When an actor dies on set, the project (if ever completed) is an eternal memorial, forever remembered for the unique and shocking tragedy. Below is a list of notable celebrities who died while filming a movie or TV show, from Heath Ledger to Brandon Lee to Marilyn Monroe. The list also includes famous actors killed on set. The untimely deaths of the following actors and actresses occurred either while they were on set, during the middle of filming, or before production was completed on the project. These unexpected and tragic deaths of television and film entertainers were shocking and the celeb's loss was felt all over the world, while there are also other deaths on this list that have even been considered some of the most fascinating unsolved Hollywood murders.
Which Hollywood stars spent their final days while in the middle of making a movie or television show? One of the most recent examples of such a tragedy is Cory Monteith, who was starring on the hit musical comedy show Glee at the time of his death. The young Canadian actor was found dead in his hotel room in Vancouver, Canada, and the cause was later revealed to be a lethal mix of heroin and alcohol. There are other celebs on the list below who suffered a similar fate, including fellow promising actors such as Heath Ledger and River Phoenix, both of whom died from a drug overdose. The list also includes Hollywood icons like Marilyn Monroe and Natalie Wood, both lovely and talented actresses who passed away while they were in the middle of filming a movie. Both of their deaths have also remained a mystery for many years.Some of these stars of the silver screen took their last breath while on the set of a film or TV show, often due to a medical condition. John Ritter, Tyrone Power, and Redd Foxx both suffered from some type of heart failure on location. In other cases, like Brandon Lee and Vic Morrow, fell victim to unforeseen and tragic accidents on set. After reading this list of celebrity incidents where actors died tragically on set, check out this gallery of rock stars whose deaths were the most untimely.
While competing on the Chinese reality TV show "Chase Me," Taiwanese-Canadian model and actor Godfrey Gao collapsed on November 27, 2019. He was rushed to the hospital, where he died about 3 hours after.
Birthplace: Taiwan, Taipei
Credits: The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, All About Women, 101 Proposals, Bull Fighting, Momo Love, + more
When Don Rickles passed away at age 90 in 2017, he had yet to record his parts for 2019's Toy Story 4. But Pixar and Toy Story 4 director Josh Cooley "couldn't imagine anyone else" as Mr. Potato Head. So the Pixar editorial team went through over two decades worth of recordings from Don Rickles (including outtakes, shorts, theme park messages, toys, and other related projects) and logged "every word, every cough, every hum" so that they would be able to put together whatever they needed for the fourth film in the franchise.
Then, Cooley worked alongside screenwriters Andrew Stanton and Stephany Folsom to write general lines for the Mr. Potatohead character, which they pulled together using the database of old Don Rickles quotes that they had archived.
Age: Dec. at 90
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America
Credits: Toy Story, Toy Story 3, Toy Story 2, Casino
On January 22, 2008, Heath Ledger was found dead in his Manhattan apartment from a drug overdose. The Australian actor had just wrapped filming Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight and was in the middle of production for Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus when he passed away. Gilliam brought on Ledger's close friends Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell to step in for Ledger's character in his remaining scenes.(Source)
Age: Dec. at 29 (1979-2008)
Birthplace: Perth, Australia
Credits: 10 Things I Hate About You, A Knight's Tale, Brokeback Mountain, The Dark Knight
Hollywood's most famous blonde bombshell was in the middle of filming the comedy Something's Got to Give when she was found dead at her Brentwood, CA home on August 5, 1962. Monroe's cause of death was reported as an overdose of barbiturates resulting from a probable suicide.(Source)
Age: Dec. at 36 (1926-1962)
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States of America
Credits: Some Like It Hot, The Seven Year Itch, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, How to Marry a Millionaire