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Hollywood’s tragic history of on-set accidents

By Lisa Respers France, CNN

Hollywood is the land of make believe, but the very real specter of death can hover over television and movie sets.

The death of 42-year-old director of photography Halyna Hutchins while working on the movie “Rust” in New Mexico after actor Alec Baldwin discharged a prop gun is just the latest on-set tragedy.

There have been multiple cases of deaths of crew members and stunt people at work, including a female stunt person who died while performing on the set of “Deadpool 2” in 2017.

Cast members have also died from accidents during production including:

Brandon Lee

In 1993, Brandon Lee, was filming the final scenes of the movie “The Crow” when he died after being shot with a prop gun.

Actor Michael Massee, who played drug dealer Funboyin the film, fired at Lee during a scene which with a gun that was later found to have been be improperly loaded.

Dummy bullets had been replaced with cardboard wadding, but a bullet fragment had broken off and remained in the gun.

That metal tip from the dummy bullet hit Lee’s abdomen. The son of the renowned martial-arts master and actor Bruce Lee was 28.

Lee’s family released a statement following Hutchins death.

“Our hearts go out to the family of Halyna Hutchins and to Joel Souza and all involved in the incident on “Rust”,” the statement read. “No one should ever be killed by a gun on a film set. Period.”

Jon-Erik Hexum

Jon-Erik Hexum became famous in 1982 after snagging the lead role of Phineas Bogg in the NBC series “Voyagers!.”

The tall and strikingly handsome actor was a rising star and soon cast to play Mac Harper, a CIA operative posing as a male model in the TV series “Cover Up.”

While filming, Hexum reportedly was playing around with a prop gun from a scene and shot himself in the head.

The blank drove a piece of his skull into his brain, and he was taken off of life support a week later. His character was later written off the show.

Vic Morrow

Victor Morrow had a longstanding career as an actor and director by the time he found himself starring in “Twilight Zone: The Movie” in 1982.

Morrow was playing a racist who is sent back in time and placed in situations in which he is persecuted.

In a scene directed by John Landis, the actor and two child actors, 7-year-old Myca Dinh Le and 6-year-old Renee Shin-Yi Chen, were being filmed fleeing from a Vietnamese village during the Vietnam war while a US Army helicopter hovered over them.

The copter crashed following a pyrotechnic explosion, landing on Morrow, 53, and the children who were killed.

Landis, the pilot and three others were charged with involuntary manslaughter. They were all acquitted following a high profile trial which lasted almost nine months.

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