Life happens. In every type of work out there, people move on from their positions unexpectedly. Management fills the hole with a comparable replacement and everything keeps moving. In world of TV, however, the stakes are a little higher. Actors in most roles can't be easily replaced, unless the show doesn’t care about continuity or keeping up appearances, which is rare. Most of the time, when an actor decides or is forced to leave, the writers need to come up with a way of excusing that actor's character in the narrative. Sometimes the character will merely say goodbye and move away. In some shows, the character's storyline will wrap up nicely and they can leave with closure. Many times, however, the character needs to be killed off. Such kills are the most surprising for audiences and are the moments that we're looking at here.
But we're not looking at any old death in a TV show. Most characters that die in a show do so because it was for the good of the show; it was planned and part of the script. There are occasions, though, when the actor forces the show creator's hand. Whether the actor quits, demands to be killed or are fired, these deaths are unexpected and are designed to shock the audiences. On this list, we have 15 characters that were killed off and 15 behind-the-scenes explanations for why they got the ax in the story. It should be obvious, but we're dealing with character deaths here, so there are going to be some spoilers. Heads up. Here are 15 real world reasons why famous characters were killed off.
15 Dr. George O'Malley - Grey's Anatomy
14 Prue Halliwell – Charmed
13 Professor Maximillian Arturo – Sliders
12 Lawrence Kutner – House
11 Will Gardner – The Good Wife
10 Dr. Lance Sweets – Bones
9 Charlie Sheen - Two and a Half Men
8 James Evans Sr. – Good Times
7 Mr. Eko – Lost
6 Susan Ross – Seinfeld
5 Charlie Pace – Lost
4 Maude Flanders – Simpsons
3 Chef – South Park
2 Eddie LeBec – Cheers
1 The Doctor - Doctor Who
When William Hartnell first took on the role as the Doctor in Doctor Who, no one could have guessed it would become the sensation it did. For three seasons, Hartnell played the lead role until, in season 4, his illness, arteriosclerosis, became a massive hindrance on his ability to memorize and speak his lines. He needed to be written off the show and replaced, but how could that possibly happen? This is when one of the most innovative and convenient plot devices on any TV show was created. The show decided that the Doctor could regenerate his body, turning him into an entirely new person, both in looks and attitude. This plotline allowed for the show to continue with a new actor in the role, something that has allowed it to run in stints for almost 40 years now.
Sources: TheRoot; VanityFair, CBR
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