From the moment TV sets began rolling into homes following World War II, it was inevitable that at some point, someone would get killed on air or die on live television. This inevitability indeed became a reality, and deaths have been sneaking their way into viewers' homes around the world ever since—everything from suicides, assassinations, terrorist attacks and disasters. We've compiled some of the most infamous on this list, from the suicides of Christine Chubbuck and Jodon F. Romero, both of whom shot themselves on live TV, to the shooting deaths of reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Alan Wade, to horrific videos of the World Trade Center attacks.
**Note: Each video linked to the list items contain instances of actual death footage. Viewer discretion is advised.**
Reportedly frustrated with his HMO coverage, cancer and HIV patient Daniel Jones parked his pickup truck in the middle of an L.A. freeway, set his vehicle on fire (with his dog still inside) and then committed suicide by placing the barrel of a shotgun under his chin and firing.
The incident was apparently witnessed by several school children, whose afternoon cartoons had been interrupted to show what had begun as a high-speed chase. This led to several stations rethinking their minute-by-minute coverage of such events, which had gained in popularity since O.J. Simpson's much-televised Bronco chase.
This British comedian's death occurred during a broadcast of Live from Her Majesty's, a variety show that aired Sunday nights on ITV. While performing one of his famous bits, Cooper suddenly collapsed into a sitting position. Seconds later, his entire body slumped over. Several more agonizing moments elapse before the station finally cuts to a commercial.
The reason for such a prolonged hold on Cooper's body? Everyone seemed to think the fall was part of his act, including the audience. Perhaps the most disturbing part of this video is the laughter rippling through the crowd as Cooper slowly dies.
They had no way of knowing what was happening, of course, but in hindsight, the dichotomy of laughing and death is quite chilling.
Writer, orator and academic M.N. Vijayan died of cardiac arrest during a live conference at the Thrissur press club. His on-air death spurred controversy, not so much because of the disturbing nature of the video, but because some believed the massive heart attack Vijayan suffered was spurred on intentionally by bringing Vijayan to the second floor.
Critics also note that Vijayan was taken to a distant hospital, rather than one close to the press club.
Inejiro Asanuma was an outspoken politician and leader of the Japan Socialist Party at the time of his death. During a nationally televised debate, 17 year-old militant nationalist Otoya Yamaguchi rushed the stage and stabbed Asanuma with a traditional samuraii sword. The blade pierced Asanuma through his ribs, killing him instantly.
The assassination shocked and angered many Japanese citizens, who mounted "mass demonstrations for peace and order."