It is always a tragedy to lose a Hollywood icon, serving inspirations and role models to the youth who look up to the actors in hopes of following their Hollywood dreams. Not all actors are fortunate enough to live long lives, but all on this list left a big imprint on Hollywood during their career. Here is a list of actors who death came at untimely cost as they were still working in a film, and how Hollywood scrambled to finish the films they were in.
20. James Dean (February 8th, 1931 – September 30th, 1955)
Cause of Death: Car Accident
Movie Affected: Giant
What the Studio Did: The Movie was near completion when Dean passed away, in fact all of scenes were completed. The last scene of the movie, James Dean’s Character was giving a monologue while being intoxicated. Dean thought he should do the scene while actually intoxicated so some of his lines were slurred and inaudible. Before the studio could have the scene reshot, James Dean passed away so the studio used Nick Adams to overdub the lines that needed to be fixed.
19. Bela Lugosi (October 20th, 1882 – August 16th, 1956)
Cause of Death: Heart Attack
Movie Affected: Plan 9 from Outer Space
What the Studio Did: Though he was meant to be in the movie, Bela Lugosi passed away before filming. Director Ed Wood used some scenes that Lugosi and he had shot previously as a tribute to the late great actor. Wood then used his wife’s chiropractor, Tom Mason, as a stand in. Though Mason had no physical resemblance to him and was slightly taller, throughout the film Mason is only seen with a cape covering the lower half of his face.
18. Tyrone Power (May 5th, 1914 – November 15th, 1958)
Cause of Death: Heart Attack
Movie Affected: Solomon and Sheba
What the Studio Did: Tyrone Power had over half of the movie shot when he collapsed on set during a fight scene. The Studio started over by having Yul Brynner replace Tyrone Power and reshoot all of his scenes. As tribute to the actor though, the director left him visible in some long shot scenes in memory of Power.
17. Clark Gable (February 1st, 1901 – November 16th, 1960)
Cause of Death: Coronary Thrombosis
Movie Affected: The Misfits
What the Studio Did: With all of scenes filmed and the movie nearly completed, Clark Gable died just a couple days after. Clark Gable wanted to do his own stunts and did so throughout the whole movie. One scene where he crashes a car needed to be reshot though, but with Gables death they decided to honor the actor by not reshooting it because of Gable’s request of doing his own stunt and the studio did not use the scene in the movie at all.
16. Marilyn Monroe (June 1st, 1926 – August 5th, 1962)
Cause of Death: Drug Overdose
Movie Affected: Something’s Got to Give
What the Studio Did: This being towards the end of her career, Marilyn Monroe was already getting heat from the studio for showing up late. Rumor has it she was fired and replaced, though co-star Dean Martin, who the studio wanted badly for the film, refused to work with anyone but Monroe. After her death the film was abandoned and instead of its intended length is only about 37 minutes long and wasn’t seen until her documentary Marilyn Monroe: The Final Days.