List of works published posthumously

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The following is a list of works that were published, performed or distributed posthumously (after the parties involved in its creation died).



Films whose director died before the release[edit]

Films whose screenwriter died before the release[edit]

Films whose actor/actress died before the release[edit]

In several cases, actors or actresses have died prior to the release of a film: either during filming or after it has been completed, but is yet to be released. In the case that the actor dies during filming, their scenes are often completed by stunt doubles, or through special effects. Only people who actually appear in some capacity in a posthumously released film are listed here. Those who were scheduled to start a project, but died before filming began, are not included.


  • A Dash Through the Clouds (1912), released just twenty three days after aviator and actor Philip Orin Parmelee's death in a plane crash; he was piloting an airplane at an air show in Yakima, Washington, on June 1, 1912, at altitudes variously described from 400 to 2,000 feet, when air turbulence flipped over his airplane and caused it to crash, killing him instantly.[4][5]
  • Across the Border (1914), released over a month after Grace McHugh's death during filming; while on location on the Arkansas River in Colorado, re-shooting a scene of McHugh fording the river on horseback, her horse lost its footing, and the actress was thrown into the swift current. Cinematographer Owen Carter stopped filming and plunged into the river to save her; together they succeeded in reaching a sandbar, which unfortunately proved to be quicksand, and they both drowned. Shooting of the picture was otherwise complete, and the film was released with the majority of Grace McHugh's work intact.
  • The Great Romance (1919), Shadows of Suspicion (1919), and A Man of Honor (1919), all released after Harold Lockwood's death in the 1918 flu pandemic; because he died before filming on Shadows of Suspicion was completed, changes were made to the script, and the film was completed using a double shot from behind to stand in for Lockwood.
  • The Lone Star Ranger (1919), Wolves of the Night (1919), The Last of the Duanes (1919), and The Spite Bride (1919), all released after Lamar Johnstone's death at the age of 34.
  • Paid in Advance (1919), released six days after William Stowell's death in a train accident, while scouting locations for Universal in the Belgian Congo.


  • The Skywayman (1920), released just over a month after daredevil stunt flier and actor Ormer Locklear's death on the last day of filming; while shooting the finale by night, Locklear had to dive the plane, carrying himself and co-pilot Milton 'Skeets' Elliott, towards some oil derricks and appear to crash it. He forewarned the lighting crew to douse their lights when he got near the derricks, so that he could see to pull out of the dive; the lights remained full on, blinding him, and he crashed. The finished film showed this crash, and its aftermath, in gruesome detail.
  • Everybody's Sweetheart (1920), released less than a month after Olive Thomas's death, at the age of 25; on the night of September 5, 1920, Thomas and her husband, Jack Pickford, went out for a night of entertainment and partying at the famous bistros in the Montparnasse Quarter of Paris. Returning to their room in the Hotel Ritz around 3:00 a.m., Pickford either fell asleep or was outside the room for a final round of drugs. An intoxicated and tired Thomas accidentally ingested a large dose of a mercury bichloride liquid solution, which had been prescribed for her husband's chronic syphilis. Being liquid it was supposed to be applied topically, not ingested.[6] She had either thought the flask contained drinking water or sleeping pills; accounts vary. The label was in French, which may have added to the confusion. She screamed, "Oh, my God!", and Pickford ran to pick her up in his arms; however, it was too late, as she had already ingested a lethal dose.[7] She was taken to the American Hospital in the Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine, where she succumbed to the poison a few days later.
  • Coincidence (1921), released a year after Robert Harron's suicide; he fatally shot himself in the left lung with a revolver due to disappointment that director and mentor D.W. Griffith had passed him over for the starring role in Way Down East.
  • Foolish Wives (1922), released almost a year after Rudolph Christians's death from pneumonia; the German actor, father of Austrian stage and screen actress Mady Christians, was playing the central part of the cuckolded American envoy in Erich von Stroheim's film. As Christians died in the middle of production, von Stroheim was forced to bring in actor Robert Edeson (back to camera) to finish Christians's scenes.
  • Wildness of Youth (1922), released nearly two months after child star Bobby Connelly's death from bronchitis, brought on by a years-long battle with endocarditis and worsened by a heavy work schedule; Connelly was 13 years old.[8]
  • The Warrens of Virginia (1924), almost a year after actress Martha Mansfield's death at the age of 24; on November 30, 1923, while working on location in San Antonio, Texas on the film The Warrens of Virginia, Mansfield was severely burned when a match, tossed by a cast member, ignited her Civil War costume of hoopskirts and flimsy ruffles. Mansfield was playing the role of Agatha Warren and had just finished her scenes and retired to a car when her clothing burst into flames. Her neck and face were saved when leading man Wilfred Lytell threw his heavy overcoat over her. The chauffeur of Mansfield's car was burned badly on his hands while trying to remove the burning clothing from the actress. The fire was put out, but she sustained substantial burns to her body. She was rushed to a Physicians and Surgeons Hospital in San Antonio, where she died in less than twenty-four hours; however, most of Mansfield's scenes had already been shot, so production on the film continued.
  • Greed (1924), released nearly a year after Frank Hayes's death from pneumonia.
  • Son of the Sheik (1926), was publicly released a month following Rudolph Valentino's death from peritonitis, although the premiere was a month prior to Valentino's death.
  • Two Masters (1928), released nearly a month after Rex Cherryman's death from septic poisoning, which he contracted while sailing to France to read for a play in Paris; he died in Le Havre, France at age 31.
  • The Rush Hour (1928), released almost five months after Ward Crane's death from pneumonia, following an attack of pleurisy that sent him to a rest cure lodge at Saranac Lake, New York.
  • The Wedding March (1928), released a year after the deaths of both George Nichols and Hughie Mack.
  • The Hottentot (1929), The Argyle Case (1929), and The Drake Case (1929), all released after Gladys Brockwell's death in an automobile accident; the car, driven by her friend Thomas Brennan, went over an 75-foot (23 m) embankment on the Ventura Highway near Calabasas, and Brockwell, the passenger, ended up crushed beneath it. Brennan later said that a bit of dust had blown into his eye before the accident, temporarily blinding him. Seriously injured, Brockwell died a few days later in a Hollywood hospital from peritonitis; Brennan eventually recovered from his own injuries.


  • The Sea Wolf (1930), released six days after Milton Sills's death from a heart attack, while playing tennis with his wife at his Santa Barbara, California home.
  • The Miracle Man (1932), less than five months after Tyrone Power, Sr.'s death. Power was in the midst of filming the title role in a remake of the 1919 film, but collapsed and died of a heart attack in the arms of his son, Tyrone Power, Jr., while on the set; Power's part was taken up by Hobart Bosworth, but his work was not refilmed.
  • Thirteen Women (1932), released the night of Peg Entwistle's suicide by jumping off the Hollywood Sign.
  • Shoot the Works (1934), released just over a month after Lew Cody's death from heart disease and Dorothy Dell's death in a car accident.
  • Wake Up and Dream (1934), released just over a month after Russ Columbo's death in a shooting accident; the singer was shot under peculiar circumstances by his longtime friend, photographer Lansing Brown, while Columbo was visiting him at home. Brown had a collection of firearms and the two men were examining various pieces. Quoting Brown's description of the accident,[9] "I was absent-mindedly fooling around with one of the guns. [...] I had a match in my hand and when I clicked, apparently the match caught in between the hammer and the firing pin. There was an explosion. Russ slid to the side of his chair." The ball ricocheted off a nearby table and hit Columbo above the left eye. Surgeons at Good Samaritan Hospital made an unsuccessful attempt to remove the ball from Columbo's brain; he died less than six hours after the shooting.[10][11] Columbo's death was ruled an accident, and Brown exonerated from blame.[12][13]
  • Jew Suss (1934), released six months after Gerald du Maurier's death from colon cancer.
  • Steamboat Round the Bend (1935) and In Old Kentucky (1935), both released months after Will Rogers's death in an airplane crash; while being flown through Alaska by famed aviator Wiley Post, they became uncertain of their position in bad weather and landed in a lagoon to ask directions. On takeoff, the engine failed at low altitude, and the aircraft, uncontrollably nose-heavy at low speed, plunged into the lagoon, shearing off the right wing and ending inverted in the shallow water of the lagoon; both men died instantly.
  • Frankie and Johnnie (1936), released over two years after Lilyan Tashman's death from abdominal cancer.
  • Counterfeit (1936) and Poppy (1936), both released just two months after character actor Tammany Young's death from a heart attack.
  • The Devil-Doll (1936), released almost a month after Henry B. Walthall's death from influenza and a nervous condition.
  • Saratoga (1937), following Jean Harlow's death, with 90% of filming completed; a body double and two voice doubles completed the filming in Harlow's role.[14]
  • Rikas tyttö (1939), released less than two months after Finnish actress Sirkka Sari's death; Sari played the lead role in the film. At a party with the rest of the cast and crew, while shooting at the Aulanko Hotel, Sari and one of the men there (she was engaged, but the man was not her fiancee) went up to the roof of the hotel; on the flat roof, there was a several-feet high chimney, with a ladder leading up to the top. Sari mistook this chimney for a scenery balcony, climbed up, and fell into a heating boiler, where she died instantly. Because of Sari's death, the end of the film needed to be changed a bit; the crew shot further away, and so another woman had to replace Sari on these final shots. It was only Sari's third film; she was 19 years old.


  • The Masked Marvel (1943), released two months after David Bacon's mysterious death; he was seen driving a car erratically in Santa Monica, California before running off the road and into the curb. Several witnesses saw him climb out of the car and stagger briefly before collapsing. As they approached, he asked them to help him, but he died before he could say anything more. A small knife wound was found in his back – the blade had punctured his lung and caused his death. When he died, Bacon was wearing only a swimsuit, and a wallet and camera were found in his car. The film from the camera was developed and found to contain only one image, that of Bacon, nude and smiling on a beach.
  • Captain America (1944), whose later segments arrived at theatres following Dick Purcell's death from a heart attack, just a few weeks after shooting had wrapped.
  • Hangover Square (1945), two months after Laird Cregar's death, due to complications from stomach surgery following a crash diet that included prescribed amphetamines.
  • Having A Wonderful Crime (1945), released nine months after Mildred Harris's death from pneumonia.
  • House of Horrors (1946) and The Brute Man (1946), both released after Rondo Hatton's death from a heart attack, due to his acromegaly.
  • Lost City of the Jungle (1946), following Lionel Atwill's death, from pneumonia caused by poor health due to lung cancer, while filming this serial; Atwill was playing the mastermind villain, Sir Eric Hazarias, a chief foreign spy. Universal could not afford to throw out the footage already filmed, so they were forced to adapt the serial: Firstly, another villain (Malborn, played by John Mylong, who was originally just a servant of Sir Eric) was introduced as the boss of Atwill's character to take over most of the villain requirements of the film; secondly, a double of Atwill was used to complete his remaining scenes. The double was filmed from behind and remained silent. The villain's henchmen were filmed repeating their orders back to the silent double and stock footage of Atwill was edited in to show a response.
  • The Naked City (1948), released over two months after producer and narrator Mark Hellinger's death from a sudden heart attack; after Hellinger's death, executives at Universal Studios were ready to scrap the film, as they had no idea how to market it, and feared it would be a box office failure. Hellinger's widow, however, reminded the studio that Hellinger's contract for the film included a "guarantee of release" clause from Universal; having no choice, Universal released the film into theaters, and were subsequently surprised when it became a hit, garnering two Oscars for the studio.
  • Noose (1948) and Brass Monkey (1948), both released after Carole Landis's suicide; Landis was reportedly crushed when her lover, actor Rex Harrison, refused to divorce his wife, Lilli Palmer, for her. Unable to cope any longer, she committed suicide at her Pacific Palisades home by taking an overdose of Seconal.[15][16] She had spent her final night alive with Harrison; the next afternoon, he and the maid discovered her on the bathroom floor. Harrison waited several hours before he called a doctor and the police.[17] According to some sources, Landis left two suicide notes; one for her mother, and the second for Harrison, who instructed his lawyers to destroy it.[18] During a coroner's inquest, Harrison denied knowing any motive for her suicide and told the coroner he did not know of the existence of a second suicide note.[19]
  • Red River (1948) and So Dear to My Heart (1948), both released after Harry Carey's death from a combination of lung cancer, emphysema, and coronary thrombosis in 1947; both films had been delayed due to lengthy post-production problems, including the addition of several animated sequences to the latter, a Disney film.



  • The Misfits (1961), released on what would have been actor Clark Gable's 60th birthday; he had died three months earlier of a heart attack, brought on in part, according to later reports, by the stress of difficulties working with co-star Marilyn Monroe.[citation needed]
  • Advise & Consent (1962), where, appearing in two scenes as Senator McCafferty, who whenever awakened from a deep sleep automatically responds "Opposed, sir! Opposed!", was 87-year-old Henry F. Ashurst, one of the first senators elected by the state of Arizona and served five terms. Ashurst died on May 31, 1962, a week before the film's premiere. Although not posthumous, it also proved to be veteran actor Charles Laughton's final film; he made it while suffering from terminal bone cancer, and died later that year.
  • From Russia with Love (1963). released nearly four months after Pedro Armendáriz's suicide, following a long development of cancer that turned terminal during filming.
  • A Tiger Walks (1964), released just over three months after Sabu Dastagir's sudden death from a heart attack; he was only 39.
  • Muscle Beach Party (1964) and The Patsy (1964), both released after Peter Lorre's death from a stroke.
  • The Pumpkin Eater (1964), released three months after Cedric Hardwicke's death from emphysema.
  • The Glass Bottom Boat (1966), released three months after Alice Pearce's death from ovarian cancer.
  • The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming (1966) and Incubus (1966), both released after Milos Milos's suicide in January 1966; the latter film was released just twelve days after Milos's co-star, Ann Atmar, also committed suicide.
  • A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966), following Buster Keaton's death from lung cancer.
  • Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966), released a month after John Reynolds's suicide; it was the only film appearance of Reynolds, who played the infamous character Torgo in the film.
  • Casino Royale (1967), released less than a month after Duncan Macrae's death.
  • The Gnome-Mobile (1967), released over a year after Ed Wynn's death from throat cancer.
  • The Jungle Book (1967), released over ten months after Verna Felton's death from a stroke; Felton had voiced Colonel Hathi's wife, Winifred the elephant, in the film. (Note: The film's producer, Walt Disney, died the day after Felton.)
  • Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967), released six months after Spencer Tracy's death from a heart attack and emphysema. Tracy died only seventeen days after filming wrapped, and was in failing health during the shoot — the filming schedule was altered to accommodate him.[20] All of Tracy's scenes were filmed between 9:00 AM and noon of each day in order to give him adequate time to rest.[21] For example, most of Tracy's dialogue scenes were filmed in a such a way that during close-ups on other characters, a stand-in was substituted for him.[22] Tracy posthumously received his ninth Oscar nomination for his work on the film.[23]
  • The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967) and Billion Dollar Brain (1967), both released after Françoise Dorléac's death at the age of 25; the older sister of French actress Catherine Deneuve died when she lost control of the rented Renault 10 she was driving and hit a sign post ten kilometers from Nice at the end of the Esterel-Côte d'Azur motorway. The car flipped over, and burst into flames. Dorléac had been en route to Nice airport and was afraid of missing her flight. She was seen struggling to get out of the car, but was unable to open the door; police later identified her body only from the fragment of a cheque book, a diary, and her driving license.
  • Skidoo (1968), released about four months following Phil Arnold's death from a heart attack; another cast member, Fred Clark, died only two weeks prior to the film's release.
  • The Night They Raided Minsky's (1968), over a year after noted comic actor Bert Lahr's death from pneumonia and undiagnosed terminal cancer; while working on the film, Lahr agreed to shoot an extensive night scene outdoors in New York City on a cold December night, causing him to develop the pneumonia that killed him. Due to his death occurring in the middle of production, his role was posthumously made smaller, and what footage needed to be reshot for scenes where Lahr had completed his close-ups employed burlesque legend Joey Faye, shot from behind, to fill in for Lahr.
  • Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), released seven months after Al Mulock's suicide; Mulock, a noted Canadian character actor, played the gunslinger Knuckles in the opening sequence. This sequence, the last filmed in Spain on the production, was scheduled for four days; Mulock committed suicide after the third day's shooting, for reasons that are still unclear, by jumping from his hotel room window, several floors up, in full costume. Production manager Claudio Mancini and screenwriter Mickey Knox, who were sitting in a room in the hotel, witnessed Mulock's body pass by their window. Knox recalled in an interview that while Mancini put Mulock, still in his costume, in his car to drive him to the hospital, director Sergio Leone said to Mancini, "Get the costume! We need the costume!" As Mulock had already shot most of his close-ups and a few medium and wide shots, only a double, of similar height and build, was needed to complete the sequence; looking similar enough to pass, screenwriter Knox was drafted into taking Mulock's place for those shots.[24] Mulock's absence is obvious in the last few minutes of the sequence; while the other two gunslingers, played by Woody Strode and Jack Elam, get close-up reaction shots to Charles Bronson's character, Knuckles gets none before he is shot to death.
  • The Wild Bunch (1969), released over a year after Albert Dekker's death by autoerotic asphyxiation; Dekker had played Pat Harrigan, the unscrupulous railroad detective, in the film.
  • The Thirteen Chairs (1969), following Sharon Tate's death; it was her last film before her murder.










Note: Records released after the split of a band are also sometimes referred as "posthumous", even if all members are still alive.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The 51st Academy Awards (1979) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 2011-10-06. 
  2. ^ "NY Times: The Lovers' Wind". NY Times. Retrieved 2008-11-16. 
  3. ^ Oscar trivia
  4. ^ "Aviator Parmelee Plunges to Death. Caught by Treacherous Gust of Wind While Giving Exhibition Flight in Washington State.". New York Times. June 2, 1912. Retrieved 2007-07-21. Philip Parmelee, the aviator, was killed here today while giving an exhibition flight from the fair grounds. Parmalee was the flying partner of Clifford Turpin, whose airship flew into the grandstand at Seattle Thursday, killing two persons and injuring fifteen. 
  5. ^ "Parmalee is Killed". Los Angeles Times. June 2, 1912. Retrieved 2009-08-04. Aviation Star Has Fatal Fall. Graduate of Wright School Meets His Death at North Yakima, Wash. Biplane in High Wind Flutters and Dives from Four Hundred Feet. His Fiancee Is Among First to Reach Crushed Body of Fallen Birdman. Gives Life as Toll to Aerial Navigation. 
  6. ^ Long, Bruce. Editor. The Life and Death of Olive Thomas. Taylorology Newsletter. Issue 33, September 1995.
  7. ^ Lussier, Tim. "The Mysterious Death of Olive Thomas". 
  8. ^ New York Times "BOBBY" CONNELLY DEAD.; Child Screen Star Dies of Bronchitis at His Home...(Friday July 7, 1922)
  9. ^ "Russ Columbo Dies By Accidental Shot". The Miami News. 3 September 1934. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  10. ^ "Bullet Fired Accidentally Kills Singer". The Evening Independent. 3 September 1934. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  11. ^ "Russ Columbo Is Accidentally Slain". The Rock Hill Herald. 4 September 1934. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  12. ^ "Columbo's Death Held Accidental". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 6 September 1934. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  13. ^ "Coroner's Jury Hears Story of Colombo's Death". Berkeley Daily Gazette. 5 September 1934. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f g Jonathan Duffy (2008-02-20). "How do you replace a film star?". BBC News. Retrieved 2008-04-09. 
  15. ^ Parish, James Robert (2002). The Hollywood Book of Death: The Bizarre, Often Sordid, Passings of More Than 125 American Movie and TV Idols (3 ed.). Contemporary Books. p. 315. ISBN 0-8092-2227-2. 
  16. ^ Gans, Eric Lawrence (2008). "The Good Die Young (1948)". Carole Landis: A Most Beautiful Girl. University Press of Mississippi. pp. 197–199. ISBN 978-1-60473-013-5. Retrieved 13 June 2009. 
  17. ^ Mosby, Aline (July 6, 1948). "Carole Landis Mystery Death Clues Hunted". Oakland Tribune. p. 1. 
  18. ^ Gans, Eric Lawrence (2008). Carole Landis: A Most Beautiful Girl. Univ. Press of Mississippi. p. 190. ISBN 1-60473-013-7. 
  19. ^ Actor Rex Harrison answering questions from coroner Ira Nance at inquiry on Carol Landis' suicide, a July 1948 Los Angeles Times photograph from the UCLA Charles E. Young Research Library website
  20. ^ Davidson, Bill (1987). Spencer Tracy, Tragic Idol. E. P. Dutton. pp. 206–209. ISBN 0-525-24631-2. 
  21. ^ Andersen,p.295.
  22. ^ Edwards,p.337.
  23. ^ a b
  24. ^ "Articles". Fistful-of-Leone. Retrieved 2012-03-18. 
  25. ^ Obituary Variety, August 1, 1984.
  26. ^ Roy Kinnear Is Dead At 54 After Falling From Horse in Film Susan Heller Anderson, September 23, 1988 The New York Times, accessed 28 April 2008
  27. ^ Weber, Bruce, "Maury Chaykin, Character Actor, Dies at 61"; The New York Times, July 29, 2010
  28. ^ "Whitney Houston, 48, found dead in Beverly Hills". Los Angeles Times. February 11, 2012. Retrieved February 11, 2012. 
  29. ^ Friscolanti, Michael (May 1, 2012). "Jonathan Frid". Macleans. Archived from the original on November 7, 2012. Retrieved June 24, 2012. 
  30. ^ Fox, Margalit (April 20, 2012). "Jonathan Frid, Ghoulish ‘Dark Shadows’ Star, Is Dead at 87". The New York Times. Archived from the original on November 7, 2012. 
  31. ^ Catalogue of first editions of Stephen C. Foster (1826–1864). Library of Congress. p. 9.
  32. ^ "Classic Rock Review". Retrieved 2012-03-18. 
  33. ^