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Movies Where the Majority Of the Cast Died Shortly After the Premiere

These films remain overshadowed by the deaths of the cast who passed away after the production premiere.

Martyna Janasik

24 April 2024

Movies Where the Majority Of the Cast Died Shortly After the Premiere

Recently, we wrote about movies in which the majority of characters die. This time, we present films in which the majority of the cast died shortly after the production premiere.

The Misfits (1961)

misfits 1961

The Misfits is a film for which the screenplay was written by Arthur Miller, Marilyn Monroe’s then-husband, specifically for her to showcase her underrated dramatic talent. The Misfits tells the story of newly divorced Roslyn, who goes out of town with friends to relax. Unfortunately, when Roslyn’s friends fall in love with her, negative emotions and rivalry creep into their relationships. The filming of the movie was completed in November 1960, and the production premiered in 1961. Clark Gable, aged 59, passed away two weeks after completing work on the film and 2.5 months before its premiere. Marilyn Monroe died at the age of 36 in August 1962. The Misfits is also one of the last films in which Montgomery Clift appeared. The actor passed away in 1966 at the age of 45.

Poltergeist (1982)

Poltergeist

Poltergeist is a cult horror film from 1982 directed by Tobe Hooper, the director of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974). The film tells the story of the Freeling family, who move into a new home only to soon discover that it is haunted, and they lose their daughter to malevolent forces (ghosts) into the afterlife.

The horror had its premiere on June 4, 1982. Dominique Dunne, who played the second sister, was murdered at the age of 23 by her boyfriend on November 4, 1982, exactly five months after the horror movie premiere. Another actress, Heather O’Rourke, died on the operating table from a heart attack and sepsis due to a misdiagnosed intestinal blockage in 1988 while filming Poltergeist III. She was 12 years old.

The Conqueror (1956)

The Conqueror is a chilling example of a film associated with actors’ deaths that sends shivers down your spine! This is because, within 25 years of the movie’s premiere, out of 220 crew members, 91 people developed cancer, and 46 died from it, including actors John Wayne, Agnes Moorehead, and Susan Hayward, as well as director Dick Powell. The film location, specifically where it was shot, was pinpointed as the cause.

Many believe that the high number of cancer cases among the cast and crew is directly linked to the fact that the film was shot in Utah and surrounding areas near nuclear testing sites, exposing the filmmakers to radioactive toxins. Although the cancer rate among the actors and crew aligns with the average for adults in the United States at the time, the perception of a connection between the filming location and subsequent illness remains, particularly because many involved in the film developed cancer at a younger age than the average. Moreover, family members of those who visited the set of The Conqueror also developed cancer.

The crew member who died soonest after the film’s premiere was actor Pedro Armend├íriz. Shortly after completing work on the film, the actor began experiencing severe hip pain. Several years later, doctors finally diagnosed him with cancer. When the actor learned of his cancer diagnosis, he committed suicide in 1963.

The Twilight Zone (1983)

twilight zone 1983

The Twilight Zone is a horror film based on the 1950s TV series of the same name. It consists of four stories directed by various filmmakers, including Steven Spielberg. In the case of this film, actors died during the filming.

Vic Morrow and child actors Renee Chen and My-ca Dinh-Le were killed during the helicopter crash scene. Morrow had predicted his own death many years earlier during another film involving a helicopter crash and insisted on a $1 million insurance policy, stating, “I always had a premonition I was going to die in a helicopter crash!”

The child actors were hired in violation of California law, which prohibits child actors from working at night or near explosions and requires the presence of a teacher or social worker. During the trial after the accident, John Landis, the director of the film, denied responsibility for the accident but admitted that their hiring was “wrong.” Producer and co-director Steven Spielberg was so disgusted by Landis’ behavior that he ended their friendship and publicly called for the end of the New Hollywood era, in which directors had almost total control over the film.

Martyna Janasik

Martyna Janasik

Cultural studies scholar and writer. Enthusiast of food, cinema, and sports. Probably that's why some of her favorite movies are "Rocky" and "Julie and Julia". She always wanted to write, so she will always write. In her free time, she loves watching movies and playing tennis.

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