Actors Talk About Carrying On After Losing A Co-Star

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Vote up the most emotional stories.

Perhaps the oldest and most cliche saying in the entertainment industry is that “the show must go on.” However, the old adage is true, even in death. Read what these actors had to say about carrying on after losing a co-star.

Chadwick Boseman was the hero and king of Black Panther. However, the actor passed away prior to filming the movie’s sequel. John Ritter was the lead character on the ABC sitcom 8 Simple Rules. Then, the beloved actor suffered an aortic dissection while rehearsing one afternoon and died just hours later. The Black Panther sequel and an additional season of 8 Simple Rules went ahead… but not as planned.

Vote up the most emotional stories of actors talking about carrying on after losing a loved one.

  • Stephen Root And The Cast Of 'NewsRadio' Cried Through The Episode Where They Said Goodbye To Phil Hartman And His Character Bill McNeal
    Photo: NBC

    Phil Hartman and Stephen Root co-starred on the criminally underrated '90s comedy NewsRadio. Hartman played snarky egotistical news anchor Bill McNeal and Root played billionaire AM station owner Jimmy James. 

    On May 28, 1998, Hartman's wife Brynn shot and killed her husband in a murder-suicide. The former SNL star had just finished the fourth season of NewsRadio.

    Season 5 opened up with the premiere episode called, “Bill Moves On.” In the episode, McNeal dies from a heart attack. After the funeral, his co-workers read personal notes that they left for him. It's an emotional episode filled with real tears.

    Twenty years after Hartman's death, Root penned a lengthy tribute to the actor. He wrote:

    His death was devastating, and it happened not too long after we'd finished the season. When we went to the funeral, there was so much press wanting to talk to all of us, but we didn't want to talk to them at all. So we didn’t. We put all of our love into the show that we did, into the first show of the next season, which dealt with his passing. We read it once on the day that we usually do, on a Monday. We all cried through it and we all decided, unilaterally, that we weren’t going to rehearse this show.

    The writers were going to boost it up a little from that first reading that we did, but we never rehearsed it. We shot it on Thursday and on a Friday. And it was pretty tearful to shoot, but it was cathartic that we did something within the fictional structure that was real, because we were really hurt that he was no longer there. That was good that we were able to address it.

    The rest of that season, we would have a cardboard cutout of him just peeking around the corner, almost on every show [laughs]. Or we'd have a picture of him on Dave’s desk. Or we would have little reminders of him that we would keep with us on each show that he was still there with us - he just, uh… he was maybe going to come later, you know?

  • Adam Sandler Struggled Emotionally To Get Through Rehearsal For His Tribute Song To Chris Farley On 'Saturday Night Live'
    Photo: NBC

    Adam Sandler and Chris Farley rose to fame together as standout performers on Saturday Night Live. Some of the best sketches of the '90s feature the future comedy legends learning how to generate the most laughs.

    The pair became close friends. They were both fired/quit from SNL on the same day in 1995. 

    After multiple failed attempts at rehab, Farley died on December 18, 1997, from a drug overdose at the age of 33.

    In 2019, Sandler returned to SNL as the weekly guest host. The Billy Madison star closed the show with an emotional musical tribute to his old pal. Sandler later admitted he struggled in rehearsals to get through the song. 

    “It was scheduled, but it kind of got sprung on me quick,” Sandler said. “I had to mentally get ready because when I was singing the Farley song in the studio in rehearsals, I kept getting really upset because I loved just being in 8H - the studio. It was making me upset.”

    “I couldn't really sing it out loud,” Sandler added. “I was kind of mumbling because his image and stuff was making me off and upset. I was like, 'Oh, man, I got to prepare for this - for the show - to try not to break down.'”

  • Christian Bale Thought He And Heath Ledger Would Be Lifelong Friends
    Photo: The Dark Knight / Warner Bros. Pictures

    Christian Bale and Heath Ledger played mortal enemies in 2008's The Dark Knight. However, only their comic book characters Batman and the Joker were adversaries. In real life, Bale described Ledger as his “kindred spirit to myself.”

    A passionate Bale talked about how much he misses Ledger, who died on January 22, 2008, just a few months after completing The Dark Knight from an accidental overdose of medication. 

    “I want to talk about Heath,” Bale said several months after Ledger's sudden passing. “When you miss somebody, you want to speak about him. He was a good man, and I was glad to have spent time with him.”

    Bale added:

    He was somebody who I’d been seeing on a daily basis for months. It takes a long time to accept that someone’s gone, when all body and mind are telling you that this is somebody you will know for a great deal of time. He was something of a kindred spirit to myself. I hope in a small way that The Dark Knight can be a celebration of his work. Not like the hideous circus after he died, which I felt was an invasion of a private life. This movie is not a personal home video. This is what he did. I hope people will embrace that in the correct fashion.

  • Kaley Cuoco Had To Be On Set The Day After John Ritter Passed Away
    Photo: 8 Simple Rules / ABC

    Before Kaley Cuoco starred in the hit sitcom The Big Bang Theory, she played teenager Bridgett Hennessy on the ABC series 8 Simple Rules. On the show, Bridgett's father Paul (John Ritter) attempts to enforce rigid rules when it comes to dating his two daughters. 

    On September 11, 2003, Ritter suffered an aortic dissection while working on the sitcom. The beloved TV star died that same day at the age of 54. 

    Almost 20 years after Ritter's passing, Cuoco appeared in the ABC documentary Superstar: John Ritter. The actress talked about her co-stars' emotional reactions to Ritter's death. 

    "Everyone was just crying, bawling and then people started telling stories," said Cuoco. “I'll never forget, there was the mailman at Warner Bros. and he was like, 'I'd like to speak.' He goes, 'I used to deliver the mail here. John would always say hi to me,' and I was like, ‘Of course he did.'”

    “I really love him so much, to this day,” added Cuoco.