6 Action Stars Who Survived Stuff That Would Kill Superman

The most common superhero power is some form of invulnerability so that every issue of Spider-Man and Superman won't end with a cosplayer getting pummeled to near death by burglars. Being bulletproof really allows you to not sweat the small stuff and focus on bigger issues, like a giant death ray being pointed at city hall or a man that can fucking control metal.

But just because we regular humans can't take hundreds of rounds to the torso or fall off a building without putting our internal organs on street display, it doesn't mean that, in history, there aren't people who have survived things that would annihilate a regular, hapless mortal. And some of these people happen to be the stars of films where a majority of the characters could all get together to laugh about the ineffectiveness of bombs on their skin. You might call it irony, but I prefer to think of it as "secret method acting."

#6. Commissioner Gordon Fell Down an Elevator Shaft

Via Batman.wikia.com

The Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher Batman films are not kind to Commissioner Gordon. He is useless before Batman even shows up, and his ineptitude is amplified infinitely by being in proximity to a guy with a rocket car and little fetish-shaped boomerangs. I can only dream of having the fortitude required to wake up every morning in a neon-lit city that has deemed police irrelevant, while still thinking, "Maybe I could be of help today." As someone who went to school with the idea of perhaps getting a job in print journalism, I totally feel you, commissioner.

Pat Hingle plays Commissioner Gordon in this series, and while he is most known for his tenure in Gotham's incompetent law enforcement, he'd had a long career as a dependable actor, whose body of work comprised Broadway and film. His actual body was also found to be dependably resilient in 1960, when he discovered that the elevator in his apartment building had become stuck between the second and third floors, with him still inside. While myself getting stuck in that situation would probably result in tears and a YouTube video entitled "Skinny guy stuck in elevator screams for help and pees," Hingle decided that it wasn't up to elevators or gravity to decide when he would be able to reach his stop, and he tried to climb out onto the second floor.

Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images
"Hey, buddy, while you're at it, can you press the 'Mock Fate' button for me?"

The one undependable part of Hingle's entire being was his balance, because he slipped and fell 54 feet to the bottom of the elevator shaft. This led to the creation of my sole Batman fan script, in which Commissioner Gordon accidentally kills the inventor of the elevator's parents and their lonely young son swears revenge. I call it Batman: Freefall, and I will never have a wife.

Hingle fractured his skull, wrist, hip, and a majority of his left ribs. His left leg was broken in three places, and his left hand's little finger attempted to escape the scene of the accident. If you need a visual, watch this Mortal Kombat compilation, which will explain more than any doctor ever could.

For two weeks, it was unclear whether Hingle would survive, but, to the complete indifference of the population of Batman Returns, he did, though it took him over a year to recover completely. Considering that Burton regarded Batman comics as these weird, lying hand towels when he made his films, he should've just added the elevator fall into Gordon's backstory and given Hingle a monologue where he pleads to Batman for the opportunity to fight just a little petty crime after all he's suffered through.

#5. Lex Luthor Was Eight Decades Old and Was Hit by a Truck

If a scowl could become sentient, the robot that it would pilot would look just like Gene Hackman. The one constant in the last five decades of tumultuous movie history has been Hackman's stone-face, and if anyone was going to be granted the power to see age coming and be able to wave it away, it would be him. He will outlive the sun.

Decrepitude slowly creeps up as we get older, meaning that right now is the prime time for me and the people my age to be hit by cars if we're trying to experience that sort of thing. Hackman looked death in the face and said, "I'm not interested," before he went bike riding on Jan. 13, 2012. For you superstitious folk, that was indeed a Friday, but Hackman hasn't relied on chance since Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. He was 81 years old and not wearing a helmet when a pickup truck hit his rear tire. At that age, not wearing a helmet while doing even small tasks like eating marshmallows is classified as "death wish" behavior ... but not if you're Gene Hackman.


"Make it quick, I'm tired. I've been busting rocks all day with my head."

Since I didn't start this entry by telling you all the things that we should warmly remember Hackman for, you can safely assume that getting launched off of his bike didn't kill him. He was rushed to the hospital, which is expected, since the ER is usually the climax of any octogenarian's trip outside, but he was released after a few hours and some tests, with only minor injuries. One can assume that the names of those tests were, in medical terms, "How in the Fuck Is He Not Really, Really Dead?"

Regardless of the adamantium that lines Hackman's skeleton, it's evident that fate stepped in for the star of Welcome to Mooseport. He would go on to slap a homeless man later that year, because when you're 81 years old and easily surviving collisions with vehicles, neither God nor man is in any position to stop you from doing whatever you've set your mind to.


"Yep, I'm a dick. The fuck are you going to do about it?"

#4. Cars Hate Lois Lane

Margot Kidder's bouts with bipolar disorder have been well-documented, because nothing is more hilarious than a person struggling with serious issues that they can't seem to control. After one massive manic episode in 1996, she ended up vanishing for four days. She was discovered in a backyard after having sheltered in a cardboard box that belonged to a homeless man. She was missing the caps in her teeth. It was a long road to recovery for Kidder, and this wasn't helped by the two car crashes she was in, one of which left her partially paralyzed.

The first crash had the worst outcome. Since none of Lex Luthor's schemes involved kidnapping Lois Lane to teach her the proper way to deflect a collapsing chassis, the resulting medical bills left her bankrupt, and the injuries kept her unable to work for two years. In the entertainment industry, being unable to work for more than a week usually means hoping that your hometown has some jobs available at the local sewage mine. This did nothing for Kidder's depression, which mounted into what I'm sure made for a riveting MadTV sketch in the mid-'90s.

Via Smallville.wikia.com
Gaze into her depression and rejoice, Internet!

Kidder had to heal from her crash the old-fashioned way -- through a mix of intense therapy and hoping that she wasn't indebted to anything supernatural. And though she'd go on to regain a normal life and have a modest career, the automobile industry's vendetta against her and her safety didn't cool. In 2002, while driving in rainy Maine, her car flipped three times and would've continued to flip down a ravine if not for hitting a utility pole, marking the first time that anyone has ever been thankful that they flipped three times and only hit a pole. She went to the hospital in critical condition and was able to recuperate, but after all that she had experienced, this was just something to sigh about.

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