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MovieMadness

Which classic actor and actress died the most times in movies?

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I was wondering this and tried looking it up, but came up blank.

 

For an actor I was thinking westerns, lots of bullets hit the target, or possible war movies as well.

 

Actresses die less often, so this one would be a tough one.

 

Any movie morticians know the answer? Or am I DOA on this one?

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I read somewhere once that Shelley Winters joked about having died the most on screen. Not sure if she was exaggerating...

 

She certainly had a few memorable screen deaths-- in A DOUBLE LIFE, A PLACE IN THE SUN, THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER and THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE.

 

She also dies in a plane crash in PHONE CALL FROM A STRANGER.

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Possibly a villain or a horror star. I'll go with Bela Lugosi.

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Not sure about the actress, but I'll say James Cagney as far as actors go.

 

I was going to list some of the movies, but don't want to spoil anything for folks who haven't seen them. I know of three gangster pictures for sure.

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Not sure about the actress, but I'll say James Cagney as far as actors go.

 

This question has come up before. It's going to be a gangster star, as they were actually required by the production code to pay the penalty for their actions.

 

Relatively few westerns featured killer outlaws as protagonists.

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Not sure about the actress, but I'll say James Cagney as far as actors go.

 

I was going to list some of the movies, but don't want to spoil anything for folks who haven't seen them. I know of three gangster pictures for sure.

 

The truth is that Cagney played far more con men and grifters in his prime than he did killers or gangsters.  He made 21 movies between The Public Enemy and Angels With Dirty Faces, and I don't remember his getting snuffed in any of them.  I'd bet that Bogart, who specialized in playing cheap hoods and borderline psychopaths for much of his career, died far more times on screen than Cagney ever did.

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I read somewhere once that Shelley Winters joked about having died the most on screen. Not sure if she was exaggerating...

 

She certainly had a few memorable screen deaths-- in A DOUBLE LIFE, A PLACE IN THE SUN, THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER and THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE.

 

She also dies in a plane crash in PHONE CALL FROM A STRANGER.

She also gets hit by a car and killed in Lolita

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Character actor Victor French guest starred on no less than 20 episodes of Gunsmoke.

 

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I think we can safely presume he got killed in most of them.

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Kenny

 

YouKilledKenny-thumb-430x362.jpg

 

LOL  Exactly!  Of topic, yet straight to the point as they so often are.

 

I don't have any way to really quantify most deaths of any individual actor/actress for myself either, but it has dawned on me in the past that Walter Pidgeon "died" quite often.

 

Mrs. Parkington (1944)

(story told in hindsight, after Pidgeon has been dead, he is only alive in flashback scenes)

 

Blossoms in the Dust (1941)

(Pidgeon "dies" in his bed about halfway through movie, just as wife's child adoption agency is gaining momentum)

 

Madame Curie (1943)

(as Pierre Curry, gets killed in a street accident)

 

Million Dollar Mermaid (1952)

(as Annete Kellerman's (Esther William's) dad, collapses on floor then dies, right after a picturesque indoor swimming scene)

 

Forbidden Planet (1856)

(as Morbius, dies in last act of movie)

 

Maybe Walter Pidgeon "died" more times than that.  I count 60 of his movies that I have, but haven't seen about 3/4 of them yet.

 

:lol:

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I'm sticking with my original pick of Lugosi. It might be trickier to find the films in his career in which he didn't die.

 

Think about it - Dracula, Black Cat, Raven, White Zombie, A & C Meet Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, Wolf Man, Invisible Ray, Murders in the Rue Morgue, Bride of the Monster, Return of the Vampire, Body Snatcher, Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man 

 

Bela gets snuffed in all of 'em, and those are only the titles off the top of my head. Think of all those countless Bs he made at tinystudios he which he was a mad scientist. Just how many mad scientists are still raving at the closing credits?

 

Ladies and gentlegerms, we have a winner here!

 

images2_zps1bwo88hi.jpg

 

"Let's face it, folks. Tom's right. I'm the Prince of Death!"

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She also gets hit by a car and killed in Lolita

And didn't Shelley Winters also get killed in WHOEVER SLEW AUNTIE ROO?

 

Plus she has an off-screen death (by car accident) in THE BIG KNIFE. 

 

So yeah, maybe Shelley wasn't exaggerating when she said she died the most in the movies. 

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I'd make the case for Vincent Price. Between 1939 and 1990, he died in at least twenty films that I've seen, and probably more:

 

TOWER OF LONDON (1939)

BRIGHAM YOUNG (1940)

DRAGONWYCK (1945)

THE LONG NIGHT (1947)

HOUSE OF WAX (1953)

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1956)

THE BAT (1959)

HOUSE OF USHER (1960)

MASTER OF THE WORLD (1961)

THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM (1961)

TERRORS OF TERROR (1962)

TOWER OF LONDON (1962)

TWICE-TOLD TALES (1963)

THE TOMB OF LIGEIA (1965)

WITCHFINDER GENERAL (1968)

DR. PHIBES RISES AGAIN (1972)

THEATRE OF BLOOD (1973)

HOUSE OF THE LONG SHADOWS (1983)

THE GREAT MOUSE DETECTIVE (1986)

EDWARD SCISSORHANDS (1990)

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The first name that popped into my mind was Shelley Winters, who had a habit of getting murdered. With her personality, I can see why.

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Marie Windsor seems to have her share of getting knocked off in films. Pretty sure she does in these films There maybe more, these are the films that come to mind

 

1  .The City That Never Sleeps

2.  The Narrow Margin

3.  The Sniper

4.   No Man Woman

5.   The Killing

6.   2 Gun Woman

7.   The Girl In Black Stockings

8..   Hellfire

9.   Two Dollar Bettor

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Marie Windsor seems to have her share of getting knocked off in films. Pretty sure she does in these films There maybe more, these are the films that come to mind

 

1  .The City That Never Sleeps

2.  The Narrow Margin

3.  The Sniper

4.   No Man Woman

5.   The Killing

6.   2 Gun Woman

7.   The Girl In Black Stockings

8..   Hellfire

9.   Two Dollar Bettor

That's pretty impressive, thinking of this many Marie Windsor deaths without research. Many haven't even heard of her.

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Thanks, but I think anyone who's seen a lot of film noir knows Marie Windsor. She was one of the femme fatales that is easily recognizable and most of these if not all have been shown on TCM , I'll take the nice compliment :)

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Thanks, but I think anyone who's seen a lot of film noir knows Marie Windsor. She was one of the femme fatales that is easily recognizable and most of these if not all have been shown on TCM , I'll take the nice compliment :)

Any character in a film noir may be a good bet not to be long for this world.

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For character actors, my money is on Robert J. Wilke.  If you don't know his name, you certainly know his face.  He was killed by Grace Kelly in "High Noon"  He was in literally hundreds of movies and TV shows, usually westerns, and almost always playing a villain.  

 

MV5BMTM1NTY3NDQzNF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNTE5

 

For better known actors, John Hurt has died in more than forty films.

 

MV5BMTM1NTgyMTAyOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTE4

 

“ -Has died in more than 40 movies, which include:"The Wild And The Willing","Gideon's Way","Sinful Davey","10 Rillington Place","The Ghoul","I, Claudius","East Of Elephant Rock","Spectre","Watership Down","Alien","The Elephant Man","Heaven's Gate","The Osterman Weekend","The Hit","After Darkness","The Black Cauldron","Jake Speed","Spaceballs","Aria","Deadline","Little Sweetheart","Scandal","L'oeil qui Ment","Monolith","Even Cowgirls Get The Blues","Contact","The Climb","All The Little Animals","You're Dead","Lost Souls","Hellboy","Tabloid","The Proposition","Beyond The Gates","V For Vendetta","Masters Of Science Fiction","Outlander","Whistle And I'll Come To You","Sailcloth","Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy","Snowpiercer","Only Lovers Left Alive","Hercules" ”  

 

That's from a website that I found.

 

http://www.imdb.com/list/ls000805145/

 

 

 

 

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I suspect that Tom and Barton are on the right track with their expectation that a horror icon like Bela Lugosi or Vincent Price may be the front runner in this situation. And the YouTube video at the link below makes a strong visual case for Christopher Lee:

 

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The truth is that Cagney played far more con men and grifters in his prime than he did killers or gangsters.  He made 21 movies between The Public Enemy and Angels With Dirty Faces, and I don't remember his getting snuffed in any of them.  I'd bet that Bogart, who specialized in playing cheap hoods and borderline psychopaths for much of his career, died far more times on screen than Cagney ever did.

 

You're correct that Bogie was killed in a lot more movies than Cagney.   I counted 12 movies where Bogie was killed before The Maltese Falcon (I use this as a breaking point since from than on he was a major star and thus,  like Cagney less likely to be bumped off!).    Maybe there are a few more since some are unclear (e.g. I assume he was killed in Three on a Match but it isn't shown, and I haven't seen the few films he made in those really early year).

 

After TMF I counted 5 1\2 films (Tokyo Joe being the 1\2).     Unless one can name 15 or more films where a male actor died I don't think they should even be considered.     With an actress the task is a lot more difficult.   

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Linda Darnell went through a spell in the mid 40s, soon after changing her image to a femme fatale, where she seldom made it to the fade out.  In fact, it predates ths period.

 

THE LOVES OF EDGAR ALLAN POE (1942): As Poe's cousin and young wife, she dies of tuburculosis.

 

BUFFALO BILL (1944):  She dies as an indian maiden.

 

SUMMER STORM (1944):  As the object of several men's lust, she is stabbed by one of them.

 

THE GREAT JOHN L. (1945): As the boxer's first wife, she dies of tuburculosis (?). 

 

HANGOVER SQUARE (1945):  The psychotic composer she uses strangles, then burns her.

 

FALLEN ANGEL (1945):  As the object of several men's lust, she is killed (shot?) by one of them.

 

ANNA AND THE KING OF SIAM (1946):  She is burned at the stake for being an unfaithful concubine. 

 

MY DARLING CLEMENTINE (1946):  She is shot by one of her paramours to keep her from talking.

 

 

I believe she made it all the way through to the finish line after that.  Ironically, in HS and AATKOS, as well as in 1947'S FOREVER AMBER, she got burned while filming those scenes.  She stated after one of these, "next time I prefer to be shot or stabbed.  At least those kinds of death are painless".  This is when she developed her lifelong fear of fire, until her tragic end. 

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Check out the chapter "He Should Have Stayed in Bed" in Warren B. Myers' WHO IS THAT?  You'll find an array of character players who routinely met their doom on the screen.

 

Offhand, my vote is split between Joe Downey (not in the book, by the way) and Paul Guilfoyle!

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I must admit, the horror stars didn't occur to me. So yes it's more likely to be someone like Karloff (who I don't think was mentioned yet), Lugosi or Price. Not only did the production code demand their demise, but the audience not only expected it, and perhaps even looked forward to it. Also there's simple math: the horror stars generally made more films, especially in later years. So they had more chance to get bumped off.

 

Although his star career was only a decade, I wonder how Lon Chaney would stack up.  He might win on a per capita basis, at least among major stars.

 

As for major stars in talkies, I don't think anyone mentioned Eddie G yet. In addition to his gangsters, he had romantic triangles like Barbary Coast which get straightened out by his buying the farm (though technically he is still alive at the end of BC, IIRC). Perhaps because he was a character star rather than a handsome leading man, EGR's deaths were more acceptable to the audience than those of someone like Cagney.

 

On TV, obviously you couldn't kill off your stars. So that honor went to the character guests like the previously mentioned Victor French and Robert Wilke, as well as other stalwarts of the sagebrush like John Milford, Leo Gordon, John Dehner, Ted de Corsia, John Kellogg, Richard Devon, and Chris Alcaide (who seemed to get killed in every other Rifleman, with John Anderson guesting on the others). French liked to claim in interviews that he had been killed more often by Marshal Matt Dillon than any other actor. I wonder who would take the prize for all TV series?

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