Judd Apatow cheated death when he was 27.

The 'Funny People' director says he would have been killed by the 1994 Los Angeles earthquake as when it hit, the chimney crashed through the bedroom ceiling, where he should have been asleep.

Fortunately for Judd, he was painting the house at the time - even though it was 4.30am.

The filmmaker revealed his near-death experience gave him a brief appreciation for life.

He said: "The only reason I wasn't in bed was because I was painting the house. For about three days, I really appreciated life... but just for three days."

Judd also revealed he casts the same people in his movies because he knows it's a winning formula.

Judd - whose movies include 'Knocked Up', 'The 40-year-old Virgin' and 'Superbad' - said: "I work with the same people over and over because it's hard to find actors who are really funny and willing to give up all their personal problems and conversations and use them in the story. So when I find someone great I tend to stick with them."

Stars to have appeared in Judd's films include Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, Jason Segel and Steve Carell.