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Amazing Stories of Celebrities that Died While Producing Their Movies

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James Dean

James Byron Dean, born in Marion, Indiana on February 8, 1931, to Winton Dean and Mildred Wilson, was an American actor. He is remembered as a cultural icon of teenage disillusionment and social estrangement, as expressed in the title of his most celebrated film, Rebel without a Cause (1955), wherein he starred as troubled teen Jim Stark. The different roles that described his stardom had been loner Cal Trask in East of Eden (1955) and surly ranch hand Jett Rink in Giant (1956).

When Dean wasn't acting, he was an expert automobile racer. On Friday, September 30, 1955, Dean and his mechanic, Rolf Wuetherich, drove Dean's new Porsche 550 Spyder to a weekend race in Salinas, California. At 3:30 p.m., they had been stopped south of Bakersfield and given a speeding ticket. Later, while driving along Route 466, a 23-year-old Cal Poly student named Donald Turnupseed, after turning at an intersection, collided with Dean's Porsche. The cars hit each different nearly head-on, with the Spyder devastated from the impact. Wuetherich became significantly injured however survived, while Dean was killed nearly immediately. He was 24.

Giant, which became Dean's last film, had a running time of more than 3 hours and noticed the actor painting a character whose fortunes change over the decades. He died earlier than production was complete, with Giant ultimately released in 1956.

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Bela Lugosi

Bela Lugosi was a Hungarian-American actor better remembered for portraying Count Dracula in the 1931 movie and for his roles in different horror films.

He was regularly paired with Boris Karloff, who was capable of call for top billing. To his frustration, Lugosi, a charter member of the American Screen Actors Guild, was increasingly limited to minor parts due to his lack of ability to speak the English language more clearly. He was kept hired through the studio basically in order that they may positioned his name on the posters. Among his pairings with Karloff, he achieved primary roles only in The Black Cat (1934), The Raven (1935), and Son of Frankenstein (1939); even in The Raven, Karloff acquired top billing notwithstanding Lugosi acting the lead role. By this time, Lugosi have been receiving everyday medicine for sciatic neuritis, and he became hooked on morphine and methadone. This drug dependence was known to producers, and the offers finally faded to 3 parts in low-price range movies directed through Ed Wood, including a quick look in Plan nine from Outer Space (1959). Lugosi married 5 times and had one son, Bela George, with his fourth wife, Lillian.

Lugosi's coronary heart attack killed him on Aug. 16, 1956, while filming "Plan 9 from Outer Space." Instead of reshooting Lugosi's scenes or finding a double, director Edward D. Wood requested his family's chiropractor to take over the scenes -- despite the fact that the person failed to look or sound like Lugosi.

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Marilyn Monro

Norma Jeane Mortenson was an American actress, model and singer. Famous for playing comedic "blonde bombshell" characters. She had become one of the most famous sex symbols of the Fifties and early Nineteen Sixties and was emblematic of the era's sexual revolution.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Monroe spent most of her youth in foster houses and an orphanage; she married at age 16. She was working in a manufacturing unit at some stage in World War II when she met a photographer from the First Motion Picture Unit and commenced a hit pin-up modeling career, which brought about short-lived movie contracts with twentieth Century Fox and Columbia Pictures. After a chain of teenage movie roles, she signed a brand new agreement with Fox in late 1950. Over the subsequent years, she have become a famous actress with roles in numerous comedies, inclusive of As Young as You Feel and Monkey Business, and in the dramas Clash by Night and Don't Bother to Knock. She confronted a scandal when it was discovered that she had posed for nude pics earlier than she became a star, however the tale did not harm her profession and as an alternative led to improved hobby in her films.

The comedy, which was being directed by George Cukor and additionally starred Cyd Charisse and Dean Martin, were plagued with warfare from the start. At one point, Monroe was even fired. But Martin refused to work with any actress apart from Monroe, so the well-known beauty was rehired. Before Monroe ought to resume her role, however, she was discovered lifeless in her Brentwood, Calif., home -- the end result of an overdose of barbiturates. After Monroe's death, the filming of Something's Got to Give was eventually scrapped, however components of the incomplete movie have been blanketed in a 2001 documentary titled "Marilyn: The Final Days"

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Natalie Wood

Natalie Wood was an American actress who began her film career as a child performer and progressed to young adult parts with ease. She was nominated for three Academy Awards and received four Golden Globe nominations. Wood, who was born in San Francisco to Russian immigrant parents, began acting at the age of four and received a co-starring role in Miracle of 34th Street at the age of eight (1947). She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress as a teenager for her appearance in Rebel Without a Cause (1955), which was followed by a role in John Ford's The Searchers (1956). Wood featured in the musical flicks West Side Story (1961) and Gypsy (1962), and her performances in Splendor in the Grass (1961) and Love with the Proper Stranger (1962) earned her Academy Award nominations for Best Actress (1963). Sex and the Single Girl (1964), Inside Daisy Clover (1965), and Sex and the Single Girl (1966) were among her later films.

She was in the middle of filming "Brainstorm" with Walken when she died. On Nov. 29, 1981, Walken took her and her husband on a late-night yacht excursion off the coast of Southern California, where they argued, she jumped overboard, and Woods drowned since she couldn't swim.

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Vic Morrow

Victor Morrow was an actor and director from the United States. He rose to prominence as one of the main characters in the ABC drama series Combat! (1962–1967), for which he was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Series. His film roles include Blackboard Jungle (1955), King Creole (1958), God's Little Acre (1958), Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry (1974), and The Bad News Bears (1974), among others (1976).

In July 1982, he and two young actors, My-ca Denh Le and Renee Chen, were killed in an accident on the set of "Twilight Zone: The Movie." The script called for the employment of a helicopter as well as pyrotechnics, which proved to be a dangerous mix. The helicopter's tail was cut as the pyrotechnics erupted, forcing it to crash and kill the three performers. The children were then determined to have been hired illegally and paid under the table because the director allegedly sought to get past California's regulations prohibiting children from working at night or near potentially dangerous helicopters and explosives.

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Brandon Lee

Brandon Bruce Lee was an actor, combat choreographer, and martial artist from the United States. In the early 1990s, he established himself as a rising action star, landing his breakout role as Eric Draven in the dark fantasy film The Crow.

On March 31, 1993, Bruce Lee was killed in a stunt accident on the set of "The Crow." Lee, then 28 years old, was portraying a character who is shot by gangsters as he enters his residence. Unfortunately, the firearm used in the scene had a fragment of a live bullet driven out by the power of the blank being fired. Lee was struck in the abdomen and died the next day.

At the time of filming, the movie was virtually finished, but a stunt double was needed to finish a few sequences, so Lee's face was digitally placed onto the stunt double's body for a few shots. Despite numerous suspicions that Lee's deadly moment would stay in the final cut of the film, any footage of his shooting was actually eliminated during editing.

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River Phoenix

River Phoenix, a teenage actor who rose to fame after starring in Rob Reiner's "Stand by Me," died of a heroin overdose on Halloween in 1993, at the age of 23. Phoenix was apparently leaving The Viper Room in Hollywood when he began convulsing on the pavement, surrounded by bystanders. He was transferred to a neighboring hospital by ambulance, where he was pronounced dead. Cocaine, morphine, marijuana, Valium, and cold medication were discovered in his system during an autopsy.

Phoenix's participation was important to numerous yet-to-be-shot scenes in "Dark Blood," a dark tale about a widower (Phoenix) living on a nuclear testing site, which was eventually canceled. Phoenix was also set to star alongside Tom Cruise in the film "Interview with the Vampire." Christian Slater took over his part, donating his entire compensation from the film to a charity in Phoenix's honor.

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Oliver Reed

Oliver Reed, who was as well known for drinking and partying as he was for acting, died at a pub on May 2, 1999, before Ridley Scott's battle epic "Gladiator" could be completed. Reed, 61, collapsed on the floor of a Malta bar and died of a heart attack after allegedly arm wrestling with six Royal Navy soldiers and ingesting enormous amounts of rum, beer, whiskey, and cognac.

When he died, most of his portions in "Gladiator" had already been shot, but Scott had to digitally recreate Reed's face for a few remaining segments. The cost of the digital touch-ups was estimated at $3 million by the Internet Movie Database. "Gladiator" grossed more than $187 million in the United States alone when it was released in 2000, winning five Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Reed's career, which spanned more than 60 films, reached a zenith with the success of the film.

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Heath Ledger

Heath Andrew Ledger was an actor and music video director from Australia. Ledger relocated to the United States in 1998 to advance his film career after appearing in various Australian television and film productions during the 1990s. Heath Ledger built his name as a quick-witted heartthrob in films like "10 Things I Hate About You" and "A Knight's Tale," before going on to more somber roles in films like "Brokeback Mountain" and Christopher Nolan's Batman film series' second episode, "The Dark Knight."

During the filming of "The Dark Knight," Ledger stated in interviews that the terrifying part of the Joker contributed to his prescription medication addiction because he became so engrossed in the characters he played that it affected his daily life and made sleeping impossible. Ledger began filming "The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus" with director Terry Gilliam shortly after "The Dark Knight" concluded. Ledger went to bed in his apartment in New York City's posh SoHo district in January 2008, with only a third of the film completed, where his housekeeper later discovered him dead.

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Philip Seymour Hoffman

Philip Seymour Hoffman was an actor, director, and producer from the United States. He acted in many films, including leading roles, from the early 1990s until his death in 2014. He was best known for his distinctive supporting and character roles—typically lowlifes, eccentrics, bullies, and misfits.

Hoffman, who was born and raised in Fairport, New York, was attracted to theater as a child after seeing a theatrical version of Arthur Miller's All My Sons when he was 12 years old. Hoffman studied acting at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and made his television debut in a 1991 episode of Law & Order: Special Investigations Unit before making his film debut in 1992. Scent of a Woman (1992), Twister (1996), Boogie Nights (1997), Happiness (1998), Patch Adams (1998), The Big Lebowski (1998), Magnolia (1999), The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), Almost Famous (2000), Punch-Drunk Love (2002), and Along Came Polly (2002) were among his notable supporting roles (2004).

On February 2, 2014, Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his New York City residence, having completed most of his scenes for the second installment of the Hunger Games series, Mockingjay.

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Paul Walker

Walker began his acting career as a child actor in the 1980s, and rose to prominence in the 1990s after starring in the television soap opera The Young and the Restless; he received critical acclaim for his roles in the teen comedy She's All That and the comedy-drama Varsity Blues (both 1999), and achieved international acclaim for his role in The Fast and the Furious (2001).

Walker went on to star in the financially successful road thriller Joy Ride (2001), where he established himself as an action star. He then went on to star in the box office flops Into the Blue (2005) and Running Scared (2006), while he received accolades for his work in the survival drama Eight Below and as Hank Hansen in Flags of Our Fathers (both 2006). Walker's other roles were mostly in low-budget action films, however he did star in the commercially successful heist thriller Takers (2010).

On November 30, 2013, Walker died as a result of injuries sustained in a single-vehicle incident. Separate wrongful death cases against Porsche were made by his father and daughter, both of which were settled. Walker had not finished filming Furious 7 (2015) when he died; it was released after rewrites and stand-ins, including his siblings Cody and Caleb, stood in for him, and Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth's song "See You Again" was commissioned as a tribute.

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John Ritter

Ritter played adult Ben Hanscom in It (1990), Problem Child (1990), Problem Child 2 (1991), a dramatic performance in Sling Blade (1996), and Bad Santa in 2003, appearing in over 100 films and television programs and performing on Broadway (his final live action film, which was dedicated to his memory). Ritter's final roles include voicing the title character on the PBS children's program Clifford the Big Red Dog (2000–2003), for which he received four Daytime Emmy Award nominations, as Paul Hennessy on the ABC sitcom 8 Simple Rules (2002–2003), and an uncredited role for providing the normal voice on the ABC sitcom 8 Simple Rules (2002–2003).

Ritter fell ill and began experiencing heart troubles on September 11, 2003, while practicing for 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter on the Walt Disney Studio lot in Burbank, California. He was taken to the Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center across the street (the same hospital where he was born) at 6 p.m. that evening, sweating profusely, vomiting, and complaining of chest pain. Ritter was originally treated for a heart attack by emergency department doctors, but his health swiftly deteriorated.

Ritter was diagnosed with an aortic dissection and underwent surgery to correct the dissection, but he died at 10:48 p.m., just six days before his 55th birthday. Ritter was laid to rest at Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills Cemetery, in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles, following a private burial on September 15, 2003.

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Tyrone Power

Tyrone Edmund Power III was an American actor who lived from May 5, 1914, to November 15, 1958. Power featured in scores of films from the 1930s to the 1950s, often in swashbuckler or romantic lead roles. The Mark of Zorro, Marie Antoinette, Blood and Sand, The Black Swan, Prince of Foxes, Witness for the Prosecution, The Black Rose, and Captain from Castile are some of his more well-known films. Nightmare Alley was Power's personal favorite among the films in which he appeared.

Power and his wife Deborah traveled to Madrid and Valdespartera, Spain, in September 1958 to film the epic Solomon and Sheba, directed by King Vidor and starring Gina Lollobrigida. When Power suffered a major heart attack while filming a dueling scene with his frequent co-star and friend, George Sanders, he had filmed around 75% of his scenes. Power died of "fulminant angina pectoris," according to a doctor named Juan Olagubel. On November 15, at the age of 44, he died while being transferred to a hospital in Madrid.

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Redd Foxx

John Elroy Sanford was an American stand-up comedian and actor who went by the stage name Redd Foxx. During the 1950s and 1960s, Foxx became famous for his raucous nightclub shows. He was dubbed the "King of the Party Records" since he appeared on more than 50 albums during his lifetime. On the television sitcom Sanford and Son, he played Fred G. Sanford, and he also appeared in The Redd Foxx Show and The Royal Family. All the Fine Young Cannibals (1960), Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970), Norman... Is That You? (1976), and Harlem Nights were among his film projects.

Foxx died on the set of The Royal Family on October 11, 1991, while taking a break from rehearsals. Foxx was conversing with an Entertainment Tonight reporter, according to Della Reese. Foxx and Reese were practicing while the scene he was meant to be in was not ready to shoot. In truth, Foxx had no lines in the sequence; all he had to do was "go behind the back of my chair," as Reese put it.

Roy Kinnear

Roy Mitchell Kinnear was a character actor from the United Kingdom. Richard Lester directed him in several films, including Algernon in The Beatles' Help! (1965), Clapper in How I Won the War (1967), and Planchet in The Three Musketeers (1973). In the 1974 and 1989 sequels, he repeated his role as Planchet, but died in an accident while filming the latter.

Kinnear shattered his pelvis and suffered internal bleeding after falling off a horse while filming The Return of the Musketeers in Toledo, Spain, on September 19, 1988. He was carried to a hospital in Madrid, but died the next day of a heart attack caused by his injuries. He was 54 years old at the time.

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Martha Mansfield

Martha Mansfield was an actress who appeared in silent films and vaudeville stage productions in the United States. Civilian Clothes (1920), directed by Hugh Ford, was her debut Hollywood film. She rose to popularity in the film adaptation of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, starring John Barrymore, as Millicent Carew (originally offered to Tallulah Bankhead). She then joined with Selznick Pictures and was cast in The Perfect Lover alongside Eugene O'Brien (1919). Mansfield returned to the stage in 1921 as part of a vaudeville tour. The next year, she starred in two indie films: Queen of the Moulin Rouge and Till We Meet Again. The rest of the year was spent touring the vaudeville circuit.

Mansfield finished her contract with Selznick in 1923 and signed with Fox Film Corporation. The Silent Command, starring Edmund Lowe and Béla Lugosi, was her first feature for Fox. Potash and Perlmutter and The Leavenworth Case, both from 1923, were her final finished films in a brief film career.

Mansfield was severely burned on November 29, 1923, while filming The Warrens of Virginia on location in San Antonio, Texas, when a tossed match ignited her Civil War costume of hoop skirts and fragile ruffles. Mansfield, who was playing Agatha Warren, had just finished her scenes and gotten into her car when her clothes caught fire. Wilfred Lytell, the leading guy, flung his large overcoat over her, saving her neck and face. While attempting to remove the actress's flaming garments, the chauffeur of Mansfield's car was seriously burned on his hands. Although the fire was extinguished, she suffered severe burns to her body. She was rushed to a hospital where she died the following day of "burns of all extremities, general toxemia and suppression of urine".

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Steve Irwin

Stephen Robert Irwin was an Australian zookeeper, conservationist, television personality, wildlife specialist, and environmentalist known as "The Crocodile Hunter."

Irwin was up surrounded by crocodiles and other reptiles, and his father Bob taught him on them. He rose to international prominence as co-host of the internationally broadcast wildlife documentary series The Crocodile Hunter (1996–2007), which he co-hosted with his wife Terri. Croc Files (1999–2001), The Crocodile Hunter Diaries (2002–2006), and New Breed Vets were also hosted by the duo (2005). They also co-owned and operated Australia Zoo at Beerwah, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of Brisbane, which was founded by Irwin's parents. Bindi and Robert were their two children.

Irwin died in 2006 after being pierced in the chest by a short-tail stingray while recording a documentary on Australia's Great Barrier Reef. His death made international headlines, and fans, the media, governments, and non-profit organizations all expressed shock and mourning. Several parks, zoos, and streets have been named after him, as well as the warship MY Steve Irwin and the asteroid 57567 Crikey. Terri and their two children are his survivors, and they continue to run Australia Zoo.

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Paul Mantz

From the late 1930s until his death in the mid-1960s, Albert Paul Mantz, better known as Paul Mantz, was a well-known air racing pilot, movie stunt pilot, and consultant. He rose to prominence on two fronts: in Hollywood and in air races.

Mantz died on July 8, 1965, while working on Robert Aldrich's film The Flight of the Phoenix, which he produced and directed. Mantz struck a small hilltop while skimming over a desert setting in Arizona for a second take, flying a very unusual aircraft, the Tallmantz Phoenix P-1 designed particularly for the film. The over-stressed aircraft broke in two and nosed over onto the earth, killing Mantz instantly as he attempted to recover by increasing the throttle to its maximum setting. Bobby Rose, a stuntman impersonating a figure played by Hardy Krüger and standing behind Mantz in the cockpit, was gravely hurt. The final credits of The Flight of the Phoenix bear a tribute to Paul Mantz: "It should be remembered ... that Paul Mantz, a fine man and a brilliant flyer gave his life in the making of this film ..."

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Jon-Erik Hexum

Jon-Erik Hexum was an American actor and model best known for his lead roles in the television series Voyagers! and Cover Up, as well as his supporting role in the biopic The Bear as Pat Trammell. On the set of Cover Up, he died from a self-inflicted blank cartridge gunshot to the head.

Cover Up's actors and crew were filming the seventh episode of the series, "Golden Opportunity," on Stage 17 of the 20th Century Fox lot on October 12, 1984. Hexum's character was required to load bullets into a.44 Magnum handgun in one of the sequences filmed that day, so he was given a working gun and blanks. There was a delay in filming because the scene did not play how the director wanted it to in the master shot. During the wait, Hexum felt restless and impatient, so he started messing about to lighten the situation. He'd unloaded all but one (blank) cartridge, spun it, and then put the pistol to his right temple and pulled the trigger, seemingly unconscious of the danger.

Although the paper wadding in the blank launched by Hexum did not enter his skull, the blunt force damage was enough to break a quarter-sized portion of his skull and propel the shards into his brain, causing significant hemorrhage. Hexum was taken to Beverly Hills Medical Center and underwent a five-hour surgery to heal his wounds. Hexum was confirmed brain-dead on October 18, six days after the accident, at the age of 26.

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Art Scholl

Arthur Everett Scholl was a Riverside, California-based aerobatic pilot, aerial cameraman, flight instructor, and educator. When his Pitts S-2 camera plane went into a spin and crashed into the Pacific Ocean while filming Top Gun, he died.

He'd purposefully entered the spin in order to capture it on film using the on-board cameras. As it dropped past the designated recovery height, observers witnessed the plane continue to spin. "I have a problem, I have a major problem," Scholl said over the radio before the jet crashed into the ocean about five miles off the shore in Carlsbad, California. The crash's exact cause was never identified. The plane, as well as Scholl's body, were never found.

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Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee, a Hong Kong American martial artist, actor, director, martial arts instructor, and philosopher, was born in Hong Kong. He was the originator of Jeet Kune Do, a mixed martial arts ideology that combines elements of several combat techniques and is widely recognized with laying the groundwork for modern mixed martial arts (MMA). Commentators, critics, the media, and other martial artists consider Lee to be the most important martial artist of all time, as well as a pop culture phenomenon of the twentieth century who crossed the East-West divide. He is acknowledged with influencing the portrayal of Asians in American films.

Lee was in Hong Kong on July 20, 1973, for dinner with actor George Lazenby, with whom he planned to create a picture. Lee met producer Raymond Chow at his home at 2 p.m. to discuss the making of the film Game of Death, according to his wife Linda. They worked until 4 p.m., then traveled to the home of Lee's colleague, Taiwanese actress Betty Ting Pei. At Ting's house, the three went through the script before Chow left for a dinner meeting.

Ting offered Lee the painkiller Equagesic, which contains both aspirin and the sedative meprobamate, when Lee complained of a headache. He went to lie down for a nap at 7:30 p.m. Chow went to Lee's apartment when he didn't show up for dinner, but he couldn't wake him up. A doctor was contacted, and he spent ten minutes attempting to resuscitate Lee before transporting him to Queen Elizabeth Hospital via ambulance. At the age of 32, Lee was confirmed dead on arrival.

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Jean Harlow

Jean Harlow was an actress and sex icon from the United States. She was known for her "Laughing Vamp" cinematic character, earning her the nicknames "Blonde Bombshell" and "Platinum Blonde." Harlow was only in the film industry for nine years, yet she quickly rose to become one of Hollywood's biggest movie stars, with a public image that has endured. Harlow was named No. 22 on the American Film Institute's list of the greatest female screen legends of classic Hollywood cinema in 1999.

Harlow began to complain of illness on May 20, 1937, while filming Saratoga. Her symptoms—fatigue, nausea, fluid retention, and abdominal pain—didn't appear to be life-threatening to the studio doctor, who assumed she had cholecystitis and influenza. Harlow had been ill with a terrible sunburn and influenza the previous year, which the doctor was unaware of. Una Merkel, a friend and co-star, noticed Harlow's weight increase, gray complexion, and tiredness on set.

While filming a scene in which her character has a fever on May 29, Harlow was plainly sicker than her role and leaned against co-star Clark Gable between takes, saying, "I'm in a bad mood! Please return me to my dressing room." She asked the assistant director to call William Powell, who quickly left his own film set to accompany her back to her apartment.

Harlow claimed on June 6, 1937, that she couldn't see Powell clearly and couldn't distinguish how many fingers he was raising. She was brought to Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles later that evening, where she lapsed into a coma. Harlow died in the hospital the next day at 11:37 a.m., at the age of 26. The cause of death was listed as cerebral edema, a consequence of kidney failure, in the doctor's press releases. Uremia is mentioned in the hospital records.

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Anton Yelchin

Anton Viktorovich Yelchin was an actor from the United States. He immigrated to the United States with his parents at the age of six months after being born in the Soviet Union to a Russian Jewish family. He started out as a kid actor, starring in the mystery drama film Hearts in Atlantis (2001) and as a series regular on Showtime's comedy-drama Huff (2004–2006). In 2009, Yelchin scored more high-profile film parts, including Pavel Chekov in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Kyle Reese in Terminator Salvation. He returned for the sequels Into Darkness (2013) and Beyond (2015) with the former (2016).

When Yelchin failed to show up for a rehearsal on June 18, 2016, he was discovered by friends after midnight wedged between his Jeep Grand Cherokee and a brick pillar gate post outside his home in Studio City, Los Angeles, the victim of a "freak accident." As Yelchin got out of his car to check his locked gate and mail, the automobile reportedly slid back down his steeply inclined driveway, trapping him between a pillar and a security fence. Yelchin was pronounced dead at the scene on June 19, 2016, at the age of 27. The cause of death was "blunt traumatic asphyxia," according to the Los Angeles County Coroner's office.

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Jack Soo

Jack Soo was an actor and singer from the United States. On the television series Barney Miller, he was most recognized for his role as Detective Nick Yemana.

During Barney Miller's fourth season (1977–1978), Soo, a smoker, was diagnosed with esophageal cancer and missed the final five episodes. Soo died on January 11, 1979, at the age of 61, at the University of California at Los Angeles Medical Center, when his cancer advanced swiftly (now the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center). On November 9, 1978, he made his final appearance on the show in the episode "The Vandal."

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