The Case of the famous actor who could not find work: The tragedy of Vic Morrow

The Combat years: 1962 to 1967

“King to King Six. Come in King Six.” Imagine the scene: a US army soldier (GI) speaking into his wireless set while his buddies linger around him, somewhere in France towards the end of World War II. King Six is, of course, the radio call sign of Six Platoon, King Company. The platoon was led by Lt. Gil Hanley (played by Rick Jason).


His assistant was Sergeant Chip Saunders (Vic Morrow) who would eventually become the star of the TV series “Combat”. The other regulars in the series were the squad of men alternatelyled by Sergeant Saunders or Lt Hanley –the troubleshooter gambler, Private Kirby (Jack Hogan), the tall ex-farmer rifleman, Private Little John (Dick Peabody), the withdrawn French Canadian, Private Caje (Pierre Jalbert) and the supportive medic, Doc (Conlan Carter). The series ran for 152 episodes from 1962 to 1967. During its run, it would feature some top actors of the day as guest stars in some of the episodes, such as Claude Akins, Telly Savalas, Robert Duvall and Leonard Nimoy. The series frequently showed the regulars fighting the Germans in France and Belgium after they had landed at Omaha Beach on D Day. There were few or no episodes that showed them joining in the drive into Germany. For history buffs, this would cover the time frame from around July 1944 (the break out from St-Lo) to September (Operation Market Garden) and December/January (Battle of the Bugle) until March 1945 (the Bridge at Remagen). By the time the series ended its run in 1967, the Sergeant had become more famous than his superior officer. Vic Morrow had become established as a star. But by then, both his career and his personal life were also in trouble.

The slide into obscurity

Two years before the series ended, his wife divorced him in 1965. After the Combat series ended in 1967, he had difficulty finding new work. This was ironical for an actor who had established his name. Eventually, he did find acting roles but they tended to cast him as a “heavy” or only small parts in some minor TV series or movies. He did play a part in “Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry”. Then his mother died. He remarried in 1975, only to divorce again in 1976. These events made him even more depressed and he took to the bottle which did not do his career any good. However, in 1982, he was offered a role in “Twilight Zone: The Movie”.He was elated and was reported to have said that he thought his career was on the mend again. Sadly, it was not to be. On 23 July 1982, he was killed with two Vietnamese children by a crashing helicopter while filming a scene for the movie.

Ironies and puzzles

Wasn’t it ironical that an actor who had already made his name should find it difficult to find solid work? Why was the day of the accident fatal for him? Even if he had survived the accident, could he really have made a comeback as he hoped? In aneffort to find answers to these questions, we shall look at some of the astrological factors.

The authentic date of birth

There appears to be some confusion over his date of birth. Some sources say that he was born on 14 February 1929, others say 14 February 1931 and still others say 14 February 1932. It seems that the only thing these various sources agree on is that he was born on 14 February! As for the year of birth, please take your choice! After some analysis, this writer believes that the correct date of birth should be 14 February 1931. The litmus test is really very simple: the birth chart must follow the actual events in the person’s life and not the other way round. In other words, the birth chart to 1967 and thereafter show a decline. The other birthdates do not reveal this pattern

Why did his career decline after Combat ended?

He was born on a Yang metal day seated on the Rat. His month of birth is the Tiger month which is spring. In spring, wood is strong whereas metal is weak. Thus his Yang metal day master is weak metal. Furthermore, the year of birth is Goat when fire is strong enough to control the metal. For a metal person, his power and fame star is Yang fire. When he was hired to act in theCombat series in 1965, he was 31 years old. During this time, he was in the luck cycle of Yin fire seated on the Pig pillar. By the time he reached 33 years old, he would be in the luck cycle of Yang fire seated on the Rooster pillar. This would be a period of stardom and regular income for him.

But this luck cycle was supposed to last from age 33 (1964) until 42 (1972). So if the fame star was still with him when the series ended in 1967, why was it so difficult for him to find work? 1968 was the year of the Yang earth Monkey. The Monkey year was in conflict with his Rooster luck cycle. There was immense Yang earth on top of the Monkey as well as in the Monkey branch. This earth will bury his metal which means that his talents are not appreciated.

The fatal helicopter crash

On 23 July 1983, around 2.20 am, while filming a scene for “Twilight Zone: The Movie”, Vic Morrow and two Vietnamese children were killed when a low hovering helicopter lost control and crashed near them. The director, John Landis, wanted the actor to wade across some waist deep water while holding one child in each arm near his chest – a 6 year old named My-Ca and a 7 year old girl named Renee Chen. The script called for him to escape with the children from the low hovering helicopter. Unfortunately, special effects explosives which burst near the helicopter caused the pilot, Dorcey Wingo, to lose control of the aircraft. The Bell helicopter turned over on its port side and crashed near Vic Morrow and the two children, killing all of them. According to reports, Vic Morrow’s head was decapitated; the boy was hit in the head, shoulder and arm while the right skid of the helicopter crushed the girl. To everyone’s surprise, the director then told everyone to shut down their equipment and go home!

Subsequently, the director, John Landis, and three others were charged in court with involuntary manslaughter. The case came to trial from mid-1986 to mid-1987. The jury found all the four persons not guilty of the charges.

Why was that day fatal to Vic Morrow?

The day and month were both Yin fire seated on the Goat pillar. The year was Yang water seated on the Dog pillar while the hour was Yin metal seated on the Ox pillar. Vic Morrow was aged 50 at the time of the accident. He was in the luck cycle of Yin fire seated on the Goat pillar. The presence of the Yin fire seated on Goat is significant. Yin fire represents fire of the stove or fire of the candle. Unlike Yang fire which is fire of the sun, Yin fire constantly needs fuel to feed the fire. Without the fuel, there is danger that Yin fire may go out. Yin fire is more dangerous than Yang fire because it is combustible and can burn down trees and houses. The meaning of the three Yin fire seated on the Goat means that there is danger from burning by fire. The Goat also clashes with the Ox hour on the day of the accident. There is Yin metal in the Ox hour. In view of what transpired, this can be said to represent the rotor blades of the helicopter which decapitated both Vic Morrow and the boy. It is also possible that Vic Morrow’s hour of birth might have been the Ox hour which is from 1 to 3 am. If this were true, then the danger for him on that day and hour was great indeed.

If he had survived the crash, could he achieve his dream of reviving his career?

Assuming that he could survive the accident, could he fulfill his hope of reviving his career? The current luck cycle of Yin fire seated on the Ox started from age 47 until age 56. The presence of fire indicates that there is some hope for him. But his fame star is Yang fire, not Yin fire. So he would probably have achieved only a modest revival at the most. The next luck cycle for him was Yang earth seated on the Monkey pillar from the age of 57 to 66. There is still no Yang fire. In any case, by then he would have been much older and perhaps there would be fewer roles available.

So it was a sad end for the man who played Sergeant Saunders. Perhaps if the filming had been done on some other day or at least some other hour, the accident might not have resulted in so many deaths. But then that is Hollywood.