Nick Leshi

Nick Leshi
Bronx, New York, United States of America
December 13
Writer, actor, media professional, fan of entertainment, pop culture, and speculative fiction. Contact for more info.


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APRIL 24, 2012 10:04PM

Tragic Accidents on Set

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When I heard the news today about the death of Brazilian actor Tiago Klimeck, it brought to mind some other actors whose lives came to tragic ends during accidents on the set. Tiago was playing the part of Judas Iscariot in a local stage production of The Passion of the Christ when the hanging scene went horribly wrong. He was in a medically-induced coma for two weeks until he finally passed away on Sunday. He had apparently been wearing a harness for the scene, so the investigation is still ongoing to determine what happened.

Are you old enough to remember the helicopter scene accident that killed actor Vic Morrow and two child actors while filming Twilight Zone: The Movie in 1983?  I also recall in 1984 when Jon-Erik Hexum, star of one of my childhood favorite time travel shows, Voyagers, died after shooting himself with a blank during an apparent game of Russian Roulette on the set of the series Cover-Up.

One of the most shocking performance-related accidents was the fatal shooting of Brendon Lee in 1993 while filming The Crow.  The son of Bruce Lee, he was a promising young actor whose future seemed full of possibilities.

We often hear of performers dying before their time off-set, but to have it happen while working their craft is even more unsettling. It reminds me of the dangers these thespians face for their art. Some mock the craft as "just play-acting," but whenever I hear of another acting accident, big or small, I respect even more the performances I see on stage or screen and remember those who have passed away while doing what they love. May they rest in peace.

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In 1972 Ann-Margret fell 22 feet from an elevated platform to the stage while performing in Nevada. She suffered serious injuries to her cheekbones and jaw and basically had to have her face rebuilt. (It is said her husband Roger Smith flew a stolen plane from California to get his wife to the surgeons at the medical center at UCLA). Somehow she was put back together beautifully, continued a great career and still is one of the best looking gals around at 71!
Didn't Erik Estrada who played Ponch have a bad motorcycle accident on the set of CHiPs?
The Spider-man Broadway musical became a running joke because of its stage accidents.
I remember they had to replace Estrada on the show for like half a season or something.