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‘The NeverEnding Story’: Atreyu Actor Nearly Died in Accident with Artax the Horse

‘The NeverEnding Story’: Atreyu Actor Nearly Died in Accident with Artax the Horse

The actor who played Atreyu in The NeverEnding Story suffered life-altering injuries while filming a scene with Artax the horse. And while he’s still paying for the incident, both literally and metaphorically, he’s thankful to be alive. 

Noah Hathaway was 12 years old when he landed the part of the Fantasia warrior in the 1984 cult-classic fantasy. At that time, he was already an established Hollywood star who was accustomed to the stresses and dangers of filming. But even the most seasoned actors have suffered horrific accidents on sets.

The incident happened as he was rehearsing a scene with the horse, Artax. Something spooked the animal, and it would not calm down. It then attempted to jump over a fence. Unfortunately, the horse couldn’t clear the fence, and it fell directly on Hathaway. Somehow he stuck with his role, but his condition did halt production for some time. He did not return for The NeverEnding Story 2, however. His character was recast to Kenny Morrison.

‘The NeverEnding Story’ Accident Cost Noah Hathaway $800K

The accident could have very possibly killed the young star, but he survived with two broken vertebrae and has been in and out of hospitals ever since. Around 2017, he underwent a spinal fusion surgery that cost $184k. Between that procedure and several others over the decades, he racked up $800k in medical debt, according to TMZ

At that time, he had run out of money and resources, so a neighbor set up a GoFundMe page with the hopes of raising $200K, which was slightly over the amount he had left to pay. The article did not specify if he reached his goal. 

The painful injuries have forced The NeverEnding Story star to retire from film twice. Hathaway first stepped away in 1994. He came back in 2012 and appeared in Sushi Girl and a handful of other films. He walked away again in 2016. But it seems that his 2017 surgery helped him overcome some of his physical obstacles because he had three films drop this year as well as three more projects on the horizon. 

Interestingly, Hathaway has also become a skilled martial artist. While he’s had several setbacks due to his injuries, he has earned a black belt in both Tang Soo Do and Shotokan Karate. The actor has also competed as a Muay Thai boxer.