5 Famous People Who Survived S**t That Should've Killed Them

Famous people are like just like us: Sometimes life tries to kill them. However, some of them don't take kindly to that.
5 Famous People Who Survived S**t That Should've Killed Them

Famous people are not above the problems and concerns of the little people. They have to go grocery shopping, or at least yell at a little Romanian man until he goes shopping for them. They have to wait in traffic -- and yeah, they're in a limo with a bar, and a TV, and a little Romanian man that hates his life -- but it's still traffic. They have to repeatedly spit lukewarm coffee in Ulaf's face until he gets their god damn order right for once -- they're people, just like us. And like all people, sometimes life tries to kill them. Some of them don't take it too kindly ...

The Elderly Founder Of Glock Pistols Fought Off An Assassin With His Bare Hands

Glock's pistols arm 65 percent of American police, U.S. Navy SEALs, and the militaries of dozens of countries. The word "Glock" is basically synonymous with "badass gun," and they've moved millions of units. Which is why it's so ironic that the one guy who didn't have a Glock in his hour of need was Mr. Glock.

Gaston Glock didn't inherit the polymer pistol empire; he built it. And you can't build an empire without making a few enemies. In Glock's case, it was his partner and close confidant Charles Ewert. Back in 1999, Ewert embezzled millions of dollars from the company and, worried about getting caught, took the next logical step in the Iron Man villain's business plan: killing your partner. So naturally, he hired a French ex-mercenary and professional wrestler nicknamed "Spartacus" to assassinate Glock -- because why only go half Goldfinger? Glock was 70 years old at the time and, surprisingly, didn't carry a Glock. (Where's the faith in your product, Gaston?)

5 Famous People Who Survived S**t That Should've Killed Them

No one does irony like Gaston

Ewert lured Glock into a parking garage in Luxembourg and told his business partner to "check out that cool sports car," because he got his supervillain manual mixed up with a Scooby-Doo script. But hey, it worked: As Glock bent over, Spartacus The Hitman jumped out -- hopefully wearing nothing but a leather thong and a murderous grin -- and started beating Glock on the head with a heavy rubber mallet. Which is an ... interesting choice for a murder weapon?

5 Famous People Who Survived S**t That Should've Killed Them
Cav/Wiki Commons

"The Looney Tunes Killer strikes again!"

No, all violence in Luxembourg doesn't have to meet a mandatory silliness minimum -- the mallet was supposed to make his death look like an accident, like the elderly septuagenarian had fallen and cracked his head open. On ... a ... rubber mallet.

But after being bashed seven times in the head, Glock managed to wrestle the hammer away from the hitman/pro-wrestler, punched him in the eye, knocked out several of his teeth, and rendered him unconscious. Ewert had already run away like a coward at that point, which isn't a judgment call on our part: Ewert himself described the situation by saying "I am a coward."

via Paperjam

At least he has some self-awareness.

The physical fight was over, but Glock wasn't done. Even though he had lost a liter of blood, he kept his composure, and the first thing he did after getting to the hospital was take his assets out Ewert's hands. Luxembourg gave Ewert and the hitman 20-year and 17-year sentences, respectively, for attempted murder. And a round of reluctant applause for the most hilarious assassination attempt this side of Cuba.

Stevie Wonder Got Hit In The Forehead ... By A Logging Truck

On August 6, 1973, Stevie Wonder was heading to a concert that a 1948 Dodge Flatbed truck didn't think he should attend. Wonder didn't see the truck, partially because he was sleeping in the passenger seat, and partially because ... well ...

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

He was distractedly singing to himself?

Wonder's cousin, John Harris, plowed right into the back of the truck. Keep in mind, this was 1973, when car crashes were roughly five times as fatal as they are today. They hit so hard that the flatbed logging truck broke apart from the impact. The bed of said flatbed truck came loose, flew backwards, punched through the windshield of Wonder's car, and struck the musician like a tube of HeadOn -- straight in the motherfucking forehead.

Wonder suffered a severe brain contusion and was rushed to the hospital, where he was in a coma for five days. Because life wasn't hard enough for a blind, black musician in a should-be-fatal car accident, Wonder briefly lost his sense of smell as well. Plus he had nasty headaches for a while, which is really quite understandable after you headbutt a logging truck out of the air.

Fir0002 at the English language Wikipedia

Not to mention his several 20-foot, 2,000-pound splinters.

One Of The Koch Brothers Survived A Major Plane Crash And Incurable Cancer, Back-To-Back

Super-billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch are usually pretty busy being the living embodiment of everything that's wrong with campaign donations. The libertarian duo run the most powerful political advocacy organization in American history (suck it, Mothers Against Drunk Driving), and are basically the two most powerful Americans alive. Combined, they're worth about $90 billion (more than Bill Gates) and they drop such an absurd amount of money on politics that they rival the influence of the Republican Party itself. Oh, and David Koch is objectively impervious to death.

5 Famous People Who Survived S**t That Should've Killed Them

The prophecy says each can only fall at the hand of the other.

On February 1, 1991, Koch was aboard USAir Flight 1493 when it collided with SkyWest Flight 5569, five seconds after landing at LAX. The Skywest plane exploded, instantly killing everyone onboard, while Flight 1493 spun off the runway, crashed into a utility building, and burst into flames. Nearly everyone in the back of the USAir flight escaped without serious injury. Koch was in the front. Here's a diagram to explain why that sucked:

USAir 737-300 Servicedoor (R-1) Overina Overwing emerdency emerdeney exit Type e Type LS Iniury Lenend Fatal Serinus Minoe None Not occuied Passender

None of the first class passengers on Lost survived either.

Yes, Koch was the only first class passenger to survive the crash. After the plane came to its fiery, concrete-assisted stop, Koch ran toward the back of the plane and found a horde of people crowding an emergency exit. Realizing there wasn't enough time to wait in line, Koch ran back to the mangled front of the plane and blindly jumped out through a burning hole. He hit the ground, and crawled away, right through the fire. Koch's lungs were burned from the inside, and he was in intensive care for several days, but on the bright side, it wasn't the worst thing to happen to him that year. No, that would be the cancer diagnosis.

Later that year, Koch was almost done recovering from the crash when he was diagnosed with advanced, almost certainly terminal prostate cancer. His doctors were able to slow the cancer down, but his treatments would stop working at a certain point. Look, it's not called Penultimate Destination.

5 Famous People Who Survived S**t That Should've Killed Them
Gage Skidmore

So, his attempts to buy American politics are his way of breaking bad?

In response to the diagnosis, Koch began funneling enormous amounts of money into cancer research. His entire cancer survival plan is to use his massive fortune to make sure new treatments have been invented by the time his current treatments stop working, so that he will live long enough for something that's not cancer to kill him instead. It may seem selfish and unfair, but remember: That research benefits non-Koch patients too, eventually. And it's working. He's a 76-year-old who's been dying of cancer for one-third of his life and still kicking. We guess Death takes bribes.

Mere Plane Crashes Cannot Kill John McCain, No Matter How Many Times They Try

During the Vietnam War, future senator John McCain was shot down over Hanoi, taken prisoner, and horribly tortured for years. You know that. What you likely don't know is that McCain was in a total of four Navy jets that crashed, got shot down, or (in one case) exploded on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier, during the U.S. Navy's worst loss of life since World War II.

5 Famous People Who Survived S**t That Should've Killed Them
U.S. Navy

We'd have declared war on the attacker, but that one was on us.

On July 29, 1967, McCain was in an A-4 Skyhawk on the deck of the USS Forrestal, waiting for clearance to commence a bombing run on the North Vietnamese. One of the F-4 Phantoms on the ship accidentally fired a Zuni rocket across the deck, which struck either McCain's plane or the one next to it. It's kind of hard to pin down the details when said details are in the path of a missile. Within seconds, several planes loaded down with fuel and munitions were aflame. McCain jumped out and got clear of his plane just seconds before it exploded, starting a chain reaction that killed 134 sailors, including many of the ship's firefighters.

5 Famous People Who Survived S**t That Should've Killed Them
United States Congress

But where's this guy's sexy calendar?

The "USS Forest Fire" -- as it was soon to be nicknamed -- burned like, well, uh ... the nickname got it in one, actually. McCain and the other crewmembers pushed a bunch of perfectly good (and really, really expensive) airplanes overboard to prevent the ship from sinking. Despite just surviving a Michael Bay-level explosion and taking shrapnel to his leg, McCain promptly volunteered to be transferred to the USS Oriskany so he could return to combat.

5 Famous People Who Survived S**t That Should've Killed Them
U.S. Navy

The ship where this happened.

George Orwell Was Shot Through The Neck By A Sniper, Then Immediately Afterward Hunted As A Spy

If you were a war fan in the 1930s, you simply had to go to the Spanish Civil War. Conveniently situated in Western Europe, the conflict saw loads of foreign volunteers on both sides, because there just wasn't a lot to do in '30s, apparently. George Orwell, author of 1984 and Animal Farm, was one of said volunteers. Deciding that, though the pen was mightier than the sword, the gun was far mightier than the pen, he went to Spain to go fight fascism.

via Wiki Commons

Despite what you'd think, this is not the face of a man who liked fascism.

He wound up joining a Marxist-communist militant group called the POUM, which fought for the Republican side. In mid-1937, Orwell stood up in the trench and, perhaps because he was much taller than the average Spaniard, was promptly shot through the neck by a fascist sniper. He later wrote a fascinating story about what it is like to realize you've just been killed in battle.

Now, plenty of people (celebrities included) have been wounded in battle, but it gets worse for Orwell. After a little over a week, a very sick and heavily bandaged Orwell was released from the hospital and told to stumble back to the front or whatever to get his discharge papers. Literally the day after he was released, local Stalinist authorities outlawed Orwell's particular itty-bitty Marxist group and began rounding people up. Orwell was immediately proclaimed a spy, and a manhunt for him began.


"This is a Dickensian mixup of Shakespearean proportions. It's positively Kafkaesque!"

A half-dead Orwell spent a week hiding in the bush before he managed to disguise himself as a war tourist (which was a thing -- a terrible, stupid thing) and flee the country, with nothing to declare but a newfound hatred for authoritarianism and Stalinism. He survived being shot through the neck by one side of the war, and then hunted for treason by the other. So when he writes about totalitarianism being bad -- both as a fascist and a communist system -- believe him. He knows about as hard as any man can know anything.

Zachary Frey is a Sophomore at Cornell University, and you can read his 10 most recent articles here.

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