But in a maneuver now widely known as the "Reverse Fast 7," they acknowledged that their audience was mature enough to accept death and made a whole episode about his passing.It was a bold move by a children's show, and the episode won a Peabody for that season. As Sam's old baseball coach, he could have easily fallen into the role of father figure for the show's protagonist, but was written instead as an almost childlike character.
For six seasons, Spencer played Leo Mc Garry, chief of staff and later counselor to the president for the Bartlett administration. There was a time when the answer was generally "recast and keep going, we've got ad time to fill." In recent years, though, many shows have adopted the approach of dealing with a cast member's death directly: by killing off the character that they were portraying.Here, monsters and humans alike congregated, shared meals, and discussed — in flagrant disregard of PBS's non-commercial policies — which letters and numbers the show was being brought to you by.Sadly, John Spencer passed away as the result of a heart attack on December 16, 2005, and the series' creators were forced to figure out a way to resolve his story.Here's where the show's history gets a little tricky.Will Lee, the actor who played Mister Hooper, died of a heart attack in 1982.The producers considered writing Hooper out, sending the character off to Florida to retire.Showrunner John Wells has contradicted O'Donnell's claims, but one thing they agree on is this: They couldn't keep doing the show without Spencer.Christopher Allport wasn't a household name, but he was an actor who worked consistently throughout his life, scoring nearly 100 screen roles over four decades, according to IMDB.It belonged to Colasanto and used to hang in his dressing room. His character was killed offscreen, dying of a heart attack, and the show managed to keep a sense of humor about his loss without being cruel.The next week, Bill Mc Neal's role was filled in by Max Louis, played by Hartman's fellow Tony Soprano's mother, Livia, was a force to be reckoned with.