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Night Court Cast Deaths

As of late 2023, the list of Night Court cast deaths includes:

  • Selma Diamond, who played Selma Hacker, died in 1985
  • Florence Halop, who played Florence “Flo” Keiner, died in 1986
  • Crooner Mel Tormé, who played himself, died in 1999
  • Charlotte Portney, who played the uncredited court stenographer for four seasons, died in 2001
  • S. Marc Jordan, who played blind concession stand operator Jack Griffen, died in 2014
  • Harry Anderson, who played the lead, Judge Harry Stone, died in 2018
  • Paula Kelly, who played public defender Liz Williams, died in 2020
  • Charlie Robinson, who played everybody’s favorite court clerk, Mac Robinson, died in 2021
  • Markie Post, who played public defender, Christine Sullivan, died in 2021
  • Richard Moll, who played bailiff Bull Shannon, died in 2023

There is plenty more to the story behind these actors, gone but certainly not forgotten …

When Night Court debuted on NBC in 1984, we weren’t sure quite what to make of it.

Here we had a smart, sassy sitcom driven by Judge Harry Stone, who had a history … you know, that kind of history. Like, dark stuff. Criminal stuff.

And he was played by Harry Anderson, who was best known for his magic.

How could this work?

Because it was brilliant, and unlike anything we’d ever seen, that’s how.

But it’s been a long time since this baby went off the air — that happened in 1992, in case you forgot, or were just wondering.

Since then, a few series regulars have died (here, “regulars” are defined as actors who appeared in at least ten episodes … luckily, others like Markie Post are still with us).

And, well, we get dark around here sometimes, so …

Here are the Night Court cast deaths we know about, in chronological order of bringing the gavel down for the last time.

Details About Night Court Cast Deaths

Selma Diamond (1985)

Selma Diamond was Bull’s (Richard Moll) original bailiff sidekick, Selma Hacker.

Selma’s surname was a play on words and a nod to the character’s raspy voice and chain-smoking habit

Unfortunately, it was a case of life imitating art imitating life, as Diamond died of lung cancer not long after the second season of Night Court rapped.

The series followed suit and acknowledged Hacker’s death in a subsequent episode, complete with a mourning Bull.

Florence Halop (1986)

It just didn’t pay to be an old lady playing Bull’s sidekick on Night Court.

Especially if you smoked.

To wit, Florence Halop stepped in to replace Diamond for Season 3, taking up the role as Florence “Flo” Keiner. Her bond with Bull was pretty solid, too, but …

Yeah, Halop developed lung cancer and died shortly after the season.

Harry acknowledged her death in the first episode of Season 4, when the series mercifully opted for the younger and less smoky Marsha Warfield, as Rosalind “Roz” Russell.

Mel Tormé (1999)

Harry’s longtime idol was velvet-voiced crooner Mel Tormé.

For the first few years of the run, The Velvet Fog was a running gag/device, rolled out when Harry needed a particular type of foil or to come up with some life advice … sort of What Would Mel Do? #WWMD?

Then, in 1985, Tormé “appeared” as himself in an episode entitled, “The Gypsy,” though just in voice form.

From there through 1992, IMDB lists eight other appearances for Mel, though they say he made it into ten episodes in all.

A discrepancy for sure, and Tormé can’t really be considered a regular regular, but his presence was important enough to the ethos of the show — and Harry himself — that we’ll call it good

In August of 1996, Tormé suffered a stroke, hung on for a few more years, then died from a second stroke in 1999.

Boo, hiss to strokes.

Charlotte Portney (2001)

Charlotte Portney played the court stenographer for Harry during Seasons 1-4 of Night Court. It was an uncredited role, but longtime TV and film fans recognized Portney from her many parts that spanned back to the early 1950s.

Born in 1904, Portney passed away in 2001.

S. Marc Jordan (2014)

S. Marc Jordan is known mostly for his voice acting, lending his pipes to such classics as the old Transformers TV series and Avatar: The Last Airbender.

But Jordan was also a veteran character actor, with credits that included WKRP in Cincinnati, Empty Nest, Seinfeld, and Babylon V, among many other.

On Night Court, Jordan had a 22-episode run as Jack Griffin, the blind concession stand operator.

Jordan died in 2014 at the age of 83.

Harry Anderson (2018)

Of course, this is the big weenie-biter among Night Court deaths.

Harry Anderson was cool and irreverent and compassionate and a smart-ass, and he helped raise the level of television comedy beyond what we thought possible.

You might say that without Judge Harry Stone, there wouldn’t have been such a receptive audience for Seinfeld in the 1990s. Maybe, at least.

And Anderson’s blending of biting humor with melancholy humanity, as expressed through relationships like the one with Stone’s father Buddy (John Astin) are virtually inimitable.

And then, at the age of 65, Harry Anderson contracted freaking influenza in early 2018, which led to several strokes (suck it, strokes) … and his death.

It still bites weenies.

Paula Kelly (2020)

Paula Kelly broke through in the 1969 film Sweet Liberty, then spent the next couple of decades lighting up the screen — often the small screen.

In particular, she made appearances on Sanford & Son, Medical Center, The Streets of San Francisco, Police Woman, and The Richard Pryor Show through the 1970s.

Then, in 1984, she showed up on Night Court as public defender Liz Williams, a role which earned her a nomination for best supporting actress in a sitcom. She had to leave the show due to illness but resumed her acting career and continued to deliver for TV audiences — on other shows — through 1999.

Kelly passed away in February 2020 from complications of COPD.

Charlie Robinson (2021)

Born in Houston in 1945, Robinson began his entertainment career in the 1960s as a play actor and singer, developing a reputation for his theatrical talents across the board.

He landed his first movie role in 1974, playing Bernie Simmons in Sugar Hill, and then ran off a string of a dozen or more movie and TV credits before landing his seminal role in 1984.

As court clerk Macintosh “Mac” Robinson, Charlie provided gravitas in the zoo of a setting that was Judge Harry Stone’s courtroom. Greeting everyone he encountered with a warm and knowing charm, Mac at once set your mind at ease AND made you nervous that he knew something you didn’t.

Mostly quiet and unassuming in the show, Mac would occasionally pop off a one-liner or develop a storyline that could steal a scene, an episode, or even a season.

After Night Court ended in 1992, Robinson continued acting, accruing dozens of credits right up through 2020.

Charlie Robinson passed away in Los Angeles at the age of 75 on July 11, 2021, from complications of glandular cancer.

Markie Post (2021)

Post was born on November 4, 1950, in Palo Alto, California, to poet Marylee Post and physicist Richard F. Post. After college (Lewis & Clark), she embarked on a career in entertainment.

During the early and mid-1970s, Post sent several years working on game shows before embarking on her acting career.

Through the early 1980s, Post made appearances on numerous television comedies and dramas, including CHiPs, The Incredible Hulk, Barnaby Jones, and Simon & Simon.

Then, in 1982, Post landed the role of Terri Michaels, a regular on the Lee Majors vehicle, The Fall Guy.

When the series came to an end in 1985, Post caught on as public defender Christine Sullivan, replacing Billie Young (played by Ellen Foley) in Judge Harry Stone’s courtroom.

Christine was a tough but compassionate PD who often locked horns with prosecutor Dan Fielding (John Larroquette). She also eventually became Harry’s love interest.

Post went on to star alongside John Ritter in Hearts Afire in the 1990s and continued to appear on television into the late 2010s.

Post died on August 7, 2021, from complications of cancer, which she had been battling in the years leading up to her death. She was 70 years old.

Richard Moll (2023)

Moll was born on January 13, 1943, in Pasadena, California, the son of a nurse and a lawyer.

Even early in his life, Moll was known for his height, standing 6’1″ by the age of 12. He eventually grew to 6’8″, which made him a complete standout when he took up acting.

He began getting some national airtime in the late 1970s, including a cameo on Happy Days in 1979. Moll first shaved his head for a roll in the Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn.

That look really caught the attention of Hollywood, and he landed the role of Bull Shannon on Night Court the next year (1984). Originally portrayed as quiet and intimidating, Bull eventually developed a storyline that revealed him to be deep, thinking, and caring.

Moll’s portrayal of Bull made the character one of the most beloved in all of sitcom-dom.

After Night Court ended in 1992, Moll continued acting, with several movie and voiceover credits through the rest of his life.

Moll died at Big Bear Lake, California, on October 26, 2023.

Adding to the sadness of all these Night Court cast deaths is the fact that none of them was able to join John Larroquette for the show’s reboot in 2022.

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Night Court Cast Deaths
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8 thoughts on “Night Court Cast Deaths

  1. Am I the only one who didn’t know Harry Anderson passed away from the flu? Just last year,I loved night court cause of the cast but it also had Brent spiner(data next gen).on several episodes. Many famous people were on night court.

  2. I guess it was funny, or at least humorous, in the 80’s, but I really don’t think it holds up too well in 2020. It’s good as background sound when you’re surfing the web, where you can occasionally look up to watch a familiar scene, but you could never call this a great series. It’s comforting to watch or listen to, like an old shoe, but the bits and gags are truly dated. And as far as John Laroquette goes, he was much better in his self-titled series of the 90’s.

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