WARNING: This story contains spoilers form the Wednesday, October 24, episode of Modern Family.
The Pritchett family said goodbye to one of their own during the show’s Halloween episode. At the top of the show, Claire (Julie Bowen) received a phone call from her stepfather telling her that her mom, DeDe (Shelley Long), had passed away “peacefully in her sleep.”
Claire would go on to fondly recall some of her favorite memories with her mom with brother Mitchell, played by Jesse Tyler Ferguson. “I remember once that mom told me that I ate ice cream like a prostitute,” she said.
Mitchell, meanwhile, said: “I was just thinking about this great Halloween with mom. I wasn’t really fitting in in high school, so mom took me to go get ice cream at this place in West Hollywood and the parade was going on and before that, I had never been to a gay event. The thing is, she didn’t force me to talk about it. She just let it be. I think that was her way of saying she was OK with me.”
Fans of the series have been dreading the death since September, when cocreator Christopher Lloyd revealed the imminent departure of a “significant character on the series.”
“We’re handling some bigger life events in this season. We do deal with a death, which is certainly a topic that families have to deal with, and on television, it’s not easy to do because that’s a heavy subject. But at the same time, it would seem unusual for a family not to go through it,” he told Entertainment Weekly at the time, adding that it “will be a moving event … that has repercussions across several episodes.”
Modern Family airs on ABC Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET.
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