Actor Dies in Dune Buggy Accident on TV Series Set

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A 27-year-old Sherman Oaks actor was killed and another actor injured Friday on the set of the action-adventure TV series "Sliders," when a dune buggy they were riding in overturned on a dry lake bed near Adelanto, authorities said.

Kenneth Keith Steadman, 27, was flown by helicopter from the set on El Mirage Dry Lake to San Bernardino County Medical Center after the 11:50 a.m. accident, said Randy Emon of the county coroner's office. He was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the hospital.

The other actor, who was not identified, was treated for minor injuries at a hospital and released, said Libby Gill, a spokeswoman for the MCA/Universal Television Group, makers of the program.

The dune buggy, which Steadman was driving, authorities said, had seat belts but neither man was wearing one at the time of the accident.

Friday's fatal accident is the latest in a string of deaths--including two this August--that has led some entertainment community insiders to call for improved on-set safety measures.

Steadman and the other actor were appearing in guest roles on "Sliders," which stars John Rhys-Davies, of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" fame, and Jerry O'Connell.

A native of northern Washington state, Steadman moved to Los Angeles five years ago to pursue acting, Ferris said. His career was just beginning to blossom with guest spots last season on "NYPD Blue" and "Baywatch."

"Ken Steadman was a young and fabulous actor," his manager, Susan Ferris, said. "He was a very cool guy, very talented."

A fast-paced series about four characters who can travel between dimensions to parallel universes, "Sliders" has never been a big ratings hit, ranking low in last season's Nielsen standings.

John Landis--who was making the film "The Twilight Zone" when a helicopter accident killed actor Vic Morrow and two children in 1982--was initially an executive producer on "Sliders," but has not had any day-to-day connection to the program since its first season, sources said.

In December, Woodland Hills stuntwoman Janet Wilder, 29, was killed in Florida when a boat stunt went awry while she was making the Disney movie "Gone Fishin.' " Wilder was the fourth person to die on a set in 1995.

Then in August, Paul Dallas, a 34-year-old stuntman from Canyon Country working on the TV program "L.A. Heat" died after jumping from a 50-foot platform at a utility plant in Sun Valley and hitting the ground instead of an air-filled cushion.

Less than three weeks later, Michael Tamburro of Woodland Hills died when a military surplus AH-1 Cobra helicopter he was co-piloting crashed during filming of a commercial in the desert near Lancaster.

Times staff writer Brian Lowry and the Associated Press contributed to this story.

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