HomeAmerican Entertainment‘Chicago PD’ Star Jason Beghe Opens Up About Dying for ‘Short Period of Time’ After Car Accident 20 Years Ago

‘Chicago PD’ Star Jason Beghe Opens Up About Dying for ‘Short Period of Time’ After Car Accident 20 Years Ago

by Leanne Stahulak
(Photo by Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images)

“Chicago PD” star Jason Beghe landed several iconic roles in Hollywood due to his raspy, rough voice. We couldn’t imagine the gruff Officer Hank Voight sounding any other way. But a little-known fact about the actor is that his voice sounds that way due to an almost fatal car crash.

Beghe spoke with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recently about different moments that shaped his career. Back in 1999, this car wreck put him in a coma and injured his vocal cords. When doctors went to remove the tubing from the “Chicago PD” star while in the hospital, Beghe’s vocal cords sustained damage.

But the moment he’ll never forget from that experience is when he almost didn’t survive.

“Technically, I did die for a short period of time when I was in the coma,” Beghe explained. “That was definitely an experience that profoundly informed my perception of what life is. 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.”

Beghe didn’t elaborate on what specifically changed about him from the near-death experience. But he did discuss another moment that changed the course of his life forever: When he signed on for “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago PD.”

“When I got the script and the offer to do a recurring role on ‘Chicago Fire,’ I was in the middle of a lot of personal stuff,” Beghe said. “Both my parents had just died, and I wasn’t sure that I was going to accept the job. But I ultimately decided to do it. Interestingly, 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.

‘Chicago PD’ Star Jason Beghe Talks How Hank Voight Character Influenced Him

During Beghe’s interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the interviewer asked whether some of Hank Voight’s traits on “Chicago PD” rubbed off on him. At first, it’s hard to tell whether the star is joking or not in his response.

“Ever since I started playing Hank Voight, I’ve found that I’ve killed a lot more people in my personal life. I slapped a guy at 7-Eleven when he gave me the wrong change yesterday. I’m kidding!” Beghe said with a laugh. “Honestly, after all this time, it becomes like a close personal relationship. And like any good close relationship, I’m sure we learn from and influence each other.”

It’s interesting to think about an actor and character affecting each other in that way. But we shouldn’t be surprised that Hank’s become his own autonomous person over the last seven years.