Death in Hollywood: Chandler, Jeff–Back Injury (Malpractice), Died at 42

While working on Merrill’s Marauders in the Philippines, on April 15, 1961, Jeff Chandler injured his back while playing baseball with U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers who served as extras in the film.

He had injections to deaden the pain and enable him to finish the production.

On May 13, 1961, he entered hospital in Culver City, California, and had surgery for spinal disc herniation. Severe complications arose; an artery was damaged, and Chandler hemorrhaged. On May 17, in a seven-and-a-half-hour emergency operation following the original surgery, he was given 55 pints of blood. A third operation followed, on May 27, where he received  additional 20 pints of blood.

He died on June 17, 1961. The cause was a blood infection complicated by pneumonia.

At the time of his death, Chandler was involved with British actress Barbara Shelley. Tony Curtis and Gerald Mohr were among the pallbearers at Chandler’s funeral, attended by more than 1,500 people. He was buried at Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City.

An investigation ensued into Chandler’s death, which deemed malpractice, and resulted in his children suing the hospital for $1.5 million.

Chandler’s own estate was worth $600,000, which he left to his daughters.

His ex-wife sued his estate for $80,000 for money owed under their divorce settlement