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February 13th, 2002

Posthumous Premieres

As I saw the ad for Anne Rice’s Queen of the Damned tonight, I thought about how depressing was to see a movie coming out starring an actress who had died a tragic death at such a young age. Then I thought about Brandon Lee’s death on the set of The Crow and how surreal it was to watch the scene that he died during. Raul Julia also died before the premiere of Street Fighter.

Perhaps the most famous example, though, is Bela Lugosi’s death after shooting just a few scenes for Plan 9 from Outer Space (rather than re-shooting the scenes, Ed Wood replaced him with a man who was much taller and of a totally different build and just had the new actor hold a cape over his face).

There’s something creepy about releasing a movie after one of the actors or actresses have died… a nagging feeling that the stars should be able to attend the premiere screening of the film they worked on. At the same time, it’s a kind of tribute to the actors’ lives. I would guess in the case of Raul Julia, though, he would have preferred to go out on a better note…

It seems commonplace for directors to die before one of their movies sees light, but besides the four above, I couldn’t think of any other examples of actors or actresses dying shortly before the release of one of their movies. A search on the web turned up Brian Glover dying before the release of Bob’s Weekend, Massimo Troisi dying before the release of Il Postino, and Colleen Dewhurst dying before the release of Bed and Breakfast. Can anyone think of any other more notable examples?

Posted in Television, Movies, and Music

FROM: Ben Grimm
DATE: Wednesday February 13, 2002 -- 11:07:16 am
Actually it's quite common with older actors who still work regularly. Remember when Oliver Reed died during the filming of Gladiator, so they had to use CGI to finish his scenes?

FROM: Robert [E-Mail]
DATE: Wednesday February 13, 2002 -- 12:06:48 pm
Stanley Kubrick died before Eyes Wide Shut came out. His last big decision was to allow that awful CGI censorship during the orgy scenes for the US release.

FROM: frank0 hanging in LA
DATE: Wednesday February 13, 2002 -- 12:53:27 pm
Yeah, like Tupac and Biggie releasing 10 more albums each after they died...or are they really dead?

FROM: Greg
DATE: Wednesday February 13, 2002 -- 1:00:59 pm
Heather O'Rourke (The little girl from the Poltergeist movies) died right after shooting part 3 (which I coincidentally happen to be an extra in). It was rumored that she died during filming but it was infact after the movie was done. So there was no need for CGI.

FROM: Matt
DATE: Wednesday February 13, 2002 -- 3:45:23 pm
His last mistake was making the same style of movie for his whole career. All his movies have the same feeling to them, it's like watching an episode of Barney.

FROM: fresh
DATE: Saturday February 16, 2002 -- 12:24:02 am
matt please tell me you werent just "hatin" on Kubrick, he is one of the greatest directors to ever live and to compare him to a purple dinosaur is incomprehensible, paul, ryan, think of banning this clown from the PING, if you can do that...thank you.

FROM: Matt
DATE: Saturday February 16, 2002 -- 2:08:38 am
He was also one of the greatest deaths the directing world has ever seen. Now monotony is gone from films.

FROM: Casey
DATE: Wednesday February 12, 2003 -- 6:14:53 pm
James Dean died right after filming Giant, was nominated for an Oscar posthumously.

FROM: lucas buck
DATE: Thursday February 13, 2003 -- 4:18:08 am
Chris Farley died before the release of his last 2 movies!
Almost Heroes and Dirty Work!
(Films will never be that funny again...)

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Thursday February 13, 2003 -- 9:22:55 am
I wonder if nominating someone for a posthumous Oscar gives them an advantage (sympathy vote and all)...

FROM: Mike [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday February 13, 2003 -- 11:10:29 am
It's not quite the same, but they filmed two Weekend At Bernie's movies even though Terry Kiser (Bernie) had died at the beginning of the first one.

FROM: Dave Walls
DATE: Thursday February 13, 2003 -- 11:26:50 am
Just to add to the list, John Candy dies before his last 2 movies were released. Without sounding too harsh, at least HE didnt have to sit through the premieres of "Candadian Bacon" and "Wagons East!"

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Thursday February 13, 2003 -- 4:00:38 pm
Mike, did you hear me groan from where you are?

DATE: Sunday November 30, 2003 -- 5:14:21 pm
I think Vic Morrow died before Twilight Zone was released.

FROM: RabidDawg
DATE: Thursday September 23, 2004 -- 2:13:33 pm
Peter Sellers died during filming of Trail of the Pink Panther.

Vic Morrow actually was killed while shooting a scene for the Twilight Zone.

Both instances ratically altered their respective movies.

DATE: Wednesday March 1, 2006 -- 8:55:10 pm
Clark Gable died shortly after the filming, and before the release of "The Misfits."

Ryan July 21, 2008, 6:35 pm

Actors who had films released after their deaths:

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