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Sad reason George O’Malley got such an abrupt end in Grey’s Anatomy

Sad reason George O’Malley got such an abrupt end in Grey’s Anatomy

What's even sadder was what was going on behind the scenes of the show at the time

Grey’s Anatomy fans will know all too well just how heartbreaking some characters’ death scenes can be, with many leaving viewers absolutely shattered.

Over the course of its long 20 seasons, the show hasn’t been afraid to kill people off, including some of the most favourite faces, much to fans’ regular dismay.

From Meredith’s parents and sister to BOTH McDreamy and McSteamy, we know we can never expect an uncomplicated happy ending when it comes to Shonda Rhimes’ hugely popular medical drama.

But one of the moments that people really found hard to take was the untimely death of George O’Malley, who became the first of the original crew of five to go.

It was a traumatic way for him to go, too, as George ended up being admitted to Seattle Grace as anonymous John Doe - unrecognisable to his friends and peers as he’d been hit by a bus and dragged along the street.

It was only when he scribbled his nickname ‘007’ on Meredith’s hand that the penny dropped.

But what makes George’s departure even sadder was what was going on behind the scenes for actor T.R. Knight.

T.R. Knight as George O’Malley. (ABC)
T.R. Knight as George O’Malley. (ABC)

The actor had decided to leave the show in 2009 following alleged homophobic comments from co-star Isaiah Washington, who was accused of referring to Knight as a 'f****t' during an on-set argument with Patrick Dempsey.

Washington later apologised for what happened, saying in a statement to People: “I sincerely regret my actions and the unfortunate use of words during the recent incident on-set.

“Both are beneath my own personal standards. I have nothing but respect for my coworkers and have apologized personally to everyone involved.”

On 7 July, 2007, ABC announced it had decided not to renew Washington's contract.

He returned as a guest star in season 10 as part of a farewell storyline for Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh).

Knight ended up returning to Grey’s, though this time playing a spiritual version of George as he appeared in Meredith’s imagination.

Last year, Washington announced his retirement, telling his social media followers: "It is with a heavy heart and a sense of relief that I am announcing my early retirement from the entertainment industry today."

Washington played Preston Burke. (ABC)
Washington played Preston Burke. (ABC)

The star added: "I will be traveling this great country before it falls into Socialism and then Communism.

"Until then, know that this Frederick Douglass Conservative will keep his powder dry and loves you all! I am truly grateful for your support over the years."

However, a month later did an unexpected U-turn as after he announced a GoFundMe page for donations aimed to help fund a $1 million independent movie project.

"After seeing the incredible positive response to my recent announcement of retirement from the entertainment industry on social media, it became clear that I have been operating outside of the traditional Hollywood system successfully for the last 15 year's," Washington wrote.

The movie would tell the story of Bass Reeves, who was one of the first deputy US marshals of African descent, he explained, having shared plans to play the lead role.

“I’m asking for an initial 1 million dollars in support and my ultimate goal is 5 million,” he said.

“I have never asked for help or financial support like this in my life or career."

Featured Image Credit: ABC

Topics: Grey's Anatomy, LGBTQ+, TV And Film