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Top entertainers who died during a performance: 20th century

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Oct 21 2010
1 American R&B vocalist Philippé Wynne, former lead singer of The Spinners, suffered a massive heart attack while performing at Ivey's nightclub in Oakland, California, and died early the next morning in hospital. 299170
2 Brandon Lee, son of martial artist Bruce Lee, died while filming the movie The Crow. A prop gun had been squib loaded, causing the blank cartridge to propel the bullet into Lee and kill him. Contrary to urban legend, the footage of his death was not kept in the movie. Instead, they re-shot the scene using a different actor, whose death in the film was by a throwing knife. 7640
3 Owen Hart, a Canadian-born professional wrestler for WWF, died during a pay-per-view event when performing a stunt. It was planned to have Owen come down from the rafters of the Kemper Arena on a safety harness tied to a rope to make his ring entrance. The safety latch was released and Owen dropped 78 feet (24 m), bouncing chest-first off the top rope resulting in a severed aorta, which caused his lungs to fill with blood. 3425
4 Magician and comedian Tommy Cooper suffered a heart attack during a performance on the TV variety show Live From Her Majesty's. Cooper was famous for getting his illusions deliberately and comically wrong, and for some minutes the audience assumed that his sudden collapse was just part of the act. Efforts to revive him backstage failed, and he was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. 2723
5 Actor Tyrone Power suffered a heart attack while filming a fencing scene in a film entitled Solomon and Sheba. He died soon after being loaded into the ambulance. 2020
6 1982: Vic Morrow and two children, My-Ca Dinh Le (age 7), and Renee Shin-Yi Chen (age 6), died in an accident while filming on location for the Twilight Zone: The Movie in Ventura County, California. Morrow, Le, and Chen were filming a scene for the Vietnam sequence in which their characters attempt to escape from a pursuing U.S. Army helicopter out of a deserted Vietnamese village. The helicopter was hovering at about 25 feet above them when pyrotechnic explosions damaged it and caused it to crash on top of them, killing all three instantly. 1571
7 1976: Sid James died after collapsing onstage at the Sunderland Empire performance of the Mating Game. 1442
8 1979: ABC television journalist Bill Stewart was in Nicaragua, filming about the war destruction, when he and his interpreter Juan Espinosa were executed by a National Guard soldier. Stewart's crew managed to film the incident, and it was aired on international news stations repeatedly in the following days. 1434
9 Lee Morgan was murdered while performing at Slug's Saloon in New York. 501
10 Mark Sandman, bassist and lead vocalist for the band Morphine, collapsed on stage at the Giardini del Principe in Palestrina, Latium, Italy (near Rome) while performing with Morphine. He was pronounced dead of a heart attack. 499
11 Comedian Eric Morecambe died when he suffered a heart attack during a curtain call of his performance in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire. During that performance, he stated that he would hate to die in the tragic way like Tommy Cooper. 459
12 Comedian Dick Shawn fell down during his act and accidentally struck his head on the stage. His body lay on stage for five minutes until the audience realized that it was not part of his act. He died later in hospital, of a heart attack. 349
13 1978: Karl Wallenda died when he lost his balance and fell to his death while walking on a wire that was suspended 123 feet (37.5 m) in the air between two buildings in San Juan, Puerto Rico. 245
14 Les Harvey, lead guitarist of the Glasgow rock band Stone the Crows, died after being electrocuted by his microphone while performing at Swansea's Top Rank Ballroom. 240
15 Alexander Woollcott suffered a heart attack during a radio show in which he and four other individuals had a discussion about Hitler. The hundreds of people who were listening were oblivious to the fact that anything was out of the ordinary. Several listeners reported that Woolcott, known for being strongly opinionated, was unusually quiet. 235
16 1995: Beat Farmers singer/drummer/guitarist Country Dick Montana suffered a massive heart attack and died, three songs into the band's set at the Long Horn in Whistler, BC, Canada. 168
17 Andrei Mironov, a Russian actor, collapsed on stage while performing the lead role in The Marriage of Figaro. He was rushed to a hospital where he was pronounced dead due to a ruptured cerebral aneurysm two days later. 100
18 Comedian Harry Parke, father of Albert Brooks, died while performing as "Parkyakarkus", a pun on "park your carcass", at the Friar's Club roast of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. When he died, he collapsed onto Milton Berle. 81
19 David Burns died while performing in 70, Girls, 70 in Philadelphia. 68
20 Gareth Jones was portraying a character who died of a heart attack in a live science fiction play telecast on the UK's Armchair Theatre when he died of a real heart attack between his scenes. The actors and director improvised to account for his absence. 59
21 1911: Felix Mottl, an Austrian conductor, died while conducting Wagner's Tristan und Isolde. 43
22 1968: Joseph Keilberth, conductor, in Munich after collapsing while conducting Wagner's Tristan und Isolde in exactly the same place as Felix Mottl had done in 1911 35
23 Albert Stoessel was conducting an orchestra for the American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York, when he died of a heart attack on May 12, 1943. 21
24 Singer Onie Wheeler died of a massive heart attack while performing on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. 12
25 1954: Blues star Johnny Ace became inebriated during a break in his performance, and decided to play a game of Russian roulette. He shot himself in the head and died. < 5
26 1985: Yoshiuki Takada was performing The Dance of Birth and Death with a Tokyo artistic troupe, on the side of Seattle's Mutual Life building. His rope broke, and he fell six stories to his death. < 5

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