2010s Sitcom Stars Who Died Tragically

The most memorable television comedies of the 2010s are in part so highly regarded because they're relatively new and still fresh in the collective memory — which makes the deaths of actors from those still-fresh shows extra painful and shocking. In the second decade of the 20th century, the television sitcom experienced a revival and a creative renaissance. With more outlets for narrative TV than ever before — broadcast networks, numerous basic and premium cable channels, and an increasing array of streaming services — comedies played with the form and format, pushing past the historical limitations of a laugh track and studio audience.

Any show is only as good as its actors, and TV comedies of the 2010s were so good that they attracted luminaries usually associated with film, theater, and television classics of the past. However, after turning in career-capping or breakthrough performances in these modern comedies, a great many of those actors died, in accidents, of disease, or just suddenly. Here are all the biggest stars of 2010s sitcoms who didn't live very long past that very decade.

Andre Braugher (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)

An accomplished stage actor and star of numerous Shakespearean productions, Andre Braugher was primarily known as a dramatic actor before he was cast as the unflappable, upstanding, and nerdy Captain Raymond Holt on "Brooklyn Nine-Nine." Braugher won an Emmy Award for the crime drama "Homicide: Life on the Street" — the opposite of "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," the latter being another police series featuring the actor's stone-faced portrayal of an NYPD lifer and father figure trying to make a difference in his community, while heading up a precinct full of colorful and immature police detectives. "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" ran for eight seasons across Fox and NBC and earned Braugher four Emmy nominations.

On December 12, 2023, Braugher's publicist told Variety that the actor had died not long after being diagnosed with an undisclosed malady. Days later, Braugher's representative told the media that their client died from lung cancer at age 61. "Forever lucky to have gone on such a journey with you. Ringside seat," Braughter's "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" costar Chelsea Peretti (Gina) wrote on Instagram. "Is it weird that I am also grieving for what Captain Holt meant to Gina?"

George Segal (The Goldbergs)

On "The Goldbergs," an ABC sitcom that heavily trafficked in nostalgia, the mere presence of cast member George Segal provided a fair amount of memories and goodwill. An esteemed film actor in classic dramas like "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (for which he earned an Oscar nomination), Segal was better known to younger audiences for a couple of roles: Magazine publisher Jack Gallo on "Just Shoot Me," and as the warm and vivacious Albert "Pops" Solomon, grandfather and best friend to main character Adam Goldberg on "The Goldbergs" — a show set in the 1980s, a decade full of relics that should be TV shows. Pops served as Adam's frequent co-conspirator in adventures and camcorder re-creations of famous movies, until the character died during the 2020-2021 season.

Pops died because the actor who portrayed him did, too. Segal underwent bypass surgery in March 2021. Complications developed, and the actor died at age 87. "Working with George was an honor and some of the happiest moments of my life," Segal's TV grandson Sean Giambrone wrote on Instagram. "I wish everyone could have met him.

Christopher Evan Welch (Silicon Valley)

HBO's "Silicon Valley" told the satirical saga of a computer programmer who comes up with an idea and gets seduced, exploited, and compromised by corrupt and cutthroat tech industry gatekeepers. The coder's journey from concept to development begins with begging venture capitalists for money, and in Season 1 of "Silicon Valley," that process is dominated by Peter Gregory, a wealthy and successful investor so brilliant that he comes across as inscrutable and strange. Seemingly representative of similar real-world tech figures, Peter Gregory abruptly and unexpectedly died while on vacation in Africa, in the middle of the first season of "Silicon Valley."

Christopher Evan Welch, an intense character actor previously best known for the drama "Rubicon," won the role of Peter Gregory. Welch's agent confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that the actor died on December 2, 2013, three years after he learned that he had lung cancer. Welch was in remission when he filmed his scenes for the "Silicon Valley" pilot," after which the cancer was found to have reemerged and spread to the actor's brain. Welch managed to film about half a season's worth of "Silicon Valley" episodes before his death. The series premiered in 2014, months after Welch's death at age 48.

Louie Anderson (Baskets)

The surreal and sad "Baskets," co-created by and starring comic Zach Galifianakis, revolved around Chip Baskets, a pretentious classically-trained clown who moves back to his hometown of Bakersfield, California, to cope with his mother. Portraying the Costco-obsessed, constantly chattering Christine Baskets, a woman who channels her profound grief and neediness into an obsession with her twin DJ sons and her Arby's franchise: comedian Louie Anderson. The comic, a staple of the standup scene since the 1980s who also hosted "Family Feud" and parlayed his childhood experiences into the cartoon "Life with Louie," based his portrayal of the complicated and overbearing Christine on his own mother and won an Emmy Award for his efforts.

On January 18, 2022, Anderson's publicist announced that the comedian and actor checked into a Las Vegas hospital following a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. It's a variety of cancer that attacks the lymph nodes, and Anderson immediately began treatments for the relatively rare disease. Just three days later, Anderson died at the age of 68. "His essence triggered child-like euphoria when he was around," Galifianakis told "Entertainment Tonight." "He was caring and tender."

Cameron Boyce (Jessie)

To a generation of viewers who grew up watching the Disney Channel's programming slate of live-action, kid-centered sitcoms, all reran and marathoned for years, Cameron Boyce was a familiar face and a superstar. Even before he portrayed the son of classic movie villain Cruella De Vil, in three "Descendants" installments — a Disney movie, where strange things are known to happen on set, incidentally — he popped up on 2010s comedies like "Shake It Up," "Good Luck Charlie" and co-starred on "Jessie." For 98 episodes of that sitcom, Boyce portrayed Luke Ross, a scheming and obnoxious young charge of the titular overwhelmed nanny. Boyce continued to play the character on the camp-set "Jesse" spinoff "Bunk'd."

Boyce spent the evening of July 5, 2019, with his parents, then returned home, went to bed, and didn't wake up in the morning. "He passed away in his sleep due to a seizure which was a result of an ongoing medical condition for which he was being treated," Boyce's parents said in a statement (via ABC News). Boyce was 20 years old.

Glenne Headly (Future Man)

Viewers of Hulu's 2017 to 2020 sci-fi comedy series "Future Man" probably recognized the actor who portrayed Diane Futturman from her extensive list of TV and film appearances. Glenne Headly previously starred in "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels," "Lonesome Dove," and "Mr. Holland's Opus" before turning in numerous single-episode appearances on 2010s sitcoms like "Psych," "Parks and Recreation," and "The League." In "Future Man," Hedley played the worried and aloof mother of main character Josh Futterman, a janitor at a drug company, called upon by soldiers from the future to prevent humanity's extinction in this bizarre time travel story.

"Future Man" hadn't yet premiered or finished production on its first season by June 2017, when Headly unexpectedly died at the age of 62. The actor died from the aftereffects of a pulmonary embolism, Headley's husband told The New York Times. The role of Diane Futturman was not recast, and the episodes that Hedley completed aired intact.

Linda Porter (Superstore)

Linda Porter began her screen acting career in her mid-fifties, but she quickly racked up more than 70 credits since the 1980s, primarily guest star appearances on sitcoms like "My Name is Earl" and "Frasier." Her most notable work would be her final jobs: as Lady Slot-Addict on the 2017 revival of "Twin Peaks," and as Myrtle "The Turtle" Vartanian on "Superstore." Seemingly a sweet little old lady type stuck working a low-paying job at her extremely advanced age, Porter played the slow-moving character with restraint and carefully timed outbursts, like agitating for a union among her fellow big box employees or regaling others with dark and shocking revelations of her long-ago youth.

The fifth season of "Superstore" premiered on September 26, 2019. That same day, Porter died. Diagnosed with cancer years earlier, the actor's health had declined to the point where she'd been unable to participate in the filming of any "Superstore" episodes after Season 4. "Here's hoping the angels don't call cut right away because your best stuff always came at the end. We'll miss you Linda Porter," "Superstore" star Ben Feldman wrote on Instagram. Porter was 86 years old.

Cory Monteith (Glee)

"Glee" was a high-concept series. A dark comedy about a nasty high school ruled by cliques, it was also an inspiring show about found family with lots of romantic drama and numerous musical numbers. Cory Monteith anchored "Glee" in its first three seasons as Finn Hudson, a dumb but sweet star student and athlete, who finds his spiritual home among the social outcasts and extremely talented singers in his Lima, Ohio, high school's glee club.

Monteith dealt with addiction for many years, first misusing drugs at age 13 and entering a rehab program at age 19. In March 2013, Monteith again sought treatment in a clinic setting, but just four months later, the actor was found deceased in a hotel room in Vancouver, B.C. An autopsy performed immediately after by the British Columbia Coroners Service determined that Monteith died from mixed drug toxicity, or a fatal combination of alcohol and heroin. "Glee" was still on the air when Monteith died; the show opted to have Finn Hudson die off-screen as well. The actor was 31.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Carol Ann Susi (The Big Bang Theory)

On "The Big Bang Theory," Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) fancied himself a ladies' man, but he was actually a hardcore mama's boy who still lived at home to enjoy his mother's home cooking and undivided attention. But they usually just screamed at each other through the walls. "The Big Bang Theory" writers employed a venerable sitcom device to mine the most laughs out of the screaming, needy Mrs. Wolowitz: She was never seen, only heard, and said to be so dislikable that there wouldn't be an actor around who could play her. Producers enlisted Carol Ann Susi — a seasoned comic actor with dozens of small sitcom roles to her name, like "Seinfeld," "'Til Death," and "Becker" — to provide the shrieking, bellowing, just off-screen voice of Mrs. Wolowitz.

Early in the production of the eighth season of "The Big Bang Theory," Susi died of cancer at the age of 62. Her character died, too, perishing off camera. "Unseen by viewers, the Mrs. Wolowitz character became a bit of a mystery throughout the show's eight seasons. What was not a mystery, however, was Carol Ann's immense talent and comedic timing, which were on display during each unforgettable appearance," "Big Bang Theory" producers said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.

Charlie Murphy (Black Jesus)

Once known primarily for his family connections — he was a stand-up comic like his brother, Eddie Murphy — Charlie Murphy established himself as a comedy powerhouse on two cable TV hits of the 21st century. In 2003, his recollections of the crazy, real-life stories of Rick James and Prince were dramatized on two episodes of Comedy Central's "Chappelle's Show." And from 2014 to 2019, Murphy was part of the regular cast of Adult Swim's "Black Jesus." Imagining that Jesus Christ returns to Earth as a Black man in contemporary Compton, California, "Black Jesus" featured Murphy as Vic, Christ's nemesis and landlord who firmly didn't believe that his tenant was really who he said he was. At the beginning of Season 3, Vic was no longer a problem, as the character had died. That was out of necessity, because of Murphy's death.

On April 11, 2017, Murphy wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, "One to Sleep On: Release the past to rest as deeply as possible." A day later, the actor and comedian died. Murphy had told only a few friends and relatives that he'd been diagnosed with leukemia, a cancer of the white blood cells. Even those who knew weren't aware just how grave Murphy's health situation had become. In the midst of chemotherapy treatments at a hospital in New York City, Murphy died at the age of 57.

Matthew Perry (The Odd Couple)

Forever familiar as Chandler Bing on "Friends," Matthew Perry stayed active in network sitcoms into the 2010s. During the 2011-12 TV season, Perry starred as Ben Donovan, the put-upon manager of a failing sports venue in "Mr. Sunshine," which he co-created. A year later, Perry was back with "Go On," portraying a grieving widower who finds comfort and friendship in a support group. And from 2015 to 2017, Perry co-created and anchored a remake of the '70s sitcom "The Odd Couple," portraying the sloppy sportswriter Oscar Madison opposite Thomas Lennon's fastidious Felix Unger.

On October 28, 2023, Perry played pickleball, sent a tragic final text to his "Friends" costar Jennifer Aniston, and relaxed in the heated pool at his Los Angeles home. His live-in assistant returned to the residence to find that Perry had gone unconscious and slipped beneath the water, and emergency health workers couldn't revive the actor. An autopsy by the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner's office determined that Perry died from drowning, caused by a loss of consciousness and bodily function. Blood tests determined that Perry, who had sought treatment for substance abuse issues on multiple occasions over many years, died from the effects of a high level of ketamine. While the actor had been taking therapeutic doses of the drug for mental health issues, the amount in his system constituted a fatally high dose. Perry was 54.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

John Beasley (The Soul Man)

Cedric the Entertainer was such a hit as Rev. Boyce "The Voice" Ballantine on "Hot in Cleveland," that TV Land ordered a spinoff focused on the character called "The Soul Man." It fleshed out the world of the former soul star turned preacher, including adding a supportive influence as well as comic foil in the form of Boyce's father, Barton Moses Ballantine, a now-retired pastor and member of his son's church's Board of Elders. Bringing gravitas and dignity to the sitcom role of a grumpy dad: veteran TV actor John Beasley. He began acting professionally in his mid-forties, and was as known for his role on the soapy "Everwood" as school bus driver Irv Harper as he was for "The Soul Man."

In 2023, Beasley checked into a hospital in Omaha, Nebraska, the town where he was raised, to submit to a series of tests for suspected liver problems. While under medical supervision, Beasley died in May 2023. The actor was 79 years old.

Peter Scolari (Girls)

Sitcoms truly launched Peter Scolari's acting career in the early 1980s, and he appeared on dozens of them over the following three decades. In 1980, he starred with Tom Hanks on the short-lived "Bosom Buddies" before a six-year-long, Emmy-nominated stint as frenetic yuppie Michael Harris on "Newhart." Following a leading role on the TV version of "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids," Scolari resurfaced on 2012-2017 Millennial touchstone "Girls." On the comedy for HBO, a network often hit with big scandals, Scolari portrayed Tad Horvath, the overindulgent and overprotective father of Hannah Horvath (series creator Lena Dunham). Tad's coming out as a gay man late in life was a major "Girls" plot arc, and it won Scolari an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series.

On October 22, 2021, Scolari died in New York City. Diagnosed with cancer, the actor was 66 years old. "I couldn't have been raised up by a better TV 'papa,'" "Girls" creator and star Lena Dunham wrote on Instagram.