Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Last Words: Vic Morrow

“I should’ve asked for a double.”

Back when I was a nipper in the 60’s I used to watch Vic Morrow in Combat! Each Saturday night. Morrow played Sgt Saunders, a war weary infantrymen in charge of a platoon fighting the Germans in France. It was a fine bit of entertainment.

See the intro at:
and a full episode at:

Morrow’s first movie role had been in the 1955 pic The Blackboard Jungle where he played a thoroughly despicable teenage school hoodlum. See the trailer, with all its hyperbole and a brief glimpse of Morrow at about 2.15, at

In 1982 Morrow was filming on location in California for an episode of Twilight Zone: The Movie. Morrow played Bill Connor, a racist, who is taken back in time to various situations where he is horrifyingly persecuted: a victim of the Jewish Holocaust; a black man about to be lynched by the Ku Klux Klan and a Vietnamese man about to be killed by American soldiers. The filming of the Vietnamese sequence required him to flee a pursuing US Army helicopter whilst carrying two 7 year old Vietnamese children. The helicopter hovering overhead was damaged by pyrotechnics and crashed onto Morrow and the two children, killing all three instantly. Morrow was decapitated.

Morrow's last words, while holding two children and waiting for the director to say "action," had been "I've got to be crazy to do this shot. I should've asked for a double."

Director John Landis and other defendants, including producer Steven Spielberg and pilot Dorsey Wingo, were ultimately acquitted of involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment. The parents of Le and Chen, the two children who had been killed with Morrow, sued and settled out of court for an undisclosed amount. Morrow's children also sued and settled for an undisclosed amount.

Morrow in 1982 and the wreck of the helicopter.


  1. Morrow's TZ "comeback" role was a brilliant one, and would have established him in a whole new light as a solid character actor that he could have enjoyed far into old age. In that shot alone, not enough special effects, no stuntmen used, and kids risked like that? Incredibly shoddy for a high budget picture. Only someone at the level of Spielberg and company could have avoided significant jail time for such a mess.

  2. Fully agree with all you say.


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