Roseanne’s Dan Conner Joins A Long List Of Sitcom Characters Who Were Mistakenly Declared Dead
By Doug Poe
When the decision to revive the sitcom Roseanne was made, one of the problems had to do with the character of Dan Connor. The husband of the title character, played by actor John Goodman, had been declared dead after a heart attack in the finale of the last season two decades ago.
The writers, much like Hollywood versions of Victor Frankenstein, found a creative way to bring Dan back to life. It was probably not a difficult procedure, for the Roseanne panel had a plethora of precedents to examine for ideas.
Here are nine other popular TV sitcom characters who have been mistakenly declared dead, either through bureaucratic errors or chicanery.
Hawkeye Pierce in MASH
“The Late Captain Pierce” is the title of an episode where Alan Alda’s character has to prove he still exists, even though the army has declared him as deceased.
Archie Bunker in All in the Family
America’s most lovable bigot found himself in a struggle with the government, trudging through red tape to prove that his heart was still beating.
Abe Simpson in The Simpsons
In an episode called “The Old Man and the Key” after the famous novel by Ernest Hemingway, Grandpa has been erroneously declared dead by his nursing home.
Peter Griffin in Family Guy
The Grim Reaper comes for Peter believing he has died, but Old Scratch ends up injuring his ankle instead of claiming the head of the Griffin family.
Tom Silby in The Andy Griffith Show
In a side story of the classic episode called “Opie’s Charity”, a Mayberry citizen believed have died two years ago, returns to tell the Sheriff that he had merely left his wife after another spat. Instead of suffering the humility of a runaway husband, his wife had chosen to declare him dead and even carried out an elaborate funeral for him.
George Costanza in Seinfeld
George Steinbrenner and the rest of the front office of the New York Yankees believe that their employee has passed away, since the title character’s best friend (played by Jason Alexander) had left his car unmoved in the parking lot for a week. This classic episode is called “The Caddy.”
Thurston Howell the Third in Gilligan’s Island
After hearing he has lost his entire fortune, the millionaire (played by Jim Backus) is thought to have committed suicide when the castaways find his hat floating on the lagoon.
Fish in Barney Miller
Abe Vigoda’s unforgettable character in the police station runs into a huge problem when he finds his name in the obituary column in the “Discovery.”
Drew Carey in The Drew Carey Show
He was in a coma in an airing called “Drew’s Life After Death”, but when a doctor sends a death certificate Drew’s loved ones assume that he has passed on.