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15+ Actor Deaths That Were Written Into Movies And Shows

As actors are real people, their real-life events are often written into the shows or movies they're working on.

Take pregnancy, for example. When Lisa Kudrow got pregnant in real life, the writers of Friends created the storyline of her character carrying twins for her brother.

The same goes for death. When an actor dies in real life, it's often written into the storyline.

Here are 10+ of those times.

Cory Monteith - *Glee*


Glee fans were left distraught when Cory Monteith was found dead due to a fatal drug overdose.

This left writers having to make a memorial for his character, Finn Hudson, early during the fifth season.

John Spencer - *The West Wing*


The West Wing actor died of a heart attack in late 2005 after filming two episodes in the final season.

He played Leo McGarry, the White House Chief of Staff. The writers gave his character the same fate of dying from a heart attack.

Miguel Ferrer - *NCIS*


The NCIS actor passed away at the age of 61 from throat cancer in January of 2017.

His character, Owen Granger, was stabbed and taken to the hospital where the nurse informs his daughter, “I’m afraid he’s gone”.

John Ritter - *8 Simple Rules*


As the main character of the beloved sitcom, the show was never the same after John's sudden death due to an aortic dissection.

Paul Hennessy, his character, died after collapsing in a grocery store.

Anne Kirkbride - *Coronation Street*


After the iconic Coronation Street actress died from cancer, the show waited six months to feature her death on-screen.

Her death was written in the show by her character, Deirdre, never returning home for her 60th birthday party.

Adam West - *Family Guy*


Adam West, the voice of the mayor of Quahog, tragically died from leukemia.

His character was never killed on-screen, but writer Seth MacFarlane has said that, “Family Guy has lost it’s mayor. He is irreplaceable.”

One episode also started with a photo of Adam to memorialize him and wrote, “In Loving Memory."

Will Lee - *Sesame Street*

Confronting death on this kid's show wasn't easy, but the show took that on when Mr. Hooper passed away in 1982.

Since he was so beloved, the show dedicated an entire tribute episode to him called "Goodbye, Mr. Hooper."

Edward Herrmann - *Gilmore Girls*

It was a tragic day when the actor lost his battle to brain cancer at 71.

Since his character, Richard Gilmore, dealt with a heart attack before, this was the story behind his character's death on the highly-anticipated reboot.

Christopher Evan Welch - *Silicon Valley*

The actor, known for his role as Peter Gregory on HBO’s Silicon Valley, died at the age of 48 after a three-year battle with lung cancer.

Fans were informed of Peter Gregory’s passing through the main character Richard attending his massive funeral, which was inspired by Steve Jobs’ memorial.

Carol Ann Susi - *The Big Bang Theory*

Even though we never saw her, this gem of an actress lit up the room as Howard Wolowitz’s mother.

After she tragically passed away from cancer at the age of 62, her character was written off as dying in her sleep.

Lee Thompson Young - *Rizzoli & Isles*

The 29-year-old, who played Detective Barry Frost on the show, sadly committed suicide in 2013.

His character lost his life in the Season 5 premiere from a fatal car accident. They also had a memorial episode for the young actor's death.

Nicholas Colasanto - *Cheers*

It was a dark day when the beloved Coach died in 1985 during Season 3.

After his death, there was mention of his death and then he was replaced by Woody Harrelson's character, Woody Boyd.

Glenn Quinn - *Roseanne*

The beloved Roseanne actor, who played Mark, passed away from a fatal drug overdose at just 32.

To honor his memory, a Roseanne episode included his photo in the family room and even went on to name Darlene’s son Mark.

Marcia Wallace - *The Simpsons*


The Simpsons Emmy-Award winning voice actress, notorious for Edna Krabappel, passed away from pneumonia and sepsis at 70.

Matt Groening, the show's creator, addressed her death with the episode “Four Regrettings and a Funeral”, where Bart is sadly writing “We’ll really miss you Mrs. K” on the chalkboard during the opening sequence.

Carrie Fisher - *Star Wars*

Star Wars fans are still shaken over the tragic death of Carrie Fisher in 2016

Her famous character, Princess Leia, sacrifices herself to help Rey beat the evil Emperor Palpatine. Her last appearance in Star Wars franchise was made possible using CGI.

Debbie Reynolds - *Will & Grace*

The iconic Debbie Reynolds tragically died in 2016 — just one day after her daughter, Carrie Fisher's death.

Since she was on Will & Grace at the time, her death was written into Season 9. This saw Grace going home to celebrate Bobbi's birthday after her death.

Carrie Fisher - *Family Guy*

Star Wars wasn't the only place that Carrie's death was written into.

On Family Guy, her character, Angela, drowned. She was also on another show called Catastrophe, which saw her character die in the Season 4 finale.

Naya Rivera - *Step Up*

The actress tragically passed away this past July while swimming with her son at lake Piru.

Since she's one of the stars on Step Up, it's been reported that the storyline of the upcoming season is going to undergo changes.

Luke Perry - *Riverdale*

In March 2019, the beloved actor suffered a massive stroke at just the age of 52.

Since he played Fred Andrews on Riverdale, the show wrote his character's death into the Season 4 premiere, which begins with Archie getting a call that his dad had been struck by a car.

Christopher Allport - *Mad Men*


Christopher Allport played Andrew Campbell on the hit period drama Mad Men. After Chris lost his life in a tragic avalanche, the series attempted to explain away his death by having his character perish in a plane crash.

Glenn Headly - *Future Man*

Glenne Headly's character played a crucial role in Future Man. After she suffered a pulmonary embolism, the writers reworked the dialogue and alluded to her off-screen death.

“It was less of a production challenge and more of an emotional challenge,” creator Ben Karlin explained to The Hollywood Reporter.

Larry Hagman - *Dallas*

Larry Hagman was excited to reprise his role of J.R. Ewing for the rebooted Dallas series. Sadly, the actor passed after a lengthy battle with acute myeloid leukemia.

The writers killed off J.R. for good with two gunshot wounds (a reference to the classic Dallas episode "Who Shot J.R.?").

Betty Driver - *Coronation Street*


Betty Driver may not be a household name on this side of the pond, but she was a proverbial powerhouse all across Great Britain.

After Betty passed due to complications from pneumonia, the writers killed off her character with an illness.

Freddie Prinze - *Chico And The Man*


Freddie Prinze is the late father of Freddie Prinze Jr.; considered to be one of the best comedians of his time.

Upon hearing the news that Freddie had tragically taken his own life, the writers explained away his absence by saying that Chico was away on business.

Selma Diamond - *Night Court*


Selma Diamond was a fan favorite on Night Court, which made the news of her death all the more heartwrenching and difficult for fans.

In real life, Selma was battling lung cancer. She was killed off and her death is explained in the premiere episode of season 3.

Jeanne Cooper - *The Young And The Restless*


Jeanne Cooper's tenure as Katherine Chancelloron on The Young and the Restless is one of the longest in the show's history. She made over 1200 appearances and died due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

To honor her memory, the writers explained that she'd died in her sleep.

Arthur Leslie - *Coronation Street*


Arthur Leslie was better known as Jack Walker to fans of the British soap opera Coronation Street. When Arthur sadly passed away after suffering a heart attack, his character was killed off in the exact same manner.

Stanley Kamel - *Monk*

Monk is a criminally underrated show and well worth the watch! Stanley played Dr. Charles Kroger and after appearing in more than 45 episodes, lost his life due to a heart attack.

Kamel, just like Arthur Leslie, was also written off via a heart attack.

Oliver Reed - *Gladiator*

Oliver Reed's last role was as Proximo in Gladiator. Reed suffered a heart attack, brought on by severe alcohol consumption.

His final scenes were completed with a body double and his character was eventually murdered by Roman centries.

Harold Ramis - *Ghostbusters: Afterlife*

While it's true that the film has been delayed and presumably reworked, rumor has it that the latest installment in the iconic Ghostbusters franchise will look to address the death of Harold Ramis (Egon) who passed in 2014.

Phil Hartman - *News Radio*


The legendary comedian Phil Hartman was murdered in his sleep by his own wife in a bizarre and heartbreaking murder/suicide.

Castmembers and writers decided to work it that Phil (Bill McNeal) died of a heart attack.

Chadwick Boseman - *Black Panther II*

Black Panther II has yet to be released, but Marvel execs have confirmed that they will not look to recast the role of T'Challa.

How the film will attempt to explain the fallen Avenger's death is anyone's guess at this point.

Paul Walker - *Furious 7*

Paul Walker lost his life in a brutal car crash before filming on Furious 7 could be completed. As a way of saying goodbye to their fallen friend, the writers had Walker's character (Brian O'Conner) retire, and brought in Paul's brothers to help them complete the final scenes.

John Dunsworth - *The Trailer Park Boys: The Animated Series*

The Trailer Park Boys is one of the most important and iconic TV series in Canadian history. John played proverbial drunkard/park supervisor, Jim Lahey.

John passed from an undisclosed illness, and in the animated series, we see Lahey getting swept away by a giant s*** hawk.

Heath Ledger - *The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus*

Heath passed from an accidental overdose, right in the middle of filming. Instead of scrapping the project, the writers decided that Doctor Parnassus should be able to change his appearance at will.

Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, and Jude Law were all brought in to complete the final scenes.