This image was lost some time after publication.

Bernie Mac's tragic death sparked a surge of postmortems around the Web over the weekend, with many invoking his role as the bad-ass mall gumshoe opposite Billy Bob Thornton in Bad Santa. But one perceptive observer commenting at Hollywood Elsewhere noted that the late comedian's passing is the latest in a string of similarly untimely demises for other Thornton co-stars as well:

Strange how many Billy Bob Thornton co-stars have died prematurely (Ritter, Bernie Mac, J.T. Walsh, Heath Ledger). Thank goodness Morgan Freeman (Levity) and Shia (Eagle Eye) survived their crashes and Patrick Swayze (Waking Up in Reno) is coming back from cancer or we'd be talking about the Billy Bob Curse. Not trying to make light, just think it's eerie.

And don't forget Jim Varney, whose final role before dying at 50 was Thornton's film Daddy and Them. Eerie, indeed — and we're not afraid to call it the curse that it is. So please see above for Defamer's unsettling reference to doomed and/or endangered Thornton castmates. And be careful, Hollywood!