'Friends' Reunion Special: Robin Williams to Ron Liebman, here are all the brilliant cast members who have died
While the show kept us laughing for 10 seasons, there were a few tragic losses along the way
When it comes to a star cast, no one has quite an impressive reputation like 'Friends'. The show's frontrunners not only grew into their stardom over 10 seasons but throughout the show they have worked with some pretty interesting names, even if they were short cameos.
No matter how big or small the role, each character has left their mark on the beloved series. While excitement brews over the reunion, here's a look at the 'Friends' cast members who unfortunately are no more. Even so, their legacy lives on through the series.
Ron Liebman as Dr Leonard Green
One of Rachel Green's biggest character arcs has been growing up to be a responsible adult. Since she had a wealthy father who provided her with everything, setting out on her own proved to be the ultimate challenge. As with most of the cast, Rachel's relationship with her family often played out on screen, especially with her father, Dr Leonard Green, played by Ron Liebman.
Liebman has had a long and illustrious career, having won awards such as Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Play for his performance in 'Angels in America' in 1993. He also won a Primetime Emmy Award in 1979. Liebman died due to pneumonia complications at the age of 82 in December of 2019. The four episodes he featured in 'Friends' are 'The One With The Two Parties', 'The One With The Race Car Bed', 'The One With The Stripper', and 'The One Where Joey Speaks French'.
Ron Glass as Russell, Ross' divorce attorney
There is a reason Ross nearly earned the nickname 'Ross the Divorce Force' after clocking in three divorces, two of which happened within one year. As a result, he was on first-name basis with his lawyer, Russell. Ross might have brought in the money, but Rusell had the unfortunate task of telling Rachel that Ross had filed for an annulment.
The character was played by Ron Glass, who is known for his roles in series such as 'Barney Miller' and cult classic 'Firefly' and 'Serenity'. Glass died of respiratory failure on November 25, 2016, at the age of 71. The two episodes he featured in are 'The One Where Ross Hugs Rachel' and 'The One Where Joey Loses His Insurance'.
Stan Kirsch as Young Ethan
Monica has definitely made some questionable dating choices over the years and if there is any character that is bound to make fans uncomfortable, then it would be Young Ethan. In the episode, 'The One With the Ick Factor', Monica ends up at a college party where she pretends to be 22.
She ends up meeting a guy named Ethan and the two start seeing each other. It's only after they sleep together that she finds out that Ethan is not a senior in college but a senior in high school, making him 17. Monica unknowingly commits a serious crime. Stan Kirsch, who played Young Ethan, is most known for his role as Richie Ryan in 'Highlander: The Series'. He was also a director and producer. Kirsch died on January 11, 2020, at the age of 51. He was found in his Los Angeles home, having taken his own life.
Taylor Negron as Allesandro, Monica's boss
Monica may be a force in the kitchen, but her journey to getting there was not easy. Although her catering business with Phoebe did kick off, it came with its fair share of ups and downs. Ultimately, Monica landed her dream job as a head chef after she wrote a scathing review of a restaurant by the name Allesandro.
The owner, who was also called Allesandro, was quick to march over to give her a piece of his mind, but upon seeing how talented she was, he ended up offering her a job as a head chef instead. Negron was an actor, painter, comedian and playwright. His works include 'That's So Raven', 'So Little Time', 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air', 'The Ben Stiller Show', 'Curb Your Enthusiasm', 'Reno 911!', 'My Wife and Kids', 'Seinfeld', 'ER', 'Party of Five' and 'Falcon Crest'. In 2008, Negron was diagnosed with liver cancer. He died on January 10, 2015, at the age of 57.
Paul Gleason as Jack, Phoebe's boss
'The One That Could Have Been' is easily one of the weirder episodes, since it gave fans a glimpse of an alternate reality. In this alternate world, Phoebe's workaholic persona stands out and is nowhere near the fun, goofy character we've all learned to love.
Apart from working herself to death, literally, Phoebe suffers a heart attack after a work deal goes bad, resulting in major financial loss. Her boss Jack delivers even more bad news — she gets fired. Jack was played by actor Paul Gleason, known for his work such as 'All My Children' and films such as 'The Breakfast Club', 'Trading Places', and 'Die Hard'. Gleason died at age 67 on May 27, 2006. He was suffering from pleural mesothelioma, a form of lung cancer.
Robin Williams as Thomas
'Friends' has seen a lot of interesting cameos over the years. One such cameo was that of Robin Williams and Billy Crystal in the episode 'The One With The Ultimate Fighting Champion'. Their cameo wasn't a planned one. The writers saw them in the building and asked if they would like to appear on the show, resulting in an improvised episode. The episode follows Thomas, played by Williams, telling his friend Tim, played by Crystal, that he thinks his wife is cheating on him. He later finds out that she is and with his friend Tim, no less.
Actor and comedian Williams has starred in a range of movies such 'Moscow on the Hudson', 'Good Morning, Vietnam', 'Dead Poets Society', 'Mrs Doubtfire', 'Jumanji' and 'Aladdin'. Williams died on August 11, 2014. He was suffering from various mental health issues and took his own life. He was 63 years old.
Alexis Arquette as a waiter in drag
Alexis Arquette was featured in the episode 'The One With Chandler’s Dad', where she interacted with her then sister in law, Courteney Cox. Cox was married to David Arquette, Alexis' brother.
Arquette has worked on a number of series and movies including 'Pulp Fiction', 'Threesome' and 'Bride of Chucky'. Arquette contracted HIV in 1987 and suffered from multiple complications because of the same. Arquette was placed in a medically induced coma and died on September 11, 2016. The cause of death was cardiac arrest caused by myocarditis stemming from HIV.
Conchata Ferrell as the judge presiding over Ross and Rachel's annulment
When Ross and Rachel get married in Las Vegas, Ross hopes they can annul the marriage seeing that he doesn't want to go through a divorce. In the episode 'The One With Joey's Porsche', they visit a judge, but their constant bickering ends up with them having to get a divorce, since the judge refuses to put up with their behaviour.
Conchata Galen Ferrell is an actress who was on multiple series but is best known for her role as Berta the housekeeper on 'Two and a Half Men', a role she received two Primetime Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. She was also nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her performance in 'L.A. Law' in 1992. Ferrell died on October 12, 2020, due to complications following cardiac arrest. She was 77 years old.
Joel Beeson as Todd the Hombre Man
Joey's acting career has been a hit and a miss, but no role was ever too big for him. In the episode 'The One With the Breast Milk', Joey takes on the gig of a perfume sprayer, where he faces off with another perfume sprayer called the 'Hombre Man'.
The two have an old fashion western showdown with perfumes, where Joey ends up with the girl, obviously. Joel Beeson played Hombre Man, also known as Todd. Beeson has acted in 'Death Becomes Her', 'Ballistic' and 'The Favor'. He died on October 18, 2017 at the age of 51.
Kellie Waymire as Colleen, Phoebe's friend
In 'The One Where Ross is Fine', Phoebe introduces Monica and Chandler to her friends Colleen and her husband Bill, so that the couple can talk to them about the process of adoption. All seems to be going well until Chandler bumps into Owen, the couple's son and mentions that he's adopted. Turns out, Owen had no idea and is visibly upset.
Kellie Suzanne Waymire played the role of Colleen. Her other works included 'Six Feet Under' and 'Star Trek: Enterprise'. Waymire, unfortunately, died on November 13, 2003, a month after the episode aired. Her death was due to undiagnosed cardiac arrhythmia. She was 36 at the time.
Audra Lindley as Frances, Phoebe's grandmother
Phoebe references her grandmother quite often, even though she frequently mentions that she is probably in hell. Frances was her adoptive grandmother, who through her life, hid the identity of Phoebe's father.
However, through Frances' death, she manages to meet her real father and although they don't have much of a relationship, she does develop a close bond with her half brother, Frank Jr Audra Marie Lindley, who played the role of Frances, was an actress, most famous for her role as Helen Roper on the sitcom 'Three's Company' and its spin-off 'The Ropers'. Lindley died of leukaemia on October 16, 1997. She was 79.
Max Wright as Terry
Gunther may be the face of Central Perk, but before him was Terry, a no-nonsense coffee shop manager who was not a fan of Phoebe's music. The role was played by George Edward Maxwell Wright, an actor known for his role as Willie Tanner on 'ALF'. In 1995, he was diagnosed with lymphoma, which was successfully treated. However, he died from the disease on June 26, 2019, at the age of 75.
Shelley Berman as Mr Kaplan Jr
For Rachel, working at Central Perk was far from what she wanted, so when she got a job at Fortuna Fashions, she was all set to make it big in the fashion world. Only to find out that her job was essentially to make coffee for her new boss, Mr Kaplan Jr, much to her annoyance.
The role was played by Sheldon Leonard Berman, a comedian, actor, writer, teacher and lecturer. Berman won a Grammy for his spoken comedy recording in 1959. His role on 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' also earned him an Emmy nomination in 2008. Apart from acting, Berman taught humor writing at University of Southern California for over 20 years
He died on September 1, 2017, due to Alzheimer's-related complications. He was 92 years old.
Alaina Reed Hall as the hospital receptionist
The gang is known for getting up to the weirdest shenanigans in hospitals and the episode 'The One With Two Parts: Part 2' is no different, seeing that Rachel and Monica swap identities over health insurance. Hospital receptionist Alaina Reed Hall promptly calls Monica an 'idiot' for trying to pull off this stunt. Hall had recurring roles on shows such as 'Ally McBeal,' 'Any Day Now' and 'ER.' Hall died of breast cancer in 2009 at age 63.
Mary Pat Gleason as Nurse Sizemore
Ross never had it easy when it comes to love. So in the episode 'The One With George Stephanopoulos', the boys decide to take him to a hockey game to cheer him up. While he sulks over how everything reminds him of Carol, his lesbian ex-wife, he gets hit in the face with a hockey puck.
The day just gets worse, while an injured Ross waits it out as Chandler argues relentlessly with Nurse Sizemore. Mary Patrick Gleason, who takes on the role, was a film and television actress and an Emmy Award-winning writer. She stared on the show 'Guiding Light', on which she was also a writer. Gleason died from cancer in June 2020. She was 70 at the time.
Fred Willard as Dean Lipson
Who doesn't remember Marcel, Ross' adorable capuchin whose favourite song is 'In The Jungle'. Unfortunately, Marcel ends up becoming quite the handful when he starts humping everything in sight, resulting in Ross having the Bronx Zoo adopt him.
Ross soon finds out that Marcel died in 'The One After The Superbowl, Part 1', when zoo administrator Dean Lipson insists that his beloved friend was no more, in the most sketchy manner possible. It then leads to a wild conspiracy that Marcel is now a Hollywood actor with the zoo keeping the information under wraps. The role was played by Frederick Charles Willard Jr, an actor, comedian and writer. He acted in a wide range of work such as 'Waiting for Guffman', 'Best in Show', 'A Mighty Wind', 'For Your Consideration', the 'Anchorman' films, 'Fernwood 2 Night', 'Everybody Loves Raymond' and 'Modern Family'. Willard died on May 15, 2020, due to cardiac arrest. He was 86 at the time.
Terry Rhoads as the Maitre d'
Terry Rhoads played the Maitre d' on the episode 'The One With The Holiday Armadillo'. Chandler is seen tying to tip him, but in classic Chandler fashion, is incredibly awkward about it.
Terry Rhoads has acted in multiple series such as 'Murphy Brown', 'The Drew Carey Show', 'Ally McBeal', 'Malcolm in the Middle', 'House M.D.', 'Desperate Housewives', 'Hannah Montana', 'What I Like About You', 'Two and a Half Men', 'That '70s Show' and 'Better Off Ted', among others. Rhoads died in 2013 due to a disease called Amyloidosis. He was 61 years old.
You can stream all episodes of 'Friends' on Netflix. You can stream 'Friends: The Reunion' on HBO Max on May 27, 2021.