9 Actors Who Lost Co-Stars and How They Dealt With The Pain

Lupita Nyong'o Said Filming ‘Black Panther 2’ Was Therapeutic After Losing Chadwick Boseman

Perhaps the oldest and most cliche saying in the entertainment industry is that “the show must go on.” However, the old adage is true, even in death. Chadwick Boseman was the hero and king of Black Panther. However, the actor passed away prior to filming the movie’s sequel. John Ritter was the lead character on the ABC sitcom 8 Simple Rules. Then, the beloved actor suffered an aortic dissection while rehearsing one afternoon and died just hours later. The Black Panther sequel and an additional season of 8 Simple Rules went ahead… but not as planned.

Read on for heartfelt quotes about actors carrying on after losing a co-star.

1. Christian Bale Thought He And Heath Ledger Would Be Lifelong Friends

Christian Bale Thought He And Heath Ledger Would Be Lifelong Friends

Christian Bale and Heath Ledger played mortal enemies in 2008’s The Dark Knight. However, only their comic book characters Batman and the Joker were adversaries. In real life, Bale described Ledger as his “kindred spirit to myself.”

A passionate Bale talked about how much he misses Ledger, who died on January 22, 2008, just a few months after completing The Dark Knight from an accidental overdose of medication. 

“I want to talk about Heath,” Bale said several months after Ledger’s sudden passing. “When you miss somebody, you want to speak about him. He was a good man, and I was glad to have spent time with him.”

Bale added:

He was somebody who I’d been seeing on a daily basis for months. It takes a long time to accept that someone’s gone, when all body and mind are telling you that this is somebody you will know for a great deal of time. He was something of a kindred spirit to myself. I hope in a small way that The Dark Knight can be a celebration of his work. Not like the hideous circus after he died, which I felt was an invasion of a private life. This movie is not a personal home video. This is what he did. I hope people will embrace that in the correct fashion.

2. Vin Diesel Walked Paul Walker’s Daughter Down The Aisle On Her Wedding Day

Vin Diesel Walked Paul Walker's Daughter Down The Aisle On Her Wedding Day

Paul Walker died on November 30, 2013, at the age of 40 from injuries sustained in an automobile accident. The actor was in the middle of filming the seventh film in the Fast & Furious franchise, Furious 7.

Walker played Brian O’Conner, a former FBI agent who turns to the criminal side. Walker became good buddies with co-star Vin Diesel.

Eight years after Walker’s death, an emotional Diesel took to Instagram to remember his good friend. Walker’s daughter Meadow had just married, and Diesel walked her down the aisle. 

Diesel wrote:

So much to tell you. I can remember that day when you and I were filming that scene in F4 where we were eating Chinese food and we had a brother combat scene which ended in you saying, “Letty just wanted you to come home, Dom…”

When we were done filming that day, you came into my trailer and asked, “What’s on your mind?” You always knew when something was on my mind. Haha. I told you that I was about to have a baby and didn’t know what to expect at the hospital, which I was heading to after work.

You said a lot of tough guys will tell you to wait outside of the delivery room, but that’s wrong. Go in there, actually cut the umbilical cord, and it will be the best day of your life.

You, of course, were talking from experience, having already an angel of your own. It’s been eight years today… and not a day goes by that I don’t reflect of the brotherhood we were blessed to have… but you know that. Tragedies in life are always followed by life’s blessings if you just stay open and have faith.

How could I have known that back on the 2008 set of Fast… but maybe somehow you did. Miss you. My children always tell me that Uncle Paul is with you, dad, always… and I know in my heart that they are right. Miss you Pablo…

In order to complete Walker’s unfinished scenes in Furious 7, his look-alike brothers Caleb and Cody were hired to serve as stand-ins.

3. Stephen Root And The Cast Of ‘NewsRadio’ Cried Through The Episode Where They Said Goodbye To Phil Hartman And His Character Bill McNeal

Stephen Root And The Cast Of 'NewsRadio' Cried Through The Episode Where They Said Goodbye To Phil Hartman And His Character Bill McNeal

Phil Hartman and Stephen Root co-starred on the criminally underrated ’90s comedy NewsRadio. Hartman played snarky egotistical news anchor Bill McNeal and Root played billionaire AM station owner Jimmy James. 

On May 28, 1998, Hartman’s wife Brynn shot and killed her husband in a murder-suicide. The former SNL star had just finished the fourth season of NewsRadio.

Season 5 opened up with the premiere episode called, “Bill Moves On.” In the episode, McNeal dies from a heart attack. After the funeral, his co-workers read personal notes that they left for him. It’s an emotional episode filled with real tears.

Twenty years after Hartman’s death, Root penned a lengthy tribute to the actor. He wrote:

His death was devastating, and it happened not too long after we’d finished the season. When we went to the funeral, there was so much press wanting to talk to all of us, but we didn’t want to talk to them at all. So we didn’t. We put all of our love into the show that we did, into the first show of the next season, which dealt with his passing. We read it once on the day that we usually do, on a Monday. We all cried through it and we all decided, unilaterally, that we weren’t going to rehearse this show.

The writers were going to boost it up a little from that first reading that we did, but we never rehearsed it. We shot it on Thursday and on a Friday. And it was pretty tearful to shoot, but it was cathartic that we did something within the fictional structure that was real, because we were really hurt that he was no longer there. That was good that we were able to address it.

The rest of that season, we would have a cardboard cutout of him just peeking around the corner, almost on every show [laughs]. Or we’d have a picture of him on Dave’s desk. Or we would have little reminders of him that we would keep with us on each show that he was still there with us – he just, uh… he was maybe going to come later, you know?

4. Adam Sandler Struggled Emotionally To Get Through Rehearsal For His Tribute Song To Chris Farley On ‘Saturday Night Live’

Adam Sandler Struggled Emotionally To Get Through Rehearsal For His Tribute Song To Chris Farley On 'Saturday Night Live'

Adam Sandler and Chris Farley rose to fame together as standout performers on Saturday Night Live. Some of the best sketches of the ’90s feature the future comedy legends learning how to generate the most laughs.

The pair became close friends. They were both fired/quit from SNL on the same day in 1995. 

After multiple failed attempts at rehab, Farley died on December 18, 1997, from a drug overdose at the age of 33.

In 2019, Sandler returned to SNL as the weekly guest host. The Billy Madison star closed the show with an emotional musical tribute to his old pal. Sandler later admitted he struggled in rehearsals to get through the song. 

“It was scheduled, but it kind of got sprung on me quick,” Sandler said. “I had to mentally get ready because when I was singing the Farley song in the studio in rehearsals, I kept getting really upset because I loved just being in 8H – the studio. It was making me upset.”

“I couldn’t really sing it out loud,” Sandler added. “I was kind of mumbling because his image and stuff was making me off and upset. I was like, ‘Oh, man, I got to prepare for this – for the show – to try not to break down.’”

5. Kaley Cuoco Had To Be On Set The Day After John Ritter Passed Away

Kaley Cuoco Had To Be On Set The Day After John Ritter Passed Away

Before Kaley Cuoco starred in the hit sitcom The Big Bang Theory, she played teenager Bridgett Hennessy on the ABC series 8 Simple Rules. On the show, Bridgett’s father Paul (John Ritter) attempts to enforce rigid rules when it comes to dating his two daughters. 

On September 11, 2003, Ritter suffered an aortic dissection while working on the sitcom. The beloved TV star died that same day at the age of 54. 

Almost 20 years after Ritter’s passing, Cuoco appeared in the ABC documentary Superstar: John Ritter. The actress talked about her co-stars’ emotional reactions to Ritter’s death. 

“Everyone was just crying, bawling and then people started telling stories,” said Cuoco. “I’ll never forget, there was the mailman at Warner Bros. and he was like, ‘I’d like to speak.’ He goes, ‘I used to deliver the mail here. John would always say hi to me,’ and I was like, ‘Of course he did.’”

“I really love him so much, to this day,” added Cuoco. 

6. Harrison Ford Called Carrie Fisher ‘Funny And Emotionally Fearless’

Harrison Ford Called Carrie Fisher 'Funny And Emotionally Fearless'

Carrie Fisher played Princess Leia Organa in the original Star Wars trilogy and the Star Wars sequel trilogy. Princess Leia will forever be one of the most beloved and memorable characters in cinema history. Fisher died on December 27, 2016, from a cardiac arrest at the age of 60.

George Lucas cast Fisher when she was just 19 years old to play the no-nonsense heroine in the first Star Wars in 1977. The famed director and creator talked about his friendship with the actress.

Lucas wrote:

Carrie and I have been friends most of our adult lives. She was extremely smart; a talented actress, writer, and comedienne with a very colorful personality that everyone loved. In Star Wars, she was our great and powerful princess – feisty, wise and full of hope in a role that was more difficult than most people might think. My heart and prayers are with Billie, Debbie and all Carrie’s family, friends and fans. She will be missed by all.

Harrison Ford, who played Leia’s onscreen love interest Han Solo, also wrote a tribute. “Carrie was one-of-a-kind… brilliant, original,” revealed Ford. “Funny and emotionally fearless. She lived her life, bravely… My thoughts are with her daughter Billie, her mother Debbie, her brother Todd, and her many friends. We will all miss her.

Director Rian Johnson paid tribute to Fisher at the end credits of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which was released posthumously “In loving memory of our princess, Carrie Fisher.”

Johnson also paid tribute to Fisher at the movie’s LA premiere. “I want to dedicate tonight to Carrie,” said Johnson. “I know she’s up there right now flipping me the bird, saying, ‘Damn it, Rian, how dare you bring the mood down and make this night a solemn tribute.’ So let’s all have a blast together for Carrie.”

7. Daniel Radcliffe Had The ‘Amazing Honour’ Of Being In The Last Scene That Richard Harris Ever Filmed

Daniel Radcliffe Had The 'Amazing Honour' Of Being In The Last Scene That Richard Harris Ever Filmed

Irish thespian Richard Harris didn’t even want the role of Hogwarts School headmaster Albus Dumbledore. In fact, he turned it down several times. It was his granddaughter that eventually convinced him to take the part.

Harris would go on to play Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. He passed away in August of 2002 at the age of 72 from Hodgkin’s disease.  

The cast of Harry Potter had to deal with the passing of the beloved actor. Daniel Radcliffe heard about Harris’s death during the premiere of Chamber of Secrets.

“It was awful,” said Radcliffe. “Absolutely awful. I have what I think is the supreme, amazing honour of being in the last scene in a film that Richard ever shot. It’s amazing to be able to say that.”

“Richard was not the kind of guy who would have wanted us to mourn him for ages,” added Radcliffe. “I think he’d have wanted us to be happy and remember him for all the times that he made us smile and laugh.”

Mexican auteur Alfonso Cuarón took over the directing reins from Christopher Columbus for the franchise’s third installment, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. He didn’t want to rush to find a replacement to play the popular wizard. “People kept pressuring us to know who would play Dumbledore, but I refused to rush any decision,” said Cuarón.

After about four months, Cuarón hired British actor Michael Gambon. “It was difficult for Michael Gambon to follow Richard Harris because a lot of people thought Richard was the perfect Dumbledore,” said Emma Watson. “Michael is still Dumbledore, but he put a different spin on the character. Michael is a much more mischievous Dumbledore.”

8. Lupita Nyong’o Said Filming ‘Black Panther 2’ Was Therapeutic After Losing Chadwick Boseman

Lupita Nyong'o Said Filming ‘Black Panther 2’ Was Therapeutic After Losing Chadwick Boseman

Chadwick Boseman and Lupita Nyong’o fought together as Black Panther and Nakia for the love of Wakanda in 2018’s Black Panther. The comic book adaptation became one of the MCU’s biggest hit movies thanks largely in part to Boseman’s impressive performance as the new and rightful king of Wakanda. 

Boseman passed away from colon cancer in 2020 at the age of 43. The actor had kept his illness mostly private. 

The Black Panther sequel, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, would move on without their king. At the 2022 San Diego Comic-Con, Nyong’o spoke about the impact of Boseman’s death. 

“It’s been a doozy of a few years for everybody,” said Nyong’o. “For us as a cast, having lost our king, Chadwick Boseman, that was a lot to process, and in many ways, we’re still processing it. When you lose someone, I don’t know when you stop missing them. And of course, we felt it so much, making this film without him.”

“It was very therapeutic,” added Nyong’o. “It restored a sense of hope for me in making it, and I think we’ve expanded the world of Wakanda in ways that will blow people’s minds – not just Wakanda, but the Black Panther world. It’s gonna blow people’s minds, and I just cannot wait until it’s not a secret anymore.”

“Our call sheets didn’t have a #1. That was reserved for Chadwick. He was with us,” she said. “This script… when you take your pain and make something beautiful out of it, it resonates. And I think that’s what people were feeling in Hall H today, and I hope that’s what people will continue to feel as they see a little bit more and finally get to see the movie.”

9. KJ Apa Said Luke Perry’s Death ‘Changed Everything’

KJ Apa Said Luke Perry's Death 'Changed Everything'

Luke Perry and KJ Apa played onscreen father and son on The CW teen drama Riverdale. According to co-star Molly Ringwald, Apa’s onscreen mother, Perry and Apa were close off-screen as well. “Luke was really like his father – his American father,” said Ringwald. “He really assumed that role, so watching KJ grapple with that was really tough to watch. As a mother, as just a person, it was hard to watch.”

Perry died on March 4, 2019, after suffering a massive stroke. The actor was 52 years old. 

“It changed everything when Luke passed,” said Apa. “I had never gone through anything like that before. I’ve never lost anyone close to me, so it was a really hard time. It’s still hard.” 

“Going to work, I can just feel that he’s not there anymore. We had a really, really, really good relationship, me and Luke,” added Apa. “He was just the kind of a guy that kept us, especially me, grounded because he’d been through all of this stuff. I was so blessed to have him in my life to say, ‘Maybe don’t do that,’ or, ‘This is a good idea.’ Just giving me advice. I miss him. I just miss talking to him. I miss listening to him.”

During the Season 4 premiere of Riverdale, Perry’s character Fred Andrews is fatally hit by a car. Archie (Apa) goes to the scene to find a woman (Shannen Doherty) placing flowers at the site of the crash. She tells Archie that his father was helping her on the side of the road when he was hit by a speeding car.