15 Actors Who Almost Died During Shooting

POSTED BY , UPDATED ON February 28th, 2019


7. Johnny Depp (The Lone Ranger)

Johnny Depp

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Despite his character Tonto riding a horse in several scenes of The Lone Ranger, it was not entirely smooth sailing for Johnny Depp. During the shoot, the actor fell from the saddle and the horse trampled on him.

Medics quickly rushed to his aid as Depp was lying on the ground. Fortunately, the actor did not suffer any serious injuries and was rather in positive spirits about the incident, claiming that “chicks dig a broken bone.”


6. Margaret Hamilton (The Wizard of Oz)

Margaret Hamilton

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The dramatic scene of the Margaret Hamilton’s character of Wicked Witch of the West’s exit from Munchkinland had a fair share of technicalities that could have been fatal. The flames required for the scene chemically reacted with the actress’ green colored, copper-based face paint and the result was disastrous.

Hamilton suffered second and third-degree burns on her face from the flames and had to spend three months healing from the catastrophic injury before she returned on the set.


5. Ed Harris (The Abyss)

Ed Harris

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You can never expect a peaceful working environment on the set of a James Cameron movie. The remarkable director has made brilliant movies over the years but has a quite the reputation of being difficult to work with. While shooting The Abyss, leading star Ed Harris nearly drowned.

While he was filming a scene in a submerged movie set, he ran out of the air. When he signaled the crew for more air, a crew member accidentally gave him an upside-down regulator that forced him to suck water. It was only when a cameraman intervened and saved his life.

As shocking as it may sound, Cameron kept the cameras rolling! Due to the strenuous shooting, Harris would later have a breakdown and cried. Not so surprisingly, the actor and Cameron have not worked together ever since.


4. Jason Statham (The Expendables 3)

Jason Statham

Jason Statham is well-known for shooting his own fight scenes and dangerous stunts. In one particular scene of The Expendables 3, the action star was in a three-ton truck when its brakes failed and fell 60 feet into the Black Sea.

Luckily for Statham, the actor knew how to swim and swiftly got out of the truck and swum back safely. His co-stars Sylvester Stallone and Terry Crews were present during the incident and both have applauded Statham’s ability to handle the dreadful situation.


3. Sylvester Stallone (Rocky IV)

Sylvester Stallone

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Speaking of Sylvester Stallone, the actor has also experienced a near-death situation. To add a sense of realism in the boxing match between his character Rocky and Dolph Lundgren’s Ivan Drago in Rocky IV, he asked the latter to punch him for real.

Lundgren was more than happy to oblige and hit Stallone so hard in the chest, his heart began to swell. Stallone began experienced difficulty in breathing and his blood pressure reached beyond 200. The actor was quickly flown to Saint John’s Regional Medical Center in Santa Monica where was in intensive care for eight days.


2. Viggo Mortensen (The Lord of the Rings)

Viggo Mortensen

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Undoubtedly the most essential character of The Lord of the Rings, Aragorn courageously led the Fellowship of the Ring and had narrowly escaped death multiple times during his adventurous journey but the actor behind the iconic role was not too far behind.

Portrayed by Viggo Mortensen, the actor almost died numerous times during the perilous shoot. He broke two toes when he kicked a helmet, almost drowned because his armor was too heavy and swung his sword to block a real knife when a fellow actor accidentally threw it right towards him.


1. Eli Wallach (The Good, The Bad and The Ugly)

Eli Wallach

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There is no question about Sergio Leone’s status as an amazing director but even he has been criticized for putting his actors in danger. In the case of Eli Wallach, the actor nearly died three times while shooting The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

On one occasion, Wallach mistakenly drank acid from a bottle that was placed near his soda by a crew member. The actor was immediately taken to a hospital before further damage could be done. Unfortunately, Wallach’s dilemmas were merely beginning.

During a scene that required him to have his neck around a noose, sitting on a horse and his hands tied behind his back, the noose broke and the horse ran off a mile away. During the entire time, Wallach had to balance himself on the horse without his hands since they were tied and a fall could have indeed proven fatal. Luckily, few crew members were able to calm the horse and Wallach would be freed unharmed.

In another instance, the actor had to lie down near a railroad as a train passed. Unknown to Wallach and the crew members, every cabin had sharp iron steps that were horizontally projected and if the actor had raised his head, he would have been decapitated.


Hope you enjoyed reading our list of actors who almost died during shooting. Feel free to share your views in the comments below!