In 2000 MTV struck gold when Philip John Clapp opened a show with the immortal words, “Hi, I’m Johnny Knoxville. Welcome to Jackass!” This wild new TV show saw ten men perform the craziest stunts they could dream up and record the results. The fallout was a big hit with audiences, and its stars soon became household names – in certain households, anyway. But the show has a darker legacy, too, and it’s one riddled with pain, addiction and, in some tragic cases, death.
Steve-O – Stephen Glover to his mother – is most famous for, in his own words, “breaking bones and shoving stuff up [his] butt.” But he was also once extremely addicted to alcohol and drugs. And at the height of his addiction, he implied that he was going to die. Thankfully, his pals – including Jackass co-star Johnny Knoxville – then stepped in. Now he is ten years sober and has seemingly found true love… with a rescue dog.
18. Ryan Dunn
Ohio-born Ryan Dunn started out as a member of the “Camp Kill Yourself” crew before finding fame as a key part of Jackass. Later, Dunn reportedly suffered a two-year battle with depression following an injury sustained while filming 2006’s Jackass Number Two. Then, on June 20, 2011, he tragically died in a car crash. Police reportedly stated that Dunn was driving at 130 mph and that his blood-alcohol content was well over the legal limit for him to have been behind the wheel.
17. Zachary Hartwell
Zachary Hartwell worked on both Jackass Number Two and 2009’s Minghags, which was co-directed by Jackasser Bam Margera. Apparently, Hartwell and Ryan Dunn had also been friends for a long time – and had been seen drinking together earlier on the evening of June 20, 2011. Hartwell, a reported war veteran, was then in the car with Dunn when it crashed that night in Philadelphia.
16. Bam Margera
Bam Margera was a mainstay of Jackass and even had his own popular spin-off in Viva La Bam. But in 2017 he told Jenkem, “Then I got so caught up with the fame… it was just easier to drink.” And after the death of his friend Ryan Dunn, Margera reportedly went into a downward spiral. He supposedly later sobered up, but in April 2018 he was given three years of probation after being arrested on DUI charges.
15. Ehren McGhehey
There’s a reason why Ehren McGhehey became known as “Danger Ehren” during his time on Jackass. After all, this is a man who was chased by bulls and had his tooth yanked out by a car for the sake of TV. But it seems that for him there’s no gain without pain. In February 2018 he told Page Six, “I’ve had many, many injuries from it – 25 surgeries, including nine knee surgeries and three broken backs.”
14. Chris Raab
Chris Raab was referred to as “Raab Himself” during his crazy Jackass days. But he told Page Six in 2018 that he also became “a slave to drugs and alcohol.” Things became so bad, in fact, that he began to have suicidal thoughts. In the end, he had to step away from Jackass in order to get well. And now he’s celebrating being almost nine years sober.
13. Vincent Margera
In Viva La Bam and Jackass, Vincent Margera – Bam’s uncle – was known as “Don Vito.” He was apparently something of a popular figure on the shows, too. In October 2007, however, he was convicted of sexually assaulting a minor. By way of an explanation for his crimes, “Don Vito” reportedly claimed he was only acting like his larger-than-life character. Margera died in November 2015 following a long period of health issues.
12. Brandon Novak
Skater and Bam Margera’s buddy Brandon Novak pulled wild stunts in Jackass Number Two and 2010’s Jackass 3D. But off-screen his life was a total mess. In fact, Novak endured 21 years of alcohol and drug addiction and several failed suicide attempts. After hitting rock bottom, though, Novak got himself clean and is now building on four years of sobriety.
11. Roberta “Bobbi” MacKinnon
As reported in the Appeal-Democrat, in January 2004 an 18-year-old named Christopher King used his truck to spin a merry-go-round. On the merry-go-round was a 16-year-old girl named Roberta MacKinnon, as the teens allegedly attempted to re-create a stunt seen in 2002’s Jackass: The Movie. Apparently, MacKinnon was then tossed some 60 feet from the ride and snapped her neck upon landing. Sadly, she passed away not long afterwards, and King later faced charges of vehicular manslaughter.
Unfortunately, MacKinnon’s passing is allegedly not the only death to be linked to this Jackass-style stunt. In fact, in September 2012 the Daily Mail reported that a 20-year-old man called Tobias died immediately after his merry-go-round escapade went horrifically awry. Tobias was allegedly part of a group called “Bavarian Dumb*sses,” who reportedly often performed and filmed daredevil stunts.
9. Jason Lind
In one episode of Jackass, Johnny Knoxville – wearing a flame-retardant suit – reportedly stood on a grill while his pals doused him in lighter fluid. But while the show’s disclaimer implored viewers not to try these stunts at home, it seems that some people are not so easily put off. Indeed, in 2001 The New York Times reported that 13-year-old Jason Lind had been set alight while trying to imitate the stunt. He was consequently hospitalized with second- and third-degree burns.
8. Cameron Beiberle
In March 2008 Cameron Beiberle reportedly hopped into a shopping cart and held on to a car as his friend drove it away. The cart then apparently hit a speed bump, and Beiberle died shortly after colliding with the ground. The driver was consequently found guilty of vehicular homicide and handed a four-year jail term. And according to CBS News, the victim’s father put some of the blame for the stunt on Jackass.
7. Stephen Paul Rauen
Stephen Paul Rauen was just 15 years old when he died reportedly trying to replicate a Jackass stunt. According to a December 2002 report from The Globe and Mail, the teen was thrown from the roof of a friend’s car while the vehicle was in motion. The car then apparently ran over Rauen and pulled him along the road a little. A police spokesman implied that Rauen had been inspired by a similar feat in Jackass: The Movie.
6. Hayden Calder
A 16-year-old named Hayden Calder attended a birthday party in New Zealand in August 2012. According to police, then 17-year-old Matt-Dillion Shannon had Calder held down and set him on fire. Shannon later claimed to police that he’d been inspired to commit this crime after the party conversation had turned to Jackass stunts. Nevertheless, he was consequently sentenced to three years in prison for his actions.
5. Aaron Brown
In 2002 13-year-old Aaron Brown died in a car crash in Indiana. According to WTHR, police later discovered a copy of Jackass inside the vehicle involved in the incident. The prosecutor in the case, Rodney J. Cummings, then claimed that Brown and the driver had been trying to copy the show. “You see this wild and crazy behavior, and people get up and walk away from it,” he reportedly said. “But unfortunately sometimes kids don’t get up and walk away.”
4. Darnell Mitchell
Darnell Mitchell was reportedly attempting to create a viral video when he was shot and killed by his friend in Baltimore. Yes, in 2014 Mitchell donned a bulletproof vest and had his buddy Mark Ramiro shoot him while they filmed the incident, Jackass-style, according to prosecutors. Unfortunately, Mitchell later died, and Ramiro was given four years in prison for second-degree murder.
3. Neill Buchel
The first piece of Neill Buchel was discovered by a fisherman on April 1, 2015. Over the following days, the rest of his dismembered body was found, too. According to reports, Buchel had previously spent time participating in Jackass-inspired stunts – such as setting his pubic hair alight – with some “friends.” However, those same friends then murdered him and attempted to hide his body. Two men – Chas Quye and Elvis Kwiatkowski – were later sentenced to life in jail for the crime.
2. Anonymous Norwegian
On April 26, 2004, an 18-year-old from Norway reportedly dressed up in a mummy costume and lay down on a highway. According to Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, the teen also had his pals record his crazy stunt. So his friends were reportedly still filming him when a car failed to stop in time and fatally ran over his body. Apparently, investigating officers later theorized that the feat could have been inspired by Jackass.
1. Adam Ports
Adam Ports was just 18 when, according to police, he either leapt or toppled from a moving truck while he and three friends tried to toss a fiery chair off the back. Ports later died of his wounds. Johnny Knoxville spoke to the Knoxville News-Sentinel about the incident. “My heart goes out to the kid’s family,” he said. “But we’ve done everything we can to prevent this type of thing from happening… In every interview I have ever given, I have stressed: ‘Don’t try this at home.’”