River Phoenix wasn't the first (or last) actor to die while making a film. Here are six more stars who left this world with unfinished business.
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009)
Ledger’s death would have likely shut down another production, but Terry Gilliam used the half-finished film’s whimsy to his advantage, having Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell act in the missing scenes.
In the age of CGI, even death is fixable. Reed’s performance as the gladiatorial impresario Proximo was completed using a CGI reconstruction of the English actor’s face placed atop a body double.
The Crow (1994)
Tragically mirroring his father’s own premature death, the son of Bruce Lee was killed when a prop gun discharged a dummy-bullet fragment. The film underwent rewrites and reshoots.
Wood’s 1981 drowning almost shelved this sci-fi talker, but Lloyd’s of London decided to fund its completion rather than pay the production’s claim. Luckily, she’d finished shooting most of her scenes.
Trail of the Pink Panther (1982)
The last film with Sellers as the bumbling Inspector Clouseau was as unfinished as you can get. He died in 1980. This film was cobbled together using footage shot for previous installments.
Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959)
The fact that the deceased ”star” of Ed Wood’s schlock classic was replaced by a chiropodist who looked nothing like him isn’t even the infamous film’s silliest feat. But it’s one of its most memorable.