Ten Stars Who Died

During the Filming of a Movie

Long after their time is up, movie stars live on through DVDs and cable reruns. But the stars on this list died before completing a project, leaving directors in an emotional and logistical bind, and forever attaching a dark footnote to a movie's history. In some cases the movie was canceled, in others the star was recast, while in others production moved forward with some creative editing.

1. Marilyn Monroe

 Image via Robot vs. Badger
Blonde bombshell Marilyn Monroe, famous for her film roles, multiple marriages, and memorable serenading of President John F. Kennedy, died on August 5, 1962, before she could finish filming Something's Got to Give.
The comedy, directed by George Cukor and also starring Cyd Charisse and Dean Martin, had been plagued with conflict from the start. At one point, Monroe was even fired. But Martin refused to work with any actress other than Monroe, so the famous beauty was rehired. Before Monroe could resume her role, however, she was found dead in her Brentwood, California, home, the result of an overdose of barbiturates. Something's Got to Give was scrapped, but parts of the unfinished film were included in a 2001 documentary titled Marilyn Monroe: The Final Days
A year later, in 1963, the script was slightly revamped - deleting the nude moonlight swim scene. It was renamed "Move Over Darling," starring Doris Day and James Garner. It was a solid box office success and spawned another pop hit (Move over Darling) for Day. - Nealbo

2. John Candy

 Image via Celebuzz
Funnyman John Candy, known for portraying portly, lovable losers in such movies as Stripes, Uncle Buck, and Planes, Trains & Automobiles, died of a massive heart attack on March 4, 1994, during the filming of Wagons East. A body double was used to replace Candy, and the film - a comedy set in the Wild West - was released later that summer. The movie was widely panned by critics as an unworthy farewell to Candy, who was just 43 when he died.

3. River Phoenix

 Image via Fangolian 
River Phoenix, a young actor who shot to stardom after appearing in Rob Reiner's Stand by Me, was near the end of filming Dark Blood when he died of a drug overdose on Halloween 1993 at age 23. The movie, a dark tale about a widower (Phoenix) living on a nuclear testing site, was subsequently canceled because Phoenix's presence was crucial to several yet-to-be-shot scenes. Phoenix was also slated to film Interview with the Vampire with Tom Cruise. His role was taken over by Christian Slater, who donated his salary from the film to a charity in Phoenix's honor.

4. Vic Morrow

 Image via We Meant Well
Vic Morrow, a tough-talking actor known for his role in the TV series Combat! as well as a string of B-movies, was killed in July 1982, in a tragic accident on the set of Twilight Zone: The Movie. The script called for the use of both a helicopter and pyrotechnics -- a combination that would prove lethal. When the pyrotechnics exploded, the helicopter's tail was severed, causing it to crash. The blades decapitated Morrow and a child actor, and another child actor was crushed to death.
Although the filmmakers faced legal action from the accident, the project was completed and the movie was released in June 1983. It performed poorly at the box office, based partially on the controversy surrounding the accident.

5. Oliver Reed

 Image via Theneilmanspace
Oliver Reed, as famous for drinking and partying as he was for acting, died in a pub on May 2, 1999, before he could finish filming Ridley Scott's epic Gladiator. Reed, who was 61, collapsed on the floor of a bar in Malta and died of a heart attack. Most of his scenes in Gladiator had already been shot when he died, but Scott had to digitally re-create Reed's face for a few remaining segments. The Internet Movie Database estimated the cost of the digital touch-ups at $3 million. When Gladiator was released in 2000, it grossed more than $187 million in the United States alone and snared five Oscars, including Best Picture.

6. Natalie Wood

 Image via Theneilmanspace
While taking time off from shooting “Brainstorm” to celebrate Thanksgiving, an intoxicated Wood fell off her yacht and drowned. Wood’s death came before she was set to film an important climactic scene. MGM considered both offering the movie rights to Paramount and, at one point, shelving the project all together. 
In the end, director Douglas Trumbull convinced them he could finish it with body doubles. “Brainstorm” received moderate reviews from critics – though the special effects were heavily praised – but ended up losing money at the box office. 
November 18, 2011 - UPDATE - The Los Angeles County Sheriff's department has held a news conference regarding its decision to reopen the inquiry into the death of film star Natalie Wood. The 43-year-old actress drowned in 1981 during a boat trip off the coast of California, and her death was ruled to have been an accident at the time.

7. Brandon Lee

 Image via Enter Oblivion
Brandon Lee, an aspiring actor and the son of martial arts star Bruce Lee, was killed in a freak accident on the set of The Crow on March 31, 1993. Lee, who was 28 at the time, was playing a character who gets shot by thugs upon entering his apartment. Tragically, the handgun used in the scene had a real bullet lodged in its barrel, which was propelled out by the force of the blank being shot. Lee was hit in the abdomen and died later that day. The movie was nearly complete at the time of the shooting, but a stunt double was needed to complete a few remaining scenes, and Lee's face was digitally superimposed onto the stunt double's body.

8. Bela Lagosi

 Image via Theneilmanspace 
In 1959, director Ed Wood began filming “Plan 9 From Outer Space.”Previously, he had shot a couple minutes of silent footage of Lugosi wearing a cape for a planned vampire project that never came to fruition. The horror icon later died of a heart attack. Wood decided to use what he had shot in "Plan 9 From Outer Space" and edit it into the movie multiple times. A body double, Tom Mason – who looked absolutely nothing like Lugosi – was brought in to finish the film. While some will argue that “Plan 9 From Outer Space” is an abomination – it’s widely considered one of the worst films ever made – it is now a cult classic. Quite simply, it’s so horrible that it’s completely awesome. They don’t make ‘em like this anymore. 

9 Aaliyah

 Image via Theneilmanspace 
Aaliyah died in a plane crash after finishing all her scenes in "Queen of the Damned." However, there were still some gaps in the audio that needed to be filled. Her brother, Rashad Haughton, was brought in to help overdub her voice. Since it was all but finished at the time of her death it made sense to finish the film. Upon its release, however, “Queen of the Damned” was universally panned by critics and Anne Rice fans, though Aaliyah’s performance is regarded as one of its few redeeming aspects. 

10. Clark Gable

Clark Gable died of a heart attack before filming of "The Misfits" had concluded. Some speculated that it was the result of shooting some strenuous scenes – Gable insisted on doing his own stunts. This included being dragged by horses. Almost all of his scenes were done, so a body double was used to finish off the film. Though the film was well received by critics, it performed poorly at the box office. However, it is now considered a classic. “The Misfists” was also the last completed film for Marilyn Monroe.

Do Einstein's Laws Prove Ghosts Exist?

Every night, amateur ghost-hunting groups across the country head out into abandoned warehouses, old buildings and cemeteries to look for ghosts. They often bring along electronic equipment that they believe helps them locate ghostly energy.
Despite years of efforts by ghost hunters on TV and in real life, we still do not have good proof that ghosts are real. Many ghost hunters believe that strong support for the existence of ghosts can be found in modern physics. Specifically, that Albert Einstein, one of the greatest scientific minds of all time, offered a scientific basis for the reality of ghosts.
A recent Google search turned up nearly 8 million results suggesting a link between ghosts and Einstein's work covering the conservation of energy. This assertion is repeated by many top experts in the field. For example, ghost researcher John Kachuba, in his book "Ghosthunters" (2007, New Page Books), writes, "Einstein proved that all the energy of the universe is constant and that it can neither be created nor destroyed. ... So what happens to that energy when we die? If it cannot be destroyed, it must then, according to Dr. Einstein, be transformed into another form of energy. What is that new energy? ... Could we call that new creation a ghost?"
This idea shows up — and is presented as evidence for ghosts — on virtually all ghost-themed websites as well. For example, a group called Tri County Paranormal states, "Albert Einstein said that energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only change from one form to another. When we are alive, we have electrical energy in our bodies. ... What happens to the electricity that was in our body, causing our heart to beat and making our breathing possible? There is no easy answer to that." 
In fact, the answer is very simple, and not at all mysterious. After a person dies, the energy in his or her body goes where all organisms' energy goes after death: into the environment. When a human dies, the energy stored in his or her body is released in the form of heat, and transferred into the animals that eat us (i.e., wild animals if we are left unburied, or worms and bacteria if we are interred), and the plants that absorb us. If we are cremated, the energy in our bodies is released in the form of heat and light.
When we eat dead plants and animals, we are consuming their energy and converting it for our own use. Food is metabolized when digested, and chemical reactions release the energy the animal needs to live, move, reproduce, etc. That energy does not exist in the form of a glowing, ghostly ball of electromagnetic energy, but rather in the form of heat and chemical energy.
Many ghost hunters say they can detect the electric fields created by ghosts. And while it's true that the metabolic processes of humans and other organisms actually do generate very low-level electrical currents, these are no longer generated once the organism dies. Because the source of the energy stops, the electrical current stops — just as a light bulb turns off when you switch off the electricity running to it.
Most of the "energy" that any dead person leaves behind takes years to re-enter the environment in the form of food; the rest dissipates shortly after death, and is not in a form that can be detected years later with popular ghost-hunting devices like electromagnetic field (EMF) detectors. Ghost hunters who repeat the claim that Einstein's theories provide a sound basis for ghosts reveal less about ghosts than they do about their poor understanding of basic science. Ghosts may indeed exist, but neither Einstein nor his laws of physics suggests ghosts are real. 
This story was provided by Life's Little Mysteries, a sister site to LiveScience. Benjamin Radford is deputy editor of Skeptical Inquirer science magazine and author of "Scientific Paranormal Investigation: How to Solve Unexplained Mysteries." His website URL is www.BenjaminRadford.com. Also see 
6 Paranormal Videos Debunked.

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