×
Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

What these killed off Stranger Things actors are doing today

When you live in a town like Hawkins, Indiana, with its very own secret government laboratory doing all kinds of experimentation underground, it's only a matter of time before the list of casualties grows. Of course, since Stranger Things is largely aimed at a pretty wide age range, the collateral damage — at least among characters who have been given names — is relatively small considering the devouring presences of supernatural entities the Demogorgon, Demodogs, and the Mind Flayer. 

But it's not only monsters from other dimensions that the residents of Hawkins and its surroundings need to worry about: the growing cadre of evil American scientists and Russian military agents infiltrating the small suburban town also threaten the lives and healthy futures of Hawkins residents. And while there have been some significant deaths in the three seasons of Stranger Things, the show must go on elsewhere for those actors whose characters have died. From Barb to Bob — or rather, Shannon Purser to Sean Astin — here's what these killed off Stranger Things actors are doing today.

Shannon Purser as Barb Holland

When Stranger Things creators the Duffer Brothers wrote the character of Barbara Holland, they had no idea that Shannon Purser's performance as the misfit best friend to the most popular girl in Hawkins would end up becoming a main character in her own right, even without much screen time. Purser's no-nonsense Barb, with her own against-the-grain fashion sense, struck a chord with all kinds of viewers, and her death in the first season remains one of the most memorable and tragic. Who could forget that fateful moment when Barb, having been ditched by her bestie Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer), gets snatched by the demonic Demogorgon and subsequently murdered in the Upside Down? It's a testament to Purser's embodiment of the role that #JusticeForBarb is still a hashtag that pops up when discussing Stranger Things.

Shannon Purser has gone on to play a set of equally unique characters since her tenure on Stranger Things — some of them even a bit like Barb. On Riverdale, Purser plays Ethel Muggs, whose fashion sense sometimes coincides with her brief moments as Barb Holland. Purser also starred as Annabelle for the entire first season of the ensemble musical drama Rise. She plays the title character in Sierra Burgess is a Loser, the Netflix romantic comedy of errors also starring Noah Centineo as her love interest. Currently, Shannon Purser's is lending her considerable voice acting talents as Shannon Thunder on Final Space.

Chris Sullivan as Benny Hammond

The gentle giant Benny Hammond, played by Chris Sullivan, owned one of Hawkins' favorite burger joints until he crossed paths with escaped human experiment Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown). Being tenderhearted and kind despite how intimidating his hulking frame and biker past might be, he decides to help the lost young girl by clothing and feeding her before calling child protective services — for her benefit, he thinks. Unfortunately for Benny, the call is intercepted by Agent Frazier (Catherine Dyer) of the Hawkins Laboratory, who summarily dispatches a team to recover Eleven, killing Benny in the process and making it look like a suicide. Eleven flees once again, finding new sanctuary with Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard) and his friends.

Chris Sullivan has not taken a break since his short turn in Stranger Things and his death in the second episode. Sullivan has played Toby on NBC's phenom family drama This Is Us since its first season airing in 2016, and finally getting nominated for an Emmy award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama in 2019. He also joined the the ranks of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Taserface in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Sullivan has had another recurring role as Joe on Camping, as well as one-off episodes in The Good Fight and Curb Your Enthusiasm and movie roles in The Independents, Walden: Life in the Woods, I Trapped the Devil, and Adopt A Highway, among others.

Sean Astin as Bob Newby

Sean Astin's beloved Bob Newby was the only major character death in Stranger Things' second season, but boy was it a doozy that hit hard enough for a dozen. Bob "Superhero" Newby is Joyce Byers' (Winona Ryder) new boyfriend, a nerdy guy from her youth who comes back into her life after her son Will's (Noah Schnapp) abduction, bringing a great deal of security and comfort to the Byers' dysfunctional household. Bob isn't just a much-needed rock for Joyce, his smarts also help in figuring out what the Mind Flayer's plan is and where Jim Hopper (David Harbour) is trapped. During the climactic showdown between the humans and monsters, Bob is instrumental in restoring power so that everyone else can escape. Tragically, he's savaged by the Demodogs before he can get out too. Bob may be gone, but he's not forgotten in the world of Stranger Things, casting a huge shadow on events in the season that followed.

Sean Astin has had a number of recurring television roles since his turn on Stranger Things, narrating The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants and playing Ed on Netflix's comedy No Good Nick. Astin also had a one-episode turn as Pete Andrews on Supergirl, and has three films currently in post production: Charming the Hearts of Men, Mayfield's Game, and Adverse.

Dacre Montgomery as Billy Hargrove

Australian actor Dacre Montgomery turned heads both on screen and off as mullet-wearing, shirt-allergic, six-pack-sporting, hot-rod driving Billy Hargrove in the second and third seasons of Stranger Things. Arguably one of the more complex characters on the show, Billy was a bully outside of his house, but inside he was a victim of his alcoholic father's vicious abuse. He was overly protective of his sister Max (Sadie Sink) but a womanizer in all other regards, even pursuing the moms of his classmates. Billy gets possessed by the Mind Flayer that, through him, ends up infecting a number of people in Hawkins before he ultimately sacrifices himself to save Eleven from the monster living in him.

While Montgomery hasn't yet made any big appearances in movies or television since Billy's death, the actor told Nylon that he's been studying the craft, as well as writing and directing as he reads scripts and considers new projects. He wrote, produced, and directed a short film titled "In Vitro," set for release in 2020. His biggest acting win so far, though, is a role in the Selena Gomez-produced romantic comedy The Broken Heart Gallery, currently in post-production. Montgomery also produces the beat poetry podcast DKMH.

Catherine Dyer as Agent Connie Frazier

As Hawkins Laboratory's cold-blooded Agent Connie Frazier, actor Catherine Dyer brought singular and chilling focus as one of the human villains in this monster story. She racks up quite a body count of her own, including one of the first people to help Eleven, diner owner Benny Hammond. But despite Agent Frazier's best attempts, she's no match whatsoever for our intrepid Eleven, who crushes Frazier's head with her psychic powers when they finally meet again.

Catherine Dyer may not have appeared in another role as prominent as her tenure on the first season of Stranger Things, but she has not taken even a short break from acting in the years since. Dyer has had one-off roles in popular television shows such as Greenleaf, Halt and Catch Fire, Scorpion, Sleepy Hollow, Queen Sugar, Black Lightning, The Resident, and even Dolly Parton's Heartstrings. Her film resume includes indie and mainstream films alike, including Nappily Ever After, The Founder, Steel CountrySimran, and I, Tonya.

Jake Busey as Bruce Lowe

Jake Busey is no stranger to playing caustic, sexist characters who are completely unapologetic in their offensive behavior, and his role as Bruce Lowe in Stranger Things is no exception. Bruce works with Nancy Wheeler at the Hawkins Post, where he makes no secret that he thinks the young journalism intern is just a glorified secretary and errand girl for the male staff. Bruce is particularly cruel to Nancy after she proposes a timely article about how the new Starcourt Mall is killing local businesses, and even worse when Nancy explains her suspicions about rat infestations being potentially connected to the Hawkins Laboratory and their science experiments. Bruce Lowe meets his end after becoming one of the Flayed (people possessed by the Mind Flayer's virus), and Nancy bashes his head in with a fire extinguisher.

Even though Busey has had a steady career as a character actor since the 1990s, he has only made a handful appearances since the third season of Stranger Things. He played Shaw on the short-lived Swamp Thing series, and appeared in one episode of Mr. Robot as Freddy Lomax. He had a small role in the children's movie The Adventures of Dally and Spanky, and has four films currently awaiting release dates: Guitars and Guns, Soldier's Heart, Shooting Stars, and the lead role in Johnny Walls' Bluegrass Spirit.

Francesca Reale as Heather Holloway

Heather Holloway is Billy Hargrove's co-lifeguard and eventual partner in crime. Played by Francesca Reale, Heather gets abducted by a Flayed Billy and the two proceed to infect her parents after concocting an elaborate dinner facade in order to catch Tom (Michael Park) and Janet Holloway (Holly A. Morris) off guard. Heather's eventual demise comes during the town's Fourth of July celebrations when the Mind Flayer draws her to its lair in the Brimborn Steel Works and kills her, integrating her into its body along with many other Hawkins residents.

Francesca Reale had actually worked with her Stranger Things co-star Natalia Dyer in the comedy Yes, God, Yes, which also stars their Netflix colleague Alisha Boe, who headlines 13 Reasons Why. Her next project, Dating in New York, is currently in post-production and will co-star Entourage's Jerry Ferrara and The Daily Show correspondent Jaboukie Young-White.

Holly A. Morris as Janet Holloway

Heather's mother Janet Holloway, portrayed during her brief stint in Stranger Things by Holly A. Morris, isn't on screen for long, but Morris' meaty performance lends her a great deal of nuance. Mrs. Holloway makes no secret of the tension between her and her daughter (even with company present), and even without the Mind Flayer's machinations, it's clear that Heather and Janet were always bound for a showdown of some sort. Of course, it likely would have been the kind that resulted in Heather moving out of the house rather than both her and Janet's death. After poisoning the wine at dinner, Heather and Billy Hargrove take Mrs. Holloway to the steelworks, where she's officially converted into a Flayer, along with her husband. She dies on July 4th when the Mind Flayer dissolves all the hosts to make itself stronger.

Morris appeared in one episode of the popular CW melodrama Dynasty as Dr. Danielle Hadley, as well as in the indie sports drama Overcomer. She has also wrapped production on the crime drama Modern Prodigal and the dramedy Hubcap, and is currently filming DC Comics' new television show Star Girl set for a 2020 release.

Michael Park as Tom Holloway

Michael Park's Tom Holloway fills a few roles in Stranger Things' third season. First, we meet him as Nancy Wheeler's sexist and exploitative editor-in-chief at the Hawkins Post. Next, we see him at the fateful dinner at the Holloway house, where Heather and Billy drug him and his wife to present them as fresh meat for the Mind Flayer. After becoming a Flayed, Mr. Holloway proceeds to fire both Nancy and Jonathan Byers (Charlie Heaton) as they get too close to the truth, and then attempts to murder the two youngsters to boot. While his wife and daughter die during the Fourth of July celebrations, Tom Holloway meets his death at the hands of Jonathan during the prolonged struggle at the hospital that also sees the killing of his colleague, Bruce Lowe.

While Michael Park also starred in another Netflix show, Tales of the City, around the same time as Stranger Things 3, he has gone on to appear in the streamer's docuseries The Family. The show explores an influential Christian group involved in Washington D.C. politics and features dramatic recreations of events, led by acting legend James Cromwell. 

Alec Utgoff as Dr. Alexei

As our intrepid heroes uncover more and more details about the nefarious Russian military plot to reopen the portal to the Upside Down, they kidnap Dr. Alexei, played by Alec Utgoff. Dr. Alexei is cunning and duplicitous, sometimes presenting as an innocent cherry-Slurpee-loving babe-in-the-woods who is being manipulated by more powerful men, and other times as a master manipulator in his own right. Alexei holds the secret to "The Key," which the Russians are trying to use to open the portal, and is ready to defect to the USA. Alexei meets his end at the hands one of his Russian comrades, a hitman named Grigori (Andrey Ivchenko), who dispatches him coldly by the end of the third season.

British Ukrainian actor Alec Utgoff can be seen in Stephen Moffatt and Mark Gattis' television miniseries Dracula, premiering on Netflix in 2020. Utgoff plays Abramoff in the three-part BBC series that also stars Claes Bang, Dolly Wells, and John Heffernan.

Elle Graham as Sara Hopper

As Jim Hopper's young daughter who died of cancer long before the events of Stranger Things, Elle Graham's Sara Hopper is one of the few deaths on the show that has nothing to do with monsters from parallel universes, mad scientists, or military goons. While Sara only appears in the eighth episode of Stranger Things' first season in flashback, her few moments with Hopper show just how much he loved her, and also helps to explain why he's been so angry in the years since her untimely death.

As a young actor, Graham has kept quite busy since her short stint on Stranger Things, landing a recurring role on the now-defunct Swamp Thing as well as bit parts in The Walking Dead and Champaign ILL. Graham also had a small role in Mark Wahlberg's action film Mile 22, worked alongside Laura Dern and Jack O'Connell in Trial By Fire, and made a brief appearance in the horror romp Hell Fest. Graham can next be seen in the SyFy TV movie (Future) Cult Classic and the Disney series Sulphur Springs.

Andrew Benator as Elevator Scientist

Andrew Benator's "Elevator Scientist" might not have been given a name, but his presence is rather important to the start of Stranger Things' bizarre events. He sits in on the various sensory deprivation experiments performed on Eleven, assisting in the control booth, as well as being one of the Demogorgon's first victims after it is unleashed from the Upside Down. In a moment of prolonged suspense as he waits in an elevator, the scientist is snatched up by the creature's clawed hands just as the doors close.

After being one of the first Stranger Things casualties to set the stage for far more grim and gruesome deaths, Benator has had a recurring role on The Gifted as well as bit parts in big-budget films like Game Night and The Founder. Benator will also appear in Amazing Stories, an upcoming reboot of Steven Spielberg's '80s anthology series.