The Top 10 Funniest Celebrity Near Deaths

April 2, 2010

Death may be an inhumane bastard, an unfeeling monster, a relentless evil, and an unflinching presence. But he's also got a wicked sense of humor.

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By Danny Gallagher


10. Boy George

Just about any news story involving Boy George, whether it involves the pop star's near death or not, has the potential to be tragically hilarious. He's a pudgy bald fop who has taken to painting his big, barren noggin like he's a Faberge egg with legs and whose sickly sweet tunes have set back to the course of music of years to come.

So only a non-breathing human could not enjoy the delicious irony of a disco ball almost doing him in.

The then-38-year-old musician was rehearsing for a show when a 62-pound, four-foot-wide mirrored disco ball fell from the sky and clocked him in the face. He only suffered some minor (but painful) head and ear injuries. The same can also be said for anyone who has "Karma Chameleon" stuck in their head for longer than a day.

9. Verne Troyer

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It's hard to feel sorry for a guy like Mini-Me. He's not only linked to an iconic character in an iconic film that's sure to live in the annals of time longer after we're turned to dust, but he's also got a life that basically tells Randy Newman to "go f**k himself."

However, even the high life (no pun intended) can short-change (no pun intended) some of its biggest stars (no pun...OK, I confess, they were all intended).

The Austin Powers star was having a little bathtub fool-around session with his hot-model girlfriend Ranae Shrider at a swanky Beverly Hills hotel when she displayed her model-like intellect by failing to realize the tub towered over her mini-boyfriend. By the time the bubbles filled the tub, he became lost in an ocean (to him, anyway) and almost drowned.

8. Lady Gaga

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This pop star has an eye for fashion that would have most levelheaded people wondering if she should visit an optometrist.

I'm not saying that I know what's hot and not in the world of high fashion. But I know enough about fashion to understand that tape is not a "fabric-must." She was so decked out in the sticky stuff on a flight from London to New York that it induced a nearly lethal bout of "deep vein thrombosis" (or deep blood clots). She had to be stripped out of her adhesive outfit in order to save her from suffering any more serious damage, which I imagine is like removing a really stubborn Band-Aid times 5,000.

7. Robert Pattinson

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I imagine that the majority of the Twilight star's life must resemble A Hard Day's Night, with Pattinson being constantly chased by crowds of estrogen-enhanced young girls who are able to sniff out his every move like a pack of highly trained, prison guard bloodhounds.

One such group almost sent the vampire into an early coffin.

Pattinson was doing some filming in an NYC bookstore when a gaggle of girls picked up his scent. A chase ensued and as he tried to cross a busy street, an oncoming taxicab clipped him in the hip. One of his bodyguards reportedly screamed back at the girls "You see what you did, you almost killed him!" The girls' then chased the taxicab for a solid 12 blocks, hoping to gather bits of Pattinson DNA that collected on the vehicle's front fender.

6. Demi Lovato

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This budding pop actress and singer is just getting her career off the ground, but she may never have gotten the chance if she hadn't almost been trampled by a rampaging and out-of-control dinosaur. No, really.

She got her first big break at the age of eight on a children's television show that you may have heard of, but wish you never did, called Barney and Friends. She wasn't paying attention during a routine and got trampled by the giant purple menace. The extremely heavy suit could have snapped her like a twig, but she escaped any serious injury. I'm referring to physical injury, of course. Mentally, however, something like this might be harder to overcome since Barney always struck me as a soul-eater.


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5. Carrie Fisher

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The actress who introduced the world to the Star Wars heroine Princess Leia has lived just as infamous of a life in her own right.

When she wasn't turning her hairdo into a Tie-Fighter, she partied quite hard. During the filming of The Blues Brothers, she struck up a friendship with fellow hard partier John Belushi. The two got really stoned and when the munchies kicked in, she gorged herself on a heaping helping of Brussels sprouts because, I guess, Doritos doesn't make a Brussels sprout-flavored brand...yet.

She must have been really stoned because she inhaled them so fast that she nearly choked to death on one, had it not been for the quick and sober thinking of Dan Aykroyd who gave her the Heimlich maneuver.

4. Halle Berry

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If this sexy superstar started choking in a restaurant, a line the length of the Great Wall of China would immediately form, consisting of thousands of lonely men willing to stand behind her and thrust out the obstruction with the awesome power of the Heimlich maneuver (a.k.a. the "Vertical Spooning").

While filming the final scene of the epically "meh" James Bond movie Die Another Day, she accidentally inhaled a fig during a seductive sex scene with Pierce Bronson. Normally the sound of a woman's gagging is quite a compliment, but it completely killed the mood as the quick-thinking Pierce tried to dislodge the object from her airway. It's ironic since every event in the movie leading up to that final scene also "choked."

3. Bob Dylan

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Drug overdoses and motorcycle accidents aren't strange bedfellows when it comes to rock-n-roll. Drug overdoses and motorcycle accidents, however, make for an awkward night when they are "accidentally" spooning.

The famed folk and rock legend came very close to death, but reports vary on exactly how or really what happened. It was either a motorcycle accident or a heroin overdose and to this day, no one has been able to give a definitive answer on which one almost killed him.

According to the legend, Dylan was in a very serious motorcycle accident in 1984, but there are no records of any such incident occurring and no ambulance was called to the scene. Even his own doctor said he didn't "appear very knocked out by the accident." Some speculate the accident was meant to serve as a cover-up to a bad reaction to an ongoing heroin problem, but the thought of the PR genius of being able to confuse a motorcycle accident with a heroin addiction is too scary to bear. Unless...he was doing heroin as he was riding his motorcycle. And you thought cell phones were vehicular killers.

2. Jim Caviezel

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If you're the kind of atheist who became one because you thought the fact that the unholy creation of Mel Gibson's Jesus Troma-fest could only have been without the intervention of a just and true God, you might want to rethink your belief structure.

The film's titular star got a heavy dose of "Godsmack" while filming the famed "Sermon on the Mount" scene when he got doused with a heavy bolt of lightning from the heavens.

The lightning quickly passed through his body and he escaped with only minor injuries, but I like to think of it as God's way of getting soused and calling Mel Gibson "sugartits."

1. Hugh Hefner

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The Playboy editor-in-chief and founder produces more green in American men than any late night visit to Taco Bell ever could. He has not only founded and perfected a multimedia empire, but he's also been sought after and adored by some of the world's most awe-inspiring women, even well into his '70s when the ravages of time have turned him into a flesh-colored raisin in a satin smoking jacket.

His time in the bedroom is twice as legendary and, apparently, twice as lethal. During a notable romp with Playmate of the Month Sondra Theodore in 1977, he somehow got a sex toy lodged in his windpipe. Sondra, showcasing the trademark intellect of the Playboy bunny, didn't realize he was choking until he reached the verge of unconsciousness. She started pumping his chest and managed to dislodge the toy in time.

Ironically, simply telling that very disturbing story to a choking victim now doubles as the Heimlich maneuver.


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