The most shocking character deaths we'll never get over

We're still mourning the loss of Hoss, Coach and Mr. Hooper.

Watching certain TV shows week after week, it feels like we get to know the characters as if they were our friends. We know their secrets, share some things in common with them, and even know how they will react in certain situations. 

That's why it's so upsetting when TV shows decide to kill off the characters we get to know so well. In some cases, the producers have no choice, due to the death of an actor. At other times, the producers play with our emotions by giving tragic endings to audience favorites. 

We never got over these eight character deaths. Did you?

1. Henry Blake - 'M*A*S*H'


Why it was devastating: Lt. Col. Henry Blake is finally discharged, but the plane taking him back to the United States is shot down over the Sea of Japan. "It spun in… there were no survivors." 

Why it happened: McLean Stevenson wanted to leave the show because of the focus on Alan Alda's character. Producers considered writing him off the show with the character's discharge, but decided to kill Blake off to remind viewers this was a show about war. 

2. Eric "Hoss" Cartwright - 'Bonanza'


Why it was devastating: Hoss is one of the best parts of the series, with his cheery disposition lifting the show. He was one of the first major characters on television to be killed, and it was later revealed he died trying to save a drowing woman. 

Why it happened: Dan Blocker died during production of the series from a pulmonary embolism. Producers agreed no one else could replace Blocker's big personality, so they decided to kill off the character instead. 

3. James Evans, Sr. - 'Good Times'


Why it was devastating: Damn, damn, damn! Who could forget the scene when Florida reads a telegram stating her husband had been killed in a car crash? One moment everyone is celebrating, the next is pure devastation. 

Why it happened: Initial reports said John Amos wanted to focus on his film career, but years later, he had a different story. The actor said Norman Lear wouldn't renew his contract after the third season, meaning his character would be killed off. 

Image: Sony Pictures Television

4. Edith Bunker - 'Archie Bunker's Place'


Why it was devastating: Archie and Edith are a match made in TV heaven. The couple charmed audiences on All in the Family, and continued to do just that on the first season of Archie Bunker's Place. But at the beginning of the second season, we find out Edith had died of a stroke. If that wasn't bad enough, we had to watch Archie start dating again. 

Why it happened: Jean Stapleton decided to leave the series to focus on other projects.

Image: Sony Pictures Television

5. Ernie "Coach" Pantusso - 'Cheers'


Why it was devastating: Coach is one of the strengths of the early years, delivering sharpened lines during the series' first three seasons.

Why it happened: Nicholas Colasanto had suffered from heart disease since the early 1970s, and unfortunately died of a heart attack during the show's third season, in 1985. 

6. Mr. Hooper - 'Sesame Street'


Why it was devastating: The humans on the street had to break the news of Mr. Hooper's passing to Big Bird, who didn't quite understand the concept of death. It's one of the most crushing and touching scenes in television history, and it provided a lesson in grieving for children and adults alike.

Why it happened: One of the show's original human characters, Will Lee died of a heart attack in 1982. Producers decided to use his death as a lesson, and the episode has been lauded as one of the most influential moments in daytime television. 

Image: Sesame Workshop

7. Jock Ewing - 'Dallas'


Why it was devastating: It's hard for any show with an ensemble cast to lose the patriarch, but Dallas created a dramatic exit for the Ewing leader by having him die in a helicopter crash in South America. 

Why it happened: Jim Davis was diagnosed with cancer during the show's fourth season and continue to perform until he couldn't any longer. 

Image: Warner Bros. Television

8. Dan Conner - 'Roseanne'


Why it was devastating:  After nine seasons, it's revealed Dan Conner died of a heart attack before the family won the lottery. Shocking!

Why it happened: Fans weren't too happy with the final season of Roseanne, especially when it was revealed during the series finale that John Goodman's character had died. Perhaps the character's fate was in retaliation for Goodman's lengthy contract negotiations prior to filming the final season. 

Image: SFM Entertainment

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FloridaTopCat 13 months ago
Whom ever did this fact checking - Guilty of Extreme Failure to not mention - John Ritter passed away early into season 2 of "8 Simple Rules... for Dating My Teenage Daughter"! The show continued as The Hennessy clan -- mother Cate, daughters Bridget and Kerry, and son Rory -- look to one another for guidance and support after the death of Paul (John Ritter), the family patriarch. Cate's parents lend a hand. James Garner and David Spade joined the cast after Ritter's passing.
JenniferSweitzer 29 months ago
How about the touching episode of Barney Miller dedicated to the late Jack Soo. I'm not sure how they explained his passing bit I recently saw that episode and it was so heartfelt by his costars, completely out of character doing a clip show featuring Soo. Great episode.
RobinOrlowski 29 months ago
Fred Andrews had to be killed off because Luke Perry suffered a fatal stroke in real life. How he was sent off by the show was touching though. His former Beverly Hills 90210 love, Shannen Doherty herself guested.
JB36 42 months ago
Rosalind Shays on LA LAW...falling down an elevator shaft. C'mon. Most shocking of all.
LittleMissNoName JB36 42 months ago
Horrible if it happened in real life, still can't help but chuckle because it 's just so random. Might as well had her get smacked by an oncoming bus while starting to cross the street.

Well at least it wasn't an exploding crockpot.
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