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Transformers Actors You May Not Know Passed Away

The "Transformers" franchise started out as a humble brand of robot toys in the 1980s — the heroic Autobots and the evil Decepticons pitted against each other in an eternal war. Their battle forced both sides to abandon their home planet of Cybertron and travel to Earth in a story that's been expanded many times through cartoons, comics, video games, and other media over the years. Nowadays, most people associate the "Transformers" franchise with the live-action film series started by director Michael Bay in 2007, which has made billions of dollars worldwide across numerous installments.

Over the years, many talented actors have lent their skills to the "Transformers" films, both in live-action roles and as the voices of the various robot characters. While many of those stars are still working in Hollywood today, some of them are sadly no longer with us. Here are some actors from the "Transformers" film franchise who you might not have known had passed away.

Bernie Mac – Bobby Bolivia

The first three films in the "Transformers" series follow Sam Witwicky, a young man whose complicated family history leads him to become the center of the Autobot/Decepticon war. Before he gets caught up in all that, though, Sam is more concerned with typical teenage issues like buying his first car. He ends up going to a used car dealership where he's sold what appears to be a beat-up junker, but which is actually the Autobot Bumblebee in disguise. The dealership is run by a man named Bobby Bolivia, who's played by comedian Bernie Mac.

A lauded stand-up comic, Mac is perhaps best known for his roles in films like "Mr. 3000," "Bad Santa," and the "Ocean's Eleven" trilogy, as well as for his own sitcom, "The Bernie Mac Show," which ran for five seasons on Fox. Mac died in 2008 from complications with pneumonia, just a year after "Transformers" was released. His movies "Soul Men" and "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa" were released after his death, with the 2009 comedy "Old Dogs" being his final credited film.

Willaim Morgan Sheppard – Captain Archibald Witwicky

The reason that the Autobots and Decepticons come to Earth in the original "Transformers" film is to hunt down the All Spark, a cube that has the power to restore their home planet. When both the All Spark and series antagonist Megatron crash land on Earth prior to the main events of the film, the latter is frozen in the Arctic. Megatron is eventually discovered by Captain Archibald Witwicky, who accidentally gets the location to the All Spark imprinted on his glasses after interacting with Megatron's frozen body. This flashback, revealed in the first Michael Bay "Transformers" film, explains Sam's connection to the Autobots and kicks off the plot of the whole movie.

The actor who played Archibald Witwicky, William Morgan Sheppard, died in 2019 at the age of 86. Prior to his death, Sheppard was known for movies like "Star Trek" and "The Prestige." He also featured in television shows like "Cold Case," "Mad Men" and "Days of Our Lives," and he provided voice work for several video games, including multiple entries in the "Medal of Honor" series. His final film role was in the 2016 drama "Last Man Club." Sheppard was also the father of actor Mark Sheppard, who "Supernatural" fans will know best as the beloved character Crowley.

Esther Scott – Glen's Grandmother

Most of the "Transformers" films feature some kind of subplot where the military or the government gets involved in the Autobot/Decepticon war. In the first "Transformers" film, that subplot follows data analyst Maddie Madsen (Rachel Taylor), who recruits her friend Glen Whitmann (Anthony Anderson) to help her solve a Decepticon-related mystery. Glen's reunion with Maddie ends up being played for comedic effect, however, when they're interrupted by Glen's grandmother — a moment also known as the "Shut Up, Grandma!" scene.

Esther Scott played Glen's grandmother in "Transformers." Her first credited role was as the voice of Shodu in the oft-forgotten TV series "Star Wars: Ewoks," and she made her film debut in "Boyz n the Hood." Scott later appeared in films like "Dreamgirls" and "Austin Powers in Goldmember." In her television career, she was a main cast member on "The Geena Davis Show" and had a recurring role in the CW drama "Hart of Dixie." She died of a heart attack in February 2020 at the age of 66.

Francesco Quinn – Mirage/Dino

Autobots and Decepticons come and go throughout the "Transformers" film series, creating a rotating cast around stalwarts like Optimus Prime and Bumblebee. In the third movie, "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," the main characters are joined by several new and returning Autobots like Ironhide, Ratchet, Sideswipe, Mirage/Dino, and Wheeljack/Que. Some of these Autobots survive, but many of them meet unfortunate deaths. Despite surviving the events of "Dark of the Moon," Mirage doesn't appear in any other films after his debut.

There's no official reason for Mirage's absence, but it's possible that he was never brought back because his voice actor, Francesco Quinn, passed away shortly after the film was released. Quinn died of a heart attack in 2011, just a little over a month after the premiere of "Dark of the Moon," at the age of 48. He made his television debut in the miniseries "Quo Vadis?" and his film debut in Oliver Stone's iconic war drama "Platoon." Quinn also had recurring roles on television shows like "JAG" and "24," and he voiced characters in video games like "Mass Effect 2" and "Quantum of Solace."

George Coe – Wheeljack/Que

A member of the Autobot team in "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," Wheeljack meets his demise in the final moments of the film when he's shot and killed by the Decepticons. Wheeljack was voiced by actor George Coe, who was a cast member on the first season of "Saturday Night Live."

If going back to 1970s sketch comedy isn't your thing, then you can witness Coe's talents in shows like "L.A. Law," "Archer," "The King of Queens" and "The Legend of Korra." He can also be seen in movies like "Funny People," "The Mighty Ducks" and "Kramer vs. Kramer." Additionally, Coe provided his voice to popular video games like "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim" and "Star Wars: The Old Republic." A multitalented artist, Coe was one of two directors on the short film "De Duva: The Dove," which was nominated for Best Live Action Short Film at the Academy Awards in 1969. Coe passed away in 2015 at the age of 86. His final film was the 2014 horror movie "13 Sins."

Ravil Isyanov – Alexi Voskhod

Russian film and TV actor Ravil Isyanov had a minor role in "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" as Ukrainian government official Alexi Voskhod, who ends up getting killed by Laserbeak in one of the film's first major action sequences. Isyanov made his acting debut in 1992 with the feature film "Back in the U.S.S.R." and the television movie "Stalin." In later years, Isyanov became known for his recurring roles as Anatoli Kirkin in "NCIS: Los Angeles" and Ruslan in "The Americans." He also appeared in films like "Holes" and "Mr. & Mrs. Smith."

Isyanov passed away in September of 2021 at the age of 59. Two of his last television appearances were on the Netflix series "GLOW" and the TNT drama "The Last Ship." His final credited film role is in Netflix's 2022 Marilyn Monroe biopic "Blonde," in which Isyanov plays Hollywood director and screenwriter Billy Wilde.

Kirk Baily – Brawn

The 2018 film "Bumblebee" marked a radical change for the "Transformers" franchise. It was the first movie in the series not to be directed by Michael Bay, and the eponymous Autobot's origin story effectively served as a soft reboot for the franchise. Some characters from the previous films still return, like Optimus Prime and Arcee, but there are a lot of new Autobots and Decepticons in "Bumblebee" as well. One of those newcomers is the Autobot Brawn, voiced by Kirk Baily.

Baily was one of the original stars of the Nickelodeon series "Salute Your Shorts," playing camp counselor Kevin "Ug" Lee, before transitioning mostly to voice acting. Over the course of his career, Baily lent his vocal talents to major animated films like "Frozen," "Over the Hedge" and "Big Hero 6." His voice can also be heard in several live-action films, including "Kill Bill: Volume 1" and "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," and he had live-action roles in shows like "7th Heaven" and "NYPD Blue." Baily died of lung cancer in February 2022 at the age of 59.

Leonard Nimoy – Sentinel Prime

Famed "Star Trek" actor Leonard Nimoy featured in two very different "Transformers" films over the course of his career. His first appearance occurred when he provided the voice of Galvatron in 1986's "The Transformers: The Movie," a film that also featured stars like Judd Nelson and Orson Wells. Nimoy later joined the live-action "Transformers" film franchise in 2011's "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," in which he played the old (and treacherous) Autobot leader Sentinel Prime.

Nimoy is obviously most famous for starring as Spock in the original "Star Trek" television series, as well as in all six entries of the original "Star Trek" film franchise. He even directed the third and fourth installments in the series, "The Search for Spock" and "The Voyage Home." Nimoy reprised the role of Spock again in 2009 for J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek" reboot and the 2013 sequel "Star Trek Into Darkness." The latter film would be his last appearance before his death from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in February of 2015. At the time, Nimoy was 83 years old.