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Top 10 Shocking 'The Show Must Go On' Moments

VO: Rebecca Brayton

Script written by Sandra Argese.

It’s true: sometimes the show MUST go on. Whether it’s because Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters broke his leg at a concert, Harrison Ford contracted diarrhea while on the set of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, Paul Walker died in the middle of filming Furious 7, or Freddie Mercury had to record The Show Must Go On while dying of AIDS, some celebrities have overcome personal tragedy, injury or illness to do their jobs. WatchMojo counts down ten shocking ‘The Show Must Go On’ moments.

Special thanks to our user christo for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at http://WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top%2010%20Times%20the%20Show%20Had%20to%20Go%20on


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Script written by Sandra Argese.

Top 10 Times the Show Had to Go On

These performers take dedication to a whole new level. Welcome to and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 times the show had to go on.

For this list, we’re looking at unique entertainment-based events throughout history where well-known individuals have risen above personal injury or tragedy to give the public what they want. We’re including stories from film, TV and music, but are excluding sports related incidents like Michael Jordan’s historic flu game, because that’s a list for another day.

#10: Can Anybody Play the Drums?
The Who

November 20th, 1973 - the first concert on the American leg of the Quadrophenia tour - is a memorable date in the history of The Who. Why? Blissed out on a mixture of brandy and tranquillisers, Keith Moon passed out on his drum kit during the band’s performance of “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” Despite the fact that the song suddenly had no drumbeat, the band continued to play. Having received an injection of cortisone, Moon returned to the stage only to pass out again soon after. Guitarist Pete Townshend then asked the crowd “Can anybody play the drums? I mean somebody good!” 19 year old Scot Halpin took his chance, and manned the kit for a three song set.

#9: Broken Ankle? No Problem
Jackie Chan

Martial arts action comedies don’t get much better than when Jackie Chan is in the lead role. While “Rumble in the Bronx” was a hit with fans and critics alike, that success came at a price for the leading man. In true Jackie Chan style, he performed his own stunts, including a scene which involved jumping from a bridge to a hovercraft. Despite landing awkwardly and subsequently breaking his ankle, the single shot was used in the final cut of the film. With much of the filming left, Chan refused to halt production and soldiered on, wearing a cast wrapped with a sock cleverly painted to resemble a sneaker.

#8: Break a Leg!
Dave Grohl

The term “break a leg” was taken to a whole other level for Foo Fighters front man Dave Grohl during a 2015 concert in Sweden. During the second song of the night, Grohl accidentally took a tumble and subsequently broke his leg. A concerned audience soon turned cheerful, as Grohl made light of the situation by jokingly singing the David Bowie and Queen classic “Under Pressure” and then promising that he would return after a small trip to the hospital. For the next hour, the remaining Foo Fighters continued with drummer Taylor Hawkins taking lead vocals. On crutches or in a chair, Grohl eventually returned to finish the show. Bad. Ass.

#7: Indiana Jones and the Case of the Traveler’s Diarrhea
Harrison Ford

During filming of the first instalment of the “Indiana Jones” franchise, Harrison Ford contracted an unwanted case of dysentery. His illness meant that he was unable to be away from his trailer for more than ten minutes at a time for... well, toilet reasons. The result of this was the iconic Arab swordsman fight scene, which saw Ford take care of business quickly, by simply shooting his opponent rather than engaging in the planned duel. Not willing to let injury or sickness get in his way, he continued the trend in 1993’s “The Fugitive” by refusing surgery after damaging ligaments in his leg. That’s classic Harrison Ford for you!

#6: Blood Boiled Up
Leonardo DiCaprio

Leonardo DiCaprio has delivered several memorable performances throughout the years, and this moment is proof of his ability to create cinematic gold. In a scene where his character Monsieur Calvin J. Candie angrily realizes that guests of his estate have plotted against him, he slams his hand violently down on a dining room table. DiCaprio became so invested in the moment that he missed the table and slammed his hand right into a glass, slicing his skin open. Despite a heavily bleeding hand and the clear shock from fellow cast members, the camera kept rolling. DiCaprio stayed in character and used the bloody wound as an added dramatic element, further heightening the tension of the already-intense scene.

#5: Courageously Going Live
Vanessa Hudgens

A matter of hours before Vanessa Hudgens was due for a performance in the 2016 live adaptation of Grease, her father passed away due to cancer. Vowing to perform the show in his honor, she took the stage and nailed it. Hudgens excelled in her performance of Rizzo’s famous emotional love ballad “There Are Worse Things I Could Do,” which was a testament to her true ability as an entertainer and fighter. Messages of support dominated social media, and rightly so, because performing under those circumstances on television - let alone live television - was surely not easy.

#4: Playing a Concert Just Hours After Parents’ Deaths
‘Weird Al’ Yankovic

Described as the most painful moment and day of his life, Weird Al Yankovic received the news of his parents’ deaths only hours before he was due to take the stage for a show. Their accidental death due to carbon monoxide poisoning from their home fireplace left the comedic artist distraught, particularly as his relationship with them was incredibly strong. Yankovic is quoted as saying “Since my music helped many of my fans through tough times, maybe it would work for me as well,” and grieved their loss by taking the stage.

#3: Paul Walker’s Death Before the End of Production
Cast and Crew of “Furious 7”

The world stopped to grieve when Paul Walker, a beloved staple of not only the cinematic universe, but also a well-loved humanitarian, died in a car accident in 2013. Although this loss of life took place during the filming of the seventh instalment of the Fast and Furious franchise, production continued with some script alterations and the redevelopment of his character. Similar in style to the completion of “Gladiator” after the death of Oliver Reed, “Furious 7” used effective CGI, with his brothers Caleb and Cody Walker used as stand-ins. It was a combination of the emotionally rich filmmaking and the support of Walker’s family which saw not only to the completion of the film, but also to one of the most moving movie character send-offs in recent cinematic history.

#2: Apocalyptic Heart Attack
Martin Sheen

During the making of the 1979 classic “Apocalypse Now,” Martin Sheen suddenly began to profusely sweat and experience devastating pains in his chest following a physically exhausting day of filming. Managing to scramble outside the cabin he was staying in, he struggled to keep his balance and was found a quarter of a mile away by a security guard. After receiving adequate medical attention, it was discovered that he’d had a heart attack. Despite the vast health complications and having come face to face with potential death, he lived to not only tell the tale, but also to continue filming the movie, returning to the set just over a month later.

Before we keep the show going with our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
- Helmet Kick Causes 2 Broken Toes

Viggo Mortensen

- Feverish But Still ‘Singin’ in the Rain’

Gene Kelly

- John Wick, the Flu and the Nightclub Fight Scene

Keanu Reeves

#1: The Show Must Go On
Freddie Mercury

Considering that the one and only Freddie Mercury recorded the appropriately titled song “The Show Must Go On” despite chronic illness and his impending death from HIV/AIDs complications, it’s safe to say his dedication to Queen and to his fans was beyond courageous. Given that his illness was not publicly known at the time and that his health was quickly declining, no new footage for a music video was filmed. Instead, they put together a montage from their previous music videos. When it came to actually record the tune, however, Mercury pulled through; he exclaimed, “I’ll f***ing do it, darling!” and downed a glass of vodka. The result was an utterly passionate vocal performance that he reportedly nailed in a single take.

Do you agree with our list? What do you think is the most impressive time that a show had to go on? For more memorable top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to

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