Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

It's Not Unusual for Stars to Leave Successful Shows

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

It's Not Unusual for Stars to Leave Successful Shows

Article excerpt

Sherry Stringfield surprised a lot of people last week when

she walked away from a plum role on ER, the most successful

show on television, doing it even though she had to promise

to put her career on hold for the next 2 1/2 years.

Adding to the surprise was the fact that NBC and Warner

Bros., which produces ER managed to keep her departure a secret

until last week.

The first hint actually came during the Nov. 14 episode, when

Stringfield's character, Susan Lewis, announced that she wanted

to move to Phoenix, to be nearer the infant niece she tried to

adopt last season.

Even then, NBC teased audiences with promos indicating there

would be a surprise wedding on last Thursday's episode. The

natural assumption was that Mark Greene, played by Anthony

Edwards, would confess that he loved Lewis. And that's how

Thursday's episode did end, with Greene and Lewis exchanging

vows of love. But she said "I love you" as her train pulled out

of Union Station, leaving Greene alone and forlorn on the

station platform. The emergency room wedding involved a

relatively minor character.

While Stringfield's departure is surprising, it isn't

unprecedented. Major characters have regularly been leaving

successful drama series in recent years.

The most celebrated departures have been David Caruso's

rancorous exit from NYPD Blue 10 episodes into its second season

and Mandy Patinkin's withdrawal from Chicago Hope early in its

second season.

But there have been plenty of others.

Of nine regulars featured on NYPD Blue 's first season, five

have left. The first to go, in fact, was Stringfield, who moved

to ER after one year of playing Caruso's ex-wife.

Of the seven lead actors in the original cast of Chicago Hope ,

only three remain with the show. E.G. Marshall left early in the

first season, Peter MacNichol departed soon after Patinkin last

year and Roxanne Hart did not return this season; nor did Jamey

Sheridan, who joined the show last year as a nominal replacement

for Patinkin. …

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