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Stephen King Has Only Ever Been Killed Onscreen Once

Despite Stephen King's dozens of cameos over the years, he's only died on screen once before. Believe it or not.

Stephen King

Stephen King is a name you associate far more with writing than acting, but in spite of this, he’s racked up over two dozen credits in front of the camera, mostly cameos in adaptations of his own work. Despite the horror themes of many of these appearances, though, he’s only been seen to die once, in George A. Romero’s 1982 anthology Creepshow.

King appears in The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill, one of the film’s stronger segments, which sees the eponymous dim-witted farmer discover a meteorite on his land and envisions selling it to pay off his bank loan. However, a series of mishaps and Jordy’s own gormlessness result in the alien plant life within the rock escaping and enveloping both the farm and Jordy himself, whereupon, in a departure from the humor of the rest of the tale, he blows his head off with a shotgun in a final act of despair rather than allow himself to be consumed by the rapidly spreading extraterrestrial life.

This marked only the second time that King had appeared onscreen (the first being the previous year’s Knightriders, also directed by Romero), and while he isn’t exactly the world’s greatest actor (or, as anyone who’s seen Maximum Overdrive can attest, director), his hammed-up performance matches the tone of the story, making his appearance more in line with his amusing meta-reference cameos, such as those in Sleepwalkers, Thinner or The Stand, as opposed to, say, his self-indulgent scene in It: Chapter 2.

The segment was based on Stephen King’s short story Weeds, itself also incorporating elements of H.P. Lovecraft’s tale The Color Out of Space, and while the rest of Creepshow was written by King as well, that Jordy Verrill features not only the man himself but also his only onscreen death makes it uniquely distinctive.

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Andrew Marshall