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-   -   Major characters killed off sitcoms but not because of the actor's death. (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=824917)

Nars Glinley 04-27-2017 12:47 PM

Major characters killed off sitcoms but not because of the actor's death.
 
Deaths of major characters on sitcoms are fairly rare but obviously they do happen.

Off the top of my head, there's Edith from "All In The Family", Colonel Blake from M*A*S*H and James Evans (the dad) on "Good Times". John Ritter of "8 Simple Rules" wouldn't count because he passed away IRL.

Who else is there?

Rick Sanchez 04-27-2017 12:57 PM

Charlie Sheen as...whatever his asshole character was called on 2 and a half men. I never watched it, but I know they fired Sheen and killed off his character because Sheen was such a prick.

Leaffan 04-27-2017 12:59 PM

Maude Flanders

Thudlow Boink 04-27-2017 01:02 PM

Li'l Sebastian

TriPolar 04-27-2017 01:12 PM

Chuckles the Clown

cochrane 04-27-2017 01:17 PM

The Hogan Family, originally titled Valerie. It starred Valerie Harper, who was written out of the show in a contract dispute. Her character was killed off and she was replaced with Sandy Duncan.

Telemark 04-27-2017 01:34 PM

Depending on your definition of "major":

- Eddie LeBec (Jay Thomas) on Cheers was killed off because the actor made nasty remarks about Rhea Perlman

- Chef (Issac Hayes) on South Park was killed off because he left show, objecting to the episode they did on Scientology.

- Susan Ross (Heidi Swedberg) on Seinfeld because, well, Seinfeld.

- Elaine Lefkowitz on Soap, which was not a traditional sitcom and pretty dark.

-

PastTense 04-27-2017 02:05 PM

Have any come back after being killed off? In fiction the classic example of someone who was apparently killed off is Sherlock Holmes.

CalMeacham 04-27-2017 02:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PastTense (Post 20167430)
Have any come back after being killed off? In fiction the classic example of someone who was apparently killed off is Sherlock Holmes.

Shortly after him (Holmes returned in The Empty House in 1903) H. Rider Haggard had She Who Must Be Obeyed return in Ayesha in 1904-5. The difference is that Ayesha was "undeniably and reliably dead", unlike Holmes, who was merely presumed dead. Hers is the first case I know of where a certifiably deceased character returned from the dead to continue the series. It wouldn't be the last.

TriPolar 04-27-2017 02:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PastTense (Post 20167430)
Have any come back after being killed off? In fiction the classic example of someone who was apparently killed off is Sherlock Holmes.

It's a soap opera trope. Larry Hagman in Dallas, not officially a sitcom.

There was Cheers where we hoped Diane was dead but turns out she wasn't.

Southpaw 04-27-2017 02:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TriPolar (Post 20167463)
It's a soap opera trope. Larry Hagman in Dallas, not officially a sitcom.

Nitpick: Patrick Duffy was the one in the shower. Hagman's character was shot, but not fatally.

Dewey Finn 04-27-2017 02:20 PM

Similarly, Charlie Sheen's character in Two And A Half Men was believed to have died in Paris, but in the final episode we learned he was being held captive by Rose.

terentii 04-27-2017 02:53 PM

Her final fate is unknown, but Stephanie Barnett, the hot MD on Big Bang Theory, just disappeared after season two was over.

That Don Guy 04-27-2017 02:56 PM

Dr. Kudner (Kal Penn's character) on House; Penn had just accepted his job with the Obama administration.

Ed Marinaro's character (whose name escapes me) on Hill Street Blues.

Dr. Armstrong on St. Elsewhere - this may be stretching the definition of "major" somewhat, but the circumstances that led to the character's death were controversial; they wrote the character off of the show because somebody (either the producers or NBC) felt that too many viewers were turned off by the fact that she was Asian.

Barkis is Willin' 04-27-2017 03:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PastTense (Post 20167430)
Have any come back after being killed off? In fiction the classic example of someone who was apparently killed off is Sherlock Holmes.

Brian on Family Guy.

Penfeather 04-27-2017 03:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PastTense (Post 20167430)
Have any come back after being killed off? In fiction the classic example of someone who was apparently killed off is Sherlock Holmes.

The entire cast of Blackadder II died at the end of the second series but were back as their descendants or isotopes of their old selves for Blackadder III. I suppose you could say the same for the end of Blackadder IV and the various specials since, too.

Telemark 04-27-2017 03:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by That Don Guy (Post 20167612)
Dr. Kudner (Kal Penn's character) on House; Penn had just accepted his job with the Obama administration.

Ed Marinaro's character (whose name escapes me) on Hill Street Blues.

Dr. Armstrong on St. Elsewhere - this may be stretching the definition of "major" somewhat, but the circumstances that led to the character's death were controversial; they wrote the character off of the show because somebody (either the producers or NBC) felt that too many viewers were turned off by the fact that she was Asian.

None of those are sitcoms.

The Other Waldo Pepper 04-27-2017 04:00 PM

DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES picked up Emmys and Golden Globes in the 'comedy' category, and Steven Culp's character got killed off -- dying slowly enough to write a note forgiving his wife for poisoning him, despite the fact that, no, she didn't.

Amateur Barbarian 04-27-2017 04:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by That Don Guy (Post 20167612)
Ed Marinaro's character (whose name escapes me) on Hill Street Blues.

Coffey. Ed Coffey, I think.

One of the truly shocking character deaths in TV drama. Done more or less in the episode tag, after the main stories.

Jim's Son 04-27-2017 04:20 PM

"Make Room for Daddy" they killed off Danny Williams's wife Margaret after three seasons because Jean Hagen and Danny Thomas didn't get along (she felt under utilized). Had her death happened between seasons so season four Danny was a bachelor, single father of two until he met his second wife late in the year.

Casey1505 04-27-2017 04:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PastTense (Post 20167430)
Have any come back after being killed off? In fiction the classic example of someone who was apparently killed off is Sherlock Holmes.

Kenny McCormick answers both this question and the OP, I think.

whitetho 04-27-2017 04:23 PM

The ratings for the first season of Sledge Hammer! were so low that they didn't expect the show to be renewed, so Inspector Hammer was killed in the season ending episode in a failed attempt to disarm a nuclear bomb. However, the show was in fact renewed, so the second season was said to consist of flashbacks to a five year earlier period in his life.

RickJay 04-27-2017 05:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Telemark (Post 20167346)
- Susan Ross (Heidi Swedberg) on Seinfeld because, well, Seinfeld.

Susan Ross was killed off because the principle players and writers just didn't feel she and the character were working out with the rest of the show. It wasn't anything against Heidi Swedberg, they just felt the dynamic was wrong.

Alessan 04-27-2017 05:33 PM

Chevy Chase's character Pierce Hawthorne was killed off on Community, mainly because everyone hated him.

Chronos 04-27-2017 05:57 PM

I don't think that any count as major characters, but The Simpsons has killed off a few, like Bleeding Gums Murphy and Mrs. Flanders.

terentii 04-27-2017 06:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Amateur Barbarian (Post 20167798)
Coffey. Ed Coffey, I think.

One of the truly shocking character deaths in TV drama. Done more or less in the episode tag, after the main stories.

Joe Coffey. He was killed about 3/4 of the way through the episode; the last minute or so, Lucy Bates was looking at his corpse on the floor, just before they covered his face.

His pointless death was indeed a shocker.

kunilou 04-27-2017 09:22 PM

Marvin Erickson on How I Met Your Mother. Maybe not "major" but at least recurring and not a character who was brought in just to be killed off.

Little Nemo 04-27-2017 10:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PastTense (Post 20167430)
Have any come back after being killed off? In fiction the classic example of someone who was apparently killed off is Sherlock Holmes.

Mrs Landingham appeared a few times in flashback scenes after her character died in the show. Kathryn Joosten, who is still alive, returned to play her.

Reluctant A. 04-28-2017 12:26 AM

Doctor (insert character name here) on ER? I mean, seriously, there was at least three of them, right?

Also, if series finales count, Zeke on Parenthood.

Richard John Marcej 04-28-2017 12:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Penfeather (Post 20167651)
The entire cast of Blackadder II died at the end of the second series but were back as their descendants or isotopes of their old selves for Blackadder III. I suppose you could say the same for the end of Blackadder IV and the various specials since, too.

To be fair, the entire cast of The Blackadder died to return as their descendants in
Black-adder II, who in turn died to return as their descendants in
Black Adder the Third , who in turn died to return as their descendants in
Blackadder Goes Forth.
And if you'd like, you could squeeze in Blackadder's Christmas Carol in between the Third & Goes Forth, assuming they all died to return in Goes Forth.
That was the schtick of the series.

panache45 04-28-2017 05:41 AM

On Seinfeld, Kramer was killed off when his body was dumped in the East River. But he managed to escape.

Nars Glinley 04-28-2017 06:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Reluctant A. (Post 20168761)
Doctor (insert character name here) on ER? I mean, seriously, there was at least three of them, right?


I wouldn't call "ER" a sitcom.

Richard John Marcej 04-28-2017 07:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nars Glinley (Post 20168954)
I wouldn't call "ER" a sitcom.

Unless you're talking about the 1984 short lived sitcom "E/R"
Though if memory serves, it wasn't too funny.:)

Telemark 04-28-2017 08:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Richard John Marcej (Post 20169097)
Unless you're talking about the 1984 short lived sitcom "E/R"
Though if memory serves, it wasn't too funny.:)

But it also had George Clooney, so there you go.

Uncle Jocko 04-28-2017 08:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Little Nemo (Post 20168661)
Mrs Landingham appeared a few times in flashback scenes after her character died in the show. Kathryn Joosten, who is still alive, returned to play her.

You're obviously talking about The West Wing here (fantastic series, also not a sitcom). Mrs. Landingham's most memorable return, of course, was in "Two Cathedrals," not as a flashback, but as a kind of truthtelling vision to President Bartlet ("But if you don't run because you think it's gonna be too hard or you think you're gonna lose, well, God, Jed, I don't even want to know you.").

And unfortunately, Kathryn Joosten is no longer with us, having passed away in 2012.

Reluctant A. 04-28-2017 10:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nars Glinley (Post 20168954)
I wouldn't call "ER" a sitcom.

My bad. Reading fail.

Little Nemo 04-28-2017 11:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Uncle Jocko (Post 20169254)
And unfortunately, Kathryn Joosten is no longer with us, having passed away in 2012.

My mistake. I meant to write "Kathryn Joosten, who was still alive, returned to play her."

Amateur Barbarian 04-28-2017 12:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Telemark (Post 20169145)
But it also had George Clooney, so there you go.

In his "I'm nodding continuously because I'm a really really really nice guy" era.

sciurophobic 04-28-2017 12:34 PM

On the original One Day at a Time Ann's boyfriend Nick (played by the still alive Ron Rifkin) was killed between seasons 6 and 7 in a car accident. I don't know why they killed the character.

GIGObuster 04-28-2017 12:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Richard John Marcej (Post 20168774)
To be fair, the entire cast of The Blackadder died to return as their descendants in
Black-adder II, who in turn died to return as their descendants in
Black Adder the Third , who in turn died to return as their descendants in
Blackadder Goes Forth.
And if you'd like, you could squeeze in Blackadder's Christmas Carol in between the Third & Goes Forth, assuming they all died to return in Goes Forth.
That was the schtick of the series.

With the exception that most survive in Blackadder the Third and Blackadder Back & Forth (1999).

And:

SPOILER:
In both that series and the tv movie: The dog, Blackadder, got his bone; and becomes king of England in the end.

terentii 04-28-2017 12:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sciurophobic (Post 20169832)
On the original One Day at a Time Ann's boyfriend Nick (played by the still alive Ron Rifkin) was killed between seasons 6 and 7 in a car accident. I don't know why they killed the character.

Probably because Ann having a permanent boyfriend limited the scope for stories. The same fate befell Ted Bessell ("Joe") on Mary Tyler Moore (not killed off per se, just disappeared without a trace).

WildBlueYonder 04-28-2017 03:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jim's Son (Post 20167839)
"Make Room for Daddy" they killed off Danny Williams's wife Margaret after three seasons because Jean Hagen and Danny Thomas didn't get along (she felt under utilized). Had her death happened between seasons so season four Danny was a bachelor, single father of two until he met his second wife late in the year.

I did not know that!

I was watching that show not too long ago until they moved it into the dark of the night times. They replaced it with Joey Bishop. That show is ok but I didnt even know he had a show! The good episodes had Danny in it.

jtur88 04-28-2017 04:14 PM

I think Dan Conner died in Rosanne.

Eliahna 04-28-2017 04:16 PM

Laverne, on Scrubs. Replaced by her twin, Shirley.

Annie-Xmas 04-29-2017 01:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jtur88 (Post 20170388)
I think Dan Conner died in Rosanne.

Dan had a heart attack at Darlene and David's wedding, but survived. It was only revealed in the last episode that the whole last year was the tale of a book Roseanne was now writing, and in real life Dan did die, Roseanne went into a depression and didn't snap out of it till Darlene and David's daughter Harris almost died at birth, but pulled through. Roseanne pulled herself together because Darlene needed her.

Mahaloth 04-29-2017 02:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Alessan (Post 20168016)
Chevy Chase's character Pierce Hawthorne was killed off on Community, mainly because everyone hated him.

Did the cast hate him? I thought his problems were mainly with the producers.

I know, I know. Almost everybody can't stand Chevy.

Richard John Marcej 04-29-2017 02:13 PM

On "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman", wife beater Garth Gimble (played by Martin Mull) died by being impaled by an aluminum Christmas tree.
Martin Mull would return to the show as Barth Gimble, Garth's identical twin brother, and would star in the spinoffs "Fernwood 2 Night" and "America Tonight".

Annie-Xmas 04-29-2017 02:23 PM

Speaking of Roseanne, her father Al Harris was killed off when John Randolph, the actor who portrayed him, could not be secured for future appearances. The phone call when they got the news was a marvelous scene portrayed by John Goodman (Dan Connor).

ftg 04-30-2017 08:04 AM

Regarding Roseanne and the death of Dan:

They are talking up doing a reboot*. In an old interview Roseanne said that she'd have John Goodman come back. Dan had faked his death! (Scroll to the 2nd to last paragraph.)

So if the new episodes come thru, we'll have to cross off Dan Conner from the list.

* This article also has the bit with Dan and Darlene from a couple months ago.

(I can't believe I forgot the Laverne/Shirley and Barth/Garth examples. :smack:)

Tread 04-30-2017 11:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Richard John Marcej (Post 20169097)
Unless you're talking about the 1984 short lived sitcom "E/R"
Though if memory serves, it wasn't too funny.:)

You memory serves you quite well.



The Dad on The Wonder Years almost fits, as the last episode ended we were told of his death.


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