“The Walking Dead” has killed off main characters portrayed by big names more than any shows could have. But it is no surprise, given the time and setting of the series. AMC’s top-rated series might have killed off characters that led to the exit of many actors, but its success launched many doors of opportunity for them.

Shane Walsh

One of the first to have been killed off from “The Walking Dead” was Shane, portrayed by Jon Bernthal. Bernthal successfully portrayed Rick’s best friend who secretly desired his wife. After the show, Bernthal landed a main role in Netflix’s “The Punisher.” While the show has been cancelled, Bernthal picked up “The Sopranos” prequel film. He also appeared in movies like “Widows” and “First Man.”

Lori Grimes

As the wife of Rick Grimes, Lori’s time in “The Walking Dead” was so brief. She was killed off when she gave birth to Judith. Sarah Wayne Callies’ career in the series ended, but she was cast as one of the main stars in “Colony” and reprised her role in “Prison Break.”


Portrayed by Lauren Holden, Andrea was considered one of the strongest characters during the early seasons of “The Walking Dead.” The series killed off Andrea by feeding her off to a zombie when she was held captive.

Prior to “The Walking Dead,” she appeared in “The Mist” and “The Majestic.” Her latest projects include “The Americans” and “Proven Innocent.” She was also cast in the film “Dragged Across Concrete,” which starred Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn.

Michael Rooker In this handout photo provided by Disney Resorts, actor Michael Rooker attends the grand opening of Guardians of The Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT! attraction on May 25, 2017 at Disneys California Adventure in Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Richard Harbaugh/Disneyland Resort via Getty Images

Merle Dixon

Michael Rooker spent a short time in AMC’s top show. Rooker, who played Daryl’s long-lost brother Merle, was cast in one of the films of one of the biggest cinematic universe in the industry. He appeared in “Guardians Of The Galaxy” Volumes 1 and 2 as Yondu Udonta.

The Governor

David Morrissey’s The Governor was one of the most feared villains in “The Walking Dead.” His reign ended when he was stabbed by Michonne and shot by his girlfriend. Thereafter, Morrissey appeared in “Extant,” along with Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who apparently replaced him as a villain in the show. Morrissey can now be seen in Amazon’s “Britannia.”

Michael Cudlitz Actor Michael Cudlitz attends the season 5 premiere of 'The Walking Dead' at AMC Universal City Walk on October 2, 2014 in Universal City, California. Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Abraham Ford

Michael Cudlitz did not make any noise after his Abraham stint in “The Walking Dead” because his contract bounded him to his character until the death scene has been aired. 

Cudlitz is still present in the series but not as Abraham but as himself. He directed the episode “Stradivarius” of Season 9, which took him almost a year to direct and reportedly cost him his friendship with former showrunner Scott M. Gimple.

Glenn Rhee

Another actor who built stardom in the series is Steve Yeun. Many were saddened when his character, Glenn, was killed by Negan. Immediately after his character was killed, he landed in projects like “Okja” and the critically acclaimed “Mayhem.” He also does voices for Steve Palchuk in Netflix's “Trollhunters” and Keith in “Voltron.”

Sasha Williams

Actress Sonequa Martin-Green, known for playing Sasha, now plays a starring role as Michael Burnham in “Star Trek: Discovery.” Her latest project is in its second season under CBS.

Carl Grimes

Chandler Riggs was killed off in the midseason finale of Season 8. Riggs played the son of the main protagonist, Rick Grimes, played by Andrew Lincoln, who currently has exited the show. Carl’s death was a shocker to many and was even rumored to be one of the reasons for Lincoln’s exit. Though considered by “The Walking Dead” fans as the biggest mistake of AMC, the death of Rigg’s character in the hit zombie series paved the way for a character in “The Million Things” on ABC as PJ.

Tom Payne British actor Tom Payne attends the premiere of AMC's 'The Walking Dead' Season 9 at the DGA theatre in Los Angeles on September 27, 2018. CHRIS DELMAS/AFP/Getty Images

Paul “Jesus” Monroe

Tom Payne received praises from his dying scene in the mid-season finale of Season 9. But the higher praise came from showrunner Angela Kang, who shared that Payne volunteered to finish all the scenes when the scene could have used a dummy. After “The Walking Dead,” Payne appeared in digital film “IO” as Elon.