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Old 06-26-2010, 10:01 AM   #1
janet42
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Default Celebrities Who Passed Away During the Height of Their Careers

The celebrities that I feel passed away during their height of theire careers are

1. Bea Benaderet, she died during the run of Petticoat Junction in 1968, I could see her doing another TV show in the 70's like Buddy Ebsen and Eddie Albert did, if she hadn't passed away so soon.

2. John Ritter I could still see him doing TV and movies today if he hadn't died in 2003.
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Old 06-26-2010, 10:29 AM   #2
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The one person I always think of is Jim Davis who played Jock Ewing on Dallas. He had been in Hollywood since the 1940's. He started his career playing opposite Bette Davis in the film Winter Meeting. When that film flopped Davis ended up starring for most of his career in B movies. He starred in 2 syndicated tv shows in the 1950's, Stories of the Century and Rescue 8 and affter his movie career stalled he was a frequent guest star on tv shows. He later did a few movies with John Wayne. When he was cast on Dallas, he finally became a household name. From what I read he loved his newfound fame. Unfortunatelly during the 3rd season, he was diagnosed with cancer and his illness was very evident in the episodes he was in. He had to wear a wig after he lost all his hair to chemo-therapy. His major storyline of that season was wrapped up ahead of time because he couldn't work anymore. He died before the season was even finished as Dallas ended that year ranked #1 in the country. Dallas kept his spirit alive on the show and they had a portrait of him that they used until the end. I always thought it was unfair that after all those years of struggles, he died at the top of his career.
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Old 06-26-2010, 12:52 PM   #3
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Diana Hyland just began her role as Joan Bradford, the mother on Eight is Enough when she passed away in 1977. She only completed four episodes.

Freddie Prinze was on Chico and the Man, when he took his own life in 1977.

Barbara Colby just began her role as Julie on Phyllis when she was murdered in 1975. She only completed 3 episodes.

These people were older, but still, probably passed away at the height of their careers:

Nick Colasanto as Coach on Cheers in 1985
Selma Diamond as Selma on Night Court in 1985
Florence Halop as Florence on Night Court in 1986
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Old 06-26-2010, 01:16 PM   #4
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Does Ted Knight count? He passed away while he was on Too Close for Comfort. Also Dolph Sweet passed away while he was on Gimme a Break
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Old 06-26-2010, 01:37 PM   #5
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Even the octoginarian actress Judith Lowery was at the "height of her career" passing away while she was playing the role of Mother Dexter on Phyllis in 1976. (She went out on top!)

But, when Redd Foxx died while he was starring in The Royal Family in 1991, I don't think this would count, as most would agree Sanford & Son was the height of his career.
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Old 06-26-2010, 04:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragonflies
Does Ted Knight count? He passed away while he was on Too Close for Comfort. Also Dolph Sweet passed away while he was on Gimme a Break


Yes I think both Ted Knight and Dolph Sweet count. They both died while they were on a series show.
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Old 06-26-2010, 05:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markway895
Even the octoginarian actress Judith Lowery was at the "height of her career" passing away while she was playing the role of Mother Dexter on Phyllis in 1976. (She went out on top!)

But, when Redd Foxx died while he was starring in The Royal Family in 1991, I don't think this would count, as most would agree Sanford & Son was the height of his career.
He died in a comeback role. I think Royal Family had a chance to be a hit but it was never going to be as big as Sanford and Son.
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Old 06-26-2010, 09:35 PM   #8
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Old 06-26-2010, 10:45 PM   #9
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Dan Blocker who was co-starring on Bonanza when he passed away at the age of 43.

Freddie Prinz from Chico and the Man
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Old 06-27-2010, 03:10 PM   #10
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Ward Bond on Wagon Train
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Old 06-27-2010, 03:22 PM   #11
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Jack Soo (he was so loved Barney Miller did a retrospective ep in his memory)
Michael Landon (was in the stages of developing a new TV series)
Elizabeth Montgomery (was making successful TV movies right to the end)
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Old 11-01-2010, 02:33 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janet42
The celebrities that I feel passed away during their height of theire careers are

1. Bea Benaderet, she died during the run of Petticoat Junction in 1968, I could see her doing another TV show in the 70's like Buddy Ebsen and Eddie Albert did, if she hadn't passed away so soon.

2. John Ritter I could still see him doing TV and movies today if he hadn't died in 2003.

8 Simple Rules... pretty much died with John Ritter (even though they tried to keep that zombie going for another season and a half).
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Old 11-02-2010, 12:42 AM   #13
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Definitely Freddie Prinze and John Ritter!

Others:

Madeline Kahn - she was acting in many comedies for years and then starred on Cosby until her death midway through the 4th and final season.

Michael Conrad - he was Sgt. Phil Esterhaus on Hill Street Blues from very early 1981 until late 1983.

Don Messick - he was set to reprise his voice as Dr. Benton Quest on S2 of The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest, but fell ill after trying for no more than 8 episodes.

Mel Blanc - the man of many cartoon voices: he died very shortly after completing The Jetsons Movie. Co-incidentally George O'Hanlon who did the voice of George Jetson also later died soon after.
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Old 11-02-2010, 12:50 AM   #14
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Phil Hartman. He was starring as Bill McNeal on Newsradio at the time of his untimely death by homicide.
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Old 11-02-2010, 02:41 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by megamanj2004
Definitely Freddie Prinze and John Ritter!

Others:

Madeline Kahn - she was acting in many comedies for years and then starred on Cosby until her death midway through the 4th and final season.

Michael Conrad - he was Sgt. Phil Esterhaus on Hill Street Blues from very early 1981 until late 1983.

Don Messick - he was set to reprise his voice as Dr. Benton Quest on S2 of The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest, but fell ill after trying for no more than 8 episodes.

Mel Blanc - the man of many cartoon voices: he died very shortly after completing The Jetsons Movie. Co-incidentally George O'Hanlon who did the voice of George Jetson also later died soon after.

Apparently, by the time that new episodes of The Jetsons were produced in the 1980s, George O'Hanlon had very poor eyesight and short-term memory due to a stroke. His lines had to be fed to him by the director bit, by bit for him to repeat.
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