Props That Kill: Another Actor Injured on Set

April Peveteaux

david birrell shot in eye during playWho knew attending the theater in the West End of London would result in real life drama? While performing in Stephen Sondheim's Passion, actor David Birrell was injured after being shot in the eye with what was presumably blanks. Birrell was rushed to the hospital, and he may lose his eye.

Oddly, this isn't the first actor to be injured on the set of a play or a movie. Fake guns can sometimes pack a damaging punch. Props go awry, and stunts end in disaster. While stuntmen, cameramen, and other crew members have been killed when tragedy strikes, usually actors are shielded from danger.

However, these actors have been unlucky enough to also suffer injuries and even death:

  • Brandon Eaton, an actor on Dexter, is suing a prop company for providing a real, active defibrillator on the set of Miami Medical. Another actor applied the defibrillator to Eaton's chest, which caused Eaton to be rushed to the hospital.
  • Hilary Swank received stitches after fellow actor Gerard Butler's suspenders broke and smacked her in the face on the set of P.S. I Love You.
  • Halle Berry has been badly injured twice on movie sets. Once on Die Another Day when the Bond girl got grenade debris in her eye and had to be taken to the hospital. Berry fared much worse on Gothika, when Robert Downey Jr. twisted her arm until it broke.
  • Margaret Hamilton, The Wicked Witch of the West, suffered third-degree burns on her face while filming The Wizard of Oz. The green makeup and clouds of smoke did not mix.
  • The Twilight Zone movie disaster not only took the life of actor Vic Morrow, but two children were also killed as a helicopter flying low was damaged, crushing and decapitating the victims. Director John Landis was blamed for unsafe work conditions, but was never found guilty on any charges.
  • Another tragic props gone wrong moment took the life of Brandon Lee as he filmed his starring role in The Crow, which was completed without the star thanks to special effects. A bullet mix-up in the prop gun proved to be a fatal mistake and Lee was shot on set, dying shortly after.


Image via Amazon

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