8 TV Characters Punished By Death For Their Actor’s Behaviour –


There’s usually a good narrative reason for a TV character being killed off. It may be that there’s simply nothing left to do with them, or that they’d serve the plot and fellow characters much better by being dead than they would alive. Sometimes it’s just for the shock factor.

When a TV character is killed off because of the actor, though, then it’s more often than not because they’ve gone on to bigger (if not always better) things, or wish to seek new challenges. But others, it’s because they’ve done some truly terrible things, or been extremely difficult to work with.

Whether they’ve broken the law or just been a disruptive presence, there’s only so much that studios, showrunners, and other cast members can put up with before something has to give, and TV characters have to bite the dust.

8. George O’Malley & Derek ‘McDreamy’ Shepherd – Grey’s Anatomy


Grey’s Anatomy has had its fair share of behind-the-scenes drama, including Isaiah Washington using a homophobic slur, and former star Katherine Heigl acrimoniously leaving the show, but neither were actually killed off. Two who were, though, are George O’Malley (T.R. Knight) and Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey).

Knight cited a “breakdown in communication” with producer Shonda Rhimes for his decision to leaving the show, although it was also alleged that Washington directed homophobic slurs at him (something Washington has denied). It seems, then, that Knight was thrown under the bus – quite literally, in fact, with his character O’Malley being hit by a bus and killed.

As for Dempsey, he played the love interest of the central character and was on the show for a decade, and thus seemed pretty bulletproof. The actor has since said he simply wanted to move on to different things, but rumours swirled at the time that he had disagreements with Rhimes, with tabloid talk of him cheating on his wife circling as well.

7. Prue Halliwell – Charmed

The WB

Shannen Doherty already had a reputation for being difficult to work with before Charmed, with her time on Beverly Hills, 90210 marred by behind-the-scenes controversy which reportedly led to her being fired, although that time her character was at least left alive.

She wasn’t given such a kind exit on Charmed where, after three seasons as Prue, the eldest of the three sisters, one of the most powerful witches of all time, and arguably the show’s best character, she was attacked by the demonic assassin Shax.

Although the season ended on a cliffhanger, her feud with co-star Alyssa Milano led to her departure – with Milano reportedly issuing an ultimatum about her status on the show – which meant the Season 4 opener revealed the attack had been fatal.

6. Chef – South Park

Comedy Central

Chef, the soulful cafeteria worker who gives (often inappropriate) advice to the kids of South Park, was one of the show’s biggest and most popular characters outside of the core foursome.

He was a mainstay on the show during its first nine seasons, voiced all the while by singer Isaac Hayes. His time on the show coincided with it skewering just about every aspect of society, politics, and religion, drawing a lot of controversy in the process, but it was an episode taking aim at Scientology that led to Hayes’ departure. After the episode Trapped in the Closest, he issued a statement saying: “There is a place in this world for satire, but there is a time when satire ends and intolerance and bigotry towards religious beliefs of others begins.”

The creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, weren’t too happy with this – especially as he hadn’t complained any time before – and Hayes was released from his contract as requested. His character, however, made one appearance in Season 10, where he is turned into a paedophile, and then killed when a bridge he’s crossing is struck by lightning, causing him to fall to his death before having his corpse mutilated and defecated on by animals.

5. Edie Britt – Desperate Housewives


Desperate Housewives was a show full of melodrama and fights, and that was often true of the show off-screen as much as it was on it.

Real estate agent Edie Britt was very much a fan-favourite for her five years on the show, and Nicollette Sheridan even being nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance, but the drama behind-the-scenes caused the need for an early exit.

Her death came when she crashed her car, where unbeknownst to her a power line had snapped and there was water underneath her vehicle, meaning when she stepped out she was electrocuted and killed on the spot. The reason was that Sheridan was reportedly quite difficult to work with, but more specifically clashed with creator Marc Cherry, culminating in the actress filing a $20m lawsuit against him in 2010 for assault, wrongful termination, gender violence, discrimination, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Cherry claimed that it was only a light tap on the head, an all of Sheridan’s claims were eventually dismissed in court.

4. Pierce Hawthorne – Community


Chevy Chase’s character on Community wasn’t much of a character at all, really, with Pierce Hawthorne mostly just a fictionalised version of Chase himself. However, while his personality made a big contribution to how Pierce was written, it was also his ultimate downfall.

Chase had a number of clashes with the producers of the series over the years, including some very public disputes with creator Dan Harmon, which resulted in him departing the show (even though Harmon too had gone by that point) during its fourth season.

When Harmon returned, he cleared up what had happened to Pierce, with Shirley revealing that he had a heart attack and passed away.

3. Charlie Harper (Twice) – Two And A Half Men


Charlie Sheen was the highest-paid actor on television at the height of Two and a Half Men’s success, earning around $1.8 MILLION per episode, before his hugely public meltdown led to his departure.

The show was placed on hiatus on 2011 while Sheen underwent a substance rehabilitation program, but not long after his contract was terminated after making derogatory remarks about creator Chuck Lorre. It was after his dismissal that Sheen went on to make his claims of having ‘tiger blood’ and being a warlock, but in show he was killed off rather unceremoniously, with his character Charlie Harper struck by a train in Paris.

It’s retconned in the series finale, however, when it turns out he was alive the whole time and locked in Rose’s basement, only for him to escape, ring Alan’s doorbell, and have a piano dropped on him, killing him a second time.

2. Frank Underwood – House Of Cards


Back in October 2017, Kevin Spacey was accused by actor Anthony Rapp of making a sexual advance toward him when Rapp was 14, which then led to numerous other men coming forward with similar allegations of sexual abuse or harassment.

This not only caused Ridley Scott to replace him in all of his scenes in All The Money In The World with Christopher Plummer, but Netflix completely severed ties with the actor, shelving his film Gore and removing him from House of Cards Season 6, with production halted until they figured out a way to move forward without him.

There’s been a lot of speculation as to how the series would handle Spacey’s exit, but a new teaser reveals that they have killed him off, showing Claire speaking to his gravestone:




1. Roseanne Conner – Roseanne


ABC’s Roseanne revival was a ratings hit when it returned in early 2018, but things quickly soured thanks to its star’s real-life politics. The right-wing Barr come under fire for a number of provocative tweets and drew ire for her support of President Donald Trump, but things really came to a head with tweets she posted about former Barrack Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett.

In the racist tweets, Barr compared Jarrett, an African-American, to Planet of the Apes and linked her to organisation Muslim Brotherhood.

Roseanne’s other characters will continue in spin-off series The Connors, with star John Goodman revealing his on-screen wife will be killed off-screen.

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