Sadly we must report character actor Michael Massee has passed away.
Though news didn’t break until Wednesday, fellow actor Anthony Delon confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that Massee passed away on October 20 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after losing his battle to cancer.
Despite appearing in several high profile projects such as Se7en or 24, he will unfortunately most likely be best known for his role in the tragic death of Bruce Lee‘s son Brandon Lee on the set of The Crow.
Back in March of 1993, Massee was working on his second movie EVER when director Alex Proyas directed the young actor in a scene in which he fired blanks at Brandon as he walked through a doorway carrying groceries.
The gun was supposed to have a “piece of soft wadding” come out of the end when working properly, but instead, “a metallic projectile came out” and struck the actor.
Apparently, the mishap was traced back to Carolco Studios, as execs told the movie’s firearms consultant James Moyer he wouldn’t not be needed on set for the routine scene. This left the regular stage crew to handle a couple scenes involving firearms — a big safety no-no!
Before the accident, the film called for a close-up shot in which the crew had to load dummy bullets into a gun. Shortly after getting the shot they needed, the crew swapped the bullets for what were supposed to be blanks. Somehow, a portion of one of the fake bullets dislodged from its casing and was left in the gun.
As a result, when Massee stepped in to film the scene and shoot the gun, he fired a REAL partial bullet at the young star!
Sadly, no one realized what had actually happened until blood started pooling around Brandon, at which point he was rushed to the hospital and later pronounced dead.
Though no charges were ever brought against Michael as the death was ruled an accident, the actor did take a year off from his job, admitting to the Telegraph:
“I don’t think you ever get over something like that.”
We can’t imagine living with such guilt over such a tragic accident and hope people remember Michael for something more than circumstances that were out of his control!
The film was later said to be cursed as numerous other accidents occurred during filming, including a crew member being stabbed in the hand by a screwdriver and a storm completely destroying a set.
Is the curse real?
Though cancer is all too common, Massee still died tragically young. He is survived by his wife Ellen Massee and their two children, Lily, 17, and Jack, 13.