Characters Killed Off Because Of The Actor's Behavior

There are a ton of television series with main characters who get killed off for purely plot-driven reasons — think: The Walking Dead (2010 – ), The Sopranos (1999 – 2007), Breaking Bad (2008 – 2013), or virtually any character-driven drama. Other times, characters shuffle off this mortal coil simply because actors' contracts are up and they simply don't want to renew them, such as Josh Charles on The Good Wife (2009 – 2016). 

Then there are those actors who can't stay out of trouble or just can't seem to get along with their cast mates, crew members, or show creators. These problem players found their pink slips in the form of bullets to the face, grisly train collisions, and bizarre zamboni accidents.

Let's talk about the thespians who've been unceremoniously dumped into the character recycling bin, only to be heard from again on reruns and reunions. These are the characters who were killed off because of the actor's behavior.

'Charmed' was more of a curse for Shannen Doherty

Since her Beverly Hills, 90210 (1990-2000) days, Shannen Doherty hasn't exactly had a reputation for being easy to work with. After being fired from 90210 for alleged drama with castmates and crew members, the breakout starlet seemed to have had her comeuppance when Charmed debuted in 1998.

Unfortunately, Doherty never quite charmed her co-star, Alyssa Milano, and the rumored feud likely led to Doherty's character, Prue, being killed off the show. Milano touched on the drama in an episode of Watch What Happens Live, telling host Andy Cohen, "I can tell you that we were on the air with her for three years and there were definitely some rough days. Holly [Marie Combs] and Shannen were best friends for like, ten years before the show started so it was very much sort of like high school."

Doherty addressed the rumors herself on an episode of Entertainment Tonight, saying, "There was too much drama on the set and not enough passion for the work," she said. "I'll miss Holly a lot ... there were never, ever, ever any problems between the two of us."

A 'disruptive factor'

John Amos starred as James Evans on Good Times, a show about an African-American family living in the projects and making the most of their situation. The series debuted in 1974 and soared to popularity. However, when the second season started, Amos threatened to leave the show due to the negative images he felt that it portrayed of African-American culture. 

Unfortunately, Amos wasn't given the option to walk away. His character was killed off, and he later told TVParty. "I did not quit the show, but was in fact fired. I was informed by phone that I was considered a disruptive factor." Oof. That doesn't sound like a good time at all.

Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy

In 2011, back when Charlie Sheen had tiger blood in his veins, he also had a whole lot of vitriol for Two and a Half Men (2003-15) creator Chuck Lorre. Sheen lashed out at Lorre in a series of angry tweets and interviews, calling his boss a "maggot" and making allegedly anti-semitic remarks about him. During this time, Sheen reportedly participated in an in-home rehabilitation program, but it didn't do any good rehabilitating his professional relationship with Lorre.

Shortly after Sheen's insults hit headlines, Lorre ceased production on the eighth season of the series. In the Season 9 premiere, Lorre had Sheen's character, Charlie Harper, hit by a train and replaced by Ashton Kutcher. Sounds like the showrunner was #winning that feud.

Dark times on Wisteria Lane

Desperate Housewives (2004-2012) had almost as much drama on the set as it did on screen. The biggest diva was rumored to be Nicollette Sheridan, who allegedly didn't get along with show creator Marc Cherry. After her character, Edie Britt, was killed off in an April 2009 episode of the series, Sheridan sued Cherry and Touchstone Television for wrongful termination. The trial brought a lot of behind-the-scenes dirt to light, including allegations from Sheridan that Cherry hit her in the head and was fired after she complained to ABC.

Cherry, meanwhile, claimed to have tapped her on the head as a means of demonstrating a comedic moment in a scene. In the trial, Cherry also revealed Britt's death was plotted months before the incident. Cherry maintained throughout the trial that Sheridan's firing was primarily a creative and economic decision, but admitted that her "unprofessional" behavior, which included allegations of being rude to cast and crew, play a role in her getting the ax. Sheridan's wrongful termination suit ended in a mistrial, and her subsequent appeals were rejected, leaving her desperate, indeed.

"Bang." Can you read that?

Sliders (1995-2000) star John Rhys-Davies was not a fan of the sci-fi show's writing team. The actor referred to the scripts as "incomprehensible gibberish," telling Digital Spy. "I would go to [the writers] and complain. But they would say, 'John, why don't you just say the words as written?' and I'd say, 'I'll tell you what, I will actually say the words as written when you can actually write intelligent sentences!'"

Rhys-Davies said those clashes prompted his exit midway through Season 3, insisting the writers "screwed up because they didn't have the vision." Something tells us said writers likely enjoyed composing the episode where Rhys-Davies' character, Professor Maximilian Arturo, is shot and killed.

McDreamy goes down for a dirt nap

Fans of the long-running medical drama Grey's Anatomy (2005-) were blown away when McDreamy bit the McDust after a car crash during the Season 11 finale in 2015. Rumor has it actor Patrick Dempsey hastened his own demise with some behind-the-scenes drama that show creator Shonda Rhimes would not tolerate.

Despite both Rhimes and Dempsey initially insisting there was no bad blood between them, sources say Dempsey's alleged antics may not only have killed his character, Dr. Derek Shepherd, but his marriage too. According to Radar Online, Dempsey was allegedly cheating on his wife with a much-younger staff member on the show. The source claimed Dempsey had also been "complaining about the storyline of his character, and felt he wasn't getting enough screen time." Rhimes reportedly temporarily suspended the actor and moved the staff member off the set. Dempsey camp called the allegations "absurd." Regardless, his wife filed for divorce mere weeks before his on-screen demise.

When The Nightly Show asked Rhimes if she'd ever killed a character because she didn't like the actor, Rhimes said, "Yes. And I'm not naming names."

Shonda Rhimes does not screw around

Hell hath no fury like a scorned Rhimes. Actor Isaiah Washington was fired from Grey's Anatomy in 2007 after he allegedly called castmate T.R. Knight a gay slur during a heated on-set argument with Patrick Dempsey. But that wasn't the end of it. Knight essentially accused Rhimes of writing him off the show too, in part, because she didn't want him to come out publicly—claims that Rhimes denied.

Although he was eventually killed off in the show's sixth season premiere, Knight saw his screen time significantly diminished in Season 5. According to Entertainment Weekly, during the first nine episodes of Season 5, O'Malley was on screen a total of only 48 minutes. "My five-year experience proved to me that I could not trust any answer that was given [about George]," he told Entertainment Weekly. "No other series regular character had ever disappeared like mine did this past season." Instead of putting up a fight, Knight said he asked to leave the show. "There just comes a time when it's so clear that moving on is the best decision," he said.

When Carla put Eddie on ice

Jay Thomas played hockey star Eddie LeBec on Cheers (1982-93), that is until he started complaining about a particular aspect of his screen work. LeBec was the onscreen husband of Rhea Perlman's beloved character, Carla Tortelli. Thomas was also a morning DJ at the time for Los Angeles radio station KPWR-Power 106. 

According to well-known television blogger and writer Ken Levine, Thomas fielded a caller's question on the air about what it was like working on Cheers. Instead of simply being polite and professional and telling him it was an amazing opportunity and a great job, Thomas supposedly complained about having to kiss Perlman. Word is, Perlman was listening to the show. 

"Jay Thomas was never seen on Cheers again," wrote Levine. His character was killed in a bizarre Zamboni accident. Let's hope LeBec's demise taught Thomas not to talk smack where everybody knows your name.

Someone call Dharma, Greg's out of control!

Criminal Minds star Thomas Gibson was fired after his temper allegedly got out of hand on set. TMZ reported that Gibson was ordered into anger management classes after he allegedly pushed an assistant director during a disagreement in 2010 and that he was "aggressive and verbally abusive for years" on the set of the CBS hit. Gibson reportedly had numerous issues with co-star Shemar Moore, with whom he often argued about scheduling, and Gibson was described by show staffers as being subject to severe mood swings on set.

Gibson's behavior allegedly came to a head in late July 2016, when he was accused of kicking a co-executive producer and writer of the series, Virgil Williams, after a heated argument over the script. Gibson was initially suspended for two episodes of the show following the incident, though sources told Page Six that Williams — a former boxer and martial artist — was actually the aggressor. Gibson was fired from the show in August 2016.

Okay, what was it about 'Criminal Minds?"

Criminal Minds had another issue with actor Mandy Patinkin, who was ousted from the series after just two seasons. "The biggest public mistake I ever made was that I chose to do Criminal Minds in the first place," Patinkin told New York magazine. "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."

Patinkin reportedly stopped showing up to work on the Criminal Minds set, and eventually showrunners released a statement clearing their own names for his exit. Patinkin's pal James Lapine admitted to The New York Times, "He's just unbelievably intense, maniacally focused. He was never mean, but that intensity may not always be to other actors' tastes." Patinkin himself later confessed, "I behaved abominably."

Cindy Lou Who Does She Think She Is?

Child actress Taylor Momsen started as Cindy Lou Who in How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000). In 2007, she was back in the spotlight as Jenny Humphrey on Gossip Girl, but she made it no secret that by 2010, she wanted out in order to focus on her music with the Pretty Reckless. However, it seems her exit from the series wasn't entirely by her own will. A source told Hollywood Life that Momsen was sidelined because of her "unreliable and erratic behavior," adding, "Taylor wasn't on set filming much this season, but when she did show up she wasn't very level-headed. The show's executives didn't trust that she was really giving it her all, so they dismissed her as a regular."

Even Tim Gunn, who guest-starred as Momsen's fashion mentor on the show, vented to E! News (via Deadline), "What a diva! She was pathetic, she couldn't remember her lines, and she didn't even have that many. I thought to myself, 'Why are we being held hostage by this brat?'"

Too scandalous for 'Scandal'

Columbus Short wasn't a problem on the set of Scandal, however, his personal life in early 2014 was an absolute trainwreck. The two worlds collided in April of that year, when Short announced in a statement, "Everything must come to an end and unfortunately the time has come for Harrison Wright to exit the canvas."

The announcement came after a jaw-dropping three month run of...scandalous headlines, which reported that Short had been arrested for: allegedly physically attacking his then-wife in front of their children; allegedly shoving his then-wife during an argument two weeks later; assaulting a man in a bar fight; and threatening his then-wife with a knife.

Amazingly, Short's alleged off-screen tumult never reached the set, however, the constant press attention was too much for the network to ignore. In a 2017 interview on Wendy Williams, Short said this was when the show intervened, firing him, but also sending him to rehab for his self-professed drug and alcohol problems. "That's how you know you have a good job," Williams remarked.

Well, sure, but they did put a bullet in his character's head.

Dying to escape 'The O.C.'

When Mischa Barton's character, Marissa Cooper, died in a car crash in Season Three of The O.C., fans were sad to see her go. However, producers probably shed no tears due to Barton's alleged bad behavior, which Barton herself even admitted to People had "spiraled out of control" by the time she got the boot. 

Referencing the infamous hard-partying with celebrity bad girls Nicole Richie, Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton that eventually led to her mental breakdown, Barton said, "We thought, 'Work hard, play hard.' It was a train I could not get off of." On top of that, Barton is still dismissive towards working on TV, telling Metro in 2014, "[The show was] something I came so close to not doing. I had a really great thing with film."

Co-star Tate Donovan confirmed Barton's "terrible reputation" and also said she was the biggest diva on the show. However, show creator Josh Schwartz was more diplomatic, telling MTV News, "There were a lot of factors involved, and it was something we really wrestled with ... There were a lot of reasons, both creative and cynical [for killing the character]."

Brad would never act like this

Michael Pitt was unceremoniously fired from Boardwalk Empire for his alleged poor attitude and lackluster work ethic. A source from the set claims, "[Pitt was] late a lot (this costs production money), [he had] trouble remembering lines (they had to reshoot an entire scene because he couldn't remember his lines ... this costs production money), [was] constantly questioning his character's storyline, tried to change dialogue a lot, would wander from the set, got into a little fist fight with William Forsythe during the Jimmy death scene, etc. They had plans for him ... but they pretty much just got tired of him."

Even Pitt's own agent allegedly tired of his behavior, telling Deadline, "UTA fired [Pitt] as a client yesterday because he's really difficult on set and otherwise."

Did Charlie drown over love...lost?

According to Dominic Monaghan, it was NBD when Lost producers killed his character, Charlie. Saying he was bored with playing a smaller role in a large ensemble cast, he told Entertainment Weekly, "You get frustrated, you get lazy, and your work suffers." Monaghan also said that the writers "never went for it" when he offered his input for Charlie's arc, saying he thought the character was "incredibly capable" and that he didn't want to see him "become neutered."

But was there more at play than just Monaghan's alleged creative differences?

The National Enquirer reported that Monaghan was rather bitter about his split from co-star Evangeline Lilly, whom he dated from 2004 to 2009. Lilly reportedly moved on with a production assistant from the show, which led to some nasty remarks from her ex. Monaghan was also vocal about his dislike for co-star Matthew Fox, whom he alleged "beats women" on Twitter. Whether or not that's true, Monaghan's outspokenness about his colleagues likely made it a relief to everyone on set when his character kicked the bucket.

Civilians weren't the only vics on 'Homicide: Life on the Street'

Actor Jon Polito, who played Steve Crosetti on Homicide: Life on the Street, wasn't thrilled when his character was temporarily written off the show. Admitting to Groucho Reviews that he was "not in the best of shape" when he flew off the handle in the press, Polito said he made some "very vicious comments" about the changes being made by the network and the show's producers.

Crosetti ended up committing suicide on the show in the next season. And as if that wasn't an unceremonious enough way for the character to go out, according to Legends Revealed, it was done in a "quite gross and sad" way with his body being discovered "after floating in the bay for some time."

Crosetti's manner of death didn't sit well with Polito, either, who said that he "never agreed with it" because he "knew the real policeman" he played. But Polito recognized that his reaction to the whole situation was way out of line. He eventually patched things up with Fontana and even returned — as a ghost — for the movie based on the show.

Double trouble

Michelle Rodriguez and Cynthia Watros, who respectively starred as Ana Lucia and Libby on the series, were both arrested for DUI on the same night in December 2005. Rodriguez pleaded guilty and served five days in jail and paid a $500 fine. Watros who also pleaded guilty, faced a 90-day suspension of her driver's license, 14 hours of rehabilitation, and $307 in fines. Following their arrests, both Libby and Ana Lucia were killed off in the same episode. Rodriguez and the writers both claimed her death was the plan all along, but years later, that story still looks and sounds really fishy.

Everyone's replaceable

In one of the most bizarre re-casting moves in TV history, Valerie Harper, the eponymous star of the show Valerie, was killed off and replaced by Sandy Duncan as a result of a breakdown in contract negotiations. The show was renamed Valerie's Family, then eventually The Hogan Family. It went on successfully for another five years, but behind the scenes Harper was not so easily disposed.

Denying Lorimar Telepictures' claims of her alleged "disruptive behavior," Harper maintained the whole kerfuffle was over a salary dispute as well as her "creative input." She ended up suing basically the entire production team behind the show, including NBC, Lorimar Telepictures, the heads of both companies, as well as showrunners Tom Miller and Bob Boyett.

Only her suit against Lorimar stuck, but it netted her a nice payout when a jury awarded her "$1.8 million in compensatory damages and a share of the show's profits that could top $15 million," according to People. That's not a bad severance check, but it was about more than that for Harper, who said, "We won financially and we won morally."

When salary disputes turn deadly

Maggie Roswell, who voiced Maude Flanders on The Simpsons, told The LA Times that she left the show after a raise negotiation gone awry. Roswell asked for a bump from her rate of "$1,500 to $2,000 an episode" to $6,000 per. The Simpsons' parent network, Fox, allegedly countered by offering a measly "$150 per episode," which Roswell, who lives in Denver, remarked, "didn't even cover the cost of having to fly to Los Angeles to record her portions of the scripts."

Fox then stated that Roswell quit because "she no longer wanted to commute to Los Angeles from her Denver home." Then they hired substitutes to voice Maude Flanders until she was killed off when shirts fired from t-shirt guns catapulted her off the top of the stands at a Nascar race.

It's a funny way for a character to go, but also kind of depressing considering she had to die because Fox allegedly didn't want to cover the cost of a few plane tickets.