Top 10 Deaths by Cameo
Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Deaths By Cameo.
For this list, we’ll be looking at cameos in films that resulted in immediate death for the celebrities in question.
Can you think of any other cameos that proved fatal for the star? Let us know in the comments.
#10: Peter Jackson
“The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003)
Director Peter Jackson appeared in a couple blink and you’ll miss it cameos in the first two films in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. When the third hit theaters, however, he was nowhere to be seen. But with the release of the extended edition, fans of Middle Earth were treated to an extra memorable one. In this extended scene, Legolas lets loose a warning shot at an approaching ship. His impeccable aim is thrown off by a mischievous Gimli, however, causing his shot to hit and kill a pirate, who lets out a comically over the top scream. The unfortunate pirate that took the arrow to the chest was none other than the film’s director!
#9: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson & Samuel L. Jackson
“The Other Guys” (2010)
Most buddy cop films would center on this duo: the over-the-top cops with little regard for the rules, played by A-list action stars spouting one-liners. Of course that same bravado is exactly what leads to their untimely demise. They foolishly jump off a tall building, killing themselves in a rather anticlimactic fashion. This actually wasn’t the first time Dwayne Johnson cameoed as a cop who was quickly killed off. His role in “Reno 911!: Miami”, this time as an over-the-top SWAT officer, ended with a similarly undignified death.
#8: Neil Patrick Harris
“Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay” (2008)
One of the most memorable parts of the first “Harold and Kumar” film was the brief cameo by Harris, who played an exaggerated and despicable version of himself. Naturally, he returned to do it again in the sequel. When NPH ran into Harold and Kumar this time, he took them to a brothel where he branded one of the workers. As retribution, he was shot in the back on his way out. Harris’ death would prove to be short-lived, however, as those that stuck around were treated to a post-credits scene in which the Emmy and Tony Award winner miraculously returned to life, complete with an angelic overture.
#7: Quentin Tarantino
Sure, plenty of directors give themselves little cameos. And some of them even kill themselves off. But no one does it quite as often as Tarantino. His cameo deaths include getting his throat slit by the bride in “Kill Bill Vol. 1,” appearing as a corpse being scalped in “Inglourious Basterds,” and dying off-screen following a cameo after the opening of “Reservoir Dogs.” His most memorable cameo, however, ended in a blaze of glory in his 2012 neo-western “Django Unchained.” Playing an Australian slaver tricked by Jamie Foxx’s Django, he is quickly shot while holding a stick of dynamite, blowing him (and his questionable accent) to smithereens.
#6: Conan O’Brien
“Sharktopus vs. Pteracuda” (2014)
Conan’s part in this made-for-TV monster B-movie sequel plays out like a bit from his talk show. But trust us... this is a movie that actually exists. Playing an exaggerated, entitled version of himself, Conan sips a martini at the shore and shouts at beachgoers. He’s cut off, however, when a poorly rendered CGI tentacle of the sharktopus impales him. The monster then decapitates him, and then… wait for it… the beachgoers play volleyball with his severed head. It is truly something to behold.
#5: John Hurt
Actors will often play versions of themselves on screen. What’s rarer is for an actor to appear as a character they previously played in an iconic film—or a parody of them. But that’s exactly what we seem to get from John Hurt in “Spaceballs.” Once again, Hurt is dining with friends, only to be interrupted when an alien violently bursts from his chest. While Hurt’s character and wardrobe are faithful to the original film, “Alien”, the scene has a comedic twist. As it leaves his body, the alien dons a cane and hat singing the song made famous by the Warner Brothers frog. The cherry on top of the scene is a stoic and terrified Hurt exclaiming, “Not again!”
#4: Johnny Depp & Peter DeLuise
“21 Jump Street” (2012)
It’s always fun when the stars of a TV show return for the movie adaptation years later. What’s even better, though, is when they are revealed to be the original characters, effectively putting the original and the reboot in the same continuity. The film adaptation of “21 Jump Street” took a much more comedic tone than its predecessor. And so, when Depp and DeLuise rip off heavy prosthetics to reveal their cameos, the moment of nostalgia is brief. There’s a nod to their previous roles and Depp’s acting abilities, before their return to the franchise is cut hilariously short in a hail of bullets.
#3: Brad Pitt
“Deadpool 2” (2018)
Perhaps more than any other superhero franchise, the “Deadpool” movies love to break the fourth wall and subvert expectations. Therefore, it only makes sense that they would cast a mega-star in a literal invisible role. The role is that of Vanisher, one of the mutants on the elite X-Force team assembled by Deadpool. Of course, this being a Deadpool movie, most of the team is killed off almost immediately. That meant Vanisher getting electrocuted and becoming briefly visible for a few frames to reveal the face of A-lister Brad Pitt as the character died.
#2: Bill Murray
Making their way across the zombie-infested remains of North America, this ragtag group of survivors fails to meet any other living people, with one notable exception. When arriving at Bill Murray’s mansion, they discover that it isn’t as empty as they believed. Murray plays himself, with his traditional dry wit intact, entertaining the group with irreverent humor despite the end of the world. In the end, however, Murray’s pranks end up being his undoing. Even in death, though, he manages to get in a few more subtle laughs and a dig at himself before passing on.
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
Jon Bon Jovi, “Young Guns II” (1990)
Did the Soundtrack & Met a Quick Death
George R.R. Martin, “Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!” (2015)
After Killing Off So Many Characters, It Was His Turn
Ryan Reynolds, “A Million Ways to Die in the West” (2014)
One Way to Die for Reynolds
Simon Cowell, “Scary Movie 3” (2003)
Simon Gives His Last Bad Review
“This Is the End” (2012)
As the film’s title might suggest, the biblical rapture takes place at the beginning of this movie, with the good people of the world spirited away to heaven. The large group of self-obsessed celebrities partying at James Franco’s house, on the other hand, are completely unaware of anything taking place—until all Hell literally breaks loose. One by one the celebrities are dispatched in manners equal parts gruesome and hilarious. Victims of the apocalypse include; Aziz Ansari, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kevin Hart, Rihanna, Mindy Kaling, Jason Segel, Martin Starr, David Krumholtz, a very high Michael Cera, and poor sweet Paul Rudd. This isn’t death by cameo. It’s a cameo apocalypse.