9 TV characters who left their shows way too soon

We'll never understand why these TV characters had to say goodbye.

When a character leaves a TV show, they also leave a void that needs to be filled. Sometimes a show can survive without a major character, as in the case of Cheers and Happy Days. But other times, a character's departure is the last nail in the coffin.

We don't know if we'll ever get over the times when these nine characters left their TV shows. Were you upset about any of these?


1. Diane Chambers - Cheers

Why the character leaves: After five seasons and a tumultuous on-again off-again relationship with Sam Malone, Chambers leaves Boston for Los Angeles in order to pursue a writing career. 

Why the actor left: With the popularity of Cheers, Shelley Long decided to focus on pursuing a movie career. She also had a newborn baby she wanted to spend more time with. 

2. Richie Cunningham - Happy Days

Why the character leaves: Richie ends up joining the Army and leaving behind his family in Milwaukee. He doesn't even return for his wedding to his longtime girlfriend Lori Beth; instead, the Fonz stands in for him. 

Why the actor left: After two decades in television, Ron Howard decided to try out directing. It's a move that has definitely paid off. 

3. "Trapper" John McIntyre - M*A*S*H

Why the character leaves: McIntyre is abruptly discharged at the start of season four. 

Why the actor left: This is one of the messier splits on this list. Unhappy with how Alan Alda's character became the central focus of the series, Wayne Rogers decided not to renew his contract after season three. 

4. Shirley Feeney - Laverne & Shirley

Why the character leaves: Feeney quickly falls in love with Army medic Walter Meany, finds out she's pregnant, and abruptly leaves to join her husband overseas.

Why the actor left: During season seven, Cindy Williams became pregnant with her first child. When the studio wouldn't accommodate her requests, she left the show and sued Paramount for $20 million. The case was later settled, but Williams didn't return for the last season. 

5. Rhoda Morgenstern - The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Why the character leaves: Morgenstern moves to the Big Apple and falls in love!

Why the actor left: No drama with this one. Valerie Harper's Rhoda was so popular with audiences, the character got her own show. 

6. Chrissy Snow - Three's Company

Why the character leaves: Snow has to go back to her hometown of Fresno to care for her ailing mother. 

Why the actor left: When the cast went to renegotiate their contracts at the end of the fifth season, Suzanne Somers asked for a raise on par with what John Ritter was making. Executives refused to meet her demands, so she decided not to renew her contract. 

Image: FremantleMedia

7. Jill Munroe - Charlie's Angels

Why the character leaves: Munroe quits the Townsend Agency in order to become a racecar driver. 

Why the actor left: It's easy to forget Farrah Fawcett was only on Charlie's Angels for one season. But after the first season wrapped, Fawcett resigned in order to start a film career. After a few legal battles, the network released her from her contract before season two began. 

Image: Sony Pictures Television

8. Gabe Kotter - Welcome Back, Kotter

Why the character leaves: Kotter is promoted to vice-principal, thereby leaving his social studies class behind. 

Why the actor left: Just like so many celebrities, contractual issues forced Gabe Kaplan off the show. He only appeared in a handful of episodes in the fourth (and final) season, even though the show tried to downplay his absence. 

9. James Evans - Good Times

Why the character leaves: In a truly heartbreaking scene, Evans' wife Florida reads a letter saying he was killed in a car accident. 

Why the actor left: This one definitely wasn't a "good time." John Amos grew increasingly dissatisfied with the direction of the show and the popularity of character J.J., along with his catchphrase "Dy-no-mite!" Series creator Norman Lear decided not to renew the contract after the third season. 

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