25 TV Stars Who Shockingly Died During Production

Many TV stars start out as working actors with dreams of getting their own show one day. Once that day comes, it’s a tragedy when their dreams fall apart. From young up-and-comers to solid veterans in the industry, many TV actors have unfortunately passed away during production. Who are these tragic performers of the small screen? Here are 25 TV Stars Who Shockingly Died During Production.

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Jon-Erik Hexum

Jon-Erik_armsSource: http://www.imdb.com

Back in the early 80’s, Jon-Erik Hexum was considered the “next big thing” to hit television. However, while he was on the set of Cover Up, Hexum grew bored and jokingly put a prop .44 Magnum revolver to his head. The prop fired and the blank round hit his skull and shattered it. The injuries were too serious, and he was taken off life support and passed away at the age of 26.


Joseph Kearns

Jospeh KearnsSource: http://www.imdb.com

Joseph Kearns played the famous role of “Mr. Wilson” on the television show Dennis the Menace. He died unexpectedly of a cerebral hemorrhage due to his excessive dieting. His last episode was titled, “The Man Next Door.”


Nana Bryant

our miss brooksSource: http://www.legacy.com

Nana Bryant played the character Mrs. Wynona Nestor on the 1950’s show Our Miss Brooks. She died at the age of 67 during its production.


Dan Blocker

dan blockerSource: http://mentalfloss.com

Dan Blocker played Hoss Cartwright on the hit television show Bonanza. He died unexpectedly of a pulmonary embolism. They paid tribute to him in the episode titled “Forever.”


John Hamilton

adventuers of supermanSource: http://www.imdb.com

John Hamilton became famous for playing the role of Perry White on the television show The Adventures of Superman. He died of a heart attack in 1957.


Redd Foxx

Redd foxxSource: http://articles.latimes.com

After becoming a huge comedian on the television show Sanford and Son, Redd Foxx went on to appear in the CBS TV show, The Royal Family. However, while filming, he suffered a heart attack at 68.


Jim Davis

Jim_DavisSource: http://www.nytimes.com

Best known for his character Jock Ewing on the hit show Dallas, Jim Davis died from cancer during production at the age of 65.


Michael Conrad

michael conradSource: https://www.washingtonpost.com

Winner of two Emmys, Michael Conrad played Sgt. Philip Esterhaus on the television show Hill Street Blues. He died from urethral cancer at the age of 58.


Nicholas Colasanto

Nicholas_ColasantoSource: http://articles.chicagotribune.com

Playing the character of Coach on the hit show Cheers, Nicholas Colasanto passed away of a heart ailment during production. His character was written out of the show and no one replaced him. The show did an encore presentation featuring the actor.


Christopher Allport

chris allportSource: http://www.tvguide.com

Christopher Allport was a veteran actor playing the role of Pete Campbell’s father on the show Mad Men. He was out skiing when an avalanche killed him. He was found under ten feet of snow.


David Strickland

david stricklandSource: http://www.eonline.com

A heavy partier, David Strickland was a co-star on the show Suddenly Susan. At 29-years-old, he committed suicide. The show’s production was temporarily halted after his unexpected death.


John Spencer

The_West_WingSource: http://www.nytimes.com

John Spencer played the shrewd Leo McGarry on the hit show The West Wing. However, during production, he died unexpectedly of a heart attack. Eerily enough, his character, McGarry, also suffered a heart attack on the show.


Diana Hyland

Diana_HylandSource: http://people.com

Diana Hyland was diagnosed with breast cancer and died at the age of 41. Even though she had cancer, she continued working on the show Eight is Enough up until her death.


Nancy Marchand

SopranosSource: http://www.nytimes.com

Nancy Marchand was a veteran actress who played the hard mob boss mother Livia Soprano in the show The Sopranos. She died of cancer at the age of 72.


Harry Goz

AS_logoSource: http://boards.straightdope.com

Harry Goz was a veteran character and voice actor. He died at the age of 71 during the production of Sealab 2021, the surreal Adult Swim cartoon.


Marion Lorne

Joan CaufieldSource: http://www.imdb.com

Marion Lorne was a veteran actress before she appeared on Bewitched as Aunt Clara. She won an Emmy for her performance, but unfortunately, she wasn’t able to accept it as she suffered a heart attack and died.


Freddie Prinze

Freddie_PrinzeSource: http://www.nydailynews.com

The star of Chico and the Man, Freddie Prinze was beloved by 40 million people. However, after his wife filed for divorce, his life spun out of control, and he shot himself.


Larry Hagman

Larry_HagmanSource: http://www.nytimes.com

Larry Hagman, who played the villainous J.R. on Dallas, died during the show’s production at the age of 81. He died due to complications with cancer.


George Reeves

Stamp_DaySource: https://www.theguardian.com

The first actor to play Superman on television, George Reeves wowed audiences by leaping over buildings in a single bound and being more powerful than a locomotive. His apparent suicide continues to astonish and perplex many. His career wasn’t in ruins. There seemed to be no reason for him to kill himself. Some believe evidence points to murder instead.


John Ritter

John_RitterSource: http://www.nytimes.com

John Ritter was the famed television and movie actor known for Threes Company and 8 Simple Rules to Date My Teenage Daughter. He died of an aortic dissection, a break in the main artery that carries blood to the heart. He died suddenly at the age of 54 during production on 8 Simple Rules.


Steve Irwin

Steve_IrwinSource: http://www.latimes.com

Steve Irwin, also known as The Crocodile Hunter, died while filming an episode of his popular wildlife show. He was stabbed repeatedly by a stingray and died almost instantly.


Cory Monteith

Cory_MonteithSource: http://people.com

Glee star Cory Montieth died tragically at the age of 31 due to a drug overdose. An autopsy report showed a lethal combination of heroin and alcohol in his system.


Bill Paxton

Bill PaxtonSource: http://www.dailymail.co.uk

While many know Bill Paxton as a movie actor in films like Apollo 13 and Edge of Tomorrow, he was working on the set of the CBS television show Training Day when he, unfortunately, passed away due to complications after heart surgery.


Andy Whitfield

andy whitfieldSource: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com

Andy Whitfield got his big break as the star of the Showtime television show Spartacus. Sadly, he died of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma while preparing for the second season.


Phil Hartman

Phil hartmanSource: http://www.cnn.com

Known for his hilarious sketches on Saturday Night Live, Phil Hartman died in a tragic murder-suicide with his wife in 1998. He died by the hand of his wife before she pointed the gun at herself. At the time, he was working on the shows NewsRadio and The Simpsons.

Photo: 25. Christie Jenkins, Jon-Erik arms, CC BY 2.5, 24. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain), 23. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain), 22. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain), 21. John Hamilton (Movie still; Fair Use: Illustrative Purposes Only), 20. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain), 19. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain), 18. TV show still via hollywood reporter (Fair Use: Illustrative Purposes Only, no free images available), 17. Nicholas Colasanto (Fair Use: Illustrative Purposes Only), 16. Christopher Allport (Fair Use: Illustrative Purposes Only), 15. David Strickland tv show still via Alchetron (Fair Use: Illustrative Purposes Only), 14. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain), 13. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain), 12. mezclaconfusa via flickr. CC BY 2.0, 11. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain), 10. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain), 9. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain), 8. Foto: Udo Grimberg, Lizenz: Creative Commons by-sa-3.0 de, Larry Hagman, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE, 7. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain), 6. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain), 5. Richard Giles, aka User rich115 on Flickr, Steve Irwin, CC BY 2.0, 4. Eva Rinaldi, Cory Monteith 2, 2011, CC BY-SA 2.0, 3. Gage Skidmore, Bill Paxton 2014 retouched, CC BY 2.0, 2.Gage Skidmore, Andy Whitfield by Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0, 1. Paul Hartmann, Phil as Chick-1-1, CC BY-SA 3.0

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