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Vic Morrow Who Played Chip Saunders in 'Combat!' Died in a Tragic Accident While Filming 'Twilight Zone: The Movie'

Rebelander Basilan
Jan 21, 2020
06:30 P.M.
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In an accident that shocked the film industry, actor Vic Morrow died in a helicopter crash while filming “Twilight Zone: The Movie” in 1982.

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The crash, which happened in Santa Clarita, California, also claimed the lives of two child actors, as reported by Associated Press.

Child actors Renee Shinn Chen and Myca Dinh Le were six and seven years old respectively when the tragic crash happened. The actors and crew were shooting a Vietnam War battle at that time, as reported by History.

Vic Morrow during his guest appearance on "Owen Marshall:Counselor at Law" in 1971. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Vic Morrow during his guest appearance on "Owen Marshall:Counselor at Law" in 1971. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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THE PILOT LOST CONTROL

The death of the 53-year-old actor and the child actors during filming sent shock waves around the world. The crash occurred after debris from special-effects explosions rose 100 feet in the air and damaged the helicopter’s rotor.

Morrow and the children were supposed to be running from a pursuing helicopter, on their scheduled last day of shooting. The debris from the explosions caused the pilot to lose control and crash into the three victims.

Director John Landis and four others were sued for involuntary manslaughter. But they were eventually acquitted.

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Photo of Vice Morrow as Sgt. Saunders, circa 1960s. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Vice Morrow as Sgt. Saunders, circa 1960s. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

A HISTORIC TRIAL

It was the first time a film director was tried for criminal charges because of events that occurred while making a movie. The trial went on for 10 months.

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Years later, the families of the child actors settled civil lawsuits for undisclosed amounts. The tragic incident led to the film industry creating new safety standards for the use of choppers.

Morrow made his screen debut as a tough-talking, surly street punk in the 1955 movie, “Blackboard Jungle.”

Rick Jason and Vic Morrow from the premiere of the television program "Combat" in 1962. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Rick Jason and Vic Morrow from the premiere of the television program "Combat" in 1962. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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A FAMOUS SERIES

When the movie was released in the summer of 1983, it received mixed reviews. The movie was based on a popular science fiction TV series of the same name created by Rod Sterling.

The series, which aired from 1959 to 1964, chronicled the lives of people who found themselves in highly unusual situations.

Born to Russian Jewish immigrant parents in the Bronx, New York, Morrow made his screen debut as a tough-talking, surly street punk in the 1955 movie, “Blackboard Jungle,” as stated in his IMDB profile.

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He also appeared in numerous TV shows, including “Combat” in 1962 and the “Police Story” in 1973. He was the father of “Margot at the Wedding” actress Jennifer Jason Leigh.

In 2017, CBS All Access officially ordered the third “Twilight Zone” revival to series, which premiered on April 1, 2019.

In related news, embattled Felicity Huffman’s daughter, Sophia Macy, has joined the cast of "The Twilight Zone" for its second season.

William H. Macy, Georgia Macy, Felicity Huffman and Sofia Macy at the Vista Theatre on October 7, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. | Photo: Getty Images

William H. Macy, Georgia Macy, Felicity Huffman and Sofia Macy at the Vista Theatre on October 7, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. | Photo: Getty Images

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Sophia will join other new cast members like Morena Baccarin, Colman Domingo, Ethan Embry, Tony Hale, Abbie Hern, amid others. Chris Meloni, Billy Porter, Daniel Sunjata, will also appear.

She will appear in an episode titled, "Among the Untrodden" alongside Abbie Hern. Written by Heather Anne Campbell, the episode will have narration by the show's executive producer and narrator, Jordan Peele.

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