Top 10 celebrities who cheated death

22:15, Jun 11 2014
Death Cheats
SPURNING DEATH: Hugh Hefner, Isla Fisher and George W Bush had close encounters with the Grim Reaper.

Identifying with the problems of the rich and famous is generally confined to sympathising when they get snapped coming out of a takeaway in Sunday pants after a big night out.

But even though celebrities may otherwise seem to walk around in an untouchable bubble, they are mere mortals like the rest of us, and some have the scars to prove it.

Here is our list of famous people who have narrowly escaped a permanent date with the Grim Reaper.

1. What a Playboy
The man who has spent a lot of his life in bed nearly died there as well, but at least he would have gone doing what he loved. The Playboy founder Hugh Hefner revealed in 2009 the closest he had come to death was when he was having sex with four Playmates and "almost swallowed a Ben Wa ball". He later said his life flashed before his eyes, which, we imagine, would have included the occasional set of bunny ears.

2. The treasonous pretzel
On the topic of choking, then-President of the United States George W Bush had a close encounter of the salty kind while watching an American football match at the White House. Alone with his two dogs and chowing down on a pretzel, Bush apparently bit off more than he could chew, and began choking. He then blacked out and hit his head, and was sent to bed that night after switching his dinner to soup.

3. Stone the flamin' crows
Former Home and Away star Isla Fisher almost drowned filming the 2013 movie Now You See Me. Fisher was filming a stunt in a box full of water while handcuffed as part of a trick when she got stuck, and was underwater for almost four minutes before a nearby stuntman pulled the quick release safety mechanism, allowing her to escape.
Fisher later recalled the scene, which apparently remained in the final film, saying "everyone thought I was acting fabulously. I was actually drowning. No one realised I was actually struggling."


4. 9/11 near misses
Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane had a ticket to board American Airlines Flight 11 on September 11, 2001. MacFarlane's agent had told him the the wrong departure time and he missed by a few minutes boarding the plane which crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center.
Mark Wahlberg was also due to be on the same flight, but changed his plans at the last minute, stopping in Toronto for a film festival before returning to Los Angeles.
Australian Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe was also in New York on the day of the Word Trade Center attacks. Out for a jog, Thorpe planned to visit the observation deck of the World Trade Center, but returned to his hotel when he realised he had forgotten his camera. Turning on the TV, he saw the north tower on fire after it was hit by the hijacked American Airlines Flight 11.

5. Truly man's best friend
Drew Barrymore and Tom Green were saved from a house fire in the middle of the night in 2001 when their dog woke them up. The house suffered an estimated $800,000 in damages.

6. Change of underwear required
Actor Ryan Reynolds almost died in a skydiving accident when he was 17-years-old and his parachute failed. The Van Wilder star pulled the reserve, and later recalled he "got down on the ground, removed my urine-spackled jumpsuit, threw it at the guy, and got in my car and drove extremely slowly home. It was the worst."

7. Great balls of fire
Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker was one of only two survivors of a plane crash in 2008 that killed another four people. Barker said he opened a door and his hands caught fire, and he fell through a wing when he ran to get out of the plane.
"I immediately soaked up with jet fuel and caught fire. And then I was on fire, running like hell ... I'm completely naked, holding my genitals - everything else is on fire - and I'm running, trying to put myself out."

8. Dr Quinn needed a dose of her own medicine
When actress Jane Seymour was 36, she discovered she was allergic to penicillin when she was given an injection for a severe case of the flu. The allergic reaction nearly killed her, and Seymour, who played Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman, said she left her body, and could see doctors working to resuscitate her as her life flashed before her eyes.

9. Nearly went to heaven on a crazy train
Black Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osbourne says he should have been dead a thousand times, but perhaps had his closest brush with death in a quad bike accident in 2003 when he "saw the light". The bike landed on Ozzy's chest, crushing him, and leaving him with a broken collarbone, eight fractured ribs, and a damaged vertebrae. Quick thinking by his bodyguard ensured Ozzy was in a coma for eight days, rather than permanently on the other side. He characterised the accident as a turning point in his life when he was finally forced to "grow up".

10. Imma let you finish your list, but...
In October 2002, Kanye West was involved in a car accident that almost claimed his life. The impact of the crash broke his jaw in three places, and West had a metal plate implanted in his chin. It wasn't all bad news for the singer though - he was recording his debut album at the time, and his wired-shut jaw led him to record the hit single Through the Wire.