7 Shocking Character Deaths on Walking Dead, and Where the Actors Went Next

Not everyone survives a zombie apocalypse

As fans of AMC's The Walking Dead know, the popular series has chewed its way through a rotating cast of characters who get killed off each season (this is a zombie apocalypse, after all). As the ratings behemoth gets set to return for its sixth season on Sunday, here are some of the most notable actors whose characters did not survive.

It probably goes without saying, but there are big spoilers ahead for anyone who isn't caught up:

Shane Walsh

Played by: Jon Bernthal

Who he was: The best friend and right-hand man of Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), until the two clashed over how to lead the group of survivors. (There was also that whole issue of Walsh having an affair with Grimes' wife, Lori).

How he died: As Walsh became more of a psychopath, his former best friend fatally stabbed him. The Season 2 stunner also led to one of the biggest reveals of the entire series: You don't have to be bitten by a zombie to turn into one after you die.

Before appearing on The Walking Dead: Primarily a stage actor, he landed a starring role on the one-season sitcom The Class, created by Friends co-creator David Crane.

Since leaving The Walking Dead: He's appeared in Hollywood hits The Wolf of Wall Street and Fury, and starred in TNT's short-lived Mob City. Next year, Bernthal will return to the comic book world when he portrays The Punisher on the second season of Netflix's Daredevil.

Lori Grimes

Played by: Sarah Wayne Callies

Who she was: A survivor of the outbreak, Lori was the wife of Rick Grimes and mother of Carl and Judith.

How she died: She died after giving birth. In a cruel twist of fate, her son Carl had to shoot her in the head to prevent her from returning as a zombie.

Before appearing on The Walking Dead: She landed her first television role in 2003 as Kate O'Malley in the short-lived CBS show Queens Supreme. She also played Detective Jane Porter on The WB's Tarzan.

Since leaving The Walking Dead: Callies has appeared in several films since her Dead departure: Into the Storm and Pay the Ghost. She will also star in the Carlton Cuse drama Colony debuting on USA in January.

Merle Dixon

Played by: Michael Rooker

Who he was: After appearing in the pilot as the racist brother of Norman Reedus' Daryl Dixon, Merle Dixon was thought to have been left for dead. However, Dixon reappeared—without his hand—in Season 3 as a member of Woodbury and the right-hand (no pun intended) man of The Governor (David Morrissey), the season's main antagonist.

How he died: The Governor fatally shot him, and when brother Daryl stumbled on a zombie-fied Merle, Daryl put him down for good with a knife through the head.

Before appearing on The Walking Dead: Rooker is known for his roles in films Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer; Mississippi Burning; Mallrats; and Guardians of the Galaxy.

Since leaving The Walking Dead: He can be seen in the upcoming sequels to the latter two.


Played by: Laurie Holden

Who she was: A survivor of the outbreak, she and her sister Amy were saved by Dale Horvath and eventually joined a group of survivors at the camp outside Atlanta.

How she died: Andrea was one of the first major deaths that actually involved being bitten by a zombie, when The Governor locked her in a room with one during the Season 3 finale. She then shot herself with Rick's revolver.

Before appearing on The Walking Dead: An actor since childhood, Holden landed a role in the 1980 miniseries The Martian Chronicles. She went on to star in more than a dozen TV shows and movies including The X Files and The Shield.

Since leaving The Walking Dead: Holden appeared in the film Dumb and Dumber To as well as the TV series Major Crimes and Chicago Fire. Holden was set to star in Chicago Med but dropped out due to "family reasons."

Hershel Greene

Played by: Scott Wilson

Who he was: A farmer and family man, Hershel came aboard in the show's second season and proved himself to be a diplomat and Rick's adviser.

How he died: After nearly falling victim to a zombie bite—his leg was amputated by Rick to save his life—Hershel was decapitated by The Governor in Season 4.

Before appearing on The Walking Dead: The 73-year-old Wilson has been in the game for quite awhile, with more than 50 film credits since the 1960s, including In the Heat of the Night, In Cold Blood, The Great Gatsby, Dead Man Walking, Pearl Harbor, and Junebug.

Since leaving The Walking Dead: Wilson will next star in A&E's upcoming sequel to The Omen, Damien.

Beth Greene

Played by: Emily Kinney

Who he was: Hershel's youngest daughter. At first, Beth was shy and soft-spoken, but she became more assertive as those around her—Jimmy, Zach, Patricia—were killed.

How he died: After being held captive in a hospital during the fifth season, she met her demise when Dawn Lerner, who was running a post-apocalyptic hospital, shot her in the head.

Before appearing on The Walking Dead: Kinney got her start on stage in the 2006 musical Spring Awakening.

Since leaving The Walking Dead: Kinney has recurring roles on Cinemax's The Knick and Showtime's Masters of Sex. A musician as well as an actress, Kinney released her debut album, This Is War, on Oct. 2.

Tyreese Williams 

Played by: Chad Coleman

Who he was: A leader of a small group of survivors, Tyreese was the older brother of Sasha and the caretaker of Judith Grimes.

How he died: The most recent main character to fall victim of a zombie bite, halfway through the fifth season. His actual cause of death was from blood loss after Rick attempted to save him by chopping off his arm.

Before appearing on The Walking Dead: An accomplished character actor with his first film role in 1993, most TV viewers know Coleman as Dennis "Cutty" Wise from HBO's The Wire. (Fellow Wire alums Larry Gilliard Jr. and Seth Gilliam have also appeared on the show.)

Since leaving The Walking Dead: Coleman was recorded in the middle of a rant on a New York subway train in May. He's set to star on Syfy's upcoming drama, The Expanse.

Publish date: October 9, 2015 https://dev.adweek.com/tv-video/7-times-notable-actor-has-been-killed-walking-dead-167455/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT