Robert Drew Morgan Cause of Death: The Tragic Accident That Ended His Career

Robert Drew Morgan, also known as Bob Morgan, was a Canadian-American actor who appeared in over 100 films and television shows from the 1930s to the 1990s. He is best remembered for his roles as Old John in The Culpepper Cattle Co. (1972) and Sephora’s father in The Ten Commandments (1956). However, his promising career was cut short by a horrific accident that occurred on the set of How the West Was Won (1962), which resulted in the loss of his left leg and severe injuries to his face and spine. Here is the story of Robert Drew Morgan’s cause of death and how he coped with the aftermath.

How the West Was Won: A Landmark Film with a Deadly Stunt

How the West Was Won was a monumental film that chronicled the history of America from the 1830s to the 1880s through the eyes of four generations of a family. The film featured an ensemble cast of Hollywood stars, such as James Stewart, John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Gregory Peck, Debbie Reynolds, and many more. The film was also notable for its use of Cinerama, a widescreen process that used three cameras and three projectors to create a panoramic effect on a curved screen.

One of the segments of the film, titled The Railroad, depicted the construction of the first transcontinental railroad in the 1860s. It involved a spectacular stunt that required a train to crash into a burning wagon on a bridge and plunge into a river below. The stunt was performed by Bob Morgan, who played a railroad worker named Zeb Rawlings.

The Accident That Changed Bob Morgan’s Life Forever

On August 20, 1961, Bob Morgan was preparing to perform the stunt at MGM’s backlot in Culver City, California. He was wearing a harness that was supposed to pull him away from the train before it hit the wagon. However, something went terribly wrong. According to Snopes, the harness malfunctioned and failed to release him in time. He was dragged along with the train as it crashed into the wagon and fell off the bridge.

The impact of the crash caused Morgan to be thrown under the train, where he was crushed by the wheels and the logs that were loaded on the flatcar. He suffered multiple fractures and lacerations to his face, spine, pelvis, and left leg. He was rushed to the hospital, where he underwent several surgeries and blood transfusions. Despite the doctors’ efforts, they could not save his left leg, which had to be amputated above the knee.

The accident not only ended Bob Morgan’s career as an actor but also left him with physical and emotional scars that lasted for the rest of his life. He had to endure chronic pain, infections, and depression. He also faced financial difficulties, as he had no insurance or compensation from MGM. According to Timenote, his contract with MGM assumed no responsibility for the accident.

Morgan sued MGM for negligence and breach of contract, seeking $1.4 million in damages. However, the case dragged on for years and was eventually settled out of court for an undisclosed amount in 1965. Morgan claimed that he received only $18,000 after paying his legal fees and medical bills.

Morgan also had to cope with the loss of his wife, Yvonne De Carlo, who divorced him in 1968 after 18 years of marriage. De Carlo was a famous actress who played Lily Munster in The Munsters (1964-1966) and Sephora in The Ten Commandments (1956). She had supported Morgan during his recovery but later admitted that she could not handle his mood swings and bitterness.

Bob Morgan’s Legacy: A Courageous Actor Who Never Gave Up

Despite his tragic accident, Bob Morgan never gave up on his passion for acting. He continued to appear in films and television shows until 1995, using a prosthetic leg and makeup to conceal his injuries. Some of his notable roles after the accident include Sheriff Ben Johnson in Support Your Local Sheriff! (1969), Sheriff Bledsoe in Support Your Local Gunfighter! (1971), Old John in The Culpepper Cattle Co. (1972), and Judge Roy Bean in The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972).

Morgan also became an advocate for disabled actors and helped establish the Screen Actors Guild’s Committee for Performers with Disabilities. He also wrote an autobiography titled Hollywood At My Feet: The True Story Of A Stuntman Who Lost His Leg In A Movie Stunt And Lived To Tell About It (1993), where he shared his experiences and insights on the film industry.

Bob Morgan died on February 22, 1999, at the age of 82, in Woodland Hills, California. He was cremated and his ashes were given to his family. He is survived by his two sons, Bruce and Michael, from his marriage with De Carlo.

Bob Morgan was a courageous actor who overcame a devastating accident that could have ended his life. He showed remarkable resilience and determination to pursue his dreams and inspire others. He is remembered as a talented and versatile performer who left a lasting mark on the history of cinema.

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