MIA TV Stars: Lost's Matthew Fox, NYPD Blue's Dennis Franz and 17 Others We're Putting an APB Out On

Last week, TVLine’s editor-in-chief Michael Ausiello tweeted out a provocative rhetorical question: What the eff happened to Matthew Fox?!? And it got the rest of us thinking, why is that a rhetorical question? Shouldn’t the Party of Five and Lost leading man be headlining another series right now? He was a big star, after all, and is a talented actor. And surely, by now, he’s exorcized the demons that reportedly got the better of him back in 2011-12.

Unable to come up with a satisfying answer to the boss’ question — damn you, Ausiello! — we distracted ourselves by throwing out one name after another of other onetime TV MVPs who have inexplicably vanished from the small screen. Unfortunately, rather than make us feel like this was an everyday occurrence and nothing to worry about, this only sent us into a panic. If Dennis Franz could (poof!) disappear, who’s to say that it couldn’t happen to Julia Louis-Dreyfus? Nathan Fillion? Taraji P. Henson?

To reassure ourselves, we’ve compiled a list of the MIA actors whose absences we suddenly felt so keenly and offered up suggestions for new roles into which they might fit. To check out our picks, scroll through the gallery below. Then hit the comments with the stars you miss most.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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74 Comments
  1. Hege says:

    I really liked Lara Flynn Boyle in Twin Peaks but all she can do on TV these day is to serve as a spokesperson for NOT to do cosmetic surgery. She looks scary!

  2. LADY_in_MD says:

    So I don’t watch Grey’s but didn’t Eric Dane get fired from that show? Only reason I ask is because if he did I wouldn’t think his wife Rebecca Gayheart would want to be on Greys but like I said I’m not sure how he left the show…

  3. Jasie says:

    I want Jessalyn Gilsig back. She hasn’t had much going on since leaving Vikings.

    • Matt Zmudka says:

      Liza Weil was the one that I kept saying year after year I couldn’t believe I wasn’t seeing cast and THEN!

    • Matty says:

      Good suggestion! She was fantastic on Boston Public years ago. and did the best she could with her part on Glee.

  4. Joey says:

    Give Mercedes McNab and Anna Camp a comedy duo show ala Garfunkel and Oates.

  5. Kevin K says:

    Several people that didn’t make the list of MIA TV stars – Kathleen Kinmont (Renegade), Vanessa Angel (Weird Science), cast of Baywatch including Nicole Eggert, David Charvet, Gena Lee Nolin and Yasmine Bleeth among others. Also, Jamie-Lynn Sigler and Robert Iler aka Meadow and AJ from The Sopranos.

    • Kevin K says:

      Forgot to mention Mariel Hemingway (Civil Wars)

    • A fan of TV says:

      Most of the women of Baywatch served a very specific role for a very specific reason, and it was not ‘because they could act and were so in demand with TV scripts). To see many of these women today is the reason they aren’t working, whether or not this is fair.

    • David Stumme says:

      Sigler has health issues (MS for the last 15+ years) that limit what she can do these days. She gave an interview about it last January. She did do guest shots this season on CSI Cyber and Baby Daddy. The interview mentioned that she can work, but action scenes are out of the question.

    • Jane says:

      Jamie-Lynn Sigler was on Baby Daddy a few weeks ago.

  6. Gail says:

    Article makes it sound that these actors want to work but can not get hired. In many cases it could be that they have chosen to retire or otherwise not be in the limelight anymore.

    • Victoria says:

      I thought that was what the article was about also. I got confuse because Dennis Franz chose to retire after NYPD Blue ended. It would be nice to see some of the other actors (I do miss Kellie Martin) on TV but totally respect if they chose to step away.

      • mary says:

        Yes, Dennis Franz said he would come back, only if the role was “just right”. I say tv needs you Mr Franz. Kellie Martin has made many, many Hallmark movies-so she has not left tv at all.

    • Lauren says:

      I think TVLine is just saying, “Hey, we miss these people!” Regardless of why they aren’t in the limelight anymore.

    • Amy K. says:

      I know that Marcy Walker has a busy career as a minister and is happily retired from acting. That said, it would be cool to see her do a cameo scene on Days of Our Lives with A. Marines.

  7. Mark says:

    I had the biggest crush on Kellie Martin back in the day. She gets my vote for coming back first.

    • borkak says:

      Kelly Martin stars in her own recurring series of mystery movies on the Hallmark Mystery channel and has also been in a few of the the regular Hallmark channel movies. Hallmark is ignored by TV sites because of varying quality but it can be a nice break from watching horror, gore, violence and comic book characters sometimes.

    • grazelled says:

      She has been doing several movies for both Hallmark channels and guest starred or recurred on Army wives, Mad Men, and other shows.

  8. Morgan says:

    Didn’t Marcy Walker leave acting to become a pastor or something? I would LOVE to see Ryan Murphy cast Tammy Lynn Michaels.

    • Matty says:

      Yes, she is now a youth minister in South Carolina or something like that. and Tammy Lynn left acting behind when she got married to Melissa Etheridge and have a bunch of kids, now she is a full time mother.

  9. Brian says:

    Love that Ana Alicia was mentioned.

  10. A fan of TV says:

    I’m pretty sure the reasons Matthew Fox is no longer working much have to do with the following, perhaps a combination of several of them: alcoholism (party bus incident and the rumours this was part of a pattern), ‘assaholism’ (lots of rumours of being unfriendly/difficult on set), and a desire not to be caught up in another major show that wants too much of his time and commitment. Doesn’t he not even live in L.A., but rather outside Portland, Oregon?

    • Simon says:

      Yeah I agree but I think mostly it was a desire of wanting a more normal life, and not act. I remember as Lost was coming to an end he was saying he couldn’t care to work on TV anymore and maybe doing 1 or 2 movies here and there. I think he wants more of the country life than the Hollywood life. Hopefully he got his drinking under control too.

    • Scott21 says:

      And dont forget that according to Dominic Monoghan Matthew Fox likes to beat up women

      • Jane77 says:

        Well, plenty of fans have asked Dom to offer some proof, which has yet to provide. And before you mention the bus driver, all the charges were dropped because all the witnesses on the bus contradicted her accusations.

    • Ronnie says:

      When an actor has a horrible reputation on set for bad behavior, such as Matthew, no one will hire them. Even if he decides to come back to acting, he will need to promote a lot of goodwill with producers to get hired. This is the case with a lot of actors who you don’t see a lot of anymore because no one wants to put up with their BS. I can think of a few actors who are working right now on hit series that you will not see for a long while after their show gets cancelled.

      • Jody Lynn says:

        Matthew Fox starred in two films last year, he also appeared on Jimmy Kimmel and James Corden in October 2015 to promote them, so he’s being hired by many film makers, contrary to your erroneous information that was probably obtained from reading rumors on gossip sites, he was one of the four leads in a movie with Kurt Russell, Partick Wilson and Richard Jenkins last year, and they all spoke very highly of their experience working with him, these facts can be found by anyone who knows how to use Google. If you do some research you will also find that he’s not interested in doing another TV series, he gave many interviews stating this after Lost ended, he doesn’t want to make the commitment and he’s financially set for life. He can work when he feels like it, or not work. It’s as simple as that.

  11. Matty says:

    My list of most-missed TV Stars:
    (excluding ones TVLINE already mentioned)
    Cybill Shepherd
    Shelley Long
    Julia Duffy
    Kim Delaney
    Christine Lahti
    Sela Ward
    Patricia Kalember
    Mel Harris
    Veronica Hamel
    Rob Estes
    Brooke Shields
    Melina Kanakaredes
    Faith Ford
    Candace Bergen

  12. Lauren says:

    Amen to Jason Behrs and Tammy Lynn Michaels! Gah, thanks for reminding how much I loved turn-of-the-century WB shows!

  13. Rachel says:

    Omg yes please Jason Behr! Every season I hope and pray and cross my fingers he’s in something. Please come back!!!

  14. Walkie says:

    Dennis Franz has been retired since 2005. It’s not a great mystery.

  15. Pat says:

    Yeah, Franz is set for the rest of his life. Why would he want to have another grueling tv schedule?

    Sharona made her own bed on Monk too, if the reports are true with the behind the scenes crap.

  16. Steven says:

    Jason Behr, Rebecca Gayheart, and Tammy Lynn Michaels are great picks! I was thinking recently about how much i miss seeing Jason Behr on TV. To have him reunite with Shiri even if for an episode would be amazing. A little in line like “What planet are you from?” would totally make my teenage dreams come true.

  17. HAP says:

    You’ll not be seeing Dennis Franz again unless you bump into him in Couer D’Alene Idaho, where he lives and fishes all the time. After 261 episode of NYPD Blue, the 71 year old told the NY Post last fall that he is absolutely content.

  18. KD says:

    Thanks for mentioning so many of my favorites. Ana Alicia!!! What about Wilson Cruz? Michael Urie? Sean Hayes? BernNadette Stanis? Anne Marie Johnson? Debbi Morgan?

    • Gail says:

      Michael Urie is currently performing his one man show “Buyers and Cellars” at the Westport Country Playhouse. It is being taped for future broadcast on PBS.

      • Gail says:

        That should be “Buyer and Cellar.” He plays a fictional character who is the caretaker of Barbra Streisand’s cellar which is set up as a country mall ,which actually true.

    • Chris says:

      Wilson Cruz is going to make a guest appearance on “Mistresses” this season, and recently had recurring roles on two short-lived TV dramas “Heartbeat” and “Red Band Society”!

  19. ScottJ says:

    These people are obviously making a living somehow. So what are they doing? Maybe they’re busy on stage, in direct-to-DVD movies, doing voice work, or working overseas.So they don’t have the time, or probably the need, to work on TV shows.

    • Jody Lynn says:

      Matthew Fox and Dennis Franz are multi-millionaires from the over 20 years of acting work they have under their belts, Fox is worth over $20 million, and Franz close to that, they also receive residual checks from their TV shows, they don’t need to work to make a living any more, Franz is retired and Fox works when he feels like it. He starred in two films last year.

  20. ToyCannon says:

    I would add to the list:
    — Harley Jane Kozak (Santa Barbara, Arachnophobia)
    — Diana Muldaur (L.A. Law)
    — Andrew Shue (Melrose Place)
    — Lane Davies (Santa Barbara)
    — Bridget Fonda
    — Kate Jackson (Charlie’s Angels)
    — Michael Horton (Murder She Wrote)
    — Victoria Wyndham (Another World)
    — Pamela Bellwood (Dynasty)

  21. kjmorse says:

    Maureen McCormack was on Australia’s version of I’m a Celebrity get Me out of here in early 2015- she lasted 3/4 of the way

  22. Ruby says:

    Granted a portion of these actors may have retired from the business, the fact that a bunch of them of middle-aged women should give you clue why they have ostensibly disappeared from our screens. Same can be said for those mentioned in the comments.

    Roles for female actors “of a certain age” are hard to come by.

    • Gail says:

      While I believe that is true for movies unless you are Meryl Streep it is probably less so with TV. You have Lily Tomlin, 76 and Jane Fonda, 78, in a series, Viola Davis who is 50, Jessica Lange, 67, who was on American Horror Story as long as chose to be and others.

  23. Ella says:

    What about Charisma Carpenter?? She needs her own TV show, stat.

  24. KayCeeCee says:

    Charlie Mason, I like how you think! TV executives should hire you pronto to help them with casting their shows.

  25. Trogdor777 says:

    How ’bout Joe Lando?! Awww Sully

  26. Stefani says:

    Another NYPD Blue vet I’d like to see on a Dick Wolf show or Shondalad is Justine Micilli – she left acting for awhile, but she’s back now – looking beautiful & her acting is still top notch! I know this because I am her new manager! Please IMDB her if anyone is looking to cast this gem of an actor!!!

  27. fiberlicious says:

    PLEASE don’t wish any acting roles for Susan Dey – she is one of the worst “actors” I’ve ever seen! Lara Flynn Boyle needs a stint on Botched.

  28. Matty says:

    Here is another one I thought of: Crystal Bernard. She has all but vanished after “Wings”. Most of the other cast members from Wings have gone onto have long and varied careers, except Bernard who aside from one or two TV films has basically vanished.