Just to be clear, this is not a list of TV actors whose characters were killed off because of any old reason. This is a list of actors who were idiots and whose characters died, as a result.
Just to make things clear, there are lots of lists out there about actors who were given the axe because they were difficult, when, in many cases, they really weren’t. Some famous examples that pop up everywhere include John Amos who starred on Good Times. He was fired because he felt that the show was portraying African-American culture poorly. That’s a pretty legit reason to be uncooperative. Doesn’t make him an idiot, though.
Then, there are actors who were let go because they wanted to grow as an actor, such as McLean Stevenson who “starred” in M*A*S*H (his character’s plane was shot down) and Dan Stevens of Downtown Abbey whose character was killed in a car crash. Another example is Maggie Roswell, who played the voice of Maude Flanders in The Simpsons. She wanted a raise–but for a good reason–because her commute (and the expenses) were insane and she was actually losing money.
Instead, this is a list of actors who were actual idiots, which means they were so horrible to everyone they worked that the creators had no choice but to kill off their characters. In the worst case scenarios, these actors verbally assaulted the writers who have all the power. Other kinds of idiots are those who make horrible life choices. These jerks should be lucky that they were killed off in their respective shows, not in real life.
15 Joseph Francis Tribbiani, Jr./Matt LeBlanc—Friends
Yes, that is Joey Tribbiani from the hit TV show Friends. But, no, we’re not saying the character, Joey, actually died.
Remember that short amount of time in Friends when Joey, played by Matt LeBlanc, had actually found a legit acting job as Dr. Drake Ramoray on the soap opera Days of Our Lives and was doing pretty well? But, seeing as Joey is Joey (aka kind of a dolt, but a lovable dolt), the writers of Friends felt he needed to stay true to character and ruin the great thing he had by dissing the writers (unintentionally).
In an interview with Soap Opera Digest, Joey told reporters that he actually made up most of his lines for the show, giving him all the credit. As you can imagine, this doesn’t go over well with the writers of Days Of Our Lives and, to exact their revenge on him, they decided to kill his character.
Ramoray’s death was pretty epic, too, but also kind of pathetic—death by elevator shaft. And by that, we mean that Drake Ramoray, after some elevator doors opened for him, went to step onto the elevator (as one normally does in this particular scenario). But, tragically, there wasn’t an elevator. It was an empty shaft. And, equally as tragic, Ramoray didn’t look first before he stepped out into the shaft, where he fell to his death.
14 Allen Doyle/Glenn Quinn—Angel
The story about the guy who played Doyle on Angel, Glenn Quinn, is kind of complex. In fact, no one really knows for sure what happened. What we do know is that creator Joss Whedon had planned to kill off Doyle from the very beginning. (Side note: Joss had always wanted to kill off a major character to surprise the audience ever since Buffy The Vampire Slayer, but, due to budgetary restraints, hadn’t been able to do it.)
Luckily, by the time Angel came out, Joss had the goods and could get away with killing off a protagonist. That being said, there have been rumors that Glenn fought with the cast and crew and upset quite a few people in the process. Ostensibly, the things Glenn said were enough to get him fired.
Regardless, after Doyle was killed (either because he was an idiot and said things that could’ve gotten him fired or because Joss planned to do so), the actor, Glenn, actually died shortly thereafter of a drug overdose.
Understandably, those who worked with Glenn didn’t and still don’t wish to speak ill of him since his passing, so we’ll probably never know for sure.
13 Chef/Isaac Hayes—South Park
This entry only makes sense if you believe that everyone who’s a Scientologist is an idiot or some kind of an a*shat. If you don’t, then you probably won’t agree with our opinion. But if you do, great.
As many people probably know, Isaac Hayes, the voice actor of Chef in South Park, was (and probably still is) a Scientologist. And seeing as nothing is too sacred for the writers at South Park to not give everything under the sun their ol’ satirical trademark treatment, it didn’t take long before the controversial cartoon began taking jabs at this religion founded by L. Ron Hubbard in 1952.
Making fun of Scientology was a little too much for Hayes who, up until that point, had been able to deal with all of the other crap South Park had been doling out for nearly 10 seasons. After that quintessential episode entitled “Trapped in the Closest,” where the ridiculousness of Scientologist was the main punchline, Hayes requested to be released from his contract.
And he was released. But it didn’t bode well for Chef who, after falling from a bridge, ended up having a plethora of horrible things happen to his body and, later, his carcass, leading to his eventual death (and complete evisceration). Interestingly, to complete the scenes, the series used snippets of Hayes’ prior recordings.
12 Prue Halliwell/Shannen Doherty—Charmed
In the unimaginatively named show Charmed, the sisterly love between Prue Halliwell (Shannen Doherty), Piper Halliwell (Holly Marie Combs), and Phoebe Halliwell (Alyssa Milano)—three sisters who just so happened to be the most powerful good witches of all time and therefore were regarded as the Charmed Ones (hence the name of the show)—was so strong that it seemed to permeate off set into their actual lives. But that would have actually been the work of magic because things didn’t go well between Shannen and Alyssa.
The two, according to numerous reports, allegedly feuded for three years on set. And it wasn’t too far-fetched of an idea to think that Shannen would have battled with Alyssa and then gotten fired as a result, seeing as Shannen had feuded with her co-stars from Beverly Hills, 90210 before getting kicked off.
Shannen contended that Alyssa had issued their producers the following ultimatum—either Shannen walked or she would. That would’ve been stupid if it actually happened. According to sources, Shannen approached the execs and asked to be released from her contract. Now, that’s stupid. In the end, Shannen was booted off, and Prue was blasted into oblivion by a demon.
11 Eddie LeBec/Jay Thomas—Cheers
Ironically, just as the main line went in Cheers’ theme song, “Where Everybody Knows Your Name,” the popularity of said show made it so everyone in the world actually did know each actor’s name and then some, meaning everyone was aware of everything and anything that happened to them. And one of those actors everyone knew about was Eddie LeBec (Jay Thomas).
The way in which Eddie’s character progressed—beginning as a love interest for waitress Carla Tortelli (Rhea Perlman), which later culminated to their marriage—it was believed that Eddie was there to stay.
But then, a few things started happening. In season seven, Eddie became less and less of a reoccurring role in the show. And then, in the following season, he was run over by a Zamboni. In other words, he was killed. (And the kicker is that the accident occurred off-camera, so we couldn’t even watch it happen.)
Turns out, the Zamboni ran over Eddie because Jay had ostensibly been saying, idiotically, some crappy things about Rhea during one of his radio shows. To be more specific, Jay alluded that he needed “combat pay” to kiss Rhea on camera. The writers didn’t like that at all.
10 Charlie Pace/Dominic Monaghan—Lost
Seeing as this writer isn’t particularly interested in or even likes Lost, he finds it pretty amusing when the drama that went on behind camera for the show was actually more intriguing than the actually drama that apparently unfolded when the camera was running.
It all began when actors Dominic Monaghan (Charlie Pace) and Evangeline Lilly (Kate Austen) got a little frisky with one another during the show’s early seasons. But like all celebrity relationships, it, too, has failed. And Lilly, rather than turning to someone who wasn’t involved in Lost, soon found herself lost in the embrace of the show’s production assistant. Dumb.
Although their relationship didn’t work out, Dominic didn’t like that it happened. But rather than take it out on Lilly or the production assistant (which was smart), he decided to lash out at another big-name actor on the show, Matthew Fox (Jack Sheppard), by claiming that Matthew beat women (which was not smart).
It didn’t take long before Dominic was deemed disruptive. And although Dominic says that his character being killed off in season three was his decision (which he claims to be at peace about), it’s most likely the case that it wasn’t his decision to make.
9 Julie Horvath/Mackenzie Phillips—One Day At A Time
The story about Mackenzie Phillips, who played Julie Cooper Horvath, is really heartbreaking, just because she was “kicked” off her show, the popular ‘70s sitcom One Day at a Time, not once, but twice, all due to her succumbing to a severe drug addiction and not doing a very good job at trying to get better.
This isn’t just a story that tugs at your heart strings. It’s also really ironic, seeing as she earned $50,000 a week, which is a big deal back in the ‘70s, and she threw it all away numerous times.
It all started during the show’s third season in 1977 when she was arrested for disorderly conduct. However, Mackenzie’s actions didn’t just get her behind bars. She let it affect her job performance by arriving late and becoming incoherent during rehearsals. But rather than fire Mackenzie, her producers ordered her to take a six-week break.
She returned. But then, she was fired again in 1980. She later returned in 1981. But then, she began doing cocaine again. She collapsed on the show’s set in 1982 and refused to take a drug test. So, guess what the producers do? They fired her. Phillips character was finally written out of the series.
8 Pierce Hawthorne/Chevy Chase—Community
The cast of Community was strange on so many levels. And it was still odd, even though the gorgeous and utterly breathtaking Alison Brie was the reason why we all started watching it in the first place.
No, the casting was completely ridiculous because Chevy Chase was one of the main characters, playing the out-of-touch, bigoted, racist yet, somehow charming Pierce Hawthorne.
Turns out, Chevy was a lot like his character Pierce on the show. In addition to bickering with the producers and cast as well as bad-mouthing the show for many years, some racist filth began to dribble from his bubbling lips. Ever since then, he suddenly disappeared from the set several episodes before the end of the season.
The ostensible reason was cited as a “mutual agreement.” Seeing as many of the show’s fans were quite aware of the high-profile squabbling going on, the show’s creators decided to kill off Pierce in the following season because...well...it added some comedy to it.
7 Edie Britt/Nicolette Sheridan—Desperate Housewives
As everyone knows that the plot of Desperate Housewives was saturated with a gratuitous amount of drama. Probably one of the many reasons why each character’s erratic and ostentatious behavior was portrayed so well on camera is because the drama that took place off-set was so severe that it ended up trickling into their acting on camera.
It’s a sound theory.
Just by how diva-ish every cast member was, it seems as though being a drama queen must have been a prerequisite to star in Desperate Housewives. But the true queen (and therefore drama empress) of insane sassiness was Nicollette Sheridan who, as it was documented in People, apparently got unfriendly with the show’s creator, Marc Cherry. One tuff led to physical abuse, one that allegedly involved Marc hitting her in the head. Of course, Marc denied these claims, asserting that he just tapped her. But he was the creator. Don’t mess with the creator.
That being said, it was reported that Sheridan didn’t really get along with anyone who was part of the show. It didn’t help matters that she usually showed up late and forgot her lines. The price of not getting along with everyone (including Marc Cherry) ended up with her character, Edie Britt, losing control of her car, hitting an electric post, surviving, but, after stepping out of the car, getting fried by a power line that had fallen into some water.
6 Professor Arturo/John Rhys-Davies—Sliders
If you’re acting on a show and you want to keep your job, then it would probably be a good idea to not piss off the writers. Why? Because they have the ability to write you off. Well, John Rhys-Davies didn’t take that advice. He lasted for about two and a half seasons as Professor Arturo on the science-fiction drama Sliders before he let his agitation behind what he felt to be horrible writing get the best of him.
To be precise, he openly castigated the writers. He called the script “incomprehensible gibberish,” among other things. Of course, many people believe John was going to leave anyway (just because he so blatantly hated everything about the show). But John expedited the process, and the writers decided to give Professor Arturo a fatal disease.
At least he died a slow and agonizing death so fans of the show could say goodbye to him. Oh, and by the way, later on in his career, John became known for sharing his concerns about the growing presence of Muslims to a news website.
5 Charlie Harper/Charlie Sheen—Two And A Half Men
We think it’s safe to say that everyone knows who Charlie Sheen was fired (and his character, Charlie Harper, killed) in the CBS TV show Two and a Half Men. People are aware of it mostly because Sheen had been the highest paid actor on network television at the time, earning $1.8 million per episode. (Sheen’s many meltdowns were also epic enough to be on everyone’s radar. Remember “tigers blood” and him “winning?”)
Most people attribute Sheen’s firing to his excessive abuse of drugs and alcohol. Of course, they were a contributing factor, but they weren’t the main reason why he got the axe. The tragedy—for Sheen, at least—is that the execs at CBS actually worked with him by putting the show on hiatus so he could participate in a substance rehabilitation program (which had been his third attempt at rehab in 12 months).
But then, Sheen did something really stupid. About one month later, Sheen publicly began making derogatory comments about Chuck Lorre, the series’ creator, even going so far as calling him a “maggot.” Interestingly enough, that wasn’t what got his character killed. It just got Sheen banned from entering the Warner Bros. production lot.
It was when Sheen demanded a 50 percent raise (a 50 percent raise to his aforementioned $1.8 million per episode deal) that did him in. It didn’t take long before Harper was hit by a freakin’ train.
4 Jimmy Darmody/Michael Pitt—Boardwalk Empire
When Michael Pitt’s character—the son of Atlantic City political boss Commodore Louis Kaestner and showgirl Gillian Darmody, Jimmy Darmody, in Boardwalk Empire—was shot not once, but twice, in the head by Nucky, an assault that unsurprisingly killed him, many fans believed that it was done because it was the best thing for the series. But it was later revealed that it was because both the cast and crew couldn’t stand to be around him.
Pitt’s “sins” were many and not far between—he was ostensibly late all the time, couldn’t remember his lines, was constantly questioning Jimmy’s storyline, went out of his way to change the dialogue, wandered aimlessly away from the set, and even got in a fist fight with William Forsythe.
Another actor, who’d worked with Pitt, but not in Boardwalk Empire, said that Pitt was a “giant, unprofessional jackass who treats everyone around him like crap.” Heck. Maybe Nucky should have shot him 50 times in the head.
3 Harrison Wright/Columbus Short—Scandal
Kids, doing any sort of drug is bad. And that includes cocaine. Don’t do coke. Oh, and, kids, domestic violence is bad too. Well, it just so happened that actor Columbus Short allegedly did all of those things off-screen (it was later proven to be true) while he was playing Harrison Wright in Scandal. And this pissed off creator Shonda Rhimes. Even though Columbus didn’t talk smack about her or her writers, she wasn’t one to have a man on her payroll who was allegedly abusing drugs and participating in domestic abuse. (Short has admitted that substance abuse, both alcoholism and cocaine use, due to the stress of family issues and personal loss, led to his departure from Scandal.)
To get rid of Columbus, Shonda had his character, Harrison Wright, find out that Rowan had killed Fitz Grant and Mellie Grant’s son, Jerry Grant. Knowing that Harrison had found out, Rowan could only do one thing—shoot him in the head.
2 Pretty Much Everyone—Lost
For Lost actors, working in Hawaii was basically a one-way ticket to No Job Land. It all began in 2005 when Michelle Rodriguez, who portrayed Ana-Lucia, was arrested for a DUI. Ana-Lucia was then shot and killed in season two.
It didn’t take long before another actress got in trouble. And we’re not joking. It was a matter of minutes. Within that short time span of Michelle getting arrested, Cynthia Watros, who played Libby, was stopped for DUI in Hawaii. Libby was killed off in the aforementioned scene with Ana-Lucia.
The following year, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, also in Hawaii, was later charged with driving without a license. And it didn’t take long before his character, Mr. Eko, had a fatal encounter with the smoke monster, Lostzilla, in season three. (This is especially ironic because Adewale later produced his license, and the charges had been dropped.)
Is it a coincidence that Daniel Dae Kim, who was later pulled over for suspected DUI in Hawaii, pleaded no contest to the charges, got his license revoked for six months, had to participate in a drug-and-alcohol assessment, was forced to pay a $500 fine and $212 in court fees, as well as perform 72 hours of community service, left Lost after his character drowned in Season six? Getting yourself in a position where you receive a DUI makes you an idiot. Plus, these actors, especially the later ones, were dumb-dumbs for driving under the influence in Hawaii because of what happened to earlier Lost actors.
1 Derek Shepherd/Patrick Dempsey—Grey’s Anatomy
While portraying Derek Shepherd in Grey’s Anatomy, Patrick Dempsey was the heartthrob of the hospital (which is why he was also known as “McDreamy”). But when Patrick Dempsey was just plain old Patrick Dempsey on set, he was a colossal jerk—rumors about the actor ran rampant about in-fighting, infidelity, and more.
Like the gossip surrounding his ungentlemanly behavior, many theories surrounding why he was later fired have circulated the internet for years. But according to Radar Online, the main reason was because Dempsey had been cheating on his wife with one of the show’s staffers, a situation that, per an insider, got “very messy” and “emotional” and, worse of all, became “a huge liability.”
The showrunner, Shonda Rhimes, who is pretty notorious for firing actors she doesn’t like (as you well know by now), first suspended Dempsey and then wrote McDreamy into a fatal accident.