Live Poll: Most Shocking Death of an Actor

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Any death can be shocking, and they are all sad. But sometimes a death is so surprising, either due to the the manner of death, the age of the deceased or other circumstances that it can be considered shocking. Which of these actors' deaths most shocked you?

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Jen, Champion

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Posted 3 years ago

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15yearsIMDber aka ElMo

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If it was up to me, I would have put Sharon Tate right on the top, you can't make worse than a young and beautiful pregnant mother being stabbed to death, not to mention that she begged her killer to spare her baby and the last thing she heard is too heartbreaking to be written.

Others suggestions:
- Vic Morrow (decapitated by a helicopter blade during the shooting of the Twilight Zone movie, two children died at that freak accident)
- Judith Barsi (assassinated at 10 by her own father)
- Bob Crane
- Chris Farley
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I second the Vic Marrow and those children's deaths. His death was a hero's death. What is shocking was that so many of Hollywood's own regulations on safety and child labor were violated!
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Dimos Dicoudis

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The child actors were Myca Dinh Le (7 years old) and Renee Shin-Yi Chen (6 years old). They were hired by director John Landis, in violation of California's child labor laws and without the required permits. 

Few people were aware that the kids would play in a dangerous scene involving helicopters and real explosives: "Le and Chen were being paid under the table to circumvent California's child labor laws, which did not permit children to work at night. Landis opted not to seek a special waiver, either because he did not think he would get permission for such a late hour or because he knew he would never get approval to have young children as part of a scene with a large number of explosives. The casting agents were unaware that the children would be involved in the scene. Associate producer George Folsey, Jr told the children's parents not to tell any firefighters on set that the children were part of the scene, and also hid them from a fire safety officer who also worked as a welfare worker." 

During the shooting of the scene, the helicopter spun out of control when hit by a mortar effect. The helicopter fell on top of the three actors. Morrow and Le were both decapitated and mutilated by the helicopters main rotor blades. Chen was crushed to death by the helicopter's landing skid. 

Landis and several of his associates were placed on trial for manslaughter due to the accident. They were acquitted of the charges in a 9-month-trial in 1986 and 1987. It was reportedly the first time in the history of Hollywood that a film director faced charges due to a fatality on set. 

The 1982 accident led to new safety regulations by the Federal Aviation Administration, the studio Warner Bros., and the Directors Guild of America. Between 1982 and 1986, accidents during filming were reduced by an estimated 69.6%. There were only 6 other fatalities on Hollywood film sets between 1982 and 1986. 

Landis continued working regularly as a film director, but complained in 1996 that the accident negatively affected his career and reputation. Fellow director Steven Spielberg (the film's co-producer and an old friend of Landis) blamed Landis for the accident, broke up their friendship, and refused to work with him. Spielberg is quoted by a biographer as saying: "No movie is worth dying for. "