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Sean Bean dies

An image making the rounds on the Internet claims that

Since 1986 Sean Bean has died in over 20 films and TV productions.

He has been brutally killed by

bow and arrows, handgun, revolver, shotgun, machine gun, bayonet, satellite crushing, freezing, slashing, cow stampede, hanging, live burial, impaling, beheading, drowning, exploding, stabbing, dismemberment, cloning, and other dangers.

One Sean Bean dies every 1.24 years.
But you have the power to stop it.

Of course, the first question is if this is correct, but I think people have already looked into that.

What I would like to know, is Sean Bean indeed 'a walking spoiler', as some sites have it; is a character played by Sean Bean more likely to die than other characters, and are there any actors whose characters are even more likely to die?

Reading the answers and the comments, I realise there are more sides to this.

Does Sean Bean often play characters that die? That has been answered by Bill the Lizard and Simon.

But there's another question that's much harder to answer, which is if characters played by Sean Bean die more often than characters played by other actors. Perhaps Sean Bean only plays in productions with an overall high body count, or perhaps every producer, director, and casting director goes like "if he dies, ask Sean Bean!".
This is only answerable by going through each and every production Sean Bean's been in, and tallying, I think.

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We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

closed as primarily opinion-based by KeyBrd Basher, Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2, GµårÐïåñ, KharoBangdo, Liath Jun 27 '14 at 9:20

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

While I admit having had my tongue planted firmly in my cheek while I wrote this question, it is a serious one as well. I've read actors being described as always playing the bad guy (and actresses playing the bad girl), so I'm asking something similar: are there any actors whose characters are likely to die? – SQB Jun 26 '14 at 13:13
That's one hell of a typecast. – Avner Shahar-Kashtan Jun 26 '14 at 13:16
He needs to make up for all the times he should have died in Sharpe but somehow survived. :P – JamesRyan Jun 26 '14 at 16:37
I think there's still some interesting possibilities in "is a character played by Sean Bean more likely to die than other characters" that I didn't address in my answer. It would be very hard to determine whether Sean Bean is cast in movies and shows with high body counts or if his characters are more likely to die than others in the same movie. – Simon Jun 26 '14 at 18:47
My problem with the question is that it's open ended, in the sense that the statistics will change over time. So to be accurate, an answer would have to be updated regularily. - Unless someone can find an interview with Sean Bean saying "Yes, I like playing characters who die." one can't definitely say that his characters are more prone to die. – Oliver_C Jun 27 '14 at 8:15

If you average the number of deaths from Bill the Lizard's answer over the length of the actor's career and number of appearances, only Bela Lugosi could be said to have died more and more often than Sean Bean.

  • Sean Bean - 0.86 deaths/year, 0.22 deaths/credit
  • Vincent Price - 0.6 deaths/year, 0.17 deaths/credit
  • Bela Lugosi - 0.86 deaths/year, 0.32 deaths/credit
  • John Hurt - 0.77 deaths/year, 0.21 deaths/credit
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+1 for using a ratio, and also for the "deaths/year" statistic, which is pretty interesting. – cloudfeet Jun 26 '14 at 16:11
It occurs to me that just grabbing the number of "Actor" credits from IMDB might not be fully accurate. For example, should living through a "Narrator" credit really count? Winnowing down the credits like that is more effort than I'm willing to put in, though. – Simon Jun 26 '14 at 16:12
Simon: you could even argue that narrators are non-corporeal, so maybe they were dead all along! :p – cloudfeet Jun 26 '14 at 16:16
Bela Lugosi should be penalized for playing the undead -- that's just cheating. Also, there was one film where Sean Bean was revealed to have the plague at the end of the film. Even though he was still alive, he should get credit for that. – Rob Jun 27 '14 at 1:13

There are several actors who appear to die frequently in films, and Sean Bean is near the top of the list. According to Which Actors Die the Most in Movies? and Actors Who Die Really Often in Movies & TV shows, here are a few of the most notable:

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I'm not sure this is the best analysis or answer to the question -- first of all, you probably want to look at the percentage of movies the actor has died in, because if someone has been in twice as many movies, they're going to have died in more, but it's not significant. The other (more important for the Sean Bean thing, I think) factor is how many of their most famous roles they've died in. While DeNiro has certainly died a bunch, I think he's lived in most of his most famous roles, whereas Sean Bean has died in his (which is where I think this thing came from). – YungHummmma Jun 26 '14 at 16:02
I agree the "walking spoiler" status is more dependent on the proportion of deaths. For example, Bruce Willis has been in 83 films total, giving him about a 13% death-ratio. Sean Bean has been in 73 films, giving him a 33% death-ratio. – cloudfeet Jun 26 '14 at 16:08
technically Cage died in Next several dozen... – Buildstarted Dec 29 '14 at 22:46
This video (in French) says that Christopher Lee died more than 60 times in movies and TV, while Kim Coates died more than 40 times. In terms of rate of death per artwork, Kim Coates died in 35% of the works in which he appears (it seems to be the best score amongst the actors considered in the video, although this last point is not totally clear): – Taladris Oct 2 '15 at 6:58

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