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Actors Who Quit a Show/Appear and Disaappear


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#1 of 50 OFFLINE   cineMANIAC

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Posted August 28 2009 - 02:56 AM

I started this thread because I've always been fascinated by people who seem to be at their peak on a particular show then leave for whatever reason in the middle of it, usually beacause of compensation issues. Then there are characters that are introduced and pop up every so often in subsequent episodes/seasons and then mysteriously disappear without explanation. Below are examples of this and I'm hoping others here contribute to the list.

John Amos (Good Times). All I remember is Esther Rolle's character getting a wire saying her husband (Amos) was in an accident and was dead. Clever way of explaining him away but why did he leave the show?

On MacGyver around the fourth season there were a pair of black bounty hunters introduced as recurring characters. I say this because they popped up on a few more episodes but then nothing. Was it an idea that just didn't work? Then there was that actor from Timecop who played MacGyver's annoying buddy (I forget his name). The series ended and we never found out who he really was. I really hate loose ends, don't you?

I know Suzzane Sommers left Three's Company because she wanted more money but what ever happened to Cindy? She was there for one season. I thought she was great - why was she dropped?

Sliders. Wasn't there a fifth season? Why did the cute chick leave after the third season and did Jerry O'Connell appear in the fifth season?

Miami Vice. John Diehl was killed off in Season 3. Was he unhappy with the role?


 

RIP Roberto Gomez Bolanos. 


#2 of 50 OFFLINE   Bob Hug

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Posted August 28 2009 - 03:00 AM

David Caruso on "NYPD Blue" after season 1 and a few eps. into season 2.  Can't remember why he left, but I think it was either money issues or he wanted to do films.

#3 of 50 OFFLINE   Dave B Ferris

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Posted August 28 2009 - 03:05 AM

Mclean Stevenson, 'M*A*S*H', for compensation issues, as the OP mentioned, plus I think he thought he could be a 'top-banana'.

#4 of 50 OFFLINE   younger1968

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Posted August 28 2009 - 03:16 AM

Jenilee Harrison was punted to lesser role and replaced with Priscilla Barnes. I believe Jenilee was also working on Dallas at the time.

How about Valerie Harper and the hogan family? They said she died and wrote her out of the script and added in Sandy Duncan.

There are many instances were actors left either because of money or wanting a bigger role. I remember the paramedic in third watch wanted a bigger role, but, that never happen so they had his character die off. I am huge 70s and 80s show and some actors/actresses were replace and the show got better, like the captain in emergency! or Charlie Angels with Farah Fawcett or Julie Mccullough for Chelsea Noble in Growing Pains, etc.

#5 of 50 OFFLINE   Ockeghem

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Posted August 28 2009 - 04:05 AM

Lusito,

The first name I thought of was McLean Stevenson, who has already been mentioned.

BTW, since you did write 'for whatever reason,' I suppose Dick York's name ought to be mentioned.  I do not know for certain if he wanted to leave, however.

How about some of Charlie's Angels?  (I see that this one has also been mentioned.)

Also, Alexandre Moltke left Dark Shadows around the half-way point.  So did Mitchell Ryan much earlier in the series, although it wasn't necessarily his choice.

Did any stars leave Peyton Place during the run of the series?



#6 of 50 OFFLINE   kbrooks190

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Posted August 28 2009 - 04:08 AM

The lady that played Kate on NCIS left after the first 2 or 3 seasons.  Never heard from her again.

The guy who played Speed on CSI: Miami wanted to be in movies.  Again,  never saw him in anything again.

#7 of 50 OFFLINE   Joseph DeMartino

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Posted August 28 2009 - 04:50 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Hug ">

David Caruso on "NYPD Blue" after season 1 and a few eps. into season 2.  Can't remember why he left, but I think it was either money issues or he wanted to do films.

Both.  He was the hot guy on the hottest show of that season, and decided he was bigger than his series.  Features beckoned, and he wanted out.  (He was under contract, but no show wants a surly actor who is working under duress, so the producers made cut a deal under which he had to return for the early episodes of S2 so that they could write his character out in dramatic fashion.)  His feature career went nowhere fast and he was lucky to get a second chance on television years later.  Caruso's move was so dumb that "to pull a Caruso" entered the Hollywood lexicon.

Prior to Caruso that term would have been "to pull a Mac Stephenson", after the actor who created the part of Col. Henry Blake on M*A*S*H before walking away from that hit series and promptly falling off the face of the Earth.  He, too, was convinced (probably by his agent) that he was meant for bigger things - in his case a sitcom of his own.  The show, Hello Larry, became one of TV's legendary flops.  Instead of delivering punch lines, Stephenson became one.  His career never recovered. 

More recently Bitty Schram quit her role as Monk's nurse and assistant, Sharona after a few seasons in a salary dispute.  I haven't checked the IMDB lately to see what she's been up to, but the last time I did her post-Monk credits were very thin and I know I've nver personally seen her in anything since she left the show.  She does have on upcoming guest shot that I'm sure to watch though - on Monk, which is in its last season and is bringing Sharona back for a final bow.   

Actor Tony Musante is probably unique in the annals of TV.  A Broadway and soap opera veteran, Musante wasn't really interested in the long-term commitment required by series television.  So when he was offered the chance to play real-life detective David Toma, a cop who used costumes, accents and disguises to create undercover characters, he insisted on a one year contract.  The network and studio agreed, assuming that this was just a ploy to put him in a better negotiating position if the show became a hit.  But it wasn't.  Musante played the character for the contracted year, then walked away from the show because he thought that if it continued the network would turn it into a conventional shoot-out and chase scene cop show.  No amount of money could change his mind. 

The producers salvaged the situation by dropping the Toma character in favor of a fictional cop with the same M.O. and brought a veteran actor - Robert Blake - to play him.  Thus was born Barretta, a conventional shoot-out nd chase scene cop show.  

Babylon 5 also famously switched leading men after its first year, while remaining the same show.   In B5's case it seems a combination of factors was involved.  1)  The series creator had already realized that his original outline had a problem - the main character had too many plot lines centered on him.  It wasn't plausible in telling the story from week to week that the same guy who had been the hero of the Line and the object of the Minbari's attention should also have the personal connection to the upcoming Shadow arc that drama required.  So he decided to bring in a new character, an Aragorn to Sinclair's Frodo, dividing some of the quest elements from the war elements originally combined in Sinclair.  2)  At around the same time Michael O'Hare, the New York stage actor who played Sinclair, was wearying of the series grind and homesick for the east.  JMS has written that the two arrived at a solution:   O'Hare would leave the show, but the Sinclair character would remain "alive" in the story and - when the time was right - would return to fulfill the destiny originally planned for him.  (Albeit under somewhat altered circumstances.)  Some fans insist that this was not or could not have been the case and believe that the studio and/or affiliates insisted on a "name" actor, or at least one with a higher "Q" score than O'Hare's.


While it is certainly true that Bruce Boxleitner brought more TV "star" power and a higher "Q" rating than Michael O'Hare (he had recently come off Scarecrow and Mrs. King and several highly-rated Gambler TV movies with Kenny Rogers), I don't think his casting is prima facie evidence that Warner Bros. or PTEN was behind the change.   Apart from Kung-Fu: The Legend Continues with David Carradine, few of PTEN's series had much star power, and none of them was pressured into recasting.    And B5 had done well enough in the ratings to merit renewal for a second season with O'Hare as the lead - the change came during the hiatus after the pick up order had been given.  Also they looked at a number of actors, including James Earl Jones, to play the new captain so there is no indication that the studio said, "Get us 'Scarecrow'." 

In the end there were only three people in the room when the decision was made, and only one of them (JMS) has gone on the record in any detail about what was said there.  And he says it was a mutual decision and an amicable parting.  If Michael O'Hare had a different take he's had years to tell someone, and I'm not aware that he has.   Certainly he continued to support and promote the show after he left, appearing at conventions and the like, and he did return in Season Three for the critical two parter, "War Without End". 

Around the time of the DVD release there seems to have been some serious miscommunication which resulted in O'Hare not participating in the DVD extras and some hurt feeling, but that was years later and completely unrelated to his original departure. 

Finally who can forget Farrah Fawcett jumping ship from Charlie's Angels and then being brought back for a few guest shots as a result of a nasty lawsuit.  I'd say Farrah did OK for herself after that, although she never became the break-out film star she probably could have.

On the other side of the ledger we have John Travolta and George Clooney, who really were bigger than the shows that made them stars, and proved it by moving on and becoming much bigger in movies. (And Tom Hanks who did the same, but loyally stayed with his show until it was thorugh with him, rather than vice versa)<br /></span>
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Regards, <br />
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Joe<br />
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#8 of 50 OFFLINE   whisperintherain

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Posted August 28 2009 - 05:04 AM

Yes, Scott, Mia Farrow left PEYTON PLACE right in the middle of the series. In her autobiography, Farrow revealed that she regretted having signed to play ingénue Allison MacKenzie almost immediately and pleaded with the producers to release her from her contract before the first scene was even shot, but they rejected her request. Rumor has it that her then-husband Frank Sinatra pulled some strings to get her out of the show in the summer of 1966.

Another case that springs to mind is Sherry Stringfield leaving her role as Dr. Susan Lewis on ER at the beginning of Season 3 in 1996 and coming back in Season 8, only to leave again at the beginning of Season 12.



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#9 of 50 OFFLINE   Malcolm R

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Posted August 28 2009 - 05:32 AM

Lecy Goranson was replaced by Sarah Chalke as Becky on "Roseanne", then she and Goranson kind of switched back and forth in the role over the final seasons.  I don't recall the reason Lecy left.

EDIT: Her IMDB profile says she left to attend college.


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#10 of 50 OFFLINE   Ockeghem

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Posted August 28 2009 - 05:40 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by whisperintherain View Post

Yes, Scott, Mia Farrow left PEYTON PLACE right in the middle of the series. In her autobiography, Farrow revealed that she regretted having signed to play ingénue Allison MacKenzie almost immediately and pleaded with the producers to release her from her contract before the first scene was even shot, but they rejected her request. Rumor has it that her then-husband Frank Sinatra pulled some strings to get her out of the show in the summer of 1966.

Another case that springs to mind is Sherry Stringfield leaving her role as Dr. Susan Lewis on ER at the beginning of Season 3 in 1996 and coming back in Season 8, only to leave again at the beginning of Season 12.


 
Whisper,

Yeah, that's right.  I completely forgot about Farrow.

Another one is Jeremy Gelbwaks (The Partridge Family), who was replaced by Brian Forster.

#11 of 50 OFFLINE   Jeff Willis

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Posted August 28 2009 - 06:11 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Hug View Post

David Caruso on "NYPD Blue" after season 1 and a few eps. into season 2.  Can't remember why he left, but I think it was either money issues or he wanted to do films.
Bob,

Welcome back!  Hope you're feeling better lately.  Ditto for Gary's "welcome" on the Robin Hood thread.

NYPD Blue: Yep, David C left after S1 because at that time, he hought he was destined to hit it big in movies.  That didn't turn out like he planned but I guess he's been ok back on the small screen in recent years.  Imo, that 1st season role in NYPD Blue was a perfect fit for his acting.

For a lesser known example back on topic: Combat! fans remember that the original "Doc" (Steven Rogers) left early in the series and was replaced by Conlan Carter who portrayed "Doc" for the majority of the show.


ml1fyo.jpg  "Checkmate King Two, 'Out'" "Combat! A Selmur Production"

 

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#12 of 50 OFFLINE   Richard V

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Posted August 28 2009 - 06:23 AM

Barney Fife leaving The Andy Griffith Show to become a detective for the Raliegh PD.  He did come back a couple of times though as his new character.

Trapper John (Wayne Rogers) leaving M*A*S*H, his character got "sent home", Frank Burns (Larry Linville) left M*A*S*H after going insane.

Big Brother Chuck Cunningham just literally disappeared from Happy Days, never to be heard of, or referred to again.

Dick York replaced by Dick Sargent on Bewitched, think anyone ever noticed?

Bret Maverick (James Garner) just left Maverick without mention ever being made over his disappearance.  Garner left over a salary dispute.

Adam (Pernell Roberts) left his brothers on Bonanza, allegedly because he "joined the Navy".

Chester (Dennis Weaver) left Gunsmoke, why? 





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#13 of 50 OFFLINE   Bob Hug

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Posted August 28 2009 - 07:13 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Willis View Post




Bob,

Welcome back!  Hope you're feeling better lately.  Ditto for Gary's "welcome" on the Robin Hood thread.

For a lesser known example back on topic: Combat! fans remember that the original "Doc" (Steven Rogers) left early in the series and was replaced by Conlan Carter who portrayed "Doc" for the majority of the show.
 
Thanks, Jeff.  Shecky Greene's character was also gone after the end of the first season.


#14 of 50 OFFLINE   cineMANIAC

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Posted August 28 2009 - 07:56 AM

That's funny about Caruso. What was his biggest film role, then? I saw him in an indie horror flick (Session 9) but don't remember anything else. Just goes to show - if you have a strong character in a hit show, best stick with it cause u never know how things are going to turn out. I mean its ok to aspire to bigger and better things, just don't let your ego (or an overzealous agent) get in the way.
 

RIP Roberto Gomez Bolanos. 


#15 of 50 OFFLINE   chadHobbick

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Posted August 28 2009 - 08:32 AM

If I recall, and please correct me if i'm wrong anybody, but didn't Don Knotts not want to leave The Andy Griffifth Show?  His contract renewal was coming up and his agent already had him signed for multi-picture deals for the cinema that would make him not available to work on the tv show anymore.  I just remember hearing that somewhere that he was heartbroken he basically had to leave the show b/c of his movie career, and was so grateful when he was able to come back and play Barney again. 

#16 of 50 OFFLINE   Elizabeth S

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Posted August 28 2009 - 08:56 AM




Quote:
Originally Posted by Luisito34 View Post

That's funny about Caruso. What was his biggest film role, then? I saw him in an indie horror flick (Session 9) but don't remember anything else. Just goes to show - if you have a strong character in a hit show, best stick with it cause u never know how things are going to turn out. I mean its ok to aspire to bigger and better things, just don't let your ego (or an overzealous agent) get in the way.
He had "Kiss of Death" and "Jade" and "Cold Around the Heart".  I saw all of them, and Caruso wasn't the problem -- just not good films.  Had he chosen different projects, he might have had that big film career.  But as "C.S.I. Miami" is (or was) the #1 show in the world, I guess it all worked out for him.

Dick Wolf shows basically have the built-in revolving door.  In most cases, it seems they like to bring in new actors to keep the show fresh.



#17 of 50 OFFLINE   smithb

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Posted August 28 2009 - 09:07 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by chadHobbick View Post

If I recall, and please correct me if i'm wrong anybody, but didn't Don Knotts not want to leave The Andy Griffifth Show?  His contract renewal was coming up and his agent already had him signed for multi-picture deals for the cinema that would make him not available to work on the tv show anymore.  I just remember hearing that somewhere that he was heartbroken he basically had to leave the show b/c of his movie career, and was so grateful when he was able to come back and play Barney again. 
My understanding was that he was ready to leave to do movies. I don't believe he was bitter or anything or had a problem playing the part but was just ready to move on. The more surprising thing was that the studio wasn't ready for it. They originally signed him to a 5 year deal and didn't seem to think to resign him to a newer contract sooner as his popularity grew.  If you watch the first few episodes he isn't as prominent a character as he soon quickly became.

On another note, I saw a special on Ron Howard and Happy days. It talked about how he kept pushing the studio to give him a shot at directing episodes, since that obviously was where his passion was. But they just thought he was too young and inexperienced to give a try, not thinking he would ever do anything about it. Sure enough when his contract ended and they approached him for a new one, he said no way. Apparently, they were surprised never thinking he would do that. If they had just given him some opportunities he may have stuck around through the whole series run.


#18 of 50 OFFLINE   smithb

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Posted August 28 2009 - 09:09 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Elizabeth S View Post





He had "Kiss of Death" and "Jade" and "Cold Around the Heart".  I saw all of them, and Caruso wasn't the problem -- just not good films.  Had he chosen different projects, he might have had that big film career.  But as "C.S.I. Miami" is (or was) the #1 show in the world, I guess it all worked out for him.

Dick Wolf shows basically have the built-in revolving door.  In most cases, it seems they like to bring in new actors to keep the show fresh.

 
While I didn't see it, I remember when Jade came out. Wasn't that the first one after NYPD Blue? I remember it being a flop.

But before that I remember him from First Blood: Rambo #1 playing one of the police officers.


#19 of 50 OFFLINE   Dave B Ferris

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Posted August 28 2009 - 09:22 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Elizabeth S View Post





He had "Kiss of Death" and "Jade" and "Cold Around the Heart".  I saw all of them, and Caruso wasn't the problem -- just not good films.  Had he chosen different projects, he might have had that big film career.  But as "C.S.I. Miami" is (or was) the #1 show in the world, I guess it all worked out for him.

Dick Wolf shows basically have the built-in revolving door.  In most cases, it seems they like to bring in new actors to keep the show fresh.

 
Dick Wolf?  NYPD Blue was a Bochco/Milch show, while the C.S.I.'s are all Brukenheimer (I thought).



#20 of 50 OFFLINE   SilverWook

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Posted August 28 2009 - 09:23 AM

Dr. Beverly Crusher, (Gates McFadden) being gone at the start of Star Trek TNG's second season. Casually explained away as being offered to head up Starfleet Medical and replaced by Dr. Kate Pulaski, played by TOS veteran Diana Muldaur.

I've heard various stories about McFadden's departure. The most factual one seems to be behind the scenes tension with one of the producers. (But not Gene Roddeberry.) And then Crusher is magically back in season 3 with little to no explanation. Pulaski is mentioned once in another episode but never seen again.

Some fans back then seemed to take their frustrations out on Muldaur's character, but I liked the conflict Pulaski brought to the crew. She took a while to accept Data as sentient, and initially rubbed Picard the wrong way, but she had some Leonard McCoy qualities. She even had a nice friendship developing with Worf. I wish they had kept her around as a recurring character.

And there's no truth to the rumor that Pulaski fell down a turbolift shaft either! /img/vbsmilies/htf/biggrin.gif