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Hollywood’s Deadly Affair with Asbestos

Hollywood’s Deadly Affair with Asbestos

LOS ANGELES – Since its very first silent film, Hollywood has kept a dark secret. The film industry, which gave rise to talented actors, writers, directors, and cinematographers, was also killing them. For decades, some of Hollywood’s most talented people were slowly and silently diagnosed with cancer.

Hollywood had an affair with asbestos.

This Sunday, millions of Americans will tune-in to the Academy Awards. For 88 years, the Oscars have acknowledged talented individuals and creative teams but throughout much of its history, it has ignored to acknowledge Hollywood’s affair with asbestos.

Asbestos fibers are known to cause a deadly lung cancer called mesothelioma. Despite knowing the health risks, the asbestos industry marketed their products to filmmakers and put generations of people at risk of developing deadly illnesses.

It was used on sets, in clothing and in fireproofing.

Many of Hollywood’s studios and structures still contain asbestos insulation, which can threaten any cast and crew that comes in contact with it. Here are some examples of asbestos use in Hollywood:

The Wizard of Oz (1939)

“Snow” made of asbestos was blown onto the cast in the poppy
field scene.

Holiday Inn (1942)

Asbestos “snow” was scattered by stage crews and dropped
around the cast in several scenes.

It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

According to LIFE Magazine, asbestos was used to dress some of the sets of “It’s A Wonderful Life”

Goldfinger (1964)

Asbestos boards and piping lined some sets of the film. A painter who worked on the set died of mesothelioma in 2004. His widow later filed a lawsuit against Pinewood Studios.

Paul Gleason
Actor (1939-2006)

Known for his roles in films like The Breakfast Club, Trading Places, and Die Hard, Gleason died of mesothelioma in 2006. Gleason believed he was exposed to asbestos while working construction jobs as a teen.

Steve McQueen
Actor, Producer (1930-1980)

McQueen was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 1979. He believed that asbestos used in stage insulation and in stunt clothing may have contributed to his illness.

Ed Lauter
Actor (1938-2013)

Lauter appeared in more than 200 films and TV series. He died of mesothelioma in 2013. His family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against many industry giants including CBS and NBC. The official complaint states that Lauter was exposed to asbestos at many Hollywood studios and location sets throughout his career.

Merlin Olsen
Actor, Athlete, Broadcaster (1940-2010)

Olsen played football for the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. As an actor, he is known for his roles in the series, Little House on the Prairie and Father Murphy. Olsen was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2009 and died less than a year later. Before his death, Olsen filed lawsuits against 25 defendants including NBC Studios and 20th Century Fox, claiming the studios unnecessarily exposed him to asbestos.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, a Los Angeles mesothelioma attorney at The Barnes Firm can help.
As one of the nation’s largest personal injury firms, they have assembled an experienced team of Los Angeles mesothelioma attorneys to help you and your family get the best result possible. Contact The Barnes Firm today for a free and personal consultation

The Barnes Firm 1-(800) 800-0000

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