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The Office Actors You May Not Know Passed Away

Because of the hit sitcom's success on streaming services like Netflix and Peacock, it can be easy to forget that the U.S. version of "The Office" aired its final episode in 2013, and its cast has moved on to other things. For example, while he's no longer playing Michael Scott, in a sense Steve Carell's played even more of a space cadet (though his character had a higher rank) in the recent series "Space Force." Meanwhile, John Krasinski has stolen Michael's dream of becoming an action star with his lead roles in Prime Video's "Jack Ryan" and his own directorial effort, "A Quiet Place."

But sadly, not everyone who helped forge the unforgettable story of Dunder Mifflin is still with us. Most of the actors from "The Office" who have passed away had smaller recurring roles or even one-off guest spots, but every single one of them filled a memorable role in what's proven to be one of the most successful sitcoms of all time. From those who played the characters who built Dunder Mifflin to those who played the guys and girls working in the warehouse, here are actors from "The Office" you may not know have passed away.

Ken Howard

Ken Howard appears in only a single episode of "The Office," Season 2's "The Carpet." Howard plays Michael's old boss Ed Truck, who Michael fools into returning to the office by making up a story about an issue with his retirement. The truth is Michael wrongly believes a disgruntled employee has pranked him, and he wants input from Ed. While Howard wouldn't appear again on "The Office" — outside his old photo with a long-haired Michael — the character would have a much greater impact. When Michael learns of Ed's death in Season 3's "Grief Counseling," it forces him to consider his own mortality which leads, of course, to a funeral in the parking lot for a dead bird.

Howard's career reached far beyond his one-off on "The Office." One of his most well-known roles was Coach Ken Reeves on the late '70s/early '80s CBS drama "The White Shadow." Some years earlier in 1972, he impressed audiences with his award-winning performance as Thomas Jefferson in the musical "1776." Other memorable film roles included parts in "Rambo," "Michael Clayton," and "J. Edgar." Howard died in March 2016 at 71 years old due to pneumonia complicated by shingles and prostate cancer.

Patrice O'Neal

When Patrice O'Neal died in November 2011 from complications due to a stroke, the comedy world lost one of its greats. While O'Neal landed roles in TV shows, films, and even video games, he was best remembered for his hilarious stand-up comedy. His passing at the age of 41 was met with numerous tributes in the entertainment world from actors and fellow comics. 

On "The Office," O'Neal had the recurring role of warehouse worker Lonny Collins, aka Sea Monster. O'Neal appears in each of the first three seasons of the sitcom, and in most cases you get the feeling he's saying everything that Craig Robinson's Darryl — who's slightly more diplomatic than Lonny — is trying to not say himself. In Season 2's "Boys and Girls," he's more visibly frustrated than most when Michael brings the male office workers to the warehouse and wrecks the place in the process. In the following season's "Safety Training," he humiliates Michael during the training that warns the office workers about depression, calling it "fat butt disease."

Ranjit Chowdry

You may not know the name Ranjit Chowdry, but if you're a fan of "The Office," you have to know the name Vikram. Michael meets Vikram when his financial problems push him to get a temporary gig as a telemarketer in Season 4's "Money." No matter how good he is at selling paper, Michael just can't get the hang of telemarketing, unlike the former surgeon Vikram, who regularly nabs the top salesman position at the Lipophedrine Diet Pill Company. Michael briefly recruits Vikram the following season for the Michael Scott Paper Company in "Dream Team," but leaves when the "investors meeting" (comprised solely of Michael's grandmother and her friends) reveals Michael is unprepared. 

With a career on stage, screen, and film dating back to the late '70s, Chowdry was a busy character actor long before he sold diet pills on "The Office." Chowdry enjoyed prominent recurring roles like Mr. Singh on "Cosby" and Dr. Marvin Gudat on "Prison Break," and numerous one-offs on shows like "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit" and "Girls." Chowdry's work was more prolific in his own country, as noted by Indian actor Rahul Khanna in a tweet calling Chowdry "a towering icon of Indian diaspora cinema and a master of his craft." Chowdry died in April 2020 after emergency surgery to correct a ruptured ulcer. He was 65 years old. 

John Ingle

John Ingle had only one appearance on "The Office," but if you call yourself a Dunder Mifflin historian, you better remember it, because he played one of the company's founders.

Scared by the warnings from Creed (Creed Bratton) in Season 4's "Dunder Mifflin Infinity" that Ryan (B.J. Novak) is going to use his new promotion to move out any older employees, Michael Scott handles the situation the same way he deals with most problems: by calling a confusing conference room meeting. To shame Ryan, Michael invites the elderly Robert Dunder — Dunder Mifflin's surviving co-founder, played by Ingle — to the meeting.

Ingle is best known for playing a character much more ruthless than Robert Dunder. In 1993 he took over the role of cruel patriarch Edward Quartermaine from the late David Lewis on the daytime soap opera "General Hospital." Except for a 2004-to-2006 hiatus, Ingle played Quartermain until 2012. He also voiced Mr. Threehorn, father of Cera, in the "Land Before Time" films. Ingle died of cancer-related complications in September 2012 at the age of 84.

Hugh Dane

While he didn't always have many lines of dialogue, Hugh Dane was a memorable part of "The Office" family as Hank Tate, the security guard for Dunder Mifflin's Scranton office. For example, in Season 2's "Drug Testing," it's Hank who swears Dwight into his made-up role on the security team. Hank's the guy whose name no one can remember in Season 4's "Night Out" when they stay late and can't get out of the parking lot. Hank's also the guy selling his particularly unimpressive blues CD for Michael's benefit show in Season 5's "Crime Aid." 

Dane was a well-known character actor in film and television for years, working in the industry since the early '90s. Some of his more memorable roles outside "The Office" include appearances in the comedy movie "Bridesmaids" and the horror film "Joy Ride." Dane passed away from pancreatic cancer in May 2018 at the age of 75, and his death inspired numerous online tributes from "The Office" actors. On Twitter, Steve Carell called Dane a "terrific guy," Mindy Kaling wrote he was "one of the funniest actors ever," and Rainn Wilson named him "one of the greats."

Mark York

On "The Office," Mark York played William "Billy" Merchant, who first appears in Season 2. Billy is the owner and property manager of Scranton Business Park where the Scranton, Pennsylvania branch of Dunder Mifflin is located; the other suites in the building are home to Vance Refrigeration, W.B. Jones Heating and Air, Cress Tool and Die, Kavala Data Filters, Disaster Kits Limited, and Ruben's Elec. Cont., among others. 

York's Billy makes several appearances throughout "The Office" — most memorably the episode partially set at Chili's, where Michael Scott thinks that Billy, who uses a wheelchair, brought his nurse and not his girlfriend to dinner with him. In Season 6, Dwight Schrute purchases Scranton Business Park from Billy. 

On May 24, 2021, news broke that Mark York, who used a wheelchair in real life following a car accident that occurred in 1988, had died at the age of 55. York's funeral was held in Ohio that weekend.

Dan Cole

Dunder Mifflin isn't just in the backwater town of Scranton, Pennsylvania — there are branches all over the country. In the Season 2 episode "Valentine's Day" we meet Michael Scott's counterpart from a Dunder Mifflin office located in Buffalo, New York: Regional Manager Dan Gore, played by actor Dan Cole. He returns in Season 3's "Cocktails," where he's scoffed at by Dwight for never having seen "Battlestar Galactica," and he makes a third appearance in Season 4 in "Launch Party."

During his career, which got its start in the 1990s, Cole only made sporadic appearances on screen, with his role as Dan Gore being the only time he played a character more than once. But when he did appear, it was often on some of TV's biggest shows. This includes appearances in episodes of "Arrested Development," "Two and a Half Men," and "Monk" in the 2000s, with guest spots in "Parks and Recreation," "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," and "NCIS: Los Angeles" the following decade.

On the film side, Cole didn't have a long list, but he did make an uncredited appearance as Officer Timm — named for Harley Quinn creator Bruce Timm — in the 2020 Cathy Yan-directed anti-hero adventure "Birds of Prey." Film and TV wasn't his only arena, though — he also performed on stage, with his favorite role being Ebenezer Scrooge in "A Christmas Carol." Cole passed away in 2024 at the age of 60 after a prolonged illness. 

Ed Lauter

In "Suit Warehouse," Dwight (Rainn Wilson) and Clark (Clark Duke) pose as a father-son duo in the hopes of winning over the Stones, the father-son owners of a new potential client. Veteran character actor Ed Lauter fills the suit of Sam Stone Sr., who might not be as involved in the business as Dwight first thought. For Lauter, the role was one of the last of his long career, followed closely by his four-episode stint on "Shameless" as Dick Healey.

Lauter got his start in the early 1970s with his first role coming in an episode of "Mannix" in 1971. From there Lauter became a regular on screens big and small, usually playing surly, gruff types like lawmen and other similar officials. He had a six-episode run as Fire Captain Dannaker on "ER" in the late '90s and had recurring roles in "Golden Years" and "B.J. and the Bear," but more often than not made single-episode guest appearances on everything from "Hawaii Five-O" to "Star Trek: The Next Generation." In fact, you could throw a dart at a list of hit TV shows and there's a good chance he was on it, with more than 100 different TV credits on his filmography.

At the movies, he might be best known for playing Joe Camber in "Cujo," but he also appeared in "The Longest Yard," "Seabiscuit," and countless others. Lauter passed away in 2013 at the age of 74, but had four posthumous movie credits.

Alan Fudge

Every company needs a CEO, and for Dunder Mifflin that top executive is Alan Brand, played by actor Alan Fudge. Mentioned throughout the series, Brand shows up just once, in the Season 6 installment "Shareholder Meeting," but he makes his presence felt in a big way. It's in that episode that things go south for Dunder Mifflin, and Michael (Steve Carell) and the gang learn that Brand — the man who claims he can right the ship — has no plan to save the company. We later learn in "Secret Santa" that Brand was fired alongside a number of other senior executives.

The role of Brand was the last on-screen appearance of Alan Fudge's career. Usually a guest star or recurring character on the small screen throughout his career, some of his more notable roles came in episodes of "L.A. Law" in the '80s and '90s, and "How I Met Your Mother" in 2008. Fudge was part of a show's main cast only once, with his largest role coming in the short-lived 1977 series "The Man From Atlantis," one of the weirdest superhero TV shows ever made. Before that, though, he'd shown up in "Wonder Woman," so his comic book credentials aren't all bad. 

Impressively, Fudge's first role came in an episode of one of TV's biggest shows, "Gunsmoke," back in 1972, and he closed out his acting career with voicework in the 2011 video game "Star Wars: The Old Republic." He died of lung and liver cancer that same year at the age of 67.

Brad William Henke

The Season 9 episode "Vandalism" sees Pam's (Jenna Fischer) mural ruined by a mystery man who turns out to be Dunder Mifflin warehouse employee Frank. Playing the part was prolific actor Brad William Henke, a former NFL player who appeared in Super Bowl XXIV for the Denver Broncos and became an actor after injuries derailed his football career in the mid-1990s. Henke had quite a few important roles after switching careers, with his biggest coming in "Orange is the New Black," where he played prison guard Desi Piscatella in 26 episodes before his character was killed off.

In Season 2 of the critically acclaimed FX crime drama "Justified," Henke played dim-witted miscreant Coover Bennett, one of the main villains of the season who tormented Timothy Olyphant's deputy US Marshal Raylan Givens. A few years earlier he was Bram in the final season of "Lost." Other major roles for Henke included Tom Cullen in the 2020 limited series "The Stand," Big John in "Manhunt" and Brendon in Amazon's "Sneaky Pete." His only time playing a leading role on TV came in the 2007 drama "October Road" with Laura Prepon. 

Henke also found success on film, with key roles in the Will Smith Netflix original "Bright," the David Ayer World War II thriller "Fury," and as Grizzly Bear Daniels in "Pee-Wee's Big Holiday." Henke died in his sleep at the age of 56 in November 2022, with his final role being an uncredited appearance in an episode of "Big Sky."

Nick Lashaway

Some guest actors on "The Office" are bit players, and some don't even receive a name for their character. Such is the case with actor Nick Lashaway, who appeared in the episode "Money," from the show's fourth season. In the episode, Michael Scott gets a second job as a telemarketer, and Lashaway plays one of the young coworkers who become his unlikely friends, though he's only credited as "telemarketer." Tragically, what makes Lashaway's passing notable isn't the fact that he had a role in "The Office," but the fact that he died so young: In 2016, just five years after appearing in "Money," Lashaway lost his life in a car crash in Framingham, Massachusetts.

Though Lashaway was just 28 at the time of his death, he already had a decent career as a bit player. In addition to "The Office" he was also seen in episodes of "Girls," "8 Simple Rules" and even "The X-Files" when he was just 10 years old, playing a young Fox Mulder. Roles in the sci-fi thriller "In Time" (one of Justin Timberlake's better films) and "Ghost of New Orleans" helped prepare him for his starring role in the 2016 indie drama "Prayer Never Fails" from director Wes Miller, which also starred Eric Roberts, Corben Bernsen, and Lorenzo Lamas.

As fate would have it, Lashaway's role in "The Office" was a reunion for him. Two years earlier he'd actually had a small part in Steve Carell's "The 40-Year-Old Virgin." 

George Ives

An actor who started his career all the way back in 1950, George Ives was already in his mid-80s when he appeared in an episode of "The Office." It was in the episode "Phyllis' Wedding" that Ives played Al, the uncle of Phyllis (Phyllis Smith) who suffers from dementia. Unable to answer simple questions posed to him by Michael Scott, Al is booted from the wedding as a suspected party-crasher. The episode would wind up being Ives' last appearance on screen as he died two years later, but it marked the end of an illustrious run in Hollywood that began 60 years earlier.

In the '50s and '60s, Ives showed up in "Perry Mason," "Peter Gunn" and several playhouse shows like "The United States Steel Hour." Other hits followed, including episodes of "My Three Sons," "The Twilight Zone" and "The Andy Griffith Show." In 1965 he scored his first major role in "Mister Roberts," a TV series adapted from the 1955 movie of the same name, where he succeeded William Powell in the role of "Doc" from the film.

Popular on television throughout the 1970s, Ives all but stopped working in the '80s and '90s, returning to the screen in "The Man Who Wasn't There" in 2001. Before "The Office" he also made a guest appearance in a pair of episodes of "The King of Queens." He passed in 2013, aged 87.

Georgia Engel

In Season 8 of "The Office," receptionist Erin (Ellie Kemper) goes down to Florida and gets a job as a live-in maid. Her boss is Irene, an elderly woman who Erin meets while at the launch of Sabre's new retail store. Irene is played by legendary actor Georgia Engel, who longtime TV fans will know best as Georgette Franklin Baxter on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." Audiences from the 1990s, though, may remember her as Pat MacDougall from "Everybody Loves Raymond," and more recent viewers probably recognize her as Mamie Sue on "Hot in Cleveland."

During her career, Engel was nominated five times for an Emmy — for "Everybody Loves Raymond" three times and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" twice — with a nearly 25-year gap in between. But those aren't even her only major roles. In addition, Engel had recurring roles in "Coach" and "Goodtime Girls," as well as "The Betty White Show" and "Passions." In some ways, she might be one of the unsung queens of television, but she had plenty of movie roles too. In fact, some of her most notable movies saw her lending her voice to animated characters. This includes playing the giraffe in "Doctor Dolittle 2" and Bobbie in all three "Open Season" films. She also did voice work in "Hey Arnold!," "Hercules," and "The Care Bears Movie."

In addition to movies and TV, Engel also had a career on stage, appearing in "Hello Dolly!" and "The Drowsy Chaperone," among others. She died in 2019, aged 70.

Cloris Leachman

From "Terrance and Phillip" to "Itchy and Scratchy," there are plenty of fake shows we wish we could watch, and "The Office" even had a fake movie, "Mrs. Albert Hannaday," seen in the Season 5 episode "Stress Relief." Even though it's a one-off, producers pulled out all the stops, casting Jack Black and Jessica Alba to play Sam and Sophie, the two lead roles in the movie-within-a-show. For the role of Sophie's grandmother Lily, the show cast TV icon Cloris Leachman, one of the most nominated actors in the history of the Emmy Awards with eight trophies and 22 nominations.

Those wins came early and often: In the 1970s she was given the nod six times for her role as Phyllis Lindstrom on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and one more for playing the same character in her own spin-off series, "Phyllis." She also won a pair of Emmys for her recurring role on "Malcolm in the Middle" as Malcolm's no-nonsense grandmother Ida. Her final Emmy nomination came in 2011 for "Raising Hope," where she guest-starred in Season 1 before becoming a series regular.

Notably, one of Leachman's earliest roles was in the classic 1961 "Twilight Zone" episode "It's A Good Life," and she reprised her role as Agnes Freemont more than 40 years later in an episode of the 2002 revival. Also an Academy Award winner for her supporting role in "The Last Picture Show," Leachman died in 2021 at the age of 94.

Swati Chokalingam

Not every actor in "The Office" is even a professional performer. The 3rd season episode "Diwali" introduced fans to the parents of Kelly Kapoor, played by Mindy Kaling, who also co-wrote the episode. To play Kelly's parents they recruited none other than Kaling's actual parents, Swati and Avu Chokalingam. According to Kaling, though, it wasn't purely nepotism that got them the roles: auditions were unable to zero in on any experienced actors who were very good. "Now, I'm the first to say that my parents' acting was also very stilted," she told People in 2020. "But [showrunner Greg Daniels] was like, 'At least they bear some familial resemblance to you. So, we'll put them in there.'"

Kaling's mother Swati wasn't an actor, but an OB/GYN, and it was her mother's life as a doctor that inspired Kaling's post-"Office" series, "The Mindy Project," where she too played an OB/GYN. With such a close relationship, it makes sense that Kaling cast her mother to play the role in "Diwali." Curiously, though, despite penning the episode and acting alongside her own parents, Kaling didn't call it her favorite episode that she wrote. Kaling's mother died in January 2012 of pancreatic cancer, with Kaling later becoming an ambassador for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

Hansford Rowe

George Ives played Phyllis' uncle Al in "Phyllis' Wedding," but he wasn't the only member of the family who has left us. Sadly, so too has Hansford Rowe, who played Phyllis' father Elbert Lapin in the same episode. At the wedding, Lapin uses a wheelchair but is miraculously able to get up and walk his daughter down the aisle. 

Rowe came onto the scene in the mid-'60s, appearing in bit parts in "Dark Shadows" before showing up in the movies "Three Days of the Condor" and "Gordon's War" during the following decade. From there, the actor was mostly on television, with roles in "The Greatest American Hero," "Remington Steele," and "Newhart." In addition to plenty of sitcom work, Rowe also worked briefly in animation, voicing the villain Thunderer on "Spider-Man: The Animated Series" (which we ranked as the best show about the wallcrawler), and a handful of further movies that include "Dante's Peak" and "The Bonfire of the Vanities."

But Rowe was actually more prolific as a commercial actor, appearing over 300 different ad spots on television. He lost his life in a car accident in California in 2017, at the age of 93.

Weston Nathanson

His character didn't get a name in the episode, but actor Weston Nathanson did get to play the Civil War archivist in Season 8's "Gettysburg." That episode saw the Dunder Mifflin group visiting the historic battleground for some morale-boosting activities, with Nathanson helping to educate them on history. He must have impressed the cast and crew, too, because co-star and writer Mindy Kaling brought him back a few years later to guest star in an episode of her own show, "The Mindy Project."

"The Office" was hardly Nathan's first sitcom appearance, though. As it happens, one of his earliest roles was in a 1999 episode of "The Drew Carey Show," playing the mother of Drew's on-again/off-again girlfriend Kate (Christa Miller). Within a few years, Nathanson was popping up all over the dial, in episodes of "The District," "The King of Queens," and "Scrubs." He also had small film roles in the Joss Whedon sci-fi action-comedy "Serenity" (a movie needed to wrap up the ending of "Firefly") and "The Virgin of Juarez." 

Towards the end of his career, Nathanson could be seen in episodes of "New Girl" and "Speechless," with his final role coming in an episode of the Al Pacino drama "Hunters." He died in 2023, aged 84.

Peggy Stewart

Peggy Stewart appeared in two episodes of "The Office." She made her first appearance in the Season 6 episode "Niagara: Part 1," the first part of a story that saw the show's will-they/won't-they romance come to a conclusion as Jim and Pam get married. Stewart appears in the episode as Sylvia Beesly, Pam's grandmother, a strict, stern, conservative woman who doesn't want to attend the wedding when she learns that her granddaughter is already pregnant. Sylvia returns in "Christening" the following season when she gets to babysit her great-granddaughter CeCe.

Stewart is no stranger to playing grandmas, as she'd played similar roles in "That's My Boy" (which is among Adam Sandler's worst movies), "The Runaways," and "Community." But her career stretches all the way back to the 1930s, believe it or not, when she once played young girls in movies like "Man About Town," "That Certain Age," and "Little Tough Guy." In between those and "The Office" she counts loads of TV shows and movies to her credit, with her biggest roles coming in Westerns in the '50s and '60s. She even played a small role in the "Seinfeld" episode "The Implant." Less than a week before her 96th birthday, Stewart passed away in 2019.

Connie Sawyer

In typical fashion, Michael Scott leads a harebrained scheme in Season 5's "Dream Team" as he hopes to convince a potential investor to fund his latest project. That investor, however, winds up being his own grandmother, and even she isn't so sure his new idea is worth investing in. Nana Scott is played by Connie Sawyer, an actor well-suited for the best comedy of the 2000s because she was once nicknamed "The Clown Princess of Comedy." She lived a remarkable life, too, starting out performing at nightclubs in New York when she was barely old enough to drink. In just her third acting role, Sawyer snagged a part in the Frank Sinatra film "A Hole in the Head," altering her career forever.

From then, Sawyer appeared on TV and at the movies, with theatrical hits like "True Grit," "When Harry Met Sally," and "Dumb and Dumber." By the 2010s she was among the oldest living members of the Screen Actors Guild, a singular title she earned within a few years, and one that she held at the time of her death in 2019. She was a remarkable 105 when she passed on, just two years after her last on-screen appearance. At her advanced age, she is also the only actor on "The Office" to reach the centennial mark.