True or False: Famous Film Urban Legends Debunked

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Did that really happen? Hollywood is one of the world’s most exciting and mysterious places, so it is natural that urban legends about actors, movies, and more are passed around from generation to generation.

But did these famed events actually occur, or is it all made up?

We decided to dig deep to get the verdict on some of film’s most notorious mysteries, and the answers just might surprise you.

Keep reading to find out if some of the most-talked about myths from the sets of some of Hollywood’s most famous films are definitely true or certifiably false.



6. Suicide on the Set of “The Wizard of Oz” 

(Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Many believe “The Wizard of Oz” cameras caught the on-set suicide of a dwarf actor, portraying a Lollipop Guild Munchkin, who killed himself when his affections for another Munchkin actor were not returned. This urban legend is FALSE. Towards the end of the “We’re Off to See the Wizard” song sequence, a swinging figure can be seen in the trees towards the right side of the screen. The invention of “pause” and “rewind” led hardcore fans to speculate about the swinging object, bringing to life the rumor of the distraught Munchkin. It has since been proven that the object in the background was in fact a large bird stretching its wings.

5. Ford Rewrote a “Raiders of the Lost Ark” Scene 

Harrison Ford (Photo by David James/Paramount Pictures/Lucasfilm/AP)

Legend has it that actor Harrison Ford wrote his own ending to a lengthy fight scene in “Raiders of the Lost Ark” due to a horrible bout of dysentery. Yes, dysentery. This rumor is TRUE. The cast and crew of 1981’s “Raiders of the Lost Ark” endured blistering heat during a six-week shoot in Tunisia. Towards the end of production, star Harrison Ford developed a particularly uncomfortable case of dysentery and was more than ready to wrap on the film. After reading a three-page fight scene in his script, Ford decided to take matters into his own hands. “Let’s just shoot the [expletive],” the actor suggested to director Steven Spielberg. Spielberg agreed to scrap the rest of the scene and Ford quickly shot down the swordsman.

4. “The Blair Witch Project” Really Happened

(Photo by Artisan Entertainment/Getty Images)

Legend has it that the 1999 hit film “The Blair Witch Project” is based on real footage shot by three students who mysteriously disappeared while making a documentary, but this legend is FALSE. The rumor was perpetuated to urban legend stature thanks to the movie’s original marketing scheme, which claimed that the “Blair Witch” events actually occurred. Many fans were too spooked to stay for the ending credits and missed the disclaimer that clearly states that the film is not in any way based on a true story.

3. “The Deer Hunter” Inspired Real Russian Roulette Deaths

(Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

It may seem unbelievable, but the urban legend that scenes from 1978’s “The Deer Hunter” inspired several real-life Russian roulette suicides is TRUE. The film, starred Christopher Walken and Meryl Streep, featured Robert DeNiro putting a gun to his head and pulling the trigger in an intense Russian roulette scene. Critics were upset because there are no documented instances of the Vietcong using Russian roulette with POWs during the Vietnam War, while others were insistent that the movie was inspiring real-life suicides. The latter turned out to be true. The Louisville Courier-Journal found that close to 40 boys and men accidentally shot themselves during “Deer Hunter”-inspired games of Russian roulette.

2. Shirley Eaton Died During the Filming of “Goldfinger”

(Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Many believe that actress Shirley Eaton, who starred in the 1964 James Bond installment “Goldfinger,” accidentally died from asphyxiation after being completely covered in thick gold paint. This legend is FALSE. In the 1960s it was wrongly believed that humans breathed through their skin, and that a portion of the skin’s surface needed to be left open at all times in order to survive. It was not a big surprise that this rumor took off after “Goldfinger” was released. Without easy access to the Internet to set the record straight, fans were left believing that Eaton really passed away on the set after the rumor caught fire. The movie villain Auric Goldfinger did kill his secretary, played by Eaton, by covering her body in gold paint, but the actress certainly went on to live another day.

1. One of the Bond Girls Was Born a Man

Roger Moore (AP Photo)

Sticking with the “James Bond” theme, it is rumored that one of the Bond girls in 1981’s “For Your Eyes Only,” starring Roger Moore as the secret agent, was actually born a man. This legend is 100 percent TRUE. Caroline Cossey was born as a man in 1954. Cossey changed her name to Caroline in the 1970s and was cast in “For Your Eyes Only” a decade later. She only appeared on screen for a few seconds, credited as “girl at pool,” but that was enough for British tabloid News of the World to rip her apart. Cossey’s acting and modeling career suffered greatly as a result.


The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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