10 TV Stars Who Controversially Left Their Hit Shows
10. Dan Stevens - Downton Abbey
Almost immediately after Downton Abbey came out, it became a breakaway hit, enthralling audiences on both sides of the pond (especially Americans, who have no landed aristocracy and therefore have a certain romanticized curiosity about the whole thing). And at the heart of all this buzz was the fluffy, on-again off-again relationship between Lady Mary, the aloof daughter of an earl, and Matthew Crawley, the Manchester solicitor who stands to inherit her father's estate and title. They alternately fought and flirted their way through three seasons, until Dan Stevens decided that he didn't want to get stuck playing Matthew Crawley for the rest of his life. Since his original contract was only for three years, he elected not to renew and instead seek out new acting challenges. And so it was that Matthew died abruptly, violently, in a car crash while racing back to inform everyone of his newborn son and heir George. Audiences were crushed at how sudden his departure was, especially coming off the heels of Lady Sybil's death from eclampsia only a few episodes previously.
Audrey Fox is an ex-film student, which means that she prefers to spend her days in the dark, watching movies and pondering the director's use of diegetic sound. She currently works as an entertainment writer, joyfully rambling about all things film and television related. Add her on Twitter at @audonamission and check out her film blog at 1001moviesandbeyond.com.