Actors That Died In The Middle Of A Movie Or Television Production (Photos)


Brandon Lee died during making of The Crow

It’s always sad whenever any person passes on, but of course celebrity deaths make the headlines.

We’ve compiled a list of Hollywood celebrities that sadly died right in the middle of a television or film project.

Over the years, there have been many celebrity deaths that shocked everyone around the world. It also is a reminder to us all that celebrities are just normal folks too.

Several Hollywood stars passed away while they were in the middle of filming a project. That makes it difficult for everyone, with decisions having to be made on how to handle the matter. Also they normally pay tribute to the star.

Sadly, some projects are just scrapped and never completed.

Let’s check out some celebrities that tragically died right in the middle of a movie or TV production.

David Carradine

David Carradine photos

In 2009, David Carradine was found hanging from a rope in his closet at a hotel in Thailand. Carradine was in Thailand to film the movie Stretch, which was released in 2011.

His death was initially ruled a suicide, but it’s believed the actual cause of death was from autoerotic asphyxiation.

Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee

In the spring of 1973, Bruce Lee collapsed while in the middle of working on the film, Enter the Dragon.

There were crazy theories about the death of Bruce Lee, with some claiming there was a curse on his family.

Donald Teare, a forensic scientist recommended by Scotland Yard stated his death was caused by an acute cerebral edema due to a reaction to compounds present in the combination medication Equagesic.

Dr. Donald Langford disagreed, stating, “Nobody dies from one tablet of Equagesic. No analgesic killed Bruce.”

He added, “[P]eople weren’t about to step up and say Bruce Lee had died from eating cannabis [which was found in his stomach, and which he had consumed regularly for some time due to the stress of his fame] or some related product. At the beginning of the inquest proceedings, Dr. Wu and a couple of other doctors and I were pulled to the side and asked to play down the role of cannabis in Bruce’s death.”

At the 1975 San Diego Comic-Con convention, Bruce Lee’s friend Chuck Norris attributed his death to a reaction between the muscle-relaxant medication he had been taking since 1968 for a ruptured disk in his back, and an “antibiotic” he was given for his headache on the night of his death.

Lee was filming Game of Death, which was never completed. Footage from Lee’s funeral was used in the film.

Steve Irwin


Steve Irwin, referred to as the crocodile hunter, was known for his studies of crocodiles in their natural habitat. He always put himself in danger, but his death was actual caused by a freak accident.

In 2006, Steve was filming for the documentary Ocean’s Deadliest. Irwin approached a stingray allegedly 8 ft wide in chest-deep water from behind in order to film it swimming away.

According to the only witness to the attack, the fish reacted to Irwin as if a shark was attacking, striking him several hundred times in the body with its tail spine in a few seconds. Irwin initially believed he only had a punctured lung but the spine had pierced his heart and he bled out.

Heath Ledger

Handsome Heath Ledger

Heath Ledger’s career was going strong when he passed away in 2008.

Ledger died on 22 January 2008 from an accidental intoxication from prescription drugs.

At the time of his death, Ledger was in the process of filming The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, which was not even halfway completed when he died.

He had recently finished filming The Dark Knight, but the film was not released until after his death.

James Dean

James Dean

James Dean was only 24-years-old when he died in a car accident in 1955. At the time of his death, Dean was filming Giant, which was released the following year. At the Academy Awards, Dean earned a nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role.

Cory Montieth

Cory Monteith heroin overdose

Glee fans were devastated when Cory Monteith, who portrayed Finn on the show, died unexpectedly in 2013.

Monteith, who was just 31, was found dead in his hotel room due to what was later ruled as a heroin overdose. Glee aired its final episode in March 2015, paying tribute to Monteith.

Brandon Lee

Brandon Lee died during making of The Crow

Just like his father Bruce, Brandon Lee died right in the middle of movie.

Brandon was filming one of my favorite movies, The Crow, when he was accidentally shot with a gun that was believed to be nothing more than a prop. He was only 28 years-old at the time of his death.

Freddie Prinze Sr.

Freddy Prinze Sr.

During the 70s, Freddie Prinze Sr. became a household name for his starring role in the popular TV series, Chico and the Man.

Prinze, the father of actor Freddie Prinze Jr., suffered from depression.

He had a really rough time after going through a divorce in 1977. He later committed suicide by a self-inflicted gun shot. He was only 22 at the time of his death.

River Phoenix

River Phoenix pics

During the 80s, River Phoenix was a very popular young star (and he didn’t hurt he was so handsome). Over the course of his career, Phoenix played very interesting characters.

River was found unconscious outside of a nightclub in the fall of 1993, and died at the young age of 23-years-old. At the time of his death, Phoenix was filming Dark Blood.


Aaliyah photos

Fans everywhere were saddened by the death of Aaliyah when she passed away in a plane crash in 2001.

The singer and actress died while she was filming parts for the vampire film, Queen of the Damned.

Chris Farley

The hilarious late Chris Farley

During the 90s, Chris Farley was one of the funniest comedians. He landed a spot on SNL in 1990 and also was featured in funny film such as Tommy Boy, Black Sheep, and Beverly Hills Ninja.

The possibilities for Farley’s career seemed endless, but sadly, he died in 1997 at just 33 years-old. His death was ultimately ruled the result of a drug overdose.

At the time of his death, Farley was still in the process of filming Almost Heroes, which also starred Matthew Perry.

Philip Seymour Hoffman

Philip Seymour Hoffman pics

Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death was a pretty big shock, even to people close to him.

Friends believed that Hoffman’s drug use was under control, but had just been hiding it well.

At the time of his death, Hoffman had not completed filming his seasons for second installment to the Hunger Games Mocking Jay films.

Lionsgate issued a statement saying, “We’re all extraordinarily sad. But as it relates to production, it’s going to have no impact. Obviously, we’re going to have a couple of work-around issues but the movie will be creatively whole. His performances in both [remaining] movies will be up to the best of his craft. We feel it will be a good tribute to him.”

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe

Even decades after her death, Marilyn Monroe remains one of the most popular and beloved stars of all-time. During her career she starred in several movies, and rubbed elbows with some of the biggest names in movies, music, and politics.

Her sudden death in 1962 raised eyebrows, shocking people around the world.

At the time of her death, Monroe was still shooting scenes for the film, Something’s Got to Give.

After her death, the film was never completed although pieces of it have been used in a documentary about Monroe’s life.

Paul Walker

Paul Walker

Most of us were really shocked and sad to learn that Fast and Furious star, Paul Walker, passed away in 2013 after being involved in a car accident.

At the time, Walker was still in the process of filming for Fast 7, and many wondered what would happen to the film after his death. It was later revealed that he had already completed most of his action scenes.

Paul’s brothers filled in for the movie and the hit film paid tribute to the beloved actor.


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