Jeffrey Dean Morgan Talks Dying Over And Over Again Onscreen, And Why Grey's Anatomy's Denny Changed His Life

Jeffery Dean Morgan as The Comedian in Zack Sndyer's Watchmen.

When working in entertainment, there’s a fair chance that any given character will straight up die at any moment. Whether it’s the end of a character arc, contract or part of the story, dramatic deaths are just a part of the business. Look at HBO’s Game of Thrones, after all. The Walking Dead star Jeffrey Dean Morgan recently shed some light on what it’s like to constantly have your characters killed off in production after production, followed by reflecting on his time on Grey’s Anatomy.

During a recent interview Jefferey Dean Morgan detailed a bit of the behind the scenes preparation for death scenes and what it was like to be killed off so often. When asked about the process of a character dying, Morgan had this to say:

Oh yeah, because I died a lot. No, you’re right That was like a running joke with my father, it still is, he’s like, ‘You’ve died 127 times.’ He knows. When you used to audition you genuinely knew your character was going to die. There was probably a dying scene you had to do in a room without an actor with a casting director that wasn’t gonna give you anything. I died my ass off a million times… they would put you through your paces too man, mortifying shit.

In his interview on Hot Ones, Jeffrey Dean Morgan detailed the difficulties and hilarity associated with dying on screen so many times, all while eating insanely hot wings. While he hasn’t put up quite the numbers that Sean Bean (who is famous for dying on screen) has, Morgan has done his fair share. According to CineMorgue, which tracks film and television deaths for actors, Morgan has died a total of 17 times between his film and television appearance.

Despite dying off in Grey’s Anatomy, Jeffery Dean Morgan shared a sweet story about his time playing Denny, and how he tried, in vain, to prevent his characters death:

Grey’s Anatomy I knew was something special. That’s the one time that I saw my death coming and I was trying to do everything I could do to get out of that death. That character Denny and that love story with Izzie kind of took the world by storm. I knew how lucky I was to be there. I was like, ‘Please don’t kill me.’ And I did, I begged her [Shonda]. That’s what changed my life. Being Denny where I never got out of bed is why Zack Snyder hired me to be The Comedian.)

Morgan, who played Denny on Grey’s Anatomy for 23 episodes, gave credit to the show for propelling his career forward. According to him, his role of Denny Duquette is the reason he ended up in Zack Snyder’s Watchmen. More recently, fans will recognize Morgan from his time as The Walking Dead’s Neegan. Despite the nature of the show, his character is still alive as of the latest season. That may change though, as we are quickly approaching the 11th and final season of the zombie show.

I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw more than a few major characters killed in Season 11, but who knows. Maybe they will open up some other characters for a Rick Grimes-esque spinoff. After all, Jeffrey Dean Morgan himself has already expressed interest in continuing to play Neegan.

We won’t know for sure what’s in store for Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Neegan until The Walking Dead Season 11 releases later this year. Hopefully, it won’t be just another death in his long list, but given the subject matter, I find that situation to be pretty unlikely. Be sure to check back with CinemaBlend for the latest on The Walking Dead and any other updates from your favorite upcoming television shows.

Braden Roberts

Into tracksuits by Paulie Walnuts, the Criterion Channel and Robert Eggers.