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"I think the worst time to have a heart attack is during a game of charades. Actually it's probably during a game of fake-heart-attacks-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 (s)he had acted such a scene in character or a comedian's routine involved jokes about his own death.

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

See also Snuff Film for the mostly fictional cases where this is done deliberately. Compare Not-So-Fake Prop Weapon, which involves (so-far) entirely fictional examples of actors being murdered through the replacement of a harmless prop with a real deadly weapon.

Examples of Fatal Method Acting include:


Medical

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 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.
  • Yet another heart attack victim: Redd Foxx on the set of The Royle Family. 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". Holy Funny Aneurysm Moment, Batman! Due to his role as Fred Sanford, the rest of the cast thought he was just faking it until it was too late.
  • John Ritter was rehearsing on the set of 8 Simple Rules when he collapsed with a previously unknown heart problem. He died later that day.
  • J.I. Rodale, author and publisher of Prevention magazine, died during a taping of The Dick Cavett Show. Cavett's next guest, journalist Pete Hamill, heard a snore-like sound from Rodale and tipped Cavett and the staff to check on him [1]. Rodale had suffered a fatal heart attack. 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.
  • Italian soccer coach Francesco Scoglio died of a heart attack while on a TV talk show in 2005.
  • Frazier Thomas, well known for kids' show Garfield Goose, and for the weekly film series Family Classics, had a heart attack at the WGN studio in Chicago in 1985 and died a few days after.


Music

  • 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 "Tip Toe Through The Tulips" in 1996. He lost consciousness and died shortly afterward.
  • 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), 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, the band's keyboardist quit the group and eventually, the band split in early 2011 without releasing another album.
  • 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 set list in his memory.
  • A common legend states Tammi Terrell, singing partner to Marvin Gaye, collapsed and died onstage in his arms. While she did indeed collapse and it was her final live performance, she actually lived for three more years before dying from a brain tumor.
  • 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 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
    • It should be noted for purposes of irony that he was singing his big hit, Lonely Teardrops, when he suffered the heart attack. Specifically, the line "My heart is crying, crying..."
  • 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.


Radio

  • 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 unconscious on the floor).


Sports

  • 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 series of insensitive comments.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Beautiful Game 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. In a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming, the 11th-seeded Lions went on to the NCAA Tournament where they advanced to the Elite 8 before losing to eventual champs UNLV.


Theater

  • 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,[2] 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".
  • 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. Incidentally, Les Dawson once used the haunted dressing room and then refused to ever play the venue again.
  • 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 Moliere, who suffered of pulmonar tuberculosis, collapsed during a last show and died after he was taken home. He was, of course, playing the title character in Le Malade Imaginaire (literally, The Imaginary Invalid; commonly, The Hypochondriac).
  • Beloved Danish film and theater actor Dirch Passer passed away from a heart attack during a rehearsal. According to stories, he asked for someone to turn up the dim lights, shortly before he collapsed on the scene.
  • 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.


Accidental

Film

  • Long running television actor Vic Morrow and two child actors named My-Ca Dinh Le and Renee Shin-Yi Chen (both working illegally, without proper work permits and at 2AM, far later than the times allowed for child actors), were killed when a stunt helicopter crashed near them during the filming of the Twilight Zone 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.
  • Brandon Lee was fatally injured on the set of The Crow in an accident involving dummy bullets. Unlike the Vic Morrow example, director Alex Proyas destroyed the footage immediately.
  • While blank rounds contain no actual bullet, they are identical to regular ammunition, so the weapon will behave almost the same way as during normal use. A gun loaded with blanks does still eject fragments from the plug replacing the bullet and hot gasses at high velocity, producing a quite powerful shock wave at the muzzle, that can still cause serious injuries or even kill at very close distances. Several actors (including Brandon Lee, above) have suffered fatal injuries from careless handling of guns loaded with blanks.
  • 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 during that shooting, fell off a plane and died.
  • 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.
    • A similar incident happened on the set of Delta Force 2 two years later. 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. Both films had the same lead, director and producers.
  • Famous stunt pilot Paul Mantz was killed in the filming of The Flight of the Phoenix 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).
  • In October 2011, a currently unnamed stuntman died while filming a stunt for The Expendables II 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 Basset'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 the unfinished Gone in Sixty Seconds 2.


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. Kids, take animals seriously.
    • Even worse is that it was a freak accident. If the stingray hadn't gotten him in the chest, he could have ridden it out after a few days of excruciating but non-lethal pain.
      • Worst of all, given the general Fate-Tempting his usual actions around dangerous animals invoke, Irwin was completely unaware of the stingray's presence.
      • It was also ironic in that stingrays aren't really that dangerous. They're usually quite docile unless you step on one.
  • 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.
  • Game show contestant Michael Lush fell to his death while rehearsing a bungee stunt for The BBC's The Late Late Breakfast Show in 1986, following at least two previous non-fatal accidents involving other contestants. His death prompted changes in safety procedures 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 with a blank cartridge on the set of the CBS series Cover-Up by firing it into the side of his head. The muzzle pressure generated by the blank proved sufficient to blow a plug of his own skull completely through his brain in much the the same way some nail guns use blank cartridges to drive nails into concrete and steel.


Radio

  "The outbound Lincoln Tunnel looks a lot better for you. In New Jersey...Hit the water! Hit the water! Hit the water!"
—Dornacker's last words
    • 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.)
  • 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.


Theater

  • During the Metropolitan Opera's premiere of Leo Janacek's The Makropulos Affair, tenor Richard Versalle suffered a heart attack and fell from a fifteen-foot ladder on-stage, moments after singing the line, "Too bad you can only live so long."
  • Harry Houdini allowed a visitor to punch him in the stomach to demonstrate the strength of his abs; he was exceptionally strong and flexible, part of what made him so successful as a stage magician. He had been suffering from appendicitis already and the blows to his stomach likely ruptured his inflamed appendix. He collapsed on stage several days later from the peritonitis that led to his death shortly after.
    • Another factor was that Houdini didn't allow the guy to punch him: the guy simply walked up, asked Houdini if it was true that he could take punches to the stomach, and then went to town on Houdini. It was assumed (but see below) that if Houdini had time to prepare and flex his abdominal muscles, he might have survived.
    • Science Marches On - it's now thought that the blow wouldn't have actually ruptured the appendix, but that the pain from the appendix would have been misattributed to injury from the blow, without which Houdini might have sought medical treatment.
  • Actor Antony Wheeler accidentally hanged himself while performing Judas' climactic suicide scene in Jesus Christ Superstar.
  • Karl Wallenda, 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 which 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.
  • There is a (possibly 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.


Music

  • Another delayed example centuries earlier: French composer Jean-Baptiste Lully wounded himself in the foot with the metal-tipped staff he was using to conduct a performance, and died of infection months later, after refusing to have the gangrenous toe amputated.
  • Les Harvey, guitarist for Scottish rock band Stone the Crows, was electrocuted live on stage in 1972.
    • 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.
  • Trouble T-Roy, a backup dancer for Heavy D and the Boyz died falling off a stage. The classic rap song "TROY" by Pete Rock & CL Smooth is dedicated to him.
  • 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 never toured again 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.


Sports

  • 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). Among the more notable accidental deaths:
  • 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.
  • In 1994, legendary Formula One champion Ayrton Senna died on the first laps of the San Marino Grand Prix. His steering wheel broke just as he was about to make a dangerous curve, and he went straight into a wall - though what really killed him wasn't the crash, but a wheel's suspension frame that flew and hit Senna's head. He was even airlifted to a hospital, but didn't resist (and since that same weekend a racer died and another broke his nose and arm crashing during practice, FIA ordered redesigns of the track and more investments on car safety).
    • The history of Formula One is filled with the deaths of drivers during races. Revolutions in safety have meant that no drivers have been killed during an event since Ayrton Senna.
      • No longer true, since Jules Bianchi died from injuries sustained in a Grand Prix crash in 2014. It should be noted, though, that it was somewhat of a freak accident, since his car collided with the rear of a tractor crane tending to the removal of Adrian Sutil's car after the latter had spun out of control and crashed in the same area a lap before.
  • 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 recently-revived Hulk Hogan parody 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. 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, who had previously been some of the most loyal employees for him, going back to when his father owned the company.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • During the last race of the 2011 Indy racing 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 cancelled after 12 laps.
  • Moto GP 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 cut back across the track into the path of other riders and was struck in the head, neck and chest resulting in his helmet becoming dislodged. The race was stopped and then cancelled after the extent of Simoncelli's injuries became apparent. He died in the circuit's medical centre after 45 minutes of CPR.
  • The well-documented Golden Knights skydiving collision. Dana Bowman and Jose Aguillon were performing a diamond track maneuver, and flew too close to each other. Aguillon was killed by the impact; Bowman, although having his legs sheared off, survived.


Murder

Music

  • 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 an off-duty police officer who was only there to enjoy a concert.
    • Worse than that, he was killed right in front of his brother, Vinnie Paul, the band's drummer.
  • Trumpeter Lee Morgan was shot on stage by his common-law wife.


Suicide

Live Action TV

  • A number of suicides have been recorded on TV, either set up deliberately 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 15th 1974.


Music

  • Charles Haddon, singer for the British band Ou 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 of guilt after he injured a spectator stagediving.
    • Another musician died onstage the day before at the same festival. Michael Been - the singer for the American alternative band The Call - died of a heart attack while working as sound technician for his son's band, indie rock group Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.
  • In mid 2010, the Irish-Czech indie folk duo The Swell Season were performing a concert at an amphitheater in a vineyard in California. In the middle of the concert, a man killed himself by jumping off from a scaffolding near the amphitheater and landed on the stage, mere inches from singer and pianist Marketa Irglova. In fact, the jumper would have killed her if he had landed just a couple feet closer. Since the accident, the band has only performed a handful of further concerts, partially due to a planned hiatus and partially due to the trauma of this suicide.
  • 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.


Near Misses

Film

  • Barely averted by, of all people, Michael J. Fox in Back to The Future III. The safety line keeping the pressure off his neck during the "hanging scene" failed. He was actually strangling until the crew figured it out and saved his life.
  • In the film Brainstorm, Natalie Wood's character was supposed to have a heart attack in one scene. Ms. Wood had a real heart attack, and the crew didn't immediately realize it. She survived, but persistent rumor claims that the heart attack scene in the film used the real one simply because it was the best take... unlikely since real heart attacks are less dramatic than faked ones.
  • Barely averted by Malcolm McDowell during 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.
  • In The Spy Who Loved Me's ski-parachute jump, a ski hits the stunt man's parachute. That could have been fatal.
    • On the set of another James Bond film, 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 James Bond.
    • Also, considering the barrier to separate Connery from a shark in Thunderball wasn't very big, he was in serious risk by swimming with the fish.
    • According to urban legend, Tom Jones passed out while holding the extremely long final note to the theme song in Thunderball.
    • 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.
    • Another near miss in a James Bond film occurred during the filming of Octopussy. The film required several shots of stunt men 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 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. Epic.
    • 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.
  • While filming the river scene in The Two Towers of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Viggo Mortensen was pulled under by a current and nearly drowned.
    • A related incident occured while filming The Fellowship Of The Ring, again involving Viggo. During the climatic battle scene at the end of the film, one of the Uruk-Hai, originally meant to throw his knife at Aragorn and miss, instead threw it right at him by mistake. Luckily, Viggo managed to deflect the knife with his sword, turning it into a Crowning Moment of Awesome instead.
  • Eli Roth and Omar Doom were almost incinerated during the filming of Inglourious Basterds. Quentin Tarantino is not one for special effects, so the fire you see in the theater sequence burned far hotter than anyone had anticipated- nearly 2000 degrees Fahrenheit- and Roth collapsed from the sheer pain of being on the burning set. The fire marshals said that if filming had continued for 15-20 seconds more, the whole structure would have collapsed. The giant swastika was not originally supposed to fall, but the steel fastening was liquefied. In Roth's words: "We were almost that swastika."
  • Racing driver David Piper lost part of one of his legs in a severe crash during the making Steve McQueen's 1970 racing epic Le Mans.
  • While shooting the underwater scenes in Alien: Resurrection, Ron Perlman hit his head and almost drowned.
  • 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.
  • During film of The Last Samurai, Tom Cruise was nearly decapitated when the animatronic horse he was riding malfunctioned during the filming of the first battle in the forest. If Hiroyuki Sanada hadn't been quite as skilled, his sword would have killed Cruise. As is, Sanada was able to stop his blade within an inch of Cruise's neck.
  • 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.
  • Brendan Fraser has a hanging scene in The Mummy 1999. During the scene he was unconscious for a few minutes as people didn't realize he was actually being hung. So that struggling you are seeing? Not acting.
  • 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 that 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.
  • Robert Helpmann, who played the terrifying Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, was driving the character's carriage when it turned onto its side too quickly. As it was happening, Helpmann leaped onto the side of the carriage and jumped off, amazingly unharmed.
    • According to Dick Van Dyke, who witnessed the incident, it was Helpmann's dancer's reflexes that saved him.
  • Almost happened a few times during the production of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. 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. When Eli 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. 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.
  • 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 Armour 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.
    • Sadly, all those botched stunts have taken their toll on him. Accumulating so many injuries on the set has made it so Jackie Chan can no longer claim to do all his own stunt work. He now has to rely on stunt doubles for especially dangerous stunts and the number of stunts in his movies have been steadily decreasing over the years. His various accidents also mean that it's hard for him to get insured, so instead he's taken to training his stunt doubles on how to do them for him.
  • During the climactic chase scene of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Gunnar Hanson 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.
  • Former astronaut Fred Haise was a stunt pilot in the movie Tora! Tora! Tora! During filming, he was involved in the crash of a BT 13. He suffered severe burns to 65 percent of his body and spent three months in the hospital.
  • Shortly after filming the bacta tank scene in The Empire Strikes Back, an electrical light fell into the tank of water. If Mark Hamill had been in the tank at the time, he would have been electrocuted.
  • 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. Of course, if he'd paid enough attention to the script, he should have known this would happen...
    • Famously, Hurt was subsequently forced to nap while sitting down, precisely the solution adopted by the real man he was portraying.
  • Harold Lloyd was posing for stills while holding a prop bomb when the not-prop bomb exploded and blew off the thumb and first two fingers of his right hand. Lloyd spent the rest of his career, including his wildly successful run of films in the 1920s, performing complicated stunts with a special glove designed to disguise this.
  • Supposedly in the film adaptation of The Neverending Story, during the Swamp of Sadness scene, Artax apparently actually got caught in the elevator and died, or the actor playing Atreyu had his leg caught in the elevator and he got sucked under. Thankfully he survived, but depending on what happened (hard to say), the actor who played Atreyu was apparently scarred for life.


Live Action TV

  • Barely averted in the Red Dwarf episode Backwards, where Craig Charles nearly drowned during a stunt where he had to walk backwards into a lake.
    • Possibly referenced in Last Human, in which we learn that Lister has a lifelong fear of drowning.
    • Also a runner was struggling for breath while doubling for Caroline Carmen inside a block of ice.
  • 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.
  • Lucille Ball nearly drowned in the "shower" episode of The Lucy Show. Vivian Vance saved her by literally pulling her up by her hair, then ad-libbed altered dialogue as Ball gasped for breath. The live audience, unaware of her close call, found it all hysterically funny.
  • During the filming of the scene where Ace is trapped in the water tank in the Doctor Who episode "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 yelled "Get her out of there!" and Sophie Aldred was lifted clear just as the water poured out, saving her life.
    • In another Doctor Who example, the story "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 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... presumably they almost got off the island.
  • 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.
  • In one of the closest calls of this trope ever, In 1995, Tracey Conway, one of the stars of the Seattle sketch comedy show Almost Live!, had a heart attack just after an ER spoof, of all things. A fireman in the audience gave her CPR until an ambulance could arrive. Fortunately, she recovered.
  • In the first episode of The Wire, the scene of McNulty urinating on train tracks and walking off while barely avoiding an oncoming train was done for real, as the last scene shot. In his commentary, David Simon talks about how worried everyone was that they'd finish filming their first episode by killing their star.
  • During the Breaking Bad episode "A Handful of Nothing," 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 thrown through a balsa wood door. The panels were held together with light glue so that they would give way on impact. Unfortunately a stagehand, not realising that the door 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 Catch Phrase, Drake was knocked unconscious, and his fellow performers could be seen looking worried as the credits rolled.


Music

  • 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 (He still got a really badly burned hand, and had to just sing for a few concerts) in a 1992 concert in Montreal. Later tours included a stuntman on fire as a homage.
  • The infamous Michael Jackson incident where his hair caught fire shooting a Pepsi commercial (leading to serious burns on his scalp).
  • A near-fatal incident happend 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....
  • Ol' Dirty Bastard nearly a pyrotechnic fate 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 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, Richards was wearing rubber-soled shoes, and 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, so one wonders what would happen to Keith if the instrument was on him long enough).
  • Ace Frehley of Kiss suffered electrocution 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 realised 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 were 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. Once again, the band members were able to escape the stage with seconds to spare, but unfortunately the stage 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.
  • In 2008, at the first reunion concert for X Japan, Yoshiki Hayashi collapsed on the drums during Art Of Life due to overwhelming pain from a neck condition (for which he would later obtain emergency surgery in 2009).
    • During a 2010 X Japan performance, a pyro went off too close to Yoshiki and bassist Heath. Both were coated in smoke and soot, but were otherwise all right.


Sports

  • 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 stage hands 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.
  • on July 25, 2009, Formula One driver Felipe Massa was hit in the face with a 40 kilogram spring while traveling at high speed. His injuries were life threatening, but he made a full recovery and returned to racing the next season.


Fictional Cases

Anime

  • In Masakazu Katsura's early manga Present from Lemon, male lead Lemon's father (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).
  • Played with in a Detective Conan 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... and it immediately turns out that she was murdered via 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.
    • Played with again in another case, this time involving an ikebana exhibition. 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, as a part of Midori's Thanatos Gambit to avenge her older sister who was Driven to Suicide when Rika and her sponsor blacklisted her from ikebana circles. (Oh, and the sponsor is already dead: Midori drugged and then strangled him to death few minutes before.)
    • And yet 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... and she was such a bitch that she laughed about it when she accidentally found out about him.
    • In another, a Tokusatsu rabid fan is tricked into commiting 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 in the head 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.


Comic Books

  • A comedienne in The Sandman dies onstage, via electrocution by mike.


Film

  • One gag in This Is Spinal 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.
  • In The Prestige, Christian Bale accidentally kills Hugh Jackman's wife during a magician stunt.
  • 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 Chubbock'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 the sequel to Pet Sematary, the boy's actress mother is accidentally killed on the set of a movie when she's electrocuted by live wires.


Literature

  • 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.


Music

  • 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.


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.[3]
  • CSI had 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.
  • Not quite sure where this belongs, but 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 closed on him. Awkward silence, the studio audience being asked to leave, roll credits... and no "reveal" that he was alright until after the following programme.
  • 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.
  • In the Midsomer Murders episode The Axeman Cometh, a singer is killed by an electrified mic stand while on stage. The crowd initially think it's part of the act.
  • 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's "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 Mocherie) 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.


Theater

  • 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, if it's just that if this isn't it... I'm going to have a tough time trying something else."


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. Jack Hammer would then attempt to murder Dee Vasquez, who pushed Jack Hammer off onto the exact same fence five years later.
  • You can set several up in the Hitman games, including replacing a prop gun with a real gun in a play.


Western Animation

 "Good luck!"

"It's bad luck to say that too!" *A chunk of the theater sign falls on him*

  • Not actually acting, but 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.

Notes

  1. Both Cavett and Hamill deny that Cavett ever said "Are we boring you Mr. Rodale?" when it happened, as often reported
  2. 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 (which did not, as is sometimes claimed, happen immediately after this line) was a callback to this routine.
  3. It later turns out that the performer onstage was merely a doppelganger; the real singer had been confined to a bedroom in a Miami flat.
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