Renee Shin-Yi Chen (Renee Shin-Yi Chen)

Renee Shin-Yi Chen

Born the daughter of Mark and Shyan-Huei Chen. She was not a professional actor, but when her parents were approached about her appearing in a movie they thought it would be a good experience and the prospect of acting thrilled the girl.  She was introduced to the film’s director, John Landis, who thought the child was perfect for the part.  Renee and 7 year old My-ca Le, were hired illegally, without the use of proper work permits and were set to film her scene around 2 AM on July 22, proper contracts for child actors normally stipulate that they be finished working far earlier.  The scene was to be of two children being rescued from a war torn village. Actor Vic Morrow entertained his two young co-stars, making faces to put them at ease and the first night’s shooting ended after about an hour and a half.  The children returned the following night to finish the scene. At about 2:20 AM, Landis called action. Morrow went into the knee-deep water, holding a child under each arm. The director ordered a hovering helicopter lower. Two special effects charges were detonated close together and apparently damaged the aircraft. The helicopter lost control and went nose down. Below, Morrow dropped Renee then made a grab at her but the helicopter’s skid slammed into the girl, killing her.  Then its spinning main rotor struck and killed Morrow and My-ca Le. Witness Shyan-Huei Chen was taken to a local hospital, and treated for shock. Director Landis and four others crew members were tried and acquitted of involuntary manslaughter in the deaths. (bio by: Iola)  Family links:  Parents:  Shyan-Huei Chen (1954 – 2012)Cause of death: Filming accident


  • April, 01, 1976
  • Taiwan


  • July, 07, 1982
  • USA

Cause of Death

  • Filming accident


  • Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale)
  • California
  • USA

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