The Show Must Go On

How the Deaths of Lead Actors Have Affected Television Series


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About the Book

A powerful, behind-the-scenes look at some of America’s all-time favorite television programs during their darkest hours, this study examines how various hit series have absorbed the death of a lead actor during production. Although each television program eventually resumed production, the lead actor’s death in each case had a profound impact on the surviving cast and crew and the future of the show itself.
Individual chapters explore the events surrounding the deaths of Freddie Prinze (Chico and the Man), John Ritter (8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter), Redd Foxx (The Royal Family), Nicholas Colasanto (Cheers), Phil Hartman (NewsRadio), and many others. Their stories are told through first-hand accounts by those who knew them best, including many of the most talented actors, producers, writers, and directors in television over the past forty years.

About the Author(s)

Douglas Snauffer is an Ohio-based freelance writer. He has contributed regularly to The Akron Beacon Journal and Starlog magazine, and is author of the book Crime Television. Snauffer is also a scriptwriter whose work has aired on The Sci-Fi Channel.

Bibliographic Details

Douglas Snauffer
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 228
Bibliographic Info: 58 photos, index
Copyright Date: 2008
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3295-0
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5504-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Foreword      1

Preface      3

1. 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter: John Ritter      5

2. Alias Smith & Jones: Peter Duel      20

3. Bonanza: Dan Blocker      34

4. Cheers: Nicholas Colasanto      49

5. Chico and the Man: Freddie Prinze      62

6. Cover Up: Jon-Erik Hexum      79

7. Dallas: Jim Davis      96

8. Eight Is Enough: Diana Hyland      108

9. Gimme a Break!: Dolph Sweet      122

10. Lime Street: Samantha Smith      138

11. NewsRadio: Phil Hartman      155

12. The Royal Family: Redd Foxx      168

13. The Sopranos: Nancy Marchand      183

14. Bonus Chapter      199

List of Interviews      207

Index      209