2020 hasn't exactly been the smoothest year so far, which is putting it lightly, and not even the usual comforts of primetime TV are a safe haven for emotional relief. Case in point: the French bulldog widely known for portraying Modern Family's beloved pet Stella has passed away, and the timing couldn't have been more poignant.
The bulldog, whose real name was Beatrice, reportedly died a week or so ago, and her death came mere days after Modern Family wrapped filming on the finale for its eleventh and final season. At this time, it isn't clear what exactly caused Beatrice's sudden death.
Modern Family co-creator Steve Levitan provided USA Today with an amusingly sweet tribute to Beatrice.
While she was occasionally a major diva who made unreasonable demands and often questioned her 'motivation,' most of the time Beatrice was a delightful and lovable presence on the Modern Family set. She brought smiles wherever she went and was completely convincing in her role as a dog. We will all miss that adorable scrunched-up face. Enjoy doggie heaven, sweet Beatrice/Stella.
I'd like to think that Stella and Beatrice's doggie heaven looks a lot like Paris.
The character of Stella was introduced back in Season 2 of Modern Family, in the episode "Good Cop Bad Dog." When Jay convinced her original owner Guillermo (played by Lin-Manuel Miranda) to return to college to finish his education, Stella was gifted to the Pritchard family. Jay wasn't too happy about it, considering Stella was known to tear things up around the house, but he eventually came around to adoring her, to the point where Sofia Vergara's Gloria often gets jealous over how attentive and forgiving Jay is for the dog.
Of course, the late Beatrice wasn't actually the first canine to take on the role of Stella. Back when she was first given to Jay and Gloria, Stella was played by another bulldog named Brigitte, who kept the role for two seasons on Modern Family before somewhat controversially being dropped from the show. At the time, it was reported that Brigitte's agency, Good Dog Animals, had a dispute with the dog's owner, which led to the agency getting rid of Brigitte.
So from the middle of Season 4 up until the show's final episodes, the Pritchett's beloved Stella was played by Beatrice. It has been confirmed by ABC that Stella will indeed appear in the series finale, so fans will be able to get a sense of closure in that sense. (Assuming there aren't any major dog-related cliffhangers involved.)
Considering how emotional some of the Modern Family cast and crew got during the final weeks of filming, it's safe to say the Internet will be flooded with more farewell posts and pictures as the end draws nearer. There's a good chance quite a few of those posts will offer up love to Beatrice and Stella.
Unfortunately, Beatrice's passing is actually the second noteworthy Modern Family-related death to happen in 2020 so far. Marsha Kramer, who portrayed the recurring role of Margaret, died in January at 74 years old.
We at CinemaBlend send our thoughts and condolences to Beatrice's owners and friends during their time of mourning.
Modern Family airs Wednesday nights on ABC at 9:00 p.m. ET, with the series finale set to air on Wednesday, April 8.