As the NBC comedy The Office continues to build its popularity through behind-the-scenes podcasts and its streaming expansion on Peacock (complete with extended "Superfan" episodes), some sad news hit the fandom this week. Actor Mark York, who recurred across multiple seasons as property manager Billy Merchant, passed away recently at the age of 55. To be expected, his death was mourned by fans and friends alike, and several stars from The Office also took to social media to share their condolences.
Mark York passed away on May 19 at Miami Valley Hospital, and though a cause of death wasn't specified, it was reported that he succumbed to brief and unexpected illness. After the news of his death started making the rounds, many took time to remember York's work as Billy Merchant, such as Rainn "Dwight Schrute" Wilson, who shared the following message on Twitter:
R.I.P. Mark York, AKA BILLY MERCHANT from The Office. He was a terrific human, a positive force and a dynamic actor. You will be missed.
First introduced in Season 2 for the episode "The Injury," Mark York's Billy Merchant was paraplegic, just as the actor had been since 1988. And though his wheelchair-bound nature was indeed poked fun at by Steve Carell's Michael Scott, as was his non-nurse girlfriend, Billy was one of the few Office characters that could dismiss Michael without letting things go too far. Everyone should be so lucky.
Mark was a lovely man and a pleasure to work with. Very funny every time. Much love to his family.
Mark York went on to appear in person across four episodes of The Office, while his voice could be heard in Season 3's memorable Pretzel Day episode, "Initiation." His final episode was Season 5's "Dream Team."
Very sad to hear about Mark’s passing. He was so talented and kind and will be missed. My thoughts are with his family. May he rest in peace.
For anybody who wanted a quick reminder of what made Billy Merchant a memorable Office side character, co-star Creed Bratton has you covered with his R.I.P. message.
We here at CinemaBlend send our thoughts and condolences to the family and friends of Mark York during their time of mourning.