Susan Peters’ Life Changed Following Duck Hunting Episode at 23 That Led to Losing Her Will to Live
Susan Peter’s name would have emerged as one of the golden names from Hollywood’s silver-screen era, but a tragic accident not only cost her her career but also her will to live.
Susan Peters’ story would have ended differently if not a tragic accident that forced her career to a halt and brought her to misery. Years before her accident, the actress found her inspiration to study after befriending a disabled boy; little did she know she would meet the same fate as him.
At age 22, Peters had suddenly become an actress with promise in the 1940s. Although newcomers in the movie industry might find it hard to recall her name, it once offered great potential.
Her career began during her senior year in high school, where she had hoped to study medicine to help those like her old friend. After taking up drama class and featuring in a play, a talent agent spotted her, and she went on to appear as an extra in "Susan and God."
Peters had her breakthrough in 1942, where she featured in five high-ranking movies, including "The Big Shot.” Her role in "Random Harvest" earned her a nomination for a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award. At age 21, Peters was one of the youngest nominees in history at the time.
After her marriage to actor Richard Quine, more success approached the young actress, and she bagged the leading female role in 1944's "Song of Russia." But everything soon came to a shocking halt.
On January 1, 1945, Peters and her husband Richard Quine went duck hunting, an incident that would ultimately affect both her life and career. Peters’ journey to obscurity is traced to the freak accident of that day.
Soon enough, her newly found happiness was short-lived, and everything came crashing down.
During their hunting trip, a rifle was accidentally discharged, and a bullet lodged in the young actress’ spinal cord, paralyzing her from the waist down. The moment has been described as a puzzle.
The then-22-year-old Peters was said to be a good hunter and was familiar with handling guns. Despite the mystery surrounding the accident, Peters took the blame for it, noting that her carelessness caused it.
THE SIGN OF THE RAM ('48) marked Susan Peters' final film appearance. Peters used a wheelchair for the remainder of her life after a duck-hunting accident in 1945.— TCM (@tcm) September 28, 2020
Set your PVR for this film at 3am ET as we salute the formation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. pic.twitter.com/VSEPAFSzL1
According to Peters, they left their gun under a bush, and when she went back to get it, the gun was pointed towards her, and the trigger caught on a twig, shooting a round into her stomach. Her spine became affected by the bullet fragments that had found their way there.
At first, the accident was believed to be temporary, but after a while, the actress realized she would never use her legs again and tried not to let her fate affect her.
Thank you to @NoirAlley for showing SIGN OF THE RAM last night/this morning. I've heard about this movie for years but it's incredibly hard to find & Susan Peters is one of the few Old Hollywood-era actresses who was disabled. #TCMParty @tcm pic.twitter.com/wNCXfiQsMn— Kristen Lopez (@Journeys_Film) July 5, 2020
Despite her injury, MGM, the studio she worked for, kept sending her scripts, hoping to help her continue her career, but the actress turned them down as she felt they capitalized on her situation. However, she featured in the movie “Sign of the Ram,” confined to her wheelchair.
Peters soon adapted to life in the wheelchair and soon returned to her old routine of horseriding, driving, and hunting. But, soon enough, her newly found happiness was short-lived, and everything came crashing down.
Her lack of will to live led to her death on October 23, 1952, at age 31. Sources traced her death to pneumonia and starvation. However, her life was one of a light that never shone.
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