Despite how much regular people (and actors themselves) sometimes ridicule the art of acting, it can be a truly treacherous business. If this wasn't a possibility, movies wouldn't insure their stars, films wouldn't have to post bonds, and ultimately the cost of a lot of films would be cheaper. Actors are a curious breed and because of this they sometimes take chances with catastrophic consequences.
Sometimes it isn't the actor's doing. Brandon Lee, who died while starring in The Crow in 1993, was the victim of a firearms accident. Vic Morrow, Renee Shinn Chen and Myca Dinh Le were tragically killed in a helicopter accident on the set of The Twilight Zone in 1982. Life is a precious thing. Despite the tragedies that some times happen on films, which you can learn more about on IMDB in the trivia section, they are made by humans so sometimes tragic, human errors happen.
As much as acting puts the onus on actors to push themselves to unholy physical and emotional levels, I hardly doubt that Stanislavsky or Stella Adler would advocate that thespians make the ultimate sacrifice for their craft. Yet, some actors do just that. One has to wonder that if an actor knew they might die in a role, would they take said role in the first place. I'm thinking probably not.
Then there are those actors that ALMOST die. These are those actors who, while creating that most memorable performance, the kind of performance we all feel in our gut when we see it, literally nearly met their maker in the process. Would it have been worth it to shuffle the mortal coil in pursuit of a masterful performance? Hell no! Might the movie have been less without an actor almost biting it? Possibly.
Death is a very serious thing. 2016 has been brutal to celebrities and everyday folks alike. It seems like every week we hear about some icon of the entertainment world breathing their last breath. It gives everyone pause. The cruel hand of death spares no one. However, on some occasions certain people can escape it which is why we bring you, "13 Times Actors Almost Died Creating Iconic Movies."
Mark Hamill in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Mark Hamill claims that his near death experience never happened. Here's what we know (or don't know), Hamill nearly fell on the island on Skelling Michael as he was climbing up the steep, stone steps to get to his shooting spot where the much ballyhooed Luke Skywalker would be revealed. The story goes that had he fallen, he probably would've died as a couple of other people had also died there in similar situations. Thankfully, we won't know because Hamill is very much alive, refuting this tale, and leaving us to wonder what really happened on the set of Star Wars: The Force Awakens after all.
Sylvester Stallone in Rocky 4
If you thought the fight scene between Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) and Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) was particularly brutal, know that Stallone nearly died from it. Apparently, Stallone took so many body shots that it caused his heart to make severe contact with his breastbone. Stallone didn't think too much about this until it started swelling. Then he was having a lot of trouble breathing. He was taken to a hospital and had to spend eight days in the ICU. So, next time you watch the movie, just know that that "fake" fight scene nearly had dire consequences.
George Clooney in Syriana
It seems that you can go too far on a movie set. It appears that during a torture scene in the film, Clooney's head was inadvertently cracked open but not in a way people could see. So after weeks of pain and not knowing what in the world was wrong with him, Clooney finally finds a neurologist that realizes that he has fluid coming out of his SPINE! Good thing they caught this. One can only wonder what might've happened if Clooney had simply tried to tough this out. After this finding, Clooney had a bevy of treatments and many more moments of excruciating pain. Ultimately, he had to accept that he might feel good again, but he was never going to feel great. Wow, talk about suffering for your art.
Bruce Campbell in Evil Dead
This tale may or may not have happened but it's too good to leave off of this list. Apparently, there's nothing that Evil Dead Director Sam Raimi won't do to get a shot. This even includes riding a motorcycle while holding a camera. I'm sure the footage looked awesome but Raimi running into his lead actor (Campbell) probably wasn't in the cards. It seems that this near miss truly was that. The word is that had Raimi and his motorcycle been positioned differently, Campbell's head would have been squashed like a melon. And that dear readers wouldn't have been "groovy" at all!
Leonardo DiCaprio in Django Unchained
Okay, after seeing what Leo went through in The Revenant, it's hard to believe that the actor is still breathing. In fact, it's a good thing that the Academy gave him his Best Actor award now, otherwise he might have only received it posthumously. Well, it turns out that what he went through on screen in The Revenant, doesn't compare to how he almost lost his life on the set of Django Unchained. It seems that during that now iconic moment in the Tarantino opus, where he put his hand through the glass table, DiCaprio really hurt himself. In fact, it was bleeding so bad that his wound had to be tended to once the cameras stopped rolling. So how did he almost die? Well, Leo wouldn't stop acting until the scene was finished. Had the shoot that day gone on longer perhaps he might've bled to death?
Viggo Mortensen in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
You know the scene in Two Towers when Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) is moving down the river? Yeah, the one where he is face down in the water. Well, it turns out that Mortensen's costume was a bit too cumbersome and heavy, and the current in the river a lot stronger than anybody realized. Quite simply, Mortensen nearly drowned due to this series of unfortunate events. And people think actors have the easiest job in the world...
Daniel Radcliffe in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Apparently, Daniel Radcliffe had a stunt double named David Holmes who had been with him since the first film. They were shooting what probably seemed like a fairly pedestrian action scene. It featured Harry whisking around the air on a broomstick. Well, Holmes luck changed when one of the wires on the broom broke! Radcliffe's stunt double hit a wall face first and toppled to the ground. Sadly, he ended up paralyzed. Now, this didn't exactly happen to Radcliffe but he was very close with Holmes, and it could've very well been him that ended up falling off the broom had he chosen to do the scene.
Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future 3
It seems that Michael J. Fox is actually a method actor after all. As we all know, Marty ends up in the old west in Back to the Future 3. Well, in a scene where our hero was being hanged, it apparently didn't look right. So, rather than use boxes, Fox opted not to use anything. Yes, he was agreeing to hang himself. After more than five takes, Fox misjudged when he was supposed to put his hand between the noose and his neck. Fox ended up passing out for 30 seconds. The crew thought he was just doing some really good acting. Robert Zemeckis, the director, knew that something was wrong and intervened. To Fox's credit he took one day off and was back being Marty the next day.
Daniel Day-Lewis in Gangs of New York
Okay, it's one thing to be dedicated to your craft and it's another thing to be stupid. No offense to Mr. Daniel Day-Lewis, you are a great actor but your tale of almost meeting your maker is just silly and petulant. Gangs of New York was set in 1863. Day-Lewis insisted that he only wear clothes from that time period. Well, he ended up getting pneumonia. Now, this is where the story takes a stupid turn. Day-Lewis didn't want to treat his ailment because there wasn't a treatment for pneumonia back in 1863. It seems the situation was really grave and the world's greatest actor eventually had to cave.
Tom Cruise in Top Gun
Apparently, Goose (Anthony Edwards) wasn't the only person about to get submerged in water during this famous death scene. In that moment, Goose's lifeless body is being kept afloat by a grieving Maverick (Tom Cruise). However, also at that very moment Cruise's parachute started filling up with water. It began to drag him down into the depths of the ocean. Thankfully, one of the safety people on set noticed this and came to Cruise's rescue before Top Gun had two death scenes on their hands!
Halle Berry in Die Another Day
They say passions run high on movie sets. Well, this is even more true for Halle Berry as Jinx Johnson in the James Bond opus Die Another Day. It seems that during the scene where Halle Berry and Bond (Pierce Brosnan) are getting intimate, a piece a fruit was shared between them. The only problem was that Berry started to choke on it. Due to the way the scene was lit, nobody other than Brosnan knew what was happening. It seems he helped dislodge said fruit from Berry's windpipe, thus saving her life in the process.
Gunnar Hansen in Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Well, it looks like even homicidal maniacs can accidentally die too. The story goes that at the end of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, as Leatherface is running with the chainsaw, he tripped in some mud, the chainsaw went flying and nearly decapitated one of horror film's royals. Thankfully, said chainsaw only landed near his head and not on it, otherwise it would have really, pun very much intended, cut his career short.
Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now
Martin Sheen must come from very good genes. I say this because the man had a heart attack on the set of Apocalypse Now when he was 39! He's 75 and still making movies and TV shows today. It seems that the hot weather of the Philippines (where Apocalypse Now was shooting), as well as copious amounts of alcohol, contributed heavily to this heart attack. Before the heart episode, Sheen had apparently shot the now famous scene where his character Captain Willard essentially goes insane. Yes, it's the one where he punches the mirror WITH HIS BARE HAND. Between the heart attack and a monsoon that wiped out a whole set, filming was delayed but eventually resumed, and gave the world one of cinema's masterpieces.