There are many stage performers who live on are awe, the appreciative oohs and aahs that we give to them, for they believe in the power of a live audience more than many TV enthusiasts do. They live for the stage, but what if the stage is the arena that actually witnesses their final breath? So here we are with a list of stage performers who lost their lives on the stage.
10) William Elsworth Robinson
Known by his stage name Chung Ling Soo, William Elsworth Robinson was an American magician who was famous for performing a bullet catch trick- which failed miserably, making him famous for that one bullet catch trick event that claimed his life. Robinson performed his first magic show at the age of 14 and began performing professionally on the vaudeville circuit shortly thereafter. But the final trick occurred on March 23,1918. He performed the trick in London, as one of his assistants fired the bullet, the gun malfunctioned and fired a real deadly bullet into his lung, thus causing intense bleeding and his last words were (and only English words publicly spoken), ” Oh my God. Something’s happened. Lower the curtain.” Soo was taken to Passmore Edwards Cottage Hospital, but died the following morning, due to heavy blood loss and internal organ failure.
9) Edith Webster
American actress Edith Webster was a relatively unknown actress who never managed to make a name for herself during her lifetime, but left her mark in history with her bizarre death. How? She was performing her death scene in the play “The Drunkard” in a theatre in Baltimore, died on stage from a heart attack while performing her death scene in the play “The Drunkard,” According to the script of the play, during the second half of the show, just before the end, the grandmother, that she was portraying, had to sing “Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone,” after which she was to slump dead onto the floor. And after performing the role for 8 years later, she finally died on November 24, 1986. Audience first thought the calls of the co-actors was a part of the plot but later on they realised she had died of a fatal heart attack indeed. It’s almost poetic, isn’t it?
8) Brandon Lee
Brandon Lee, was not that famous as an actor as his father, the legendary martial artist Bruce Lee was. But his death was a very famous affair as he died on camera while shooting a movie. He was filming the movie The Crow (1994) when this incident happened on March 31, 1993, at the filming studio in Wilmington, North Carolina. In the scene, Lee walks into his apartment to see his wife being harassed by thugs, when actor Michael Massee’s character fires a .44 Magnum revolver at Lee. A prop gun had been squib loaded that is, a cartridge was stuck in the barrel, causing the blank cartridge to propel the stuck bullet into Lee and kill him. Contrary to urban legend, the footage of his death was not kept in the movie and was re-shot the scene using a different actor, whose death in the film was by a throwing knife.
7) Owen Hart
Owen Hart, a Canadian-born professional wrestler, worked for several promotions including Stampede Wrestling, New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), World Championship Wrestling (WCW), and the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). One of such events was Over the Edge, a pay-per-view event, where he was performing a stunt that involved him being lowered via harness and grapple line into the ring from the rafters of Kemper Arena for a booked Intercontinental Championship match against The Godfather. He was meant to act as if he was entangled for a dramatic entrance, but, his cape got entangled with the rope, causing him to fall from a height of 78 ft, ), bouncing chest-first off the top rope resulting in a severed aorta, which caused his death. The actual video of the death was never showed to any viewers but the live audience.
6) Irma Bule
If you want to know about people who are just too much into their jobs (or were) you should know about the Indonesian pop star Irma Bule. The bizarre death of a singer in Indonesia became international headlines in recent days. She was known to have live reptiles as props for her concert. In one such concert that was being held in a village in West Java in April 2016. While doing her famous snake moves, she accidentally stepped on the cobra, which immediately bit her leg, injecting venom into her bloodstream. But for no reason, she kept on singing for 45 minutes, before she collapsed and died right on stage. What people do for fame (sigh).
5) Lee Morgan
Edward Lee Morgan was an American jazz trumpeter known mainly as one of the key hard bop musicians of the 1960s, Morgan came to prominence in his late teens, but that did not prove to be the most famous point of his life, as his death took the title. The trumpeter was mercilessly shot by his common-law wife Helen More during a performance at Slug´s Saloon in New York in the early hours of February 19, 1972. It was right after a small tiff between the two and the gunshot was not even fatal. The ambulance took a lot of time to arrive due to road blockage because of snowfall, thus causing his death due to lack of blood.
4) Renato Di Paolo
Italian actor Renato Di Paolo was portraying Judas in a play, the day before Easter in April 2000 in the tiny village of Camerata Nuova, 45 miles from Rome, and being Judas, the form of Jesus who eventually kills himself out of remorse, required Di Paolo to be tied to a tree by a noose. During the hanging scene, the actor accidentally hanged himself. Ironically, the young actor had played the part safely the previous evening, but this time when he jumped off a rock about a foot off the ground, the noose tightened around his neck and asphyxiated him. It wasn’t noticed that he is dead until another actor noticed he was lying stiffly and chaos ensued when they realised he is dead. His tragic death was captured on video by someone who was recording the play. Ironies can’t always make you laugh.
3) Les Harvey
Leslie Harvey was the lead guitarist of the Glasgow rock band Stone the Crows. His death was a jolt to many as he died after being electrocuted by his microphone while performing at Swansea’s Top Rank Ballroom died on stage in front of 1,000 fans on May 3, 1972. It was a rainy day and there were puddles of water on the stage and Harvey touched a microphone that was not earth-grounded. The slack behaviour of the organisers ended Harvey’s life at the age of 27. The group broke up a short time later.
2) Steve Irwin
Fondly known as “The Crocodile Hunter”, Steve Irwin was an Australian nature expert and television personality. His unfortunate death happened on 4th September 2006, when Irwin was on location at Batt Reef, near Port Douglas, Queensland, taking part in the production of the documentary series Ocean’s Deadliest. He was snorkelling in shallow waters while being filmed in an effort to provide footage for his daughter’s television programme. He was swimming approximately 6 ft away from a stingray when suddenly the Stingray propped on its front and started stabbing wildly with its tail. Hundreds of strikes in a few seconds was what the witnesses saw. Irwin initially believed he only had a punctured lung but in reality, the stingray’s barb pierced his heart, causing him to bleed to death. Irwin’s death is believed to be the only fatality from a stingray ever captured on video.
1) Jon Erik Hexum
An American actor and model, Jon Erik Hexum, along with the cast and crew of Cover Up was filming the seventh episode of the series, “Golden Opportunity”, on Stage 17 of the 20th Century Fox lot on October 12, 1984. When the director was unhappy with the scenes, there was a delay in the shooting, causing the actor to become restless. Being a serial “fidgeter”, he began playing around with what he thought was an unloaded prop gun. He spun the cylinder and, as if playing Russian roulette, put the revolver to his head and pulled the trigger. And well, the shot caused a massive brain haemorrhaging that resulted in Hexum´s death. This death actually makes you wonder that fidget spinners aren’t that stupid, are they?
We saw how these passionate performers died, some by their own recklessness and others by the lack of sincerity of the support staff or the organizers, or simply, utter stupidity of either. But seeing your favorite artist won’t be a pleasant experience, will it?