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Ten Entertainers Who Have Died in the Workplace

Do You Think Your Job Is Dangerous?

We all know that some jobs pose more risk than others.  Construction, farming and manufacturing all claim far too many lives every year. When it comes to dangerous professions, you would be forgiven for putting entertainers on the same level as office workers. However, it may surprise you to know that many entertainers have been killed in the workplace. Most of us have heard the sad tale of Brandon Lee who lost his life on the film-set of The Crow, but here are ten less well-known examples of entertainers who have suffered a fatal accident at work.

1.   Molière 1632-1673

One of the foremost comedy masters in world literature, the French playwright and actor’s most famous performance was his last.  He suffered from pulmonary tuberculosis and whilst performing in Le Malade imaginaire (The Imaginary Invalid), the last play he ever wrote, he collapsed on-stage after a fit of coughing and died a few hours later.

2.  Madame deLinsky died 1820

One of the oldest and most famous magic tricks is the ‘Bullet Catch’, however, this illusion is not for the faint-hearted and many a magician has died in front of their audience whilst performing it.  In 1820, a magician’s assistant Madame DeLinsky perished when the gun being used for the trick was loaded with a live bullet instead of a blank.

3.  John Marshall Alexander, Jr. 1929 –1954

On Christmas Day in 1954, the American rhythm and blues singer was playing with a .22 calibre revolver during a performance break in Houston, Texas.  Exactly what happened has always been disputed, but the young singer accidentally shot himself in the head and died.

4.  Les Harvey 1944 – 1972

A member of the Scottish band The Stone Crows, Harvey was electrocuted and died instantly during a sound check after touching an un-earthed microphone at the Top Rank Ballroom in Swansea.

5. Paul Mantz 1903-1965

Mantz, an experienced stunt pilot, was killed on the set of The Flight of the Phoenix when the plane he was flying during a stunt scene crashed into a hill.

6.  Karl Wallenda 1905-1978

The veteran high-wire walker plunged to his death after strong winds and a badly secured cable caused him to fall from the 10th story of the Condado Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  The moment was captured by a film crew and broadcast around the world.

7.  Vic Morrow 1929-1982

In one of the movie world’s most gruesome accidents, Morrow was decapitated during the filming of Twilight Zone: The Movie when a helicopter crashed on top of him and two child actors, killing all three instantly.

8.  Jon-Erik Hexum 1957-1984

The young American Actor and model died on the set of the TV show Cover Up after fooling around on set taking a blank-loaded gun and firing at point-blank range into his temple.  The impact was enough to shatter a piece of his skull and cause a massive haemorrhage.  He was pronounced brain-dead in hospital six days later.

9.  Eric Morecambe 1926-1984

The much loved comedian was performing at the Roses Theatre in Tewkesbury when he collapsed from a heart attack just after leaving the stage following six curtain calls.  His last words were jokingly “Thank goodness that’s over”.

10.  Owen Hart 1965 – 1999

The Canadian wrestler was killed when a harness, which was supposed to lower him into the ring for a pay-for-view match, malfunctioned causing him to fall 78 feet into the ring.  Although he sat up briefly after the fall, he collapsed and died shortly afterwards from internal bleeding.

If you have been injured at work, or have lost a loved one due to a workplace accident, you may be entitled to compensation.  Contact us today by filling out this form or call us on 0800 221 8888.