Inside Lisa Robin Kelly's tragic death and why she was replaced on That '70s Show

Yasmine Leung August 15, 2022
Inside Lisa Robin Kelly's tragic death and why she was replaced on That '70s Show
Photo by FOX Image Collection via Getty Images


Lisa Robin Kelly was a TV star thanks to her role as Laurie Forman on That ’70s Show. However, after her abrupt exit from the show, fans barely saw her on-screen and her tragic untimely death in 2013 was a shock to fans and the industry alike.

August 15, 2022 marks nine years since the tragic passing of Lisa Robin Kelly. The beloved That ’70s Show star unexpectedly passed away at age 43, 10 years after she left the hit sitcom.

Her character was re-cast in the show which led fans to become upset about the decision. They believed her part shouldn’t have been brought back and played by another star.

The real reason why Lisa Robin Kelly was replaced

Photo by Munawar Hosain/Fotos International/Getty Images

Kelly was already an established actress when she joined the sitcom. Unlike her newbie co-stars Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher who were just starting out. Unfortunately, her That ’70s Show stint was cut short in 2003, and subsequently her career, due to alcoholism that stemmed from a devastating miscarriage.

Speaking to ABC News about her fall from stardom, she bravely revealed what went wrong in the early 2000s.

She said: “I had lost a baby. As a result of that, I lost everything and I was abusing alcohol.”

At the time of the April 2012 interview, she had been sober for three months.

The actress portrayed the hilarious and promiscuous sister of Eric Forman, who loved to manipulate her family. Laurie was written out with the explanation that she left for beauty school and season 5 marked her last appearance. Kelly was replaced by Christina Moore in the next season.

To this day, the recast remains an unpopular decision among fans, suggesting that they should’ve taken the character out completely.

“Recasting her after so many seasons was a mistake, especially while giving the character a central plot line,” a Reddit fan complained.

“It’s not that Christina Moore was awful but Lisa Robin Kelly’s performance was so memorable and the whole thing just feels weird.”

She passed away days after checking into a rehab facility

Photo by FOX Image Collection via Getty Images

Kelly’s career never fully got back on track after the sitcom. In August 2010, the actress was arrested under suspicion of DWI and pled guilty to one count of DWI three months later. She was sentenced to 12 months of unsupervised probation and ordered to pay a fine, reports TMZ.

She was then arrested on suspicion of felony spousal abuse in April 2012. The complaint was filed by her ex-boyfriend John Michas, who claimed she assaulted him, as per LA Times. Kelly denied the accusations to ABC News, calling it “all a bunch of made-up stuff.”

The LA County District Attorney declined to file charges.

Speaking about the resulting mugshot, the actress was mortified her mother would see her in a negative light that “wasn’t her”.

Kelly checked into Pax Rehab House in August 2013 and passed away in her room at the facility days later. Her death certificate states accidental multiple drug intoxication by oral ingestion as the cause.

If you’ve been affected by this story you can contact American Addiction Centers on (877) 686-7688 or Talk To Frank on 0300 123 6600 in the UK.

For immediate grief support, call 1-800-221-7437 First Candle. Counsellors are available 24/7. For families who have suffered the loss of a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth, or early infant death. A community for anyone who experiences the tragic death of a baby. You can also get in touch with SupportingMamas here.

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Yasmine is a third-year Anthropology and Media student at Goldsmiths University with a new obsession with League of Legends, despite being really bad. She's always on social media keeping on top of the latest news and trends and is HITC’s expert in Korean pop culture. She also loves music, TV and fashion - her favourite things to write about.