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Michael Massee, an amazing actor who was most unfairly remembered as the guy who shot Brandon Lee

Tijana Radeska
Michael Massee

We are all familiar with the bad luck that followed the dark fantasy action movie “The Crow”. Despite having made a great movie, it is certain that nobody enjoyed its post-production and premiere in 1994.

Instead of being a moment of pride and glory for Brandon Lee, it turned out to be one of the saddest moments for his family. But through the years, it wasn’t only Lee’s family, fiance, friends, and fans who suffered. Michael Massee, the actor whose character fired the deadly shot that killed Brandon Lee, still has nightmares about the unfortunate incident.

Brandon and his father Bruce Lee c. 1966

Brandon and his father Bruce Lee c. 1966

The incident happened during the shooting of a routine scene in which Lee walks into his apartment and gets shot by Massee’s character. What was supposed to happen was for a blank cartridge to be fired from the gun, however, events took an unexpected turn for the worse when Lee was fatally shot in the abdomen from 20 feet away. He died after six hours of surgery, on 31 March 1993, at the age of 28. And Michael Massee became unfairly remembered as the guy who killed Brandon Lee.

Later, it was explained by the firearms consultant James Moyer, that in the scene prior to the fatal one, a close-up shot of the gun was needed and, for a more realistic look, the gun had been loaded with dummy bullets.

 

Brandon Lee.Photo Credit

Brandon Lee.Photo Credit

 

The crew then replaced the dummy bullets with blanks but nobody could have known that a portion of one of the dummy bullets remained in the gun’s cylinder

Michael Massee in 2014. Photo credit

It just so happened that the dummy bullet dislodged from its casing and, consequently, when Massee pulled the trigger, the bullet discharged, causing Brandon Lee’s death.

At that moment, nobody even noticed how real the scene was and that the actor wasn’t acting, and when they saw blood on the floor, people realized that something had gone very wrong.

The grave site of Brandon Lee and his father, Bruce Lee.

Lee’s death had been ruled as an accident, and there were no criminal charges against Massee, but it didn’t save him from nightmares and suffering. He once said: “I don’t think you ever get over something like that”. He took a year off from acting and refused to watch the film. In an interview in 2005, he said that he still had nightmares about the incident.

Read another story from us: Influential writer William Burroughs accidentally shot and killed his wife while demonstrating his “William Tell act”

Massee was one of “those” who died in 2016. An amazing actor who appeared in movies such as “Se7en”, “Lost Highway”, “Tales from the Hood”, “The Amazing Spiderman”, and many others, he was sadly and unfairly remembered as the man who killed Brandon Lee on the setting of “The Crow”.