Stars From Dynasty You Didn't Know Died

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Nighttime soaps were fast becoming all the rage in the early 1980s when "Dynasty" appeared on ABC. After a slow start and substantial tweaks, by Season 2 the show took off, captivating dedicated viewers who couldn't wait for subsequent chapters of the highly charged series. And for good reason. "Dynasty," with its quippy dialogue, self-indulgent pastimes, and head-turning fashion, promised all kinds of cagey and campy situations like over-the-top catfights, murderous schemes, and scandalous love affairs. 

Denver oil baron Blake Carrington (smoothly portrayed by veteran actor John Forsythe) and his extended family — including his sweet wife, Krystle (played by Linda Evans), and his conniving ex-wife, Alexis (Joan Collins) — dominated the torrid storylines of this primetime winner that typically topped ABC's lineup for the majority of nine seasons, from January 12, 1981 to May 11, 1989 (via IMDb), and then again during the shows' reunion mini-series in 1991. Proving how popular this network program became, "Dynasty" was nominated over two dozen times for a Primetime Emmy. An iteration of the storied show, "Dynasty" 2.0, came along in 2017, offering a new cast and a fresh take on the original premise, but with much less success.  

Sadly, many "Dynasty" OG cast members have died since the ABC program initially aired. And so, as a way to honor more than a dozen of Hollywood's favorite actors who took on the dynamic show's juicy parts, read on for particulars about these enduring personalities who are gone but never, ever forgotten.

John Forsythe

With his signature dimpled grin and enduring good looks, John Forsythe played charismatic Blake Carrington, basing his stringent character on "the then-MCA Chairman Lew Wasserman, who was 'strong and tough, but a man of great integrity,'" reports the Los Angeles Times. Forsythe was the ideal casting choice to portray the television show's mighty family patriarch who pulled tight reins on his colorful tribe while also keeping Colorado's down-and-dirty oil riggers in line. 

Carrington was said to be Forsythe's most celebrated role — one for which he won two Golden Globes — from among countless others in a career that lasted more than half a century. He was recognized as Charlie Townsend, "the disembodied voice" on ABC's "Charlie's Angels." He also made a splash on the small screen in the title role of 1957's "Bachelor Father," maintains the Los Angeles Times, who reports that Forsythe's acting prowess was initially unleashed in the theater, most famously on Broadway as Captain Fisby in the 1953 hit, "The Teahouse of the August Moon." His dramatic turn in the war movie "Destination Tokyo," alongside Cary Grant, superseded the actor's real-life gig in the United States Army during World War II. After retiring, Forsythe turned to his favorite hobby, as a horseman.

John Forsythe died on April 1, 2010 from complications of pneumonia. He was 92. 

Dale Robertson

Actor Dale Robertson, described by the The Guardian as a hero across many westerns, showed up during Season 1 as "Dynasty's" crusty Walter Lankershim, with a goal to strike oil and strike it rich. 

A formidable person due to his large build, Robertson's early claim to fame was as a prize fighter, states The Guardian. He attended the Oklahoma Military Academy, where he was named "all around outstanding athlete." The decorated Army veteran enlisted after the Pearl Harbor attack, serving under General George Patton during World War II. Sadly, Robertson suffered a shattered knee, ending his dreams of becoming a professional athlete. Later, he turned to show business, entertaining television audiences in such shows as "Death Valley Days" and "Dallas," states the AP via Legacy

Robertson, who had been wed four times, married an American Airlines flight attendant named Susan in 1980. The couple enjoyed married life on an Oklahoma horse farm, from which he commuted to Los Angeles when acting work prevailed. The fourth Mrs. Robertson penned her husband's aptly titled biography, "Bucking Hollywood."

Dale Robertson died on February 27, 2013 from lung cancer. He was 89.  

Michael Nader

Michael Nader debuted his "Dynasty" character during the nighttime soap's third season. According to IMDb, for 152 episodes, Nader went glam as a multi-billionaire mining engineer and one of Alexis' ex-husbands. When Joan Collins, who played Alexis on "Dynasty," learned that her on-screen lover had died, she posted an Instagram picture in which she was hugging the ruggedly handsome Nader. "His character was a wonderful mixture of tough and tender," she wrote on the post, adding that Alexis had been "crazy to keep on rejecting him." 

Not long after "Dynasty" wrapped its final season, Nader was cast as the handsome and mysterious Dimitri Marick on "All My Children," a role he embodied for a decade, according to the New York Post.  Meanwhile, his acting career began with a part in 1963's "Beach Party," a kitschy movie billed as a musical comedy.

Nader's wife, Jodi Lister, wrote on Facebook that when he died, Nadar had been "working on a book about his life and addiction," the latter of which he had been open about since 1984, according to the New York Post. The outlet shared that Nader became sober in the early '80s but was later charged with driving under the influence in the late '90s. In 2001, he tried to sell cocaine to an undercover cop.

Michael Nader died on August 23, 2021, of cancer. He was 76.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Lloyd Bochner played Cecil Colby

On "Dynasty," Lloyd Bochner played Cecil Colby, Blake Carrington's former best friend and current rival. He was also the Colby empire's CEO and Alexis' (Joan Collins) boy toy. Colby died early in the series — making room for more of Alexis' trysts — as the result of a memorable heart attack that happened while having sex with his eager partner, according to The Guardian

Canadian-born Bochner acted in radio plays starting at the tender age of 11, and after serving in World War II, studied at Toronto University and performed in Toronto's highly celebrated Stratford Shakespearean Festival for half a dozen seasons. He earned two Liberty Awards, Canada's top acting honor, and then this promising thespian headed for Hollywood. His move was fruitful given that Bochner grabbed roles in such high-profile small screen hits as "Perry Mason," "The Man from U.N.C.L.E," and "The Golden Girls." His big screen bookings were just as impressive, with parts in "The Night Walker," alongside Barbara Stanwyck (who also appeared in "Dynasty"), and "Point Blank," alongside Lee Marvin. 

His son, Paul Bochner, was quoted by Backstage, saying that his dad "almost always played a suave, handsome, wealthy villain." The Guardian noted that one of Bochner's most storied parts was in a "Twilight Zone" episode called "To Serve Man," which ranked at the No. 2 spot for TV Guide's "100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time."

Lloyd Bochner died on October 29, 2005 from cancer complications. He was 81.

Lee Bergere

On "Dynasty," Lee Bergere played Joseph Anders, keeping house for the rich Carringtons, reports Playbill. As Blake Carrington's majordomo, this complicated character was loyal to a fault while actively loathing Carrington's ex-wife, Alexis, to his dying day. Bergere's role on the hit show culminated in the Season 3 finale after Mark had saved Alexis and Krystle, who were trapped together in a burning cabin. Mark was erroneously arrested for the crime, as it was Joseph who had been out to kill his nemesis. Blake was on the trail and rushed to find Joseph in his bungalow where the guilty man had shot himself. True to the end, his last breath was shared with his caring boss.

As for Brooklyn-born Bergere? Besides his television work, including an historically inaccurate turn on "Star Trek" as Abraham Lincoln, the actor frequented the stage. He was Danny Kaye's understudy in Broadway's "Lady in the Dark" and he took on the "Man of La Mancha" on the Great White Way and in Los Angeles, states Playbill. The outlet quotes his daughter, Mimi Bergere, who proclaimed in The Washington Post, via an AP statement, "With that show, something happened to [my father] spiritually; it changed him. He strived to live the kind of life that Don Quixote lived, always striving for that unreachable star, never giving up." 

Lee Bergere died in New Hampshire on January 31, 2007. He was 88.

Peter Mark Richman

Pharmacist Peter Mark Richman changed professions to became an actor, eventually taking on the not-so-moral Carrington family lawyer on "Dynasty." This role was a keeper, with Andrew Laird appearing on the nighttime soap for four seasons, reports Soap Central. His last stand was during Season 5's first episode. 

An Actor's Studio member in the 1950s, Richman handily hit up Broadway in many productions, eventually starring in Edward Albee's materialistic "The Zoo Story" for 400 appearances on the Great White Way, according to Deadline. He later took to television, garnering more than 130 roles during his long career. Syfy Wire noted that he had been seen on "The Twilight Zone" and "The Outer Limits," as the outlet summarized his body of work. More than just an actor, Richman wrote one-act plays, short stories, and novels. He also expressed his creativity with paint, having nearly 20 one-man exhibitions during his lifetime.

Of his stint as Suzanne Somers' character's father, Reverend Snow on "Three's Company," the actor said she was immediately in tune with him, stating via People, "Comedy is musical. Peter Mark Richman and I understood the music from the very first time we appeared together on Three's Company. He knew his 'stuff.' We lost a good one."

Peter Mark Richman died on January 14, 2021, of natural causes. He was 93.

James Farentino

A deranged psychologist who worked for Blake Carrington on "Dynasty," James Farentino as Dr. Nick Toscanni battled against his boss with a vengeance, per the Independent. He headed to Colorado with revenge on his mind, blaming Blake for his stepbrother's death. Like his character, Farentino had a fruitful career until a major incident stood in the way of greatness. In real life, he pleaded no contest to stalking Tina Sinatra, his ex-girlfriend, and was convicted of misdemeanor battery charges in 1994, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Another Los Angeles Times entry notes the actor's return to show business in 2003 after he stepped away in 1999 following a string of uninspired roles. His turn in "Boy Gets Girl" featured Farentino as a soft-core porn king in a serious play with stalking as its theme.

Previously, Brooklyn-born Farentino earned quite a resume. Named the last contract player for Universal Studios in the 1960s, he went on to grab a Golden Globe as the Most Promising Newcomer for his role in the film "The Pad and How to Use It," according to the AP, via Legacy. Later, television became Farentino's mainstay. He was cast in "ER" as George Clooney's estranged father, and he also appeared on "Melrose Place," "The Lawyers," and "The Bold Ones."

James Farentino died on January 24, 2012 of heart failure. He was 73.

Geoffrey Scott

Career actor Geoffrey Scott landed his most prestigious role on "Dynasty," asserts People magazine. Scott's alter ego, Mark Jennings, was the very definition of a cad who was lusted after by a number of the soap's various females. He was Krystle's (Linda Evans) first husband, and he had his way with both Alexis (Joan Collins) and Fallon (Pamela Sue Martin). In the end, though, this Romeo was pushed off a balcony to his death by Congressman Neal McVane (Paul Burke).

A Valley boy who could give any Valley girl a run for her money, Scott lived on the same street as Clark Gable and John Wayne. Being raised over the hill from Hollywood, the young thespian had been in a prime position to garner television and film roles. His first gig? As Sky Rumson on the goth soap "Dark Shadows," reports The Hollywood Reporter, who said he also played a quarterback in the football-themed sitcom, "1st and 10." Beyond his small screen roles, Scott commanded credits for his work on some 100 television commercials. He was renowned for his rendition of the Marlboro man and he also "walked a mile for a Camel."  

Scott retired to Colorado with his family so that the athletic man — whose legs had been crushed during a cycling accident from which he fully recovered — could handily pursue his favorite sport: skiing. 

Geoffrey Scott died from Parkinson's Disease on February 23, 2021. He was 79.

Rock Hudson's final role

Inimitable Rock Hudson won a part on "Dynasty," his last in a lifetime of famous roles. 

For his casting as Daniel Reece, Hudson was scripted to kiss Krystle (Linda Evans), reports Biography, who notes that Hudson did not tell anyone on or related to the show about his health. Unfortunately, that smooch between actors became complicated given that Hudson had AIDS. In 1984, the A-lister's situation was concerning because having the virus likely meant death. 

Not much was known about AIDS at the time, but many erroneously believed it only happened during homosexual sex or to anyone who was intimate with an infected person. Even a passionate kiss with a carrier was thought to spread it. Still, Hudson and Evans did kiss but with their mouths tightly shut. Although the director and producers apparently wanted the actors' interaction to be more intense, Hudson refused to put Evans "at risk," states Vanity Fair, via Mark Griffin's Rock Hudson biography, "All That Heaven Allows."

Not long after his "Dynasty" debut, Hudson — pressured by his Hollywood image to remain in the closet during his career — announced he had AIDS. "I am not happy that I am sick. I am not happy that I have AIDS; but if that is helping others, I can at least know that my own misfortune has had some positive worth," he wrote in a statement.

Rock Hudson died on October 2, 1985. He was 59. Miraculously, after his ashes were scattered into the Pacific by loved ones, they saw a rainbow in the distance (via Vanity Fair). 

Diahann Carroll was Dominique Deveraux

Diahann Carroll called herself "the first Black b***h on television" when she played Dominique Deveraux on "Dynasty" and on its spin-off, "The Colbys," reveals The GuardianEnded TV Series notes that the storyline surprises with the fact that Deveraux is Blake Carrington's half-sister. Born with the rather descriptive name of Millie Cox, her parents were Blake's dad, Tom Carrington, and Laura Matthews, Tom's long-term mistress. 

Carroll, a show business pioneer, was Oscar-nominated as best actress for "Claudine," one of the few films in the '70s featuring a mostly Black cast that was not described as "blaxploitation." She also won the part of Julia in the television show of the same name, making her the first Black actor to helm a series. From then on, Carroll had no problem procuring work. She snagged a recurring role on "A Different World," a "The Cosby Show" spin-off, and she was cast in "The Lonesome Dove: The Series" as Billie Dee Williams' wife (who was also her "Dynasty" husband). She was nominated for an Emmy for "Grey's Anatomy" as Jane Burke, Dr. Preston Burke's mother in Seasons 3 and 4.

Diahann Carroll died on October 4, 2019, of cancer. She was 84.

Christopher Cazenove

Christopher Cazenove played Ben Carrington on "Dynasty." He appeared near the end of Season 6 in 1986 as Blake's (John Forsythe) "black sheep" brother who had been banished to Australia, but who suddenly turned up in Denver thanks to Alexis' (Joan Collins) pushy assistance. In Cazenove's initial episode called — surprise! — "Ben," Alexis had enlisted Ben's help in taking revenge on Blake by challenging their dad's will. The trick worked, at least for a while, until the tables were turned and Blake prevailed. The brothers started to heal old wounds to become close again, but alas, as with many of "Dynasty's" relationships, that bond didn't last. 

Cazenove let it be known that his favorite place was always "in front of a camera," states The Guardian. The British performer had been chosen for acting parts since the early 1970s when he played Marc Antony's servant in "Julius Caesar," starring Charlton Heston (who had also been a "Dynasty" cast member). In 1976, Cazenove appeared as a Lothario named Charlie Tyrrell in the miniseries, "The Duchess of Duke Street," and he was also cast in 1982's "Heat and Dust." Beyond those juicy characterizations, Cazenove was awarded roles in 1990's "Three Men and a Little Lady" and in 2001's "A Knight's Tale." 

Christopher Cazenove died on April 7, 2010, of blood poisoning. He was 64. 

Kate O'Mara

U.K.-born Kate O'Mara was picked to play Alexis' sister on "Dynasty," reports CNN. The choice was a fine one for American audiences, as across the pond, this actor was a mainstay on British television, according to The Guardian. The outlet called O'Mara's role as Caress Morell on "Dynasty" her most famous, but her memorable work on "Howards Way" and "Dr. Who" was also mentioned. On "Dynasty," O'Mara's character tries desperately to step out of her older sister's shadow. Their rivalry included everything from blackmail to prison stints.

Per The Sydney Morning Herald, O'Mara wrote in her 2003 autobiography, "Vamp Until Ready — A Life Laid Bare:" "I've done everything from Shakespeare to Hollywood soaps, from Restoration Comedy to Cult Television Drama, from Westerns to Pantomime. I have been nothing if not diverse!" She also noted, "Because my career has been based so much on my looks, when I finally pass my 'sell-by' date I think I'll probably pack it in." 

But O'Mara continued to work in her chosen field, including in a recurring role on "Family Affairs" and in appearances on "Doctors" and "Benidorm," per IMDb.

Kate O'Mara died on March 30, 2014. She was 74.

Ricardo Montalbán

Acting veteran Ricardo Montalbán played "Dynasty's" Zach Powers. Among the first of Hollywood's Hispanic icons, this Mexican actor didn't speak English when he headed for Los Angeles and an acting career as a teen. As noted by The New York Times, Montalbán played characters of various ethnicities (common for minority actors in early Hollywood). He won an Emmy for his role as Chief Satangkai in the 1978 miniseries "How the West Was Won. " He was also cast as a Japanese Kabuki in "Sayonara" and as an ancient Babylonian in "The Queen of Babylon." 

In his role as Zach Powers on "Dynasty," Montalbán played a European shipping tycoon. Although now wealthy, he was born poor and blamed the Colbys for his father's death.

On "Star Trek," his Khan Noonien Singh character was a superhuman of unknown origin. And for "Fantasy Island," Montalbán took on his signature role as Mr. Roarke, a man who apparently didn't have a first name and who hailed from an unnamed Pacific island, acting as the local welcome wagon representative who granted visitors out-of-this-world wishes.

Ricardo Montalbán died on January 14, 2009. He was 88.

Who did John Saxon play on Dynasty?

On "Dynasty," John Saxon handily stepped into the role of super rich Arab Rashid Ahmed. He arrived on the primetime soap during Season 2, just in time to be seduced by — you guessed it! — Alexis (Joan Collins). Eventually, their liaison would cause the Middle Eastern tycoon to be shot and killed in Istanbul, all in the name of business.

This "Dynasty" role was hardly Saxon's only claim to fame. He put in half a dozen decades in front of the camera, with his most illustrious work done for Wes Craven's "Nightmare on Elm Street" and for "Enter the Dragon," the latter for which he fought — and took a big bite out of — formidable martial artist Bruce Lee. 

The actor's start in show business came when he was a mere teen growing up in New York City. His chiseled features caught the eye of a modeling agent, who snagged Saxon a boatload of work, reports The Washington Post. In fact, he posed for a bunch of magazines and was eventually noticed by a Hollywood agent. After that, the enchanting actor blossomed, appearing in dozens of television shows and movies while enjoying such diverse roles as the good and the bad guy, among others.

Jack Saxon died on July 25, 2020. He was 83.

Ken Howard

Ken Howard became Jason Colby's (Charlton Heston) lawyer, Garrett Boydston, on "Dynasty." He also pursued Dominique Deveraux (Diahann Carroll), eventually getting her to agree to marry him. However, Blake's (John Forsythe) half-sister caught Boydston in a lie and called off the engagement, sending this character away from Denver and — yep! — off the show. 

Howard made his mark on "Dynasty," but he was better known as Ken Reeves on CBS' "White Shadow," reports People. Reeves was a tough high school's clever basketball coach whose previous NBA affiliation made him a big deal among the team's members. Still, Howard's range surpassed that of present-day bigwigs. In 1972, he walked in Thomas Jefferson's historical shoes in the film and stage versions of "1776." In 1995, he appeared in the futuristic, conspiracy theory-centric "The Net," as the U.S. Under Secretary of Defense who had been set up by cyber-terrorists. 

Howard earned praise and an Emmy in 2009 as Jessica Lange's husband in HBO's "Grey Gardens," and in 1970, he won a Tony as Best Featured Actor for "Child's Play." The celebrated actor, who served as the Screen Actors Guild president, also guest-starred on "30 Rock" as Cabletown's CEO and on "The West Wing" as Judge Peyton Cabot Harrison III. A year before his death, Howard appeared in "The Wedding Ringer" with Kevin Hart, and "Joy" starring Jennifer Lawrence. 

Ken Howard died of pneumonia on March 23, 2016. He was 71.

Charlton Heston

A fitting part for this illustrious actor, Charlton Heston was introduced as the Colby family patriarch on "Dynasty" before he appeared on its spinoff, "The Colbys." As the billionaire CEO of Colby Enterprises, Jason Colby suffered numerous torrid (read: convoluted) circumstances during his time on the hit show. Among them: Jason found out he is Jeff Colby's (John James) father even though he believed he was the man's uncle, and his supposedly dead brother was very much alive and out to murder him.

As for the rest of his storied career? 

Heston will forever be attached to 1959's "Ben Hur," a blockbuster that earned him the best acting Oscar. His most powerful scene occurred during a "legendary" and rather lengthy chariot race, reports the Los Angeles Times. Still, the outlet called the prophet Moses in "The Ten Commandments" Heston's "signature role." The epitome of Old Hollywood, Heston worked with a slew of show business greats, including Cecil B. DeMille, Orson Welles, and William Wyler.

Charlton Heston died on April 5, 2008, following an Alzheimer's diagnosis. He was 84.

Barbara Stanwyck was Dynasty's Constance Colby

Barbara Stanwyck was introduced on "Dynasty" before appearing on Season 1 of its spinoff, "The Colbys," as Constance (Conny) Patterson (nee Colby), the last role she would ever play. Her character was classy and had a heart of gold. Unfortunately, elderly Conny started experiencing short-term memory loss and so was taken advantage of by her wicked sister-in-law. Ultimately, she perished in a plane crash along with her cowboy lover.

Stanwyck, per The New York Times, was a Ziegfeld girl as a teen before starring in numerous classic 1940s movies. Nominated for four Oscars, her film roles included parts in "Sorry, Wrong Number" and the blonde out for murder in "Double Indemnity." The outlet pointed out that she was also the person behind the "tough-talking mother" in "Stella Dallas" and the matriarch on television's "The Big Valley." The New York Times recalls that Stanwyck had been among the Motion Picture Academy's chosen few in 1982 when she was awarded an honorary Oscar for her years of incredible and unforgettable roles.

Barbara Stanwyck died on January 20, 1990, of congestive heart failure and CPOD. She was 82. 

Brian Dennehy

Veteran television actor Brian Dennehy played lawyer Jake Dunham on "Dynasty." The attorney went up against Blake Carrington (John Forsythe) in a murder case in which he was accused of killing his son's lover. After much courtroom drama, Carrington was found guilty but received three years probation, a lenient sentence. Dennehy became a constant presence on primetime soaps. Besides his turn on "Dynasty," he also played Luther Frick on "Dallas" and James Cargill on "Knots Landing."

In announcing her father's passing on Twitter, Elizabeth Dennehy said he was "larger than life" and "generous to a fault." She also told a tweeter that her dad "loved theatre and especially Shakespeare." The Guardian noted that although the actor had a large, looming presence, he could be gentle and soft. His credits also include a number of films, "First Blood" and "Cocoon" among them. 

As for Dennehy's most acclaimed role?  That would probably be as Willy Loman in "Death of a Salesman," which the actor played on stage and on the small screen, with The Guardian critic penning a glowing review. Dennehy's approach to acting worked, as he ultimately won a Golden Globe and Tony Awards, among others. 

Brian Dennehy died on April 15, 2020, of a heart attack. He was 81.