Ryan Dunn, who is known for his cringe-inducing stunts on the MTV show “Jackass,” died in a car accident Monday. Sarah Anne Hughes reports:
According to the accident report, West Goshen Township police found Dunn’s Porsche in the woods off Route 322 in Pennsylvania “engulfed in flames” shortly before 3 a.m. The prankster and his passenger, 30-year-old Zachary Hartwell, died from injuries. Speed may have been a factor in the crash, according to the police. April Margera, the mother of Dunn’s friend and co-star, Bam Margera, confirmed the news early Monday to TMZ.
The television personality tweeted a photo of himself at a bar late Sunday, but DUI was not cited as a cause for the accident on the police report. The photo was later removed.
Dunn, 34, appeared on the Johnny Knoxville-led MTV series “Jackass,” in the films that came from the show and on the spinoff series, “Viva La Bam.” He co-hosted the G4 show, “Proving Ground,” which premiered last week. The Post’s Lisa de Moraes reports that G4 will pull the show from its schedule until further notice. Nine episodes were filmed before Dunn’s death.
“We are devastated by the tragic loss of Ryan Dunn — a beloved member of the MTV family for more than a decade,” Van Toffler, president of MTV Networks Music/Films Group, said in a statement. “He made us all laugh and had the tireless enthusiastic approach to life of your favorite middle school friend. Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with Ryan’s family and friends. The Jackass brotherhood will never be the same.”
Knoxville responded to the news Monday afternoon on Twitter: “Today I lost my brother Ryan Dunn. My heart goes out to his family and his beloved Angie. RIP Ryan. I love you buddy.”
Jason “Wee-Man” Acuna, a member of the rowdy MTV crew, remembered Dunn on Twitter: “I MISS YOU BUD!! You were always a happy kick-[butt] dude!!” Read more reactions from the “Jackass” crew and other celebrities, including Tom Green, Carey Hart and Sofia Coppola, here.
Dunn’s name has become a trending topic on Twitter, with fans sharing their condolences and favorite memories.
While some fans shared condolences on Twitters, film critic Roger Ebert got in trouble for a controversial tweet about Dunn’s death. Sarah Anne Hughes explains:
Roger Ebert is not apologizing for the message behind the controversial tweet he wrote Monday after reading about the death of “Jackass” star Ryan Dunn: “Friends don’t let jackasses drink and drive.” But he did offer a further explanation for it on his Chicago Sun Times blog Tuesday, after coming under fire from Dunn’s friend, Bam Margera, and fans of the late star.
“To begin with, I offer my sympathy to Ryan Dunn's family and friends, and to those of Zachary Hartwell, who also died in the crash. I mean that sincerely. It is tragic to lose a loved one,” Ebert wrote. “I also regret that my tweet about the event was considered cruel. It was not intended as cruel. It was intended as true.”
Ebert goes on to rehash the details emerging from the car accident that killed Dunn, who posted a picture of himself at a bar online before the crash. He explains that he read reports that Dunn had been drinking before the accident and that DUI was indicated in an earlier car crash the MTV personality was involved in.
“I don't know what happened in this case, and I was probably too quick to tweet. That was unseemly,” he wrote.
Still, Ebert is not backing down from his original position. “I do know that nobody has any business driving on a public highway at 110 mph, as some estimated — or fast enough, anyway, to leave a highway and fly through 40 yards of trees before crashing,” he wrote. “That is especially true if the driver has had three shots and three beers. Two people were killed. What if the car had crashed into another car?”
Ebert’s Facebook page was “removed in error” Tuesday, he speculates because it was flagged by “Jackass” fans. The page has since been restored.
The new reality series, “Proving Ground,” is in limbo after its star Ryan Dunn’s death. Lisa de Moraes reports:
The Comcast-owned cable network G4 has pulled this week’s episode of its new reality series “Proving Ground” — and company execs are having discussions about its future — after its star, “Jackass” regular Ryan Dunn, died early Monday morning in a car crash.
“The show is off the schedule as of today until we discuss next steps,” a G4 spokeswoman told The TV Column.
Nine half-hour episodes had been shot of “Proving Ground,” which premiered last week. Only 31,000 people watched its debut last Tuesday night.
In the show, the “risk-taking” Dunn and “gorgeous” Jessica Chobot — G4’s descriptions — worked with experts, specialists and prop masters to re-create stunts seen in films, TV shows and video games to see whether they could work in the “real” world. You know, like spinning a web and swinging from it, a la Spider-Man.
A few hours before his 3 a.m. death, Dunn tweeted a picture of himself drinking with two friends; that photo has been yanked. Even so, TMZ founder Harvey Levin said during a live webcast Monday afternoon that the amount of reaction received over the site’s report on Dunn’s death has been “almost unparalleled in the history of TMZ” and that some responses are “not particularly sympathetic” because of TMZ’s report that a friend claimed Dunn was “wasted” when he got behind the wheel.
Police had not said whether alcohol was a factor in the deaths, but they said speed might have been. A 100-foot tire skid marked the spot where the car veered off the road, the AP reported.
The impact of the crash reportedly split the Porsche into several pieces, and Dunn’s body was identified by his tattoos.
“All of us at G4 are shocked and deeply saddened by the tragic news that Ryan Dunn has passed away,” the network said Monday in a statement. “Ryan’s comedic wit and signature no-holds-barred approach made him an incredible talent and his work on G4’s ‘Proving Ground’ was flawless.”
Dunn might also be seen this year in the yet-to-be-released film “Living Will.” In that flick, which has been floating around for a while, Dunn plays Belcher, a “party bum slacker” who “returns from the dead as a mischievous and perverted ghost.”
“Being dead is the best thing that’s ever happened to me — ever,” Belcher says in the flick’s ghoulish trailer, available on YouTube.
But Dunn was best known as a member of MTV’s “Jackass” TV series and movies, becoming a hero to young guys in the 2002 “Jackass: The Movie” when he inserted a toy car in one of his body cavities — the other one where thermometers can go — and headed to an emergency room with a fabricated story about suffering a strange pain after passing out at a frat party.
“The Jackass brotherhood will never be the same,” MTV President Van Toffler said Monday in a statement.
“Today I lost my brother Ryan Dunn. . . . RIP Ryan, I love you buddy,” “Jackass” colleague Johnny Knoxville tweeted Monday afternoon.
More from the Washington Post:
Celebritology: Bam Margera slams Roger Ebert tweet