Gun Deaths on Movie Sets

Emergency Medicine

10 Jan 2024 | 0 | by kjh

2569510login-checkGun Deaths on Movie Sets

It shouldn’t be dangerous to go to work but there have been a good amount of deaths and injuries from guns on movie and t.v. sets.  In fact, according to the Associated Press, between 1990 and 2016 at least 43 people died on U.S. sets and more than 150 sustained life-changing injuries.  And then there are filming accidents that are not reported. 

Recently in 2021, 43 year old cinematographer Halyna Hutchins died from a gunshot wound when a gun on the movie set, “Rust” went off even though it was supposed to be clear (not loaded).  She was called a rockstar cinematographer by her peers with a bright career ahead of her. The film’s director, Joel Souza, was also injured on the set and hospitalized. 

Over the years there have been some highly publicized deaths in the entertainment industry.  Many people have heard about Brandon Lee’s death. Brandon Lee was 28 years old when he died from a .44 caliber slug while on set of the movie, “The Crow.”  The gun was not supposed to be loaded but it was.  That was in 1993.

In 1984 actor Jon-Erik Hexum (pictured) died while he was waiting for filming to resume on the t.v. show, CBS Spy Adventure. There were delays in filming and much of the crew grew impatient, including Jon-Erik Hexum.  While waiting, the 26 year old actor started playing with the gun that he was using for the show. The gun was not loaded and he put the .44 magnum up to his head for fun and pulled the trigger.  It was loaded with blanks and the gun discharged a wad of paper which shattered his skull, forcing a bone fragment into the center of his brain.  He was rushed to the hospital and went through 5 hours of surgery before being placed on life support. Six days later, he was declared brain dead.

Being on a movie set should not be life threatening, but in some cases it has been that way.  There are a lot of pressures on set and accidents can happen with long working hours, stress and delays.  Still, experts in the film industry say that gun deaths are rare.  There are many different policies and procedures in place.  However, in any job don’t feel uncomfortable about speaking up if safety protocol is not followed.  A job is not worth your life.

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