Wikimedia Commons/Schuyler Crail
Source: Wikimedia Commons/Schuyler Crail

Susan Peters’ Life Changed Following Duck Hunting Episode at 23 That Led to Losing Her Will to Live

Busayo Ogunjimi
Sep 01, 2021
09:00 P.M.
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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.

Pictures of Susan Peters | Photo:Wikimedia Commons / Schuyler Crail (Public Domain)


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.

Susan Peters writing from a Hospital cart in her home | Photo: Getty Images


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.

Portrait of Susan Peters circa 1945 | Photo:Public domain/Wikimedia Commons


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.


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.


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.

Susan Peters and her husband, Richard Quine | Photo: Getty Images

Her marriage to Quine ended, and soon, she could not make a comeback to the screen. At a point, the actress

lost the will

to live and stopped eating and drinking as she felt she was a failure.

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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