Chris Kattan: Broken Neck Injury Still Follows The ‘DWTS’ Actor

Chris Kattan’s broken neck apparently affected his recent performance on Dancing with the Stars.

That’s right, the veteran Saturday Night Live actor, movie star, and one-time DWTS contestant is still dealing with a neck injury from two decades ago. Until recently, Chris has kept the broken neck situation under wraps — the entertainer said he feared losing acting gigs if his condition was made prematurely public. However, after his DWTS elimination on Monday night, Kattan is coming clean about the spine trauma that’s followed him since the 1990s.

Kattan, who partnered with celebrity dancer Witney Carson on Dancing with the Stars, was the first contestant ejected from the ABC reality dance competition following its Season 24 premiere week. Apparently, after his first week dance, the show’s judges were still unaware that Chris’ neck had ever been broken — even though he’d mentioned it in a pre-taped video. DWTS viewers reportedly commented that Kattan’s dancing seemed “stiff.”

Actor Chris Kattan arrives at the Premiere of Sony Pictures' 'Ghostbusters' at TCL Chinese Theatre on July 9, 2016 in Hollywood, California.
Did Chris Kattan's broken neck affect his 'Dancing with the Stars' performance? [Image by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images]

Chris’ broken truth came out in an explosive new interview. As told to People magazine, Chris Kattan’s broken neck dates back to his early movie career in the ’90s. Although Chris chose not to disclose the movie itself — nor the particular fear involved — he says an ill-fated film stunt is what caused his cervical spine to be broken.

“I was doing a stunt and I knew something was wrong but I didn’t think it was serious. It wasn’t until, maybe, two days later — when my arm started to atrophy — that I got checked out and the doctor told me that I’d broken my neck.”

Kattan kept his neck condition a secret for a long time. Mentioning that his actor father once lost a television gig for not possessing the physicality required to complete a certain trampoline trick, Chris did not want to miss out on any opportunities in his screen career by disclosing that his neck had been broken.

“I thought telling people about a physical drawback might cost me a job.”


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The Chris Kattan broken neck story doesn’t end there. He danced as well as he could during his stint on Dancing with the Stars, and has undergone numerous spinal surgeries since his unfortunate stunt accident. When his cervix was first broken, Chris attempted noninvasive surgery and Eastern medicine before acquiescing to a handful of more involved operations. Even then, Kattan was adamant on hiding his injury from workmates and other stars.

“When I went back to work, I was hiding my own wounds or my bandages and my posture and things like that. People started saying, ‘Chris, you don’t look very good.'”

Chris Kattan as the SNL character Mango at the 1999 VH1/Vogue Fashion Awards' at the Armory in New York City.
Team Mango: Chris Kattan as Mango in 1999. [Image by Scott Gries/Getty Images]

As reported by Extra, Chris Kattan decided to clear the air about his broken neck after receiving criticism for his dancing on Dancing with the Stars.

While the veteran actor and his fans promoted his DWTS effort with the hashtag “Team Mango Tango” on social media (a throwback to his lively, effeminate Mango character from his SNL days), the star knew he had to let his fans and followers know what was truly happening with his Dancing with the Stars performance.

“It really opened my eyes. I think this is going to be the last time I ever hide any kind of ailment or problem that I have. It just doesn’t work. It just doesn’t work in my favor at all. It just doesn’t.”


A post shared by Chris Kattan (@chriskattanofficial) on

Longtime Chris Kattan fans are well aware of the important role physicality plays in his craft. Even before the news of Chris’ broken neck and his Dancing with the Stars run made the rounds, viewers of his SNL characters and many film projects have understood Kattan’s unique onscreen presence. After all, this is the man who played a deliberately neck-jerking character in 1998’s Saturday Night Live big screen send-up, A Night at the Roxbury.

Below, check out a clip of Kattan’s energetic performance in Roxbury.

Did you know about Chris Kattan’s broken neck? Do you think having his neck broken affected his Dancing with the Stars outcome? Were you “Team Mango”? Let us know your favorite Chris Kattan movie in the comments section below.

[Featured Image by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images]