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Smallville Actors You Might Not Know Passed Away

Before "Arrow" created a connected universe of superhero TV shows featuring DC characters, there was "Smallville." The series chronicled the teenage and young adult years of Clark Kent prior to taking on the legendary moniker of Superman. It ran from 2001 to 2011 and featured a ton of supporting and guest characters. When a series runs for that long, the list of actors who have appeared on the show is bound to balloon to epic proportions.

Sadly, this also means the list of actors who have passed away since appearing on the show will only continue to increase as time goes on. We're taking a look at just some of those actors. A few of these you might remember because they had more prominent roles than others. Likewise, there will probably be a few you don't remember. Regardless of the size of the role, all of these actors were part of keeping this classic series running for 10 years.

Rutger Hauer

Fans of science fiction and fantasy are probably very familiar with the Dutch actor Rutger Hauer for his roles in the Richard Donner film "Ladyhawke" and Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner." In addition to those more high-profile roles, his resume is replete with parts in a huge number of smaller films and television shows. He was always a reliable presence in a genre film, bringing commitment that consistently sold you on his characters and all the stories he appeared in.

Hauer played the Metropolis crime boss, and friend of the villainous Lionel Luthor, Morgan Edge in the Season 3 episodes "Phoenix" and "Exile." After being presumed dead, his character has plastic surgery and the role was recast with actor Patrick Bergin in the episode "Shattered." Although his appearance was brief, it was incredibly memorable, as most of Hauer's roles were. On July 19, 2019, the actor passed away in the Netherlands, leaving behind a massive body of work anyone would be proud of.

Johnny Lewis

Johnny Lewis played the troubled Gabriel Duncan in a Season 5 episode of Smallville called "Hidden." Like his father, Gabriel hated metahumans. When his father became one himself, he killed him and began plans to wipe out all life in Smallville. Of course, Clark put a stop to all that, and Gabriel was killed during a confrontation with Chloe, ending his potential reign of bigoted terrorism before it could officially begin.

Lewis was already a recognizable presence on television when he appeared on the series. During the early years of the 21st century, he appeared in "7th Heaven," "Malcolm in the Middle," "Boston Public," "Drake & Josh," and several other notable shows. After his role as Gabriel Duncan, he went on to appear in "The O.C.," "Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem," and "Sons of Anarchy."

While this young actor's future was full of promise, his personal life did not reflect this. In September of 2012, it was reported that Lewis, who struggled with mental health and chemical dependency, fell to his death after assaulting his landlady, who was 81 at the time, killing her. The horrific truth of his final moments deeply sour whatever impact he may have made in entertainment and serves as a bitter reminder of how important it is to seek professional help when battling such devastating and powerful personal demons.

John Mann

One of the more fascinating aspects of "Smallville" is learning more about the family that spawned Superman's nemesis Lex Luthor. We see how his father Lionel psychologically manipulates and in Season 3's "Relic" episode, we find out about his grandfather Lachlan played by the late John Mann. Despite Lionel's claims to the contrary, his father was a crook who used to abuse him and actually encountered Clark's Kryptonian father Jor-El.

As an actor, audiences would probably recognize Mann from his appearances in "Stargate SG-1," "Battlestar Galactica," "The Chronicles of Riddick," "Underworld: Evolution," and much more. However, he was also very well-known as the frontman for the Canadian band Spirit of the West. The actor and musician died from early-onset Alzheimer's on November 20, 2019 at the age of 57.

Ashley Massaro

In the Season 6 episode "Combat," it's revealed that an underground fight club is harboring a dangerous escapee from the Phantom Zone named Titan (played by Glenn Jacobs, aka Kane from WWE). One of the fighters in this club is a woman named Athena. When Lois Lane is trying to get photos of the club, Athena confronts her with a gun. We then get to see Lois hold her own and take down Athena, before being captured and forced to fight in an official match. Athena is played by professional wrestler and "Survivor: China" contestant Ashley Massaro. 

As reported by "People," the former WWE superstar joined the organization in 2005 after successfully winning the WWE Diva Search. She continued with the company for three years, parting ways in 2008. Massaro died in 2019, leaving behind her loving daughter, Alexa. At the time, no official cause of death was released. It was commonly believed and reported, however, that she died from suicide. 

Margot Kidder

"Smallville" truly excelled at honoring Superman's past by including homages, easter eggs, and even actors from previous adaptations. One of the more notable examples would be Christopher Reeve, who obviously played the titular hero in the classic 1978 "Superman: The Movie," directed by Richard Donner. In the series, he played Dr. Swann who helped shed some light on Clark's alien origins. Annette O'Toole, who played Martha Kent in the series also appeared as Lana in "Superman III." Another alum of the '78 film had a role on the series, however — none other than Lois Lane herself: Margot Kidder.

Not only is it wonderful to see two actors from that film honored in the series, but their connection within the narrative is also equally great. Swann was the head of a group called Veritas, a group that believed a being known as the Traveler would be coming to Earth to save it. Kidder played Dr. Bridgette Crosby, a member of Veritas who loved Dr. Swann and tried to help Clark but had ulterior motives.

Kidder played Lois in four "Superman" films. She was also known for appearances in the horror classics "Black Christmas" and "The Amityville Horror," in addition to her many other roles. Sadly, the actress suffered from bipolar disorder for most of her life and, as reported by USA Today, in 2018 she died of suicide. Also discussed in the piece were her political activism and mental health advocacy.

Jackie Burroughs

The first season of "Smallville" follows a traditional "villain of the week" format thanks to the remains of Krypton crashing into Smallville in the form of a meteor shower. These cosmic boulders infected several people in the area, turning them into metahumans. Usually, the metahumans chose to use their powers in destructive ways. So, each episode saw Clark and friends discovering a new metahuman and stopping them from carrying out some violent act.

Not all metahumans were evil, though. Case in point: Cassandra Carver from the Season 1 episode "Hourglass." Her sight was taken from her during the meteor shower, but she also gained the power of precognition, meaning she caught glimpses of the future. The actress who played Cassandra was Jackie Burroughs. Her massive career began decades before "Smallville" and continued for several years after her episode. While you may recognize her from one of the 115 credits she has on IMDb (including a film about someone else with precognition called "The Dead Zone"), many of you will likely remember her best as Hetty King in the series "Road to Avonlea."

On September 22, 2010 at the age of 71, Jackie Burroughs died after battling gastric cancer. 

George Coe

When first coming into "Smallville" completely cold, you might assume that this is just a Superboy show. If so, you're only partially correct. While it does deal primarily with Clark's early years, it isn't just about him. This is an entire town with residents who have lives of their own. A lot of the fun comes from learning more about the characters in Clark's perimeter who would usually get sidelined in a typical superhero show.

Part of that means his parents Jonathan and Martha Kent get much more to do than ever before. This isn't just a kindly couple who raised an alien as their own, they're full-fledged human beings with flaws and backstories of their own. In the second season episode "Redux" we meet Martha's disapproving father William Clark. This rough and stern man was played by character actor and original "Saturday Night Live" cast member George Coe.

His gargantuan body of work includes both on-camera and voice roles. Coe's been in practically everything and probably would've gone on doing so if it weren't for the various illnesses plaguing him, including a 20-year fight with lymphoma. He died on July 18, 2015, at the age of 86.

Tom Heaton

Although Lana Lang has been in the comics for years, she's only occasionally been included in various live-action adaptations. When she has appeared, it's been in smaller, supporting roles. In "Smallville," however, she was one of the primary characters on the series for much of its run, giving the writers plenty of opportunities to do more with the character than had been seen in previous adaptations.

One such instance of this was the Season 3 episode "Relic." In this episode, we find out that her great aunt Louise was killed by a stray bullet fired by Lex Luthor's grandfather. The bullet was intended for a mysterious man Louise had been involved with and who turned out to be Clark's biological father Jor-El.

The man convicted for Louise's death was her husband Dexter, played by another actor with a dizzying number of credits named Tom Heaton. From 1967 to 2018 he showed up in far too many film and television roles to list here, but a few of them include "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," the James Gunn film "Slither," "The Outer Limits," and "Shanghai Noon." Despite his array of roles, there isn't a lot of information out there regarding his death, except this snippet that details his accomplishments, including having a loving family.

George Murdock

In the episode "Hourglass," which also featured Jackie Burroughs, an elderly man named Harry Bolston is made young again after falling into some water with meteor rocks. Now that he's regained a youthful appearance, he seeks revenge on the jurors who sentenced him to prison. No, Harry Bolston is not his real name. He is actually Harry Volk, and he was sentenced to life in prison after murdering a fellow pianist in a jealous rage.

The actor playing Harry in his older years was George Murdock, who "Star Trek" fans will remember as J.P. Hanson in "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and God in "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier."  Those, however, are only two out of 202 credits listed on IMDb. It doesn't matter what you're a fan of, chances are you've seen Murdock in something over the course of his 52 years as an actor. He died on April 30, 2012, at the age of 81.

Donnelly Rhodes

As we've already seen, the "Smallville" crew had a talent for finding great, accomplished actors with mile-long resumes to show up as a guest stars. They may not have always had the largest role, but they did it with several decades worth of experience, giving their characters and the world they inhabit a heavy dose of credibility. One such actor was Donnelly Rhodes who played Milash, an antique dealer hired by Lex Luthor to decipher a cryptograph in the Season 7 episode "Quest."

Originally getting his start in theater, Rhodes began acting on screen in 1956. He then went on to appear in several film and television classics such as "Bonanza," "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," "Soap," "Cheers," "The X-Files," "Battlestar Galactica" and so much more. On January 8, 2018, the actor lost his battle with cancer while in hospice in Canada at the age of 80.

Alf Humphreys

"Hourglass" from Season 1 has three entries on this list. As detailed previously, the plot focuses on an elderly man convicted of murder and turning young again after coming in contact with meteors in a pond. He takes advantage of his youthful appearance and strength to track down anyone involved with his sentencing. Since his conviction occurred so long ago, many of the jurors are deceased, so he goes after their living relatives.

One of them is Jim Gage, played by actor Alf Humphreys. Jim's father Randolph Gage was on that jury. While watching football alone at home, the power goes out and an electrician, who is the recently-young killer in disguise, shows up to help him out. Before Jim's time on screen ends, we see the killer removing piano wire from his tool box.

Again, this may not be the largest role in the episode, but the producers hired a legitimate veteran in Humphreys. Humphreys had previously been seen in a slew of roles from "First Blood," to "My Bloody Valentine," and "Sliders." Following his appearance on "Smallville," he could be seen in "X-2: X-Men United," "Final Destination 2," and three "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" movies. He died on January 31, 2018 at the young age of 65.

Lee Thompson Young

Clark may not have worn the classic Superman costume, or even go by the name Superman, but that didn't stop the show from diving deep into DC mythology to bring us heroes from their incredible pantheon of characters. We even got to see a proto-version of the Justice League. One of the members of the young superhero team was Victor Stone who, following a car accident that killed his family, later became Cyborg.

The actor chosen to portray Victor was Lee Thompson Young, who had a massive breakthrough role as the titular character on the Disney Channel's series "The Famous Jett Jackson." Prior to joining the cast of "Smallville," he could also be seen in the film "Friday Night Lights." During that same time period he showed up in "The Hills Have Eyes 2," "South Beach," "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles," and "Flashforward." Tragically, the actor, who struggled with bipolar disorder, took his own life in 2013. In his memory, his mother and sister founded the Lee Thompson Young Foundation with the goal of erasing the stigma around mental illness. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.