There are occasions when an actor tragically passes away during the filming of a movie. This sad turn of events can often times send movie productions reeling as necessary changes need to be made in order to complete the film, and on the rare occasion is completely scrapped . There are several occasions in movie history of this unfortunate event happening. These actors leave their lasting impact on the work they produce even after they are gone. Let’s examine ten actors who died while filming their last movie.
10 Carole Lombard – To Be or Not to Be (1941)
Carole Lombard started her career in silent movies in the early ’20s before transitioning to sound features at the turn of the decade. Refer to as “among the most commercially successful and admired film personalities in Hollywood in the 1930s” by Author Robert D. Matzen, Lombard enjoyed a fruitful career before her death in 1941 while filming To Be or Not to Be. Directed by Ernst Lubitsch, a filmmaker long admired by Lombard.
9 Luke Perry – Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (2018)
Luke Perry tragically passed away in March 2018 while filming for Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood was still ongoing. The scenes for his cameo as real-life actor Wayne Maunder were completed prior to his passing, and the film marks Perry’s final on-screen performance. The heartthrob Beverly Hills, 90210 actor enjoyed success on the big and small screen throughout his career, leaving behind a legacy for years to come.
8 James Dean – Giant (1956)
At just 24 years young, James Dean fatally died in a car accident in October 1955 while his final film giant was finishing filming. Dean left behind a profound legacy as an actor despite only acting in eight feature films. giant would go on to win one Academy Award while being nominated for eight others, including a posthumous nomination for Dean.
7 Natalie Wood – Brainstorm (1983)
Natalie Wood‘s acting career spanned forty years and included hit films such as, West Side Story and being a part of the ill-fated cast of Rebel Without a Cause. While the circumstances of her death in 1983 still remain a mystery to this day, this tragedy occurred during the production of her final role in the science fiction film Brainstorm. Wood’s death nearly tanked the production of the movie, but director Douglas Trumball fought through completion, even using Wood’s younger sister Lana for a few remaining scenes.
6 Heath Ledger – The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009)
Heath Ledger was an actor for a new generation starring in such hit films as; 10 Things I Hate About You, Brokeback Mountain, and an Oscar-winning role as a villain of near perfection, Joker in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. Sadly, Ledger passed away in January 2008, before the release of the Batman film and during production of what would become his final on-screen role in the Terry Gilliam-directed The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.In a sign of memory, Ledger’s role was completed by three fellow actors and good friends; Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell.
5 Brandon Lee – The Crow (1994)
The tragedy surrounding production on The Crow should hae served as a cautionary tale for Hollywood but unfortunately similar incidents have occurred throughout the years following the death of Brandon Lee at the hands of an unchecked and thought to be prop gun used in the filming. Most notably for Alec Baldwin on the set of what was to be his next movie, Rust. The movie was completed using Lee’s stunt double with a mixture of CGI.
4 Bruce Lee – Game of Death (1978)
Decades before his son Brandon would pass away while filming a movie, Bruce Lee would meet a similarly tragic fate as he died from what is thought to be an allergic reaction to painkillers. His passing occurred during the production of Game of Deathwhich had to be spliced together with incomplete footage and stock footage from another Lee movie, Enter the Dragon.
3 Paul Walker – Furious 7 (2015)
The production of Furious 7 would be placed on a temporary hiatus in the fall of 2013 following the death of one of its stars, Paul Walker. The actor and his friend Roger Rodas were tragically lost when their car slammed into a lamppost and two trees before catching fire, killing both men. When filming did resume, Walker’s role was completed using a mix of stand-in actors and visual effect shots .