A small addendum to the post about vanished TV characters popped into my head this morning.
I remember watching an episode of Boy Meets World back in the day in which the character Minkus (Lee Norris) showed up after a lengthy, unexplained absence. Though Minkus had been a main character in the show’s first season and Norris in the opening credits, the show’s producers dropped him thereafter — apparently in an effort to re-focus the show as a soap opera revolving around Cory, Topanga and various characters’ long-lost brothers. In the episode that quickly re-introduced Minkus, however, main characters Cory and Shawn bump into him in the hallway and ask where he’s been all this time. Minkus points to the camera and says that he’s been on the other side of the hallway, on the other side of school — specifically behind the camera’s line of sight, on the unseen half of the sitcom set. Cory and Shawn accept this explanation and move on. To my knowledge, Minkus was never mentioned again.
Lee Norris was on my mind just a few weeks ago when I returned from seeing Zodiac. Though it was good, seeing it for me amounted to an extended game of “Who’s That Guy?” with all the familiar but unrecognizable actors playing roles in it. (“Hey! Is that Drew’s brother from The Drew Carey Show?” “And is that Paulie G from The Comeback?” “How did Anthony Edwards get so fat?”) The moment I got home, I jumped on Zodiac’s IMDb page a saw Lee Norris’s name as having played the Zodiac Killer’s first male victim.
So, you know, if you feel like watching a former child star who was sent to the cornfield be horrifically mutilated with gunshot wounds, Zodiac is the movie for you. Of course, having been attacked by the Zodiac Killer might be the best explanation yet for why a TV regular would suddenly stop appearing on their show.