10 Times Movie Costumes Almost Resulted In Tragedy

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You may think that being an actor or actress is an easy life filled with glamour and fame, but in reality it can do quite a bit of damage to you emotionally and physically. Those grueling hours on set covered in pounds of makeup and draped in costumes that wouldn't be able to breathe if you punched a dozen holes in them can really do a number on your body. Historically speaking, movie producers and directors were even less conscious of the safety hazards that could come about from being done up in costume and makeup.

It still happens today, so let's take a look at 10 actors and actresses that suffered from side-effects because of the costumes and makeup they were forced to wear, one even died on set because of it.

1. Buddy Ebsen - The Tin Man

When Buddy Ebsen portrayed the Tin Man in the 1939 edition of The Wizard of Oz, he had to be hospitalized because of the paint that the producers covered him in to make him look more "shiny." The silver paint was mixed with aluminum dust, and Ebsen had to be hospitalized only nine days into filming because his lungs were taking a beating. He spent two weeks in the hospital, and his lungs even failed once during that time. Talk about putting your life on the line for your work.

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2. Jim Carrey - The Grinch

When Jim Carrey suited up as "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas," he had to wear a very uncomfortable costume. The contact lenses he had to wear made it feel like there were knives in his eyes, and the costume was so restricting that Carrey started to have panic attacks related to claustrophobia. A Navy SEAL had to be brought on set to help coach him through the panic attacks.


3. Margaret Hamilton - The Wicked Witch of the West

Hamilton almost died on set when her extremely flammable makeup and costume caught fire during one particular scene. When she was leaving Munchkinland behind a cloud of smoke and fire, the trapdoor that was supposed to open so she could escape didn't, and she went up in flames. Her hands and face were burned so badly that she had to spend several days recuperating in the hospital.

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4. Johnny Depp - Edward Scissorhands

Depp was constantly decked out in a complete leather outfit for a good chunk of the movie. There was one scene where he had to run away from the house wearing the full leather suit, and while he was running he fell down and passed out from the heat, while still wearing his scissor hands. It could have been a hell of a lot worse.


5. John Rhys-Davies - Gimli

Rhys-Davies played Gimli throughout all three movies in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He was asked if he would consider coming back when The Hobbit movies were being made, and he said "not a chance." His facial prosthesis did so much damage to his face that he was only ever able to work one day, every three days. The allergic reaction was so bad that he was in constant pain through the entire movie shoot.  

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It gets even crazier from here...

6. Boris Karloff - Frankenstein

When Boris Karloff gave his iconic performance as Frankenstein's monster in the 1931 release of Frankenstein, he had to wear an exceedingly heavy costume, as well as lead-based paint. According to his daughter, he was working 19 hour days during the movie shoot, and by the time it was over he had dropped a massive 25 pounds. Losing that much weight that quickly can be very dangerous.

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7. Jennifer Lawrence - Mystique

The crazy amount of makeup that Lawrence had to wear while she was playing Mystique took 7-8 hours to put on each day. It took six women working together in order to paint her for her scenes. The makeup had a couple of nasty side effects: she broke out into a rash accompanied by painful blisters. They were so bad that her doctor had to pop them.  


8. Kate Winslet - Titanic

Winslet actually almost drowned on set because of the costume she was wearing. During a scene where she was trying to escape an incoming wave while the boat was sinking, her dress caught on a metal gate and she was pulled under the water. The crew worked quickly to rescue her from a tragic death.

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9. Scarlett Johansson - Black Widow

This is another case of wearing a leather costume causing an actress to overheat. While they were filming a scene in the middle of the New Mexico desert, her Black Widow costume was so restricting that Johansson actually ended up suffering a bad case of heatstroke, including mild hallucinations.


10. Martha Mansfield - The Warrens of West Virginia

Mansfield is the only person on this list who actually died on set because of an issue with their costume. Her dress was so elaborate and flammable that when a member of the cast flicked a match in her direction, she went up in flames. Her cast mates managed to put out the fire but it didn't matter, she was so badly burned that she died in hospital the next day.  

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