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Lisa Robin Kelly, best known for her fifty episode stint as Eric Foreman’s sister Laurie on That 70s Show, unexpectedly passed away last night at the age of forty-three. Despite several arrests over the past few years related to alcoholism, there were some signs the actress was getting her life together, specifically that she checked into rehab on Monday, but unfortunately, the years of abuse her body took were just too much to overcome.
Details on the last weeks and months of Kelly’s life are a little bit fuzzy, but according to TMZ, the actress and her estranged husband Robert Gilliam got into a huge fight back in May. During the altercation, he allegedly beat her in an attempt to get some residual money from That 70s Show. He was later found guilty of domestic battery and thrown in jail for 35 days. She filed for divorce last month, but apparently, the stress of what happened weighed heavily on her. She took to drinking again and was apparently taken to the hospital on Sunday with a blood alcohol level of .34. The next morning, her new boyfriend drove her to rehab, but her body went into cardiac arrest while she was sleeping on Wednesday night.
Lisa spent much of her twenties slowly carving out a niche for herself as a working actress in Hollywood. She made guest appearances on numerous television programs including Married…With Children, The X-Files and Murphy Brown. In 1998, she auditioned for and earned the role of Laurie Foreman on That 70s Show. With a sexually aggressive demeanor and a perpetually confused look on her face, her character caused her parents an endless amount of misery and won fans over almost immediately. Unfortunately, Kelly’s drinking became a problem, and she wound up leaving the series after Season 5 in 2003. She was never able to find another part that resonated with the general public, and within just a few short years, she was basically out of acting and relegated to the gossip columns.
Anytime someone dies at a young age of substance abuse, there are always a lot of what-ifs. In this case, what if Lisa had continued with her run on That 70s Show? What if she had been able to find another role after that? What if she would have been given just a little bit more time to clean up? Unfortunately, no amount of wondering, hoping or wishing can change what happened. Instead, all we can do is focus on all the great things she did and send out our deepest sympathies to those who loved her.
Her memory will live on through friends and family, as well as all the fans of That 70s Show…