Writing for Television: “Somebody has to die that the audience likes”

From a Washington Post obit today on actor John Heard:

He earned an Emmy nomination in 1999 for playing Vin Makazian in “The Sopranos,” a role he said he got after running into series star James Gandolfini in a gym. His time on the show ended like it did for many other “Sopranos” actors—with his character’s death.

Mr. Heard said he approached series creator David Chase and said, “’Why me? I’m a detective! You can use me forever!’ And he told me, ‘John, there’s a rule in television. Somebody has to die that the audience likes.’

“I said, ‘They like me? How do you know they like me?’ He said, ‘Well, they like you. So we’re gonna kill you.’

“My mother said, ‘Why do you have to die in everything?’ I said, ‘You’re telling me? I could’ve made a fortune!’”

—From staff reports and news services.

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