Young stars photographed on set

The fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins sent shockwaves through the film industry.

The 42-year-old Ukrainian native died on Thursday after being accidentally shot by Alec Baldwin, 63, with a prop gun the actor was using while filming their western movie, “Rust.”

But Hutchins isn’t the first person to be shot on set, with two prior gun deaths still haunting Hollywood.

Actor Brandon Lee was shot and killed with a prop gun on the set of 1994 film ‘The Crow’. The star – who was the son of martial arts icon Bruce Lee – was just 28 .

Meanwhile, budding star Jon-Erik Hexum died of a gunshot to the head while filming the CBS series “Cover Up” in 1984. He was 26.

These tragic deaths of young rising stars are still frequently talked about in Tinseltown, especially by prop experts who train actors on how to handle weapons safely during production.

Hexum died after shooting himself on the set of “Cover Up”.
CBS via Getty Images

“We exercise the utmost care and caution when putting all kinds of weapons into the hands of actors,” said Kevin Williams, props department supervisor at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, at NPR.

In Hollywood terminology, a prop gun can refer to a fake gun or a real gun used as a prop. In the latter case, the weapon is only supposed to fire blanks, reports USA Today.

As The Post explained in a previous report, live ammunition consists of a cartridge containing propellant powder, which ignites when the gun is fired, propelling the bullet out of the barrel.

Hexum's death was ruled accidental and no one faced criminal charges.
Hexum’s death was ruled accidental and no one faced criminal charges.
PA

Blank cartridges, on the other hand, contain materials such as cotton, paper, or wax wadding, rather than metallic projectiles. However, they can still be deadly if the force propelling the wad is strong enough or if the gun is fired at close range.

Such was the case with the tragic death of Hexum in 1984.

The star was mimicking a game of Russian roulette during downtime on the set of “Cover Up” when he fired a blank bullet into the right side of his head. The force of the cotton wool fractured his skull, causing a severe cerebral hemorrhage. He died six days later.

The death was ruled accidental and no one faced criminal charges. However, her mother later received an out-of-court settlement from 20th Century Fox and the production team behind “Cover Up.”

Although Hexum’s death made international news, it still wasn’t enough to stop a second gun death just a decade later.

Lee was killed during filming
Lee was killed while filming ‘The Crow’ in North Carolina
WireImage

Lee was fatally shot while filming ‘The Crow’ in North Carolina when a prop gun that was a real revolver was loaded with improperly made .44 caliber dummy cartridges, one of which lodged in the barrel and was discharged by a blank cartridge.

Because of these accidents, Hollywood now adheres to Safety Bulletins – a union document on gun and accessory safety standards. However, the document is not binding law.

Williams told NPR that certain on-set pressures mean even the most careful prop supervisor could violate those standards.

“When you’re on set, dealing with creatives and they’re asking for certain circumstances, sometimes it’s hard to say no to those requests,” he said. “A lot of our industry is built on relationships, so sometimes people have to make questionable decisions.”

Hollywood adheres to Safety Bulletins - a document of weapon and accessory safety standards.  Film gunsmith Christophe Maratier is seen handling a prop gun in his gun shop.
Hollywood adheres to Safety Bulletins – a document of weapon and accessory safety standards. Film gunsmith Christophe Maratier is seen handling a prop gun in his gun shop.
AFP via Getty Images

Baldwin is said to be in shock over Thursday’s horrific incident, which also hurt “Rust” director Joel Souza.

Baldwin reportedly questioned why he was given a “hot gun” – that is, an actual loaded gun.

While more details about the incident will no doubt be made public in the coming days, Williams says it could make prop oversight even tighter at Hollywood productions.

“There are a lot of people who are hurting right now. We must not seek blame,” he said. “If there’s a way to make filming safer in the future, that’s the path we need to take.”

However, gun deaths aren’t the only fatalities that have occurred on Tinseltown film sets.

The Associated Press reports that between 1990 and 2016, “at least 43 people died on sets across the United States and more than 150 suffered life-altering injuries.”

A distraught Alec Baldwin lingers in the parking lot outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office on Camino Justicia after being questioned Oct. 20, 2021.
Baldwin is said to be in shock over Thursday’s horrific incident, which also hurt “Rust” director Joel Souza.
Jim Weber / The New Mexican
Baldwin, who is said to be in shock over Thursday's horror incident, which also left
A distraught Alec Baldwin lingers in the parking lot outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office on Camino Justicia after being questioned Oct. 20, 2021.
Jim Weber / The New Mexican

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