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Deaths, Accidents No Strangers to Film

April 02, 1993|TERRY PRISTIN

In an accident that stunned the motion picture industry, actor Vic Morrow and two children were killed on July 23, 1982, when they were struck by a helicopter during late-night filming near Saugus of a mock Vietnam battle scene for the movie "Twilight Zone."

Director John Landis and four associates were acquitted of manslaughter charges in 1987 after a tempestuous 10-month trial in Los Angeles Superior Court. Other major movie-set accidents have included:

May 17, 1969: John Jordan, second unit director on the movie "Catch-22," fell to his death during aerial photography when a gust of wind threw his plane off balance, sweeping him through an open door.

June 25, 1980: Stuntwoman Heidi von Beltz was paralyzed from the waist down and lost the use of her hands during the filming of "Cannonball Run," when a car that was supposed to narrowly avoid collision with five other vehicles crashed into a van.

Nov. 21, 1986: Stuntman Dar Allen Robinson was killed during a motorcycle chase scene in the Arizona desert for the movie "Million Dollar Mystery" after he plunged off a 40-foot embankment, hit a rock ledge and was gored by a sagebrush limb.

May 30, 1987: Four Filipino soldiers were killed when a Philippine Air Force helicopter hired for the filming of a Chuck Norris movie, "Braddock: Missing in Action, Part III," plunged into Manila Bay.

May 16, 1989: A helicopter carrying eight people filming another Norris action picture, "Delta Force 2," crashed and exploded at the foot of a hill south of Manila, killing three American crew members and the Filipino pilot.

Sept. 24, 1990: Stuntman Jay Currin was killed during a 60-foot practice jump off a seaside cliff in Malibu during filming of "Bikini Island" when he landed on the edge of an airbag and was thrown onto the rocks along Point Dume State Beach.

Nov. 10, 1990: Stuntman Jim Madieras was critically injured when he was thrown headfirst into a tree during filming of a scene for the Walt Disney movie "The Rocketeer." Madieras and another stuntman were pretending to be propelled by an out-of-control rocket backpack and were supposed to land on on a mattress.

And in a television mishap, actor Jon-Erik Hexum of the CBS series "Cover-Up" died after accidentally shooting himself in the head with a blank pistol in 1984.

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