There are several reasons why a TV show might kill off a character. Perhaps the actor was difficult to work with, or maybe the showrunners wanted to shock the audience. It’s even possible that the character’s end was necessary for the show's story arc. Regardless of the reasoning, actors are sometimes unhappy when their character is removed from a show.
Although the actors usually understand why, that doesn’t mean they aren’t disappointed when the director finally announces “series wrap” for their character. Find out why some of your favorite characters were offed, as well as the actors' honest reactions to their untimely demises.
- Photo: Game of Thrones/HBO
Somehow, the scheming and power-hungry Varys (Conleth Hill) survived until the second-to-last episode of Game of Thrones. Varys had bent the knee to Daenerys, and it was his duty to ensure the Queen of Dragons claimed the Iron Throne; however, he soon began to suspect that Daenerys had become overcome with power, and he no longer thought she was the best candidate to rule the Seven Kingdoms.
Varys told Tyrion he thought Jon Snow would make a better ruler than Daenerys, which was deemed an act of treason. The would-be queen sentenced the Master of Whisperers to perish by fire, and he was burned alive by her dragon, Drogon.
After Hill read the script featuring his last scene, he was devastated, even going so far as to say, "nothing could console me." Regarding the manner of his end, he said,
I took it very personally. I took it as a person, not as an actor or an artist. I understood the reactions of previous actors who had been in the same position a lot more than I did at the time. You can’t help feeling that you failed in some way, that you haven’t lived up to some expectation that you didn’t know about.
- Age: 56
- Birthplace: Northern Ireland, Ballycastle
- Photo: The Simpsons/Fox
Maggie Roswell voiced several different characters on Fox's animated show, The Simpsons, including Maude Flanders, Helen Lovejoy, and school teacher Miss Hoover. In 2000, the voice actress asked 20th Century Fox for a raise of about $2,000 per episode, making her pay about $6,000 per show. The corporation countered with a raise of only $150 per episode, which wouldn't even cover Roswell's traveling expenses to the studio.
Roswell claims she responded to the counter by leaving the show, saying,
I was part of the backbone of The Simpsons, and I didn’t think [the requested raise] was exorbitant. I wasn’t asking for what the other cast members make. I was just trying to recoup all the costs I had in travel. If they’d flown me in, I’d still be working.
Instead of giving Roswell a raise, Fox wrote Ned Flanders's beloved wife, Maude, off the show. In 2000, during Season 11 episode 14, Maude perished via T-shirt cannon while attending an event at the Springfield Speedway.
- Age: 68
- Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States of America
- Photo: Desperate Housewives/ABC
Nicollette Sheridan played Edie Britt on the hit ABC drama Desperate Housewives from 2004-09. The character was ultimately taken out in a car accident during Season 5 of the series. At the time, Sheridan earned $175,000 per episode.
The show's creator, Marc Cherry, claimed the producers decided to eliminate Edie for financial reasons - cutting Sheridan from the cast would save the show some income. Sheridan, however, alleged she was canned because she had been vocal about the hostile on-set environment created by Cherry.
After Edie met her demise, Sheridan opted to sue for $20 million. The lawsuit alleged: "The decision to [eliminate] Sheridan’s character demonstrates that Cherry and ABC intended to and did retaliate against Sheridan for her complaints about Cherry."
Sheridan contended that Cherry was "behaving in an extremely abusive and aggressive manner." The worst of this alleged behavior occurred on September 24, 2008, during a rehearsal session. After Sheridan asked about something in the show's script, Cherry reacted by hitting her in the face and head. The lawsuit also alleged that after the altercation, Cherry "begged forgiveness." Despite Cherry's pleas, the actress opted to report the incident to the network, which only worsened the situation for Sheridan. Just months later, her character perished.
- Age: 57
- Birthplace: Worthing, Sussex, England, UK
- Photo: Game of Thrones/HBO
For the first few seasons of Game of Thrones, Robb Stark (Richard Madden), the oldest son of the deceased Ned Stark, appeared to be the most likely candidate to eventually sit on the Iron Throne. The popular theory crashed to a halt, however, in Season 3 episode 9, "The Rains of Castamere."
Most fans know the episode better as the Red Wedding, a catastrophic event in which Robb, his mother, and his pregnant wife are all slain by Lord Walder Frey's henchmen at Edmure Tully and Roslin Frey's wedding reception.
Robb's shocking end was quite a blow not only to GoT fans around the world, but also to the Scottish actor who played the would-be king. "I cried the whole way," he said of his plane trip after filming the scene. "I was the crazy boy on the plane crying at about midnight, landing in London."
Despite the heartbreak of leaving the hit HBO series, Madden could still appreciate the artistic merit and emotion of the shocking episode:
The whole episode was so operatic almost, of how the writers had placed little details throughout the whole sequence of events that happen in episode 9. And when we shot the scene, it took a few days because it’s huge, and there’s actually a moment in the scene that [Michelle Fairley and I] look at each other and it’s Robb Stark essentially saying goodbye to his mother and giving up.
- Age: 33
- Birthplace: Elderslie, United Kingdom