STUMP » Articles » STUMP Classics: The Many Deaths of Sean Bean » 29 May 2020, 17:22

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STUMP Classics: The Many Deaths of Sean Bean  


29 May 2020, 17:22

Ok, I have had a tough week (don’t worry, it has nothing to do with you guys), so let me re-run a silly post.

I am not updating this one with additional data [except for Sean Bean’s current age].

This post originally ran in March 2017.

Is Sean Bean the dying-est actor ever?

If you search on Sean Bean dying, you will get many results, many of which debunking that he’s the dying-est actor ever.

Back in 2014, it was shown that three actors have died in more roles, and here’s the handy graph from that article:

But wait a sec — John Hurt, Bela Lugosi, and Vincent Price are all (now) dead, with Lugosi dying at age 73, Hurt dying at age 77, and Vincent Price was 82.

Sean Bean is only 61! He could easily rack up 20 more deaths in 20 years to top the others!

What we really need is a fair comparison — in what percentage of roles does Sean Bean die?

The mortality rate of Sean Bean’s characters

I’m lazy. Turns out, the Daily Mail (UK) got here before I did:

Stark reality: Sean Bean HASN’T been killed off more than anyone else in movies and TV, despite online claims – that ‘honor’ belongs to Alien actor John Hurt

Sean Bean has died 24 times across 70 films and TV series – around 35 per cent of all his roles

No one has a higher percentage – but three others have a higher total body count

Oh wait, the Nerdist calculated this first:

Sean Bean is still at the top of the list with 0.32 deaths/film, tied with Bela Lugosi, and followed closely by Mickey Rourke and John Hurt with 0.31 deaths/film. Vincent Price and Cary Tagawa are next with 0.28 deaths/film, and it decreases from there. (For the curious: South Park‘s Kenny barely beats Bean with 0.38 deaths/episode.)

And see, for a while Kenny was killed every episode, but then they stopped doing that.

Graphing the deaths of Sean Bean

But let me do graph something different.

Here are all Sean Bean’s on-screen deaths:

But, that’s not quite fair. Let’s see the roles where he didn’t die as well:

And let’s put that info together to get the running mortality rate for Sean Bean roles (= total deaths so far / total roles so far)

So there ya go — Sean Bean dies about 1/3 of the time in his roles… so far. It’s a bit choppy, and of course, the mortality rate decreases when he has a run of non-dying roles.

That’s a pretty high kill rate, I think.

Data sources (for the nit-pickers)

This piece has a list of Bean’s 25 deaths (including a non-film death from the TV series Game of Thrones:

War Requiem
The Field
Lorna Doone
Screen One
Patriot Games
Essex Boys
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Don’t Say A Word
Henry VIII
The Island
Far North
The Hitcher
Red Riding: The Year of our Lord, 1973
Death Race 2
Black Death
Age of Heroes
Game of Thrones

Why don’t I graph this over time, updating the deaths to roles ratio as they occur?

[Some of this data is not quite correct, and not sure how to count the flashbacks in the other LOTR films, but I refer the picky to ASOP 23: Data Quality, where I am not required to audit my data, but do some reasonability checks.

I’ve checked. It’s reasonable.]

I’m using Bean’s IMDB page for date reference, as well as total roles.

UPDATE: Link to my Sean Bean deaths spreadsheet.

Of course I have a Sean Bean spreadsheet.

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