Ten Actors Who Died on Set

Silent film actress Martha Mansfield, pictured above, was cast in the lead female role of the 1924 Civil War drama film The Warrens of Virginia. The cast and crew were shooting on location in San Antonio, Texas on November 29, 1923 when a bizarre accident occurred.

Mansfield was sitting in a chauffered car between scenes when a match from an unknown person dropped onto a large Civil War era-inspired dress she was wearing. The flame ignited the highly flammable, hoop-skirted costume, and Mansfield suffered severe burns on most of her body. 

Mansfield's face and neck were not burned due to her leading man, Wilfred Lytell, throwing his heavy coat over her. Mansfield's chauffeur was badly burned when he attempted to save her by stripping off her burning dress. 

Less than twenty-four hours later,  Mansfield died of her injuries. She was 24 years old. 

The person who lit the match was never identified. Some witnesses claimed to have seen a match fly into her open car window. Others suspected the actress of lighting a match to smoke a cigarette, a theory her mother shot down, saying that her daughter disliked smoking.  

Read about nine other actors who died with projects in production here.  

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