Top 10 TV Characters That Were Killed Off Because The Actors Left The Show

When an actor decides to leave or is forced to leave the cast of a TV Show, directors have three options: replace the actor, right off the character or kill it off completely, which is what interests us in this list.

Note: The character must be dead in the story, if he just left town or something, that does not count as being "killed off".
The Top Ten
1 Chef - South Park Jerome "Chef" McElroy was a cartoon character on the Comedy Central series South Park who was voiced by soul singer Isaac Hayes.

The way they took voice recordings from older episodes and made Chef sound like a brainwashed pedo was crazy hilarious, not to mention the gruesome death he suffered.

Chef was actually my favourite adult character in South Park and he made the first three seasons more entertaining for me. Sadly he got killed off. I miss this character.

The story goes that after show creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker released an episode of South Park titled "Trapped in the Closet" in which they make fun of Tom Cruise and Scientology, Isaac Hayes, the voice of Chef and a known Scientologist activist, quit the show (which turned out to be false when Hayes' son came out and said that Hayes had a stroke and lost the ability to speak, afterwards Scientology quit for him and he also wasn't such a hypocrite that he would quit the show after it made fun of every other religion). As a result, Chef is killed in the most violent way possible in his last episode when he falls off a bridge, gets impaled by a tree branch, and then eaten by a grizzly bear and mountain lion.

Chef's death was probably the saddest moment in this show. Not only did the boys lose someone that was special to them, but the creators also lost a friend as well.

2 Susan Ross - Seinfeld

Heidi Swedberg's character had been killed off due to incompatibility with other stars' comedic rhythm on the show. Basically she was very hard to work with so they killed the character off and let the actress go.

3 Tuco Salamanca - Breaking Bad

While the writing team on Breaking Bad planned to have Tuco stick around for a while as one of Walter White's most dangerous adversaries, actor Raymond Cruz told them that he just couldn't handle playing the insane killer anymore. The actor agreed to return for the first two episodes of the second season in order for the writers to adequately bring his character's arc to a close.

4 Maude Flanders - The Simpsons

On the 14th episode of the 11th season of The Simpsons, the character was killed off because the voice actress, Maggie Roswell, had a pay dispute with the Fox Broadcasting Company.

Poor Flanders can never get a break can he?

5 Charlie Harper - Two and a Half Men

Following multiple stints in rehab that put the show on indefinite hiatus, Charlie Sheen was finally fired from the show after he demanded an unreasonably high pay raise (he was already the highest paid actor on TV at the time) and made some infamously heinous remarks about show creator Chuck Lorre. It came as no surprise to viewers when CBS decided to kill off his character by having him fall off a Metro Platform in the season nine premiere.

6 George O'Malley - Grey's Anatomy

The actor and the directors had creative differences over where the character was going and they just decided that moving on was the best decision so they killed off the character.

7 Lawrence Kutner - House

Kutner's suicide was scripted due to actor Kal Penn's decision to accept the position of Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Liaison in President Barack Obama's administration.

8 Lane Pryce - Mad Men

Jared Harris left 'Mad Men' to do 'Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows', so they had Lane take his own life.

9 Tasha Yar - Star Trek: The Next Generation

Denise Crosby was unhappy with her role as Tasha, feeling like her character didn't have enough to do, and the staff likely felt that the cast needed to be trimmed down anyway, so Tasha was killed in the episode "Skin of Evil".

10 Matthew Crawley - Downton Abbey

The actor Dan Stevens wanted to pursue other projects and opportunities. He said that Downtown Abbey was very time consuming and that it didn't leave much room for other projects.

The Newcomers

? Lance Sweets - Bones
? Lady Sybil Crawley - Downton Abbey
The Contenders
11 Dr. Clayton Forrester - Mystery Science Theater 3000

Trace Beaulieu left Mystery Science Theater 3000, because despite the fact that it was a great work environment there was a lot of disputing between the cast and series director Jim Mallon, so Crow was recast, and Dr. Forrester was killed offscreen by his own mother Pearl (Mary Jo Pehl).

12 Pierce Hawthorne - Community

Chevy Chase got into frequent spats with 'Community' creator Dan Harmon and so he left the show; Pierce was killed off as a result.

13 Cordelia Chase - Buffy the Vampire Slayer
14 Valerie Hogan - The Hogan Family

Valerie Harper always wanted more and more money and when the network executives refused, she used a trick she often used: walk out on the show until her demands are met. This time however, they had enough and fired her. The character was killed off in a car accident and was replaced by Sandy Duncan as the kids' new mother figure.

15 Amy Pond - Doctor Who
16 Derek Shepherd - Grey's Anatomy

Patrick Dempsey left the show to focus on his family and his passion for auto-racing.

17 Elena Gilbert - The Vampire Diaries
18 Lexa - The 100
19 Kate Todd - NCIS
20 Edie Britt - Desperate Housewives

Nicollette Sheridan was struck in the head by Marc Cherry during filming and for that she left the show.

21 Adric - Doctor Who
22 Lincoln - The 100
23 The 9th Doctor - Doctor Who
24 David Hale - Sons of Anarchy

I didn't see that coming at all. I always thought that this character would be around until the end of the show (like he could of been one of the cops who we're after Jax in the last episode). This character had so much potential, too bad the actor wanted to move on so soon.

The actor wanted to pursue other projects so in the first episode of season 3, the character was killed off by being run over by the Calaveras MC in a drive-by attack targeting Samcro.

25 Will Gardner - The Good Wife
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