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There’s an influential Hollywood website called The Ankler. It gets its name from “ankling”, a word coined by Variety, the ancient Bible of the business side of show business. Someone who “ankles” a studio is laid off, but leaves under their own power; a normal, unemotional job separation. The opposite, in Variety-ese, is getting “axed”—flat out fired, and escorted off the studio lot by security, with dueling lawyers sure to follow. It doesn’t often happen to the stars, but when it does, it’s a big, public, messy deal. This is particularly true when an entire show is shaped around them: Charlie Sheen, Jeremy Clarkson, and Roseanne Barr are recent examples. We’ll get to them.
Some actors are fired because of problems they caused on the set. Others, simply because they were miscast to begin with, or couldn’t seem to give the performance that the film or TV show needed. And with many others it simply came down to money.