Thursday, May 5, 2011

"Go ahead Mortimer. Die for the Man."

Mortimer specialized in death scenes. He's been dying for the past 40 years. On stage at least. But what about real deaths on stage?

Long part of the canon of contemporary lore is the tale of an unfortunate actor who expires on stage, his adoring audience unaware of his sudden demise because they think his collapse part of the show - while they clap and cheer at the brilliance of his death scene performance, unknown to them he is gasping his last.

So who were some of these people who met the Grim Reaper while treading the boards”

Moliere (died Feb 21 16730) Collapsed during his fourth performance of his newly penned The Hypochondriac. Overwhelmed with a coughing fit, he was carried home where he died.

Tyrone Power (died Nov 15 1958) suffered a heart attack during the filming of a fencing scene in Solomon and Sheba in Madrid Spain. He died only minutes after being loaded into an ambulance.

Nelson Eddy (died March 6 1967) This famous actor and singer (Little Mary sunshine) suffered a fatal stroke while performing onstage at the Doral Country Club in Miami at age 65.

David Burns (died March 12 1971) the 70 year old actor died onstage of a heart attack during a performance of 70 Girls 70.

Irene Ryan (died April 26 1973) Best known as “Granny” on TV’s Beverly Hillbillies, this spritely 71 year old suffered a stroke while performing in the Broadway musical Pippin and died six weeks later.

Cyril Ritchard (died December 19 1977) This 83 year old actor suffered a heart attack during a November 25 performance in Chicago of the musical Side by Side by Sondheim causing him to slip into a comma from which he never recovered.Redd

Redd Foxx (died October 11 1991) Actor comedian Redd Foxx had a heart attack on the set of The Royal Family.

Add to this list dozens more.

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