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People who have Died on Live TV

By Yona Williams    4/28/12

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With the cameras rolling and audience members in place, no one expects to see a loss of life unfold in front of their very eyes. However, in some circumstances, there have been people that have died on live television, including a sports TV commentator.

J.I. Rodale (1898 to 1971)

Born in 1898, J.I. Rodale was an editor, author, playwright and publisher who made a living publishing various organic farming magazines. In 1971, he appeared on The Dick Cavett Show, where he gave an interview. Following his question and answer session, Cavett brought out his second guest while Rodale was still on the stage. During the interview, Rodale emitted a noise that sounded like snoring. The audience laughed at this, but before the camera zoomed in on his face. Hamill jokingly added, 'This looks bad." The audience still laughed although Cavett did not. He sensed that something was not right. Two interns rushed onto the stage and tried to revive Rodale, but he was unresponsive. During the interview, Rodale had ironically stated that he was going to live to be 100 and that he never felt better in his life.

Franco Scoglio (to 2005)

Scoglio was an Italian football manager and sport TV commenter that worked on both a national and international level – coaching national teams such as Tunisia and Libya. While on the air during a program called Primocanale, which aired on a private Genoan TV station, he suffered a heart attack. At the time, he was engaging in a passionate discussion with the chairman of Genoa, Enrico Presiosi. Scoglio passed out in his seat. Preziosi was unaware of what had happened on the other end of the call, and continued to speak. Scoglio was 64 years old when he died.

Owen Hart (1965 to 1999)

Wrestlers are constantly putting on a show for their fans and one of the most popular draws are the Pay-per-View events that showcases the talents of several different personas at one time. Owen Hart was a Canadian wrestler who earned multiple titles during his career – especially while working under the WCW and the WWF. During his arrival to the ring to compete in the Intercontinental Championship match with The Godfather, Hart died on May 23, 1999. The match was being televised for the Over-The-Edge pay-per-view special. The plan was to lower him into the ring with the help of a harness. He was supposed to be dropped about one meter from the surface to get laughs from the audience.

However, the harness did not work properly and he was let go too early. He wound up falling 78 feet to his death. He first landed on his chest – hitting the top rope. His body then shot into the middle of the ring. After the incident, Hart sat up for a moment before slipping out of consciousness. He was rushed to the hospital, but when he arrived – he was pronounced dead on arrival. Internal bleeding associated with a severed aorta was to blame for his death.

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