Actors who died in the middle of a TV series

by quartertwain | created - 03 Aug 2012 | updated - 31 Jan 2013 | Public

1. Nicholas Colasanto

Actor | Cheers

Nicholas Colasanto, the actor and television director who achieved his greatest success as "Coach" on the TV series Cheers (1982) at the end of his career, was born January 19, 1924 in Providence, Rhode Island, one of seven children. He attended Providence's Central High School but did not graduate...

Cheers

2. Nancy Marchand

Actress | The Sopranos

Nancy Marchand's mother, a pianist, sent her shy daughter to acting classes in hopes of breaking her out of her shell. As a student at Carnegie Tech (Carnegie Mellon University), she studied the works of William Shakespeare and the other great playwrights and, upon graduation, set off to New York ...

The Sopranos

3. John Ritter

Actor | Sling Blade

Jonathan Southworth Ritter was born in Burbank, California, on September 17, 1948. He was the son of legendary country singer/actor Tex Ritter and his wife, actress Dorothy Fay. The couple married in 1941 and had their first child, Tom Ritter, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. John was ...

8 Simple Rules

4. Phil Hartman

Actor | NewsRadio

Phil Hartman was born Philip Edward Hartmann on September 24, 1948, in Brantford, Ontario, Canada. His surname was originally "Hartmann", but he later dropped the second "n". He was one of eight children of Doris Marguerite (Wardell) and Rupert Loebig Hartmann, a salesman. He was of German, Irish, ...

News Radio

5. Jim Davis

Actor | Big Jake

Tall, rangy Jim Davis spent much of his early career in westerns mainly at Republic Pictures. The Missouri-born and -raised Davis' relaxed, easygoing manner and Southern drawl easily fit most moviegoers' image of the cowboy and Republic put him in a ton of them over the years (the fact that, unlike...

Dallas

6. Alice Pearce

Actress | Bewitched

Making a career out of a post-nasal drip, this scene-stealing character comedienne was one of the best Broadway and Hollywood had to offer. It's too bad, then, that she wasn't utilized in films more often for this slight, chinless, parrot-faced, squawky-voiced bundle of (kill)joy could draw laughs ...

Bewitched

7. Richard Biggs

Actor | Babylon 5

Richard Biggs had a somewhat unsettled childhood as he travelled between Air Force bases where his father was stationed. Because of his itinerant lifestyle he made few friends and changed schools often. When he was seventeen, and living at a missile base in North Dakota, he decided to change his ...

Strong Medicine

8. Jon-Erik Hexum

Actor | Voyagers!

In the early 1980s, this ruggedly handsome young man of Norwegian parentage was seen as the "next big thing", and then suddenly he was dead from an accident via a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Hexum was born and raised in Tenafly, New Jersey, where he was a musically gifted student at school playing...

Accidental, on-stage death

9. Diana Hyland

Actress | The Boy in the Plastic Bubble

Diana Hyland, a striking, knowing beauty with a confident air about her, was born Diane Gentner on January 25, 1936, in Ohio and appeared on stage in summer stock, as a teen, before graduating from Cleveland Heights High School.

Moving to New York in 1955 to test her acting mettle, the slim-faced, ...

Eight is Enough

10. Michael Conrad

Actor | Hill Street Blues

Michael Conrad was a powerfully built and toweringly tall New York-born American character actor, best known for his role as the pompous but beloved desk sergeant Phil Esterhaus on Hill Street Blues (1981), for which he won two Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Emmy Awards (1981, 1982)...

Hill Street Blues. The writers really show off their flair for irony when they write this guy off the show.

11. Larry Hagman

Actor | Dallas

The son of a legendary actress (Mary Martin) and a district attorney, Larry Martin Hagman was born on September 21, 1931 in Fort Worth, Texas. After his parents' divorce, he moved to Los Angeles, California to live with his grandmother. When he was 12, his grandmother died and he moved back to his ...

The Ewing family and t.v. were not made for happy endings.

12. Redd Foxx

Actor | Sanford and Son

Redd Foxx began doing stand-up comedy on the infamous "Chitlin' Circuit" in the 1940s and 1950s. Foxx was one of the premier "blue humor" comedians. Blue humor was very dirty, too dirty for white audiences. For years his party albums were not available in white record stores. In the 1960s his ...

Died on set filming his new sitcom The Royal Family.

13. John Spencer

Actor | The West Wing

John Spencer was born John Speshock, Jr. in New York City, the only son of Mildred (Benzeroski), a homemaker and occasional waitress, and John Speshock, a truck driver. He grew up near Paterson, New Jersey, and left at age 16 to attend the Professional Children's School. In 1963, he landed a ...

The West Wing

14. Will Lee

Actor | Sesame Street

Will Lee was born on August 6, 1908 in New York City, New York, USA as William Lee. He was an actor, known for Sesame Street (1969), Melody Lane (1941) and They Live by Night (1948). He died on December 7, 1982 in New York City.

Sesame Street

15. Jack Soo

Actor | Flower Drum Song

A genial, laid back, slumber-eyed character player especially adept at the relaxed wisecrack or dry comment, Japanese-American actor Jack Soo was born in Oakland, California, in 1917, his real name being Goro Suzuki. In the post-WWII years, he entertained as a stand-up performer in nightclubs and ...

Barney Miller

16. Harry Goz

Actor | Sealab 2021

Harry Goz was born on February 16, 1932 in St. Louis, Missouri, USA as Harry G. Goz. He was an actor, known for Sealab 2021 (2000), Marathon Man (1976) and Kennedy (1983). He was married to Margaret Avsharian. He died on September 6, 2003 in Manhasset, Long Island, New York, USA.

Sealab 2021

17. Mary Kay Bergman

Actress | South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut

Mary Kay Bergman did not have a face known to many - her voice was recognized more than anything else in the world. Although she was a big voiceover star in the 1990s, her true claim to fame was Trey Parker and Matt Stone's critically acclaimed adult animated television series, South Park (1997), ...

Played many of the female voices on South Park

18. Jerry Orbach

Actor | Law & Order

Jerry Orbach was born in the Bronx, New York, the only child of Leon Orbach, a former vaudevillian actor, was a German Jewish immigrant, who was born in Hamburg, Germany, and Emily (nee Olexy), a radio singer, was born in Pennsylvania to immigrant Polish-Lithuanian Roman Catholic parents, Alexander...

Law and Order: Trial by Jury

19. Freddie Prinze

Actor | Chico and the Man

Freddie Prinze was born Frederick Karl Pruetzel in New York City, New York, to a Puerto Rican mother, Aurea Elena Ruiz, and a German immigrant father, Edward Karl Pruetzel. Freddie grew up in the Washington Heights section of New York City. As a chubby child, he was often bullied, but was quite ...

Chico and the Man

20. Will Geer

Actor | The Waltons

Will Geer was born William Aughe Ghere in Frankfort, Indiana, to Katherine (Aughe), a teacher, and Roy Aaron Ghere, a postal worker. Will admired his grandfather, a man who said hello to trees by their Latin names and who had used what he brought back to Indiana from the California gold rush to ...

The Waltons

21. Selma Diamond

Actress | It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World

Most familiar to TV audiences as the diminutive but feisty court bailiff on Night Court (1984), Selma Diamond's entrance into acting wasn't through the usual venue of vaudeville, stage work or modeling - she was a writer for TV shows, once having been nominated for an Emmy for Caesar's Hour (1954)....

Night Court

22. Florence Halop

Actress | Night Court

Florence Halop was born on January 23, 1923 in Queens, New York, USA as Florence Cohen. She was an actress, known for Night Court (1984), St. Elsewhere (1982) and George Burns Comedy Week (1985). She was married to George Gruskin. She died on July 15, 1986 in Los Angeles, California, USA.

Night Court, same role as above. Eventually replaced by Marsha Warfield

23. Pete Duel

Actor | Alias Smith and Jones

Born on 24 February 1940 in Rochester, New York, Pete Duel moved to West Hollywood in 1963 following a tour with the National Road Company's "Take Her, She's Mine". After landing small guest spots on various TV series, Pete was cast in a recurring role alongside Sally Field on Gidget (1965) in 1965...

"Alias Smith and Jones"



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