You have to wonder how much Tracy Morgan will be changed after his near fatal bus accident this month in New Jersey. While Morgan is already known for his eccentric comedy, he may already have a developed perspective on life after almost dying from kidney failure years earlier. After a transplant, having to survive a brutal vehicle accident on top of it has to change a person even further on their life goals. For a comedian, we may not always see this manifest publicly when the crazier you are as a comedian, the more the public will expect you to act devil-may-care.
But you may have forgotten about others in the entertainment world experiencing noticeable changes after being in near fatal vehicle accidents. Many of them are active today, despite perhaps having different purposes in life (and being misunderstood) today. Some of those people returned to perfect form, and others might seem a little abnormal now because the public forgot how their accidents perhaps changed them.
Is there any other celebrity out there that people seem to both alternately love and mock? While most people know him in more recent years for his wild stint on “The Apprentice” and his offbeat personality everywhere else (plus Amazon Fire TV commercials), Gary Busey was once considered a very normal and gifted actor back in the late 1970s. After starring in “The Buddy Holly Story” and earning an Oscar nomination for it, his acting future seemed bright. After some spotty movies afterward, he was involved in a motorcycle accident in the late 1980s that almost killed him.
At the time, doctors thought he was going to have brain damage due to excessive bleeding and being in a coma for weeks. While there may be some today who think perhaps he did suffer brain damage due to his off-kilter personality, we don’t really know how much of that is natural. Regardless, Busy became a religious man as the result of the accident. His thoughtfulness usually gets muddled within the crazy man persona he played up on “The Apprentice.” Only a good dramatic acting part in a movie would set him back on the road where he was 35 years ago.
It’s been so long now, a lot of people probably don’t remember that Gloria Estefan was almost paralyzed as the result of a 1990 tour bus accident not unlike the one Tracy Morgan and his team experienced. When you immediately hear about spine fractures, you instantly think about the end of careers. Estefan, though, is the epitome of survival stories due to her complete recovery. Thanks to titanium rods inserted in her back, she was able to return to being just like she was before with no effect on her voice. She’s one of the few 1980s entertainers considered a classic now and still tours around the world. Plus, she’s made it a point to bring up her survival story in every interview as an inspirational reminder to other notables going through the same thing.
This legendary Broadway and TV star was involved in a car accident that isn’t talked about much any more. In the early 1990s, Vereen was walking along the Malibu highway in the early morning hours when he was struck by an SUV driven by music producer David Foster. Fortunately, Vereen survived, though had months of physical therapy to get back in shape to perform considering how much he’s known for his dance skills.
What people don’t know is that the accident was only one of three in the same day where he experienced an earlier car accident, plus suffered a stroke. The latter condition explained why he was wandering around on the Malibu highway in the wee hours of the morning.
He’s one of the fortunate Broadway legends able to sustain a career in movies and TV over the last four decades, which he does to this day. Ultimately, he’s one of the great show business survival stories quietly taken for granted.
Did you now that the creator of “Star Wars” almost died in a car accident when a teenager? This doesn’t usually get discussed often, but you have to wonder how much his experience of almost dying in such an accident shaped his philosophy to write the “Star Wars” saga. Considering some of the other prodigious things that occurred after car accidents (Stevie Wonder another in the 1970s), you have to wonder if these events become a blessing in disguise to bring things that otherwise probably wouldn’t exist.
Sometimes it takes a full experience in understanding the fragility of life before we buckle down and do things we should have been doing much earlier.