Celebs Who Have Been Shot And Survived

According to some sobering statistics from the Brady: United Against Gun Violence campaign, an average of 313 people are shot by a firearm each day in the U.S. Of that number, on average, 210 will survive. With those numbers in mind, it is fair to say that it is not entirely common for a person to get shot with a gun and then live to tell about it.

In rare cases, some of those gunshot survivors are celebrities. When it comes to someone famous taking a bullet, the circumstances behind the shooting can run the gamut. Sometimes they may be self-inflicted — either accidental or intentional — but in most cases there's usually someone else aiming the weapon and pulling the trigger. Then there are the celebrities who get shot during botched robberies, or, in even more unusual cases, deliberate assassination attempts. 

However these shootings may have occurred, accounts of how celebrities managed to survive gunshots are inevitably fascinating, underlining the undeniable truism that being wealthy and famous offers no defense when there's a loaded weapon pointed at you. For proof, just ask any of these celebs who have been shot and survived. 

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

Curly of the Three Stooges shot himself in the foot

The Three Stooges became legendary for their ultra-violent brand of slapstick comedy, and much of the trio's success was due to standout Stooge Curly Howard. After appearing in numerous short films in the 1930s and 1940s alongside older brother Moe Howard and Larry Fine, a series of strokes sadly put the kibosh on Curly's comedy career when the Stooges were at the peak of their popularity; he died 1952 at 48.

Years before the Three Stooges made getting poked in both eyes almost look fun, Curly injured himself while cleaning a gun. As AMC recalled, Curly — born Jerome Horwitz — was just 12 when he accidentally shot himself in the foot while cleaning his rifle. The biography Curly: An Illustrated Biography of the Superstooge added more detail, revealing that the bullet shattered his ankle. 

Brother Moe took Curly to a doctor, who recommended breaking the ankle bone and resetting it in a cast so it could heal properly. The terrified youngster, who'd never been in a hospital before, ignored that advice and instead opted to let the wound heal on its own. According to the aforementioned biography, the result was "a limp for the rest of his life that would cause him pain if he was on his feet for extended periods of time."

Art icon Andy Warhol survived an assassination attempt

Andy Warhol was at the top of the New York City art scene when, in 1968, he was badly injured at the hands of Valerie Solanas, a radical feminist and writer. According to the History website, Solanas believed Warhol tried to steal one of her plays, so she went to his office with two firearms. Then, she shot Warhol and gallery owner Mario Amaya. Both survived, but as History pointed out, the bullets pierced several of Warhol's organs, including his lungs and stomach. At one point, Warhol was declared dead but was eventually revived by doctors. He was hospitalized for two months, yet the injuries were so serious, noted Time, that he was forced to wear a surgical corset for the remainder of his life. His health never recovered, and he died in 1987 at age 58.

Solanas was arrested and underwent a battery of psychiatric testing that revealed a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia. She pled guilty to assault, and received a three-year sentence. The incident lives in infamy, and even served as the basis for the 1996 film I Shot Andy Warhol

According to the History site, an entry in Warhol's diary — which was published posthumously — found Warhol lamenting that he "wasn't creative" after the shooting, "because after that I stopped seeing creepy people."

Lil Wayne lived through a bullet wound to the chest

In 1994, 12-year-old Dwayne Carter Jr. found a handgun in his mother's New Orleans apartment and shot himself in the chest. When the story came up in an old interview with MTV News (via The Source), Carter — now known as Lil Wayne — insisted it was an accident. "I was full of weed. Trippin', young, playin' with [a gun]. I didn't know that when you take the clip out the gun, if you cocked it, one [bullet] is already in the chamber," he said. "I didn't know it had been cocked. So I'm just playin' [and shot myself]. That was crazy." 

Years later, however, the lyrics for "Let It All Work Out" from his album Tha Carter V shared the truth. "I found my mama's pistol where she always hide it/I cry, put it to my head and thought about it," he rapped, before describing what happened after he "shot it." The musician's longtime friend Mack Maine told Billboard in 2018 that Lil Wayne opened up about his suicide attempt in the song because he "was ready to address it now... reaching a level of maturity and comfort where it's like, 'I want to talk about this because I know a lot of people out here might be going through that.'"

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

Tupac Shakur survived a violent robbery

In late November of 1994, The New York Times reported that rapper Tupac Shakur and two others were heading to a recording studio in midtown Manhattan when they were accosted by three men demanding money. In the altercation, Shakur was shot in the hand once, the head two times, and the groin two times. 

Shakur was lucky. Originally listed in "guarded condition," a spokesperson for Bellevue Hospital Center told the Times that Shakur's injuries were not life-threatening. As MTV News noted in 2011, there have been a number of conflicting reports regarding who was and was not allegedly involved in the shooting.

Shakur had recovered when, in September 1996, he and former Death Row Records head Suge Knight came to a stop at a traffic light while driving in Las Vegas. A white Cadillac pulled up, and an armed man began firing at them. Shakur was shot multiple times, and he died shortly after. The first police officer on the scene recalled the rapper's alleged final words. "He looked at me, and he took a breath to get the words out, and he opened his mouth," the cop, Chris Carroll, told Vegas Seven (via CNN). "And then the words came out: 'F**k you.'"

Reggae legend Bob Marley performed after an attack

Reggae icon Bob Marley died from cancer in 1981, but he nearly lost his life years earlier when he was shot by a would-be assassin. 

The assassination attempt took place in Marley's home in Kingston, Jamaica in 1976, during a time of political instability in the Caribbean nation. The attack occurred days before Smile Jamaica Concert, a reportedly non-political event organized by Marley that was scheduled ahead of the Jamaican general election. According to accounts, a car pulled into the driveway and shots were fired, one grazing the scalp of Marley's wife, Rita. As The New York Times reported, gunmen entered the home and began blasting. In an interview, Marley recalled having "a vision" of being shot a few nights prior. In that same interview, Marley insisted that while he didn't see who shot him, he knew who was responsible. That said, as the first episode of Netflix series ReMastered points out, the attack remains shrouded in mystery.

As historian Roger Steffens writes in So Much Things to Say, "The most unprecedented and incredible moment in twentieth-century popular music history" happened two days after the shooting: Marley performed at Smile Jamaica with a bullet in his arm. Steffens told Uproxx that apparent attempt to silence Marley only "galvanized" his political activism, giving him a whole new outlook.: "He finally came to the conclusion that an eye for an eye just makes everybody blind, and that violence is not a solution to violence."

Peter Fonda's gun accident inspired a Beatles classic

Peter Fonda was just 10 when he accidentally shot himself with a handgun. According to a newspaper report from the time, the young son of movie star Henry Fonda shot himself in the stomach, with the bullet lodging in his back. After an operation to remove the bullet, which involved three blood transfusions, the doctor boasted of the youngster's "amazing comeback," while a hospital spokesperson declared his condition "not as bad as we first feared."

Following Peter's 2019 death at age 79, Page Six referenced a 2000 interview the Easy Rider star gave to the New York Post about dropping acid with John Lennon and George Harrison in the 1960s. Harrison was apparently having a bad trip and feared he'd die. Fonda tried to reassure him by telling Harrison, "Don't worry George, it's OK. I know what it's like to be dead." A skeptical Lennon reportedly fired back: "You know what it's like to be dead? Who put all that s**t in your head? You're making me feel like I've never been born." 

That alleged exchange appeared nearly verbatim in The Beatles' psychedelic classic, "She Said She Said." As Lennon told Rolling Stone in 1971, "That's how I wrote 'She Said, She Said' — 'I know what's it's like to be dead.' It was a sad song, an acidy song I suppose."

50 Cent survived nine gunshot wounds

During an interview with Oprah Winfrey50 Cent recalled surviving being shot nine times in 2000 when a car pulled up and an armed gunman exited the vehicle and began blasting. To this day, there is a lot of speculation about who allegedly was involved in the attack. 

Getting shot, the rapper told Winfrey, "Doesn't hurt as much as people imagine it hurts because of your adrenaline and how the shock of what's actually going on. It hurts after." The bullets, 50 Cent added, went into his face, his hands, and his legs; in fact, he didn't realize both his legs had been broken by the gunfire until they pulled up at the hospital and he tried to get out of the car. 

"Going through that experience, when you get hurt that bad, either your fear consumes you or you become a bit insensitive," 50 Cent told Winfrey. Admitting he was initially scared his assailants would try again, he shared, "In the recovery process, I got tired of being afraid. And then the only way that I could, like, to cover those emotions were to be a little more aggressive ... and to be angry about the situation, opposed to dealing with how I was actually feeling at that point."

Baseball star David Ortiz was a victim of an alleged hit

In June 2019, former Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz was visiting his native Dominican Republic when he was shot while having a drink on the patio of a bar. According to CNN, the bullet "passed through Ortiz, perforating his intestines and internal organs" before then hitting his friend in the leg.

The suspect arrested in the shooting initially claimed that Ortiz wasn't the intended target; however, the public didn't buy it because, as the Boston Globe noted, he's an incredibly famous and recognizable person. Meanwhile, police rounded up more suspects as Ortiz spent weeks recovering in intensive care. Authorities later determined that the suspect had been telling the truth, with the shooting of "Big Papi" allegedly being the result of a botched hit on Ortiz's pal, Sixto David Fernández, who was seated at the same table. 

In a 2020 interview with ESPN, Ortiz called the two months he spent recovering "not fun." He added: "I wasn't able to eat or drink anything for about six weeks ... It was very scary, but I guess I was dealing with the best team of doctors that you can ever deal with."

Country singer Trace Adkins took a bullet to the heart

In his memoir, A Personal Stand, country singer Trace Adkins recalled a time in his life when he was drinking more than he should have, noting, "And unpleasant things happened as a result." One of these occurred in 1994 when a heated argument with his then-wife, Julie Curtis, led her to allegedly point a pistol at him when he refused to leave. It was at that point, he wrote, that he "did the stupidest thing I'd ever done in my life" when he "decided that I was going to disarm the lady."

Adkins revealed that he came to regret the words he said next, demanding Curtis give him the gun "before I take it away from you and beat your brains out with it." It was then, he wrote, that she allegedly fired a bullet that went "through my left lung, through my heart, through my right lung, and out the other side." As he lay there bleeding, he recalled thinking, "If I bleed on this new Berber carpet, she might shoot me again."

While Adkins opted not to press charges and eventually made a full recovery, the marriage didn't. He and Curtis were divorced that same year. 

Ol' Dirty Bastard left the hospital hours after he was shot

One July afternoon in 1998, rapper Ol' Dirty Bastard of Wu-Tang Clan was in his Brooklyn apartment when two men broke in and robbed him. According to the Associated Press, the assailants took jewelry and then fired a gun. As Rolling Stone reported at the time, the bullet entered his back and exited through his arm. 

After being shot, ODB — whose real name is Russell Jones — got himself to the emergency room at St. John's Hospital, where he was "treated for superficial wounds." As hospital spokesperson Lars Larmon told JAMTV (via Rolling Stone), "He was very lucky that the bullet didn't hit any organs and just grazed the body. It could have gone anywhere else and he wouldn't be here today."

OBD was advised to stick around so doctors could observe him, but he apparently wasn't feeling that. "He got out of bed, started getting his things together... walked out the emergency room door, got into his van and drove off," Larmon claimed of the rapper's decision to bolt from the hospital a mere nine hours after being shot. 

SNL's Garrett Morris was injured during a holdup

Garrett Morris, one of Saturday Night Live's original Not Ready for Primetime Players, was shot during a botched 1994 holdup attempt. In a 2012 interview for the Archive of American Television, Morris explained that he was in a coma when he arrived at the hospital, with the bullet damaging his intestines. "I had to have a colostomy for like, oh, eight months," Morris said, adding that his injuries required "about 10 major operations."

According to the Los Angeles Times, Morris re-entered the hospital three weeks after the shooting, with his publicist explaining there had been "some speculation that he has had some inflammation and infection in the area where the bullet was."

As Morris recalled, had the thieves faced him and asked for money, he would have complied. Instead, they approached from behind, which set off Morris' self-defense instincts. "I'm first-degree black belt," said Morris, recalling there were numerous people around at the time, most of whom recognized him from his role on TV sitcom Martin. His assailants, however, did not. "So when the guy grabbed me and I did what I did, it embarrassed him." When Morris turned to give him a sidekick, the assailant aimed his gun and fired.

Megan Thee Stallion was shot in the foot

In mid-July 2020, TMZ reported that LAPD responded to a disturbance call involving gunshots in the Hollywood Hills. When officers arrived, they pulled over rappers Megan Thee Stallion and Tory Lanez, with initial reports indicating the former had cut her foot on broken glass. Lanez was reportedly arrested for carrying a concealed weapon, and Megan was listed as a "victim." She later confirmed on Instagram that she "suffered gunshot wounds, as a result of a crime that was committed against me and done with the intention to physically harm me."

As Rolling Stone reported two weeks later, Megan revealed on Instagram Live that she'd been "shot in both of [her] feet," adding, "I had to get surgery to get the bullets taken out." She continued, "I didn't deserve to get shot." In a subsequent video, per NBC News, she claimed that Lanez shot her. "I didn't tell police what happened immediately right there because I didn't want to die," she explained. 

Lanez was charged with "assault with a semiautomatic firearm and carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle" in October 2020. He pleaded not guilty, per the AP, and is still awaiting further proceedings, as of this writing. In February 2021, a judge upheld the protective order sought by Megan against Lanez, which bars him from speaking out about the charges.