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This week we have spoilers for: 24, 30 Rock, Damages, Desperate Housewives, House, Lost, Melrose Place, Private Practice, and Ugly Betty. (SPOILERS FOLLOW!)
I didn't know Tim Russert on a personal level. I rarely even saw him in his own element as host of NBC's Meet the Press. However, when he suddenly died last Friday, it hit me like a ton of bricks. It was the fact that he was a huge presence on television, particularly during this year's Presidential election. It made Russert feel like he was a part of the family.
So it has been with many television personalities that have left this earth before their time. It's the intimacy of the industry and the fact that this person has come into our homes night after night, week after week, that the unexpected death of these personalities hits us much harder than, say, movie stars. Unfortunately, there have been a number of these surprising deaths over the last few decades. Here are 12 such deaths that affected millions of television viewers.
I'm feeling a little melancholy today. This past Friday, a friend of mine lost two daughters in a senseless automobile accident. They were thirteen and eighteen; one having just started college and the other just entering the magical teen years. It was so sudden and insane that I can't really wrap my brain around it. As a parent, I can only begin to understand what he and the girls' mother are going through, but even then I'm sure it pales in comparison to the reality.
As I thought about this blog and things to post on television, I was struck by how death can have a dramatic and instant impact on a fictional show as well. Sometimes when an actor dies, the show is able to move on with relative smoothness, but other times there is an irreplaceable hole that just never seems to be filled.
The event took place at the Museum of Television and Radio in Beverly Hills. Gabe Kaplan took the stage, made a few jokes about the new Welcome Back, Kotter movie and showed off the In2TV concept. He was a good sport and even brought out a paper airplane to put on his head, joking that it didn't stick as well as it used to (aw, Gabe, you're thin on top but we still love you.) He introduced George Lopez who gave a heartfelt tribute to Freddie Prinze, showing clips of the comic's career and snippets of episodes from Chico and the Man. Somehow, in George's speech, he managed to reference the fact that he has one kidney and his wife gave it to him (is there anyone who hasn't heard this story yet?) He announced the In2TV Influencer Award and handed the strangely shaped trophy to Freddie Prinze Jr. Freddie made a brief speech, then Jose Feliciano was brought to the stage to play the Chico and the Man theme (with just a bit of "Light My Fire" thrown in). The crowd was full of old favorites from the TV days of long ago. After the jump, a few familiar faces.
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