Even though it only ran just two seasons, from 1966 to 1968, ABC's THE RAT PATROL was undoubtedly one of the best war dramas ever aired. Each episode involved a high risk raid and adventure by a gritty team of stone tough soldiers. But an accident in 1967 while filming the show strangely led to the death of the lead star years after the show was canceled.
Actor Christopher George had been a tough U.S. Marine during the Korean War. He was even forced to parachute from a plane during an aircraft incident. As an actor, George played the ultimate tough guy leader of four RAT PATROL soldiers who caused major league mayhem on missions every bit as daring as any James Bond mission. George was the son of Greek immigrants and enlisted in the military in 1948. George was a deeply religious man who was an altar boy in the Greek Orthodox Church and strongly considered entering the priesthood of that faith. George eventually became an actor after his military service ended though.
In 1967, there was a Jeep accident on set when actors Christopher George, Gary Raymond and Justin Tarr were all injured when a Jeep Tarr was during for a tight turn stunt rolled over. George suffered several injuries, however his back was badly strained, and other neck injuries including a tissue tear were present. His heart was also injured, which set the actor up for problems that would eventually prove to be fatal.
On November 28, 1983, years after the accident, the actor passed away from a heart attack, a delayed injury from the 1967 Jeep accident.