Following a recent news story on some accidents in the film industry involving Tom Cruise breaking an ankle on the set of Mission: Impossible 6 and the death of a stunt motorcyclist filming Walking Dead, we decided to take a look at the history of accidents in the film industry. Last week, we covered the early days of filming from the first recorded death in 1914 right through the 1960s after which the list of accidents increased quite radically, probably as a result of the burgeoning number of new films that are made each year. Today, we’re going to carry on where we left off, beginning with the 1970s.
The decade got off to a dangerous start when the director of Barquero (1970) was killed in a plane crash, followed by a director of Catch-22 (1970) falling to his death from a B-25 Mitchell while filming the bombing scene. Enter the Dragon (1972) saw Bruce Lee accidentally slashed with a broken bottle, while Gianni Russo broke two ribs after being thrown over a fence by James Caan in the Godfather (1972). Not only did The Exorcist (1973) terrify cinema audiences on its release, Ellen Burstyn suffered a serious back injury during filming! The Eiger Sanction (1975) experienced a number of accidents during filming, including a climber working as a body double losing his life in a fall while Martin Sheen suffered a heart attack during filming of Apocalypse Now (1979). TV actors didn’t get off lightly – Erik Estrada sustained various fractures during the filming of CHiPs (1979) and 36 people lost their lives in an airplane crash while filming the Primal Man series (1974).
Moving on to the 1980s, a cameraman was killed and several others injured filming the Dukes of Hazzard (1980) and a cameraman was killed filming Magnum PI (1980). Bond stuntman was killed filming a high speed chase on a bobsleigh in For Your Eyes Only (1981) and in the same year a stuntwoman was left a paraplegic on The Cannonball Run while a stuntman was killed doing a high fall stunt on the set of The Sword and the Sorcerer. Sly Stallone broke several ribs filming First Blood (1982) and Steven Seagal broke Sean Connery’s wrist on the set of Never Say Never Again (1983). Harrison Ford injured his back filming Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) and Michael Jackson suffered severe burns after setting his hair on fire filming a Pepsi commercial the same year.
Since then, the film industry seems to have become an increasingly dangerous industry to work in, especially for the stunt workers who perform some of the most dangerous acting. If we were to carry on listing the deaths and injuries suffered in recent decades, this safety ladder blog would turn into an entertainment industry blog! While we do like to entertain our readers from time to time, we do like to focus on the very serious subject of safety in the workplace, especially for those who work at height in the construction industry. However, we will bring you more information on entertainment from time to time – in fact, we have something quite special planned so watch this space. If you don’t want to miss out, then why not follow us on Facebook or Twitter?