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Tragic Injuries From 1980s Films & Television

Accidents happen, right? 

As film lovers, we like to think of our favorite Hollywood film stars as being virtually invincible. How could something bad ever happen to something like them? Aren’t there countless regulations and rules set in place that are to keep them safe and sound while on set? 

While it’s true that generally speaking, working as a Hollywood actor or crew member is a fairly safe job. Sometimes tragedy strikes when you least expect it. That’s especially true for stars that insist upon doing all of their own stunt work. 

Having a mindset where we aggrandize celebrities and elevate them to some kind of mythical status can. At times, make it difficult for us to imagine anything awful ever happening to them. But over the years, horrific accidents occur on the set of high-profile films resulting in injury, feuds, and sometimes death. 

What, you don’t think the Grim Reaper has his eyes on celebrities as well? Mortality is something that we’re all going to have to face someday. Actors and stuntmen die doing what they love most got to achieve their goals before their time is cut short. 

Movie sets can sometimes be dangerous places. It didn’t matter how many regulations are put into place to try and keep everyone out of harm’s way. It’s unpreventable. People are just sometimes in the wrong place at the wrong time. And as far as the human factor goes, sometimes people just flat-out make mistakes. Unfortunately, these blunders can occasionally have disastrous consequences. 

In this video, we’ll be covering the most tragic injuries and accidents that occur on film sets in the 1980s. Stick around to the end to learn how one Hollywood actor dies during the production of a 1989 film. And then take his frustrations out on the film’s director by punching him in the face. Stay tuned to find out who that was. 

The Dukes Of Hazzard – 1980

While rehearsing a chase scene for the film, eight crew members get injured when a camera truck flipped. Sadly, one man, camera operator Rodney Mitchell, dies in the incident and part of the Tragic injuries from 1980s Films. 

Magnum P.I. – 1980

Five months when Mitchell’s death on the set of Dukes of Hazzard there’s also a tragic injuries from 1980s films, Robert Van Der Kar dies in a helicopter. They crash in Hawaii during the filming of an episode of Magnum P.I.

That’s Incredible – 1981

Here we have an early American reality show that featured people performing stunts and incredible feats of strength and endurance. It’s the premise, it’s not surprising then that the show manages to document several injuries and accidents throughout its run. 

While attempting to jump over two cars hurtling towards him at over 100 miles per hour, stunt motorcyclist, Steve Lewis, sustained rather severe foot and knee injuries. Just a few months later, another stunt motorcyclist named Gary Wells flubbed a landing while attempting to jump over the fountains at Caesar’s Palace in Vegas. He ended up colliding into a parking lot, and in the process, he tore the main artery of his heart, broke both of his legs, fractured his pelvis, and suffered a concussion. Fortunately, he managed to survive that horrific accident. 

Hey, real quick. If you’re enjoying this video so far, do us a little favor and give it a like and subscribe to Facts Verse if you haven’t already. And don’t go anywhere just yet. We’ve still got a ton of Hollywood accidents, tragic injuries from 1980s films, mishaps, and gaffes to go over. 

Das Boot – 1981

In case you didn’t know the film, it is a West German World War II flick direct by Wolfgang Peterson that releases both as a theatrical release as well as airs on television as a miniseries. While shooting a scene involving a naval vessel that got in a violent storm, actor Jan Fedder slips and was nearly sweeps out to sea. 

Mid-shot, Actor Bernd Tauber notices that Fedder is nowhere to find, cried out ‘Man Over Board’, jumped into action, and helped him get to safety.

At first, Wolfang Peterson didn’t realize that the incident wasn’t intentional and merely assumed that Jan was improvising. He even suggested that they film the scene one more time. 

Fedder hospitalizes when rescued and his role had to be partially reworked since he was bed-ridden for a portion of the film’s production. The footage of the accident uses in the film is arguably one of its most memorable moments. 

Raiders of the Lost Ark – 1981

John Rhys-Davies, the actor who plays the minor character Sallah in the film, perishes after contracting cholera and running a fever of 105 degrees Fahrenheit while filming on location in Tunisia. 

 The Cannonball Run – 1981

Throw from a vehicle in a crash, stuntwoman, Heidi Von Beltz leave a quadriplegic. She passes away 35 years after the incident at the age of 59, which means she was only 24 when she sustained that life-changing injury.

Roar – 1981

One of the most controversial and infamous films ever, Roar revolves around a wildlife preservationist whose family comes out to visit him in Africa only to greet him with his collection of wild animals, which includes lions, tigers, and other big cats.

Due to the obscenely large number of immature animal features in the film, there are almost 50 reports of injury during the film’s production, although it estimates that more than 70 people in total are hurt during the making of the film. 

Cinematographer Jan de Bont scalps by a lion and needed 220 stitches. Lead Actress Tippi Hedren suffers a broken leg and several scalp lacerations after she throws off an elephant. She bites on the neck by a lion and needed 38 stitches. 

Tippi’s daughter, Melanie Griffith, attacks onset and needs 50 stitches on her face. John Marshall bites by a lion and needed 56 stitches. 

First Blood – 1982 

Action movie star Sylvester Stallone sustained several injuries during the production of this Rambo film. He breaks ribs while jumping off a cliff and landing in a grouping of trees, suffers bruises to his back after filming 19 takes of a scene where he clubs by a nightstick, and injured his hand and almost lost a thumb on an exploding gunfire squib during a fight scene in an abandoned mine.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom – 1984

While filming in London in June of 1983, Harrison Ford herniated a disc in his back, which forced him to have to fly back to LA to have an operation. Fortunately, he made a full recovery from his injury and returned back to the filming location six weeks later. 

Pepsi Commercial – 1984

While shooting a television ad with his musical siblings at the Shrine Auditorium in LA, a malfunctioning pyrotechnic went off a bit too early and set the King of Pop’s hair on fire. He ended up sustaining second and third-degree burns to his scalp and body. 

The musical artist ends up suing PepsiCo and awards $1.5 million in damages. He then took that money and donated it to Brotman Medical Center in Culver City, California, to help found the Michael Jackson Burn Center for Children. It speculates that this accident led to Jackson’s addiction to opiates and his obsession with cosmetic surgery. 

Police Story – 1985

Martial Arts aficionado and actor Jackie Chan suffers third-degree burns to his hands. Almost breaks two vertebrae, dislocates his pelvis, and is close to paralyzed during a pole-sliding scene in the film. 

Top Gun – 1986

On September 16, 1985, one of the tragic injuries from 1980s films. A stunt pilot Art Scholl’s Pitts S-2 camera-plane crashed right off the coast of southern California near the town of Carlsbad. Sadly, he dies in that accident and his plane nor his body didn’t recover. 

Full Metal Jacket – 1987

Actor Vincent D’Onofrio intentionally gained a significant amount of weight in preparation for portraying an overweight Marine Corps recruit in the film. During filming of a boot camp scene, he twisted his knee, injuring it so severely that he needed to have reconstructive surgery. 

Die Hard – 1988

Bruce Willis was injured after firing a prop gun loaded with extra-loud blanks from underneath a table. He ended up losing approximately 2/3rds of his hearing. 

The Abyss – 1989

Actor Ed Harris almost lost his life while filming an underwater scene in this James Cameron-directed science fiction film. Although he yelled out ‘CUT’ when he ran out of air, the film’s production team didn’t give him oxygen until after he had already passed out. The traumatic event was so jarring that Harris had a mental breakdown in his car en route to his place of residence. Following the incident, Harris also reportedly punched James Cameron in the face.

The Karate Kid Part III – 1989

Actor Sean Kanan, best known for his roles in several Soap Operas such as The Bold and the Beautiful and General Hospital, suffered internal bleeding after shooting twenty takes of being thrown out of a door and crashing to the ground on his stomach. Just four days after filming the scene, the actor collapsed in a Las Vegas hotel and had to be rushed to the hospital. It was then found that he had nearly two quarts of blood in his abdomen. 

The Sword of Tipu Sultan – 1989

While this made-for-television Indian film is fairly obscure, it’s somewhat notorious for the fact that a grand total of 82 extras and crew members were killed during it’s production. All of those deaths happened when a fire broke out inside the film studio, leaving everyone inside trapped. To this day, the film holds the record for the largest number of on-set deaths in film history. The movie’s director and lead actor, Sanjay Khan, sustained severe burns to much of his body and spent more than a year in the hospital recovering from his injuries. 

So, did you ever realize how dangerous it could be to work in the film industry? After watching this video, you probably have a newfound appreciation for whatever mundane job that you might have. At least sitting behind a desk, working a cash register, or crunching numbers at a financial institution likely doesn’t run the risk of being mauled by a tiger, drowned at sea, or burned alive in a fiery blaze. 

What was the most shocking injury you learned about in this video? Let us know in the comments section below. And before you go, don’t forget to like and subscribe to Facts Verse. Tap the bell to turn on notifications. That way, you can keep up with all of our latest Hollywood-related videos. 

And as always, thanks for watching! Be safe out there!

Tragic Injuries From 1980s Films & Television

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