12 Actors Who Disappeared From Popular TV Shows (And What Really Happened)

In an infamous YouTube video, Chad Michael Murray informed One Tree Hill supporters, “They’re not bringing me back next year…because they want to save money.” Quitting or losing a job is not unusual, but if you’re an actor, people you don’t know will notice. Here are 12 actors who disappeared from popular TV shows and what really happened:

1. Grace Park portrayed Officer Kono Kalakaua on Hawaii Five-0 for seven seasons. Her wage was reportedly 10–15% lower than that of her co-stars, Scott Caan and Alex O’Loughlin, so she sought pay equity before the eighth season began. However, when she and CBS could not come to an arrangement, she opted to leave the show.

12 Actors Who Disappeared From Popular TV Shows
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Grace Park’s Hawaii Five-0 co-star Daniel Dae Kim, who played Detective Lieutenant Chin Ho Kelly for seven seasons, requested equal remuneration with Scott Caan and Alex O’Loughlin, who are also said to earn a part of the show’s income. He, too, declined to return for the eighth season after his plea for pay fairness was not granted.

He wrote on his Facebook page: “Though I made myself available to come back, CBS and I weren’t able to agree to terms on a new contract, so I made the difficult choice not to continue.”

2. Cindy Williams played Shirley Feeney in Laverne & Shirley, a Happy Days spin-off, until the second episode of Season 8. She was pregnant, and production refused to accommodate her requested scheduling alterations.

12 Actors Who Disappeared From Popular TV Shows
Photo by Bob Riha, Jr./Getty Images

She told Today, “When it came time for me to sign my contract for that season, they had me working on my due date to have my child…And I replied, ‘You know, I can’t sign this.’ And it kept going back and forth, and it never worked out.”

She reportedly sued the producers and Paramount for $20 million after leaving the show.

After ending Season 8 with simply Laverne, the show was canceled.

3. Katherine Heigl withdrew her Grey’s Anatomy Emmy nomination in 2008, saying she “did not feel that [she] was given the material this season to warrant an Emmy nomination.” She was subsequently tagged “difficult” and “ungrateful.” After taking maternity leave from the program, she opted to return only long enough to finish her storylines and then focus on her family.

12 Actors Who Disappeared From Popular TV Shows
Photo by Michael Buckner/Variety via Getty Images

In 2021, she told Today, “The word ‘ungrateful’ upsets me the most. And it is my fault. I let myself be regarded in that way. Humility and thankfulness are keys to how I live my life. I’ve worked so hard to develop those qualities and become that person, but I’m so disappointed in myself that I let it slide. Of course, I am grateful. “How could I not be?”

4. Steve Carell originally signed on to play Michael Scott on The Office for seven seasons, and as the deadline came, he was the only cast member who did not renew his contract.

12 Actors Who Disappeared From Popular TV Shows
Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for Universal Pictures and Illumination

On the An Oral History of The Office podcast, editor and director Claire Scanlon stated, “Steve said he would have come back, and they didn’t even try! …I believe NBC blew it because I knew the backstory, which was that they never bothered, which was ridiculous. I’m not sure what was wrong with them.”

After Michael left, Deangelo Vickers (played by Will Ferrell) took over as Dunder Mifflin’s regional manager. The sitcom ran for two more seasons, with Steve making a surprise appearance at Dwight Schrute’s wedding in the finale.

5. In the late 1980s, Cheers actor Jay Thomas complained on his radio show about having to kiss his on-screen love interest, Rhea Perlman. James Burrows, the show’s co-creator, immediately fired him because he “insulted Rhea, which meant he insulted all of [Cheers].”

12 Actors Who Disappeared From Popular TV Shows
Photo by Steve Eichner/Getty Images

His character died “a violent yet comedic death” due to a Zamboni mishap.

6. In the Dynasty reboot, Nicollette Sheridan was originally cast as Alexis Carrington Colby. However, she quit before the end of Season 2 “to focus on some personal family responsibilities.”

12 Actors Who Disappeared From Popular TV Shows
Photo by Mark Von Holden/Variety via Getty Images

In an official statement, Nicollette stated, “Working on the Dynasty remake and repeating the legendary role of Alexis has been extremely pleasurable, but the opportunity to spend valuable time with my terminally ill mother is more essential to me right now.

I am deeply grateful to Mark Pedowitz (The CW) and David Stapf (CBS) for letting me return to Los Angeles to be with her, and I wish them and everyone involved with the program a great success. I am hopeful that my followers will embrace my successor as enthusiastically as they did me.”

Then, Elizabeth Gillies, who had previously played Alexis’s daughter, Fallon Carrington, took over the role for three episodes at the end of Season 2.

She wore facial prosthetics to portray Alexis after plastic surgery.

Elizabeth explained to TV Line how she converted into Alexis, saying, “I had to get a life cast done, and I’m a little apprehensive and claustrophobic, so I was worried about how I’d do. They create a mold on your face, and you must breathe through your nose for an hour and a half.

Blue Whale Studios, run by Matthew Silva and Jonah Levy, created the exceedingly thin and remarkable prosthetics that we ultimately chose. It took five hours to get into them and just 45 minutes to exit. However, I began to get used to it.

By the end, it resembled a wonderfully relaxing face mask. I would occasionally fall asleep, which was very strange. It was oddly therapeutic. And I knew it was worthwhile. They painted my chest, arms, and hands with great detail. “I’ve never done anything like that.”

7. Nathalie Kelley played Cristal Flores on Dynasty Season 1, but she announced her resignation during the summer hiatus, telling E! News, “I know I’m not going to Atlanta in July, that I’m staying here [in LA], and I’ve got my life back.”

12 Actors Who Disappeared From Popular TV Shows
Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images

She later told TV Insider, “I signed on before even reading the screenplay. There was a basic outline. I don’t think I was up for the task of a nighttime soap. I was unprepared for that genre. It was not something I had prior experience with. I felt constrained and stuck. At the same time, the writing was confining me a little.

And I believe the best thing they felt they could do was start over. That was a difficult phone call to get as an actor [informing me that I would not be returning]. It caught me by surprise. It prompted me to do a lot of soul-searching and realize that I could have gone further.”

Nathalie’s character Cristal was killed off, and the episode introduced the “real” Cristal.

Ana Brenda Contreras played Cristal in Season 2, but she left for “personal reasons.”

She told People Spain, “It was a decision I made with the producers, and it required a lot of effort. I was carrying a tremendous workload, stress, and personal issues, which made my stay in Atlanta tough and detrimental to my health.

I’m bringing with me the best aspects of my character and my cast mates. I am quite grateful to CW, and we are on excellent terms. I keep in touch with the creatives, and I do not doubt that we will collaborate again.

Finally, Daniella Alonso played Cristal in this sitcom from seasons three to five.


8. Suzanne Somers starred as Chrissy Snow on Three’s Company for five seasons. In 1980, she requested that her salary be increased from $30,000 per episode to $150,000 so that it would match that of co-star John Ritter. However, ABC only provided a $5,000 rise. The day before Suzanne and her husband/manager Alan Hamel returned to renegotiate, he received a phone from a friend with network connections: “They’re going to hang a nun in the marketplace, and the nun is Suzanne.” She was eventually fired.

12 Actors Who Disappeared From Popular TV Shows
Photo by Paul Archuleta/Getty Images

Alan told The Hollywood Reporter that the network was willing to do this because earlier that year, the women on Laverne & Shirley had gotten what they asked for, and they wanted to put an end to it. They’d wreck the chemistry in the company to prove a point.” Jenilee Harrison was cast as Cindy Snow, Chrissy’s cousin.

According to Suzanne, “Getting fired for asking for a raise wasn’t fair, but I landed on my feet, and I’ve done OK.”

9. America Ferrera had planned to leave her role as Amy Sosa on Superstore after five seasons, but due to COVID-19-related production shutdowns, her story arc continued until the first few episodes of Season 6.

Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

She told Variety: “My wish for the show was that it just continued on and on and on and kept on going and that I could start pursuing some of the other creative endeavors that I had been building towards and that I’m starting to do now.”

Following her departure, the show was not renewed for another season. She was featured briefly in the final episode.

10. Roseanne Barr portrayed Roseanne Harris-Conner on Roseanne from 1988 to 1997, returning for the series revival in 2018. However, she was sacked after sending a discriminatory message.

Photo by Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey stated, “Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant, and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show.”

However, the story did not end there for the rest of the cast. ABC retooled the sitcom as The Connors, a spin-off focusing on Roseanne’s daughter, Darlene.

11. In 2011, Charlie Sheen slammed Chuck Lorre, the co-creator of Two and a Half Men, on the radio and later on TMZ.

Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

He labeled him a “clown” and a “charlatan” and stated that he “violently hates” him. He was soon sacked, and his character was murdered in a bizarre subway accident. He was replaced by Ashton Kutcher.

According to reports, Selma Blair chastised Charlie Sheen, her Anger Management co-star and executive producer, for his work ethic in 2013. In retribution, he dismissed her with an expletive-filled text message.

Laura Bell Bundy replaced her.

12. After two seasons as Jesus on The Fosters, Jake T. Austin discovered that his role would be considerably diminished the next season, so he left.

Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/FilmMagic

He didn’t want to be held back from pursuing other pursuits. Noah Centineo took over the role during Season 3.

The show described Jesus’ new appearance as the consequence of surgery he underwent following the vehicle accident he suffered in the Season 2 finale.

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