This is a request for help. The proofreader has been going through the manuscript of Hippo Eats Dwarf looking for errors. This is the final check that the book receives before it goes to print. After this, nothing can be changed. Anyway, in the final chapter of the book (about death), I include the following definition:

Xenacate, v.: To kill a TV or movie character off so completely that no chance remains of bringing her back from the dead. Inspired by the TV show Xena: Warrior Princess. Its occurrence usually indicates that the actor playing the character has lost her job under unpleasant circumstances and has no hope of being rehired.

The proofreader has pointed out that it would be good to name a character to whom this occurred. (And I suppose it would be best to name a character on Xena itself to whom it occurred... It must have occurred to someone on that show in order to inspire the term. Though, in a pinch, an example from any show will do.) So can anyone think of a character who has been xenacated? If I use your answer I'll send you a free, signed copy of the book once it comes out (which will be in about three months). I need the answer by Friday, or Monday at the latest.

Update: I ended up using the red-shirted characters on Star Trek as an example. So thephrog wins the contest. I should note that I pulled a bit of a bait-and-switch, because I decided to revise my definition of Xenacate by deleting the part about the actor getting fired. After reviewing the few uses of the term on the internet, I decided that wasn't part of the word's meaning. Instead, it means to get killed off and not return. In which case the red-shirted characters are probably the most famous example of characters who only exist to get killed off. (Though I was tempted for a while to use the guy from MASH, but decided he didn't fit as well with the new definition.)

Death Entertainment

Posted on Wed Dec 07, 2005


I thought of one! From the early seasons of "Law and Order." George Dzunda played one of the original detectives, with Chris Noth the other. After a short time (one season?) Dzunda reportedly expressed his dislike for the cops/prosecuters split format (he wanted more screen time, and there may have been pay issues too), and left or was released from the show. His charactor was killed off, by having another actor wearing a hat and coat, in the rain too I believe, being gunned down outside his home.
Posted by Frederick J. Barnett  in  Sorrento, LA  on  Thu Dec 08, 2005  at  10:16 AM
I haven't heard of this relating to Xena, but I do remember this happening to my favorite character from the TV show M*A*S*H; Col. Henry Blake played by McLean Stevenson. Stevenson left M*A*S*H without warning at the end of the third season after shooting had already finished. Stevenson believed the reason people were watching M*A*S*H was because of him. So as soon as an offer to do his own show came along he basically said "screw you, I'm going to be a (bigger) star!" and left. Adding insult to the injury, he is reported to have said if his new career doesn't work out he could always return to doing M*A*S*H. Stevenson's method of departure caused such bad feelings on the part of the producers that the cast was re-called, minus McLean Stevenson, and reaction to Col. Henry Blake's (off screen) death was tacked on to the end of the season's final episode so Stevenson could never return. For years afterwards the saying among the television community was that when someone is written out of a show in such a way as to prevent any hope of return, they were said to have been "McLean Stevensoned."
Posted by W.T. Hellzatt  on  Thu Dec 08, 2005  at  11:34 AM
"XENACATE, v.: To kill a TV or movie character off so completely that no chance remains of bringing her back from the dead. Inspired by the TV show Xena: Warrior Princess. Closely related to this is SMITSICIDE, whereby an actor unwisely burns his or her bridges and is written out by the production company with no hope of being rehired. The process is also known as SHANNENCINATION."
Posted by Ashley Pomeroy  on  Thu Dec 08, 2005  at  12:13 PM
Does the "this weeks special guest star" in every episode of Police Squad count? Killed off in the opening credits!
Posted by Andrew Nixon  on  Thu Dec 08, 2005  at  12:20 PM
The most recent occurrence of this would have to be Shannen Dougherty. Her difficulty on the set of Charmed had a hand in her character Prudence Halliwell getting killed.
Posted by Chris Carlisle  on  Thu Dec 08, 2005  at  02:23 PM
How about Big "P" Bonpensiero in the Sopranos (TV), or Janet Leigh in Psycho (movie)? I think it was clear that either one, although probably considered a "star" of the show, wasn't coming back.
Posted by JBO  on  Thu Dec 08, 2005  at  02:24 PM
I supposed I should've read all of the previous comments before posting, oh well. smile
Posted by Chris Carlisle  on  Thu Dec 08, 2005  at  02:26 PM
Don't know about Xena but I do know that there was an instance of this on the show Homicide: Life on the Street. The actor Jon Polito had a huge falling out between the first and second season. So, beginning in the third season, they made it where Polito's character committed suicide. I am quoting this from memory, but according to the featurette on the Homicide DVD behind the scenes, when they were trying to figure out what to do with the character, they decided that Crosetti (Polito) was "dead, dead dead. That son of a bitch is dead."
Posted by Brian  on  Thu Dec 08, 2005  at  02:53 PM
How about when Gary Shepherd (Peter Horton) died on thirtysomething? I think he left the show to become a director.
Posted by JBO  on  Thu Dec 08, 2005  at  03:03 PM
And Mark Greene (Anthony Edwards) on ER left for the same reasons.
Posted by JBO  on  Thu Dec 08, 2005  at  03:13 PM
This one was before my time, but my dad tells me that Kathleen Nolan left "The Real McCoys" (on TV in the early 60s) due to a bitter contract dispute, so her character was killed off before the last season and her on-air husband became a widower, seeking a new wife in the final episodes. That's pretty harsh! (although I've never seen the show)
Posted by JBO  on  Thu Dec 08, 2005  at  03:23 PM
not being enough of a tv soap watcher to identify a specific character, but I believe lots of those have been xenacated.
Posted by tidewater tootsie  on  Thu Dec 08, 2005  at  06:29 PM
I can vouch for the death of Poochie -- I was one of the Executive Producers of that episode (wonderfully written by David Cohen) and we wanted the "producers" of Itchy & Scratchy to go to comical extremes to make very clear that the crudilicious character of Poochie (voiced by Homer) would never, ever bother people again. Hence, he was killed on the way back to his home planet.

Ironically, a lot of the younger kids in the "Simpsons" audience genuinely liked Poochie. He did have a certain style, I guess.
Posted by Josh  in  California  on  Thu Dec 08, 2005  at  10:49 PM
Shannen Doherty is one that comes to mind. Her charecter Pru on Charmed was killed off due to her (Shannen's) real life conduct and problems with the other cast members and producers. A little research will show this as a prime example of "xenacation". Though I have to say the definition is flawed in my mind. Xena ended because they wanted to end it,and go out strong, not because of problems with anyone on the cast, just ask Lucy Lawless' husband, he was the executive producer...
Posted by Tim C  in  Dallas / Ft Worth, Tx  on  Fri Dec 09, 2005  at  08:47 AM
One problem - you've failed to make a distinction between killing off a character to get rid of an actor and -recasting- a character to get rid of an actor. Soap operas, for example, routinely recast, typically using plastic surgery to explain the transition to a new actor. Because of this option, no character on -any- TV show is -ever- totally dead - they are "mostly dead" at best because things blow over in Hollywood and they can bring anyone back from the dead at any time in any number of ways.

However, the closest I can come to an example of a "Xenacate" is Prudence Hallowell on the show CHARMED. They killed Pru off because of a falling out with the actress/producer Shannon Doherty and have yet to bring her back in any form. Doesn't meant they can't - just that so far they haven't.
Posted by John Ordover  in  Brooklyn, NY  on  Fri Dec 09, 2005  at  10:04 AM
The ultimate example of Xenacation is the play
Posted by Gareth  in  UK  on  Fri Dec 09, 2005  at  10:12 AM
^^haha...not really xenacation in my opinion, but that's the best quote I've heard in a while
Posted by Owen  on  Fri Dec 09, 2005  at  03:04 PM
Pru on Charmed is probably the perfect example, but Tara from Buffy is a close second. An earlier poster got it wrong. She is indeed irrevocably dead due to the fact Osiris himself insisted she could not be brought back, but she did not reappear as The First. The actress that played her refused to come back because she did not want the character defiled, so they brought back a minor character to relay a message from Tara instead. In fact, I think Tara is the only major dead character on the show that did not come back in some form.
Posted by Iria  on  Fri Dec 09, 2005  at  05:44 PM
A good example I can think of, although perhaps a bit obscure, is Professor Maximillian Arturo (played by John Rhys-Davies) on the show Sliders. Rhys-Davies was critical of the creative process during the show, and when a producer that he crossed eventually took control, he fired Rhys-Davies. On the show, Rhys-Davies' character Arturo was shot, had his brains sucked out, and then was blown up along with an entire planet. If that isn't a strong message about how the execs felt about him, I don't know what is.
Posted by rooster3888  on  Sat Dec 10, 2005  at  03:29 AM
So far I think the Simpson's Poochie wins. (Poochied?).

Get's my "vote" anyway. smile
Posted by Peter  on  Sat Dec 10, 2005  at  09:11 AM
Alex, the best choice so far has been the character of James from Good Times, played by John Amos, mentioned several posts ago. That was a biggie. McLean Stevenson from MASH isn't a good one, because there have been interviews where the shows creators considered having him rescued from the Sea of Japan when it was still undecided if the new cast members were going to work. Oh, and if you've ever heard Eddie Murphy's riff on Good Times, It's hilarious...
Posted by Dave  in  in Las Vegas  on  Sat Dec 10, 2005  at  09:35 AM
How about the death of Ricardo Montebon (sp?) at the end of Naked Gun?

He falls from a stadium, is run over by a truck, a steam roller, and a marching band, causing George Kennedy to sob, "My father went the same way."
Posted by Mark  on  Sat Dec 10, 2005  at  09:42 AM
I should have mentioned that "Ricardo Montalban" is also shot before falling from the stadium.
Posted by Mark  on  Sat Dec 10, 2005  at  09:53 AM
Shannon Doherty of Charmed fame was canned because of her attitude.
Posted by Sandy Stevenson  in  Burlington, NJ  on  Sun Dec 11, 2005  at  03:11 AM
I am not sure if this is too late, but here goes.
The Sopranos is a fine example. There are plenty of characters who are Xenacated. Most notably are Jackie, Ralphie, Adriana (she went to Joey), Jimmy, etc...
Posted by Jeremy Johnson  in  Detroit, MI (Wayne State University)  on  Mon Dec 12, 2005  at  07:03 AM
I don't think you can apply this term to any movie or TV series character who gets killed off as part of the original script. My impression is that xenacate applies to characters who are excised because the actor died, wants out, wants too much money, is being a pain in the ass, etc. Whether they come back or get replaced by a different actor probably has nothing to do with it although it's possible that the intention might be to make sure the actor is gone (gone, Baby).
Posted by Blondin  on  Mon Dec 12, 2005  at  07:23 AM
I would have to say, ummm xena on xena warrior princess
Posted by Chris Mankey  on  Sun Mar 26, 2006  at  12:41 PM
How about Chuck from "Happy Days". He didn't exactly die that we know, but on the last show, Mr. C said something about having 2 children.
Posted by John Rigler  in  Texas  on  Sun Apr 25, 2010  at  04:53 PM
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