For the most part, characters in film and television series are written off to drive the plot forward. It’s rare that characters die for no reason at all. But sometimes, characters are written off to get rid of the actor playing the role. Whether they are involved with feuds with their castmates, disrespecting the creators, or are just unlikeable, it’s not uncommon for the creators to have them fired and written out of the show by writing about the death of their character. Take a look and see if some of your favorite on-screen characters were written off a show just because the creators of the show wanted them gone.
Charlie Sheen Leaving Two and a Half Men Was Long Overdue
Charlie Sheen is a celebrity with a past full of addiction and public meltdowns. So it wasn’t surprising that his character Charlie Harper in Two and a Half Men met his death at the beginning of season 9. Along with Sheen’s wild antics, it was his negative comments about the series producer and creator Chuck Lorre finally led to him being fired from the show.
At the beginning of season 9, his death is reported by his lover Rose who said he was hit by a train. This way, Sheen’s body didn’t even have to be in the casket but instead, just a bowling shirt and pair of cargo shorts.
T.R. Knight Was Forced Off Grey’s Anatomy Under Some Questionable Circumstances
T.R. Knight played Dr. George O’Malley on the ABC show Grey’s Anatomy. After five seasons on the show, Knight was let go and his character killed for what he described as being a “breakdown of communication” with show creator Shonda Rhimes.
Knight claims that he was forced out after he had come out as gay, yet Rhimes flat-out denies these accusations. However, it’s not like he his character received a clean death either, his O’Malley was severely disfigured after being in a bus accident only to die a rather terrible death not long after.
Michelle Rodriguez and Cynthia Watros Partied Too Hard While Filming Lost
There can be a lot of temptations while filming in Hawaii. It’s easy to start living on “island time” and forget the responsibilities you have as an actor. While filming for Lost, Michelle and Cynthia were spending a little too much time partying. They both ended up receiving DUIs.
The show’s creators and producers found this to be a massively embarrassing, and also pinned both actresses as a liability. So, it wasn’t long after that their characters — police officer Ana Lucia Cortez and Libby Smith — were both killed off the show.
Desperate Housewives’ Nicollette Sheridan Had Troubles Off Screen
While most of the actresses on Desperate Housewives made it through all eight seasons, Sheridan’s character was dead by season 5. There was just as much drama off screen as there was on the show. Apparently, the series creator, Marc Cherry, was being pressured to cut costs. Since Sheridan was making as much as $200,000 per episode and her character’s story felt like it has run its course, she got cut.
After Sheridan’s character was killed, however, she filed a lawsuit against Cherry claiming he assaulted her. This assault proved to be just a tap on the head and a judge threw out the case.
Dominic Monaghan Thought His Character Deserved More On Lost
Dominic Monaghan played the troubled Charlie Pace on the series Lost. His character died heroically in season 3, sacrificing himself to help fellow survivors on the island. Although Charlie may have been killed for the greater good, the reason for his character dying wasn’t as glamorous.
Monaghan had been having issues with co-star Matthew Fox and was outspoken about the direction of his character. However, Monaghan said that he was relieved to learn that his character was going to die because he was frustrated playing a smaller role in a large cast.
South Park Crossed The Line With Isaac Hayes
Isaac Hayes voiced the character of Chef for many years on the Comedy Central animated series South Park. The show is well-known for always pushing the boundaries for television while simultaneously pushing people’s buttons. However, at one point, the show’s creators went so far as to offend Isaac Hayes enough to the point that he quit.
He didn’t appreciate how the show made fun of the Scientology religion. Because he was mad and quit the show, the creators of South Park gave him an extremely gruesome death on the show.
Michael Pitt’s Attitude Got In The Way Of Filming Boardwalk Empire
At the end of season 2 of Boardwalk Empire, Michael Pitt’s character Jimmy Darmody is unceremoniously shot in the face and killed. Although this may have helped the plot move forward, it was also a way to get Pitt out of the show. He was known to have a casual work ethic, an unenthusiastic attitude, and was always forgetting his lines.
He was also known to go off-script, all of which cost production money and led to him being released from the show. Even his own agent told Deadline that UTA fired Pitt as a client because he’s really difficult on set.
Mandy Patinkin Didn’t Agree With The Content Of Criminal Minds
Mandy Patinkin played Special Agent Jason Gideon in the CBS crime drama Criminal Minds. Although he was in the show from the start, he was killed off for two reasons. Gideon has admitted to New York Magazine that “I thought [Criminal Minds] was different. I never thought they were going to kill and **** all these women every night, every day, week after week, year after year. It was very destructive to my soul and my personality.”
For that reason, he became a terrible employee, not showing up for work until he was killed off and both sides got what they wanted.
Jay Thomas’ Mouth Got Him Kicked Off Cheers
Jay Thomas played the hockey star Eddie LeBec on the sitcom Cheers between 1982 and 1993. While working on Cheers, Thomas was also a morning DJ for KPWR-Power 106 in Los Angeles. When asked on air what it was like working on Cheers, he responded by complaining about having to kiss Rhea Perlman who played his wife Carla Tortelli on the show.
Supposedly, Perlman was listening to the show at the time and Thomas was never seen on-screen on Cheers again. In the show, his character was killed in a freak Zamboni accident out on the ice.
Jussie Smollett Took Drastic Measures To Get A Raise
Actor Jussie Smollett was unhappy with his pay on the TV series Empire playing the role of Jamal Lyon. Reportedly, that’s why he decided to amp up his name in media headlines, hoping that would boost his celebrity profile. Smollett hatched a plan, and hired two brothers to purchase specific ski masks and hats in a store with video surveillance. He then filed a false police report on January 29, 2019 stating that he was brutally attacked in a hate crime against the color of his skin and sexuality.
The actor gave the police the description of the men he hired for $3,500. When the truth surfaced, Smollett was arrested. In the wake of the controversy, Empire producers announced, “We have decided to remove the role of ‘Jamal’ from the final two episodes of the season.” It was a move that everyone saw coming.
Issues With The Writer Killed John Rhys-Davies Character In Sliders
John Rhys-Davies starred as Professor Maximillian Arturo in the sci-fi series Sliders between 1995 and 2000. However, his character was eventually shot and killed after the writers and creators of the show were fed up with his disrespect. Rhys-Davies called the scripts to the show “incomprehensible gibberish” and would continually clash with the writers, calling them unintelligent and useless.
After he was killed off in season 3, he claimed it was because the writers “screwed up because they didn’t have the vision,” yet it seems that the writer envisioned killing him off for years.
John Amos Was Fired Before He Could Quit
Back in the 1970s, John Amos starred as James Evans on the show Good Times. The show featured an African-American family living their best lives while living in the projects. At the beginning of the second season, Amos threatened to leave the show, claiming that it was negatively portraying African American culture.
However, the showrunners beat him to the punch and killed his character off in a car accident. He admitted later in an interview that he did not quit and was fired after being labeled as a disruptive factor. The show’s creators didn’t even talk to him in person. Instead, they just called him on the phone.
Shannen Doherty Went from Beverly Hills: 90210 to Charmed
After being fired from Beverly Hills: 90210, it became clear that Shannen Doherty was not the easiest actress to get along with. So, it came as no surprise when her character Prue killed in the show Charmed. Her character’s death wasn’t so much a plot point, but rather because Doherty had been feuding with her co-star Alyssa Milano.
In an interview on Watch What Happens Live, Milano admitted “I can tell you that we were on the air with her for three years and there were some rough days. Not only was the feud known to the public, but the reason for her character’s death was quite noticeable.
Columbus Short Had Some Scandals Of His Own
Luckily, for the creators and crew of Scandal, Columbus Short didn’t cause any direct problems for the show. However, they were forced to let him go from the show and have his character Harrison Wright assassinated by the Secret Service.
Short had been having personal issues and had been arrested for attacking his then-wife in front of his children, assaulting a man in a bar fight, and threatening his wife with a knife. Although he hadn’t been a problem on-set, the show’s creators felt it was best to let him go and even helped to send him to rehab for drug and alcohol addiction.
Patrick Dempsey’s Off-Screen Affair Got Him Killed In Grey’s Anatomy
One of the most beloved characters of Grey’s Anatomy was Patrick Dempsey’s character Derek Sheperd, better known as “McDreamy.” Sheperd was killed in a fatal car accident at the end of season 11 which shocked fans around the world. However, Sheperd’s death may not have just been for shock value.
It has been rumored that Dempsey’s exit from the show was prompted by the affair he was having with one of the show’s younger staff members. An informer said that “It got very messy and emotional on set and became a huge liability.” Although it hasn’t been fully confirmed, the general consensus was that this was the reason for his character’s death.
Mischa Barton’s Attitude Got Her Killed Off The OC
Actress Mischa Barton scored her breakout role as Marissa Cooper in the series The O.C. She was a very well-liked character of the show, so audiences were heartbroken when her character died in a car accident in season 3. While fans were wondering why she was killed, the showrunners reported that they couldn’t put up with Barton anymore.
She thought that she was too good for TV and her attitude drove the creators up the wall. Her co-stars also thought she had a bad attitude but didn’t wholeheartedly agree that she should have been killed off since her character was so well-liked.
Raymond Cruz Asked To Be Killed In Breaking Bad
Raymond Cruz played the psychopathic meth-fueled drug dealer Tuco Salamanca in the AMC hit series Breaking Bad. However, opposite of Tuco, Cruz is a relatively laid back person who actually asked to be killed off from the show. He said he wasn’t looking forward to returning to the show because the part was incredibly hard to play.
This is because Cruz’s character’s energy was violent, uneasy, and through the roof. The showrunners asked if he could do eight more episodes which he declined. When they said they’ve never heard of somebody wanting to be killed off he said they didn’t understand what it took to pull that part off.
Maggie Roswell Didn’t Want To Pay For Her Plane Tickets For The Simpsons
Maggie Roswell was the voice actor of the character Maude Flanders on the animated series The Simpsons. However, she threatened to leave the show because she didn’t want to commute from Denver to Los Angeles anymore since the travel was too expensive. She claimed to make much less than she actually did and said she couldn’t afford the flights on her salary.
Fox refused to pay for her travel expenses, and she left the show. Her character was taken over by a few other actors until her character was finally killed off. Fox preferred to have the character gone rather than pay for Roswell’s travel.
Valerie Harper Was Killed Off Her Own Show
Valerie Harper starred in her own show called Valerie. However, her character was killed off and replaced by actress Sandy Duncan. The show was renamed Valerie’s Family and eventually The Hogan Family. Apparently, Harper was killed off because of a contract issue surrounding compensation and creative input.
Yet, the show’s lawyers argued that it was her behavior that got her booted. In response, Harper sued the production company and won, receiving a large payout from the show’s later success. She got all the money with no work.
Jon Polito’s Outburst on Homicide: Life on the Street Got Him Written Out For Good
John Polito played Steve Crosetti on Homicide: Life on the Street. When the producer informed him that he was going to be temporarily written off the show, he overreacted and went on to make harsh comments about the shows and its creators.
Because of these comments, the next season, his character graphically committed suicide with his body being discovered after floating in the bay for days. Polito went on to admit that he was wrong and made amends with the producer. The two even went on to work together again on a different project.
Brett Butler Wasn’t Just Fired, Her Show Was Cancelled
From 1993 until 1998 Brett Butler starred in Grace Under Fire on ABC. When she became addicted to Vicodin and was unreliable, the network made the decision that she had to go.
Unlike most shows where an actor gets fired, however, Butler was the lead actress in the show. Unable to come up with a solution to remove Butler and keep the popular show on the air, Grace Under Fire was canceled. She was escorted off the ABC lot by armed security guards!
Lisa Bonet’s Pregnancy Gets Her Fired
Lisa Bonet’s Cosby Show character was so popular that she was given her own show; A Different World. The show saw her character, Denise Huxtable, head off to college to create a life of her own.
Sadly, when Bonet got pregnant after the first season, the network pulled the plug. Bonet was let go and her character written out of the show. She was later invited to rejoin The Cosby Show, but was asked to leave a year later for “creative reasons” and wasn’t brought back for the series finale.
Isaiah Washington Can’t Play Nice At Seattle Grace
Grey’s Anatomy has been on ABC for so long it’s no surprise to see it on this list so many times. Isaiah Washington was fired after verbally abusing several castmates. His first victim was T.R. Knight. Washington used a homophobic slur on set. Knight came out shortly after and Washington apologized.
The second incident occurred while Washinton was arguing with Patrick Dempsey on set. He was forced to apologize for the second time and undergo counseling. Try as he might, ABC didn’t believe he was sincere and fired him from the show a few months later.
Jeremy Clarkson Forced To Put On The Brakes By BBC
Jeremy Clarkson was one of the most recognizable faces of BBC before getting unceremoniously fired from Top Gear. In 2015, Clarkson was suspended after getting into a fight with one of the show’s producers. Soon after the suspension, he was fired and the show went on with Matt LeBlanc as the host.
Clarkson survived the break-up, taking his talents to Amazon, where he hosts The Grand Tour. He even brought his Top Gear co-host to the house of Prime with him. For three seasons and 36 episodes of The Grand Tour, Amazon reportedly paid $185 million!
Billy Bush Can’t Watch His Language When Cameras Are Rolling
Billy Bush was co-host of Today until he was caught talking about women off camera. The infamous incident occurred behind the scenes with Donald Trump. A recording device caught the two having a conversation about grabbing women inappropriately.
Bush was suspended and fired from his show. He has owned up to the tape, admitting the voices are his and Trumps. His career never recovered. One-year later, Bush was hospitalized after getting hit in the head with a golf ball. You know what they say about karma!
Thomas Gibson Can’t Keep His Hands To Himself
Thomas Gibson was enjoying a 10-year run on Criminal Minds when his temper finally got the best of him. Gibson got into a fight with a producer in 2016, two episodes into filming the new season. He apologized, claiming his frustration arose from creative differences.
CBS and ABC announced very quickly that Gibson was being terminated from his contract. On the show, his character was placed on “special assignment” and was never heard from again.
Phil Robertson Takes A Break From Duck Dynasty
Duck Dynasty is one of the most popular shows to ever air on A&E. When Phil Roberston was suspended for homophobic remarks, the network found themselves in hot water with the fans. Despite his statements, fans rallied for Robertson to return to the show.
Ultimately, the network conceded to the fans and allowed Robertson back. Not many shows on cable could match Duck Dynasty’s ratings, so this decision isn’t too surprising. Since his return, Robertson has refused to apologize for his insensitive remarks.
Alec Baldwin Can’t Handle The Paparazzi Or Late Night
Not many people remember Alex Baldwin’s short-lived late night show Up Late With Alec Baldwin. The program aired on MSNBC and was canceled after Baldwin got into a fight with a paparazzi. During the fight, Baldwin verbally assaulted the person, using several homophobic slurs.
Baldwin bounced back quickly, become an SNL darling for his impersonation of Donald Trump. He also plays a pivotal role in the ongoing Mission Impossible franchise starring Tom Cruise.
Naya Rivera Was Probably Fired For Behavior
Naya Rivera played Santana Lopez on Glee for five seasons. Before season six began filming she was fired, but the circumstances around her sudden dismissal have never been revealed. Rumors persist that she was let go after her relationship with the show’s producers crumbled.
Rivera’s behavior hasn’t kept her career down. Since leaving Glee she has starred in Devious Maids and been a guest judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race. In 2018, she starred in the television adaption of Step Up as Collette Jones.
Drake Was Forced To Make A Career Choice
Early in his career, Drake was earning his dues starring in Degrassi while recording music. The only problem was his music team had no idea he was acting on the side. The forced him to choose which career he would rather have. Despite the popularity of the TV show, Drake chose music.
Although he wasn’t technically fired, the decision he was forced to make could have been career-threatening. Instead, it was career defining. Drake went on to become one of the most profitable rappers of his generation.
Robert Downey Jr. Couldn’t Stay Clean For FOX
Robert Downey Jr. won a Golden Globe for his performance in FOX’s Ally McBeal. The show loved him so much it even supported him after he got arrested for cocaine possession. When he got busted a second time, FOX cut ties with the troubled actor and suddenly he was leaving Ally at the season’s end instead of marrying her.
Downey Jr. credits the firing for getting himself cleaned up. He has remained clean and sober since the embarrassing firing. In 2008, he starred in Iron Man and launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Kal Penn Was Written Out of House After Joining The Obama Administration
Of all the fellows on House, fans appreciated Lauren Kutner for his open-mindedness to new experiences and his willingness to go along with House’s risks. Unfortunately, the cast and crew didn’t jib with Kal Penn quite as much.
While Penn didn’t necessarily cause any on-set drama, he was heavily involved with politics throughout filming. In early 2009, he joined the Obama Administration as an Associate Director of Public Engagement for the White House. His involvement in politics necessitated that his character be written out of the series.
Taylor Momsen’s Bad Attitude Got Her Booted From Gossip Girl
Taylor Momsen started her career as Cindy Lou Who in 2002’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas! But the child star quickly shed her good-girl image when she was cast as Jenny Humphrey on the CW series Gossip Girl.
At first, Momsen was a regular on the show, but when her appearances became increasingly sporadic, many questioned if it had to do with her bad behavior. By the end of the fourth season, Momsen was out. She claimed that she was taking a break from acting to pursue her music, but according to Hollywood Life, she was actually forced off the show thanks to her “unreliable and erratic behavior” on set.
Danny Masterson Was Kicked Off The Ranch Following Sexual Assault Allegations
Danny Masterson made a name for himself as Hyde on That ‘70s Show. In 2016, he teamed up with his old castmate, Ashton Kutcher, for the Netflix series The Ranch. The series was well-received by fans and critics alike until Masterson was accused of raping four women in the early 2000s.
After increasing pressure to act on the allegations, Netflix decided to fire Masterson from the show in late 2017. Masterson, who also served as an executive producer for the series, joined a long list of other Hollywood actor facing accusations of sexual assault. For now, the show will continue production in 2018, san Masterson.
Netflix Fired Kevin Spacey After Accusations of Sexual Assault
In late 2017, Kevin Spacey joined a growing list of actor accused of sexual assault. Following accusations against the star, Netflix fired Spacey from the hit series House of Cards. Going a step further, the streaming company later announced it would no longer work with Spacey in any capacity.
Before allegations against Spacey surfaced, production was well underway for the series’ sixth season. In return, Spacey gave a rather lackluster apology, instead coming out as gay via his Twitter account in an attempt to divert attention away from the accusations.
Jeffrey Tambor Was Fired From Transparent After Sexual Harassment
In February 2018, Amazon Studios fired Jeffrey Tambor from Transparent following an investigation into sexual harassment claims made against him. According to the claims, Tambor’s assistant, a transgendered woman named Van Barnes, was propositioned and groped by the actor.
Although Tambor denied the accusation, another transgender woman accused him of similar behavior. Tambor will have zero involvement in the show moving forward.
Bad Behavior Got Batali Bagged and The Chew Canceled
In May of 2018, ABC revealed that after seven seasons, The Chew won’t be returning. The talk show first aired in 2011 and is currently hosted by chefs Michael Symon, Carla Hall, Clinton Kelly, and, until late last year, Mario Batali.
In December 2017, Batali was fired from The Chew following numerous allegations of sexual misconduct over the last 20 years. Despite the chef’s firing, the controversy negatively affected ratings with the number of female viewers plummeting 17 percent.
Roseanne Gets Fired From Roseanne For Tweeting
Roseanne was controversially brought back to ABC to reboot her sitcom Roseanne in 2018. The reboot made the network nervous. Roseanne is known more recently for her controversial points of view than her comedy. When 22 million people watched the season premiere, ABC held its breath, hoping the bubble wouldn’t burst.
Burst it did when Roseanne when on a late-night Twitter rant she contributed to Ambien. Using the social network, she called Valerie Jarrett the child of the “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes.” ABC canceled the show the next day and is looking to reboot it again without Roseanne so hundreds of people don’t lose their jobs.
Jenette McCurdy Was Too Racy For Nickelodeon
Jenette McCurdy starred in the short-lived series Sam and Cat on Nickelodeon. The hit kids program was undone when the actress posted racy photos to her Twitter account. She doubles up on her new image by posting similar photos to Instagram. Nickelodeon had no choice except to cancel the show after.
McCurdy said after, “I am not a role model.” She may not think she is, but when you star on a kids show, you’re kind of forced to be one! She has chosen her work more carefully since then, starring in Between on Netflix, a much more adult program.
Jeremy Piven’s Wisdom Was Not With The Crowd
In late 2017, Jeremy Piven was yet another actor accused of sexual misconduct against three women. Earlier that year, Piven joined the cast of Wisdom of the Crowd as Jeffrey Tanner. He starred in 13 episodes before the network not only nixed Piven but pulled the plug on the entire show.
Piven responded to the claims saying, “I unequivocally deny the appalling allegations being peddled about me. It did not happen.” Still, CBS decided they wouldn’t be ordering another season of the series given the accusations and weak ratings.
Suzanne Somers’ Outrageous Demands Earned Her The Boot
Six seasons into Three’s Company Suzanne Somers decided it was time to pay the piper. She demanded a 500 percent pay increase. The network refused and the relationship was broken. Still, she was an integral part of the series and made a few cameos before being fired and replaced.
Before returning to television for Step-By-Step, Somes made millions as the spokesperson for the Thighmaster. She continued to act until 2001 when she made her final appearance in the comedy Say It Isn’t So.