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Brendan Fraser Reveals He Had a Brush With Death While Filming ‘The Mummy’

Photo Credit: Conner / Universal Studios / MovieStillsDB
Photo Credit: Conner / Universal Studios / MovieStillsDB

Brendan Fraser recently revealed a near-death experience that left him barely hanging on while filming The Mummy (1999). The Academy Award-nominated actor made his return to Hollywood with his starring role in The Whale (2022), but all that almost changed with a fateful on-set malfunction.

Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz as Rick O'Connell and Evelyn Carnahan in 'The Mummy'
The Mummy, 1999. (Photo Credit: lisakenobi / Universal Studios / MovieStillsDB)

Brendan Fraser was born on December 3, 1968 in Indianapolis, Indiana, but grew up throughout the United States and Canada. After graduating from college in 1990, he traveled to Hollywood with plans of settling in New York City to study acting. However, he ended up remaining in Los Angeles.

Fraser made his film debut in Dogfight (1991), before landing the leading role in Encino Man the following year. After several box office flops, he found major success with the 1997 comedy, George of the Jungle. His biggest success came with the 1999 movie, The Mummy, which was followed by two sequels, The Mummy Returns (2001) and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008).

Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz as Rick O'Connell and Evelyn Carnahan in 'The Mummy'
The Mummy, 1999. (Photo Credit: Conner / Universal Studios / MovieStillsDB)

In a recent episode of The Kelly Clarkson Show (2019-present), Fraser revealed how a stunt gone wrong nearly cost him his life on the set of the first film, when he was “choked out accidentally” during a scene where he had to be hanged with a rope.

“I was standing on my toes like this with the rope and you only got so far to go,” he explained. “Stephen [the director] ran over and he said, ‘Hey, it doesn’t really look like you’re choking. Can you sell it?'”

The camera set up for one more take while Fraser “went up on my toes and the guy holding the rope above me, he pulled it up a little higher and I was stuck on my toes and I had nowhere to go but down. So he was pulling up and I was going down. And then the next thing I knew, my elbow was in my ear, the world was sideways and there was gravel in my teeth.”

Fraser went unconscious for a quick moment, before the stunt coordinator shook him awake and excitedly said, “Congratulations, you’re in the club – same thing happened to Mel Gibson on Braveheart.”

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After several years of hardship and depression following a tough divorce, the loss of his mother and struggling to come to terms with being abused by a former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association in 2003, Fraser made his triumphant return to the big screen in the moving, emotional indie flick, The Whale, which earned him the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role.

Elisabeth Edwards

Elisabeth Edwards is a public historian and history content writer. After completing her Master’s in Public History at Western University in Ontario, Canada Elisabeth has shared her passion for history as a researcher, interpreter, and volunteer at local heritage organizations.

She also helps make history fun and accessible with her podcast The Digital Dust Podcast, which covers topics on everything from art history to grad school.

In her spare time, you can find her camping, hiking, and exploring new places. Elisabeth is especially thrilled to share a love of history with readers who enjoy learning something new every day!

The Digital Dust Podcast