Follow TV Tropes


Chronically Killed Actor

Go To
"I could die for you in every way known to man, and in a few ways known only to scriptwriters. I could see now that provided I remained fit, the future held many more deaths yet. I could only hope that they would serve some purpose and that perhaps a reputation might come in the same way as a coral formation, which is made up of a deposit of countless tiny corpses."

This actor's character always dies. Almost inevitable if the actor is confined to villainous roles or ill-fated mentors...which explains the high number of British actors on this page.

See also Vasquez Always Dies, when actresses that play Action Girls meet this fate; Black Dude Dies First, when it's a black character that gets offed; and They Killed Kenny Again, where the repeated deaths happen to a character rather than an actor. See also Dead Star Walking, and contrast Contractual Immortality.

Websites such as Cinemorgue help put together which actors are bound to this.

As of December 2016, the official count can be found here.


As this is a Death Trope, expect unmarked spoilers. Beware.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 

    Films — Live-Action 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Michael Coleman is a go-to for walk-on deaths in Canadian productions including Supernatural and Eureka.
  • Michael Shanks is this for TV roles - Stargate SG-1, Smallville, Stargate SG-1, Burn Notice, Stargate SG-1, Andromeda, Stargate SG-1, Sanctuary, plus that Little Red Riding Hood remake. Seriously not kidding about SG-1. (It's said that Dr. Daniel Jackson doesn't have a medical history, he has a medical encyclopedia.)
  • British actor Jamie Bamber, who has had so many of his characters get killed off (ten at last count) that they're apparently running out of ways to do it. Six have been shot—Tom from Ghost Rig, Tony Dewhurst from The Scarlet Pimpernel note , Mitchell Hoban from Outcasts, Vincent Plowman from The Messengers, Archie Kennedy from Horatio Hornblower, and Matt Devlin from Law & Order: UK. The final two even died in an eerily similar manner—Blood from the Mouth and Heroic Sacrifice, prompting a commentator in one of LOUK's forums to snark, "Jamie looks pretty good dying onscreen. As well he should, he's done it so many times already." And the other four? Two of them (on Cold Case and Ghost Whisperer) were already dead when the show started, the third (on Star Trek Continues) was outright made a Red Shirt (prompting their commentators to wonder if the producers were poking fun at this trend), and the fourth, the titular John Doe: Vigilante, died after taking a Cyanide Pill. His appearances on House and Rizzoli & Isles just barely subverted this, having his character become very ill on the first show and fall from a bridge in the second, only to recover/be rescued in the next episode.
  • Christopher Eccleston almost always ends up dying in whatever movie or TV series he's starring in, so much so that this isn't really considered a spoiler anymore (from a certain point of view, even including the end of his tenure as the Doctor). If the story is dark enough to feature character deaths, the question isn't if his character will die, just how. One could easily list at least 16 death scenes of varying brutality or (rarer) characters that die off-screen. His mini-series Blackout is probably an intentional subversion in this regard. His character ends up deciding not to commit suicide at the very last second.
  • An in-universe example in Monk: In the 100th episode, Randy shows up with an actress girlfriend whose specialty is getting killed in TV shows. It becomes a Brick Joke at the end of the episode when Stottlemeyer and the culprit of the week are wrestling with a gun; it goes off randomly and she certainly looks like she's been shot by accident. But then she recovers and admits, embarrassed, that she acted like she'd been shot on reflex.
  • Jacob Kogan, at least in some of his television roles.
    • In the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode "Blood Brothers", Tripp Raines is killed with a rock to the head by his half-brother Arturo.
    • In the final episode of Delocated, David is choked to death by his father.
    • It remains to be seen whether his character Luca Jameson will live or die in The Tomorrow People.
  • Kristen Bell has died in Heroes, Deadwood, and her 2 appearances in Robot Chicken have earned her brutal fatalities. Even video games aren't exempt since her character gets Killed Off for Real in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. Anna in Frozen even comes very close to getting killed, by freezing into an ice statue. The Good Place goes a bit further with Bell's character dying before the show takes place.
  • Kevin Tighe. With the exception of Emergency! and Roy Desoto, Kevin seems to die in the majority of the roles he plays. He often chooses villain roles, probably to distance himself from Roy, and that is partly the reason.
  • Alan Dale has now died of a heart attack on three different shows (Neighbours, The O.C. and Ugly Betty), and, oddly enough, each show had his character in a relationship with a gold-digger and in a strained relationship with his adult children at the time.
  • A specific series example: Geoffrey Palmer has appeared as three different characters in three different Doctor Who stories and each time been killed off early onnote . By the third time it was a Running Gag.
  • Noah Bean has died on four well-known shows already: a Victim of the Week on Cold Case, as Ellen's fiancè David Damages, Fletcher on Nikita and Regina's lost love Daniel on Once Upon a Time.
  • Jaime Murray has died in Warehouse 13 (ok she gets better but still), Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, Dexter and Fright Night 2. Several jokes were made when Hustle finished that she had actually survived the shows run.
  • Rick Cosnett has died in, so far, all three of his regular/recurring roles on American TV; killed as Wes Maxfield on The Vampire Diaries, suicide on both The Flash (2014) as Detective Edward 'Eddie' Thawne and Quantico as Elias Harper.
  • Actress Jasmine Guy doesn't necessarily die chronically, but several films/series immediately preceding or following A Different World have killed her characters off. Namely, "Dominic La Rue" in Harlem Nights, "Roxie" in Dead Like Me, and "Grams" in The Vampire Diaries. In the latter two series, her character continues to exist after being killed, however.
  • Despite having a relatively small number of tv and film credits to his name, Colin Donnell is developing a reputation for this trope; most notably, his characters on Arrow and The Affair were both series regulars whose death had a significant impact on the show. He's died in at least one other guest star role (Unforgettable) as well.
  • Denis O'Hare has died onscreen in three of his five American Horror Story roles. (Granted, he came back as a ghost in two of those.) In the other two seasons, his characters may have survived, though one had an inoperable brain tumour and the other had been heavily mutilated.
  • Law Lok-lam is probably the Trope Codifier in Hong Kong that he 'died' five times in different dramas in a 24-hour period only by coincidence...Though this can be justified by the fact that he has played a lot of roles for many years, and the company he works for has a shortage of elderly actors at that time period.
  • Pedro Pascal lampshades this in a WIRED interview that he usually dies in his TV roles such as Game of Thrones and Law & Order and its two spin-offs (Law & Order: Criminal Intent and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit). He's not even safe in some of his movie roles such as Kingsman: The Golden Circle and The Equalizer 2. His Triple Frontier co-star, Oscar Isaac, jokingly mentions that Pedro made a career of dying spectacularly.




Example of: