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21 Jump Street Actors You Might Not Know Passed Away

Today, most people probably associate the name "21 Jump Street" with the series of buddy-cop comedy movies directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller and starring Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, and Ice Cube. However, that name has a legacy much older than two films from the 2010s. From 1987 to 1991, "21 Jump Street" was a procedural cop drama that aired on Fox. These days, most remember it for launching the career of Johnny Depp, who played the role of one of its leads, Officer Tom Hanson, for the first four seasons.

Those who remember the original "21 Jump Street," however, know that it was much more than Depp's launching pad. It was often a serious show that tackled serious issues and took advantage of some talented actors to do so. We are, of course, referring to the main cast, but the same is equally true of the show's many guest stars. Plenty of influential actors in TV and film, especially from the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, made appearances on "21 Jump Street." Unfortunately, though not unexpectedly, many of these figures have since passed away.

Dom Deluise played an uncle to his son in one episode

Before he died in 2009, Dom DeLuise cast a shadow even bigger than himself. The Brooklyn-born actor achieved fame in the 1960s for his appearances on popular variety shows like "The Dean Martin Show," before appearing in many popular films (via IMDb). He was a longtime friend and frequent co-star to Burt Reynolds (via TribLocal), played roles in several comedies by Mel Brooks, and lent his voice to a few animated films made by the legendary Don Bluth. His two sons, Peter and Michael, also happened to be actors with recurring roles in a certain crime series, where the elder DeLuise would eventually make a guest appearance.

In Season 3 Episode 11, "Woolly Bullies," DeLuise made his grand guest appearance on "21 Jump Street" as Uncle Nick, the childhood guardian of Doug Penhall (Peter DeLuise). Uncle Nick was portrayed as a caring parental figure in the episode, providing emotional support to a childhood Doug when the latter came to him with bully issues. Unfortunately, Uncle Nick's well-intentioned advice gets Doug's butt kicked, dooming his nephew to five years of traumatic bullying. Years later, Uncle Nick would reap the rewards of his bad advice after Doug's bully Jack (Christopher Titus) stole his prized convertible.

Unfortunately, DeLuise would die roughly two decades after "Woolly Bullies" aired. After battling cancer for a year, and his weight for much of his life, the actor died in Santa Monica, California at the age of 75.

Danny Kamekona caused a Communist kerfuffle in Season 3

While Danny Kamekona is best known for playing the villain in "The Karate Kid Part II," you can actually spot the Japanese-Hawaiian as a recurring actor on the original "Hawaii Five-0" and "Magnum P.I." He played multiple roles in both series, maintaining a constant presence on "Hawaii Five-0" until it ended in 1980, and on "Magnum P.I." until he made his last appearance in 1984. Two years later, Kamekona landed the iconic role of Sato, the lifelong rival of Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) in both karate and love, in "The Karate Kid Part II." And, three years after that, Kamekona appeared in Season 3 Episode 7 of "21 Jump Street," "The Dragon and The Angel."

The episode focuses on Jump Street's Vietnamese officer, Harry Ioki (Dustin Nguyen) as he investigates extortion in the city's Vietnamese population. After getting in with a local gang, Ioki meets a wealthy Vietnamese publisher named Van Luy, who was played by Kamekona. Van Luy promises Ioki that he will be able to find Ioki's grandma in Vietnam so that Ioki can send her some money. However, Ioki begins to have second thoughts when he learns that Van Luy's publication promotes Communism.

Kamekona continued to act throughout the rest of his life. Tragically, however, the actor was suddenly found dead one day in his Los Angeles apartment (via Star-Bulletin). He died in 1996 at the age of 60.

Morgan Woodward played an aging white supremacist in Season 4

Evidently "21 Jump Street" loved admonishing America's old enemies because we're about to transition from an episode dragging Communism to an episode dragging Neo-Nazis. Season 4, Episode 22, "Shirts and Skins," sees different members of Jump Street infiltrating opposing sides of a brewing social conflict between some neo-Nazis and a group of liberal protestors. Throughout the episode, the white supremacists find themselves undergoing a power dispute after their leader is murdered. The dead leader's father, Albert Schalin, was played by one of America's leading TV Western actors, Morgan Woodward.

Woodward, who died at the age of 93 in 2019 (via The Hollywood Reporter), had a long and fulfilling career playing iconic Western characters in shows like "Dallas," "Wagon Train," and "The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp." These performances ranged from classic cowboys like the latter series' Shotgun Gibbs to the sleazy oil tycoon Marvin "Punk" Anderson" in "Dallas." As Albert Schalin, however, Woodward put down the spurs to play a more conflicted character.

Throughout the episode, continual struggles to co-lead the neo-Nazi movement alongside his grandson, Lance (Steven Eckholdt) lead Albert to discover that it was Lance who murdered his father. So while he may be a white supremacist, the episode is actually tinged with a certain amount of sympathy for the old racist. As compelling as that might make the story, however, we're sure fans preferred it when Woodward wore cowboy hats and holsters instead of brown shirts and Nazi armbands.

Art Metrano played a veteran cop leading a union strike

Art Metrano may have been a cruddy magician, but his comedy certainly put a spell on audiences. Known for his comedic act about a hack magician who performs substandard tricks while confidently humming the tune of "Fine and Dandy" (via YouTube), Metrano would go on to gain more prominence for starring as Captain Mauser in "Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment" and "Police Academy 3: Back in Training." This experience playing an officer (albeit, a comedically foolish one) would come in handy a few years later when Metrano played a much more serious role in "21 Jump Street" as the veteran cop Larry Stubbs.

Stubbs appears in only one episode, Season 3 Episode 8, "The Blue Flu," which focuses on an ongoing strike within the New York Police Department. As the head of the strike, Stubbs urges Detective Dennis Booker (Richard Grieco) to take striking more seriously. Booker generally dismisses Stubbs until the city wrongfully accuses the older cop of slashing another police officer's tires, taking both his job and pension in the process.

Metrano continued to act until 2001, appearing occasionally in shows like "The Golden Girls" and "L.A. Law." After his retirement, he took up ownership of a yogurt shop on Hollywood Beach, Florida (via WLRN). According to The Hollywood Reporter, Metrano would continue living in Florida until he died on September 8, 2021 of natural causes at the age of 84.

Arthur Malet played a well-to-do socialite

The final episode of this list, Season 3 Episode 12 "The Dreaded Return of Russell Buckins," is interesting not just because it aired directly after the episode starring Dom DeLuise, but because just like DeLuise, the guest of this episode also provided voice work for Don Bluth's films. That being said, the performances that Arthur Malet gave in "The Secret of NIMH" and "Anastasia" are only a small part of his career (via IMDb). The English-born actor also had roles in films like "Mary Poppins" and "Hook." And, aside from "21 Jump Street," Malet appeared in TV shows such as "The Andy Griffith Show" and "Dallas," where he crossed paths with Morgan Woodward's career).

In "The Dreaded Return of Russell Buckins," Malet plays the part of Mackenzie, a happy-go-lucky old socialite associated with the wealthy Samperton family. He unwittingly helps Johnny Depp's Tom Hanson sneak into a Samperton family party by mistaking the young officer for somebody else. However, he doesn't have much influence over the story after that.

Following "21 Jump Street," Malet continued to act until 1998. His last credited role is as Mr. Ages in "The Secret of NIMH 2." Not much is known about the actor's life after this point. However, according to Western Boot Hill, Arthur Malet died 15 years later at the age of 84 in Santa Monica, California.