Dick Shawn, an American actor and standup comedian known for his roles in movies including It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and The Producers, died at the age of 63 in the middle of a standup routine being performed at the University of California. Shawn suffered a heart-attack on stage and collapsed face-down, with many audience-members believing it was part of his act since just prior to collapsing he had been imitating political campaign slogans including “If elected, I will not lay down on the job”.
Anton Yelchin, talented actor having starred in several prominent film/tv roles, was found deceased, after failing to meet with friends who visited his home to check on him when he didn’t show. He was found pinned between his Jeep Cherokee and a brick wall. His Jeep was found to still be running and in neutral. The Jeep was pushing with such force that it bent the gate beside the brick wall.
Perro Aguayo Jr., a 35-year-old professional masked wrestler from Mexico, died during a live public wrestling-match in Tijuana on March 20th, 2015. During a tag-team match, Aguayo’s opponent, Rey Mysterio Jr., drop-kicked Aguayo in the back/shoulder area, causing him to fall forward and go limp against the ring’s ropes. Aguayo’s tag-team partner, Manik, jumped into the ring and proceeded with the match while Aguayo remained motionless against the ropes. Ringside officials attempted to revive Aguayo and immediately terminated the match when they realized he wasn’t responding. He was immediately taken to a nearby hospital and pronounced dead on arrival. The cause of death was determined to be due to sudden cardiac arrest caused by a cervical stroke stemming from the fracture of three of his vertebrae, which he received from Mysterio’s drop-kick. An autopsy indicated that Aguayo died instantly as a result. The event occurred in front of a massive live audience and was being filmed by TV Azteca. The footage has since been made available on the Internet.
Jon-Erik Hexum, a 26-year-old actor, died during the production of an episode of the television series Cover Up in Los Angeles, California, when he shot himself in the head with a blank round loaded into a revolver at point-blank range. A scene had to be filmed an excessive number of times due to various onset problems interfering with the takes, so between takes Hexum picked up a prop revolver loaded with a blank, which be believed was completely harmless, to pantomime shooting himself in the head in order to make a frustrated coworker laugh. Hexum was unaware that blank rounds discharge a wad of plastic sealant when fired that can be dangerous at close-range to unprotected body-parts. The discharged material caused enough blunt force trauma to shatter a quarter-sized piece of his skull and project shards of it into his brain. Hexum was declared brain-dead six days later.
Mirabelle Yang, a seven-week-old infant from Sacramento, California, died after suffering severe organ damage and burns over 60% of her body after her mother, Ka Yang, placed her in an active microwave for two minutes. Ka Yang was sentenced to life in prison for First Degree Murder.
Actor Vic Morrow and two child-actors, Myca Dinh Le and Renee Shin-Yi Chen, died on the set of the filming of Twilight Zone: The Movie when the Bell UH-1 Iroquois helicopter being used to film the climax of the movie’s first segment destabilized and crashed. The scene was filmed at night at Indian Dunes Ranch in Santa Clarita, California, and required Morrow to carry the two child-actors through a river while the helicopter pursued at an altitude of about 25 ft. overhead. Director John Landis instructed the pilot to take the vehicle even lower during one of the takes. A pyrotechnic went off while the helicopter’s tail-rotor was still over-top of it, causing it to detach and send the vehicle into an uncontrolled spin. Morrow and Le were decapitated by the helicopter’s top-blades while Chen was crushed to death by one of the skids. All six crew members in the helicopter were injured but survived. Footage of the accident recorded by the on-set cameras survived and has since been made available on the Internet. This accident led to a lengthy civil and criminal court case that lasted nearly a decade (a major component of which was the fact that Le and Chen were hired illegally by John Landis with disregard to the California’s child-labor laws), and marked the first time in the history of Hollywood that a director has been criminally charged due to a fatality on set. The event also led to revisions in the safety-practices that movie studios use for filming. Dick Peabody, an actor and a personal friend of Vic Morrow that co-starred with him on previous television projects that was attending the filming that night, has said that Morrow’s last words before beginning the stunt were “I’ve got to be crazy to do this shot. I should have asked for a double.”
Luan Phi Dawson, a 33-year-old software engineer visiting the Disneyland theme park in California for their Christmas Eve celebration, died after being struck in the head by a 9 lb. metal cleat used to secure the sailing ship Columbia. While the ship was docking, the cleat was pulled out of the dock under the tension of a cable and sailed through the air at tremendous speed into a nearby group of people. Dawson was declared brain-dead two days later. One other guest, Dawson’s wife, and a park attendee were injured non-fatally in the accident. This event was notable for being the first death of a guest in Disneyland history that was the result of insufficient maintenance resulting in an accident rather than a guest’s negligence in following safety-rules.
Humberto Hernandez, a 24-year-old Oakland, California, was killed after being struck in the face by an airborne fire hydrant while walking. A passing car had struck the fire hydrant and the water pressure shot the hydrant at Hernandez with enough force to kill him.
Twenty-seven-year-old Sean Moylan of Novato, California, whose grandfather has been a prominent advocate for a suicide barrier on the Golden Gate Bridge, killed himself, leaping to his death from the famed span, a magnet for roughly two dozen suicides a year.
Ye Meng Yuan, 16, a Chinese female passenger of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 on July 6, 2013, had survived the plane crash, but was killed immediately afterwards by a rescue vehicle running over her while covered in fire-fighting foam.
15-year-old David Nuno from Chula Vista, California, has died after he made himself pass out and then fell onto glass that slashed his throat. The boy and two friends were in the boy’s home watching an Internet video about how to intentionally pass out through hyperventilation. The teen used the technique, passed out and fell forward. He landed on a glass tumbler that broke and gashed his throat.
Jacquelyn Kotarac, 49, a physician (internist) from Bakersfield, California, was found dead in her boyfriend’s chimney. She had been trying to break in through the chimney and died of asphyxiation. The body was found after a house sitter noticed an odor and fluids coming from the chimney.