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Life Ghoulishly Imitates Art

May 1, 2014

Three eerie coincidences between actors’ on-screen tragedies, and ones that befell them in the real world.

Christopher Reeve

Christopher ReevesIn Above Suspicion, a made-for-TV movie that aired on HBO in May 1995, the Superman star played Dempsey Cain, a paralyzed police man driven to catch his wife in the act of cheating, and then kill her. Reeve did a lot of research for the role – he learned how to use a wheelchair, and how to get in and out of a car without the use of his legs. Two days after Above Suspicion aired, Reeve was thrown from the horse he was riding during a dressage event in Virginia. He fell headfirst and shattered two vertebrae, paralyzing him from the neck down. (Reeve, however, continued to act and direct films until his death in 2004.)

Jason Robards

In Magnolia (1999), two-time Academy Award winner Jason Robards co-stars as Earl Partridge, a former game show producer dying of cancer. It was Robards final screen role in a decade that spanned five decades. Less than a year after Magnolia was released, Robards died…of cancer.

Philip Seymour Hoffman

One of Hoffman’s most prominent roles was in Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous. A memoir of Crowe’s time as a teenage rock music reporter, Hoffman played the groundbreaking and manic music journalist Lester Bangs. Bangs’ storied career was cut short when he died of a drug overdose in 1982. Hoffman’s Oscar-winning career was cut short when he died of a drug overdose earlier this year.

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