Five TV Characters Who Vanished from Their Shows

Paul October 2, 2012 67

The best TV shows are ones full of mystery, but there’s not one quite as head scratching as the “case of the disappearing character.” It happens when a character just up and vanishes one day, never to return. Err, almost never to return.

I hunted down five times I can remember this happening on various TV shows, and these characters perhaps were raptured or something, are sitting on the right hand of God, I don’t know. Or they just sucked and were clumsily written out.

Santiago – Friday Night Lights

Friday Night Lights is an amazing show, but season two was home to a number of rather stupid plotlines that were never mentioned again including Landry’s murder, the Latina housemaid and of course, Santiago. He was a troubled youth adopted by Buddy Garity and seemed to be evolving into a real character. But when season three came around? He was nowhere to be found. What the hell happened to him? Was he just around to remind us that yes, there were Latinos in Texas, if only briefly?

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  • Frank

    When the Doris Day Show debuted she had two children and her name was Mrs. Martin. In season 3 her children disappeared with no explanation and she was now called MISS Martin. Were they abducted by aliens?

  • Tiago Andrade

    Mandy from West Wing could also be in this list.

  • Penny Marie Sautereau

    Actually the original disappearing character was on a soap opera, All My Children. The Martins had two children. Tad martin grew up to be a main character on the soap throughout the decades, but his brother went upstairs one day in the early 60′s to polish his skis and never returned, nor was ever mentioned again.

  • Rick Laird

    What about Donna Pinciotti’s sister on The 70′s Show. One show and she was gone.

  • Peaches

    When “The King of Queens” debuted, Doug’s wife, Carrie had a sister. I don’t remember her name, but she did a disappearing act early in the first season.

    • Larry

      The King of Queens is the king of the missing characters. Carrie had a sister, Dougs friend Richie and Doug and Carrie’s dog all vanished from the show with no explanation ever given.

  • chuck

    What about Snake from What’s Happening?

  • Tim

    George Costanza mentions a brother in the early seasons of Seinfeld. We never actually meet him, but then he’s never mentioned in the later seasons.

    • Larry

      Also Elaine has a sister early in the show, she went and visited her in St. Louis. Then later in the show it’s never brought up again.

  • john

    I found it a little offensive that the author felt it necessary to say that perhaps the missing folks were Raptured or something. Why didn’t you say that perhaps, they all jumped off a cliff to meet Allah and the many promised virgins? I guess if you did that, you feared that some Muslims might come looking for you with plans of putting your head on a stick. But Christians are always easy targets.

    • ohplease

      Oh brother.. go put some man pants on and stop being so thin skinned..

    • Brian

      Since when is the idea of someone being called to sit by Gods side considered offensive? Get over yourself. Whiners like you are an embarrassment to real Christians, like me.

    • Sabah

      Now this has become a religious movement..SMH

      Take it down a thousand

  • jason

    after googling real quick……. Max was only on Saved by the bell a short time, because the place was sold for new owners…. and for Santiago, he was screwed over by the writers strike, and just fell outta the scripts.

  • Chooch

    Actually Chuck was in several episodes of Happy Days. Played by 3 different actors.

    What about Ray Romano’s kids on Everybody loves Raymond? They’d come in for an episode and then be missing for 3 to 5.

    • jl519

      When the show first started, as Ray introduces his family in the intro, he says the show isn’t about the kids. That’s why they’re not always around, they aren’t always important to the story.

    • dtess

      also note that they boys were introduced as gregory and matthew before being changed to michael and geoffrey

  • heta

    What about Morgan Matthews from Boy meets world and Becky from Roseanne

    • joklo

      Morgan from Boy Meets World was replaced. She was sent to her room and dropped off the show for a short time, but made a joke about being sent to her room again when she finally returned.

  • Wutta

    Charlie Frances from Fringe. Yes, he was killed off in one world but in the alternate world he still existed until all the sudden he just disappeared.

  • Jenna

    Kera from Reba disappeared for a long time then came walking through the door one episode and Reba said “Where have you been”? LOL

    • Larry

      The actress who played her suffered from anorexia and was sick and in treatment thus she left the show. When she got better she returned.

  • Sean

    The original cast in ‘Save by the Bell’ was not the original 6 you mentioned.. they did though have a charactor named Miss. Bliss.. of the 6 you mentioned only Screech and Zack were there

    • joklo

      Lisa Turtle was also on the original episodes. However, the show was originally called “Good Morning, Miss Bliss.” The show was supposed to be about her, but the kids took over and the show was changed to Saved By The Bell. The show was also moved from Indianapolis to Los Angeles.

  • steve

    The running back from Blue Mountain State Craig Shilo( sam jones 3rd)

    • jamie

      He got replaced by that crazy guy who they added to the team I think. Sam went to jail I’m pretty sure..

  • Sebastian Michaelis

    Bobby Martin
    All My Children.

    Character went to attic to get ski wax
    Actor was fired
    Character was never heard from again.

    • Perplexio

      Re: Bobby Martin on “All My Children.” Yes he went into the attic to get his skis for a school ski trip and never came back down.

      I’ve heard there was an episode several years later (20-30 years) where Opal somehow got locked in the Martins attic and stumbled upon a skeleton wearing a winter jacket, touque, and holding skis.

      I wish AMC had tracked down the actor who played Bobby and had him come downstairs with his skis for the final episode of the show.

  • wes

    Fresh Prince mothers changed, no reason given. Bewitched husbands changed, no reason given.

    • joklo

      The story on the mother from Fresh Prince is that her and Will Smith didn’t get along off camera and one of them had to go. Clearly they chose her. The new mother steps in right after Nicky’s birth. Jazz makes a joke about how after Vivian had the baby she looked like a “completely new woman.”

    • Tone LG

      Dick York left bewitched due to increasing back pain following an injury sustained a few years before on a movie set. Special furniture was used on the set for him due to his back problems, and other cast and crew members had to help him get around in between scenes. He had to leave the show when he suddenly collapsed one day on the set in 1969. Actually, the show had an unusual amount of roles played by more than one person: two Darrins, two Gladys Kravitzes, two Louise Tates, two of Darrin’s father.

  • confidential

    Barney Miller’s kids appeared only in the first episode and his wife surfaced very rarely.

  • Brian

    Walt of LOST actually had a bigger part, if you have the DVDs and watch the “Epilogue.” Answers some questions.

    • marie

      yha Walt had a big part but i did feel his part was kinda strange that whole show was strange i was like what is going on here were the writers high or something oh well it was still entertaining

  • AnonymousG

    Chris Isaak played an FBI Agent on Twin Peaks. During his investigation of Laura Palmer’s murder he found a ring under a trailer, picked it up, the screen faded to white and he was never seen or mentioned ever again.

    • Spocko

      Chris Isaak’s character was in the Twin Peaks movie prequel Fire Walk With Me, not the Twin Peaks TV show.

  • Me1

    Eugene Barkley of the Big Valley stayed in college forever. Nicky Banks on the Fresh Prince went from Newborn to 4 years old over one summer hiatus.

  • Spocko

    How about Janice Rand on Star Trek TOS? I think she only did 7 or 8 episodes and disappeared without explanation.

  • joklo

    As for Judy on Family Matters, the actress said she was often asked where she was after her disappearance from the show. The last time we see her she was told by Harriet to go clean her room so she jokingly replies she’s “upstairs STILL cleaning her room.”

    • Rayn

      I think aside from Judy, the biggest missing person was the Aunt(Richie’s Mom). She just stopped showing up in episodes then one obscure Christmas episode, Richie wishes his mom would come back from whereever she was, to spend the holidays with him(which she does). Harriet makes some referance to the fact that she had a singing gig somewhere, but that character was all but written off after she kept turning down the Lt. Murtoh(Carl’s previous boss)

  • Jake

    Kramer’s dog from the pilot of Seinfeld!!!!!

  • Valerie

    Let’s not forget Valerie of Valerie’s Family. Show was renamed and Sandy Duncan joined the cast to cover the void.
    (There was some sort of dispute going on behind the scenes.)

    • mimimom

      Actually, Valerie Harper had a contract dispute and they fired her. They then killed off the mom and brought in Sandy Duncan.

  • Mike

    Seven from married w children,went upstairs never came down.

  • ghostwriter

    Judy winslow or Jamiee Foxworth left Family Matters after like season 3 and they just wrote her character out of the story for no reason. But after that she went in to a singing group that fell under. Shortly after that she turned to drugs and got into Porn under the name Crave.

  • blarmey

    Lois and Clark – Clark gets a troubled orphan “Jack” a job in the newsroom. He is prominent for a few episodes then vanishes. Probably because they didn’t need two Jimmy Olsen’s. Also, doesn’t the skanky society column writer vanish without a word? She was in the opening credits.

  • Bellatrix Lestarange

    Chuck appeared on more than one episode of “Happy Days”, and he was played by two different actors. However, he did disappear after the first season, and Howie exclaimed he only had two kids on later episodes. I favor the theory he was abducted by the government and the family’s memories of Chuck were erased myself.

  • Jodie

    I’m curious as to what happened to Cat Grant, from Lois and Clark. All first season she is there to antagonize Lois, then in Season 2, she’s gone. Nothing is ever mentioned about what happened to her either.

    • Tess

      I like to think Lois had enough and got rid of her…

  • Tori

    Eric Van Der Woodsen from Gossip Girl wasn’t even given a fair send off. The mom, who was a fairly crappy parent to begin with, just kind of goes “Oh, he went off to college… I think.”

  • Watchestoomuchtv

    Here are some examples of commonly asked about TV characters who were written off their shows with little explanation, that had strong real life reasons that people didn’t know about or ignored.

    Walt from Lost: Real life trumps fiction, get the eff over it. When Malcolm David Kelley’s contract expired after season 3, his parents played hardball with ABC and Lost’s producers and no agreement was reached until after Walt’s storyline was already re-written for Hurley.

    Chuck Cunningham: Was already in college and not living at home in the second season of Happy Days, as producers were never happy with any of the actors that played him, he left for an out of state college and was simply not mentioned after that. In the series finale Howard Cunningham makes mention of how proud he is of his “two” children, an out-take shows actor Tom Bosley asking “what about Chuck”, pointing out that later writers on the show probably didn’t even know that Chuck had ever exsisted.

    Arnold from Happy Days: Sold Arnold’s to Al Delvecchio when his daughter got married. Why would his daughter getting married make him need to sell his resteraunt and move out of town?. It didn’t, actor Pat Morita just had a better offer for his own show(that failed)and left.

    Joan Bradford, the first mom from Eight is Enough: The Character was killed off after only five episodes. Actress Diana Hyland died of breast cancer after filming only five episodes. Probably before any of y’alls time, but it was quite common for people to ask about this back in the day. Even though Hyland’s battle with cancer and eventual death was well publicised, people still didn’t make the connection.

    Craig Shilo, Blue Mountan State: Actor Sam Jones III was arrested for drug trafficing and and fired.

    Valerie Hogan from Valerie(later valeries family, later the hogan family): Fueding between network executives and actress/producer Valerie Harper ended with Harper quitting the show, and the network keeping the show on the air out of spite. Having several good writers and a solid Sit-com cast, ratings actualy improved after Harper’s departure.

    Warrick Brown from CSI: While re-negotiating his contract, actor Gary Dourdan was involved in several erratic public events making him generaly un-hireable. Was later arrested for drugs.

    Too many to list, WWE and TNT Wrestling: Although it’s not too uncommon for wrestlers to fake serious injuries or death for a story line, it’s actualy more common for wrestlers to be seriously injured or die in real life. Despite persisting rumours to the contrary Owen Hart, Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit are not going to make a surprise appearance at the next Pay-Per-Veiw.

    Chico Rodriguez from Chico And The Man: Actor Freddie Prinze died of a self inflicted gun shot wound. Realy, people from the seventies couldn’t figure out why an actor being dead meant that the character had to be written out of a show.

    Darrin Stephens from Bewitched: Wasn’t written out of the show, but the actor was switched without explanation. Dick York had a debilitating back injury that forced him to retire from acting. The similar looking and similarly named Dick Sargent was not crippled or bed-ridden, so he was hired to take over the role.

    Julie Romano, One Day at a Time: This Character had a habit of being flakey and dissapearing for years at a time. Mackenzie Philips, the actress that played her, had a habit of being flakey and getting fired for freebasing cocaine and herion on set. Could the two factors be related?, you tell me.

  • Katty Tat

    Diana Hyland, the 1st mom on Eight is Enough, and John Travolta was involved in a May-December romance at the time. Her death devastated him. It happened just as he started shooting the film, Saturday Night Fever.

  • terst

    I heard that the actor who impersonated Walt from Lost (don’t remember his name) was growing fast and while on the island he would have been still just a child, he was already a teenager much bigger than when he started, and it would look quite weird. Don’t know if it’s true.

    What about Phoebe’s twin sister in friends?

  • Mir

    I know this isn’t a human character, but Charmed fans would have noticed that Kit the cat just disappears one day and is never seen or mentioned again, until 3-5 seasons later, when someone (I think Billy) asks about a picture of a cat they have in an album, and the sisters simply reply “oh, Kit. She was a great cat” or something to that effect. No explanations ever given, no episodes where the sisters wonder where their cat disappeared to. And Kit was actually a fairly important character in the beginning.

    • Pat

      Kit the cat was not actually a cat, but a guardian/familiar for witches just coming into their power. There was an episode showing she was the sisters familiar, and therefore the premise was, when the girls no longer needed their guiding familiar, she would move on to the next, presumably new, witch.

  • Tom

    Chuck made more then one appearance on the show. He made several that first season. There have been 2 actors who have played chuck…. Gavan O’ Herlihy, , (1974) & Randolph Roberts (1974-75)

  • Carol

    I guess you’re all too young to remember, so nobody mentioned the (to the best of my memory unnamed) baby on “McMillan & Wife.” That show was part of the “NBC Mystery Movie” lineup (in three-way rotation with McCloud and Columbo). In that series, Rock Hudson played police commissioner McMillen and Susan Saint James played his wife. In the series, James’ real-life pregnancy was written into her character’s plot-line in a subtle way, but they missed the boat. There should have been a episode is which she was in labor but was trying to ignore it while she and her husband were in the midst of solving one of their mysteries, then would have had to end up making a mad dash to the hospital. They didn’t do that. There were a few episodes in which she was pregnant, then there was an episode in which people were running up and down stairs with diapers and bottles and after that the baby was never mentioned again! Later, when SSJ left the show and they wrote that her character had been killed (don’t remember how), he would have at least had a son or daughter around, but all he had was the housekeeper and the show no longer worked. It was cancelled after that last season, I think.

  • Diane

    Wasn’t there an older child, making 6 total children on Cosby show in first one or two episodes, then there were only 5 kids. In one episode Cliff asked Claire why they had five kids and she says we didn’t want 6. That was a line from Cosby’s stand-up comedy act. Anyone know if my memory is right ore did I dream about the 6th kid?

    • Pat

      That was the first one on my list! YES, I distinctly remember SIX Cosby kids, then jokes about only wanting 5, but I have never been able to find any info on the eldest. Sandra was not the original eldest.

  • rainbow

    Actually, one night in bed, one of them asked the other, “Why do we have four kids?” and the answer was “Because we didn’t want five.” Not long after that, Sandra, the Princeton student, debuted as their fifth child.

  • Tvjunkietoo

    Yes, I think the actor who played Walt aged very quickly during that period of filming (as teenage boys often do). My guess is that this also played a role in their decision not to renew his contract.

  • Joanne

    What about the youngest child from Step by Step. He just vanished and we don’t what happened to him.

  • carrie

    i got one for you,when happy days first started coming on their we three children chuck ,richie,and joanie what happened to chuck?

  • Stefano

    Gareth Thomas from Blake’s 7 also could have fit in this list (he played Blake, the titular hero – and was replaced/succeeded by Avon, portrayed by Paul Darrow).

  • fredthe3rd

    I assumed Walt was written out of it because the actor was ageing faster than the character given that only a few weeks pass in the first few seasons.

  • MdH

    How about Boxey on the new Battlestar Gallactica. He was in the pilot, but never seen again.

  • Agreenman

    Grace Lee Whitney who played Janice Rand was allegedly sexually assaulted by an unnamed executive while on Star Trek and fired when she complained. She has small parts as her character in four of the Star Trek movies and an episode of Star Trek:Voyager