For an actor, getting cast on a hit television series is something that dreams are made out of. Yet, there is a fragility to being on television series, since it can either make or break you as an actor. While some might think that a memorable television character results in instant fame, others can see it as a death sentence for creating versatility in a professional career.
There have been a number of actors that learned this lesson the hard way, since so many have become typecast in their role and character personification. From Urkel in Family Matters to Carlton in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, there is a definite downside to taking a role that can overwhelm an actor.
To stop this from occurring, many actors choose to leave a series before they become typecast for future job opportunities. While there are some television characters that are killed off because the storyline demands it, sometimes it’s the actors that choose to request their dismissal during a television series. This can result in a unique way for showrunners to create intrigue in a storyline, and it can also help the actors to continue their careers without only being instantly recognizable for their previously portrayed characters.
While some actors have left a television series over their own accord, others have been killed off because of their offscreen or onset behavior. Whatever the case, check out our list of the 15 worst ways actors were killed off in a TV series, and see which death scenario created the most buzz-worthy moments on television.
15 Josh Charles Killed Off Of The Good Wife
14 Michelle Rodriguez Killed Off Of Lost
13 Theo James Killed Off Of Downton Abbey
12 Mandy Patinkin Killed Off Of Criminal Minds
11 Dean Norris Killed Off Of Breaking Bad
10 Michael Pitt Killed Off Of Boardwalk Empire
9 Kal Penn Killed Off Of House
8 Jessica Brown Findlay Killed Off Of Downton Abbey
7 Dan Stevens Killed Off Of Downton Abbey
6 Shannen Doherty Killed Off Of Charmed
5 T.R. Knight Killed Off Of Grey’s Anatomy
4 Charlie Sheen Killed Off Of Two And A Half Men
3 Nicollette Sheridan Killed off Desperate Housewives
2 Columbus Short Killed Off Scandal
1 Patrick Dempsey Killed Off Grey’s Anatomy
Grey’s Anatomy has enjoyed high ratings and a hugely faithful fan base since it first aired in 2005. Yet, along with all the fame for the show and its characters, there was also a steady stream of reports about drama behind the scenes. Patrick Dempsey quickly became known as the breakout star of the show as “McDreamy,” but that doesn’t mean he was able to stay out of the drama that occurred onset. The incident involving Isaiah Washington became a media storm over his use of a homophobic slur, but it was actually an altercation between him and Patrick Dempsey. Dempsey became another focal point of a media story when he referred to his role on Grey’s Anatomy as just “a paycheck,” rather than a project he was continuously enthusiastic about. Very quickly after making that statement, Dempsey was in a car accident and became another fatality in the Grey’s Anatomy cast.
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