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What Happens To TV Characters When The Stars Die?

When many of us get hooked on a television series, the characters become like family to us. And when one of those characters die, either in the show or in real life, we feel a sense of loss, even though we never knew these people nor the characters they portray.

Cory Monteith

Such is the case in the death of Glee Star Cory Monteith who passed away over the weekend at the age of 31. Among the many questions surrounding his death will be how the series handles it this fall. This is something television has had to deal with throughout its history.



MORE: How 11 TV Shows Coped With The Tragic Death Of Their Stars

Jerry Orbach
Jerry Orbach (Mark Mainz/Getty Images)

I was a huge “Law and Order” fan and when Jerry Orbach died, I felt bad even though he had already been written out of the series. Law and Order though is designed to handle loss since they constantly replaced cast members throughout its run.

However when Freddie Prinze Senior committed suicide at the age of 22, I was crushed. This young man had come so far so fast, from the streets of Hells Kitchen” to starring in a number one sitcom, to subbing for Johnny Carson on the “Tonight” show to performing at the Presidential Inauguration for Jimmy Carter. How do you replace “Chico” of “Chico and the Man?”

NBC used a little boy, called him Chico and the show lasted one more year.

Last year, at the age of 81, Larry Hagman died while reprising his role of JR Ewing in Dallas. Despite his death, the show was actually renewed for another year.

What television character did you most hate losing due to the death of the actor or the death of the character? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.

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