Television shows that become favorites quickly work their way into your consciousness; you remember funny pieces of dialogue, quirky sets, the theme song, and the characters on the show. So when you’re watching a favorite show and suddenly a character is gone, you definitely notice.
The Most Mysterious Disappearances
There are times when the shows handle these transitions well, and other times where they don’t even acknowledge that the character is gone (so frustrating!) but what often remains a mystery is why that person left in the first place. Here we debunk some of the most surprising and frustrating character disappearances from television history.
Larry Paul on Ally McBeal
Larry Paul, played by Robert Downey Jr., entered the show Ally McBeal as Ally’s love interest. There had been many love interests for Ally, but the writers were planning on making Larry Paul her final interest, meaning, they were to be married and “live happily ever after.” Fans loved his character on the show and loved Downey playing him, so it was working out well.
Downey had signed on to McBeal just a week after being released from prison, struggling with the consequences of his infamous drug addiction. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to stay clean during the run of the show, and eventually, Downey was fired from Ally McBeal after being arrested for drug use.
Eddie on Cheers
Jay Thomas played Eddie LeBec, Carla’s love interest, and eventually husband, on the famous sitcom, Cheers. Rhea Perlman played wise-cracking Carla, the barmaid with a huge heart, and Eddie, her love. The fans loved it, and the writers were happy with the reception, so they expanded Eddie’s role beyond their original plan. He became a regular.
That is until he said a cruel, public remark about Rhea Perlman. Jay Thomas had a radio show where he took calls, and one day a caller asked what it was like to be on Cheers, and play Eddie. His answer cost him the role. “It’s brutal. We don’t get hazard pay, and I have to kiss Rhea Perlman.” Fired. Didn’t even get invited back for the episode which explained his disappearance, which had him killed off by a Zamboni on the ice.
Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men
When the star of a hit TV show publicly states that he had turned the writer’s “tin can of a show” into gold, it’s probably the beginning of the end. For Charlie Sheen, who played the man-child, Charlie who was the lead character on Two and a Half Men, it was. The show was a hit, and Sheen was earning a little over 2 million dollars an episode when he was fired.
Warners Brother’s statement included that Shee’s “statements, conduct and condition prevented him from performing his essential duties.” Sheen was addicted to drugs and had been charged with selling providing cocaine to others, as well as charged with assaulting his then-wife, Brooke Mueller. After his firing, Sheen was replaced by Ashton Kutcher. Sheen has gone to publicly struggle with his drug addiction, losing custody of all his children, and revealing he has HIV/AIDS.
Mr. Hooper on Sesame Street
Mr. Hooper was one of the longest lasting, most beloved human characters on Sesame Street. His store, Hooper’s Store, was a meeting place for all the citizens of Sesame Street, and Mr. Hooper ran it with a slightly befuddled, slightly grumpy but very kind manner. He had a special relationship with Big Bird.
When Mr. Hooper died in real life, in 1982, Sesame Street had to decide how to approach the loss of his character on the show. In the end, they decided to do what Sesame Street does best, and bring real life difficult topics into the show with tenderness and straightforwardness. The show dealing with Mr. Hooper’s death aired Thanksgiving Day in 1983 and was called “heartbreaking yet affirming, one of the proudest moments in the show’s history.”
Izzie on Grey’s Anatomy
Katherine Heigl played Izzie on Grey’s Anatomy, the long-running hit series. Heigl developed a bit of a reputation as a problem within the show, arguing with the show’s writers. When Katherine Heigl publicly criticized the show’s writing staff, her public response to leaving the show was that she wanted more time with her family. That wasn’t the real story.
Heigl’s co-star Ellen Pompeo had this to say in Hollywood Life, “You could understand why she wanted to go — when you’re offered $12 million a movie and you’re only 26. But Katie’s problem is that she should not have renewed her contract. She re-upped, took a big raise and then tried to get off the show. And then her movie career did not take off.” Heigl later said she would like to return to the show to bring closure to her character, but creator and head writer Rhimes was not interested.
Matthew Crawley on Downton Abbey
Matthew Crawley as played by Dan Stevens was a favorite character of the Downton audience–he played the sincere, distinguished, haunted and crazy in love Matthew, partner to hard-headed, smart and beautiful Mary. Fans were absolutely stunned when Matthew was suddenly killed in a single car accident, just when he and Mary were married and expecting their first baby.
Turns out, Dan Stevens wanted to take advantage of his fame and try to get more substantial TV roles or roles in film. The writers felt it was “the only option” to kill off Matthew, as otherwise there would be no acceptable solution to why he would leave Mary, or never see his child.
Soleil Moon Frye on Punky Brewster
Punky Brewster was a hit ABC show about a spunky little girl abandoned by her mother in a grocery store. She ends up living with a grouchy bfut loving old photographer, Henry, and he eventually adopts her. The show was in syndication when it was decided to stop at the end of the fourth season, despite strong ratings.
Years later, it was revealed that Soleil Moon Frye, aka Punky Brewster, had needed to get a breast reduction surgery. At the young age of 15, she did. Frye did a People cover years later, announcing that she had done the surgery, with the title “Now I can be free.” Frye said that outside of embarrassment, her large breasts were causing her great back pain.
Marissa Cooper on The OC
There are were different public stories about why the star of the huge teen drama was killed off rather suddenly. The rumors around the death of Marissa Cooper on The OC (and Mischa Barton’s departure from the show) were that Barton, who portrayed the notorious hot mess, wanted out of The OC to pursue a movie career.
However, not everyone thought that the decision to kill off Cooper in a tragic car accident was agreeable to all parties. The O.C. actor Peter Gallagher said that he thought Barton was “pretty happy” on the show, so it’s unclear if she left on her own accord or not. Josh Schwartz, the show’s creator, said at the ATX Television Special, “There were reasons both creative and just in terms for the show itself and where we were with the network.”
Denise on The Cosby Show
Denise, the second-born daughter of the Cosby family, was generally based on Cosby’s actual daughter, Erinn, who was near the same age as the character of Denise. Saucy, independent, beautiful and smart, she was a show fan favorite. So why did she suddenly leave the show?
Lisa Bonet was asked to leave the show after getting pregnant, as Bill Cosby said he did not want a single teenage mother as a character. She was later offered the spin-off show, A Different World, of which she was the star. She occasionally visited or called her parents, the Cosbys, on that show. She also appeared on The Cosby Show in later seasons, her character married and with a step-daughter. In 2018, Bonet opened up about working with Cosby, who had since been accused of many sexual assaults. She told Porter magazine that it had been unbearable to work with him. “There was just energy. And that type of sinister, shadow energy cannot be concealed,” she said.
Whatever happened to Charlie from Lost?
Charlie on Lost
Dominic Monaghan’s played the character of Charlie on the drama series, Lost. Charlie was killed off in Season 3 by drowning in what amounted to a suicide mission. He died bravely aiding his fellow castaways in their never-ending attempt to get off the bizarre island. Why was this important character killed off? Theories abound.
Some believe that it was due to his serious relationship with his co-star, Evangeline Lilly. She eventually broke up with him. Some believe it was due to Charlie’s lessening importance as the main character; he had been receiving much less screen time in the season before his demise. Dominic Monaghan said to Entertainment, “I am young and healthy and fit and capable. I’m in an industry that is busy and I’m just excited to be free.”
The Blue Ranger on Power Rangers
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was a stylized show for kids that was hugely popular in its time. When the Blue Ranger, Billy, left the show, there was no word on why. On the show, he was sent to another planet. But the actor himself, David Yost, did an interview years later in which he revealed the sad and staggering real reason for his departure.
David Yost said that the reason he left was because he was being regularly attacked on the show for being gay. He was called vulgar names and the cast was even called into the producer’s office and questioned about his sexuality. For two years after he left the show he tried conversion therapy, which didn’t work, and he then accepted his sexuality.
Tristan on Gilmore Girls
Chad Michael Murray played the very bad boy Tristan on Gilmore Girls, the mocking and trash-talking boy at Rory Gilmore’s school who clearly had a huge crush on her, despite or because of their differences. They even kissed one time. But then Tristan was sent to military school in South Carolina, where his father thought he belonged as punishment for his behaviors.
In InStylemagazine, Murray said, “I actually really enjoyed Tristan.” “Everyone rooted for him. He was that guy that you wanted to be close to, but you knew you just couldn’t be.” In the end, Murray ended up leaving because he was filming Dawson’s Creek and then the hit, One Tree Hill.
William Hartnell From Dr. Who
William Hartnell, the original Doctor Who from the cult-classic show, left because he had arteriosclerosis and his health had gotten so bad that he was unable to keep up with the demands of the show and the schedule. The producers came up with a brilliant plot remake: the Doctor could regenerate into a new body.
After all, the show was very successful, making money, and they wanted to keep it going. Hartnell himself was said to be the one who suggested Patrick Troughton take over the role. In the end, it was Hartnell’s heart illness inspired the very gimmick that would make the show (and its anti-hero, Dr. Who) immortal in the world of TV.
Steve on Blue’s Clues
For almost seven years, Steve Burns was the adorable, lovable host of Nickelodeon’s show, Blue’s Clues. Until one day, he was just gone like a puff of smoke, and no one knew why, or said why. The show continued on with a replacement, and rumors swirled about why Burns left the preschool show.
In an interview with Huffington Post, Burns said, “I left the show because it was just simply time to go. I was pretty much playing a boyish, older-brotherish kind of character on the show. I was getting older; I was losing my hair; a lot of the original gangsters on the show, like the people who created it, were all moving on to other careers. It just felt like time. I just had a gut feeling like it was time to go.”
Shannen Doherty Twice!
Shannen Doherty was a teen sensation on Beverly Hills 90210 where she played feisty sister Brenda, and then later, she played a witch on Charmed. But with both shows, her character gets written off, despite the popularity of the show. What gives?
A co-star Jennie Garth wrote, “Without warning, she was gone. There was no goodbye, no nothing. One day she just wasn’t on the call sheet,” while Jason Priestley, another co-star, wrote in his memoir, “really and truly did not give a (word that rhymes with fit)”. Turns out, Doherty had been in a fist fight with Garth, and arguments with pretty much everyone on set. On Charmed, Doherty had a terrible relationship with co-star Alyssa Milano, and the two could not get along. She also butted heads with one of the producers, Brad Kern.
Kyra from Reba
Scarlett Pomers played Kyra Hart, the younger daughter of Reba and Brock Hart, on the show Reba. With long red hair and a saucy attitude, she was a main character and a staple on the show, so fans were understandably totally confused when she just disappeared from the episodes without preamble.
It turned out, Pomers had checked herself into a treatment center for anorexia. At 5′ 2″ the young actress weight had dropped to 73 pounds and she was exercising obsessively, up to six hours per day. Scarlett’s character, Kyra, was absent for almost all of the fifth season of Reba, only appearing in two episodes out of 22. She was out of the facility by January 2006 and returned to the show, which graciously gave her all the time needed to heal.
Mulder on X-Files
David Duchovny was one of the two stars of the hit series, X-Files, along with Gillian Anderson. A huge success, it was a blow to fans when Duchovny left The X-Files as a full-time cast member after its seventh season. The show wrote off Mulder in a storyline where he is abducted by aliens in the Season 7 finale and introduced actor Robert Patrick as Scully’s new FBI partner, John Doggett. Scully and Doggett searched for Mulder, eventually discovered his body, and then some time later Scully was able to bring him back to life. But Mulder didn’t appear until the Season 9 finale. Why?
First of all, Duchovny felt that he was going a little insane, doing the same show with the same person for so many years in and out. He also stated that he wanted to do something comedic, and he was involved in a lawsuit with Fox over syndication revenue.
Becky on Roseanne
It’s a tale of two Beckys: Becky one, who was played by Lecy Goranson for eight seasons, and Becky two, who was played by Sarah Chalke from that point onward. As Becky One was an important part of the Roseanne family and a regular, fans were totally baffled when an entirely new young woman was playing the character of Becky, without explanation.
(In the photo, Becky One is on the left, Becky Two on the right.) Goranson left to attend college at Vassar, and the show was flummoxed as to how to deal with her leaving. They chose a very odd path: they slid another actor into the part without mentioning it except for the randomly placed joke about it in the script. When Becky One returned to the show for the eighth season premiere, Roseanne and Darlene ask Becky, “Where the hell have you been?” and comment that “it feels like you’ve been gone for three years.” Becky responds, “Why does everyone keep saying that?”
Mandy Patinkin on Criminal Minds
Mandel Bruce “Mandy” Patinkin left the cast of Criminal Minds because the storylines were getting too dark and morbid for him. You may know him for his role as Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride. (Who could forget him?) He also played major roles on Chicago Hope and Dead Like Me.
But, he most regrets his brief two-season stint on Criminal Minds. “The biggest public mistake I ever made was that I chose to do Criminal Minds in the first place,” Patinkin said. “I thought it was something very different. I never thought they were going to kill and rape all these women every night, every day, week after week, year after year. It was very destructive to my soul and my personality. After that, I didn’t think I would get to work in television again.”
Topher Grace on That ’70s Show
Topher Grace left That ’70s Show because he really wanted to pursue other career opportunities. So, on the show, they wrote in a storyline where Eric went off to college. Of course, in real life, Topher got a role in Spider-Man 3.
When Topher left the show before the show’s eighth and final season, it really did change the show. That everyman, quiet gravitas had been a driving force on the show. And, even when he was clearly in the wrong, everyone loved and was (usually) willing to forgive ole “Eric.” When he left the show, Topher said, “We started when we were so young and we really grew up through this experience together and … it’s gonna be really hard for me.” While he may have hoped for a quick and steady rise to stardom when he left the show, his career has largely fizzled after the flop of Spiderman 3.
Tommy Chong on That ’70s Show
The reports of his death (in real life) have been exaggerated, but Tommy Chong really did leave the cast of That ’70s Show when he was tossed in the slammer for nine months, over a bong-selling conviction. It can’t have been a surprise to the cast or the crew of the show.
Jordan Belfort was his cellmate in jail. You might remember that name from Wolf of Wall Street, starring Leo DiCaprio. Chong was also one of the major influences convincing Jordan to write his book.
Over the years, Tommy Chong’s role as the stoned owner of the Foto Hut wasn’t his only on-screen appearance. He was on Miami Vice,Nash Bridges, andDharma and Greg for guest appearances. He also took on the role of Leo on That ’70s Show again after getting out of jail.
Ashton Kutcher on That ’70s Show
Around the time that Topher Grace left, Ashton Kutcher left That ’70s Show because he, too, was getting tired of the show and he wanted to move on in his career. So, on the show, Kelso got a job in Chicago.
Kutcher admitted, “I really thought I was gonna get fired off of the pilot. I think I’ve improved as an actor thanks to this show.” He’d already been starring in films while he was still on That ’70s Show. But, scheduling conflicts with The Guardian caused him to leave the sitcom. He went on to replace Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men as well continued to be involved in a lot of other projects.
B.J. Novak on The Office
B.J. Novak (Benjamin Joseph Manaly Novak) was the writer, director, and executive producer for the US version of The Office. So, it would have been a huge deal if he’d left the show for good. Fortunately, the character didn’t die in the storyline, which always leaves room for him to return after a brief (or long) hiatus.
In the story line of the US show, Ryan went to “Thailand.” Of course, we all know now that Novak was taking time off to film Inglourious Basterds. Who could forget that movie? But The Office really was too good to be true… As he says: “Sometimes when this feels too good to be true, I think that if this were all a dream, that would be what should have tipped me off. I’d wake up saying, ‘I was in this incredible TV show and it was a big hit and the star was John Krasinski from high school. Isn’t that weird?'”
Lawrence Tierney on Seinfeld
Yep, Lawrence Tierney took on the role of Alton Benes, Elaine’s father on Seinfeld. He was on the show for one episode, and he came off as a really scary, gruff fatherly figure. Some reports say he was never asked back because Jerry Seinfeld just was creeped out by him on set (Lawrence made Jerry nervous).
But, there were other more ominous reports as well. If he really was responsible for a theft and/or if that disappearance involved a knife, you’d kinda get the idea why he made everyone just a bit more than nervous. Perhaps completely petrified? Whatever really went on, he never appeared on the show again.
Maggie Roswell (Maude Flanders) on The Simpsons
You probably remember that Maude Flanders died a very tragic death on The Simpsons. They offed her via a volley from a t-shirt cannon brigade. Well, she may have been just a cartoon, but Maggie Roswell, the voice actress for Maude, was just as summarily dismissed.
Maggie lived out-of-state, so she always had to pay for her flights to LA for the voice work. So, she asked for more money to compensate her for the additional expenses. Her payment dispute just didn’t go well. Instead of paying her more, the show just killed off Maude.
Kal Penn on House
Kal Penn was written out of House to go work for the White House. On the episode, Kal Penn’s character (Lawrence Kutner) killed himself. When it became clear that it would be a suicide, Kal said that he felt “more than a little bit of shock and loss.” Although in some TV shows, characters have been known to come back from the dead, there was a permanence to that suicide. He said that he left on good terms.
In some sense, he’s moving from one house to another. He was inspired by working on President Obama’s presidential campaign, and says, “We want to make sure that everyone’s concerns are heard and they are familiar with the president’s plans and proposals.”
Michael O’Hare on Babylon 5
Michael O’Hare, who played Jeffrey Sinclair in Babylon 5, left the show in a flurry of disappointed fans. News of his departure was shrouded in mystery because he didn’t want the show to divulge exactly why he was leaving. They’d offered to put the show on hiatus until he was “better,” but he insisted on being written off. He’d been experiencing psychological issues (paranoia, hallucinations, etc).
He’d appeared in a number of shows over the years: Trapper John, M.D., T. J. Hooker, Kate & Allie, The Equalizer, Tales from the Darkside, and The Cosby Mysteries. He wanted the news of his mental illness to be a “secret until the grave,” so when he died on September 28, 2012, the real reason for his departure from Babylon 5.
Lauren Socha on Misfits
On the UK show, Misfits, character Kelly Bailey (played by Lauren Socha) was written off because the actor was obligated to do community service. Lauren adored the part, called it “brilliant,” and said, “I love her. I love playing the part.” The part just seemed to jive with her experience. She said, “I do like playing Kelly – she’s a bit outgoing and says it how it is, when I was younger I was a bit like her, a bit chavvy.”
According to Channel 4, “A mutual decision was reached between Clerkenwell [Films, which produces Misfits] and Lauren earlier this year that she would not be returning for the fourth series.” There were also reports of an American version, to which Lauren told The Huffington Post: “I think it’s going to be very difficult to try and get a job as Kelly in America. She’s so distinctive! I’m impossible to play! Good luck to it, though. I think I’ll be a bit gutted, but let’s see what they do.
Northern Calloway on Sesame Street
With all the ups and downs of actors leaving, there are really sad stories. You might remember David (played by Northern Calloway) on Sesame Street in the 1970s. He was the first “human” character, who was not a puppet. He was the hip big brother role model, but he was also working at Mr. Hooper’s Store and studying to become a lawyer.
Calloway was also bipolar, for which he took lithium, but his condition was further complicated by the cocaine he also used. His mental health experience finally deteriorated until he was at the point of rampaging through Nashville in a Superman T-shirt. He even beat a woman with an iron rod and smashed windows. When they arrested him, he screamed, “I’m David from Sesame Street.” He thought they were trying to kill him. After being in and out of treatment and hospitals, he actually died in a mental hospital in 1990 after a prolonged psychotic episode.
Yvette Nicole on Community
Shirley was not in the sixth season of Community, but that was at Yvette Nicole’s request. She was on the show since it debuted in 2009, but her father was very ill, and she asked to be written out of the storyline so that she could spend time with him.
Nicole said that her dad needed daily care and he needed her. As she explained, “The idea of being away 16 hours a day for five months, I couldn’t do it. It was a difficult decision for me to make, but I had to choose my dad.” It doesn’t appear to have been a difficult decision for her to make, and she did return for the show’s series finale.
Jared Padalecki on Gilmore Girls
Jared Padalecki played Dean Forester on Gilmore Girls, but he left to be Dean’s brother, Sam Winchester, on Supernatural. As you can see from the picture, the difference in character was quite remarkable. You can see why it’s that role of Sam that he’s now most highly regarded for…
According to Bustle, “Dean was the perfect model of TV-land puppy-love, a sweet and unassuming and, yes, once-witty foil for everyone’s favorite fast-talking mother-daughter team.” He married Genevieve Cortese, who appeared as the demon Ruby on Supernatural. They have two kids (with a third on the way).
Jeffrey DeMunn on The Walking Dead
Dale from The Walking Dead was played by Jeffrey DeMunn, but unfortunately, personal loyalties may have affected his continuation on the show. DeMunn was loyal to Frank Darabont, and when he got fired, DeMunn didn’t want to be on the show anymore. So, they unceremoniously killed off his character, in the worst possible way.
On the show, Dale walks across a field, sees a mutilated cow, and then sees the walker. There was no real reason or logic to explain how the walker could have gotten there so fast, but the appearance effectively kills Dale and brings to a close the tenure of Jeffrey DeMunn on the show.
Janet Hubert on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Janet Hubert played the original “Aunt Viv” on the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, but she violated her contract when she got pregnant. So, they fired Hubert and replaced her with Daphne Maxwell Reed in the last three seasons of the show.
Part of the reason they didn’t give her any leeway may have also been because she reportedly “hated” Will Smith and frequently disagreed with him. As reports had it, Smith would say: “No one’s going to believe you’re the mother to these kids, you’re too dark.” For a myriad of reasons, it may not have been a surprise to her when she was fired from the show.
John Rhys-Davies on Sliders
On Sliders, John Rhys-Davies (the professor) was killed off rather quickly after the show first started. It was a bit of a shock for fans since he was such an important part of the storyline for the show. Apparently, he insulted a Fox Exec at a party. Then, that same person gained control over the Fox programming segment that included Sliders. It appears that revenge was sweet to that person.
So, the offended exec convinced Fox and Universal to fire John Rhys-Davies, and then he did it in front of the cast and crew. Worse still, when they dispatched of the Professor, they drained him of brain matter, shot him in the heart, and left his body on an exploding planet. It would be difficult to come back from any one of those!
Jo Marie Payton on Family Matters
When Family Matters first aired, it was supposed to be a spin-off of Perfect Strangers. So you followed Harriett Winslow (played by Jo Marie Payton) and her husband, Carl. They were a middle-class black family, dealing with all the typically issues that most families face. Enter Steve Urkel.
Instead of centering around the black family, it was now all about the wacky adventures of the nerd, Urkel. He created inventions, traveled through time, and just was the center of chaos all the time. Payton eventually left the show, because she didn’t like what Family Matters had become. She was replaced.
John Francis Daley on Bones
John Francis Daley is an American actor, screenwriter, film director, and musician.You may also know him for his role as Sam Weir on Freaks and Geeks. He also played the character of Sweets on the TV show, Bones, a role for which he was nominated for 2014 PRISM Award.
The show writers and producers killed him off because he asked for time off to direct the new National Lampoon Vacation movie. They were concerned that his hiatus would take too much time away from his character on the show, but Executive Producer Stephen Nathan also indicated that they were also concerned that the directing role might lead to other jobs.
Cuddy from House
Lisa Edelstein played Dr. Cuddy on the drama, House. Dr. Cuddy was Dr. House’s main, ongoing love interest in the show, a brilliant, gorgeous, charming woman who led the hospital. Cuddy and House had a contentious relationship mostly due to House’s serious issues, but it was still a total shock for everyone when she left before the last season, never to return. Even House himself was surprised, saying in the online publication Digital Spy, “I don’t know who was privy to what at what time, but it was a great shock to me.”
Michael Ausiello at TV Line reported that Edelstein, who had been expected by cast and crew to renew her contract for season 8 of the show, left because she was asked to take a lower salary due to budget cuts for the entire show. She declined, and with no counter-offer, left. She now stars in the Netflix show, Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce.
Paz De La Huerta on Boardwalk Empire
Paz De La Huerta was fired from Boardwalk Empire because during a feminine product (a string) was visible, when she was not clothed. After being told to hide it or get rid of it someway, she pulled it out and threw it on the floor. She then told one of the Personal Assistants to pick it up for her.
She has appeared in numerous other films: The Cider House Rules (1999), A Walk to Remember (2002), Choke (2008), Enter the Void (2009), and Nurse 3D (2013). She’s gotten in trouble before too. In April 2011, MTV reality show actress Samantha Swetra sued Huerta, claiming that the fellow actress had hit her and then thrown a glass at her, which broke and cut her leg. For that incident, she was arrested and criminally charged with assault.
John Ritter on 8 Simple Rules and Scrubs
For all the actors you’ve come to know (and love) on the TV screen, John Ritter’s death is one of the saddest. He died from an aortic dissection on September 11, 2003. With his passing, producers were forced to write him out of future episodes for 8 Simple Rules and Scrubs.
Perhaps most tragic of all is the fact that his family believes that his death could have been avoided/prevented, if they had not been so quick to jump to the conclusion that he was having a heart attack. His family brought a wrongful death suit against the hospital. His wife, Amy Yasbeck, said, “I’m asking for responsibility to be taken and recognition to be brought to this problem.” Yasbeck said, “I think the money will show how angry the jury will be about what happened to John and what could happen to them.”