It’s never easy to say goodbye to favorite characters on a television show. The Walking Dead developed a reputation—every character fans felt deeply for in one way or another met a ghastly, gruesome death. We don’t just miss the characters, though. The actors behind the fallen survivors are talented, caring people who get pigeon-holed into this one moment in their career. Many have gone on to do amazing things since. It’s time we took a look back at some of the show’s more memorable deceased characters and played catch-up with the actors who brought them to life.
Life After Death: Volume 7
By R.C. Murphy
Unfortunately, the reality during an apocalyptic scenario is that most people will not make it far with their families intact—these solo folks tend to fall to the wayside on the show quite often. During season one, when some characters left they just drove off and were never heard from again. Others were dropped on the roadside and everyone else drove off. And some were so well obliterated, the wind had nothing to scatter once the embers cooled. Here’s a look at some original TWD survivors.
We didn’t get to know much about Jim beyond he was good with vehicles and lost his entire family to the walkers before Rick left the hospital. Jim was bitten trying to save Amy. Succumbing to the infection, the gang left him beside the freeway on the way to the CDC. His death set the tone for every other, “Hey, we can save them,” moment until now on the show. And that tone is, it’s pretty hopeless. To survive, the actively infected must be separated from the crew.
Andrew Rothenberg is always a welcome face on the screen, even when he’s playing a not-so-nice guy. As Jim, he had a few shining moments to impart some survivor’s wisdom to the others. After leaving TWD, he went on to guest star on shows like Person of Interest, Elementary, Blue Bloods, and most recently, The Good Wife. Rothenberg had a regular role on Mob City as Eddy Sanderson. He’s also returned to the stage with roles in Road Show, Mourning the Living and a couple others. Occasionally, Andrew attends conventions with his True Blood and TWD co-stars. His next projects are Revelers and season two for the web series Miss Teri.
Jacqui may still be one of the bravest characters on the show, though she didn’t survive the first season. She fully understood the situation—the world wouldn’t magically fix itself, she didn’t have the raw strength to live on the land indefinitely, and she certainly did not have the mental capacity to constantly kill to survive. Instead of a slow, painful death, she opted to go out on her terms and in a way which guaranteed peace.
Jeryl Prescott Sales brought heart to original survivor group. Something nearly impossible to do with such a compacted season to tell a huge story. She may not have been front and center, but she was there supporting her costars and stole a few scenes, especially the moments around Jim’s infection and later when they abandoned him to die alone. Post-TWD, Jeryl wrote, directed, produced, and starred in Stand Down Soldier. She’s filmed a few other film projects, including Get a Job, The Cold Descent with Tony Todd, and The Birth of a Nation, which releases on October 7th. Jeryl also guest starred on Castle, Revolution, and Modern Family, while finding reoccurring roles on Ray Donovan, Powers, and Film Lab Presents. This summer, she participated in a charity beach volleyball match on NBC to support St. Jude’s.
Dr. Edwin Jenner might be one of the most influential characters on the show, and he was only in two episodes. The information he learned at the CDC, then passed on to Rick, shaped how the team formed alliances for quite some time. Rick knew the dead weren’t the only threat. Everyone, even their spouses and children, was a potential flesh-eater with just one accident. Worst of all, Jenner’s information meant there was no peace in death without destroying the brain. Which is precisely why Jenner chose to remain in the CDC facility when it started its decontamination procedure. A gigantic explosion guaranteed he didn’t come back.
After his short but important role on TWD as Dr. Jenner, Noah Emmerich went on to star in Super 8, directed by J.J. Abrams. He filmed a few other projects, including Jane Got a Gun, Billions, Master of None and the upcoming Wilde Wedding, which also stars Glenn Close, John Malkovich, and Patrick Stewart. Noah is a series regular on The Americans where he plays Stan Beeman, an FBI agent who happens to live next to KGB spies and has no clue. This show has two more seasons before its finale. That’s plenty of time for Beeman to get a clue about the neighbors, right?