Comics, Daily Lists, Movies

Heath Ledger, the Joker, and the Comic TV/Movie Curse

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With Heath Ledger’s totally unexpected demise today, he joins a few others seemingly cursed by their association to comic book movies and TV shows.

1) George Reeves
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The former TV Superman was an icon to kids, but typecast after the show ended. Although the recent Ben Affleck Reeves bio-pic Hollywoodland hinted otherwise, Reeves seemed committed suicide in 1959 at the age of 45.

2) Bruce Lee
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The 33-years-old elder Lee died of a very bizarre brain condition in 1973, but don’t forget, he also played Kato to an totally forgettable Green Hornet in the Green Hornet TV series.

3) Bill Bixby
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The first man behind the Incredible Hulk enjoyed a long-running TV show and a few made-for-TV movies from 1977-1982. But in 1993, when he was 59, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, which turned terminal later that year.

4) Victor Buono
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The heavyset Buono was a Shakespearan actor before tackling the role of King Tut in the campy 1960s Batman TV series. He died rather young at the age of 44 in 1982.

5) John Belushi
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Belushi’s only superhero appearance was as the Incredible Hulk in a Saturday Night Live superhero party sketch. Belushi, 33, died of a drug overdose in 1982.

6) Christopher Reeve
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Chris Reeve embodied Superman on and off-screen, especially after his horse-riding mishap in 1995, which totally paralyzed him. Reeve, 52, educated the world about the need for stem cell research. until his death in 2004.

7) Brandon Lee
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The 28-year-old son of Bruce was shooting the final scenes of The Crow, based on J.M. Barr’s comic, when a prop gun shockingly fired a real bullet, killing Lee in 1993.

About Author

Robert Bricken is one of the original co-founders of the site formerly known as Topless Robot, and its first editor-in-chief, serving from 2008-12. He brought the site to prominence with “nerd news, humor and self-loathing” as its motto, raising it from total internet obscurity to a readership in the millions, with help from his savage “FAQ” movie reviews and Fan Fiction Fridays. Under his tenure Topless Robot was covered by Gawker, Wired, Defamer, New York magazine, ABC News, and others, and his articles have been praised by Roger Ebert, Avengers actor Clark Gregg, comedian and The Daily Show correspondent John Hodgman, the stars of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Rifftrax, and others. He is currently the managing editor of io9.com. Despite decades as both an amateur and professional nerd, he continues to be completely unprepared for either the zombie apocalypse or the robot uprising.