22 Celebrities Who Survived Being Shot

22 Celebrities Who Survived Being Shot

Along with praise and admiration, a life of fame can also unfortunately draw negative attention that makes celebrities targets for gun violence, whether they’re the victims of criminals out to make an easy buck, jealous rivals, or political operatives who seek to silence them. (Here are 30 famous musicians who were murdered.)

Sometimes, happily, those who are shot live to tell their story. To compile a list of celebrities who have been the victims of gun violence and survived, 24/7 Tempo gleaned information from archived news articles about famous people who have been shot from media sources such as the New York Times, The Guardian, and Rolling Stone

Although most were personally targeted, a handful of others were victims of random crimes, while a few accidentally shot themselves while handling or cleaning firearms. Two took bullets during their time as servicemen at war, and two were shot by romantic partners. While some of the assailants have seen justice, others have never been identified or prosecuted. 

Many of the performers who were shot have gone on to have successful careers. Some celebrities, on the other hand, haven’t been so lucky. Here are 20 movie and TV stars who died far too young.

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50 Cent
> Profession: Rapper
> Shot when: May 24, 2000
> Shot where: Outside his grandmother’s house

Days before the release of his debut album, rapper 50 Cent was shot nine times by an assailant whom federal investigators believe was associated with the rap label Murder Inc. The attempt may have been retribution for 50 Cent’s song “Ghetto Koran” that expounded on the crimes of a local crack kingpin, Kenneth “Supreme” McGriff. The debut album was never released, but 50 Cent has gone on to become an award-winning artist.

Source: Pictorial Parade / Archive Photos via Getty Images

Andy Warhol
> Profession: Visual artist
> Shot when: June 3, 1968
> Shot where: In his studio

At the height of his career, pop artist and cultural visionary Andy Warhol was shot in his famous Manhattan studio, The Factory, which was a gathering place for artists, intellectuals, and cultural misfits. The assailant, radical feminist and writer Valerie Solanas (author of the SCUM – the Society for Cutting Up Men – Manifesto) was later diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Although Warhol survived the shooting, he never fully recovered from his injuries.

Source: Eddie Mallin / Wikimedia Commons

Bob Marley
> Profession: Reggae musician
> Shot when: Dec. 3, 1976
> Shot where: In his home

Amidst a volatile political atmosphere in Jamaica, reggae musician Bob Marley scheduled a free concert for peace – the Smile Jamaica concert. He insisted that the concert be apolitical, although multiple parties sought his endorsement in upcoming elections. Two days before the event, seven men entered Marley’s compound and shot the singer, along with his wife, his manager, and a band member. All four victims survived and Marley went on to perform at the concert. No charges were ever brought against the assailants.

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Brandon Call
> Profession: Actor
> Shot when: Sep. 3, 1996
> Shot where: In his car

Nineteen-year-old “Baywatch” and “Step by Step” actor Brandon Call was driving alone when he noticed a car aggressively tailgating him. He pulled down a side street to let the car pass, but it followed him and the driver shot him in both arms. Call drove himself to the hospital and made a full recovery, while the assailant, a 19-year-old with a prior record, was arrested and convicted of attempted murder.

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Curly Howard
> Profession: Actor
> Shot when: 1915
> Shot where: In his home

An actor best known for his role in “the Three Stooges,” Curly Howard was 12 when he accidentally shot himself in the ankle while cleaning a rifle before a hunting trip. He refused surgery, so the bones healed in such a way that he was left with a limp. To hide his awkward gait, he invented the exaggerated walk that his Three Stooges character is known for.

Source: Jim Rogash / Getty Images

David Ortiz
> Profession: Baseball player
> Shot when: June 9, 2019
> Shot where: In a nightclub

While at a nightclub in Santo Domingo with his friend Sixto David Fernandez, Dominican-born former Red Sox player David Ortiz was shot in the back by a man who’d jumped off of a motorcycle. He sustained damage to multiple organs but underwent numerous surgeries and recovered. Multiple suspects were arrested for the shooting, which Dominican authorities believe was a paid hit that was meant to take out Fernandez, not Ortiz.

Source: Graham Denholm / Getty Images

> Profession: Rapper
> Shot when: Oct. 17, 2007
> Shot where: A parking garage

During a night out with friends, rapper Fabolous was shot in the thigh by an unknown assailant after leaving Justin’s, a Manhattan restaurant owned by Sean “Diddy” Combs. His entourage helped him into a vehicle, where they attempted to get him to a hospital but were pulled over for speeding and arrested for possessing unlicensed firearms. Fabolous was later treated at a local hospital and quickly recovered.

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Garrett Morris
> Profession: Comedian
> Shot when: 1994
> Shot where: On an LA street

Famous for his appearances on “Saturday Night Live” and “Martin,” Garrett Morris was 57 when he was shot twice during an attempted robbery in South Central LA. He was in serious condition after an initial surgery, and ended up needing nearly 10 operations. The actor was written off of “Martin” during his stint in the hospital, and wore a colostomy bag for months while he recovered from his injuries. His would-be robber was eventually convicted and imprisoned.

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

Jackie Wilson
> Profession: Singer
> Shot when: Feb. 15, 1961
> Shot where: In his apartment

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Jackie Wilson was a notorious womanizer. While married to his first wife, Freda Hood, he was shot by one of his girlfriends, Juanita Jones, who became enraged when he brought another woman home with him. He lost a kidney but recovered and continued performing. Fearing bad press, his management team devised a story in which an overzealous fan shot him; Jones was never prosecuted.

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James Garner
> Profession: Actor
> Shot when: April 23, 1951
> Shot where: In Korea

Before he began his long-running acting career (“Maverick,” “The Rockford Files”), a young James Garner joined the Army National Guard and served in the Korean War. He sustained facial injuries from a mortar round during an enemy assault, and then was shot in the rear by friendly fire from a U.S. strafing fighter as he jumped headfirst into a foxhole. He was awarded two Purple Hearts for his wounds.

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Jennifer O’Neill
> Profession: Actress
> Shot when: Oct. 23, 1982
> Shot where: In her home

Model and actress Jennifer O’Neill was 34 when she accidentally shot herself with her husband’s .38 caliber revolver. She had noticed that a safe in her bedroom was wide open with the gun lying in it, and became irate, as her young son was home and could have found it. When she picked up the gun to see if it was loaded, it discharged a bullet through her hip and abdomen.

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Kelly Preston
> Profession: Actress
> Shot when: 1990
> Shot where: In her home

While briefly engaged to Charlie Sheen, actress Kelly Preston was mysteriously shot in the wrist. Rumors that Sheen was the culprit circulated for years, but Preston never corroborated those claims and in a 2011 interview said that he hadn’t pulled the trigger. Sheen claims it was a freak accident in which Preston lifted a pair of his pants off the bathroom floor, causing his gun to fall out of the pocket, hit the floor, and discharge.

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Larry Flynt
> Profession: Hustler magazine publisher
> Shot when: Mar. 6, 1978
> Shot where: On the sidewalk

Amidst a trial in Georgia, producer Larry Flynt and his lawyer were both shot with a .44 calliber rifle as they walked to the courthouse. Flynt was paralyzed as a result of the shooting and used a wheelchair until his death in 2021. The shooter was Joseph Paul Franklin, a neo-Nazi serial killer who was disgusted by an interracial photo in Hustler and vowed to kill Flynt for it. Franklin was never brought to trial for the shooting but was eventually executed in Missouri for a previous murder.

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Lil Wayne
> Profession: Rapper
> Shot when: 1994
> Shot where: In his home

New Orleans native Lil Wayne began rapping at age eight, finding mentorship under Cash Money Records co-founder Birdman. At age 12, the young rapper’s mother told him he needed to end his rap associations, and he subsequently attempted suicide by shooting himself in the chest with his mother’s gun. Officers saved his life by driving him to the hospital instead of waiting for an ambulance to arrive.

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Marc Cohn
> Profession: Musician
> Shot when: Aug. 7, 2005
> Shot where: In a parking garage

While in a tour van with his band, singer Marc Cohn and his tour manager were both hit with the same bullet during an attempted carjacking in Denver. The shooter wasn’t successful in taking the vehicle, and was found by authorities hours later. He was eventually sentenced to 36 years in prison. Cohn – who had a bullet lodged in his temple – and his tour manager were treated for their injuries and released the next day.

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Megan Thee Stallion
> Profession: Rapper
> Shot when: July 12, 2020
> Shot where: In a car

During an altercation in a car after a Hollywood Hills party, rapper Megan Thee Stallion alleges that Tory Lanez shot her in both of her feet. Although officers responded to the shooting, she initially didn’t tell them he’d shot her because she feared that the officers might have a violent response to learning there was a gun in the vehicle. Lanez has been charged and has pleaded not guilty. The legal battle is ongoing.

Source: Juan Naharro Gimenez / Getty Images

Oliver Stone
> Profession: Film director
> Shot when: 1967 and 1968
> Shot where: In Vietnam

Before becoming a director, a young Oliver Stone enlisted in the Army and requested combat service in Vietnam, believing that war was a right of passage that he couldn’t miss. He was injured twice in combat, once by a bullet or shrapnel to the neck, and once by shrapnel to the legs and buttocks. He received a Bronze star for valor under fire and a Purple Heart. His experiences in Vietnam heavily informed some of his films, including “Platoon” and “Born on the Fourth of July.”

Source: Rich Fury / Stringer / Getty Images Entertainment

Peter Fonda
> Profession: Actor
> Shot when: Jan. 6, 1951
> Shot where: At Rock Hill Estate in Ossining, NY

While his father, actor Henry Fonda, was on a honeymoon with his new wife, 10-year-old Peter Fonda was staying at a Westchester County estate (now Cedar Lane Park) with friends, where he accidentally shot himself in the chest while loading a .22 caliber pistol at the estate shooting range. The bullet pierced his liver and kidney, and barely missed his heart. He received three blood transfusions and claimed he was pronounced dead at least once on the operating table.

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Suge Knight
> Profession: Music producer
> Shot when: Aug. 24, 2014
> Shot where: At a Sunset Strip nightclub

The record executive and co-founder of Death Row Records Suge Knight was at a pre-Video Music Awards party hosted by Chris Brown at the West Hollywood club 1 Oak, when he was shot seven times in the abdomen, chest, and arm. He was able to walk to the ambulance and was released from the hospital in three days. Although he refused to cooperate with the police investigation, he later sued Brown and 1 Oak for failing to have adequate security at the event.

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Trace Adkins
> Profession: Country musician
> Shot when: Feb. 21, 1994
> Shot where: In his home

During his second marriage, Trace Adkins was struggling with alcoholism and binge drinking, when his wife, Julie Curtis, reached a breaking point. She told him to leave then pointed a .38 at him. When Adkins tried to disarm her, she shot him in the chest, hitting his heart and both lungs. Trace narrowly survived and although the couple divorced, he refused to press charges against her.

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Tupac Shakur
> Profession: Rapper
> Shot when: Nov. 30, 1994
> Shot where: At QUAD Recording Studios

Although a shooting eventually took his life in 1996, rapper Tupac Shakur survived being shot five times during a robbery by three unknown assailants as he entered a Manhattan recording studio with his manager and a friend. Shakur believed that his friend, rapper Biggie Smalls, may have had a hand in orchestrating the robbery, and their friendship subsequently ended. No one was ever charged.

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