It takes plenty of good luck to make it in the world of entertainment – maybe because there’s a fair amount of bad luck working against you.
Over the years, people have said that actors, musicians, crew members, and more have fallen victim to strings of bad luck that are believed to be caused by curses or hexes.
Here are 19 entertainment “curses” that many people believe are actually real.
People say there’s a Playboy centerfold curse.
Playboy may today be struggling with its identity, but in years past, many women and celebrities have appeared in the magazine or as centerfolds.
Some people claim, however, that there is a centerfold curse. According to The Richest, 16Playboy centerfolds have all died under the age of 50, whether by drug overdose, car accident, murder, or suicide. It’s a fact the Washington Post also pointed out in 2007 after the untimely death of Anna Nicole Smith.
This is likely not a curse – hundreds of women have been centerfolds in the past without incident – but more to do with our culture at large.
“There’ve been some that do too much booze and too much drugs, just as in the general population,” former Playboy editor Gretchen Edgren, author of “The Playmate Book: Six Decades of Centerfolds,” told the Washington Post.
During filming of “The Passion of the Christ,” cast and crew were struck by lightning.
Many came to believe that Mel Gibson’s movie “The Passion of the Christ” was cursed because, while filming the scene of the Sermon on the Mount, leading actor Jim Caviezel was struck by lightning and, immediately afterward, so was assistant director Jan Michelini. It was actually the second time that Michelini had been struck by lightning on set.
Over 90 members of the 220 crew that worked on “The Conqueror” got cancer.
Some thought the 1956 movie “The Conqueror” was cursed because, of 220 cast and crew members from Hollywood, 91 contracted cancer by 1979, according to People.
It was later ascertained that they were likely infected from fallout from the nearby atomic testing range at Yucca Flat, Nevada. The movie had filmed in 1954 in nearby Saint George, Utah, which was also later found to have a very high rate of cancer among its population.
Some believe the actors of “Our Gang” were cursed due to many untimely deaths.
As Snopes pointed out, the deaths aren’t statistically abnormal.
“Although these percentages may be higher than one would expect to find among the general population, they’re not at all out of line with reasonable expectations given the extremely small sample size (29) used here,” Snopes wrote.
James Dean died in a Porsche and people say that same car hurt or killed other people after his death.
Actor James Dean died in 1955 when his Porsche Spyder crashed head-on with another vehicle. Now, legend has it that the car was cursed.
After Dean’s untimely death, the car is said to have hurt or killed other people. There were stories that it rolled off a truck and broke a mechanic’s legs and that the Porsche’s engine was placed in a different car and killed the driver.
However, all of this is very hard to prove and should be taken as just that: legend.
“Poltergeist” is said to have cursed some of its cast members.
Classic ’80s horror flick “Poltergeist” is thought to be cursed due to the untimely deaths of two of the actors: 22-year-old actress Dominique Dunne was murdered shortly after it came out in 1982 and the child star, Heather O’Rourke, died at age 12 due to a misdiagnosed intestinal issue. Two other (less unexpected) cast member deaths related to surgery and cancer also sadly occurred.
Aside from untimely deaths, one actor claimed that real skeletons were used as props – a claim that remains unproven – and another is said to have performed an exorcism on set.
Three people died during the filming of “The Twilight Zone” movie.
“The Twilight Zone” show was a creepy mix of horror and science fiction, but some think the 1983 feature-length adaptation was cursed in real life.
During its filming, three actors were killed in a helicopter crash – actor Vic Morrow as well as two child actors, Renee Chen, 6, and Myca Dinh Lee, 7.
Ultimately director John Landis – along with other filmmakers – was found innocent of involuntary manslaughter in the deaths. The incident obviously scarred everyone who was working on the film and survived.
Dozens of famous musicians have died when they were 27 years old.
Perhaps one of the most infamous curses in the entertainment world is the so-called “27 Club” – a group of young musicians and artists who tragically died at the age of 27.
Among the individuals to have joined the “club” are Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Anton Yelchin, and Janis Joplin.
Some people falsely believe that members of the so-called 27 Club died holding white lighters. It’s called the “white lighter curse.”
Related to the so-called 27 Club curse is the supposed white lighter curse, according to Atlas Obscura. It contends that many of those in the “club” died with white lighters in their possession.
However, this has been debunked.
“The Dark Knight” was riddled with tragedy and misfortune for cast and crew.
The Batman movie “The Dark Knight” in 2008 did incredibly well at the box office, but that doesn’t stop some from believing the movie was hexed, according to Gawker.
That’s due to what happened to three of the movie’s stars all around the time of the film’s release: Heath Ledger died from a fatal mix of prescription drugs (some people say that his role as the Joker in the movie took a toll on him),Christian Bale was accused of assault (Bale denied the incident and the matter was dropped), and Morgan Freeman was in a serious car accident.
“The Exorcist” is another movie that people believe was cursed.
1973’s “The Exorcist” was thought to be cursed because of the many unfortunate events surrounding it. Some of the incidents include a set burning down, on-set injuries for actresses Linda Blair and Ellen Burstyn, and the deaths of two of its actors, Jack MacGowran and Vasiliki Maliaros, right after shooting wrapped, according to i News.
The shocking nature of the film to audiences at the time likely also contributed to this myth.
1976’s “The Omen” is also said to be cursed.
Another horror movie with a supposed curse is “The Omen,” according to PopSugar, because of the bizarre and tragic incidents that occurred surrounding the film.
Both lead actor Gregory Peck and a film executive were flying in separate planes that were struck by lightning. There were also deaths surrounding the movie: A plane that was almost used for aerial filming in the movie (but switched out last minute) crashed, killing everyone on board, and an animal trainer who worked on-set was killed the next day by a tiger.
There were also rumours that no one knew what happened to lead child actor, Harvey Stephens, who played Damien after the movie came out. This isn’t true – he had a small cameo in the 2006 version of “The Omen” as a tabloid reporter.
Winning an Academy Award is said to be a curse.
There are a few versions of this supposed curse. Some say that the celebrities who win an Academy Award paradoxically drop in popularity and receive fewer jobs in the industry. Actors Joan Fontaine, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Richard Dreyfuss are all said to believe winning was a curse, according to the Los Angeles Times, and CNN has a list of actors “affected” by the curse.
The other variation on this curse is that actresses who win Oscars, particularly for best actress, will later have their partners cheat on or divorce them.BuzzFeed has a list of all the actresses supposedly affected by this “love curse,” too.
It’s worth pointing out that this myth has been looked into. In 2017, Michael Jensen and Heeyon Kim wrote a paper called “Oscar Curse” and published it in the journal Organisation Science. They said that Oscar nominations and wins actually have a positive career outcome for actors of both genders, but there is evidence that there are “enduring negative personal consequences for female actors. […] Oscar nominations/wins can help a career but can also ruin a marriage.”
The son of Bruce Lee, Brandon, was fatally shot while filming the 1994 move “The Crow.” It wasn’t the only deadly accident that took place on set.
Actor Brandon Lee, 28, was shot and killed while filming “The Crow” in a horrific accident – another actor fired a blank at Lee, which “propelled into Mr. Lee’s abdomen a lethal obstruction that had been lodged in the barrel of the gun during the filming of another scene several weeks earlier,” according to a complaint from Lee’s mother about the incident.
That wasn’t the only dangerous accident surrounding the film: Ranker has a round-up of all the bizarre and tragic occurrences that took place. In an interview with the AV Club, actor Jon Polito (who plays Gideon in the movie) described some of the events:
“We were shooting at night and the very first day they were setting up the lights, there was a guy who was driving a cherry-picker onto the lot. A cherry-picker that you put lights on. And the cherry-picker fell into a gully, and we lifted the back of the cherry-picker where the guy was lifted up, and went right into an electrical pole and he was electrocuted. And he was near death. All of his organs were burned. He was about 26. His wife was pregnant. It was a bad luck opening to a film. And then the third night when we were shooting, I remember the prop truck caught on fire and nobody knew what that was about. And then we had a hurricane that destroyed parts of the street sets. The hurricane was so bad. Of course, we were staying at the hotel Holiday Inn Cape Fear, so that should give you some sense of what the film was gonna be like. And I loved Brandon Lee. He was a beautiful, sweet man.”
Some consider “Rosemary’s Baby” the most cursed movie ever made.
“Rosemary’s Baby,” which came out in 1968, is considered “the most cursed hit movie ever made,” according to Vanity Fair.
After the horror movie debuted, misfortune befell many who helped create it: Composer Krzysztof Komeda died from a fall; producer William Castle was hospitalized with severe kidney stones and barely survived; and Sharon Tate, the pregnant wife of director Roman Polanski, was brutally murdered by the Manson Family.
Saying the name of Shakespeare’s play “Macbeth” is said to bring about a curse.
Experienced thespians know that you don’t call Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” by its proper name, you call it “The Scottish Play.” Actors believe that uttering the title aloud in a theatre brings bad luck, according to the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Legend has it that when Shakespeare included real incantations in the play, a coven of witches cursed it. The actor playing Lady Macbeth is said to have died during the first performance and subsequent performances since then have also had a series of accidents befall actors.
Of course, a play like “Macbeth” is doubtless going to have a history of some troublesome incidents after being performed for 400 years. But if you’re a believer in the curse and you accidentally say the name “Macbeth,” the Royal Shakespeare Company says you must, “Exit the theatre, spin around three times, spit, curse and then knock on the theatre door to be allowed back in.”
The director of “Annabelle” said two mysterious events happened while filming.
During the shooting of the 2014 horror film “Annabelle,” two eerie events occurred that led some to believe the production was haunted, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
First, director John R. Leonetti said he walked into a filming location and saw a three-fingered handprint on a dusty window that resembled the three-fingered demon in the movie. Then, he said a light fixture fell on the head of one of the film’s actors – in the same location where his character is killed in the movie.
“Annabelle” was based on the story of a “real” cursed doll that today is kept at Ed and Lorraine Warren’s Occult Museum in Monroe, Connecticut.
People who have played John Connor in the “Terminator” franchise has fallen on hard times.
Although he’s a hero, “Terminator” character John Connor seems to have brought misfortune upon the actors who have portrayed him, according to The Daily Beast.
Edward Furlong, the first to play the role in 1991, was suspected of overdosing on heroin, was arrested four times, and said he was broke in 2011 after his ex-wife was granted a restraining order against him.
Nick Stahl, of 2003’s “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines,” later had a few troubling incidents in 2012 and 2013 where he was arrested for allegedly stiffing a cab driver as well as for alleged drug possession.
Thomas Dekker, of the short-lived TV series “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” (2008-2009), was arrested on charges of allegedly hitting a cyclist with his car. He later pleaded no contest to a lesser charge of misdemeanour reckless driving in 2010.
And Christian Bale, who starred as Connor in 2009’s “Terminator Salvation,” went viral when a video of him berating a photography director was released that same year. The actor later apologised.
Actors tied to the “Superman” franchise are said to be cursed, too.
Another unlucky character is none other than the Man of Steel himself – Superman. Some believe there is a curse associated with the franchise, according to Biography.
The first actor to play the character on TV in 1951, George Reeves saw his career tank after the initial success of “The Adventures of Superman.” Eight years later, it was ruled that he died by suicide, though some say it may have been murder.
Christopher Reeve became a star with 1978’s “Superman: The Movie” and remained successful until he was thrown from a horse and paralysed in 1995. He died in 2004 at age 52.
Other actors associated with the franchise, including Margot Kidder, Marlon Brando, and Richard Pryor, had tumultuous lives as well – you can read more about the supposed curse on Biography.
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