Actors who died in the middle of a TV series

Log in to copy items to your own lists.
Nicholas Colasanto
Nicholas Colasanto, the actor and television director who achieved his greatest success as "Coach" on the TV series Cheers 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 due to World War II...
“ Cheers ” - quartertwain
Nancy Marchand
Actress, Lou Grant
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 City....
“ The Sopranos ” - quartertwain
John Ritter
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 destined to follow in his parents footsteps...
“ 8 Simple Rules ” - quartertwain
Phil Hartman
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, and English descent...
“ News Radio ” - quartertwain
Jim Davis
Actor, Dallas
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 a lot of movie cowboys...
“ Dallas ” - quartertwain
Alice Pearce
Actress, On the Town
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 from a well with a mere sniffle, gulp, or stare...
“ Bewitched ” - quartertwain
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 plans for a medical career after playing the lead in a local theatrical production of 'The Wiz'...
“ Strong Medicine ” - quartertwain
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 both the horn & the violin in the school orchestra...
“ Accidental, on-stage death ” - quartertwain
Diana Hyland
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 ” - quartertwain
Michael Conrad
Michael Conrad was a stalwart American character actor who appeared frequently on television, best known for his recurring role as the desk sergeant Phil Esterhaus on Hill Street Blues, for which he won twice Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Emmy Awards, in 1981-1982. Conrad died from urethral cancer during the shooting of the police drama's fourth season...
“ Hill Street Blues. The writers really show off their flair for irony when they write this guy off the show. ” - quartertwain
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 mother's place...
“ The Ewing family and t.v. were not made for happy endings. ” - quartertwain
Redd Foxx
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 records became available...
“ Died on set filming his new sitcom The Royal Family. ” - quartertwain
John Spencer
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 recurring role on The Patty Duke Show...
“ The West Wing ” - quartertwain
“ Sesame Street ” - quartertwain
Jack Soo
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 had...
“ Barney Miller ” - quartertwain
“ Sealab 2021 ” - quartertwain
Mary Kay Bergman
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...
“ Played many of the female voices on South Park ” - quartertwain
Jerry Orbach
Jerry was born in the Bronx. His father, Leon, was a former vaudevillian actor, and his mother, Emily, was a radio singer. His family moved frequently and eventually settled in Waukegan, Illinois where he went to high school. The constant moving made him the new kid on the block and forced him to become "a chameleon" to blend in his new settings...
“ Law and Order: Trial by Jury ” - quartertwain
Freddie Prinze
Comedian Freddie Prinze seemed to have everything going for him by 1977. He was the star of a hit network series. Beautiful women were drawn to his good looks and natural charm. He was the father of a baby boy named after him. But there were a lot of things Freddie Prinze had against him: a failed marriage...
“ Chico and the Man ” - quartertwain
Will Geer
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 build Frankfort's first opera house...
“ The Waltons ” - quartertwain
Selma Diamond
Most familiar to TV audiences as the diminutive but feisty court bailiff on Night Court, 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. Although she had that tough New York accent and street demeanor...
“ Night Court ” - quartertwain
“ Night Court, same role as above. Eventually replaced by Marsha Warfield ” - quartertwain
Pete Duel
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 in 1965...
“ "Alias Smith and Jones" ” - quartertwain