Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Stars Who Got Into Real Physical Fights On TV Sets

Away from all the glitz and glamor of being a celebrity, most actors and TV presenters are just as human as the rest of us. Of course, that means that for every performer who is a pleasure to work with, there are just as many in the industry that wind up causing a few problems with their bad behavior on set. But past just a nasty attitude or being fussy, some stars have taken the next step and actually gotten into physical altercations on the job. 

Whether it's a bad case of a television host waking up on the wrong side of the bed or an ongoing, bitter rivalry that finally reached a boiling point, there are more stars than you might think that have opted to solve their on-set problems with actions rather than words. Grab your popcorn and get ready to rumble, as we take a look back at some of the most memorable — and some forgotten — times that actors and presenters got into physical fights on the set of television shows.

Shannen Doherty and Jennie Garth tussled behind the scenes

It might not have been the most highbrow entertainment to grace television screens, but there's no denying the impact "Beverly Hills: 90210" had while it was on the air. The glossy depiction of teen life may be comically outdated by today's standards, but the popular series delivered 10 seasons of drama that — you guessed it — didn't end after the cameras stopped rolling.

Among the cast of relative unknowns that were propelled to super-stardom by the show's meteoric rise to success, standouts Jennie Garth and Shannen Doherty are the two who clashed behind the scenes. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly ahead of the 2008 reboot "90210," they opened up regarding the bitter rivalry between them that wound up getting physical.

Though the pair claim they never got into an all-out brawl, they don't deny scratching each other in a fight on at least one occasion, and even admitting that other cast members sometimes had to step in to calm them down. In a more recent appearance on "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen," Garth revealed that the fiery duo had an incident when they "took it outside."

Bill Murray and Chevy Chase had it out for each other

Over its long history on the air, "Saturday Night Live" has been the stomping ground for some of the most prolific comedians of all time. Plenty can attribute their time on the series to contributing to their rising fame, with talents like Bill Murray and Chevy Chase both starring in the show's earliest years. But while they may both be able to owe some credit to the show for making them household names, that doesn't mean they always got along.

The incident took place in 1978 when Chase had just returned to host the series after a year-long break to find a bit of tension between himself and his former co-stars. He then entered into a verbal spat with co-star Murray, with the two trading insults that poked at everything from their respective marital problems to the other's physical appearance. The fighting words quickly turned into an actual fight, and the pair duked it out in the dressing room of John Belushi who, according to Chevy Chase, wound up taking the brunt of the punches thrown when he tried to come between them.

Thankfully, it seems that the two "Saturday Night Live" stars have been able to reconcile over the years since their skirmish, with Bill Murray saying in an interview with Empire magazine: "Chevy and I are friends now. It's all fine." While this beef may have been squashed, for those readers who have kept up with the more controversial side of Chevy Chase's career, this might not be the last we hear of him on this rundown.

Isaiah Washington made a fight with Patrick Dempsey even worse

Though the genre of medical dramas is certainly nothing new to broadcast television, for better or for worse, few have gone the distance quite like "Grey's Anatomy." First airing in Spring 2005, the series has seen countless actors come and go across its 400-plus episode run, all portraying characters whose lives are directly related to the goings-on at a Seattle hospital. Despite the lengthy history the show has, this particular bit of drama took place not long after the series debuted.

Unfortunately, not all fights are over petty matters or trivial disagreements. In the case of Isaiah Washington and Patrick Dempsey's on-set fight — one of the more well-known examples — the two actors got into a particularly nasty scuffle. As recalled by several cast and crew in the book "How to Save a Life: The Inside Story of Grey's Anatomy," the confrontation got to a point where Washington had Dempsey pinned against a wall, before making the situation even worse by uttering a homophobic slur directed at a third cast member, T.R. Knight. Unsurprisingly, the fallout from the event led to Washington's prompt dismissal from the series and proved damaging to the actor's career — at least temporarily.

Thomas Gibson struck a producer

"Criminal Minds" carved out a niche for itself in the sea of police and crime procedurals by focusing on the inner psyche of the most dangerous criminals around, and the FBI agents who track them down. Among the most prominent members of the cast is Behavioral Analysis Unit Chief Aaron Hotchner (Thomas Gibson), whose time on the series was cut short due to going into witness protection. In reality, though, Gibson's departure from the show was for far less noble reasons.

As reported by TMZ, Gibson's time on the series came to an abrupt end in August 2016 after a disagreement between him and a producer turned physical, ending with the "Criminal Minds" star allegedly kicking the crew member. Not long after the story broke, Gibson would speak to People Magazine about the unfortunate incident, alleging that the whole thing was overblown: "He [the producer] came into that room and started coming towards me. As he brushed past me, my foot came up and tapped him on the leg. If I hadn't moved, he would have run into me. We had some choice words, for which I apologized the next day, and that was it. It was over." Despite the conflicting sides to the event, it remains true that the former star hasn't been seen on "Criminal Minds" since.

A background actor just couldn't wait in line

Debuting in 2014, "Madam Secretary" saw Elizabeth McCord (Téa Leoni) appointed to the position of Secretary of State, where she navigates the complex political landscape both in Washington and beyond. Running for just over five years, the show was fairly average when it comes to political dramas, but some of the behind-the-scenes theatrics were anything but.

The disagreement that occurred on the set of "Madam Secretary" is one of the more unusual ones, as it didn't involve any of the series' major stars. Instead, as reported by TMZ, an unnamed background actor decided to cut in line while getting some food during a break from production. After being called out by a member of craft services for the faux pas, the actor pushed the employee, whose husband in turn started wailing on the line cutter. The brawl wound up getting so bad, that the actor had to be taken to the hospital. Capt. David White, one of the officers dealing with the incident, told People Magazine, "We had three officers working the detail and it was contained quickly ... The only injury was to the individual who got punched." Surprisingly, no arrests were made and little news has surfaced again since all this happened back in 2019.

Michael Mando lost a role due to a fight

Perhaps best known for voicing Vaas Montenegro in the video game "Far Cry 3" and for his role as Nacho Varga in the "Breaking Bad" spin-off series, "Better Call Saul," up-and-coming actor Michael Mando looked like he had a promising career ahead of him. Back in September 2022, it was announced that he would be building on his career even further by starring in the Peter Craig and Ridley Scott-helmed crime drama "Sinking Spring." Unfortunately, it doesn't look like that'll be happening anymore, as just a few months later news broke that he was taken off the project for reasons that still aren't totally clear.

In late February 2023, as reported by Deadline, the "Better Call Saul" alum was unceremoniously dropped from "Sinking Spring" in the aftermath of what's only been described as "an on-set physical altercation with another cast member." Since the dramatic decision by the production staff, however, surprisingly few details have surfaced on what exactly went down that day — even who Mando clashed with remains a mystery. Hopefully, when "Sinking Spring" finally gets a release, someone who was involved can shed some light on the whole situation

Sage Steele was hit by Barbara Walters

Airing on ABC since 1997, "The View" has been host to some of the most prominent figures in political and social life. The daytime talk show was the brainchild of late reporter Barbara Walters, who along with a panel of other women who have come and gone over the years, discussed some of the most pressing and popular topics of the day. However, in an interview with Sage Steele — a former ESPN anchor and a guest on "The View" — it was revealed that an awkward and violent encounter once played out behind the scenes of the acclaimed talk show.

While speaking on "The Megyn Kelly Show," Steele claims to have been backstage when she came face to face with Walters: "She just started to back up towards me and looked at me and got close and elbowed me. And it pushed me back into the wall and the trash can." From there, she goes on to say that the unusual confrontation happened in full view of fellow "View" host Whoopi Goldberg, who pulled Steele to the side and told her, "Don't you let her [Walters] do it."

All in all, it amounts to one of the strangest on-set scuffles, with even Steele discussing her confusion during the incident, adding, "I'm like, am I in a movie right now? One of the legends in this industry just tried to beat me up!"

Chevy Chase pushed Joel McHale to his limit

Decades after his heated exchange with Bill Murray escalated to fisticuffs, Chevy Chase would once again be involved in some on-set tension. It all went down during his time on the sitcom "Community" which, regrettably, was marked by more than just a physical altercation with a fellow cast member.

As revealed by Joel McHale in an interview on the Howard Stern Show, during the time they worked together, Chase would often seem to want to pick a fight with his co-star, saying that "[Sometimes] he'd just want to fight me. Like, physically fight me." It finally came to a head when — while the pair were rehearsing for a scene in which their characters Jeff and Pierce are training for an upcoming boxing match — Chase apparently needled McHale to keep hitting him harder. It got bad enough to not only blur the line between genuine acting and a legitimate fight but also wound up seriously injuring Chase, with McHale claiming to have "separated his [Chase's] shoulder".

As if that wasn't bad enough, though, Chase's antics and problems with his co-stars weren't confined to just issues of a physical nature. Comedian Donald Glover, who portrayed Troy Barnes in the series' first five seasons, revealed to The New Yorker that Chase would often make racially charged jokes at his expense, ultimately contributing to the veteran actor's removal from the show.

Sharon Osbourne charged Megan Hauserman

Debuting back in 2007 — and as a spin-off of the reality TV series "Flavor of Love" — "Charm School" saw contestants compete against one another to try and master etiquette lessons in the hopes of coming out on top and snagging a cash prize. While filming was being done on a reunion special, Season 2 host Sharon Osbourne and contestant Megan Hauserman were reflecting on their time on the series together when things got ugly. After weathering an insult at the expense of her husband Ozzy Osbourne, the former "X Factor" judge threw a glass of juice onto Hauserman (via TMZ), before throwing herself on top of her in a fit of rage that reportedly left Hauserman with patches of hair ripped off her head.

Though reality television is, ironically enough, often pretty far from reality, the lawsuit between the two former stars over the scrap was quite real. More than two years after the news first broke out, the pair were all set to duke it out once again in the courtroom, but ultimately reached a settlement just a day before that could happen.

Eric Braeden and Peter Bergman struggled to get along

Set in the fictional Genoa City, "The Young and the Restless" revolves around competing families from all social classes and the rivalries they wind up forming. There's been a plethora of actors who have called the city home at one time or another over the years, with some of its most prominent being Eric Braeden and Peter Bergman. Just like their on-screen counterparts, it turns out Braeden and Bergman have had their share of conflict too.

The exact details of the fight are still a bit mysterious, but what we do know is that early into their time on the show together, animosity quickly developed between newcomer Bergman and veteran star Braeden. This wound up boiling over into a full-blown fight sometime in 1991 — an incident which Braeden recently expressed regret over. In a 2017 interview with Soap Opera Digest, he remarked: "It was such a big thing at the time, and something that obviously I wish one could have avoided." Since then, however, it seems the two have managed to hash out their differences over the years, with Braeden going on to say: "Look, we may not like each other, but we are both good for the show ... And he, of course, is a bright guy and agreed with me, and we have nothing but respect for each other, but it took a while to get to that point."

Joe Rogan got into a fight with a contestant on Fear Factor

Though he might be best known today for being a UFC commentator, as well as the host of his own podcast, it's easy to forget that Joe Rogan was also the host of "Fear Factor" for a number of years. The unapologetically '00s game show challenged contestants to endure over-the-top, grotesque, and often dangerous challenges for a hefty cash prize, and we imagine some bragging rights to go along with it. But as any situation involving extreme stress is likely to do, tempers flared more than once on the show's run, leading to a confrontation between Rogan and a contestant that was caught on tape.

In the episode, a contestant is tasked with retrieving a skull at the end of an underwater Alligator tunnel — just another day on "Fear Factor." After failing to beat the challenge, she winds up getting berated not just by her fellow teammate and husband, but by another competitor on the show, whom she promptly delivers a firm punch to. In response, Rogan yells "What are you doing? You can't assault people." Seconds later, and after delivering a final comment, "If you and your husband hit each other, that's one thing," her husband takes offense, lunging at Rogan and immediately getting into a physical fight with him. The scuffle goes on for a few moments before finally being intercepted by another contestant. It all happens in just a few seconds, and would almost sound too goofy to believe if it wasn't all well-documented.

Joss Whedon pushed James Marsters on the set of Buffy the Vampire Slayer

When it first came on the air in the late '90s, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" was something truly special. The mix of serialized horror and teen drama was a far cry from other contemporary horror shows on the airwaves at the time, and helped pave the way for the wide variety of horror series available today. It was all thanks to creator Joss Whedon who — though undeniably talented when it comes to helming a TV series — doesn't have a spotless record off camera. As it turns out, Buffy and the bloodsucking undead weren't the only ones getting into fights on the set of the hit '90s drama.

While speaking on the podcast "Inside Of You" in 2021, James Marsters — who played Spike from Season 2 onward — was reflecting on how the character was never originally intended to go the distance. As a result of Spike's popularity with viewers, however, Whedon was forced to keep him on the series, conflicting with his vision of how the character and series should progress. "The network was telling him, oh my God, keep this guy on the show ... I was basically ruining his show," Marsters remarked.

From there, Whedon's frustration with audience reception and network demands was turned onto Marsters, who recalled: "He pushed me up against the wall ... I don't remember how it started." And while Martsters does look back on the scuffle with humor, the shoving is only one of several more controversies to emerge from Whedon's side.

Bruce Lee had a legendary duel with a stuntman

First appearing in a radio broadcast on the airwaves nearly a century ago, the character of the Green Hornet has made numerous appearances across the vast landscape of media. Donning a green mask and riding around in a tricked-out car known as the Black Beauty with his sidekick Kato in tow, the duo has set off to fight crime in everything from comic books to the silver screen. But way back in 1966, shortly after the Green Hornet's television series first debuted, some of the action in the action-packed series spilled over into the real world.

Starring legendary Hollywood actor and martial artist turned actor Bruce Lee as Kato, it seemed there was no one better suited for the role, and apparently, Lee knew it. As relayed by The Things, he apparently started to get a little too rough with the show's stuntmen, flaunting his real martial arts prowess, when he finally met his match. Enter Gene LeBell, a prolific stuntman and martial artist who picked Lee up, and proceeded to run around the set with him over his shoulders, all while Lee screamed for him to "put me down or I'll kill you!"

Instead of being quickly forgotten like a number of the fights we've looked at, the roughhousing between Bruce Lee and Gene LeBell took on something of a mythical status in the world of cinema. Famously, it inspired a scene in director Quentin Tarantino's "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" where Brad Pitt's Cliff Booth squares up against Bruce Lee (Mike Moh).

Jeremy Clarkson attacked a Top Gear producer

After over 40 years on the air between the original series and its revival, "Top Gear" has gained fame not just in its native Britain, but in America and beyond as well. The hit series features a trio of presenters as they talk about new and exciting cars being developed and embark on wild and wacky adventures and challenges. It's a formula that made the series one of the best in British broadcasting, but with all that fame comes a fair bit of controversy, which caught up with then-host Jeremy Clarkson back in 2015.

It's one of the most well-documented fights and was even capped off by a publicly released report issued by the BBC detailing the events of the altercation. It all began at the Simonstone Hotel in North Yorkshire, which happened to be on location for an episode the crew was filming at the time. It was there that Clarkson launched an attack against "Top Gear" producer Oisin Tymon, allegedly over a sirloin steak (per The Guardian). The assault reportedly lasted approximately 30 seconds and was followed by a prolonged verbal attack against Tymon, who later had to report to a nearby accident and emergency department for treatment for his injuries.

The troubling incident proved to be the last straw for the BBC, who promptly terminated Clarkson's contract as a result of the beating. Since then, Clarkson has denied any wrongdoing on Tymon's part, saying: "I would like to say sorry, once again, to Oisin Tymon for the incident and its regrettable aftermath. I want to reiterate that none of this was in any way his fault."

Wyatt Cenac and Norm Macdonald got heated

It turns out that the clash between Bill Murray and Chevy Chase wouldn't be the last time two comedians would come to blows on the set of "Saturday Night Live." Years later, as revealed in a discussion between Wyatt Cenac and Stephen Colbert on an episode of "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," the pair both became entangled in a late-night game of soccer with Norm Macdonald that turned physical.

As recalled by Cenac, who at the time was a 19-year-old intern at SNL: "Early in the game, Colin [Quinn] and Norm had been jawing at each other, and Norm was also trying to quit smoking so he was extra agitated. And at some point, Norm and I got into a bit of a scrum for the ball and I wound up clipping him in the shin, and then he got really mad, like you do when you're trying to quit smoking, and grabbed me and tried to throw me across the room."

From there, Cenac went on to describe pushing Norm off of him as the two found themselves in a shoving and yelling match before Colbert interjected saying: "And [then] Colin and I pulled you two apart." It may have just been some pent-up frustration boiling over, but still qualifies as an oft-forgotten and unlikely TV scrap.

Andy Kaufman and Jerry Lawler had an infamous feud

There may be no performer in recent memory who could match the eccentricity of Andy Kaufman. Known for his unusual and innovative style of comedy, describing Kaufman's particular brand as "offbeat" would be an understatement. As a testament to his legacy, everything from an R.E.M. song to a full-blown movie chronicling his life has since been released, and, for this rundown, we'll be taking a look at one of his most famous moments.

After a bout of billing himself as one of the world's greatest wrestlers but only facing women in the ring, Kaufman finally had his clock cleaned by professional wrestler Jerry Lawler. That's not the fight we're looking at, though, because months later, the two appeared on an episode of "Late Night with David Letterman," where things got heated. Kaufman, still in a neck brace from his last bout with Lawler, immediately began quarreling with his former opponent before taking a slap to the face that sent him flying out of his seat, to which he responded with a profanity-riddled threat to sue his attacker. It was all raw, unfiltered, and most importantly real drama unfolding live on national television. Or was it?

Just two years later, Kaufman would be pronounced dead at the age of just 35 (or so he says), but the public feud between the two would remain in the public knowledge. Years later, it was finally revealed by none other than Jerry Lawler that not only was the on-set fight staged, but the pair were actually good friends in real life. It was an incredible piece of entertainment from a comedian who still forces audiences to ask questions about what was and wasn't real.

James Kennedy and Tom Sandoval had to be restrained during a fight

If there's one thing reality TV is known for, it's a near-endless stream of juicy drama to keep audiences hooked. Sometimes — like in the case of Sharon Osbourne — the drama bleeds into the real world, leaving us with incidents like the one that happened on the set of a "Vanderpump Rules" reunion. The special, which followed an already dramatic 10th season, saw longtime stars Tom Sandoval and James Kennedy at each other's throats over an old cheating scandal between Sandoval and Kennedy's fiance, Raquel Leviss.

It didn't take long for Kennedy, who felt burned for being in the dark for so long, to begin lashing out as his co-star while the cameras were still rolling. The expletive-filled tirade only got worse as Kennedy leaped from his seat, charging at Sandoval before being intercepted at the last moment by host Andy Cohen. And while it might be a bit of a stretch to consider this one a true fight as no one actually wound up black and blue on the set of the "Vanderpump Rules" reunion that day, it was only thanks to the quick actions of the host Cohen.

Cardi B threw a shoe at a co-star on Love and Hip Hop

By now, Cardi B likely needs no introduction. The talented rapper and songwriter first made a name for herself back in 2015 while starring in the reality series "Love and Hip Hop: New York," which is actually where this story begins. On a 2017 episode of the reality show, which focuses on the relationships and personal lives of hip-hop artists and professionals in New York City, a developing beef between Cardi and co-star Asia Davies turned a little violent on air.

The drama unfolded in a blink and you'll miss it moment, as things went from calm to chaotic with Cardi hurling her shoe across the stage and at Davies. Instantly, the scene erupted into chaos, with practically everyone in arm's reach trying to separate the two stars, in a puzzling moment that may have left audiences scratching their heads. But in an exclusive interview with Hollywood Life just days after the incident, Davies' ex-boyfriend Swift would shine a light on the drama. "Cardi was mad [on my behalf]" Swift would say. "She knew what went down and she was mad because I wasn't saying anything to defend myself." He adds: "She threw the shoe at Asia because, well, it was a build-up of a lot of things. She was mad that Asia was trying to play the victim while I was holding it down," Swift explains, "And she was mad because she couldn't get an explanation from Asia as to why she didn't like Cardi."