to have a heart attack is during a game of charades; especially if your teammates are bad guessers. Actually, it's probably during a game of Fake Heart Attack, followed by naps."

A performer dies suddenly while on the job.

If the audience doesn't realize what's going on, it's a Real Life example of All Part of the Show. Can be a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment if they had acted such a scene in character or a comedian's routine involved jokes about their own death. For understandable reasons, a production where a near or actual death occurs is often a Troubled Production. Film and television usually go around this with a Fake Shemp.


Most of these and more can be found on the listing Died Onstage.

See also:



    open/close all folders 

Medical Causes:

    Comic Strips 
  • B.C. cartoonist Johnny Hart died of a stroke at his drawing desk in 2007.
  • Original Modesty Blaise artist Jim Holdaway died while working on a strip (though there are conflicting reports whether he died at his drawing desk or not); another artist completed the work, intentionally emulating Holdaway's style for continuity.
  • Jimmy Bancks, the creator of the long-running Australian comic strip Ginger Meggs, died of a heart attack at his drawing desk in 1952, halfway through drawing a strip.

  • Stuntman Frankie Howard contracted a stomach illness during location filming of The Bridge on the River Kwai in Ceylon (after having already almost drowned while filming a scene in which he fell into the river) and had to be flown to the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in London; sadly, he did not recover.
  • Heath Ledger died of a sleeping pill overdose after finishing his scenes as the Joker for The Dark Knight. The previous film Joker, Jack Nicholson, remarked on hearing about it, "Oh, that's terrible. I warned them." His criticism of the higher-ups who had prescribed said pills to Ledger after he got the role did not go unnoticed; Nicholson may not have known Ledger, but he knew those pills.
  • Oliver Reed died of a heart attack while filming Gladiator. CGI was used to finish his scenes.
  • Actor Henry Daniell, who appears uncredited in My Fair Lady as the Hungarian ambassador, died from a heart attack a few hours after completing the dress ball sequences. He was replaced by Alan Napier.
  • Actor Tyrone Power died of a heart attack after the filming of a duel scene in Solomon and Sheba and was replaced with Yul Brynner, with much of the film being reshot but Power being visible in distant shots.
  • While on location filming Wagons East, John Candy's obesity didn't sit well with the high altitude and desert heat, and he died of a heart attack shortly after completing his scenes.
  • Marty Feldman died of a heart attack brought on by food poisoning while filming Yellowbeard. Ironically, he died the day he was to shoot his death scene.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Happened when British comedian Tommy Cooper had a heart attack on live TV in 1984. He was declared dead on arrival at the hospital shortly afterward, although going by the video recording on YouTube it (thankfully) seems like he died pretty much within seconds. Since part of Cooper's stage routine involved frequent minor technical mishaps, the audience continued to laugh even as Cooper collapsed, assuming it was just another gag.
  • Redd Foxx died of a heart attack on the set of his sitcom The Royal Family in 1991. His best-known role was on Sanford and Son, which had a Running Gag about his character faking heart attacks; and the working title for the show he was filming had been Chest Pains. Due to his role as Fred Sanford, the rest of the cast thought he was just faking it until it was too late. The show tried to continue without Foxx for a few episodes, but it was canceled shortly thereafter.
  • During the late 50s, the British ITV series of one-off plays Armchair Theatre was broadcast live on Sunday night; during a play called Underground about survivors from a nuclear attack hiding in the London Underground one of the actors, Gareth Jones, had a fatal heart attack when he was just about to make an entrance. The play continued with the other actors covering for his failure to appear, and they managed to improvise right up to the end, with some plot discussion with the director during a commercial break. The actors were not told that Jones had actually died until after the play had finished, but were told only that he was too ill to continue. Sadly, no recording of the play survives, so we can't be sure exactly how this was worked around.
  • John Ritter was rehearsing on the set of 8 Simple Rules in September 2003 when he collapsed with a previously unknown heart problem. He died later that day.
  • Jerome Irving Rodale, author and publisher of Prevention magazine, died during a taping of The Dick Cavett Show in June 1971. Cavett's next guest, journalist Pete Hamill, heard a snore-like sound from Rodale and tipped Cavett and the staff to check on him. Rodale had suffered a fatal heart attack while sitting on Cavett's couch. The episode never aired. Ironically enough, Rodale made several quips during that very interview that he had "never felt better" and "planned to live to 100". He was 72. Legend has it that Cavett said "Are we boring you, Mr. Rodale?" after Rodale's snore, but both Cavett and Hamill later denied this; a transcript of the episode cited in Rodale's 1974 biography says Cavett actually asked Rodale if he was alright upon hearing the sound.
  • Italian soccer coach Francesco Scoglio died of a heart attack while on a TV talk show in 2005.
  • Not quite in performance, but Patrick Troughton was wearing his Second Doctor costume preparing for an appearance when he died unexpectedly at an Atlanta Doctor Who convention.
  • Dutch actor Coen van Vrijberghe de Coningh, from Flodder was attending a party with actors and producers from the series, to celebrate its 5th season. He and his fellow colleagues were dressed as the characters from the show, and as Coen jumped on top of the Pink Chevrolet the series is well known for, he suffered a major heart attack and died on the spot.
  • Indian writer/journalist M. N. Vijayan suffered a heart attack in front of a rolling camera while making a speech at Thrissur Press Club. Several reporters rushed to his aid but ultimately could not save his life.
  • Robert Buchel, a participant on TLC's My 600 lb Life, died of a heart attack during filming of his story on November 15, 2017, making him the series' first in-episode fatality. On February 15, 2019, Kelly Mason, due to heart failure, became the second patient to die during production of their episode.
  • Taiwanese-Canadian actor Godfrey Gao collapsed from cardiac arrest while filming a sequence for the Chinese sports-reality show Chase Me in November 2019, and was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.

  • Mark Sandman, the lead singer and bassist of the cult alternative rock band Morphine, died in 1999 of a heart attack in the middle of a sold-out show in Rome, Italy.
  • Folk singer Tiny Tim collapsed during a live performance of "Tiptoe Through The Tulips" in 1996. He lost consciousness and died shortly afterward.
  • Scatman John collapsed on stage during the finale of his show on November 26, 1999. Even though he was revived, his health took a turn for the worse and he died at his home on December 3.
  • Country Dick Montana, lead singer of the alt-country band The Beat Farmers, died of a heart attack near the beginning of a performance in British Columbia in 1995.
  • Famed actor and baritone Nelson Eddy died of a stroke while performing in Miami in 1967.
  • Fejez (real name Paolo Panigada), a member of the Italian band Elio e le Storie Tese, died of a brain hemorrhage while performing on stage in December 1998.
  • Devon Clifford, drummer for the Canadian indie rock band You Say Party! We Say Die!, collapsed on stage during a gig in Vancouver in 2010 and died two days later in a hospital. After his death, the band changed their name to You Say Party, then split up the next year (they've since reunited with a new drummer).
  • War percussionist Papa Dee Allen suffered a fatal heart attack in 1988 during the band's performance of "Gypsy Man"; the band retired the song from its setlist in his memory.
  • Blues singer/guitarist Johnny "Guitar" Watson died of a heart attack in the middle of an intense guitar solo while on stage in Japan. His last words were the title of one of his earlier songs: "Ain't that a bitch..."
  • Operatic baritone Leonard Warren died from a cerebral hemorrhage during a performance of Giuseppe Verdi's La forza del destino. His final aria started with the words "Morir, tremenda cosa (to die, a momentous thing)".
    • More trouble with Verdi: Conductor Giuseppe Sinopoli suffered a fatal heart attack while conducting a performance of Aida in 2001.
    • And in September 2013, Argentinian singer Florencia Fabris, just 38, had a stroke onstage in the middle of Verdi's Requiem and died two days later.
  • 63-year-old character tenor Richard Versalle as legal clerk Vitek in Leos Janacek's Makropulos Casenote , was up on a ladder looking at the records of a hundred-year-old case. Saying Too bad you can only live so long, he promptly had a heart attack, fell from the ladder and died.
  • French virtuoso organist and composer Louis Vierne gave the performance of his life one evening at Notre Dame de Paris - then collapsed and died of a massive stroke while preparing stops for his encore. He purportedly told his assistant, Maurice Duruflé, before beginning the concert: "I think that I'll die tonight."
  • Famed African pop singer Miriam Makeba had a heart attack and died while performing at a concert in Italy in 2008.
  • Soul musician Philippé Wynne, a former lead singer for The Spinners, suffered a fatal heart attack while performing an encore at a Los Angeles nightclub in 1984.
  • Conductor Felix Mottl died of a heart attack in 1911 while conducting Tristan and Isolde.
  • Delayed example: Jackie Wilson, who collapsed during a concert from a heart attack. He suffered a severe blow to the head and fell into a coma, from which he never recovered and died eight years later. He was singing his big hit, "Lonely Teardrops," when he suffered the heart attack. Specifically, the line "My heart is crying, crying..."
  • Tenor saxophonist Warne Marsh died of a heart attack onstage in Los Angeles in 1987 in the middle of playing the standard "Out of Nowhere", allegedly right after he finished taking a solo.
  • Not actually performing, but still technically on the job: pianist Vince Guaraldi (creator of the legendary jazz scores in the early Peanuts animated specials) suffered a fatal heart attack in 1976 while resting in-between concert sets.
  • Mike Scaccia, guitarist for the metal bands Ministry and Rigor Mortis, died after collapsing onstage during a concert three days before Christmas in 2012. Although it was initially reported that he had suffered a fatal seizure from the venue's strobe lights, the coroner listed his cause of death as a heart attack.
  • British psychedelic musician, scenester and journalist Mick Farren collapsed with a heart attack during a reunion show by his band The Deviants and died soon afterward.
  • Michael Been - the singer for the American alternative band The Call - died of a heart attack while working as a sound technician for his son's band, indie rock group Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. This took place at the same festival as the suicide of Charles Haddon (see below).
  • Gospel pianist Anthony Burger died of a massive heart attack while performing during a Gaither Gospel Cruise.
  • The famed Congolese singer and bandleader Papa Wemba died of a heart attack during a gig in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire in 2016.
  • Italian singer Mango died of a heart attack while performing his most well-known song "Oro". His last words were "excuse me", and then he slumped over his piano.
  • Nick Menza, the former drummer of Megadeth, died of a heart attack during a 2016 concert with his new band OHM, after just three songs played.
  • Blues legend Tommie Johnson died of a heart attack while playing at a house party in Mississippi in 1956.
  • Col. Bruce Hampton, a veteran guitarist who led the 1960s psychedelic band Hampton Grease Band and the 1990s jam band The Aquarium Rescue Unit, died after collapsing while playing guitar at his own 70th birthday tribute concert in 2017. According to other musicians present, they thought for some time that he had dropped to the ground pretending to worship one of the other guitarists.
  • Symphonic electronic musician Alberto "Brainbug" Bertapelle, best known for the 1997 club hit "Nightmare", had a heart attack while playing guitar at a concert in Tavagnacco of Udine, Italy on November 23, 2016. Despite the efforts by a group of nurses in the audience to resuscitate him, he was pronounced dead at the scene.
  • On July 1, 1987, guitar virtuoso Philip Charles Lithman, better known as Snakefinger, died of a heart attack at the Posthof Club in Linz, Austria, a night before he and his band, The Vestal Virgins, were scheduled to perform on their European Night tour.
  • Laudir de Oliveira, a Brazilian percussionist and former member of the band Chicago, died of a heart attack during a September 2017 performance in Rio de Janeiro.
  • Drummer Sib Hashian, the original drummer for the classic rock group Boston, died of a heart attack in March 2017 during a concert on a "Legends of Rock" cruise near the Bahamas.
  • Ustad Bijon Chowdhury, while playing the Tabla (a percussion instrument used in classical music in the Indian subcontinent) during a live concert died in the middle of a performance with his hands still on his instrument.
  • Ghanaian percussionist Rebop Kwaku Baah, a former member of the prog-rock groups Can and Traffic, died of a cerebral hemorrhage while performing at a Jimmy Cliff concert in Sweden in 1983.
  • Sean Rowley, lead singer for the synthpop band Cause & Effect, died from heart failure brought on by a severe asthma attack during a soundcheck in Minneapolis in November 1992.
  • Folk singer-songwriter David Olney died of a heart attack during his performance at the 30A Songwriter Festival in Florida in January 2019.
  • Gustavo Cerati, lead singer of influential Argentine new wave band Soda Stereo, suffered a massive stroke backstage shortly after finishing a solo concert in Venezuela in 2010. Cerati fell into a coma at the hospital and never woke up from it, dying in September 2014.
  • Months after being recognized by Guinness World Records as having had the longest orchestral career (71 years), 87-year-old Atlanta Symphony Orchestra double bassist Jane Little collapsed during a pops concert in 2016 and died shortly afterwards.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • British Professional Wrestling disappeared from television networks and nearly vanished altogether after a wrestler named King Kong Kirk suffered a fatal heart attack in the ring in late August 1987.
  • Similarly, a young woman died in-ring due to unknown causes, but she'd mentioned to her opponent prior to going to the ring that she had a terrible headache. Her death actually got 3 people arrested for manslaughter until authorities realized she had no injuries from the match.
  • Pro wrestler "Iron" Mike DiBiase had a heart attack during a match in June 1969. Despite an attempt from his friend Harley Race to perform CPR, DiBiase died shortly thereafter. His death was later used to explain the gimmick of his son, "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase: the family's life insurance payout was what kick-started Ted's wealth.
  • Chris Candido died from a blood clot in his leg, resulting from a bad reaction to surgery. He was having surgery as a result of a botch suffered at TNA's 2005 Lockdown event, making this a combination of medical and accidental (although the medical cause was the ultimate cause of death).
  • Lucha Libre wrestler Silver King died of a heart attack in London during a match with Juventud Guerrera on May 11th, 2019.

  • Theater critic and writer Alexander Woollcott died in 1943 of a heart attack while participating in a live radio current events talk show.
  • Veteran New York DJ Jack Spector had a fatal heart attack during a live show in 1994 (the station staff noticed a long stretch of dead air after a song and found him dead on the floor).
  • Onie Wheeler, a Country Music sideman and later session musician, died in 1984 of a heart attack while on the radio show Grand Ole Gospel.

  • Association Football had quite a few cases.
  • Loyola Marymount University basketball star Hank Gathers collapsed and died of heart failure during a West Coast Conference tournament game in 1990. Gathers had collapsed during a game earlier in the season and was diagnosed with an abnormal heartbeat. He didn't respond well to medication and LMU's notorious fast-paced offense (which averaged 122 points a game) probably didn't help matters.
    • Similarly to Gathers' was the Reggie Lewis incident three years later. Lewis played for the NBA's Boston Celtics, having emerged as their best player following the retirement of Larry Bird and veterans Kevin McHale and Robert Parish aging. However, during Game 1 of the 1993 1st round playoff series against the Charlotte Hornets, Lewis collapsed to the floor. Lewis briefly attempted to return in the 2nd half but was pulled after continued wobbling. He was then hospitalized at New England Baptist Hospital and diagnosed with advanced heart disease, but Lewis, claiming he and his wife weren't given opportunities to discuss the initial diagnosis, transferred to another Boston hospital, Brigham and Women's Hospital, where he was diagnosed with a benign nerve problem. Sadly, two months after the initial collapse Lewis collapsed a second time while shooting baskets at the Celtics practice facility and died soon after.
  • Pair skater Sergei Grinkov suffered a fatal heart attack on November 20, 1995, while he and his wife Ekaterina Gordeeva were practicing for the 1995-1996 Stars on Ice tour.
  • Chuck Hughes, a wide receiver for the Detroit Lions, suffered a fatal heart attack near the end of a game between the Lions and the Chicago Bears on October 24, 1971. He remains the only NFL player to die during a game.
    • The only other NFL player who died during any official on-field activity was Minnesota Vikings tackle Korey Stringer, who died of heatstroke during a pre-season practice in 2001.
  • John McSherry, a veteran umpire for Major League Baseball, had a fatal heart attack only a few pitches into the opening game of the 1996 baseball season. He collapsed shortly after signaling for the second base umpire to cover him at home base. Despite his long career as a Major League umpire, his death is perhaps best known for it resulting in one of many of then-Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott's insensitive comments.
  • 1967 Formula One World Driver's Champion Denny Hulme succumbed to a heart attack while taking part in the 1992 Bathurst 1000 Touring Car race. Fortunately, he was able to get his car off the track and out of the way of the other drivers.
  • Steeplechase jockey Frank Hayes, riding a horse named Sweet Kiss, died of a heart attack during a steeplechase race at Belmont Park on June 4, 1923. Hayes and Sweet Kiss won anyway, making Hayes the only dead jockey to ever win a horse race. See this contemporary account.
  • During the 2013 German VLN Endurance Racing Championship, Wolf Silvester died of what was apparently a heart attack, either before or after losing control of his car.
  • During the 1967 Tour de France, cyclist Tom Simpson died of a heat stroke on a particularly hard section of the course, where temperatures were reportedly as high as 54 degrees Celsius (about 129 Fahrenheit). His ingesting of amphetamines and alcohol was a contributing factor to his death, which helped lead to bans on doping in cycling.
  • Legendary Scottish football manager Jock Stein, who was then in charge of Scotland's national team, collapsed and died at the end of World Cup Qualifying match against Wales on September 10, 1985.
  • On-ice heart conditions have become an alarmingly common occurrence with professional hockey players. Sergei Zholtok and Alexei Cherepanov both died on the bench after a shift from heart problems (cardiac arrhythmia and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, respectively).
  • Italian footballer Piermario Morosini had a fatal heart attack while playing in an exhibition match in April 2012.
  • On January 3, 1946, jockey George Woolf, most famous for riding Seabiscuit in several of his most famous races, passed out due to complications from his lifelong diabetes, fell from his horse Please Me, and suffered fatal head injuries on hitting the ground. He died in the hospital the next day.
  • NBA legend "Pistol" Pete Maravich died of a heart attack in 1988 while playing in a pick-up basketball game at a church in California. He was just 40 years old.
  • Iranian cyclist Bahman Golbarnezhad died of a heart attack following an in-competition crash at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio De Janeiro.
  • Jim Creighton is considered to be the first star player in baseball, earning a following in the 1860s as a pitcher for the Excelsior of Brooklyn team, and he is often considered to have invented modern pitching. During a game in October 1862, Creighton suffered a serious injury to his abdomen during a swing but played the rest of the game anyway. After the game, he began to experience severe hemorrhaging, and he would die at his father's home four days later. Modern analysis suggests Creighton died of a ruptured inguinal hernia, and his heavy workload - he threw over 300 pitches per game due to strikes and balls not being called in that era - likely contributed to his death.
  • Zeke Upshaw, a basketball player for the Grand Rapids Drive (the G-League affiliate of the NBA's Detroit Pistons), collapsed on the court in the final minute of the team's final regular-season game in March 2018. Following his death, the G-League delayed their playoffs and the Pistons gave Upshaw an honorary "call up" to the main team. Upshaw's parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the NBA, the Pistons and the arena, and it was settled out of court in July 2019.
  • Dean Roper, father of NASCAR driver Tony, would die ten months after his son, suffering a heart attack in the midst of an ARCA race on August 19, 2001. Miraculously, there were no injuries from the crash brought on by his heart attack, not even to himself (he simply bounced off the inside wall several times before slipping out through an opening, crashing into water barrels and coming to a stop near several spectators).
  • The 2018 London Marathon took place in the early stages of a record-breaking Heat Wave, with temperatures approaching 25C or 80F even in mid-April. Between that and a logistics screw-up that led to some of the water stations suffering shortages and it's no wonder that over a hundred participants ended up needing medical treatment for heatstroke. One of them, a MasterChef semi-finalist Matt Campbell, died in hospital a few hours after collapsing mid-run.
  • Bobby Isaac, the 1970 NASCAR Winston Cup Series Champion, died on August 14, 1977, after suffering a heart attack while running in a late model sportsman race the night before.

  • Actor/comedian Dick Shawn died of a heart attack onstage. It took time for anyone to realize he was dead, as the audience thought it was part of his act (one of the routines of the show in question featured Shawn as a politician spouting such cliches as "If elected, I will not lay down on the job"; the audience assumed that his collapse was a callback to this routine), and Shawn told the stage crews at his shows that he was liable to do anything, including falling flat on his face, and they were not to react under any circumstances.
  • Beloved British comedian Eric Morecambe also had a heart attack during a stage performance in 1984 and died the following day. In that stage show, ironically enough, he joked about the death of Tommy Cooper (whose death recounted above happened a month prior) and how he'd "hate to die like that".
  • British comedian Sid James is rumored to haunt a dressing room at the Sunderland Empire Theatre after he had a heart attack and died onstage while performing there in 1976. The rest of the cast thought he was messing around when he failed to deliver his next line, and ad-libbed to cover. Then, when the truth was discovered, the initial request "Is there a doctor in the house" was met with a round of laughter.note 
  • Irene Ryan (best known as "Granny" on The Beverly Hillbillies) died several days after suffering a stroke onstage during a performance of Pippin on Broadway.
  • Older Than Steam: 17th-century playwright/actor Jean Baptiste Poquelin aka Molière, who suffered from pulmonary tuberculosis, collapsed during the last show and died a few hours later after he was taken home. Ironically he was playing the title character Argan in Le Malade Imaginaire (literally, The Imaginary Invalid; commonly, The Hypochondriac), meaning he was deathly ill while playing the part of a character who only thinks that he's sick. Contrary to urban legend, however, he did not die on set before the end of the show.
  • Beloved Danish film and theater actor Dirch Passer suffered a heart attack at age 54 in 1980, during a performance at the Tivoli's Revue, and passed away a couple of hours later at the local hospital. According to stories, he asked for someone to turn up the dim lights shortly before he collapsed on the scene. Rather tragically, after decades of being known as the hardest working man in Danish showbiz, often working 2 or 3 theater or movie productions at the same time, he had finally given in and agreed with his then-girlfriend that he would take the summer off and relax.
  • Comedian Harry "Parkyakarkus" Parke — the father of comedians Albert Brooks and Bob Einstein, aka Super Dave Osborne — had a heart attack and slumped into Milton Berle's lap while on stage for the 1958 Friar's Club Roast of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. An attempt to restart his heart after he was carried offstage was unsuccessful.
  • Swedish comedian and actor Lasse Eriksson died on stage on March 3rd, 2011. At the end of his last performance, he collapsed and was brought to the nearest hospital, less than a mile away, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
  • The baritone Frederick Baker, known by the stage name of Frederick Frederici, died of a heart attack during a production of Faust at the Princess Theatre in Melbourne, Australia in 1888. His ghost reputedly haunts the theatre.
  • Broadway veteran David Burns died of a heart attack in the middle of a preview performance of 70, Girls, 70!, a musical comedy about senior citizens.
  • British comedian Ian Cognito died suddenly during a performance in 2019, ten minutes after making a joke about having a stroke. Tragically, it took five minutes for anyone to realize it wasn't part of the act.

    Video Games 
  • On February 19, 2017, Twitch streamer Brian "PoShYbRiD" Vigneault died of a fentanyl overdose during a 24-hour marathon stream of World of Tanks to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. 22 hours into the stream, he got up apparently to have a smoke, and viewers initially believed he had fallen asleep, but the next day he was found dead by the police, who informed fans of his passing via his Discord account.
  • The Godfather features a secret conversation during a mission in which Don Corleone is in the hospital. While the Don Corleone in the game was voiced by a sound-alike of Marlon Brando, the conversation in the hospital, which sounds muffled and barely audible, was actually done by the real Marlon Brando on his death bed, thus making it his last acting role before his passing.

    Western Animation 
  • George O'Hanlon, who voiced George Jetson in all incarnations of The Jetsons up to that point, died of a stroke in the recording studio right after recording some of his lines for Jetsons: The Movie in 1990, after having suffered an initial stroke. Likewise, Mel Blanc (Mr. Spacely) recorded his lines in the hospital, in what turned out to be his last VA role before his death. Neither of the two had completed their work, so Jeff Bergman picked up the slack.
  • Brazilian dubber José de Magalhães Graça died from a heart attack in 1989, while recording his lines for Duckworth from Ducktales 1987.

Accidental Causes:

  • Long-running television actor Vic Morrow and child actors My-Ca Dinh Le and Renee Shin-Yi Chen (both working illegally, without proper work permits and at 2 AM, far later than the times allowed for child actors), were killed when a stunt helicopter crashed near them during the filming of Twilight Zone: The Movie. This led to nearly a decade's worth of lawsuits, changes in the law about child actors doing stunts, and fewer helicopter scenes in movies thereafter until CGI made it possible to put them in digitally. Director John Landis was acquitted of manslaughter charges, but his career went into decline after this.
  • Brandon Lee was fatally shot on the set of The Crow in an accident. A B-unit filming close-up scenes had no professional armorer with them and built their own dummy rounds (for a shot of the cartridges in the revolver) by simply pulling the gunpowder from it. The trigger was pulled at some point, and the force generated by the primer exploding shoved the bullet into the barrel. The same gun was later reloaded with blanks and used for the scene of the murder of Lee's character; nobody had checked the gun and the blank fired the bullet into Brandon Lee's chest.
  • Actor Kevin Smith (no relation), best known for playing Ares on Xena: Warrior Princess, died just after wrapping filming on Warriors of Virtue 2 when he fell from a prop tower on a nearby set.
  • Conway Wickliffe, a special effects technician working on The Dark Knight, crashed the Batmobile while preparing a stunt.
  • During the production of You Only Live Twice, John Jordan lost a foot in a helicopter accident. Years later, he was Second Unit Director of Catch-22, and refused a safety harness while filming in an airplane. He was subsequently sucked out of the plane when the door opened and fell to his death.
  • Top Gun is dedicated to Art Scholl, a stunt pilot who died in a plane crash during the filming of the flat spin scene. Scholl's Last Words, as his Pitts Special spun past its safe recovery altitude, were, "There's a problem - there's a real problem here."
  • During a production shoot on location in the Philippines for the Chuck Norris film Braddock: Missing in Action III, a Philippine Air Force helicopter hired by the Cannon Film Group crashed into Manila Bay killing four Filipino soldiers and wounding five other people, including a member of the film crew.
  • In Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection, five people (including a cameraman and one of the actors) were killed in a helicopter accident and two others were injured when the engine failed.
  • Famous stunt pilot Paul Mantz was killed in the filming of The Flight of the Phoenix (1965) when he misjudged the rate of descent and crashed into a small hillock.
  • The 1928 production Noah's Ark, directed by Michael Curtiz, had three stuntmen drowning in the scene of the flood (plus the main actress getting pneumonia, one of the actors breaking two ribs, and an extra needing a leg amputation). This film directly led to the creation of the Screen Actors Guild to prevent such a thing from happening again.
  • In October 2011, stuntman Kun Liu died while filming a stunt for The Expendables 2 in Bulgaria.
  • On August 2, 1920, during the filming of the silent film The Skywayman, stunt pilots Ormer Locklear and Milton "Skeets" Elliott were flying a biplane during a nighttime shoot. At the end of the scene, they were supposed to make it look like they crashed the plane. The sky was lit with several floodlights. Locklear had instructed that, because he would not be able to see the ground at night, the floodlights had to be turned off as they approached the ground so he would know to pull up. For some reason, this instruction was ignored. Locklear and Elliott died when the plane hit the ground going at full throttle.
  • Angela Bassett's stunt double fell to her death on the set of the 1995 film Vampire in Brooklyn.
  • H.B. Halicki was crushed by a telephone pole felled by a broken cable during the filming of an unfinished sequel to the original Gone in Sixty Seconds.
  • In xXx, stuntman Harry O'Connor was killed while parasailing down the Vltava River when he crashed into a pillar of the Palacky Bridge instead of going under it. The footage, up to the point where he disappears behind one of the bridge columns, was used in the final film. The director points it out in the commentary.
  • Roy Kinnear died after accidentally falling from his horse on the set of The Return of the Musketeers.
  • A stuntman died during the filming of The Right Stuff. He was in the scene where Chuck Yeager bails out of a crashing F-104 prototype. There are conflicting reports on it, but his helmet filled with smoke, which either knocked him out, and prevented him from opening the chute, or screwed up his sense of when to open it.
  • Stuntman Paolo Rigonu became the first fatality on a James Bond movie when he was killed when the bobsled he was driving overturned while shooting a chase scene in For Your Eyes Only.
  • During filming of a scene in Gone Fishin' where a boat was supposed to jump over a ramp, fly over a hedge of mangroves, land between two other boats, and stop in the water, the boat slid off the side of the ramp, flipped over, and landed on a crowd of crew and extras, killing stuntwoman Janet Peters Wilder, and injuring both her husband Scott Wilder and his father Glenn R. Wilder.
  • Roger Delgado, during the filming of Bell of Tibet in Turkey, was killed with two Turkish film technicians while riding in a car that plunged off the road into a ravine. This deeply affected his close friend Jon Pertwee, who was the Third Doctor on Doctor Who at the time of the accident, with Delgado playing his archenemy the Master. Two years later, Pertwee left the role and Tom Baker took over. However, Delgado's untimely demise made it difficult to bring back the Master, and he did not return for several more years until his role was eventually recast to Peter Pratt, with the Master returning as a decrepit husk of his former self.
  • Midnight Rider, an adaptation of Gregg Allman's autobiography, ended up being shelved due to this. After filming a Dream Sequence scene illegally on a train track which involved actor William Hurt lying on a hospital gurney, the cast and crew tried to remove the equipment from the track before an oncoming train approached their filming location when the hospital gurney got stuck on the track. When the train hit the gurney, second camera assistant Sarah Jones was in turn struck by the gurney before being propelled by the recoil into the train's path where she was struck again, dying instantly. Hurt, who was on the gurney before the train hit it, was able to run to safety. The accident wouldn't have occurred had director Randall Miller listened to others that the scene was too dangerous to film at the location he'd picked, or if he had simply arranged with a railroad company somewhere to film the scene legally at a time when trains weren't running or on a track that wasn't active. Hurt quit the film a month later, while Allman was outraged by the incident and sued the production to stop the film from being completed. An OSHA investigation on the incident led to Miller being charged with manslaughter and the film being canned.
  • Silent film actress Martha Mansfield died from burns sustained on the set of The Warrens of Virginia in 1923. She was burned when a carelessly tossed cigarette ignited her frilly Civil War-era dress.
  • In 1907, the Clarendon Film Company attempted to shoot a Chained to a Railway scene with a local resident, Mr. Zeitz, playing the part of the victim. Thanks to a series of communication errors, Zeitz was run over by the train and killed.
  • While filming Deadpool 2, stuntwoman Joi SJ Harris was killed when she lost control of her motorcycle and crashed into a building.
  • Rob Stewart, creator of the documentaries Sharkwater and Revolution, disappeared on February 4, 2017 while on a deep-sea dive filming for a sequel to Sharkwater at the wreck of the Queen of Nassau. Two days later, his body was found about 300 feet from where he went missing.
  • While filming Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, a crewman was hit by a US Army Hummer and crushed.
  • A stunt performer drowned off the coast of Malibu during the filming of the skydiving sequence in wacky sex comedy Don't Make Waves.
  • Sound director James Emswiller died of a two-story fall during filming of the biopic A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood after suffering a heart attack on set.
  • Suburban Commando: Special Effects Technician Michael Colvin was accidentally killed on the stage of the second unit visual effects shoot when he fell through a trap door while testing it.
  • On September 21, 1978, stuntman AJ Bakunas attempted a record-breaking freefall from the top of the Kincaid Towers in Lexington, Kentucky, but was fatally injured when the airbag ruptured on impact.
  • Thai action film star Mitr Chaibancha fell to his death from a helicopter while filming the climactic scenes in the 1970 film Insee Thong ("Golden Eagle").

    Live-Action TV 
  • Steve Irwin was filming his own documentary, Ocean's Deadliest, when he was fatally stabbed in the chest by a stingray spine while snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef. Irwin was completely unaware of the stingray's presence until it stabbed him. The episode being filmed wasn't about stingrays. And stingrays aren't even all that dangerous; they're usually quite docile unless you step on one. Even then, while painful, the sting isn't deadly. It just happened to stab him in the heart, and on top of that Irwin instinctively pulled the stinger out, leading him to bleed to death.
  • Stuntman Tip Tipping was killed when his parachute failed to open while he was filming an episode of the British series 999, which was - ironically enough - a show with the premise of reenacting dangerous accidents.
  • Boris Sagal, director of The Omega Man and father of actress Katey Sagal, died like Vic Morrow; he was nearly decapitated when he walked into a helicopter blade during the filming of the miniseries World War III.
  • In 1986, a man named Michael Lush fell to his death while rehearsing a bungee stunt for The BBC's Variety Show The Late Late Breakfast Show, which included an item called "the Whirly Wheel" in which audience members were trained to do a different stunt each week. The death followed at least two potentially-fatal screw-ups involving earlier contestants, which had been covered up or Played for Laughs (one woman was injured doing a human cannonball act, and a car jumping act led to one vehicle crashing into a crowd, and a second landing on its roof and leaving the contestant with multiple injuries). The show was canceled immediately and the scandal nearly ruined presenter Noel Edmonds' career. Lush's death prompted a serious tightening of safety regulations for all stunt sequences on BBC shows and a total ban on dangerous stunts involving members of the public.
  • Actor Ken Steadman died when he flipped a dune buggy on the set of Sliders.
  • TV actor Jon-Erik Hexum accidentally killed himself in 1984 with a blank cartridge on the set of the CBS series Cover-Up by firing it into the side of his head. He was goofing around with the prop in an attempt to lighten the mood on set, and apparently, he either thought the gun had been unloaded between takes or was simply unaware that blanks were still dangerous when fired at close range. The muzzle pressure generated by the blank proved sufficient to blow a plug of his own skull completely through his brain in much the same way some nail guns use blank cartridges to drive nails into concrete and steel. The show continued the rest of its first season with a new actor playing a new character replacing Hexum's, but was not renewed by the network.
  • A jeep crane driver was killed during the filming of the Kraft Suspense Theatre episode "The Jack Is High".
  • In 1990, magician Joe Burrus attempted to replicate one of Harry Houdini's most dangerous trick: escaping from a coffin while Buried Alivenote . He would be bound in a straitjacket, handcuffed, and chained in a Plexiglas coffin that was buried under dirt and concrete, the intent being to escape from the coffin and emerge from the wet cement. Unfortunately, the dirt and concrete were far too heavy for the coffin, which collapsed, the cement crushing him to death.
  • During production of the season 8 premiere of The X-Files, one crew member was killed and six others were injured when a power line struck a scaffolding, sending a 4,800-volt charge through the 15-foot-high structure.
  • Brazilian soap opera star Domingos Montagner drowned after he decided to take a swim in a river near where the soap Velho Chico was being shot after a day of filming, but he quickly found himself overcome by the currents. One of his co-stars tried calling for help as he was swept downstream but the locals apparently thought that they were shooting a scene from the soap and did nothing to help.
  • In Phoenix, Arizona on July 27, 2007, two helicopters from stations KTVK and KNXV-TV collided in mid-air over a public park while covering a police pursuit, killing all four: pilot Scott Bowerback and photographer Jim Cox in the KTVK chopper, pilot Craig Smith and photographer Rick Krolak on the KNXV side. Smith's last words were "Oh jeez!" right before the crash.
  • In 2015, during the filming of a French "wilderness survival" Reality Show called Dropped, three contestants - all French Olympic medallists, Florence Arthaud (sailing), Camille Muffat (swimming), and Alexis Vastine (boxing) - and seven crew members were killed when two helicopters taking them to a filming location collided with each other and crashed with no survivors. The show was immediately canceled with the completed first episode never broadcast.
  • In June 2019, Filipino actor Eddie Garcia was rushed to the hospital after tripping on a cable wire and hitting his head on the pavement while he was shooting a scene for GMA Network's upcoming TV series, Rosang Agimat. Garcia suffered neck and cervical injuries from the fall and died 12 days later. This led the Department of Labor and Employment to investigate whether GMA Network followed OSH standards after it was noted there was no medical team or safety officer during the time of the shooting.
  • New Orleans television reporter Nancy Parker was killed in a plane crash in August 2019 while filming a news segment on pioneering stunt plane pilot Franklin Augustus, who was also killed in the crash.
  • Daredevil and flat Earth conspiracy theorist "Mad" Mike Hughes was killed in the February 2020 crash of his homemade steam-powered rocket. The launch was being filmed for the Science Channel series Homemade Astronauts. Hughes had been attempting to launch himself in his rocket for years in his attempts to prove his beliefs but had been blocked several times because he refused to test his vehicle or file for permits, and his only two successful launches had proven to be life-threatening: He was seriously injured from the first attempt in 2014 and made a hard landing on the second attempt in 2018.
  • Rawhide star Eric Fleming was accidentally drowned in 1966 while filming High Jungle, an installment of the short-lived ABC anthology series Off to See the Wizard. During a location shoot on the Huallaga River in Peru, the canoe Fleming and co-star Nico Minardos were riding in capsized and overturned. Minardos was able to swim to safety, but Fleming was swept away by the current and drowned. High Jungle was never completed.

Improvements to safety equipment, race tracks and medical care since the 1980s mean that motorsports are far less dangerous than they once had been, but several notable racers have been killed in recent decades (a more complete list of drivers who have died in motorsports crashes can be found here):
  • Legendary stock car racer Dale Earnhardt died on February 18, 2001, on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500, one of the most televised races in NASCAR history, when Sterling Marlin took the air off his spoiler and caused him to lose control, hooking on the front of Ken Schrader's car and smashing headlong into the wall at 155 to 160 MPH and suffering a fatal basilar skull fracture. He was the fourth NASCAR driver in nine months killed by a basilar skull fracture, after Adam Petty (May 2000), Kenny Irwin Jr. (July 2000), and Tony Roper (October 2000), all of whom were killed in similar crashes. The death of Earnhardt was the last straw for NASCAR, who mandated the Head and Neck Restraint (HANS device) for all drivers, installed the SAFER barrier at all tracks, and created the Car of Tomorrow.
  • In October of the same year as Dale Earnhardt's fatal crash, ARCA racer Blaise Alexander attempted to pass Kerry Earnhardt (Dale Earnhardt's son, and Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s older half-brother) for the lead of the race, and as he came up past Kerry, he collided with Kerry's fender and got turned up into the wall, smashing headlong into it, and flipping Kerry's car. Kerry Earnhardt was unhurt but Blaise suffered a fatal basilar skull fracture in the wreck. This crash caused HANS devices to become mandatory in ARCA races.
  • In 1994 triple Formula One champion Ayrton Senna died on lap seven of the San Marino Grand Prix. His car failed to negotiate a fast left-hand corner (possibly through steering failure, although the cause has never been fully determined) and he went straight into a wall. Though what killed him wasn't the force of the crash but the wheel's suspension parts that flew back and hit his crash helmet. He was airlifted to a nearby hospital but didn't survive. That same weekend rookie Roland Ratzenberger died in another high-speed accident and Rubens Barrichello was injured in yet another. The FIA ordered redesigns of the track and more developments in car safety.
  • During the last race of the 2011 Indy Car season, Dan Wheldon - who had won the Indianapolis 500 that year - was involved in a major accident that flung his car cockpit-first into the catch fence, tearing away the safety hoop and giving Dan unsurvivable head injuries. He died later that day, and the race was canceled after 12 laps due to Wheldon's death and how long it was taking to make repairs; the accident was one of the most violent in recent memory. The race was held at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, which IndyCar had not raced at for years, and in that time, the track had been reconfigured specifically for NASCAR. Factors included the narrowness of the track and the simple fact that there were 34 cars (keep in mind, this is bigger than the Indianapolis 500 field). The huge pack that quickly formed, combined with several rookies racing on a track they had zero experience on, conspired to create a massive 15-car pileup, killing Wheldon, seriously injuring Will Power, J.R. Hildebrand, and Pippa Mann, and severely damaging both the catch fence and the racing surface itself.
  • MotoGP rider Marco Simoncelli died after an incident during the 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix just a week after the death of Dan Wheldon. He lost control of his motorcycle and had already gone to the run-off area (with Simoncelli holding on its side) when the bike suddenly regained its grip and cut back across the track into the path of other riders and was struck in the head and neck by Valentino Rossi, and in the chest by Colin Edwards; with Rossi's impact resulting in his helmet becoming dislodged. The race was stopped and then canceled after the extent of Simoncelli's injuries became apparent. He died in the circuit's medical center after 45 minutes of CPR.
  • During the 2010 San Marino Motorcycle Grand Prix, Moto2 rider Shoya Tomizawa was fatally injured when he fell down in the track's very fast right-hand turn right in front of two other riders, Scott Redding and Alex de Angelis. The two ended up running over Tomizawa, as there was no other way to go when Tomizawa fell down.
  • During the second practice session of 2016 Catalan motorcycle Grand Prix, Moto2 rider Luis Salom lost his life when he fell down at the Europcar corner. As the bike hit the air-fences and bounced upwards, Salom ended up sliding directly underneath it, resulting in the bike crushing Salom's body. The practice session was stopped immediately and he was rushed to the hospital, but he died at 16:50 local time. As a result, the event temporarily switched to the Formula One layout to reduce speed in the part where Salom crashed, before said track layout changes were made mandatory in the following season. Following safety improvements, the Europcar corner was reinstated to the circuit in 2018.
  • The 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans broke its streak of nearly thirty years without a fatal crash during the race and sixteen years without a fatal crash during the event as a whole when driver Allan Simonsen lost control of his Aston Martin Vantage GTE and smashed into the Armco barrier, driver side first, at speeds approaching 105 miles an hour, demolishing the car and suffering a fatal aortal separation. It is likely he would have survived the accident if the spot where he hit the barrier had not had a mature, solid tree on the other side.
  • A week before Allan Simonsen's death, former NASCAR driver Jason Leffler was fatally injured when his sprint car rolled over several times causing severe blunt force injuries to his neck. He died a few hours later.
  • The deadliest accident in motorsport history took place during the 1955 24 Hours of Le Mans, when Pierre Levegh's Mercedes-Benz went out of control due to a glancing collision, crashed into a stand full of spectators at high speed, and caught fire, fuelled by the high magnesium content in the bodywork. Levegh and 83 spectators were killed, driving significant safety improvements in motor racing.
  • Top Fuel Funny Car racer Scott Kalitta was killed in 2008 when his car's engine exploded during a qualifying run, preventing his parachutes from deploying and causing his car to crash into a concrete pillar at 300mph.
  • On August 9, 2014, during a dirt race in Canandaigua, New York, Sprint car driver Kevin Ward Jr. was angrily pointing at NASCAR driver Tony Stewart, who was also racing at the track that night (Stewart had knocked him into the wall) while standing in the middle of the track, when Stewart struck and killed him, briefly dragging his body under his sprint car.
  • In 2009, during a Formula 2 race, Jack Clarke spun out and hit a tree, sending his wheel assembly bouncing across the track. Said assembly hit Henry Surtees square in the head, causing injuries that he succumbed to later that day.
  • During the 2014 Formula One Japanese Grand Prix, Adrian Sutil lost control of his car in heavy rain and crashed. He was unhurt, but while his car was being retrieved by a crane, Jules Bianchi lost control at the same spot and crashed into the crane, suffering head injuries that he ultimately succumbed to in July 2015. The drivers had been split on whether the race should have continued as long as it had, because the track was still soaked and it was getting dark and hard to see where the puddles were. (To make matters more galling, many of the support races had been moved to earlier in the day because a typhoon was predicted to make landfall, but not the F1 race itself.) Bianchi's death prompted the FIA to introduce the "halo" head protection device starting in 2018.
  • On August 23, 2015 Indy Car driver Justin Wilson suffered a massive head injury when the nosecone on Sage Karam's car came off when he hit the wall and hit Wilson in the head. He died the next day, prompting renewed calls for open-wheel cars to have closed cockpits, being the latest in a series of incidents where drivers have suffered head injuries from being hit by objects and coming less than two months after Bianchi's death (see above).
  • NHRA driver Darrell Russell was killed in 2004 after a tire blew out on his dragster, splitting it into three pieces and sending metal shrapnel from the engine into his head.
  • Three-time Indy 500 driver Bryan Clauson was killed in a midget car race in August 2016, when his car clipped a lapped car and rolled over several times, followed by being hit by another car. He had been trying to run 200 races that year and died in his 119th.
  • The death of Champ Car driver Greg Moore at the final race of 1999 at Fontana Motor Speedway was a collection of ironies - after a season saddled with an uncompetitive Mercedes engine, Moore was due to join Penske for 2000 - they ultimately won the next two titles. On the Friday of the meeting Moore was knocked off his scooter in a paddock accident, fracturing his hand - he was only cleared to drive (from the back of the grid) on the morning of the race. On lap ten he lost control, left the track, went across an access road, and the car barrel-rolled, with the car's Black Box registering the impact at 154g. Moore was pronounced dead during the race, although the teams weren't informed until later.
  • While the minimally restricted Group B was already on thin ice in 1986 after three spectators were killed in a rally earlier that year, as well as the death of Attilio Bettega in 1985, it was ultimately done in by the deaths of Henri Toivonen and his co-driver Sergio Cresto at the 1986 Tour de Corse in Corsica, when their Lancia Delta S4 left the road and rolled down the hill several times, bursting into flames. The two were burned to death, unable to get out of their car, which was made of kevlar reinforced plastic over an aluminum roll cage, which burned so rapidly and so hot that the car was unrecognizable as one when rescuers finally got there (though reports indicate it took them half an hour to get there).
  • One of the more gruesome deaths in motorsport was that of NASCAR Sportsman Division driver Russell Phillips in 1995. The accident involved his car being shoved roof-first against the track's catch fence and ground at high-speed. The roof was quickly sheared away, leaving Phillips to be literally torn apart by the force.
  • In the 1996 Dakar Rally, Laurent Gueguen, driving a Mercedes support truck, got caught up in a fight between the Moroccan army and rebels, then hit a landmine, causing his truck to explode and killing him instantly. His co-drivers survived.
  • On August 31, 2019, French Formula 2 driver Antoine Hubert was killed in an accident at Spa Francorchamps, when his car hit a barrier trying to avoid a spinning car and bounced back into traffic, followed by being t-boned by American Juan Manuel Correa who had nowhere to go, utterly destroying both cars. The race was immediately red-flagged, then canceled shortly thereafter, due to the injuries suffered by Hubert. Correa himself only narrowly survived.
  • In 2019 Afridza Munandar, racing in the Asia Talent Cup, a feeder series for Moto GP, was killed after making contact with another rider and going down on a first-lap crash at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia.
  • You don't even need to be a driver to risk dying in motorsport:
    • During the last race of the 1990 NASCAR season, while coming down pit road, Ricky Rudd spun out and accidentally crushed Bill Elliott's right rear tire changer Mike Ritch between their two cars, fatally injuring him. This incident led to the implementation of pit road speed limits in NASCAR.
    • On the first lap of the 2000 Italian Grand Prix, Rubens Barrichello and Heinz-Harald Frentzen collided at the Variante della Roggia chicane, then struck Jarno Trulli and David Coulthard, eliminating all four cars. A wheel that had been torn from one of the carsnote  struck fire marshal Paolo Gislimberti, killing him instantly. Just four races later, at the 2001 Australian Grand Prix, Jacques Villeneuve ran into the back of Ralf Schumacher; his right-rear wheel detached, flew through a narrow gap in the catch fencing, and struck track marshal Graham Beveridge, who was also killed instantly. As a direct result of these incidents, the FIA increased both the strength and the number of tethers on each wheel, to stop them flying off so easily during crashes.
    • At the 1977 South African Grand Prix, track marshal Frederick Jansen van Vuuren and driver Tom Pryce were both killed when Pryce's car collided with Jansen van Vuuren at 270 km/h as he was rushing across the track to extinguish a burning car driven by Renzo Zorzi. Jansen van Vuuren's fire extinguisher then hit Pryce in the face, wrenching his helmet upwards sharply and breaking his neck.

  • R&B singer Johnny Ace was taking a break backstage between sets at a concert in Texas on Christmas Day 1954 when he was playing with a revolver, declaring that he knew which chamber was loaded. He pointed it at his head and fired, killing him.
  • Les Harvey, the guitarist for Scottish rock band Stone the Crows, was electrocuted live on stage in 1972. During a soundcheck, he took hold of a microphone; unfortunately, his hand was covered in sweat (which, given its salt content, is a great conductor). A roadie tried to save him by unplugging the amp, but the damage was done. An accident very like this one — possibly based on it, possibly a coincidence — featured in an educational film for young children about the dangers of electricity in the mid-'90s.
  • Curtis Mayfield: equipment falling on him caused severe injuries. He was paralyzed from the neck down though he continued to record. His paralysis, as well as diabetes, eventually caused his death, but it would take 9 years. He still recorded one more album, New World Order, entirely on his back (so that he had enough breath to do vocals).
  • Bill Duffield, the lighting director for Kate Bush's 1979 Tour of Life, died when he fell through the rigging and onto the stage shortly before the tour's first performance in Poole, England. His death deeply affected Bush and is often rumored to be one of the reasons she stopped touring for thirty-five years after the Tour of Life finished.
  • Ty Longley, guitarist for the band Great White was on stage in West Warwick, Rhode Island when pyrotechnics used by the band's crew created a spray of sparks that ignited the foam soundproofing material in the ceiling around the stage. 100 people died in the resulting fire, including Longley.
  • Scott Johnson, the drum technician for the British rock band Radiohead was killed in a stage collapse in Toronto in June 2012. The band was about to start their soundcheck, and the collapse happened only an hour before a sold-out concert was to start. Radiohead spent several years urging for a criminal investigation into Johnson's death and were not happy when proceedings were first delayed and then stalled altogether.
  • The French Baroque composer Jean-Baptiste Lully accidentally stabbed his own foot while beating time on the floor with a heavy stick during a musical performance. The wound became infected and he died from gangrene.
  • Indonesian singer Irma Bule was famous for "wearing" snakes during her performances. In April 2016, Bule danced with a king cobra that had not been defanged and stepped on its tail by accident. The cobra bit her and she died less than an hour later.
  • In 2015, the Romanian metal band Goodbye to Gravity were performing a free concert at the club Colectiv to celebrate the release of their Mantras of War album when the stage pyrotechnics set off a fire. The club's owners had deliberately ignored fire-safety regulations, and so the fire spread rapidly. 65 people died, including all members of the band except for lead vocalist Andrei Galut. Colectiv's owners were arrested on various charges following the fire.
  • In July 2017, up and coming French singer Barbara Weldens died onstage, after being electrocuted by a faulty piece of equipment she stepped on while performing barefoot in the French village of Gourdon. Making it more tragic was the fact that she had released her first album, to massive critical acclaim in her home country, in February of that year.
  • Will Sinnott, the bassist for the British alternative dance group The Shamen, drowned off the coast of Tenerife in 1991 while on break from filming the band's video for the song "Move Any Mountain". The band completed the video and dedicated it to his memory.
  • R&B singer Aaliyah died in a plane crash while leaving The Bahamas after filming the music video for "Rock The Boat". It becomes a little chilling watching the making-the-video special she filmed with BET; the end where she bids the BET crew farewell and leaves the set was the last time she was seen alive on camera.
  • The Indonesian pop-rock band Seventeen was hosting a concert at a beach in Tanjung Lesung in December 2018, when an unexpected major tsunami from a volcano hit the beach on which they were performing, killing three of the band's four members (the sole survivor was lead vocalist Ifan) and their manager.
  • Young country artist Justin Carter was killed in a music video shoot when a loaded gun in his pocket wound up going off and hitting him next to his eye.
  • On September 1, 2019, Spanish singer Joana Sainz García was killed during a performance with the Super Hollywood Orchestra at a concert in Las Berlanas when the pyrotechnics malfunctioned and hit her. She was later pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Owen Hart fell to his death in the Kemper Arena during WWE's Over the Edge pay-per-view show in 1999, while preparing for a big stunt entrance that would see him, as his Hulk Hogan parody character The Blue Blazer, being lowered in from the rafters. He had done so in a rehearsal earlier in the day with no problems, but unlike Sting's harness circa 1997, which had multiple connection points and a full vest that took a good amount of time to remove once he actually landed, Owen's contraption was held with a single release point around his chest that could be (and probably was) triggered simply by breathing too deeply. Regardless, he ended up falling nearly seventy-eight feet while being lowered, where his chest impacted the top rope. He managed to survive until arriving at the hospital but was soon after pronounced dead from a severed blood vessel near the heart.
    • Morbidly and sadly ironic in that, rumor has it, he was supposed to fall and look like a doofus as part of the work, except from a much shorter and safer height (and falling on the mat, not the top rope). Sadly, to accomplish this, a harness without safety backups had to be used, otherwise, the stunt could not be performed properly.
    • This led to a series of disputes and lawsuits between Vince McMahon's company and the Hart family. The latter was divided into two camps, and the bitterness got to the point where one side faxed important case information to Vince, which forced a settlement.
    • DC101 radio show personality Bryan "Flounder" Schlossberg conducted a phone interview with wrestler Jake "The Snake" Roberts shortly afterward. Flounder mentioned Hart's death, with Roberts' reaction showing this was the first time he had heard; Roberts abruptly said goodbye and hung up at that point.
  • Legendary Japanese pro wrestling star Mitsuharu Misawa died in 2009 after an internal decapitation from taking a "typical" backdrop suplex, a common Finishing Move in puroresu. This is part Medical in that Misawa had taken many neck, head and upper shoulder bumps like the one for this move for many years and never got his neck checked out for exams or took an extended leave of absence, leaving his neck in a very weakened state. He had also been complaining about neck pains and numbness since earlier that year and maybe the previous one.
  • On May 28, 2001, during a training session, Dalip Singh (The Great Khali) hit Brian Ong with a move called the flapjack, but Brian suffered a concussion and died. All-Pro Wrestling was found liable because the two did not train with protective padding and Brian had been ordered to continue training by the higher-ups despite having suffered a previous concussion.
  • On March 21, 2015, in AAA, Rey Mysterio Jr. attempted to set up Perro Aguayo Jr. for his patented 619 maneuver, but Aguayo's neck snapped when it hit the ropes. Konnan tried to revive him, but Aguayo was pronounced dead in the hospital a few hours later.

  • Radio traffic reporter Jane Dornackernote  of WNBC in New York City died on October 22, 1986, when her helicopter crashed right in the middle of her traffic report. Her last words were, "The outbound Lincoln Tunnel looks a lot better for you. In New Jersey... Hit the water! Hit the water!" It's likely that she yelled for her pilot to hit the water because six months earlier she had been in a similar helicopter crash while doing a traffic report. That helicopter crashed into the Hackensack River in New Jersey. Both she and her pilot survived and were able to swim to shore. However, in the second crash, the helicopter clipped a chain-link fence and flipped over, trapping Dornacker and her pilot underwater in the Hudson River (her pilot was seriously injured, but survived). Sadly, the accident also orphaned Dornacker's teenage daughter, whose father had died three months prior.
  • Radio traffic reporter Bruce Wayne (Bruce F. Talford) of KFI in Los Angeles died on June 4, 1986, shortly after the KFI traffic plane took off from the Fullerton Airport.

    Sports (Excluding Motorsports) 
  • There are many incidents of athletes dying during competition from either accidents or medical reasons. The Other Wiki lists these here and here (although the latter list also includes athletes who died during their career, but not during competition).
  • Boxing has a high death toll for obvious reasons. One of the more infamous boxing deaths was that of Duk Koo Kim, who collapsed into a coma on his stool moments after getting knocked out by Ray Mancini in 1982. He was taken off in a stretcher and was pronounced brain dead in the hospital soon after. The fight had been nationally televised in America by CBS.
  • On February 6, 1994, Sgt. Dana Bowman and Sgt. Jose Aguillon, members of the US Army's elite Golden Knights skydiving team, were performing a Diamond Track maneuvernote , but flew too close and collided with each other at a combined speed of 300 mph. Aguillon was killed instantly by the impact; Bowman, although having his legs sheared off, survived.
    • On August 14, 2015, another Golden Knights skydiver, Sgt. 1st Class Corey Hood, collided with Timmy Holland of the US Navy Leap Frogs during a "bomb burst" group maneuver at the Chicago Air and Water Show, and was knocked unconscious; some witnesses thought it was All Part of the Show. Although Hood's reserve chute deployed, he struck a building, falling thirty stories, and died at Northwestern Memorial Hospital that afternoon. By contrast, Holland only suffered a broken leg upon landing at North Avenue Beach.
  • On April 12, 1909, Philadelphia Athletics catcher Doc Powers crashed into a wall chasing a pop-up and died two weeks later from post-operative peritonitis related to the injury. What made it worse was the fatal injury happened during the first ever game at the then-new Shibe Park.
  • On August 16, 1920, Cleveland Indians shortstop Ray Chapman was hit in the head by a pitch from the New York Yankees' Carl Mays and died of a massive skull fracture the following day. The ball was very dirty, making it incredibly hard to see and much heavier. This was before the days of batting helmets too. Chapman is only the second of two major league players killed by an on-field injury in major league baseball history.
  • Mike Coolbaugh was the first-base coach for the Tulsa Drillers (back then a Double-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies). On July 22, 2007, during a game against the Arkansas Travelers (back then a Double-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels), a foul line-drive hit by the Drillers' Tino Sanchez hit Coolbaugh in the neck, crushing his left vertebral artery and causing a fatal brain bleed. As a direct result of this incident, Major League Baseball now requires all base coaches to wear helmets.
  • American football players who have died of injuries suffered during a game include two players for the American Football League who died of neck injuries during the early 1960s, and Arena Football League player Al Lucas, who also died of a neck injury in 2005.
  • There have been several players who have been killed during college football games since the 1890s, although these slowed considerably after the 1920s and the game evolved into a less brutal form. Fatal incidents on the field have been extremely rare since the mid-1960s, with the most prominent cases being those of University of Arkansas tackle Claude Smithey in 1966 and University of Akron tight end Chris Angeloff in 1975. When Midwestern State University cornerback Robert Grays Jr. died of a neck injury during a game in September 2017, he was the first college player to die in a game since 1990.
  • One NHL hockey player has died as a result of injuries on the ice. In 1968, Bill Masterton of the Minnesota North Stars fell backward and hit his head on the ice after being checked. Before he lost consciousness he was heard to whisper "Never again. Never again." Masterton died two days later without regaining consciousness. He was not wearing a helmet; it would be 11 more years before the NHL made helmets mandatory. The Bill Masterton Trophy is now given to players who exhibit "perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey."
  • Ludek Cajka's death in 1990 from a broken neck in a Czechoslovakian league hockey game resulted in the changing of the icing rule in hockey to no-touch throughout almost all of European hockey for 15 years. Interestingly, while most leagues overseas do still use it, the Czech Republic has returned to touch icing starting in 2005.
  • Although the X Games has portrayed several incredibly violent-looking wipeouts, only once has such an accident resulted in death: Caleb Moore died of injuries sustained from a snowmobile stunt wreck at the 2013 Winter Games in Aspen. Made even more gut-wrenching in that he walked away from that wreck.
  • While not as noticeable as human athletes, racehorses, particularly thoroughbreds, have a very high propensity to accidents that lead to their deaths while racing. Current breeding of thoroughbreds has led to animals with incredibly strong muscles, but bones that are fragile. Pretty much any broken bone, even a fracture, in any leg of a horse leads to euthanasia.
    • One of the most notable came during the 2008 Kentucky Derby. Eight Belles, a filly which had just finished in second place, collapsed from exhaustion and suffered serious ankle fractures. She was euthanized right on the track, in front of spectators and the live television audience, before the race was even finished.
    • Santa Anita Raceway in Southern California became infamous for horse deaths in 2019 after 26 horses died or had to be euthanized in six months. Reviews of the racing surface and safety policies revealed no obvious cause either.
  • In ancient Rome, death during chariot races was so routine that it was considered part of the show. The result was that the Catholic Church actually refused to baptize chariot racers and anyone who was associated with chariot races and imposed strict penances for watching a chariot race.
  • In a freak accident (as in the injury it caused was very rare and only one other case resulted from a cricket ball), Cricketer Phillip Hughes was struck in the neck by a bouncer bowled by Sean Abbott, leading to internal bleeding; he died in hospital 2 days later.
    • Just short of a year later, Namibian cricketer Raymond van Schoor suffered a stroke while playing in the South African domestic 50-over competition, leaving him in a coma; he passed away in hospital 5 days later.
  • On September 10th, 1983, American tennis linesman Dick Wertheim was officiating at the 1983 US Open when an errant serve by a then 17-year-old Stefan Edberg struck him in the groin... and caused him to fall out of his chair backward, then hit his head on the hardcourt. He died in the hospital five days later. Edberg was not charged in Wertheim's death, and his tennis career recovered.
  • Cycling can be a dangerous sport, with long and fast descents, proximity to motorcycles and a drug problem that the sport has been trying to end.
    • On May 9th, 2011, Belgian cyclist Wouter Weylandt died during stage 3 of Giro d'Italia, crashing on the descent of Passo del Bocco.
    • On August 26, 1960, Danish cyclist Knud Enemark Jensen collapsed while participating in the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome and suffered a fatal skull fracture. It later emerged that he had been taking a cocktail of drugs including amphetamine and nicotinyl alcohol prior to the fatal collapse, making his death one of the first major doping scandals in the sport's history.
    • On July 13th, 1967, British cyclist Tom Simpsons died during stage 13 of Tour de France, cycling up Mont Ventoux. The official cause of death was heart failure caused by exhaustion. He had taken amphetamines and alcohol prior to the incident.
    • On July 14th, 1935, Spanish cyclist Francisco Cepeda died during Tour de France, crashing while making the descent from Col du Galibier.
    • On July 18th, 1995, Italian cyclist Fabio Casartelli died during stage 15 of Tour de France, crashing on the descent from Col de Portet d'Aspet. His head collided with concrete blocks along the road.
    • On March 12th, 2003, Kazakh cyclist Andrey Kivilev crashed into two other riders during stage 2 of Paris-Nice, fell to the ground without a helmet and hit his head so bad that he could not recover. This death caused UCI to make helmets mandatory for professionals.
    • On June 1, 2008, Mexican cyclist Alejandro Alvarez was killed when a drunk driver plowed into his team during a race on the highway between the towns of Playa Bagdad and Matamoros. The moment of impact was captured on camera by local photographer Jose Fidelino Vera Hernandez
    • On March 27th, 2016, Belgian cyclist Antoine Demoitié crashed during the one day race Gent-Wevelgem, and was subsequently hit by one of the motorcycles that follow the race, leading to fatal injuries.
  • On Jan 17, 2015, former Army Ranger turned fitness model and YouTuber Greg Plitt was filming a promotional video that depicted him Racing the Train on foot, when he stumbled on the tracks and was run down.
  • On July 19, 1982, during the fencing World Championships in Rome, foilist Vladimir Smirnov of the Soviet Union was fencing Matthias Behr of West Germany when Behr's foil snapped and the broken blade penetrated Smirnov's mask and went through his eye orbit into his brain. He was kept on life support during the championship but died on July 28.
  • Rodeo meets (especially bull riding) have definitely had their share of deaths in the ring. Most prominent of these is the 1989 death of Lane Frost, who had his ribs broken and pushed into his heart from a collision with the horn from the bull he was riding.
  • Several toreros (bullfighters) have been gored by the bulls they're supposed to fight. Some of them are: Ignacio Sánchez Mejías (whose death was the inspiration for a poem by none other than Federico García Lorca), Manolete, Paquirri (husband of the singer Isabel Pantoja) and Iván Fandiño (who actually tripped on his supplies and then got gored).

  • British stage magician William Robinson, who performed in Yellowface as Chung Ling Soo, died in 1918 when his "bullet catch" trick failed. A poorly-maintained gun fired the actual bullet as well as the harmless blank charge.
  • Part of what made Harry Houdini so successful as a stage magician was that he was exceptionally strong and flexible, particularly being famous for being able to No-Sell punches to the stomach. A visitor at an event once asked him about the rumor, and when told it was true, went to town on him. Problem was, Houdini had been suffering from appendicitis at the time. A common belief around the time was that the punches actually ruptured his appendix because the visitor just started punching with no warning and if he'd had time to prepare and flex his abs he might have survived; it's now instead believed that the punches didn't actually rupture his appendix, but rather when it ruptured on its own sometime later, Houdini misattributed the pain from that as lingering soreness from the punches, and didn't seek medical treatment because he didn't realize how serious it was. In either case, he collapsed on stage several days later from the peritonitis that led to his death shortly after.
  • Actor Antony Wheeler accidentally hanged himself while performing Judas' climactic suicide scene in Jesus Christ Superstar.
  • Karl Wallenda, the patriarch of the famous Wallenda family of acrobats, fell to his death while walking on a wire between two buildings in Puerto Rico in 1978.
    • Several other Wallendas had died during a performance before Karl's accident. In 1962, a performance of their famed pyramid stunt resulted in an accident that killed three family members and caused life-long injuries to two more. Karl's sister-in-law died from an in-performance fall in Nebraska the next year. Karl's son-in-law died in a rigging-related accident in 1972.
    • Nik Wallenda, Karl's great-grandson, successfully completed the Puerto Rico stunt in 2011. His team has considerable safety practices in place to ensure that what happened to the other Wallendas doesn't happen to him during his death-defying stunts. For instance, he was forced to have a harness attached despite his wishes during his Niagara Falls wire walk stunt precisely to avoid this because it was recorded live and the network didn't want to risk his death airing on live TV if he failed, although he was successful. In his later Grand Canyon crossing, he was allowed to do it sans safety equipment, but the recording had a 10-second delay to give the network time to stop the broadcast if he fell, but again, he was successful.
  • There is an apocryphal story of a production of Macbeth in which Duncan's murder was shown onstage. The prop daggers the title character used to stab him were somehow replaced with real daggers and the actor playing Duncan was stabbed to death. Whether this is a true story or just used to remind the cast and crew to be careful with stage weapons is difficult to say, but it certainly fits the particular superstitions about the play.
  • One Uncle John's Bathroom Reader book relates the story of a Passion Play where Longinus' actor grabbed a real spear instead of a prop spear with a retractable blade, a fact which wasn't discovered until after he stabbed the actor playing Jesus, who shouted "Jesus Christ, I've been stabbed!" and was immediately rushed to the hospital.
  • On June 29, 2013, Sarah Guyard-Guillot, a performer in Cirque du Soleil's , fell to the underbelly of the stage area during the climactic Wire Fu sequence. Her injuries proved fatal, making her the first Cirque performer to die from an onstage mishap. A second on-stage death occurred on March 17, 2018, in Tampa, during a performance of the show Volta when aerialist Yann Arnaud fell headfirst to the stage after losing his grip on an aerial strap and died later that day in the hospital.
  • Wayne Franzen, owner of the Franzen Brothers Circus, was mauled to death by one of his own tigers in Carrolltown, PA in 1997 in front of students from six different schools.
  • Raphael Schumacher was performing the play Mirages at the Teatro Lux in Pisa when the hanging scenenote  he was performing went wrong and a member of the audience, a medical student, rushed to the stage to attempt to revive him. He died later in hospital after being declared clinically dead.
  • Egyptian lion tamer Shaheen Islam was fatally mauled while giving a presentation for students at a circus show in Alexandria on Dec 2, 2016.
  • On November 29, 2016, Olivier Rochette, Cirque du Soleil technician and son of company co-founder Gilles Ste-Croix, was fatally struck by a telescoping lift during the pre-set of Luzia in San Francisco, leading to that night's performance being canceled.
  • In 2017, the then-upcoming Attack on Titan stage play was cancelled after one of the acrobats fell 10 meters (about 30 feet) from the fifth to second floor of the theater while inspecting the equipment for wire action sequences and suspended himself in mid-air using the equipment. He suffered a cardiopulmonary arrest and was pronounced dead when he arrived in the hospital.
  • On Feb. 1, 2005, while loading three Asian elephants onto a trailer following the annual Shrine Circus in Fort Wayne, Indiana, trainer Pierre Spenle fell and was trampled to death by the animals when the security bar he was leaning on suddenly gave way.
  • On July 4, 2019, Circo Orfei animal trainer Ettore Weber was pounced on and torn apart by four tigers during a rehearsal.

  • Custom motorcycle builder "Indian" Larry DeSmedt had a stunt where he would stand on the seat of a moving motorcycle and maintain his balance as it went. On August 30, 2004, he was performing this stunt for a crowd when he lost his balance and crashed, later dying from his injuries.


    Live-Action TV 

  • In 2004, guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, formerly of Pantera, and three others were shot onstage by a mentally unstable fan while Abbott was performing with his new band Damageplan. The shooter was shot and killed, also onstage, by the police.
  • Trumpeter Lee Morgan was shot on stage by his common-law wife.
  • Brazilian rapper Daniel "MC Daleste" Pellegrine was shot on stage during an open-air concert by an unidentified individual, and died the following day.
  • Several Mexican singers who perform in the narcocorrido ("drug ballad") style of Norteno music have met grisly or suspicious ends that often parallel the music that they perform. Among these is Rogelio Contreras, a percussionist for the group Los Kumbiamberos RS, who was kidnapped on-stage by armed assailants in the middle of a 2015 concert and murdered outside of the venue.
  • Christina Grimmie was gunned down at a fan meet and greet after a concert in Orlando in 2016.

  • In 2014, Mexican activist Atilano Roman Tirado was shot dead by gunmen during his weekly radio show.

  • In the 1991 Paris-Dakar rally, Charles Cabannes, who was driving a support truck for the Citroen team, was shot dead by rebels while passing through a small village in Mali.

    Video Games 
  • Professional Madden NFL player Eli "Trueboy" Clayton was murdered in August 2018 while in the middle of competing in a Madden tournament at a Jacksonville, Florida arcade. The tournament was being broadcast live on Twitch, and Clayton was in the middle of a game when a disgruntled player that had been eliminated killed two people and injured 11. In a particularly lurid turn, hundreds of Twitch viewers reported seeing a red laser sight on Clayton's chest shortly before he was shot and the stream abruptly ended.


  • Al Mulock, a Canadian actor playing one of the gunmen in Once Upon a Time in the West's opening scene, died of suicide by jumping out his hotel window - in full costume - between takes.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A number of suicides have been recorded on TV, either set up deliberately (as in the case of Budd Dwyer; see below) or because a news crew happened to be passing at the time. However, the only case of a professional performer doing so seems to have been Christine "Chris" Chubbuck, a talk show host for the Sarasota channel WXLT-TV, who shot herself dead during a live show, Suncoast Digest, on July 15, 1974. She announced her intention on live transmission right before doing it, too; mercifully, nobody seems to have been recording it, and the master tape is now under the possession of her younger brother Greg, who has no intention of releasing it.
  • On January 22, 1987, Pennsylvania state treasurer R. Budd Dwyer called a live press conference the day before his sentencing on bribery charges. After giving a brief speech, he produced a manila envelope, pulled a .357 Magnum revolver out of it, and shot himself in the mouth. the footage of the actual suicide is on YouTube and is gruesome even for the quality of the video.
    • A witness against Dwyer later claimed he lied to receive a lighter sentence. Dwyer may have committed suicide so that his family could collect his life insurance and pension (Dwyer's life insurance policy did not include the usual exclusion for suicide).
  • On September 28, 2012, American news broadcaster Fox News accidentally aired a live suicide at the end of a car chase they were airing. They had little warning of what the man was about to do and were unable to cut the live feed in time before he took his life. The anchor, an obviously horrified Shepard Smith, demanded that the recording booth cut the video, but the booth wasn't fast enough. He immediately thereafter apologized for this incident.
  • Slobodan Praljak, a Bosnian general on trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for war crimes during the Bosnian-Croat War in the 1990s, drank a vial of poison after his guilty verdict and sentence came down. He died in the hospital shortly thereafter.

  • Charles Haddon, singer for the British band Où Est Le Swimming Pool, killed himself by jumping off of a television mast immediately after the band's performance at the 2010 Pukkelpop Festival. Apparently, he was suffering severe guilt after he injured an audience member while stage-diving.
  • During a 2010 outdoor concert by the Irish-Czech indie-folk duo The Swell Season, a man killed himself by jumping off from scaffolding near the amphitheater and landed on the stage, mere inches from lead singer Glen Hansard. In fact, the jumper would have killed Hansard if he had landed just a couple of feet closer.
  • 19-year-old Kipp Walker of Bend, Oregon, took the stage at a coffee shop's Open Mic Night, performed a song called "Sorry For The Mess", and then fatally stabbed himself in the chest.

  • In 1951 Eduardo Chibas, the losing candidate in a blatantly rigged presidential election in Cuba, took out a pistol and shot himself in the head after giving a speech during a live radio broadcast. It was the first-ever suicide live on radio.

    Web Video 
  • On March 21, 2007, British electrical engineer Kevin Whitrick hanged himself while broadcasting his webcam in a PalTalk chatroom. Some people thought it was a prank until his face turned blue. One chatroom member contacted the police, but it was too late, and he was pronounced dead at 11:15 pm.
  • On August 31, 2020, Ronald "Ronnie" McNutt, a US Army veteran and podcaster from New Albany, Mississippi, shot himself in the head during a Facebook livestream. It was briefly shown here (the original one has since been taken down) but not before the grisly video was posted on other websites such as TikTok, which prompted a lot of criticism towards websites for not taking the videos down sooner.

Near Misses:

  • Florence Lawrence, often considered the first American film star, suffered serious burns and a fractured spine in 1915 during a fire sequence (No Stunt Double, No OSHA Compliance) in a film called Pawns of Destiny. Sadly, her career never recovered from the effects of her injuries and she killed herself in 1938.
  • Back to the Future
    • In Back to the Future Part II, the end of the hoverboard chase, in which Griff's gang crashes through the Courthouse Mall, nearly ended in the death of Darlene Vogel's stunt-double when she crashed into the hard stone instead of the stunt-glass. This was the take they used in the movie.
    • Barely averted by Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future Part III. The safety line keeping the pressure off his neck during the scene where Buford Tannen attempts to hang him only to be saved by Doc shooting the rope failed. He was actually strangling until the crew figured it out and saved his life.
  • Barely averted by Malcolm McDowell during the filming of A Clockwork Orange. During a scene where Alex was being drowned by two of his former buddies, the breathing apparatus malfunctioned and McDowell was drowning for real, which no one realized until they stopped that take.
  • James Bond:
    • On the set of From Russia with Love, Sean Connery had a Real Life hero moment when he saved co-star Daniela Bianchi from being literally mowed down by a helicopter. It was coming in too steep and heading straight for her, and Connery tackled her out of the way. Clearly, the right choice to play Bond.
    • "Shocking. Positively shocking." Literally—the first Bond One-Liner of Goldfinger doesn't sound quite so funny after you learn the actor playing the assassin done in by a heater in a bathtub was severely injured while filming the scene.
    • On You Only Live Twice in between takes, a big light fell from the ceiling and almost crushed actress Karin Dor (Helga Brandt). If the cameraman hadn't called her over from where she was standing she would have been killed.
    • Diamonds Are Forever: Closely averted by Lana Wood when the cement block she was tied to in the swimming pool slipped down the sloping floor of the pool and dragged her underneath. Fortunately, crew members spotted and rescued her (said scene was deleted).
    • In The Spy Who Loved Me's ski-parachute jump, a ski hits the stunt man's parachute, which could have prevented it opening properly. The footage was left in the final film owing to a) it being impossible to remount the stunt in any affordable fashion and b) of the several cameras being used to film the jump, only one successfully captured it, which is why the jump is shown in an uninterrupted shot, rogue ski and all.
    • While shooting the cable car sequence at Sugarloaf Mountain in Moonraker, stuntman Richard Graydon almost slipped and fell to his death.
    • Another near-miss in a James Bond film occurred during the filming of Octopussy. The film required several shots of stuntmen climbing about on the outside of a train. During filming, the train went out of the approved area that they were supposed to work in, and one stunt man was dashed against a concrete barrier, breaking both his legs.
  • Pierce Brosnan was clearly also a great choice for Bond, though this time, the heroic life-saving happened after he left the role. In 2009, while filming the Percy Jackson and the Olympians movie, he noticed an empty van starting to roll down a hill toward Uma Thurman and another person. They couldn't hear him when he yelled to warn them of the impending danger, so he ran to catch up with the van, got in and stopped it himself.
    • Also not the first time he saved a co-star from danger; Halle Berry choked on one of the grapes while filming the final scenes of Die Another Day, but Brosnan coolly helped her out via the Heimlich.
  • Killer Angels: The sequel to this Hong Kong action film ends with the main villain blowing himself up, and the three actors playing the protagonists - Moon Lee, Sibelle Hu and Ray Lui - escaping the explosion with a Super Window Jump. Unfortunately, due to a poorly timed pyrotechnic, the explosion went off a few seconds too early, and while Ray is unharmed due to jumping first, in the movie itself Moon and Sibelle are visibly on fire, the latter especially completely shrouded in flames (Seen here). This is NOT intended, and at the end of the shoot both actresses suffers third-degree burns, even necessitating skin grafting for Sibelle's case.
  • While shooting the underwater scenes in Alien: Resurrection, Ron Perlman hit his head and almost drowned.
    • Winona Ryder had a panic attack before filming that scene, as she nearly drowned when she was 12. Thankfully it didn't go as bad for her as with Perlman.
    • Arnold Schwarzenegger almost suffered the same fate filming The 6th Day.
  • Ed Harris almost drowned while making The Abyss. The kicker was that James Cameron knew he'd run out of air and kept rolling anyway, a case of Enforced Method Acting that backfired on him—as soon as Harris got out of the tank, he was understandably pissed and went and decked the director. Both Harris and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, his co-star, have gone on record saying they'll never work with Cameron again.
    • Weirdly enough Cameron himself nearly drowned early on in the shoot, when his diving suit malfunctioned while he was still weighed down at the bottom of the tank during filming. Seemed to happen a lot on that shoot.
  • Tom Hanks actually sliced his leg open on an underwater coral reef in Cast Away and nearly bled out as a result. Making matters worse is that the leg got infected, and in the film, we get a horrifying close-up of it!
  • John Simm did one of his own stunts in the 2002 version of Crime and Punishment and got thrown down a flight of stairs, breaking several ribs and suffering internal bleeding. Initially, he refused to go to the hospital even after he'd developed a high fever because the fever and the pain "helped him with the performance" and he didn't want to halt the production. Eventually, they managed to drag him to a hospital.
  • During her intense boxing training for Million Dollar Baby, Hilary Swank developed a serious staph infection at the bottom of her foot. She continued on with her training despite this, not telling anyone, until it ruptured and the pain became so severe she checked herself in. It turns out that the infection was close to reaching her heart, meaning that had she not gotten help when she had, Swank might have been in the hospital for weeks. Director Clint Eastwood had no idea until much later.
  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Almost happened a few times during the production.
    • When they filmed the scene where the bridge is detonated, a chunk of debris flew not six feet from Clint Eastwood's head and it would have meant his death if it hit him.
    • Eli Wallach cheated death at least five times making the film. When Wallach had to lie by train tracks as a train went by, he wasn't warned that if he raised his head too high, the steps jutting from the cars (which weren't accounted for when figuring out safety concerns) would have taken his head off. Fortunately, he stayed down until the train had completely gone. On another occasion, a crew member put a bottle of acid right beside his drink, and he was almost poisoned when he drank from it (he had the sense to spit it out right away). And yet another time, when he had his hands bound and was sitting on a horse during the scene where Blondie shoots the rope, the horse got too spooked and ran a mile before anyone could stop it. Not to mention the times he was nearly strangled on set via a noose. A rare mix of Butt-Monkey and Born Lucky.
  • Jackie Chan has broken every bone in his body at least once while doing his own stunts and fight scenes in a thirty-year action movie career filled with some of the most over-the-top action you'll ever see a live actor perform.
    • He came closest to death while filming a stunt for Armor of God. The tree branch he jumped to snapped and he fell fifteen feet. It took eight hours of surgery and a plastic plug to replace the lost skull fragments. Filming stopped for a month to let Jackie recover.
    • A stunt for Rush Hour nearly crushed Jackie's skull between a pair of metal boxes. They slammed together about a quarter of a second after Jackie's head was clear. If he were any slower, he'd have been dead.
    • Although it wouldn't necessarily have been fatal, Jackie was nearly castrated on the set of Drunken Master II when he did a cartwheel over a spinning sawblade and landed with the spinning saw inches from his nuts.
  • The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974):
    • During the climactic chase scene, Gunnar Hansen slipped on the wet grass and lost his grip on the chainsaw. It flew into the air while still running, and came down blade first just inches from his head.
    • Another incident occurred when his mask slipped during the nighttime chase scene and, because he was blinded, he almost sawed Marilyn Burns in half.
    • And both of those pale in comparison to something revealed later - the climactic dinner scene took so long to film (27 hours straight), in such a stifling atmosphere (110 degrees Fahrenheit outside, as the windows were blockaded), that Gunnar Hansen (who was kitted out in his Leatherface costume, and thus getting hit worst by the heat and mugginess) thought he was meant to actually kill Marilyn Burns in that scene. Edwin Neal, who played the Hitchhiker, had just come back from a tour in The Vietnam War, and described the conditions during the filming of said scene as worse than anything the Viet Cong had put him through.
  • Barely avoided by John Hurt in The Elephant Man. The prosthetics he was wearing on his head were very heavy, weighing in at about twenty pounds. When he tried to lie down for a nap for a few hours before going on-set, he practically strangled himself due to the weight of his head on his neck. Hurt was subsequently forced to nap while sitting down. Ironically, the real Joseph Merrick was also forced to sleep while sitting and died because he tried to sleep lying down and ended up strangling himself due to the weight of his head.
  • Meryl Streep was nearly killed while filming The River Wild. The director asked her for one more take of a rafting scene, which Meryl said she couldn't handle; the director pressured her, and eventually, Streep agreed. She was swept off the raft and nearly drowned. Once she was out of the water, she confronted her shaking director with, "The next time I say I can't do something, I think we should believe me, don't you?"
  • Infamously, in Doctor Zhivago the woman with the baby that Yuri pulls onto the train tripped and just barely missed getting her legs mangled under the actual, moving train. (That's the take they use in the movie, incidentally.) There is a long-standing rumor that the woman did get her legs amputated (thanks to miscommunication in the Making-Of Documentary), but this is false.
  • While making an earlier David Lean film, Lawrence of Arabia, Peter O'Toole nearly died while filming the Arab attack on Aqaba. A prop gun misfired and panicked O'Toole's camel, throwing him to the ground as hundreds of extras charged past on horses and camels. By O'Toole's account, his camel stood over him, preventing the extras from trampling O'Toole to death. O'Toole tied himself to his camel to avoid repetition on subsequent takes.
  • During the filming of the clown scene of Poltergeist, child actor Oliver Robins really was choking as the clown strangled him, Steven Spielberg and Tobe Hooper thought he was acting, but after they saw his face turning purple, Spielberg rushed to his aid.
  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • While filming the final fight scene for The Fellowship of the Ring, Viggo Mortensen was nearly killed when a stuntman accidentally threw a real knife (the stunt called for a rubber fake, for obvious reasons) straight at his head; due to the swordsman skills he learned (and/or sheer luck), he managed to deflect it. He also nearly drowned in The Two Towers when he was caught in an undertow filming the scene where Aragorn is floating down the river.
    • During filming for Sam's big emotional moment at the end of The Fellowship of the Ring, Sean Astin stepped on a large shard of glass that went right through his foot. Luckily they managed to get him airlifted to get it removed and fixed.
  • During the climactic scene in Inglourious Basterds, the fire raging through the cinema was completely real. Unfortunately, it began to get out of hand, and the two actors in the scene were only wearing a jelly to protect their skin; the rest of the crew had fire suits. Ten seconds after Quentin Tarantino called 'cut' and everyone rushed off, the platform the actors had been standing on collapsed. The heat was so intense (2000 degrees Fahrenheit) one of them passed out afterward.
  • During the filming of The Lone Ranger, Johnny Depp was nearly trampled by a horse during filming. And while it didn't occur during filming, a crew member named Michael Andrew Bridger died while working in a water tank.
  • Buster Keaton broke his neck during the railroad water-tank scene in Sherlock, Jr. when a torrent of water fell on him from a water tower, but he did not realize it until years afterward.
  • In 1919, Harold Lloyd was posing for photographs with a prop bomb. Unfortunately, the not-prop bomb exploded, blowing off the thumb and first two fingers of his right hand. For the rest of his career, including all of the intricate action sequences that were such a hallmark of his 1920s films, Lloyd performed while wearing a specially-made glove designed to hide his injury.
  • While filming The Expendables 3, Jason Statham nearly drowned after the brakes on a truck he was driving gave out and sent him flying off a cliff into the sea, he managed to escape the sinking truck and used his diving skills to swim to the surface.
  • In Edge of Tomorrow, while filming a car chase scene, Emily Blunt accidentally drove into a tree and nearly killed Tom Cruise. They managed to laugh it off.
  • Cruise was almost decapitated while filming The Last Samurai. He and his co-star Hiroyuki Sanada were acting out a sword fight scene when Sanada swung a sword at Cruise who was on an off-camera mechanical horse at the time. But the machine reportedly malfunctioned and failed to duck at the right moment. Sanada stopped the blade just one inch from his neck.
  • A lesser case with Tom Cruise happened in Mission: Impossible – Fallout, where while Roof Hopping, he broke his foot in the landing, but he remained in character as he pulled himself up and hobbled off-camera to finish the sequence. This also shut production down for nine weeks as Cruise recovered. According to Cruise, he forced himself to stay in character and finish the scene because he knew he was injured and there was no way he was going to attempt a retake of that.
  • Toho 's kaiju movies have had their fair share of near misses.
    • In the original Godzilla (1954), Haruo Nakajima was badly electrocuted when wiring on the Godzilla suit meant to create explosions caused by tanks malfunctioned due to water damage.
    • While filming Rodan, Haruo Nakajima fell into the water when the wires attached to his Rodan suit snapped in a flight shot. Thanks to the weight of the costume, he almost drowned.
    • In Varan, the Unbelievable, a miniature of a truck filled with explosives blew up under Haruo Nakajima while he was playing Varan due to an error in timing the explosions. Fortunately, Nakajima only sustained some burns to his stomach region.
    • In King Kong vs. Godzilla, as Kong and Godzilla tumble off a cliff and into the sea, Nakajima (in the Godzilla suit) hit his head on the cliff set and fell unconscious. The team was lucky enough to get him out of the water before he drowned.
    • While filming Godzilla vs. Hedorah, Kenpachiro Satsuma was diagnosed with appendicitis and required emergency surgery while still wearing the Hedorah suit since it was so difficult to remove. During the operation, Satsuma learned that painkillers have no effect on him.
    • While filming Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, Kenpachiro Satsuma frequently inhaled carbon monoxide given off by the smoke effects of the Burning Godzilla suit, causing him to pass out several times and almost die.
  • While filming The Wizard of Oz, Buddy Ebsen suffered an allergic reaction to the Tin Man's makeup and had to be hospitalized after he stopped breathing, which led to the Tin Man being recast as Jack Haley. Margaret Hamilton was nearly burned alive by mistimed pyro, and a stunt double was injured in a similar incident.
  • While filming Enter the Dragon, Peter Archer almost drowned in the "Art of Fighting Without Fighting" scene.
  • In Now You See Me, during filming of the scene where Henley Reeves tries to free herself from shackles and escape from a tank of water and piranhas, Isla Fisher was close to drowning. Fisher had become stuck and tried to alert the crew by banging on the window she was facing, but the cast and crew did not think anything of it because that was what the character was supposed to be doing. She was able to untangle the chain thanks to a nearby stunt person and get out of the tank safely.
  • Harrison Ford suffered a broken leg in a potentially fatal accident during the studio filming of The Force Awakens, when a real hydraulic door on the Millennium Falcon interior set was closed while he was walking through it. The production company involved pleaded guilty to criminal charges relating to the accident and were heavily fined.
  • In the classic gangster films, real bullets were used. For White Heat, the producers employed skilled marksmen who used low-velocity bullets to break windows or show bullets hitting near the characters. In the factory scene, James Cagney was missed by mere inches.
  • BRIAN BLESSED was almost killed filming his death scene in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
  • While filming the fight near the windmill in The Three Musketeers (1973), Oliver Reed was stabbed in the throat and almost died.
  • Chow Yun-fat was almost blown up in A Better Tomorrow II when the explosion outside the mansion door was more powerful than expected. Some of his hair was singed, and he was blasted forward. The shot in the film is his real reaction.
  • Charlie Sheen credits Keith David for saving his life while making Platoon. While shooting in an open-doored Huey gunship, the helicopter banked too hard and Sheen was thrown towards - and would have gone through - the open door. David grabbed him by the back and pulled him back in.
  • Emma Watson was nearly trampled by a horse on the set of Beauty and the Beast.
  • Alec Guinness experienced this shooting several of his Ealing comedies. During Admiral D'Ascoyne's death scene in Kind Hearts and Coronets, he was left tied to a chair in a flooding room and was unable to escape, nearly drowning until a crew member realized what was happening and cut him loose. On The Ladykillers (1955), Guinness was nearly decapitated by the railroad sign during the movie's finale, only surviving because he accidentally missed his mark for the shot.
  • One of the signature scenes in Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood had Jason, played by Kane Hodder, catch on fire. That wasn't scripted, nor was supposed to happen (apparently a spark managed to light the suit up), and Kane was on fire for well over a minute because he didn't want the scene to get ruined by the fire extinguishers.
  • Similarly, in the Van Helsing film, the costumes for the dwergers seemed to have issues with constantly catching on fire, as the DVD Commentary revealed (to the point it became an on-set Running Gag). At one point you can actually see a puff of a fire extinguisher putting out one of them just off-screen.
  • William Wyler lost nearly all of his hearing while filming aboard an aircraft during World War II.
  • Quentin Tarantino rehearsed a car stunt for Kill Bill with himself behind the wheel to ensure it was safe. Unfortunately, the results weren't quite as he had hoped for when Uma Thurman did the stunt for real, and against her consent for that matter; when describing the incident in 2018, Thurman recounted her brief fear immediately after the crash that she had lost the use of her legs. Needless to say, relations between the two were strained for years afterward, culminating in her revelation of the accident and Tarantino's other moments of Enforced Method Acting in 2018.
  • During the climax of Way Down East, the actors were filming during an actual snowstorm. Everyone survived it but Lillian Gish received permanent nerve damage in her hand from being in an icy river.
  • Predators: While filming the scene where the party falls off a cliff, Topher Grace's stunt double landed on his head.
  • During the filming of Mary Poppins, lead actress Julie Andrews was almost killed while filming the umbrella descent when the harness she was strapped to failed, and she fell out. It was fortunate she was only a few inches from the ground.
    • She was also nearly mowed down by the helicopter used to film her iconic hilltop scene at the beginning of The Sound of Music.
  • Martin Sheen suffered a near-fatal heart attack while filming Apocalypse Now. His son Emilio Estevez almost drowned in quicksand had Laurence Fishburne not pulled him out.
  • Chevy Chase was nearly electrocuted while filming Modern Problems during a stunt in the sequence in which he is wearing "landing lights" and dreams that he is an airplane. The lights' wiring short-circuited through his arm, back, and neck, which caused him to lose consciousness.
  • Bob Hoskins claimed in an interview that during the course of the production of Super Mario Bros., he broke a finger, got stabbed four times, got electrocuted and very nearly drowned. "And that's just what happened to me".
    • During the chase through the pipe, someone thought that the mattress was going too slow, so they loosened one of the wires that was pulling them. When the crew came back from lunch, nobody checked the rig. They then shot the scene where Mario and the Brooklyn Babes flew out of the tunnel, only to find they were going way too fast and out of control. One of the Babes almost fell off the mattress twenty-five feet onto solid concrete. They all stayed on, but when it hit the ground, it flipped over and they all smashed their heads. Aside from a few bruises, they were okay.
  • Richard Harris saved Graham Clarke's life while filming the climax of The Wild Geese where the mercenaries run towards the plane. He noticed that the wing was about to decapitate him, so he rugby tackled him to the ground. Ian Yule said it was the most courageous thing he'd ever seen a star do.
  • According to Russell Mulcahy, when they first shot the scene in Highlander of The Kurgan bursting through a door to cut the table in half, Clancy Brown instead ran in and cut through the candelabra, nearly decapitating Sean Connery. As a result, Connery stormed off the set. Later, Connery returned and Brown apologized, saying he was very nervous.
  • In That Hagen Girl, after multiple retakes of a scene where Ronald Reagan's character had to jump into a river, Reagan contracted viral pneumonia, collapsed, and was rushed to the hospital.
  • Baby Burlesks: In the short, Kid in Africa, Shirley Temple was supposed to ride in an ostrich-drawn cart, but the bird bolted and Temple was almost crushed. Also, a bunch of child actors filming a chase scene accidentally ran into piano wire and badly cut up their legs.
  • Marilyn Monroe almost drowned filming River of No Return. She had donned chest-high hip waders during rehearsal to protect her costume. She slipped on a rock, the waders filled with water, and she was unable to rise. Robert Mitchum and others jumped in the river to rescue her but her ankle was sprained as a result.
  • Whilst filming Rocky IV, Sylvester Stallone decided that for the shooting of the fight, he and Dolph Lundgren should hit one another for real for 15 seconds, so as to increase the intensity of the scene. Stallone ended up with a swelling pericardia sac around his heart and had to be rushed to the emergency room by plane. He stayed in intensive care for 4 days.
  • Donald Sutherland had not one but two near-misses while filming Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978). While running through San Francisco at night, he was hit by a VW Beetle, and was able to see the driver saying "Oh no, not you!" During the climax, he narrowly dodged a very large explosion, though an extra wasn't so lucky and had to be hospitalized.
  • In Sucker Punch, Abbie Cornish was accidentally struck in the head with a steel bayonet. She was saved by the metal clip holding her hair extensions in taking most of the hit. Despite bleeding from the head, she still continued with the scene.
  • Lola Albright nearly drowned during the river crossing scene in The Way West. The wagon she was in tipped over, and she was trapped underwater when the contents of the wagon fell on her and pinned her down. When they finally got her out, she was semi-conscious and spent the night in the hospital. A day later, she returned to the set, but they used a stuntwoman to re-film the river scene. In interviews, she said she was deeply traumatized by this near-death experience.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Red Dwarf:
    • Barely averted in the episode "Backwards", where Craig Charles nearly drowned during a stunt where he had to walk backward into a lake. Possibly referenced in "Last Human", in which we learn that Lister has a lifelong fear of drowning.
    • Also a runner nearly died from lack of oxygen while doubling for Caroline Carmen inside a block of ice for "Epideme".
  • Nearly happened to Matthew Fox in the last episode of Lost due to a real knife (if, thankfully, dulled) not being swapped out for a collapsible one. Luckily, Fox was wearing a kevlar pad. Not only had it been suggested he not wear protection, but he was in the process of trying various other forms of protection; none of the others would've saved him.
  • Doctor Who, being such a long runner, has seen some nasty accidents:
    • Patrick Troughton was nearly crushed to death while familiarising himself with the set before recording "The Moonbase" when the huge Graviton prop fell off its stand and just missed him.
    • During filming of "Terror of the Autons", a stunt performer playing an Auton was accidentally hit by a car and knocked all the way to the bottom of a BBC Quarry. Since he survived without serious injury and it looked really cool, the sequence was included in the finished episode.
    • During filming of "The Sea Devils", the ubiquitous 1970s and 80s BBC stunt performer Stuart Fell nearly drowned when he fell over in the surf and his rubber monster costume filled with water.
    • "Revenge of the Cybermen" was being filmed in a cavern. Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith) was to drive a boat in a whirlpool. The boat wouldn't run, and the stuntman jumped in and saved her from drowning. The boat disappeared down a waterfall and was never seen again.
    • During the filming of the scene where Ace is trapped in the water tank in "Battlefield", the front of the glass tank cracked and broke. Realizing that the water was about to pour out onto a floor with live electrical cables, Sylvester McCoy cursed and yelled "Get her out of there!" and Sophie Aldred was lifted clear just as the water poured out, saving her life. Footage of the mishap is included amongst the DVD edition's special features, and was regularly used on BBC training videos in the years after it happened.
    • "The Brain of Morbius": According to Cynthia Grenville (who played Maren), Tom Baker nearly got set on fire during a stunt which required him to be in a funeral pyre which is set alight. The BBC effects department heavily fireproofed everything in the pyre, but the flames shot up in massive columns instead of creeping around in a circle around the Doctor's feet like they were supposed to. If Grenville hadn't broken character and yelled at Tom to jump until he did, he would have been seriously injured - the fire brigade had to be called in between takes. If you watch the sequence, you'll notice later shots of the pyre are a lot less fiery than the early long shot of the Doctor, especially shots with the Doctor in.
    • Peter Davison contracted hypothermia from the stunt in "Warriors of the Deep" that required him to fall off a high bridge into a pool of water. Since the BBC had No Budget, they didn't heat the water and it was ice cold. The actors in the Myrka costume, on which the paint hadn't dried, also reported becoming light-headed and dizzy from the fumes as they were effectively sniffing glue.
    • "The Greatest Show In The Galaxy": Sylvester McCoy had to exit the circus in an Unflinching Walk just as it blew up. Unfortunately, the pyrotechnic experts had set up a slightly bigger bang then originally planned, and the explosion was said to have set fire to the back of Sylvester's clothing, and he was unintentionally forced to perform his unflinching walk for real, as he knew they couldn't afford to restage for a second take!
    • Jodie Whittaker shared on The Graham Norton Show that she came unsettlingly close to being killed while filming "Spyfall" in South Africa, when a venomous sac spider landed on her collarbone, causing her to brush it all the way down her body. Then another crew member picked it up with his bare hand and threw it away, ignoring the locals who were screaming at him not to touch it.
  • The Brady Bunch episode where they visit Kings Island Amusement Park includes a scene of them on the roller coaster The Racer, which was filmed with a camera mounted onto the ride car. Robert Reed thought that the camera looked unsafe and made them do a test run first. When they did, the camera flew off and would have killed the actors if they had been on the ride.
  • Bob Denver was nearly killed by a live lion used in one episode of Gilligan's Island. Nevertheless, most of the cast considered the episode to be their favorite.
  • An infamous 2006 Vampire Dragster crash very nearly killed Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond. In a slight subversion, however, he had already done the required take successfully. It was revealed when they were watching the footage when he returned to the show that he was trying to set an official speed record (which requires running the vehicle in two opposing directions to get the average speed of each run), during which he crashed at 300mph. Had he been taller, something which he gets mocked for frequently on the show, he would have been decapitated. More unsettlingly, the producers had originally planned to have James "Captain Slow" May do the bit with the Vampire Dragster, which almost certainly would have ended in tragedy, as May is taller than Hammond by a fair bit.
  • Apparently one brush with death wasn't enough since Hammond also had to spectacularly crash in Top Gear's Spiritual Successor The Grand Tour. Hammond was completing a Swiss hill climb event in an electric Rimac Concept One. He lost control of the car just after the finish line, broke through a barrier, and plunged down the mountainside, barely missing a house on the way. When he landed at the bottom, the car started burning; luckily, Hammond stayed conscious and managed to free himself from his seat belt and drag himself out before the car became engulfed in flames. His worst injury was needing a knee replacement.
  • When filming the season 11 finale of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Danny DeVito was weighted down during a scene where the Gang was underwater due to being too buoyant. Unfortunately, the weights made Danny unable to reach the surface for air. He was thankfully rescued by emergency divers before he could drown.
  • During the Breaking Bad episode "Crazy Handful Of Nothin'", a sudden gust of wind blew the tarp off the RV, including the huge boulder weighing it down. It landed in the exact spot where Aaron Paul (who plays Jesse Pinkman) had been standing just a second before after he picked the luckiest moment possible to ask the director if he could try saying his lines from another spot.
  • Diminutive British comic performer Charlie Drake ended one live half-hour show by being pulled through through a balsa wood bookcase. The panels were held together with light glue so that they would give way on impact. Unfortunately, a stagehand, not realizing that the bookcase was meant for a stunt, thought the panels looked too flimsy and nailed them in place. As a result, instead of springing to his feet offstage and returning to deliver his Catchphrase, Drake was knocked unconscious, and his fellow performers could be seen looking worried as the credits rolled. He ended up taking a two-year break from television but came back in 1963 with a new series.
  • Kristin Chenoweth was struck in the face by a falling light fixture on the set of The Good Wife, and suffered a concussion, skull fracture, broken nose, and neck injuries. If it had fallen directly on top of her head, she would have been killed or rendered vegetative.
  • An example of this was talked about on World's Dumbest... A senior citizen production of Of Mice & Men had a dress rehearsal going smoothly. Then it came time for George to shoot Lenny in the head. Problem was that they were using a real gun as a prop and the man playing George forgot to check if it was empty. It wasn't and when he pulled the trigger it went off, ricocheting off the man's skull and taking off a piece of his ear. The actor play George even admitted that he should have checked the gun to make sure. The man playing Lenny was not upset as it was an accident and planned to return to the troupe once he recovered. This also serves as a reminder of gun safety. All guns are loaded at all times and do not point them at anything you do not wish to destroy or kill.
  • One episode of Whose Line Is It Anyway? featured Colin Mochrie and Ryan Styles performing the game "Infomercial", where they take a box of random objects and use them in a mock infomercial. At one point Colin finds an odd device with a crank, has Ryan put one end in his mouth, and is about to start cranking when host Drew Carey visibly panics and stops them, saying the item is supposed to make fire. Colin points it away from them, giving it a few cranks. When nothing happens, he shrugs and jokingly attempts to return it to Ryan's mouth.
    Ryan: Someone wants their own show!
    • Specifically, Drew thought it was a starter for a barbecue grill. What it actually is is a device for blowing air on the hot coals to get the fire going faster. Even if it had been something that produces fire, it is highly likely it would have been disabled anyway, given Colin and Ryan's tendency to put props in their mouths.
  • Bobby Davro was placed in a pillory by his guests in the last episode of his series Public Enemy Number One. The pillory fell over, and Davro fell face-first into the studio's concrete floor. A slightly-raised portion of the stage gave him space to avoid a potentially fatal head injury.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): While filming the episode "The Grave", Lee Marvin got drunk at one point. He rode his horse across the set and almost got impaled when the horse crashed into a picket fence.
  • While filming an episode of The Gene Autry Show, The Peacemaker, a prop cannon exploded, nearly killing Pat Buttram. The blast gave him a twelve-inch-long gash in his chest, exposing a punctured lung, severed an artery in his leg and nearly blew his chin off. Fortunately, Autry flew a doctor into the remote area, who saved Buttram's life before the ambulance arrived.
  • Ultraseven: During filming of the Unfinished Episode "The 300-Year Revenge", Yuriko Hishimi (who played Anne Yuri) was almost killed in a stunt where she had to jump into a large inflatable prop of Ultraseven's hand, only for said prop to malfunction and deflate on top of her, nearly suffocating her. Hishimi requested they not air the episode, which the producers agreed to, and Eiji Tsuburaya decided all scenes of people being held in the hands of Ultras should be done via composite shots instead of practical effects.
  • Lucille Ball nearly drowned while filming an episode of The Lucy Show when her and Vivian Vance's characters get trapped in a flooding shower stall. Vance realized that something was wrong and pulled Ball to safety and ad-libbed until Ball was able to catch her breath and resume her lines. The crew and studio audience were completely unaware that anything had gone wrong.
  • While filming the Barney & Friends episode "Good, Clean Fun!", Josh Martin was involved in an incident during a take for "The Popcorn Song" when the wire of one of the batteries in the head for the Barney costume (the one that controls the fan) grounded out on a bolt and rubbed the insulation off, causing smoke to come out of the mouth and the rest of the suit. He survived the incident and kept the exploded battery as a trophy when he left the show.
  • During filming of the unaired January 11, 2001 episode of the Brazilian Saturday Morning Kids Show Xuxa Park, the set's mechanical "spaceship" (through which the host Xuxa would normally have exited the stage at the end of the episode) burst into flames due to faulty wiring. Nobody died (albeit some suffered injuries & suffered smoke inhalation, including Xuxa's bodyguard Leonilson Vieira and the actor playing the show's resident Non-Ironic Clown Topetão) and Xuxa was okay, but the soundstage was damaged and it led to Xuxa taking a short break from television.
    Xuxa: Pode vim, pode vim! (turns around) AAAAAAH!!! VEM GENTE, VEM GENTE! Translation 

Auto racing is a dangerous sport, and there have been a great many near misses in motorsports history.
  • As dramatised in Rush (2013), Niki Lauda was in the brink of death when his Ferrari collided with an embankment, burst into flames, and made contact with Brett Lunger's Surtees-Ford car. His face got nearly burned to a crisp, and the toxic fumes emanating from the wreckage damaged his lungs and blood. The injuries Niki endured were so serious that the doctors initially thought he was a lost cause and called a priest to administer the last rites to him; Lauda somehow lived to tell the tale and was able to finish fourth place in the Italian GP no more than a month after the incident that nearly killed him. (He ultimately passed away in 2019.)
  • During practice for the 1990 Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez, Lotus driver Martin Donnelly suffered a massive accident in which his seat was torn from the cockpit and thrown clear of the debris. He suffered brain and lung contusions, and leg fractures so severe that his right leg nearly had to be severed. The injuries ended his Formula One career, but he made a full recovery and went on to race in smaller sports car events instead.
  • Four race drivers are known to have survived basilar skull fractures, the same injury that killed NASCAR icon Dale Earnhardt in 2001:
    • In 1989, Formula One driver Philippe Streiff suffered the injury in a testing crash. He has been confined to a wheelchair ever since, however.
    • in 1993, NASCAR driver Stanley Smith nearly died from one after slamming headlong into the outside wall in an incident much more famous for sending fellow driver Jimmy Horton over said wall and onto an access road at Talladega. He did end up retiring from racing for years afterward, however.
    • In 1994, NASCAR driver Ernie Irvan suffered the same injury in a practice crash at Michigan International Speedway. He was given only a 10% chance of surviving the night, but made a full recovery, returning to racing about a year later.
    • NASCAR Truck racer Rick Carelli suffered one, as well as damage to his carotid artery and sinus, in 1999 at Richmond when the front left tire on his truck blew, shunting him into the outside wall hard. Amazingly he was able to return to racing the very next year, albeit in a poorly funded team that he had to double as crew chief for.
  • On July 25, 2009, Formula One driver Felipe Massa was hit in the face with a 700-800 gram spring while traveling at high speed during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix. His injuries were life-threatening, but he made a full recovery and returned to racing the next season.
  • Similarly, fellow Formula One driver Robert Kubica had a rally accident at the beginning of the 2012 season due to in which he got impaled by a crash barrier, which caused him multiple fractures on the right side of his body. This not only forced him out of Formula One but it also permanently damaged his right arm, an injury that is still noticeable to this day.
    • Remarkably, Kubica returned to racing in late 2012, first competed in rallying before beginning to campaign a possible return to Formula One in 2017 despite his right arm being much weaker than normal due to the injury. And against all odds, Kubica did return to Formula One in 2019 - he was a shadow of his former self, but it's incredible that he was able to compete at all.
  • Not the first time for Kubica. During the 2007 Canadian Grand Prix he survived an accident eerily similar to that of Ayrton Senna; same sweeping left-hand bend, same speed, and same concrete barrier but with less run-off area. Though he was knocked unconscious, it is a testament to the safety of current Formula 1 cars that Kubica suffered no lasting injuries and was in fact medically cleared to participate in the very next race at Indianapolis (though his team refused to enter him just to be on the safe side).
  • CART and F1 driver Alex Zanardi lost his legs and nearly 3/4 of his blood volume in a 2001 crash at Eurospeedway Lausitz. He later returned to touring car racing, and still later took up handcycling, winning two gold medals at both the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics, even winning one of his four golds at the Brands Hatch Circuit in Kent.
  • During the 1966 Formula 1 race at Spa-Francorchamps, Jackie Stewart's car ran off the road, hit a tree and a shed, before coming to rest upside-down. He spent 25 minutes trapped there with fuel leaking all over him since there were no track marshals nearby to help extract him or put out his car if it caught fire. Eventually, with the help of other racers and using a spectator's toolkit, he was freed and put in the back of a truck. Eventually, he was taken to the infield medical center where he spent a few hours on a stretcher not receiving medical help, before being transported to a hospital (oh, and the ambulance got lost on the way to the hospital). This comedy of errors is what prompted the Scotsman to become such a major safety advocate.
  • In the 1994 German Grand Prix, Benetton driver Jos Verstappen was horrifyingly set alight along with his car on live TV due to a refueling accident in the pits. Fortunately, his racing suit successfully protected him and he suffered only a minor burn to his nose.
  • During the season-ending 1995 Australian Grand Prix, Mika Hakkinen was catapulted into the wall at 120mph after a tyre failure, resulting in severe injuries including a fractured skull and a blocked airway. His life was saved by an emergency tracheotomy, and not only did he recover in time to take part in the 1996 season, he went on to become a two-time world champion and the greatest rival to Michael Schumacher during his period of dominance.
  • In 2007, funny car legend John Force blew a tire right after finishing a run, causing it to swing left into Kenny Bernstein and split in half. The front half, with the engine, slid all the way to the dirt overdrive area, while the rear half, with John, went headfirst into the wall, badly injuring him.
  • During the 2014 24 Hours of Daytona, Memo Gidley, driving a Chevrolet Prototype, slammed into the back of the stalled and nearly stopped Ferrari of Matteo Malucelli at 120 MPH, utterly destroying both cars and breaking Gidley's left arm, left leg, and back (Malucelli got away with a concussion). Considering how little of the prototype was left after the wreck, it's pretty amazing that that's all he suffered.
  • In 2000, Indy Car driver Sam Schmidt was testing for the new season at Walt Disney World Speedway in Florida, when he lost control and smashed into the outside wall. He was rendered permanently paralyzed from the neck down and spent five months on a respirator, but, after recovering sufficiently, ultimately came back to the series as a team owner.
  • While practicing for the 2015 Indianapolis 500, James Hinchcliffe's right-front suspension failed, causing him to slam into the wall at 220 MPH. The impact with the wall forced the right front wishbone through the monocoque and both of his legs, causing major blood loss. He was rushed to the hospital for surgery on the legs. In a 2016 interview, he talked about his recovery, saying just how close he came to dying. He said that the body can lose about 60% of its blood before there's no coming back, and he had lost just over 50% when he arrived in surgery; any later and he probably would have died. He also said that if the suspension piece had gone through his legs a half-inch to the left, it would have severed his femoral artery, which would have also killed him.
  • The 2011 24 Hours of Le Mans had a number of major crashes, of which Allan McNish's massive crash is probably the best remembered one. All that was left of his car was the cockpit crash pod, which thankfully had done its job and allowed McNish to walk away from the accident without a scratch. 2011 was also the first year that the organizers had mandated 'fins' on the prototypes, and it's widely believed that without the fin keeping the car stable and level, the crash could have been much worse. 2011 was also the first year that Audi used a closed-cockpit car...
  • Coming to the checkered flag of the 2013 Drive4COPD 300 (the NASCAR Nationwide Series, now Xfinity Series, race run the day before the Daytona 500), Regan Smith was spun by Brad Keselowski while the latter was pushing the former. This started a chain reaction that saw rookie Kyle Larson fly nose-first into the catch fence in the tri-oval, ripping the engine from the car and sending debris and the front tires flying into the grandstands. 33 spectators were injured, one critically, but thankfully, nobody died (though there were rumors on social media that someone had died). Larson was uninjured and walked away from the car. Tony Stewart, who had been passed by multiple cars with two laps to go, cut through the grass (going below the yellow line to avoid a wreck is legal) to win the race, tying the late Dale Earnhardt for total Daytona wins; it was ultimately his final Nationwide Series win prior to retiring in 2016. However, due to the crash, Stewart did not celebrate in victory lane. After the wreck, pushing was banned in all three national series, bringing an end to the much-maligned two-car tandem that had dominated the Nationwide Series since the 2011 introduction of the new cars (the practice was forcibly ended the year before in the Sprint Cup Series by way of a new superspeedway aero package aimed at returning to classic pack racing).
  • Right at the end of the 2015 Coke Zero 400 in Daytona, moments before Dale Earnhardt, Jr. crossed the line to win the race, a chain reaction crash happened behind him after Denny Hamlin accidentally tapped the rear-end of Kevin Harvick's #4 Chevrolet. Austin Dillon, who was right behind Hamlin, hit Hamlin's car at such an angle that it flipped over and flew roof-first into the catch fence. The force of the impact with the catch fence was so immense, it tore the engine away from the car and pretty much brought the car to a near-full stop. The car then landed upside-down and slowly spun to the exit of the pit-road when Brad Keselowski's #2 Ford impacted his car after Brad spun out due to oil spilled from the crash. Amazingly, Dillon walked out unharmed, although 5 fans were injured from debris flying from Dillon's catch fence impact.
  • During the third stage of the 2017 Dakar Rally, Slovakian rider Ivan Jakes was struck by lightning mid-stage. Amazingly, not only did he escape with minor injuries, he actually finished said stage in 15th place!
  • During the 2017 Indianapolis 500, Scott Dixon hit the stricken car of Jay Howard, who had bounced off the wall, which caused Dixon to fly through the air, and land on the SAFER barrier on the inside wall rear-first, where his car did a barrel roll, tearing apart its back end. After watching the replay, the announcers even said the car saved his life (in fact, he was even able to walk away, though due to a minor ankle injury, he was on crutches for a few days afterward). Also, if he had landed differently, say front end on the wall, instead of rear-end, he could easily have been killed.
  • In the 2018 IndyCar Pocono 500, Ryan Hunter-Reay nearly ended up with a literal faceful of car in an incident with Robert Wickens, where the former was accidentally spun out by the latter, who then climbed over his car into the catch fence, followed by Wickens' car smacking Hunter-Reay's roll bar mere inches above his head, breaking it. He came out of it unscathed, however. Wickens didn't, breaking both ankles, his right arm, one vertebra, and suffering a pulmonary contusion. This further renewed calls for further head protection in open-wheel cars, either in the form of a windscreen, a Formula One-style halo, or a fighter jet-style closed cockpit. Starting in 2020, IndyCar will introduce an aeroscreen, and has also dropped Pocono from the schedule due to them finally realizing the track was too dangerous for high-speed open-wheeled cars, and consequently replaced it with Richmond, a short track that hasn't been run by the series since 2009.
  • In the inaugural Rally Chile, Thierry Neuville misjudged a fast crest which saw his Hyundai tumbling a dozen times, necessitating a trip to the hospital for Neuville and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul, who fortunately came out practically unscathed save for some minor injuries, given how mangled the car ended up.
  • Coming to the checkered flag for the 2020 Daytona 500, Ryan Newman was knocked into the outside wall by Ryan Blaney, who was attempting to bump draft him, which caused his car to roll onto its roof. He was subsequently struck on the driver's side roof by Corey LaJoie, which crushed the roof in. It took fifteen minutes to extract Newman, who suffered severe but not life-threatening head injuries (sheets had been erected while he was transferred to the ambulance, and before an official announcement was made, social media was flooded with rumors that Newman had died or was awake and talking; the moderators of NASCAR's Reddit page did a sterling job clamping down on these rumors); he was released two days later, but has been replaced for the time being by Ross Chastain. Many commentators mentioned that he had worked with NASCAR to strengthen the roofs of the cars after his flips in 2003 (which famously ripped out his back suspension) and 2009, which may have saved his life.
  • The 1981 Indianapolis 500 is infamous for a number of things, including two nearly fatal incidents:
    • Rick Mears' car caught fire with him in it due to a fuelling problem, causing him and several members of his pit crew to be set alight with invisible methanol flames. One pit crew member tried to pull Mears' helmet off his head while he was still burning and unable to breathe, which would probably have fanned the flames into his face, before his dad grabbed a fire extinguisher and put him out. Fortunately no one was seriously injured.
    • Minutes after Mears' frightening fire, Danny Ongais, trying to recover from a disastrous pit stop, overcooked it going into turn 3 while trying to pass a slower car, resulting in an utterly terrifying wreck where he slammed the wall nearly head on, knocking him unconscious, and badly breaking his feet. The fatal crash of Gordon Smiley in the same corner the year after, where he crashed in almost the same way, except directly head on, showed just how lucky Ongais was.
  • The first race of the 2020 Indycar Iowa double header proved to be the first test of the new aeroscreen package they had implemented to protect drivers' heads. Coming to a restart, Colton Herta started accelerating, and continued to do so after the restart was waved off. He rear-ended Rinus Veekay, and his car climbed over Veekay's, impacting the aeroscreen, and deflecting him over the other driver's head. Without the windscreen, Herta's tire probably would have hit Veekay's head, with potentially fatal results.
  • The inaugural Daytona 250 Truck Series race at Daytona International Speedway on February 18, 2000 saw a massive crash that resulted in Geoff Bodine being injured and his truck being totalled. While Bodine was able to return to racing later that year, Rob Morgan (who's truck pushed Bodine's truck into the retaining wall, causing Bodine's crash) never had his NASCAR career recover and he abandoned the sport in 2001 to focus on team ownership. Meanwhile, another driver involved in the wreck, Kurt Busch, had his career recover and he found greater fame in the main NASCAR Cup Series.
  • Romain Grosjean survived an extremely terrifying Formula One crash that literally tore his car in half and set it ablaze during the 2020 Bahrain grand prix, suffering only minor burns to his hands. The front of his car literally went through the ARMCO barrier, shedding the the back half and catching fire in the process. In fact he was able to extricate himself from the car and jump over the railing within thirty seconds of the crash despite the intensity of the flames. The halo probably kept him from suffering the same fate as Helmuth Konigg did in 1974 when his car went through the ARMCO and he was beheaded by said barrier. Equally important, perhaps, was the improved fire protection that all drivers had to wear that year which allowed survivability up to 20% longer than the previous year's.
  • Kenny Bräck is the current world record holder for most recorded Gs survived, at 214, after am Indycar crash at Texas Motor Speedway in 2003 (for reference any amount of Gs above fifty can be fatal). He got this dubious honor after locking wheels with Tomas Shekter and climbing over his car into the catchfence, shredding Kenny's car nearly instantly and leaving just the cockpit survival cell bouncing on the track. Even though he survived, he didn't come out of it too well, breaking his sternum, femur, shattering a vertebra in his spine and crushing his ankles, then having to spend eighteen months recovering, but eventually he made a full recovery.
  • NASCAR has had several of these moments, and a folder could possibly created to catalogue all the near misses of crashes that could've been fatal.
    • Bobby Allison's 1987 Winston 500 blowover was this for Allison and the fans. The car hit the wall first on the left front tire at over 200 MPH, meaning the catch fench absorbed the body of the car and kept it from entering the stands. As a result of this crash, NASCAR mandated restrictor plates for the next several years.
      • Bobby Allison further lived this up, by surviving a crash at Pocono in 1988. He was initially declared dead and was vegetative for a while before recovering. He has no memories of winning the Daytona 500 earlier that year though and retired as a result of the wreck.
    • Michael Waltrip suffered a crash at Bristol in 1990 that seen his car literally disintegrate on impact. His brother, Darrell Waltrip, was worried Michael died in the wreck.
    • Dale Earnhardt's 1996 Die Hard 500 wreck was a near miss for Earnhardt. He was spun out by Sterling Marlin, who was bumped by Ernie Irvan,which resulted in Earnhardt's car going airborne at nearly 200 MPH and hitting the wall. He was also hit by another racecar in the windshield, causing it to compress. He survived the crash with a broken collarbone, sternum and shoulder blade. This crash led to the implementation of an "Earnhardt Bar" in the center of the windshield.
    • Elliott Sadler hit the wall head on at Pocono in 2010 in a blind spot with such force that the car was lifted off the ground and the engine was dislodged from the car. When he got out, he was grimacing and laid down on the track.

  • During a concert stunt, Alice Cooper almost hanged himself while dangling by an onstage noose. He survived when a roadie cut him down. He also was nearly strangled by his pet snake which he wore around his neck, but that was during a practice (the snake's head had to be cut off to save him).
    • Dannii Minogue also had a similar snake-related incident.
  • Barely averted by James Hetfield of Metallica who accidentally walked into a column of phosphorous flame that nearly killed him during a 1992 concert in Montreal. Hetfield suffered significant burns to his left arm, but he was back on stage under a month later. Unable to play guitar, he just sang for several concerts while Metal Church's John Marshall filled in for him on guitar. Later tours included a stuntman on fire as a homage.
  • Yoshiki of X Japan suffered a broken neck onstage in 1995 during the first run of the Dahlia tour. He was both lucky and unlucky - lucky in that the place where the break occurred did not cause paralysis or death, especially when he was carried offstage improperly by road crew with no neck stabilization at all, unlucky in that how the break healed gave him permanent neck injuries including weakening of the bones in his neck, two split discs in his cervical spine, and further damage which was only aggravated worse when he returned to drumming with the band full time in 2008 - collapsing for real onstage from the pain in a 2008 show and having to have emergency surgery on his neck in 2009. The emergency surgery accidentally stumbled upon a thyroid cancer, which was also treated. So in a way, his near-miss likely saved his life from cancer 14 years later.
  • A near-fatal incident happened to hide during a solo performance when he had a pyrotechnics accident onstage due to being drunk. Since being drunk later contributed to his far more private death, this is Harsher in Hindsight.
  • Wu-Tang Clan's Ol' Dirty Bastard nearly had a pyrotechnic-related accident near the end of his performance at the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards. Luckily, Fugees member Pras yanked him out of harm's way at the last minute.
  • Another musician who evaded death onstage was Keith Richards, in a Rolling Stones concert in Sacramento, California, in September 1965. Before performing the song "The Last Time", Richards noted his microphone was pointing away from him. To put it in the right direction, he smashed his guitar against the mic, causing it to give him an electric shock, which rendered him unconscious for seven minutes. Luckily Bill Wyman rushed to his aid in time to get the guitar away from his body (the shock had melted away three of its strings).
    • "This may be the reason why Keith cannot be killed by conventional weapons."
    • Mick Jagger was assaulted by a drugged-up audience member during a performance at the Altamont Free Concert in December 1969; the would-be murderer was fatally stabbed by event security before he had a chance to do anything except point a gun at the stage.
    • In December 1981, the Stones were in the middle of "Satisfaction" when Keith spotted a lone fan climbing on stage and making a dash for Mick. With John Lennon's murder still on everyone's mind, Keith calmly turned down the volume on his guitar, hit the guy over the head with it, strapped his guitar back on, turned up the volume and kept playing without missing a beat. Then he went down to the police station and bailed the guy out.
  • Ace Frehley of KISS suffered an electric shock on-stage when his guitar's amp malfunctioned. After recovering, he took advantage of the experience to write the song "Shock Me".
  • When shooting the cover art for her 1975 album Adventures in Paradise, singer Minnie Riperton was attacked by a lion. The trainer was on hand to quickly subdue the animal before anyone could suffer any injury, though. The incident was filmed and appeared when she visited talk shows to promote the album.
  • Meat Loaf has had heart problems most of his life, by his own admission. During one concert he had a heart attack on stage. It took several minutes before the crowd and the rest of the band realized that he was not, in fact, getting really into the act.
  • Black Metal band Mayhem ran into this in their early years. Lead singer Dead would make it a point to slash himself up onstage. Many times he would actually attempt suicide onstage, only to be hospitalized for blood loss. Guitarist Euronymous would try to pass these suicide attempts off as an accident during Dead's artistic self-mutilation. He even joked that "If that idiot hits another artery, we'll have to delay the next album again". Of course, Euronymous knew that Dead was suicidal, and purposely blocked him from receiving treatment so that his self-destructive behavior would establish the band's shocking reputation.
  • In the summer of 2011, there were three highly publicized stage collapses at open-air festivals which nearly cost the lives of the artist performing at the time and, in some cases, killed or injured fans in the first few rows:
    • On July 17, the stage at Bluesfest in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada collapsed 20 minutes into Cheap Trick's set. The stage collapsed away from the audience and the band was able to escape in time, but the band's equipment truck and some of their instruments were destroyed.
    • On August 13, the stage at the Indiana State Fair collapsed just as country music duo Sugarland were taking the stage. The resulting collapse killed 7 people and injured 43. Sugarland, their management, and the state of Indiana have been named as the defendant in several lawsuits by the survivors of the collapse.
    • On August 19, one of the stages at the popular Belgian festival Pukkelpop collapsed during the performance of American indie rock band The Smith Westerns during a severe storm. Once again, the band members were able to escape the stage with seconds to spare, but unfortunately, the stage and several other tents collapsed into the audience and killed five people and injured 140. The rest of the festival, which was to include performances by big-name acts which rarely perform in Belgium, was canceled.
  • When The Monkees played the Hollywood Bowl in 1967 Micky Dolenz jumped into a reflecting pool in front of the stage. Mid-air he realized he was still holding his mic, and tossed it away just in time before he could electrocute himself.
  • While performing live during MTV's Spring Break, Radiohead lead singer Thom Yorke jumped into the nearby swimming pool and quickly began drowning. Because the band was still playing their instruments nobody realized Yorke's life was in danger and he frantically swam to the nearby ledge. In another twist a live microphone had been left at the poolside, and an MTV VJ realized it was there. Yorke almost touched the live microphone before the VJ smacked it out of his reach and pulled him from the pool.
  • During a Rammstein concert in Berlin, rhythm guitarist Paul Landers was walking across the stage when lead singer Till Lindemann suddenly rushed forward and pulled him back - barely a split second later, a massive column of fire (one of the many pyrotechnic effects used by the band in their live shows) erupted from the stage. Had Lindemann not pulled him back, Landers would have been severely injured, and probably killed outright.
  • Marilyn Manson:
    • If one compares his voice from before and after 2007 (singing and speaking), they will notice something happened to it. That something was him breathing in a ton of fire, permanently scarring his throat and vocal cords. Considering some of the breathing problems seen on stage since then, it may have damaged his lungs too. This may be a case of Laser-Guided Karma, as he had fired drummer Sara Lee Lucas with, well, fire, on stage, in Las Vegas, back in 1995, to replace him with Ginger Fish.
    • A show in late September 2017 at the Hammerstein Ballroom was ended early when Manson, in the midst of performing a cover of Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams", started climbing up a large stage prop, which promptly fell over and onto him. Though he seemed to be knocked unconscious by the prop, he luckily came out of it with only a broken fibula.
  • Michael Jackson narrowly avoided this twice within fifteen years, but both accidents would permanently affect his career and health:
    • In 1984, Jackson's hair caught fire as he was filming a commercial for Pepsi. He suffered second-degree burns to his scalp and he had to undergo treatment for his injuries; the general consensus is that this was the beginning of the prescription drug dependency problems that ultimately cost him his life in 2009. His hair also never grew back where the burns reached his scalp. He wore wigs every day for the rest of his life.
    • In 1999, during a charity concert in Munich, Jackson was performing "Earth Song" on a suspended bridge over the stage. The stage split apart as part of the routine, and the portion Jackson was standing on was raised up high above the stage. However, the wires holding the bridge piece gave out, and Jackson plummeted fifty feet to the ground, holding on for dear life. Jackson severely messed up his back from the fall, which would end up hamstringing his dancing for the rest of his life, and worsened his already severe Demerol addiction.
  • In 2013 Emmure singer Frankie Palmeri nearly died of electrocution while on stage in Moscow. Emmure elaborates on what happened here.
  • At a 2009 concert in Alberta, a wind storm caused a stage collapse that gave Country Music singer Billy Currington a concussion, injured his bass player, and killed one spectator.
  • Rumors say that this almost happened to Simon LeBon from Duran Duran in the filming of the video for "Wild Boys". LeBon was strapped to the spinning windmill which dunked his head beneath the water with each revolution; he supposedly found himself in real difficulty when the windmill once stopped with his head underwater and he almost drowned as a result, but he has always denied it.
  • Mikey Way said that this nearly happened during the making of the music video for My Chemical Romance's "The Ghost of You". The landing craft that the band was on had capsized when the trapdoors opened due to the amount of weight it was carrying (aside from five members of the band, there were the extras, as well as the military equipment they were carrying), and they almost drowned.
  • R.E.M. drummer Bill Berry suffered a near-fatal brain aneurysm during a performance in Lausanne, Switzerland in March 1995. The band canceled the remaining tour dates as Berry was hospitalized, but though he eventually made a full recovery and resumed the tour with his bandmates (and went on to release one more album with them in 1996), the on-stage aneurysm is said to have been one of the factors in his decision to leave the band in 1997.
  • Operatic baritone Kimm Julian was accidentally stabbed in the stomach by his co-star, tenor David Rendall, during a rehearsal of Pagliacci at the Milwaukee-based Florentine Opera when the switchblade-style knife used by the company failed to retract. Fortunately, Julian survived and Rendall was cleared of any wrongdoing.
  • Danny Peppermint, who had a minor hit with "The Peppermint Twist" (not to be confused with the better-known Joey Dee song), suffered an electric shock from a microphone while onstage at the Thunderbird Hotel in Las Vegas on January 24, 1962. He was rushed to the hospital and survived, but his career didn't due to the loss of momentum: "Peppermint Twist" stalled at #54 and his other releases (two singles and an album) failed to chart.
  • Paul van Dyk fell 10 meters through a covered up gap on stage during his performance at A State of Trance festival on February 28th, 2016. He suffered spinal and severe brain injury but was able to recover after 3 months.
  • Greg Page, one of the founding members of the children's music group The Wiggles, had to retire in 2006 because of his failing health. In January 2020, during a reunion benefit concert to raise funds for bushfire victims, Page suffered a cardiac arrest just off-stage and had to be resuscitated. He survived but missed the second scheduled show the following night.
  • On November 13, 2015, the Eagles of Death Metal concert at Le Bataclan Theatre in Paris was attacked by ISIS suicide bombers, resulting in the deaths of 90 audience members; luckily, all of the band members survived unscathed.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • At the WWE Elimination Chamber pay-per-view in 2010, The Undertaker was accidentally lit on fire during his entrance. He wrestled the match anyway, despite the skin on his exposed upper body peeling from the burns. Several stagehands gave him water bottles to douse himself with while he waited in the chamber pods for his turn in the match, and Michael Cole covered for Taker's post-fire sprint to the ring as a rage in the Deadman no one had seen before.
  • Jerry "The King" Lawler collapsed from a heart attack at ringside during a WWE Raw event in September 2012, about an hour after he wrestled a match. Luckily the medical staff was able to get him to the hospital in time to save his life.
  • On September 8, 2014, Seth Rollins was nearly impaled by spikes attached to a steel cage twice. His quick reflexes saved him both times.
  • On the RAW episode before Hell in a Cell 2014, Randy Orton was nearly impaled by the legs of an upturned table. Due to the match stipulations, he had barely any room to avoid the potential tragedy. He verbally and physically made his anger known during the match.
  • The "Mass Transit" incident involving ECW's New Jack: a 17-year old teen who lied about being a trained wrestler was subbed into a match where he asked to be bladed (cut open to draw blood for effect). New Jack accidentally cut him too deeply and he nearly bled out, which resulted in a lawsuit and potential criminal charges against New Jack and ECW (which were all dropped).
  • Owen Hart infamously crushed "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's neck with a piledriver during a match at SummerSlam 1997, which left Austin briefly paralyzed in the ring (which Owen interpreted as having killed Austin at first). This incident forced Austin to change his style for the rest of his career (having been a fairly technical and mat-oriented wrestler prior to a brawler later on) and left him with several lingering neck and knee pains that ultimately forced his retirement in 2003.
  • The legendary Hell in a Cell match at King of the Ring 1998 between The Undertaker and Mankind had two well-known spots: Mankind plummeting sixteen feet through an announcer's table, and being slammed through the mesh ceiling into the ring. The former was entirely scripted but the latter was accidental, which The Undertaker thought had surely broken Mankind's neck upon impact. Thankfully he was mostly okay (although Vince McMahon made Foley promise that he'd never attempt something so crazy for the rest of his career), although about as banged up as one might expect.
  • The 2004 installment of WWE Judgment Day included a match between Eddie Guerrero and John "Bradshaw" Layfield in which Eddie executed a bad blade job and ended up severing an artery in his head. The resulting crimson fountain was so horrific that Eddie went into shock backstage from blood loss after the match. The PPV is the only event in WWE's history that has ever been rated TV-MA, specifically because of this incident.
  • This is unfortunately common in hardcore wrestling promotions, for example the aforementioned Mass Transit incident.
  • During a match between D'Lo Brown and Droz on an October 1999 edition of SmackDown, D'Lo hit his signature running powerbomb on Droz but a botched landing left Droz a quadraplegic in the aftermath. In the years since, Droz has regained use of his upper body but his legs remain paralyzed.
  • A WCW match during a European tour between Mick Foley (wrestling as Cactus Jack) and Vader saw Foley attempt a hangman maneuver (a spot where the victim appears to get their neck snagged between the ring ropes). However, because the ring ropes WCW used were actually elevator cables, doing so was near-fatal as Foley became legitimately strangled by the ropes due to their high tension. The referee had to free him but badly damaged his ear, which actually fell off when the match continued (and Foley would actually go on to say the worst thing to come of it was WCW never integrated it into their storylines).

    Sports (Excluding Motorsports) 
  • The NHL has had a number of incidents where players have been cut by skate blades, including two players who required emergency surgery because the skate sliced blood vessels in their necks: Clint Malarchuk and Richard Zednik.
    • The vulcanized rubber puck used has also claimed a near-miss in Trent McCleary. Falling to the ice to block the puck from reaching the goal, McCleary mistimed his slide and took the puck in the larynx, fracturing it and blocking his airway (and also eventually causing a lung to collapse and collide with his heart). As with the Clint Malarchuk incident, after McCleary stumbled to the bench and into the dressing room, a quick-acting medical team saved his life.
  • The UK Premier League football player Fabrice Muamba suffered a near-fatal heart attack on the pitch in March 2012, while playing for Bolton Wanderers away against Spurs. He survived despite having had no spontaneous heartbeat for over an hour but unfortunately had to retire from the sport. He might very well have died had a cardiac-specialist doctor not been among Spurs' fans that day, who immediately realized what was happening and rushed straight onto the pitch to save him.
  • Buffalo Bills' tight end Kevin Everett suffered a severe neck injury on what looked to be a routine play during the 2007 season opener. Doctors performed a relatively new procedure on him, right on the field, rapidly cooling the injured area to prevent swelling from causing additional damage. Without the treatment, he likely would have died on the field. The treatment was developed by a charity that the Bills' owner Ralph Wilson continued to support with his own money even after the remaining NFL owners had pulled out and directed their money elsewhere. To make the story even weirder, this injury and the Malarchuk and Zednik incidents listed above all occurred in Buffalo.
  • On December 13, 1933, Eddie Shore of the Boston Bruins checked Toronto Maple Leafs right winger Ace Bailey from behind. Bailey fractured his skull when he hit the ice. Although Bailey survived, his career didn't.
  • On November 21, 2005, Jiri Fischer suffered a heart attack on the bench during a Detroit Red Wings/Nashville Predators game, collapsing at the end of the bench. A cardiac defibrillator and quick-acting doctors who were seconds away saved his life, though he never played another competitive game. Rich Peverley and Jay Bouwmeester suffered similar events in 2014 and 2020, respectively, and also survived. They too ended up retiring.
  • Several runners were injured during the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, some even requiring amputating limbs. While none of the runners actually died, three spectators in the crowd (including an 8-year-old boy) lost their lives.
  • On November 1, 2015, Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Ricardo Lockette collapsed after a blindside block by Dallas Cowboys safety Jeff Heath. Despite damage to his vertebrae, medical personnel properly stabilized his head and neck, and he survived. Lockette made a full recovery after surgery but retired the next offseason. According to the doctors who treated him, had one of his teammates so much as touched him to see if he was alright after the injury, it would have likely been enough to kill him.
  • On April 20, 2018, Chicago White Sox pitcher Danny Farquhar suffered a brain hemorrhage after pitching in the 6th inning of a game against the Houston Astros. The training staff gave prompt medical attention to Farquhar after he collapsed in the dugout, which very likely saved his life.
  • On December 21, 1997, the NFL's Detroit Lions and New York Jets finished the season with a winner-take-all game (winner made the playoffs while the loser stayed home). The Lions won 13-10, but the game was overshadowed when Lions linebacker Reggie Brown suffered a spinal cord injury while making a tackle, slipping briefly into unconsciousness and nearly dying on the field before being revived. Brown would be diagnosed with a spinal cord contusion, and while his football career was over, he would retain the ability to walk.

  • On February 13, 1988, during the Stafford opening night performance of the notorious musical Carrie, Barbara Cook, playing Margaret White, was nearly decapitated on-stage by a set piece during the number Open Your Heart. Cook immediately quit the production, but stayed on until her replacement was hired. This lasted until the end of the Stafford run, afterwhich she was replaced by Betty Buckley for the even briefer Broadway run.
  • In 2003, Roy Horn, one half of the Las Vegas stage magician duo Siegfried & Roy, was mauled onstage by their white tiger Montecore, leaving him critically injured. While he survived, the Siegfried & Roy stage show in Vegas was canceled immediately after. The duo retired from performing after that, and the tiger was also saved from death because Horn begged the authorities to not harm the animal. While the use of wild animals in stage shows had already been growing unpopular since the '90s due to the rise of Cirque du Soleil and protests by animal rights groups, this incident marked the turning point at which it fell out of favor.
  • On March 10, 2011, Gallagher suffered a mild heart attack while performing his famous "Sledge-O-Matic" routine at a show in Rochester, Minnesota. Which is home of the Mayo Clinic and there were several doctors in the audience. A year later, he suffered another one before going on stage in Lewisville, Texas. Doctors placed him in a medically induced coma and replaced two coronary stents following that incident, and he recovered. As of 2016, he's still on tour and performing.
  • On April 6th, 2016, in the opening-night performance of a high-school production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street in New Zealand, two students had their throats badly cut by a real straight razor that was supposed to have been blunted. The cuts were deep enough to expose cartilage and trachea but luckily didn't sever major arteries. The show wasn't interrupted; the injured students stayed on stage until the "dead bodies" were removed as usual for that show, and the audience didn't learn until later that the supposed fake blood was real. There had been injuries during rehearsals but they weren't deemed to be serious enough to change that aspect of the production.
  • Cirque du Soleil:
    • On March 30th, 2017, at the opening performance of Luzia in Seattle, a performer fell and landed on her back while jumping between Russian swings during the climactic swing-to-swing act. The show continued as she was taken offstage on a gurney. Fortunately, she was not seriously injured.
    • Narrowly averted by Karina Silva Poirer, who on October 20, 2016, fell 30 feet while rehearsing an aerial silk act for La Nouba, suffering face and skull fractures, and slipped in and out of a coma three times in the hospital.
    • On December 7, 2018, in San Francisco, one of the BMX riders in VOLTA fell from his bike during the final act and was knocked unconscious (fortunately not sustaining life-threatening injuries), resulting in the cancellation of the evening show that day.
  • In March 2017, Criss Angel lost consciousness during an attempt at an upside-down straitjacket escape and was subsequently rushed to the ER. Just 24 hours later, however, he successfully pulled off the stunt.

Examples In Fiction (beware of spoilers):

    Anime and Manga 
  • In Masakazu Katsura's early manga Present from Lemon, Lemon's father (the enka singer Momojirou Sakaguchi) died of a heart attack on stage when Lemon was a child.
  • In an episode of Slayers, Lina and Co are performing a play when they are attacked by Zangulus and Vrumugun, who adlib lines to make it seem like their attack is part of the play. Lina adlibs some lines that justify them fighting back, starting a battle that blows up the stage, kills Vrumugun (again) and several mooks, and gets them presented an award for best original production (Since nobody had seen the play before, the only people to realize that they had deviated from the script were people working for the theater troupe).
  • Used several times in Detective Conan:
    • In one filler case Conan, the Mouris and Kogoro's Old Master Heihachirou Shirota attend a theater rehearsal in which the troupe's diva, Shouko Ooide, dies while rehearsing. It immediately turns out that she was murdered via having a glass of water that she was supposed to drink on-stage laced with poison. The culprit was the troupe's manager, Hitomi Sasaki, pissed off after the victim stole her boyfriend (and the lead actor) purely to spite her and told her so to her face.
    • Another case involved an ikebana exhibition, where the artist in charge had received more than one threat. The Sympathetic Murderer, Midori, had secretly arranged for the death of the Asshole Victim, Rika, whom she worked for as her manager and aidé: the moment she started with her flower show, the flowers would release a huge dose of poison that would kill both of them.
    • Another case involved the murder of Michiko Oosawa, a young actress who played the role of Venus in an aquarium show. She was supposed to emerge from a huge shell-shaped prop and when it opened during a rehearsal, her lifeless body was released instead. The killer was the lead stagehand, Murakawa, who killed Michiko to avenge his wife and child, whom Michiko ran over with her car two years ago. She was such a bitch that she laughed about it when she accidentally found out about him.
    • In another, a rabid fan of tokusatsu is tricked into committing suicide in front of the Kamen Yaiba club he belonged to, and in the middle of a cosplay party, they had organized for fun. He was already not well in the head, and then he took a pistol and shot himself, thinking it was just a prop. One of the leaders of the club was the culprit since said rabid fan stole his younger brother's prized memorabilia and caused the poor little boy to get hit by a truck while pursuing the thief.
    • Also pulled by stage magician Motoyasu Tsukumo, who killed his best disciple Yashiro Kinoshita via tampering with his equipment when he was about to perform a dangerous trick in a water tank and transforming said tank in a makeshift Drowning Pit. Twenty years later, he gets his karma back when Yashiro's sister Mako, also one of his pupils, kills him.
    • In one case, all three actors in a play attempt to murder another actor in the play. One attempts to switch a fake rapier with a real rapier, one attempts to put real poison in the cup that is used a pretend poisoned cup for the play, and a third attempts to electrocute another actor. All of this is averted when Conan foils their plans.
    • The famous "Shinichi Kudo's New York Case" has a musical in which a famous singer and actor is shot on-stage. The other four actresses in the play are suspects since the victim was The Casanova and three of the women were his lovers while the other was his legal wife, but there's a catch - it might have been a completely unrelated Serial Killer who has been on the run. It turns out one of the actresses was the culprit since she was In Love with Love and wanted the man to be immortalized as his best role before he left the troupe.
    • The Unfriendly Girls Band case also uses this, when the drummer and leader of an all-female rock band are somehow strangled to death on stage without anyone noticing at first. It turns out the killer, the keyboardist of the band, managed to use very resistant wool and a freaking selfie stick placed in a vital position to create a makeshift gallow and strangle her bandmate without even touching her. She did it because she believed the drummer to have driven the original singer of the band to lose her voice and then commit suicide, which was wrong: in reality, the drummer tried to help the singer in a terribly misguided way, the singer died in an Heroic Sacrifice to save a child, and the drummer heavily blamed herself for her friend's death.
  • In Necromancer, one of the clients has their daughter killed repeatedly on stage as part of a play, having Asutsuo resurrect her each time.
  • Attempted in Private Actress, when Shiho and her Evil Counterpart Kana/Satoka are filming a movie scene that involves Shiho's character being thrown out of a window by Satoka's chara. Satoka tries to throw Shiho off for real, but (barely) fails. And in the Grand Finale of the manga Shiho sort-of invokes the trope via basically making Satoka believe that she will go the Murder-Suicide way (again, coinciding with a murder scene they're both filming)... but what she actually does is scaring Satoka into Trauma-Induced Amnesia.
  • The cause of performer Victoria Cindry's death in One Piece was falling off the stage from a great height.
  • In Future GPX Cyber Formula, Bleed Kaga's flashback in Zero shows images of a car explosion, him being restrained by race marshals and witnessing a racer being burned to death in that car. The last SAGA II CD reveals this in further detail: It was his best friend and rival, Eiji. He and Kaga were involved in a horrific crash years earlier and, while Kaga was trying to rescue Eiji, the car suddenly exploded: Eiji burned to death with his corpse still inside the car and a piece of the debris cuts Kaga's forehead.
    • Hayato Kazami goes through a near-miss variant during the British GP when he makes contact with the Zero Zone, he crashed into his rival Randoll's car and his car goes through the railing and crashes into the ground. Although he ultimately survives, he misses the rest of the racing season because of rehabilitation and retires from the sport for a while.
  • A rather "real" risk in Kaleido Star, which features a stage that is basically an anime version of the Cirque du Soleil:
  • Twenty-odd years before the events in Glass Mask began, the famous actress Chigusa Tsukikage was performing her prized Crimson Goddess play but a stage-spotlight snapped and fell on her. She barely survived, but her injuries badly deformed half of her face to the point that she stopped stage-acting since and switched to teaching. It also kickstarted her obsession to find the perfect actress to give her the Crimson Goddess role, which was specifically written for her by her long-gone beloved Ichiren Osaki.
  • In Captain Tsubasa, one of the cliffhangers in the first part's Nankatsu/Musashi game takes place when the Ill Boy Meiwa captain, Misugi, suddenly stops playing and it seems like his ill heart is gonna stop beating. It's even spiced up in the original anime, with Tsubasa being so shaken at the sight that he lets out an anguished Big "NO!". Misugi manages to get an Heroic Second Wind and finish the game, but he must be rushed to the nearest hospital.
  • In Zombie Land Saga, Ai Mizuno was just beginning to hit her big break with her idol group, Iron Frill, when a freak lightning bolt incinerated her during a concert in front of thousands of viewers, leaving her charred corpse still posing on-stage. As a zombie, she's quite bitter that people mostly remember her for how she died instead of her actual musical career. It happens again to her and the rest of Franchouhou in Episode 7, but since they're all already dead, they're perfectly fine.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • In Dirty Sympathy for Klavier's rock concert, one of their acts require him to be covered in chains. He nearly dies in his concert when his lover, Daryan deliberately tangles the chains with the moving platform's winch for his infidelity, causing the chains to tighten around his neck and asphyxiate him.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Penn & Teller Get Killed is built around teasing this trope, unsurprisingly, as Penn and Teller love doing this in their live stage shows.
  • At the end of Black Swan, The Perfectionist Nina enacts the role of "Dying Swan" by stabbing herself with a shard of mirror and dies after the performance. Or so it seems.
  • The 1937 Austrian film The Charm of La Bohème revolves around a pair of opera singers whose romance mirrors that of Rodolfo and Mimí in Puccini's opera. In the end, they sing together in one last Bohéme performance, but the sickly heroine really does die in Mimí's death scene, with no one realizing it until after the curtain falls.
  • At the end of the Mario Lanza film The Great Caruso, the ailing title character collapses just as the curtain falls on his final performance in the opera Martha. This is followed by a final scene showing mourners laying a wreath in front of his bust, implying that he died on the stage. This is Very Loosely Based on a True Story: the real Caruso died in bed in a Naples hotel nearly a year after his last performance (which was La Juive, not Martha).
  • The tragic ending of Moulin Rouge! has the heroine die of natural causes (tuberculosis) during a curtain call.
  • Network references this once and uses it once; early on (in a scene likely inspired by Christine Chubbuck's suicide mentioned above), Howard Beale announces that he will be committing suicide on air at a later date. He is deterred from this by being given a new show after his on-air rant inspires record ratings. Later, when his ratings sag, his producers arrange for him to be assassinated live on the air.
  • In Pet Sematary Two, the main character's actress mother is accidentally killed on the set of a movie when she's electrocuted by live wires.
  • In The Prestige, Borden accidentally kills Angier's wife during a magician stunt. Angier also kills himself repeatedly using a "teleporter" that creates a clone of him, dumping the original into a tank of water to drown.
  • In Pulp Fiction Butch the boxer kills his opponent Floyd in the ring, leaving so quickly he doesn't know Floyd died until his getaway cab driver tells him what she heard on the radio.
  • One gag in This is Spın̈al Tap is that all of the band's drummers have died violently. Two of these deaths involved dying on-stage during a live show. Via spontaneous combustion.
    • In a Shout-Out to this, Guitar Hero II features "Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight" as an encore song - at the conclusion the drummer explodes.
  • The Rocky movies did this twice. In Rocky III as Clubber Lang is beating the crap out of Rocky, his trainer Mickey suffers a fatal heart attack. In Rocky IV, Ivan Drago pummels Apollo Creed so badly that he dies of his injuries; Drago's post-fight indifference to this ("If he dies, he dies") led to Rocky agreeing to fight him in Moscow.
  • Early on in Rush, which prides itself on its historical accuracy, Francois Cavert's car is seen sitting on the other side of a section of ARMCO that it apparently went through, with his headless body still sitting in the car, before a TV in the pits announces that he was killed, along with naming other drivers that had died in the past few seasons, all of which, including Cevert, were actually killed in real life. Niki Lauda had a near miss later in the film when he became trapped in his burning car and suffered severe burns. A priest actually gave him his last rites as he lay in the hospital.
  • Subverted in Return to Cabin by the Lake. Stanley stages at least two attempted murders on his film set. The first time he makes it look like an accident when one of the lead actresses is electrocuted by a defective stage light falling into a water tank, but she barely survives. The second time around he doesn't even pretend to cover it up and tries to have another actress drowned by weighing her down to the bottom, but Allison saves her by shooting through the tank.
  • In the back story of The Fast and the Furious (2001), Dominic's and Mia's father was killed in a racing accident. Dominic was so devastated, he savagely beat the responsible driver with a wrench.
  • Attempted but subverted (maybe) in Birdman. Riggan's character is supposed to commit suicide via gunshot to the head. For the premiere, Riggan brings an actual loaded gun onstage and shoots himself with it. He survives, maybe.
  • In The Gallows, the titular play had an ending scene where the lead character would be hanged by a gallows prop. During one performance, the prop suddenly malfunctioned, causing the actor Charlie to be hanged for real while his ghost haunts the school.
  • Shadow of the Vampire: The film depicts the (fictional) events that supposedly transpired during the filming of Nosferatu. The director, F. W. Murnau (played by John Malkovich) explains that the lead actor, Max Schreck, is trying to 'get into the role' by staying in character - and costume - at all times. Unfortunately, he doesn't mention that his 'Schreck' is actually a real vampire and that the deaths on camera would be very real as well.
  • Subverted in Game of Death (1978): Billy Lo shoots the last scene for Fist of Fury and is shot by one of Dr. Land's henchmen. It turns out that he survived and plans for his revenge.
  • Almost happens to Anne Shirley during a performance of an Arthurian drama in Anne of Green Gables: The Good Stars when she's swept up in a current during her character's death scene.
  • In Faces of Death IV, stage magician Orendo the Magnificent performs a grand illusion in which he must escape from a straightjacket before a candle burns through a rope and drops a set of Spikes of Doom on his head. Expectedly, he fails, and the foot-operated safety lever fails as well, so the spikes descend and kill him instantaneously.
  • In ¡Three Amigos!, the Amigos appear before the Mexican bandit El Guapo and his gang, believing he's a Mexican entertainer who invited them to perform with him. As they're performing their act, Jefe shoots Lucky Day's arm. Once he inspects their weapons, finding real bullets, Lucky realizes that they are real bandits who will kill them.
  • The climax of Heaven Can Wait hinges on Rams QB Tom Jarrett dying in a freak accident during the Super Bowl so that Joe Pendleton can win it for the Rams and live out the last 50 years of his life as Jarrett.
  • Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band: Sgt. Pepper suffers a heart attack while playing his cornet at the end of the prologue montage, explaining how Mr. Kite came to possess the band's instruments.
  • Charlie Chan At The Opera had such a incident when an escaped lunatic (Played by Boris Karloff) kills an Opera actor to take his costume to perform his role to exact his revenge against a female actor in the show. As it happens, the lunatic is an experienced and talent opera performer himself and does his part so well that he traps the woman on stage, who can't escape or call for help, until his character is supposed to fatally stab her as part of the show, but the knife he uses is real. It seems so convincingly All Part of the Show that even Charlie Chan does not realize what is happening until it is too late.

    Film - Animated 
  • The short film Le Mans 1955 has Mercedes driver Pierre Levegh killed partway through the 1955 24 Hours of Le Mans, along with 80 spectators when his car leaves the track and crashes into an area packed with people. The Mercedes team withdraws their other car from the race after much soul-searching, despite leading following the accident. It's based on the real-life 1955 Le Mans disaster.

  • Sort of, in Deep Wizardry: the part of the Silent One in the ritual involves actually letting the giant shark eat you, and Nita did not know this until she had already taken the oath to participate. Eventually averted, when the ritual goes waaayyy far south and the aforementioned shark throws away his own life in battle, satisfying the death requirement.
  • In the Naoya Shiga short story Han's Crime, the judge is tasked with determining whether or not circus knife-thrower Han intentionally murdered his wife during a performance.
  • In Remote Man, Jay Laana was killed in a botched stunt on an action movie. The shot of his body falling out of the car made it into the movie.
  • The 87th Precinct mystery Eighty Million Eyes is about a Variety Show host murdered on television.
  • Marion Zimmer-Bradley's circus novel "The Catch Trap" has the patriarch of the Santelli family - an Italo-American circus clan of trapeze artists - dying of a heart attack mid-air during the show. While his death itself is quick, probably a matter of split seconds, the immediate aftermath is heartwrenching.
  • In Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven, Arthur Leander dies onstage during a performance of "King Lear."
  • In The Winds of Winter, one of Arya's/"Mercy's" duties as a mummer in Braavos is to check the trick daggers used before each performance and make sure nobody's replaced them with real ones. Apparently, before one performance, someone replaced a trick dagger with a real one and it caused the death of a mummer on-stage.
  • At the end of Tomie de Paola's The Clown of God, Giovanni comes out of retirement and performs his signature juggling routine as a gift to the Christ Child on Christmas Eve, but drops dead from a heart attack during the act's seven-ball climax.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Touched by an Angel episode "Restoration", a silent movie director’s pregnant wife (and the lead actress) dies in a stunt while the camera is rolling. The way the shot took, the wonders of Manipulative Editing allow him to turn the film’s happy ending into a Downer Ending.
  • On the CSI: Miami episode "Show Stopper", an expy of Lady Gaga and Hannah Montana is incinerated onstage during a concert and later dies from her injuries.
  • CSI:
    • There's an episode entitled "Snuff", where a snuff film actress was murdered during the performance.
    • Another episode had a comedian who died just after a performance in a nightclub.
    • There was also an episode where a fire broke out at a club. Two members of the white supremacist band burned to death, an audience member was trampled, and another was stabbed.
  • Happens in CSI: NY, too:
    • An acting troupe throws a high-class fundraiser centered on Marie Antoinette, in none other than the UN building. The actress playing Marie dies as a prop "guillotine" apparently fatally breaks her neck. Unsurprisingly, the deal turns out to be far more complicated. She was actually poisoned with "infected" candy, after having confronted the acting troupe leader over him supposedly using her name to commit scams... and she did that after her Creepy Child co-actress convinced her to do so...
    • A Formula One racer's car explodes during an exhibition race - with him inside. The car turns out to have been tampered with and the suspects include the victim's wife, his manager, a female rival and a newbie racer.
  • On one episode of The Tonight Show Johnny Carson had an effects technician as a guest. The tech had built a guillotine that supposedly looked more realistic than former effects, and Carson demonstrated it. After the gag, Carson remained unresponsive for some time; the other people on set appeared visibly worried that something had gone wrong until they got the hood off and Carson grinned at them.
  • Similar to the above Carson example is illusionist David Copperfield's illusion "The Death Saw", wherein Copperfield is chained to a table and must escape using only a hairpin borrowed from an audience member before the slowly-descending Death Saw cuts him in half. However, The Death Saw malfunctions and begins descending faster than the magician anticipated, causing him to panic visibly until The Death Saw reaches him and the inevitable happens. However, Copperfield appears to revive and the rest of the illusion in which Copperfield remotely controls the severed lower half of his body is played for laughs. See it here.
    • Note that this illusion is extremely convincing when performed live, especially since the audience doesn't know what's going to happen and it's very easy to get caught up in the moment; the bit of cloth flying off the saw is a nice detail. It's only later that one realizes that had Copperfield actually been sawed in half, it wouldn't have been quite so bloodless.
    • Paul Daniels did a hoax of this type on a BBC Halloween special. The big finish was an escape from an iron maiden - except that the maiden appeared to spring shut on him. Awkward silence, the studio audience is asked to leave, roll credits and no "reveal" that he was alright until after the following programme.
    • Criss Angel did similar with a wood chipper escape stunt that appeared to fail and lead to him being shredded, only for him to emerge in one piece afterward.
  • In the last episode of Oz, Chris Keller exchanged Tobias Beecher's stage knife with a real one for a performance of Macbeth, resulting in Beecher accidentally killing Verne Shillinger.
  • Midsomer Murders:
    • In the episode The Axeman Cometh, a singer is killed by an electrified mic stand while on stage. The crowd initially thinks it's part of the act.
    • In another episode, a theatre actor playing the part of Salieri in a production of Amadeus slices his own throat open when his prop cutthroat razor is switched for a real one. It takes a few moments before Barnaby realizes the truth. For extra irony, in the play, Salieri survives having his throat cut.
  • Played with in an episode of Supernatural. A magician survives incredibly dangerous, impossible stunts, but other people have a tendency of dropping dead of the same things that should have killed him.
  • An episode of Dollhouse features attempts on the life of a pop singer, some of which occur onstage. In one case a stunt double is killed in her place.
  • In The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Chuckles the Clown was killed at a parade while dressed as a peanut when an elephant tried to peel him.
  • In the first season of Las Vegas, Jean-Claude Van Damme makes an appearance and gets killed off in a sabotaged stunt.
  • In a literal example, a method actor visiting Fantasy Island asked for the chance to practice for the role of Dracula. He nearly drained his Love Interest's blood with the vampiric abilities and appetites he received, although Mr. Rourke intervened before the "Fatal" part of this trope could play out.
  • Used in one of the stories told on Beyond Belief: Fact Or Fiction, where during a pro wrestling match, the guy who was booked to lose died during the match. Of course, the history between the two meant that the dead guy, who was always showing up his current opponent looked like he was just deciding to sell like a ragdoll, and since the guy who won thought he was legitimately winning that way, nobody knew he was dead until after the match. Upon finding out that he was only winning because he was fighting a corpse, the narrator then says "even in victory, he was a loser."
  • Mad About You: "Citizen Buchman" has Paul's uncle dying while being interviewed for Paul's movie. The rest of the episode tries to find out the meaning of his Last Words.
  • Whose Line Is It Anyway? has a game of this. The players play actors in a live stage play that all die as soon as they get on stage leading one player (usually Colin Mochrie) who is still alive to heft the "corpses" around and supply the dialog himself.
  • In the Pushing Daisies episode "Oh Oh Oh . . . It's Magic", a stage magician's act Goes Horribly Wrong and he ends up suffocated inside a block of cement. Subverted when they crack open the block at the morgue and find no body inside . . . then Double Subverted when it turns out the wrong block was sent to the morgue.
  • Lindorfo the clown goes through this in the Chilean Soap Opera "El circo de las Montini". Massive spoilers and tears behind the link.
  • One episode of Monk has an actor die onstage of a knife to the heart. Supposedly, the actress grabbed a real knife instead of the prop knife. In reality, the actor collapsed due to an allergic reaction to the peanut oil on the apple he'd taken a bite from and the "doctor" who ran up to check on him stabbed him for real.
  • An episode of Psych had an actor in a telenovela die after being stabbed with a real knife that someone had swapped out the prop knife with. Shawn goes undercover to determine the guilty party.
  • One episode of Forever Knight ends with a rock star getting gunned down with her backup dancers by an obsessed fan. In reality, this only applies to the dancers as the singer, too strung out to perform, was replaced by an impostor.
  • Law & Order goes to this well twice. In "Sweeps," a child molester is murdered on live television - a tabloid talk show - by the father of his victim. In "Swept Away: A Very Special Episode," a reality show cast member kills one of his castmates during a heated argument, which of course is captured on videotape.
  • Comes up a couple of times in Jonathan Creek. On one occasion it happens offscreen and is only mentioned briefly; Jonathan's employer, egomaniac and dim stage-illusionist Adam Klaus, had some sort of inner-ear infection that messed up his balance and led to him falling off the stage and breaking his leg. The second and most memorable one involved a live python and Adam's new bodyguard... It has to be seen to be believed.
  • Trevor, Hillary's boyfriend on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, proposes to her on live television while bungee jumping. Unfortunately, the bungee cord is too long. Splat!
  • In the April 1st, 2000 episode of SMTV Live, the cast did the usual dance leading into the postbag segment. However, Dec became visibly disorientated going through the motions and collapsed apparently dead at the end of the song. The other crew members and stagehands rushed on stage to help him, the show cut to the adverts and it was only revealed to have been an April Fool during the next segment, in which Dec's Small Name, Big Ego alter-ego told us so in a deliberately obnoxious non-apology. The rest of the crew had not been informed and Dec was disciplined and forced to apologize.
  • One victim of the week on Sledge Hammer! was a used car salesman who died while shooting a live commercial for his dealership.
  • The Doctor Blake Mysteries: In "A Night to Remember", an actress is poisoned and dies onstage during a performance of Elektra. As she keels over during Elektra's death scene, the audience assumes it is part of the show and erupts into rapturous applause. It is only when she does not get up to acknowledge the applause does anyone realize something is wrong.
  • Murder, She Wrote: In "Danse Diabolique", a ballerina is murdered on stage. As she succumbs to the poison during her death scene, it is only when her partner kneels at her side that he notices that she is really dead.
  • This gag from Just for Laughs temporarily leads the victim to think a cameraman has been accidentally shot dead by one of the actors.
  • Part fiction, part reality: magicians Penn & Teller once performed a bit on New Year's Eve in which they had to escape from being submerged in champagne note  in a twist on an old Houdini bit. Their spin on it would be that the alcohol affected them strongly, being teetotalers, and they would need to be rescued from drowning and taken away by ambulance. Problem: a sizable portion of the audience didn't understand that the catastrophic failure was scripted and reacted accordingly.
  • Takes place in 1000 Ways to Die, of course.
    • In the segment "Coffin to Death", a Japanese rock star gets trapped in a coffin by the lead guitarist who upstages him with a three-minute rock solo, causing him to choke to death on carbon dioxide from dry ice that was meant to be used for theatrics.
    • The segment "Abracadaver", a magician attempts to replicate the infamous "Bullet Catch" trick, one of the most dangerous magic tricks, wherein he would appear to catch a bullet fired from a gun in his teeth. Unfortunately, a piece of his wand fell into the barrel of the prop gun, which was propelled by the fired blank straight into his neck.
    • In "Dumbrella", a sword swallower attempts to swallow an umbrella, only for his throat to accidentally trigger the release, causing the umbrella to open and close off his airway.
  • Law & Order: Criminal Intent: In "Icarus", the actor playing Icarus has his flying rig sabotaged and he plunges to his death as he is supposed to be soaring towards the sun.
  • In the Tales from the Crypt episode "Television Terror", a tabloid news show host and his cameraman are disemboweled and hanged on live television by the ghosts of a serial killer and her victims.
  • Bill Nye the Science Guy appears to fall victim to this at the end of the Pollution episode, where he gets tangled in copper wire on a Conveyor Belt o' Doom and loaded into an automated trash compactor. Afterward, however, as Bill's lab coat is shown plastered to a trash bale, Pat Cashman informs the audience that "no science guys were harmed".
  • A segment on Crackanory had a man on his stag night pass out from excessive drinking and wake up in a hospital with zombies in it. After managing to kill the zombies and escape he found out it was actually an elaborate prank by his friends and he'd just murdered a group of actors who were attacking him in self-defense.
  • While Top Gear (UK) had an actual close call (see the near misses folder for details), they've also had some fictional examples:
    • After Perry McCarthy outed himself as The Stig, he was written out by having The Stig attempt to use nitrous oxide to out-accelerate a Harrier on an aircraft carrier. He wasn't able to stop in time and drove into the sea.
    • While the hosts were testing out some small off-road vehicles, Jeremy was thrown from a hovercraft and quipped "I've been killed. I've most definitely been killed." We then see him lying there with a caption reading "J. Clarkson, 1935-2005".
    • An attempt to combine off-roading with fox hunting ended with Jeremy's vehicle stuck in a gully being swarmed by hunting dogs. We cut back to the studio and Richard says that Jeremy was eaten by the dogs.
    • Another time, they tried to build their own electric car and subject it to a series of tests. One of those was an endurance test where The Stig's environmentalist cousin will drive it around the track until the battery and the generator fuel run out. At some point, the exhaust hose for the generator comes loose and the exhaust fumes asphyxiate The Stig's cousin.
    • Their test of three cars suited for the Albanian Mafia ended with them robbing a bank and trying to make a getaway. During the getaway, James drives his car off a cliff (on purpose) and is killed.
    • During their test of the Renault Twingo, Ross Kemp climbs into the boot (or "trunk" if you're American) to demonstrate the space inside. He stays there the rest of the segment...including when Jeremy tries to jump the car onto the ferry back to England. During the subsequent host segment, he says that Kemp did not survive.
  • In the Married... with Children episode "Dead Men Don't Do Aerobics" Jim Jupiter, the "Healthiest Man in Chicago" has become a fat slob after only one day of hanging with Peggy while smoking and eating junk food. Returning to his daily aerobics show the next day, he suffers a massive heart attack on-screen and collapses dead.
  • Diane on Cheers once put on a performance of Othello with the mentally unbalanced Andy Schroeder as the title character and herself as Desdemona. Unfortunately, Andy still has unrequited feelings for her and tries to kill her during the performance. Luckily, Sam realizes what's going on and rushes to her aid.
  • Probe's "Black Cats Don't Walk Under Ladders (Do They?)": In-Universe, Sabrina Stillwater, a witch, is a guest on the Show Within a Show, The Marty Corrigan Show. She casts a hex on the host while several scientists are there to debunk her "magic". Unfortunately, things go wrong when Marty actually dies from her hex, and Austin tries to figure out who is really behind Marty's death.
  • One skit on Not Necessarily the News has a football player collapse on the field. At first, the play-by-play announcers are worried that he injured his knee since he just recovered from a knee injury, but it soon becomes clear that the player died from a heart attack. The announcers are then relieved that it wasn't his knees.
  • Highlander: A Temporary version due to the show’s premise, but they still count:
    • Richie joins a professional motorcycle racing team despite Duncan warning him it’s not a good idea. He gets into a feud with another rider and gets into it with him on the track without even realizing it. The result is a fiery crash and Richie waking up in the morgue.
    • “The Immortal Cimmoli” is about Danny, a newborn immortal who has no clue about the Game and uses his immortality to do circus acts that would kill a mortal. Despite Duncan warning him he’s attracting attention, Danny heads off to Vegas and gets killed in a more final fashion.

  • The song The Untimely Death of Brad by Five Iron Frenzy about the death of their trumpet player - this being a fictional example as it was inspired by a rumor.
  • Fictional near-example in the Gorillaz music video "El Manana": everyone thought the helicopters attacking Noodle's flying island were All Part of the Show until the real stunt helicopters showed up, by which time Noodle had vanished. Turns out recently that she's Not Quite Dead, but everyone thought she was.
  • Brad Paisley's "Death of a Married Man" is about a guy whose fatal heart attack came during a game of charades, and everyone assumed it was part of the game.
  • Word of God states that David Bowie's song "Rock 'n' Roll Suicide", from The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, is about the eponymous messianic rocker being fatally torn to pieces on stage by a group of aliens.
  • The French/Italian disco singer Dalida invokes this trope in her song "Mourir sur scène" (To Die On Stage), where she expresses a preference for this kind of death above all other. (Unfortunately, she did not get her wish in Real Life, where she intentionally ODed on barbiturates following many years of depression.) The chorus translates as follows:
    I want to die on stage
    Right in front of the spotlight
    Yes, I want to die on stage
    My heart open, in full color
    To die without any trouble
    The last time I meet the crowd
    I want to die on stage
    Singing until the very end!

    Tabletop Games 
  • All part of the game in Blood Bowl, where character deaths during the matches are a regular occurrence. Whether by falling over, taking a hit, or being fouled, Blood Bowl players will die often and gruesomely. Low armor teams like the wood elves are especially likely to die in a match.

  • In Pippin, the Players explain how in the finale Pippin is supposed to set himself on fire "for real" so he can have the perfect experience he's been looking for all the show. Pippin understandably objects: "Look, it's just that if this isn't it... I'm going to have a tough time trying something else."
  • In the B-story of Matilda, the Escapologist and the Acrobat were forced by contract to perform "The Burning Woman, Hurling Through The Air, With Dynamite in Her Hair..." despite the latter being pregnant. The stunt went well until the last moment, when the Escapologist lost his grip on his wife's hand due to using too much fire extinguisher foam, sending her crashing to the ground and breaking nearly every bone in her body. She managed to carry their child to term before dying.

    Video Games 
  • Done as a plot point in the Ace Attorney series.
    • In the third case of the first game, one actor, Manuel, was accidentally impaled on a fence. This leads into Dee Vasquez's blackmail of Jack Hammer, the person who accidentally pushed Manuel during a fight scene onto the fence. Hammer would then attempt to murder Vasquez, who pushed him off onto the exact same fence five years later.
    • In Spirit of Justice, the second case has Trucy Wright being accused of pulling this.
  • You can set several up in the Hitman games, including replacing a prop gun with a real gun in a production of Tosca during one level in Blood Money, electrocuting a musician mid-recording in Hitman (2016), or rigging an on-set explosion during an action movie filming.
  • In The Blackwell Convergence, actor Frank Lyons died inexplicably during shooting for "Water Under the Bridge". The press assumed it was a heart attack and the film became an instant hit, mostly due to his death being primary publicity. Turns out Lyons was strangled to death by the Countess' ghost (or what is assumed to be her ghost), who was unassumingly guided by one of the Meltzer brothers so the Meltzer Foundation, who funded the film, could profit from the film's success caused by his death.
  • Early on in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, the player can listen to WCTR and hear an example. Jack Howitzer appears on "Entertaining America" to promote his new film and brings a gun with him, which he, being an insane Schwarzenegger expy, begins threatening the host with. He tries to calm host Billy Dexter by saying that it's not loaded, only to immediately and fatally shoot him. On the bright side, Dexter is replaced by Lazlow.
  • In Undertale, the battle against local superstar Mettaton is broadcast live on television — the amount of viewers is an important element to said battle's mechanics, in fact. Once he starts fighting for real, the player can potentially choose to kill him just like against any other opponent, and monsters who had dialogue about Mettaton will comment on it afterward.
  • In AFK Arena, Idre the Grotesque Mage, a non-playable Graveborn boss, was once a stage magician named Gaston attempted a trick where the idea was to make it look like he decapitated himself and then miraculously reattach his head. Unfortunately, he actually decapitated himself by mistake.
  • One mission in Grand Theft Auto V has Michael replacing a new model of cell phone with a similar device doctored by Lester. When the head of the company holds a televised press conference to introduce the new model, it explodes and kills him.
  • One mission in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories has Victor trying to prevent gangsters from killing a rock star during a performance. It should be noted that the rock star is Phil Collins playing himself.
  • The back story for Ridge Racer Type 4 has it that the son of Racing Team Solvalou manager Enki Gilbert was killed the previous year in a racing accident. Shinji Yazaki, the manager of the Pac Racing Club, was involved in the crash and is largely believed responsible.
  • In Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number, this shows up in Martin Brown's missions. Specifically, in the last one, the woman playing his victim guns him down with what was supposed to be a fake gun... but it's strongly implied it turns out to be a real one.
  • The first day of Hypnospace Outlaw has fictional 80's rockstar Chowder Man planning on making a triumphant return at Coolfest '99, a concert for the fictional music genre of Coolpunk. The player finds out on the second day, however, that Coolfest '99 was an absolute disaster — Chowder Man's private helicopter crashed into and killed his drummer and best friend, "Kruff" Johnson, along with injuring seven fans who won a contest to ride in the copter with Chowder Man, and Chowder Man himself having his leg severed. The weight of this tragedy was an in-universe Genre-Killer for Coolpunk and forced the completely devastated Chowder Man back into retirement.
  • Saints Row: The Third has a series of DLC missions called Gangstas In Space which has the Boss starring in a sci-fi movie. After putting up with the director's verbal abuse throughout the missions, the Boss' co-star Jenny crashes a spaceship into the director while shooting.
  • Layton Brothers: Mystery Room has a couple of examples show up, with both being more complicated than they initially seem.
    • The victim in the third case is a famous actress who died after being shot onstage by a gun that was swapped with the prop gun. Turns out, the prime suspect (the victim's fiancée) did fire the fatal shot... but he didn't know it would be fatal, as the victim was the one who swapped the guns so she could get back at him for having an affair with another actress.
    • The fifth case has a famous DJ collapse on-air after eating a macaroon, later revealing he was poisoned. Subverted, however, in that the initial on-air collapse was part of a stunt, and that the murderer poisoned him after they had gone to break.
  • The Big Sho' Theater in Paper Mario: The Origami King has several on-stage performance for its Toads to enjoy. These include a Western theater show where the guns have real bullets, a street musical with actual gang warfare, and a Swan Lake performance where the dancers are able to body-check their guest stars. It's almost like someone wants the guests to die. Turns out that's actually the case; the actors are all Paper Macho soldiers on orders from Rubber Band to kill Mario.

    Western Animation 
  • The example from The Spy Who Loved Me was parodied in the Cold Open of American Dad!'s James Bond-themed episode "Tearjerker", wherein Stan is helping a British agent out of a jam, only to accidentally crush said agent with his snowmobile after they both jump off a cliff and activate their parachutes.
  • The Simpsons pokes fun at this trope and The Scottish Trope in one fell swoop during "The Regina Monologues", when the family meets Sir Ian McKellen and Homer doesn't catch on to the matter at all.
    "Good luck!"
    "It's bad luck to say that too!" (a chunk of the theater sign falls on him)
    • A near-miss occurs in "Krusty Gets Busted" where it's revealed Krusty the Clown had a heart attack while filming one of his shows. The kids in the audience think he's doing an act and burst into laughter, and the whole thing apparently wound up being considered one of television's funniest bloopers according to reporter Kent Brockman.
    • Similarly, in "Brother's Little Helper", Krusty does a sketch where his bowtie spins when he sees Sideshow Melanie strolling in, but the bowtie spins too fast and almost suffocates him as the audience laughs. After he tears it off, the technician comes onstage and apologizes, saying "I choked...", which pisses off Krusty, who starts strangling him, yelling "YOU choked!? YOU choked!?".
  • Invoked in Futurama by Calculon, who kills himself with food coloring poisoningnote  on stage to beat Langdon Cobb at an acting duel, since the only way to out-act Cobb was to do a realistic death scene by actually dying. Cobb won anyway. He was revived in a later episode, only to be killed again right after his first moment of true acting ability, as he accidentally pulls a prop rope that brings part of the stage down onto him.
  • In Metalocalypse, Dethklok fans seem to die in droves at every live concert they perform - a sort of Establishing Character Moment for these is when the first of their concerts shown on-screen has their stage airdropped just before showtime, but it detaches its parachutes too soon and crushes a massive group of fans (likely more when it actually opens up), and then during the first song the band pours a gigantic pot of coffee hot enough to burn off flesh over the surviving fans. And yet nobody ever does anything about this, because they're the most popular band in the world in this series. In fact, the fans have to sign death waivers as a mandatory requirement to seeing their concerts. Death is so common that the band can't legally be held responsible.
  • In The Powerpuff Girls episode "Abracadaver", a magician named Al Lusion was disrupted during his act by a little girl who accidentally caused him to fall into an iron maiden. Al comes Back from the Dead as a zombie to exact his revenge and selects out Blossom, to whom the little girl bore an uncanny resemblance.
  • In the Spongebob Squarepants episode "Sing a Song of Patrick", a radio studio promised to record a song in a newspaper ad. Patrick sent them "I Wrote This", an atrociously bad meandering pile of nonsense that is barely a song at best. So bad, it killed the band at the radio studio to produce a record.
    • In an earlier episode, "Band Geeks," the two flag twirlers in Squidward's marching band apparently die during rehearsal when their twirling sends them airborne like helicopters and they crash into a blimp, causing a massive explosion.
  • In the Star vs. the Forces of Evil episode "Friendenemies", Marco mentions being a fan of an action star named Mackie Hand, who got killed performing a stunt. Tom eventually brings him back to life.
  • Subverted in the penultimate episode of the fifth season of BoJack Horseman. BoJack and his co-star/girlfriend Gina are filming a scene from his detective show Philbert where Gina's character, Malone, confronts BoJack's, Philbert, about having been the murderer all along, causing Philbert to lash out and choke Malone. However, due to BoJack's Sanity Slippage from his painkiller addiction and his anger at Gina for confronting him on that, he keeps choking her after the director yells cut, without even realizing he's doing it. It's highly implied that BoJack would have killed Gina if Mr. Peanutbutter had not pulled him off of her. This is the incident that pushes BoJack to go into rehab.
  • In The Boondocks episode "The Story of Gangstalicious", the eponymous gangster rapper writes a song titled "I Got Shot" after he got shot during a feud with another rapper. Unfortunately, due to the song's subject, when a performance of it is interrupted by gunmen storming the stage and shooting Gangstalicious again, the audience believes it's All Part of the Show and doesn't call an ambulance until 45 minutes later.


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