One Chicago Actors You May Not Know Passed Away

After chronicling the lives of New York's finest for more than two decades on "Law & Order" and its galaxy of spinoffs, in 2012 television super-producer Dick Wolf turned his attention to the first responders of the Windy City with NBC's "Chicago Fire." The show was an immediate hit and soon spawned spin-offs of its own. 

"Chicago P.D." arrived in 2014, and the hospital drama "Chicago Med" behind it in 2015. A fourth series, "Chicago Justice," did not fare as well as its siblings and was put to pasture after one season in 2017. Even more so than the "Law & Order" franchise, these Chicago-set series exist in the same ecosystem, frequently passing characters and plotlines from one show to the next; this extended television universe (which also occasionally includes "Law & Order") has its own name, One Chicago.

Anchoring Wednesday nights on NBC for nearly a decade now, One Chicago has not only been a boon to the network, but to local cast and crew members; just as appearing on "Law & Order" is a rite of passage for Broadway actors, supporting roles on these shows are regularly filled by Chicago theatre stalwarts, such as Caroline Neff and Luigi Sottile. Over the years, hundreds of actors have filled the ranks of the four Chicago shows — sadly, some of them are no longer with us. Below, a remembrance of the One Chicago actors you may not know passed away.

Desmond Gray

The world of One Chicago revolves around first responders, which makes it easy for characters from one series to pop up in another. This is especially true for the actors playing paramedics, whose services are often needed on "Fire," "P.D.," and "Med." Actor Desmond Gray started out as a nameless paramedic on the first episode of "Med," and eventually booked over 40 appearances over the show's eight seasons as "Paramedic Desmond," along with a handful of turns on "Fire" and "P.D.," often alongside fellow local actor Cesar Jamie as Paramedic Cesar.

Gray was a relatively young actor when he joined the series, still making his mark in Chicagoland productions such as "The Wiz" at Theatre Wit, "Hit the Wall" and "Hushaby" at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and "The Wild Party" at Victory Gardens Theatre. In between gigs, Gray also worked as an events coordinator at Goodman Theatre. Beyond One Chicago, he appeared in the pilot episode of the one-season Fox cop drama "APB" and a handful of short films. Gray died suddenly in November 2022; the cause of death has yet to be released.

Molly Glynn

For Chicago residents, the One Chicago shows are fun to watch not just to spot familiar locations, but also familiar faces. Many of the supporting roles and background characters are played by actors who make their living performing on the city's stages. 

In the early days of "Chicago Fire," one of those moonlighting stage actors was Molly Glynn, who had a recurring (if nameless) role as an ER doctor on five episodes in the series' first and second seasons. These were the days before "Chicago Med," so Glynn filled the role of a familiar presence when members of Firehouse 51 inevitably ended up injured in the line of work, whether it was a firefighter overcome by a blaze or a paramedic accidentally exposed to HIV.

On stage, Glynn was at home at some of the city's biggest venues, including Steppenwolf, the Goodman, Northlight, and Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. Her film and television career was mostly limited to local productions such as the 2002 Wisconsin hockey comedy "No Sleep 'til Madison" starring Jim Gaffigan and the 2010 anthology film "Something Better Somewhere Else" alongside her future "Chicago Fire" co-star Christian Stolte. In 2014, Glynn was biking a nature trail north of the city with her husband, actor Joe Foust, when she was struck by a falling tree and died from her injuries; she was 46 at the time.

DuShon Monique Brown

As Connie, Firehouse 51's administrative assistant, actress DuShon Monique Brown saw her character as something of a mother hen to the young firefighters under her care, someone tough-as-nails but with a soft, maternal side at the same time. When she first auditioned for "Chicago Fire," the role didn't even have a name, but Brown saw the potential to develop the character, just as she had with the role of nurse Katie Welch on Fox's "Prison Break."

In the 2010s, if there was a television show shooting in Chicago, chances are Brown was on the call sheet at one time or another. In addition to "Fire" and "Prison Break," Brown notched appearances on "Shameless," the Kelsey Grammer-starring political drama "Boss," and the Fox music series "Empire." As a theatre artist, she appeared in plays at Goodman Theatre, Chicago Dramatists, and Piven Theatre. When not on camera or on stage, though, Brown spent her days behind a desk as a high school guidance counselor; she had a master's degree in the field from Governor's State University. Brown died of sepsis in March of 2018; the show gave Connie a happy ending, sending her out of the firehouse to become a counselor, just as Brown was in real life.

Lindsey Pearlman

The short-lived 2017 spinoff "Chicago Justice" was primarily a vehicle for Philip Winchester's "Law & Order" character Peter Stone, who moved across the country from New York City to head up a crack team of prosecutors and investigators within the State's Attorney's office. One of his team members was medical examiner Joy Fletcher, played by Chicago actress Lindsey Pearlman

Like many medical examiners (at least on television), Joy had a certain offbeat sensibility that paired well with her frequently gruesome job, and her handful of appearances became bright spots on a show that never quite fit in with the rest of the One Chicago franchise.

Born in Chicago, Pearlman was a graduate of the Second City conservatory program and toured nationally with the Second City sketch show "The Realish Housewives." Prior to "Chicago Justice," she had appeared on an episode of "Empire," and eventually made her way to Los Angeles, appearing in series such as "Sneaky Pete," "The Ms. Pat Show," and the Urbanflix fashion drama series "Haus of Vicious." In February 2022 Pearlman was reported missing in Los Angeles; five days later her body was found inside her car, in what the coroner ruled as a suicide.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Markie Post

Barbara "Bunny" Fletcher (Markie Post) is a real piece of work. An inveterate addict and drinker, Bunny abandoned her children Erin and Teddy when they were little. Decades later, Erin (Sophia Bush) has managed to pull herself together, conquering her own addiction demons and earning a detective rank in the Chicago Police Department; but every time Bunny bursts back into her life, it sends Erin spiraling once again — much to the chagrin of her boss and mentor, Hank Voight (Jason Beghe).

By the time she joined the cast of "Chicago P.D." in Season 2, Post had long been NBC royalty, having starred for eight seasons on the beloved (and recently rebooted) 1980s sitcom "Night Court" and appearing in a few episodes of the medical comedy "Scrubs" as the brittle, WASPy mother of Dr. Elliot Reid (Sarah Chalke). The California native got her start in television in the 1970s, working behind the scenes on game shows before moving in front of the camera on shows like "The Incredible Hulk" and the ABC action comedy "The Fall Guy," which she was on for three years. After "Night Court," Post co-starred with John Ritter on the political rom-com series "Hearts Afire," but for the most part split her time between TV guest appearances and small roles in films like "There's Something About Mary." After being diagnosed with cancer in late 2017, she continued to work as much as she could while undergoing treatment, but ultimately died in August 2021.

Anne Heche

Politics is a dangerous game in Chicago, where loyalty and trust can be bought and sold for a song. As problematic from top to bottom as Hank Voight is, we at least know that he has a code that he lives by. Season 6 of "Chicago P.D." put that code up against a pair of career politicians in mayoral candidate Brian Kelton (John C. McGinley) and CPD Deputy Superintendent Katherine Brennan (Anne Heche). Brennan might come from a family of cops, but at the end of the day all that she cares about is seeing her own ambitions fulfilled, no matter what or who gets in the way.

Though she was best known for her work in films like "Wag the Dog," "Donnie Brasco," and Gus Van Sant's infamous "Psycho" remake, Heche actually got her start on television, appearing as a teenager on the daytime soap "Another World," where she played a set of twins for four years. Despite decades of stellar work on stage and screen, her personal life and struggles with mental illness often took focus in the public eye. 

Though her career in the last 20 years never hit the box office heights she reached with films like "Volcano" and "Six Days, Seven Nights," her 21st century output became arguably the most interesting of her career, filled with eclectic titles like "P.D.," the HBO gigolo comedy "Hung," and the 2016 dark satire "Catfight." In August 2022, Heche was involved in a high-profile car accident in Los Angeles, succumbing to her injuries after being kept on life support for several days; she was 53.

Tuesday the Dalmatian

The Season 10 finale of "Chicago Fire" was intended to be the climax of a storyline years in the making: The wedding between firefighters Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney) and Stella Kidd (Miranda Rae Mayo). While on screen the wedding and episode went exactly as planned, with the two hitched on a tour boat sailing the Chicago river, in real life tragedy struck the "Fire" family just before the episode aired: Tuesday, the beloved Firehouse 51 dalmatian, had died earlier that week.

The sad news was broken via social media by Tuesday's trainer Christine Mahaney, and confirmed by actor Daniel Kryi, who plays Tuesday's owner, firefighter (and microbrewer) Darren Ritter. Tuesday was introduced in Season 7 as a puppy too anxious for Darren to leave at home during his shift. Over the next four years, she became not just the mascot for the firehouse, but for the show itself. The Season 10 finale became both a celebration of Kelly and Stella and of Tuesday as well, whose final scenes are on that boat, bearing flowers for the happy couple.