TV Deaths That Happened Because The Actor Died In Real Life

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TV might be all about enjoying a little bit of escapism, but sometimes the real world gets in the way and there's no more shocking an example of this than when a beloved actor dies, forcing a show to say goodbye to the character they played.

Miguel Ferrer was part of an accomplished show business family: He was the son of Oscar-winning actor José Ferrer and '50s pop singer Rosemary Clooney, as well as a cousin of superstar George Clooney. A prolific actor, he joined the cast of CBS's NCIS: Los Angeles in 2012 to play Owen Granger, assistant director of the NCIS and overseer of the Office of Special Projects in the L.A. branch. Ostensibly arriving to hunt down a killer, he's really there to keep an eye on the show's regular squad and bring his experience as a CIA officer to the team.

In a 2016 episode, A.D. Granger tells his colleagues that he's dying from a form of cancer, possibly related to exposure to Agent Orange during his time carrying out government missions in Southeast Asia. Granger later disappears, disappearing from his hospital bed and presumably dying from terminal cancer offscreen. By the time Granger's storyline was wrapped in 2017, Ferrer had died too. Like his character, Ferrer had been suffering from cancer, and passed away that same year at the age of 61.

After a few years plying his trade as a film actor, John Ritter returned to television in 2002's 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter. And TV had always been good to him: He won an Emmy for his work on Three's Company, and starred for three years on the '90s CBS rom-com Hearts Afire. In 8 Simple Rules, Ritter played befuddled family man Paul Hennessy, who's deeply anxious about his kids aging into rebellious, independent teens. Ritter had only filmed one full season of the ABC sitcom when he fell ill on set in September 2003, complaining of nausea, weakness, and chest pain. Later that day, 54-year-old Ritter died of an undiagnosed heart ailment called an aortic dissection.

After a brief hiatus, 8 Simple Rules returned to television, necessarily revamped due to the loss of its star. The two-part episode "Goodbye" reveals that Paul died after collapsing at the grocery store. In subsequent episodes, James Garner and David Spade join the cast as Grandpa Jim and nephew C.J., respectively, who move in to help the widowed Cate Hennessy raise her three kids. Keep watching the video to see all the TV deaths that happened because the actor died in real life.


A.D. Owen Granger | 0:00
Paul Hennessy | 1:18
Mr. Hooper | 2:22
Coach | 3:47
Bill McNeal | 4:42
Fred Andrews | 5:46
Livia Soprano | 6:43
Leo McGarry | 7:41
Andrew Campbell | 8:37
J.R. Ewing | 9:33
Finn Hudson | 10:49
Richard Gilmore | 12:00
Detective Barry Frost | 13:12
Peter Gregory | 14:15
Dr. Kroger | 15:15
Doyle | 16:03
Mrs. Krabappel | 17:12

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