What Happened!? 10 Of Our Favorite Movie And TV Characters Who Passed Away Too Soon In Real Life

86 comments
November 1, 2012 ‐ By Clarke Gail Baines

It’s always sad when people pass away, especially exceptionally talented people who leave this earth at a young age. Whether it’s from illnesses, accidents, or cold-blooded murder, these 10 actors and actresses’ deaths were shocking because they were very unexpected. Here’s a shout out to those who we enjoyed for their great roles who left us way too soon.

Michelle Thomas, aka, Myra from “Family Matters”

I used to love everything about “Family Matters,” especially during the much lauded Steve Urkel years. And when you think of Steve Urkel, not only do you think of his love Laura Winslow, but you have to think of his character’s past steady girlfriend, Myra Monkhouse. Played by Michelle Thomas, Myra was a bubbly but nice character, who could, under jealous circumstances, get a little feisty. She was in the role of Myra from ’93 to ’98. In real life, Thomas died unexpectedly in 1998. Just a year earlier the actress was diagnosed with a rare form of stomach cancer, and she went on to undergo surgery twice for tumors. In the end, Thomas died in December of 1998 surrounded by friends and family in the hospital. She was only 29.

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  • alicia

    I think brandy is cursed…maybe..maybe not

  • Charlene Lopez

    Dam poor Merlin…sad very sad……RIP all those lives and what might have been….gone too soon.

  • anothachick

    wow Nell Carter was on drugs? Whoa.

  • True G.R.I.T.S

    smh i knew i was goin to marry Merlin Santana when i got older. r.i.p to every1 on this list…the great thing about actors is that u can always watch them again, and again, even tho they’r gone..

  • Crystal Johnson

    I’ll always remember Michelle Thomas as Justine on The Cosby Show. Who can forget Theo singing “Justine, Justine”

  • Cheryle Thepearl Roberson

    wow thats mess up!!

  • James Raulerson

    Whats even more chilling is i didnt even know half of them where dead, I knew Britanny Murphy was obviously, it was all over the news ….. makes ya think tho…

  • PhoenixRizing

    Wow! I didn’t know Clinton from Crooklyn had Sickle Cell! I lost my brother (age 16), two best friends (18 & 23), 2 acquaintances (14 & 30) & a mentor (46) to SC. I have it, too. I HATE THIS DISEASE!!! After over 100yrs of being medically documented, there’s STILL no cure!! SHAME!! SMH!!!

  • Maile00

    It’s like the Moesha curse! This list just made me sad…never realized Hakeem had such a horrific death. :-(

  • Nicole

    Is it me or almost the entire damn cast of moesha went through hard life perils?

  • emc8

    Did anyone ever look at Brittany Murphy’s mother, Sharon? She was living in the house when both Brittany and Simon died. Strange she never got sick living in the same house.

  • emc8

    You did a poor job with Michelle Thomas. She was Theo Huxtable’s long time girlfriend in The Cosbys as well as Malcolm Jamal Warner’s girlfriend in real life. After Family Ties, she was a cast member on The Young and the Restless. Malcolm Jamal Warner was by her side until the very end; she passed away in his arms.

  • TryThinking

    You can tell the idiot who wrote this article started out by sharing the untimely and surprising deaths of some almost-stars…THEN she ran out of folks and began reporting on the deaths of people EVERYONE knew have been dead for YEARS! Come on…Nell Carter??? Who didn’t know about that? Robin Harris???? I try to check out Madame Noire as often as possible, but it is so hard to slug through all the simple-minded, tacky, ghetto mess. “Hip-Hop & Celebrity Baby Names”? Takeisha? Deshawn? Why in the world would we want to encourage our young people to give their children comic book-quality names? When are we going to begin holding our own publications and businesses to the same standard as “their’s”?

  • Rachael

    I forgot that “Justine” from the Cosby Show was also on the Family Matters as “Myra”. I don’t know which character ran longer, but I came from a generation serious about the Cosby Show and A Different World. She will always be “Justine” to me. May they all rest in peace.

  • JT

    Wow, I didn’t know Robin Harris was just 36. And I knew Merlin Santana was shot, but I had no idea it was because he was falsely accused of rape. Nor was I aware of just how bad Lamont Bentley’s death was; I heard about the car accident but not the ejection and subsequent 5-car run-over. It is true that we all do have our appointed time, but to go in such a manner is just sad.

  • crazygemini12

    I always think of Michelle Thomas as Justine from “The Cosby Show” so I must really be showing my age here.

    • PhoenixRizing

      I’M WITH YOU! And I remember Theo singing “JUSTIIIINE!!!! JUSTIIIIIINE!!!!” Growling & whatnot! LOL! We do that to my aunt, whose name is also Justine. The late 80s & early 90s were a GREAT time in tv! Not like half of the stuff on now.

  • Taunya73

    I had no idea that Lamont Bentley had passed.

  • Jas

    Anyone else notice how much Lauren London resembles Michelle Thomas??? Practically twins. Michelle was very pretty!

  • Sharese

    Michelle Thomas aka Myra, also played Justine (Theo’s main girlfriend) on the Cosby Show for years.

  • pickneychile

    Man…I still remember Bernie Mac telling Oprah…”Growing up we were so poor, my grandfather had to DRAW a piece of cheese to give to the mouse behind the refrigerator!” All sad losses.

  • lol

    I see a pattern emerging…. all black

  • lulu f

    myra always reminded me of an aunt of mine. She died of cancer a couple of years ago also. I hate it that looking at her in that picture, there was cancer growing in her body. F*** CANCER!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/VEIEUAJXEYGGDA4UIHSUCDZ4DM Joya

    He looked like a young Denzil Washington. I can only imagine what he
    would have matured into. I hope the young woman responsible for
    instigating the circumstance that cost him his life really understands
    how irresponsible her actions were and understands that what goes
    around, comes around!!!!Iam beautiful woman and I love good man…..inter racial romance is my dream… so I joined —blackwhitePlanet.С0M—–it’s where to- connect with
    beautiful and excellent people!I grew up watching all of these folks, it’s sad to know that they’ve all
    passed, but at least their work was left behind so they’ll always be
    remembered! RIP to everyone on this list!

  • Ambitious12

    r.i.p Talented people you will all be missed. I had a huge crush on Romeo back in the day and Lamont too and Bernie and Issac hayes they broke my heart when they passed. R.I.P

  • LYRICS

    I REMEMBER WHEN “MYRA” DIED, I WAS SO YOUNG, BUT SO SAD!! I ALWAYS REMEMBERED HER AS “THEO’S GIRL” (COSBY SHOW). I ALSO REMEMBER MALCOLM J.W’S APPEARANCE ON A “TRIBUTE SPECIAL” TO HER……IT WAS JUST SAD AND SUDDEN!! LAMONT’S DEATH SHOCKED ME SO BADLY, I COULDN’T EVEN WATCH RERUNS FOR THE LONGEST TIME!! BUT, THE DEATH THAT SADDEN ME THE MOST WAS MERLIN’S!!! NOT ONLY DID I LOVE HIM SOOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH, BUT I WAS PISSED THAT IT WAS B/C OF SOME YOUNG GIRL WHO TOLD A LIE!!!!!!!!!!! IT DOESN’T MATTER IF YOU KNOW THESE PPL PERSONALLY OR NOT, BUT THE FACT THAT THEY DIED SO YOUNG MUST STRIKE A CORD WITHIN YOUR HEART, B/C EACH ONE OF THESE ACTORS/ACTRESSES HAD SOMETHING “SPECIAL” THAT WE WILL ALL MISS SEEING!! MAY YOU ALL REST IN GOD’S ARMS…..

  • Reese

    I miss the comedy of Bernie Mac so much. “Him down stairsssss.”

    • my turn my turn

      i will beat you to the white meat shows! lmbo

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  • MsGV

    Whitney Houston – Ray J

  • http://twitter.com/x_MATERIALgirL_ Je t’aime…

    ahem .. Sherman Hensley anyone??? They seriously forgot George Jefferson? He died just a few months ago you have those people from the older sitcoms but not him? wow. RIP to all on this list I loved and still do love their work Moesha and the Parkers was the joint so was the Steve Harvey Show, Family Matters and all the rest.

    • CPM

      The article is about tv and movie actors who died young, or at least well before their time. Sherman Helmsley was in his 70s, I believe, when he passed.

      • http://twitter.com/x_MATERIALgirL_ Je t’aime…

        Yvette Wilson and Bernie Mac weren’t “young”

    • TROLL

      He lived a long life he didn’t die early

  • Luvly216

    You forgot waymon from low down dirty shame. He died before the movie came out. “good morning shame!” lol

    • PhoenixRizing

      MAN, I LOVED HIM IN THAT!!! When we take family vacays, that’s how I bust into my sister’s room….LOL

  • dreamer40

    aLSO no mention that Brittany Murphy actually started out pre-Clueless on Sister, Sister as Tia/Tamera’s best friend. I hate when a lot of white actor/actress bios neglect the black shows and movies they started out on (eg. Marisa Tomei and Jim Carrey too!)

    • SunshineBlossom

      Well in the case of Marisa Tomei on A Different World, I actually preferred the seasons without her and “Denise Huxtable”–although I will sit through it in a marathon.

  • blacklatina

    I love Merlín santana on “the steve harvey show” he was awesome and the only afro latino on tv,he even speak spanish on the show with his tv
    father.He is truly missed.

  • The Dyv

    I remember Michelle and Merlin Santana from The Cosby Show. Every girl had a crush on “Stanley” the next day after he made his first appearance as Rudy’s new boo. RIP to all these talented individuals!

  • rwilliams482

    is it me or does the show moesha seem cursed?

  • MrsB

    Why do people keep saying “died before there time?” Every single body as to leave here one day. It is inevitable. Being a loved celebrity doesn’t make you immune to human tribulation

    • badblessings

      They say it because idealistically we are to live until the average age of death which is not in your 20′s 30′s 40′s 50′s 60′s.. And when it happens we are more shocked than we would normally be..

      • MrsB

        Nah, the young die everyday. its a fact of life…babies too. REALITY

    • MrsB

      Sorry, but if God called you home, then it was your time to go. AGE DOES NOT MATTER

  • CurlyBoo

    man i wish i didn’t click on this. I had no idea Lamont Bentley died & so tragic at that. Rest in Peace for all these talented people.

  • ANTMilf

    This made me cry, all of them gone before their time. May they all RIP.

  • mdoubs

    I still cannot believe Hakeem is gone…seeing him in the reruns of Moesha just breaks my heart… :’(

  • Guest

    This is really sad. Hakeem death just broke my heart… :’(

  • Jennifer Jones

    Bernie Mac was also on moesha at one point he played Andell’s love interest Moesha’s uncle. thats so weird so many people died from one show! thats incredibly sad. reading this was also sad but i appreciated this post.

  • NONEYA

    Where arevthe kids from “Crooklyn”??

  • Native_Noir

    Wow, this is so sad. I think I can remember where I was and what I was doing when I got word of most of their passings, including some not on this list (RIP Tupac & Aaliyah). As someone stated, gone but not forgotten.

  • Guest

    All of these are tragic. Dying violently at the hands of someone especially over false accusations as in the case of Merlin Santana is absolutely crazy!!! He looked like a young Denzil Washington. I can only imagine what he would have matured into. I hope the young woman responsible for instigating the circumstance that cost him his life really understands how irresponsible her actions were and understands that what goes around, comes around!!!!

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/thesapphireempress96?feature=results_main A.J.

    It’s still hard for me to watch Bernie’s stuff sometimes; that made me cry.

  • FromUR2UB

    Wiley Draper, who played Michael Jackson as a teenager and young adult in ‘The Jacksons: An American Dream’; died from a rare form of leukemia at age 24. Shirley Hemphill, who played Shirley the waitress on ‘What’s Happening’, died at age 52. All, very sad.

  • CriticXtreme

    All of these were major losses. RIP!

  • shame on you

    ”YEP…that its R.I.P. GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN….

  • Cree

    I had read somewhere Hakeem committed suicide

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1563558629 Erica Campbell

    you could see they public hairs in my bernie mac voice(players club)

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1563558629 Erica Campbell

      chi-town we don’t pay them country boys no than

    • http://twitter.com/x_MATERIALgirL_ Je t’aime…

      lmfaoo.!! I needed tht laugh, man I miss Bernie Mac so much

    • Pearl

      Bernie singing “magilla, gorilla…magilllla gorilllla”…..lol…RIP Bernie…

  • LMJ82

    I’m glad that you all mentioned Clinton from Crooklyn! He was the first person to cross my mind when I saw the title of this article…I love Crooklyn!! And yes, Lamont Bentley’s death does horrific- just sad. Getting into a car accident, being ejected and then getting run over by 5 cars is NOT the best way to go….Smh. RIP to all. :-/

  • Shiron

    I think it’s neat that they mentioned some people that we don’t hear about anymore. I’m glad to see them list Nell Carter who was an extremely talented woman–and of course Bernie Mac–I am still heart-broken over his death. :-(

  • JuJu Bean

    I miss Bernie Mac like he was a beloved family member! This list really goes to show you how short life is, and to cherish the people you love.

  • Downsouth

    Why is there no mention of Michelle Thomas being known first as Theo’s girlfriend, “Justine Justine” on the Cosby Show? How young is your staff for this website! She also ended her acting career on the Y&R and Malcolm Jamal Warner, aka Theo, was with her during her final days at her bedside. RIP to all…..Damn I loved Romeo and Bullethead!!

    • Anthony

      She’s the 1st one mentioned. What are you talking about?

      • Downsouth

        Anthony, I said why is there no mention of her from her Cosby Show days, not that she wasn’t mentioned at all. The post about her only makes note of her Family Matter acting role.

  • http://twitter.com/jennaparks11 Jenna

    That’s a lot from Moesha :(… Bernie broke my heart tho!

    • Dev2008

      Yes, Bernie broke mine too. All so sad.

  • Janelle

    Myra from family matters
    Romeo from the Steve Harvey show
    Hakeem and aundell from moesha
    The pops from house party
    Clinton from crooklyn
    Nell Harper from gimmie a break
    Brittany Murphy
    Rerun from what’s happening
    Bernie Mac

    • NONEYA

      Going this pages is a true pain in the ash!!!

      • http://twitter.com/DelightfulScent Delightful scents

        You got that right! Thanks for the post.

      • Mina

        Oh lord I thought it was just me. But truth be told. We go off. And they still jack our browser with ridiculous where you CAN’T even turn off the volume. Really MN??

        • rzakia

          You have to download Google Chrome as your browser instead of Internet Explorer. It’s so much faster and you can use the ad blocker. I just downloaded and it’s so helpful not only for this site but for other sites where they have a lot of ads and redirecting.

  • http://twitter.com/MsRedboneBrite Tee Elyse

    Lamont Bentley’s death sounds so horrific! WOW, just tragic! I grew up watching all of these folks, it’s sad to know that they’ve all passed, but at least their work was left behind so they’ll always be remembered! RIP to everyone on this list!

  • JaneDoe

    Gone too soon.. So sad. I grew up watching these folks

  • Jesse

    I read somewhere that the cast of the Moesha show was cursed. Was that the only picture they could find of the boy who played Clinton?

    • theBAYAREArealist

      I think the cast of different strokes are the cursed ones.

  • sabrina

    So sad. Life is so short </3

  • http://www.facebook.com/jason.f.vorhees Jason Fangz Vorhees

    all of them gone way too soon.

    • Thozzy

      Fangzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  • IllyPhilly

    Dang, I was just watching Moesha thinking about alot of that cast being dead. Chilling.

    • Taunya73

      Now that you think about it, it is a little chilling thinking about how many of them that are no longer here.