As a diehard fan of The Walking Dead, I followed the news stories surrounding the sudden departure of the show's original executive producer/showrunner, Frank Darabont, as they were leaking out around season two. At first, it was suggested that Darabont had quit; later, it emerged that he had actually been fired. Then I heard reports that one of the actors, who was not named, but identified as someone who had worked with Darabont before, had quit the show in a display of solidarity. It was still unclear who this might be, however, because at least three actors on the show (Jeffrey DeMunn/Dale, Melissa McBride/Carol, and Jon Berenthal/Shane) fit this description.

When Dale died near the end of the second season - much earlier than he does in the comic books - I assumed that he was the mysterious quitter. More recently, I stumbled across an article that appears to confirm this:

Chandler Riggs [who plays Carl] confirmed that actor Jeffrey DeMunn, who portrayed Dale Horvath on ”The Walking Dead”, quit the show. “After Darabont left, he was like ‘I’m out of here'.” As you might remember, showrunner Frank Darabont (“The Shawshank Redemption”) was unceremoniously fired by AMC last year. DeMunn, who was a regular in Darabont’s films (having roles in “The Green Mile,” “The Shawshank Redemption” and “The Mist”) was crushed by Darabont’s firing and left after he was no longer involved with the show.
- The Cynical Optimist

Although Chandler Riggs is an inside source and has no readily apparent reason to lie, he was only 12 years old when he gave the interview in which he said that DeMunn had quit, and it is hard to imagine the 65 year old DeMunn taking a 12 year old boy into his confidence.

Has anyone involved with the show, other than Chandler Riggs, said that Jeffrey DeMunn quit The Walking Dead? Obviously, the most ideal source would be DeMunn himself, but a producer, or even another cast member, would suffice.

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    This is awfully long for a question. Shouldn't it be an answer to a different question? Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 4:43
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    @ThePopMachine What other question? Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 12:54
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    @AnthonyGrist, Wad is making two main points here (1) Munn only did the series because of Darabont, who left, and (2) the other evidence is Riggs, who is a kid. IMO, the question should be Why did DeMunn leave?, and those two point should be in an answer by Wad. Then he could either add to the question that even though he gave answers (1) and (2), it isn't satisfactory because they are hearsay and a kid, so he's looking for more. Alternatively, he could ask Besides Chandler Riggs, did anyone comment on why DeMunn left The Walking Dead ? as a separate question. Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 14:27
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    @ThePopMachine I was referring to all of it - your previous comment and the general idea you're suggesting - but you're right; not really a useful comment so I'll delete it. Suggesting that he should ask extra questions and post answers just to get to the question he actually wants - which is essentially "Given all of this conflicting information, what's the real story?" - seems totally absurd to me. Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 14:47
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    If somebody asked a question, was given an answer, and then turned around and said "I already knew all of that, but I don't think that satisfactorily answers my question at all, because of reasons X, Y and Z." I'd think they'd not done sufficient work in asking their question in the first place. It's even worse if the question and answer comes from the same person. Ultimately, if you know there are potential answers to your question that you're not going to accept when you write it, that needs to be made clear in the question. That's what he's done. Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 14:59

1 Answer 1


Frank Darabont has stated that DeMunn quit due to actions by AMC executives

In late 2013, IGN interviewed Darabont about the circumstances behinds the scenes of The Walking Dead that lead to Darabont's departure and the departure of cast members including Jeffrey DeMunn:

Were they [the AMC executives] simply not willing to provide the budget you needed in order to do what you needed to do?

DARABONT: The big crux of our argument was budget. If somebody comes and hands you the biggest hit you've ever had you don't just say, 'Okay, now we're going to cut your budgets by 25% across the board. And we don't give a s--t if you care, if you don't like it.' That's just...I don't even understand that kind of thinking. Or how much punishment it visits upon the people who are actually making the show, which was incredibly difficult to begin with. Cutting your resources by a quarter in the following season so they work even longer hours and under harder circumstances? It's inhuman. I'll write a book about this one day.

Did you ever have a debrief with the cast and crew? At the time, it seemed like everyone was really afraid to comment.

DARABONT: Oh yes, they were bullied, and threatened, and their livelihoods threatened, and there was some weight being thrown around. Like I said, I'll write a book. And there are a lot of people who will go on record. That are actually very keen to go on record, because like I said there are a lot of people who felt tremendously abused.

What were the conversations like? Jeffery DeMunn did end up leaving the show.

DARABONT: Yeah, Jeff didn't want to stick around. Because Jeff is a human being and he's got a tremendous...he doesn't need the work. He doesn't have a very extravagant lifestyle and he wants peace of mind in his life. He's a very good and decent man that way...

(Source — emphasis mine)

So it seems that, at least according to Darabont, DeMunn left because he was being exposed to an unfair / hostile working environment and didn't need the work badly enough to put up with it.

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