TV URBAN LEGEND: Ally McBeal was going to leave Larry at the altar in the Season 4 finale, but Robert Downey Jr. being fired before that squelched that idea.
This one is up a bit later than normal because when someone sent this one in I thought it just went too perfectly with the Peter/Mary Jane comic book legend this week that I wanted to wait until that one was up (although, in retrospect, I should have probably done it the other way around, c’est la vie!).
In any event, some years ago, I did a TV Legends Revealed about how David E. Kelley was forced to fire Robert Downey Jr. from “Ally McBeal” an episode before his wedding to Ally McBeal!!
Downey Jr. had joined the hit show in the fourth season as part of an initial comeback from his drugs issues and it had worked out beautifully on the show, as Downey was great (he IS a really good actor, after all).
His character, Larry, began dating Calista Flockhart’s character of Ally McBeal. In the penultimate episode of the season, Larry was all set to propose and the final episode was going to be “The Wedding.” Then things went wrong and the penultimate episode was re-written so that Larry dumps Ally instead. The final episode was still called “The Wedding,” just as a bit of a joke by Kelley.
Anyhow, reader Clare R. just wrote in the other day asking if it was true that even had Downey Jr. stayed on the show, that Ally wasn’t actually going to get married in the finale, that she was going to stand Larry up and that the ghost of Billy (Gil Bellows) was involved somehow.
As it turns out, Clare, you have some of the story right, as yes, Billy’s ghost WAS going to be involved in the episode, but not to get Ally to LEAVE Larry, but rather to help convince her to go through with it as yes, Ally was considering standing Larry up, but in the end, she arrives at the church – just late for the wedding. She and Larry did, in fact, get married in the planned episode. Interestingly enough, I believe David E. Kelley used some of the concepts for the wedding episode for one of the episodes of his short-lived show about wedding planners, called “Wedding Belles” (which I liked well enough, but then again, I tend to like pretty much everything David E. Kelley writes – I was one of the few, the proud, the “Monday Mornings” fans).
In any event, while “Ally McBeal” certainly was worse for the loss of Robert Downey Jr., at least he landed on his feet okay in other projects since. 😉
The legend is…
Thanks to Clare for the suggestion!
Be sure to check out my archive of TV Legends Revealed for more urban legends about the world of TV.
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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