‘Chicago PD’ Star Jason Beghe’s Distinct Voice is the Result of a Near-Death Experience

by Taylor Cunningham

That gruff and grizzly voice that gives Jason Beghe’s Detective Voight his ominous bad cop vibe on Chicago PD didn’t come naturally. According to the actor, it was a result of a terrible car accident that nearly took his life.

While talking to The Daily Beast about his life before One Chicago, the 62-year-old admitted that his unique voice gave him a leg up on the NBC procedural. The sound is akin to famous detectives of the Old Hollywood past. And honestly, there’s no one more suited for the somewhat corrupt Windy City cop.

Beghe admitted that aspects of his voice are god-given. Once he went from child to man, his tone took a plunge that caused some of that deep “gravel” he’s known for. But for the most part, his voice came with a high price.

Jason Beghe ‘Technically’ Died in 1999

In 1999, the actor “technically” died during a “very serious car accident.” But luckily, he ended up recovering. And his only lasting issue was a damaged vocal cord that left him sounding particularly raspy.

“[I] broke my neck, my back in a couple of places, all of my ribs, both of my lungs,” he shared. “I was in a coma for three and a half weeks. When I would come out of the coma, since I was intubated from being on life support, I would pull the tube out and it made it even more fu**ked up.”

“It’s good for Voight—not so good when I have to play the sweet dad,” he added. “But it’s good with my kids. They’re good kids, but when I say, Hey, it’s time to clean up, they do it.”

Jason Beghe also chatted with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette last year about the incident. And he recalled just how much the near-death experience affected his entire take on life.

“That was definitely an experience that profoundly informed my perception of what life is,” he said. Twenty years later, it’s not something I think about very often. But as you bring it up to me, I do believe that I’ve probably permanently changed since then.”

Jason Beghe Nearly Turned Down His Spot on ‘Chicago PD’

Following the accident, the actor pulled himself together and got back to work almost as if he didn’t miss a beat. Jason Beghe starred in Family Law the same year he briefly died and then continuously worked gigs from 2000 forward.

However, doing so left him burnt out. And because of that and some family tragedies, Jason Beghe nearly turned down his role on Chicago PD.

As he told the Gazzette, he was in “the middle of a lot of personal stuff” when Dick Wolf sent him a script. Both his mother and father had just died and he “wasn’t sure” he wanted to commit to the part. But in the end, he decided that he needed to go for it.

“Interestingly,” he said, “I left to shoot my first day on Chicago Fire from my father’s funeral in Washington D.C. The many ways in which that decision has changed my life could fill a book. Suffice it to say, I’m happy I made that choice.”