It’s been eight years since loveable George O’Malley was killed off Grey’s Anatomy and, frankly, we’re still not over his tragic on-screen death. Any loyal Grey’s fan will remember the exact moment they realized “007” was dead because it was nothing short of heartbreaking. To pay homage to one of the best Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital surgeons ever, we’re rounding up everything you need to know about George — scroll down!
When did George first appear on Grey’s Anatomy?
George — who was portrayed by actor T.R. Knight — was one of the original Grey’s characters. He first appeared on the series as a Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital intern in 2005’s Season 1 alongside Meredith Grey (played by Ellen Pompeo), Izzie Stevens (Katherine Heigl), Alex Karev (Justin Chambers), and Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh). Though he never officially chose a surgical specialty during his storyline, George showed an interest in trauma surgery in later seasons. Actor T.R. once revealed he auditioned for the show believing he’d only appear on one season, but he ended up staying on the medical drama for many years and became one of the most beloved Grey’s characters to date.
George and Callie on Grey’s Anatomy. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Who was George married to?
After an ill-fated, one-night stand with Meredith, George started dating orthopedic surgeon Callie Torres (Sara Ramirez) in Season 2. A few episodes later, George’s dad died after battling esophageal cancer and, to deal with his grief, he ran off with Callie to elope in Las Vegas. George later realized he shouldn’t have tied the knot with Callie and subsequently slept with his best friend Izzie after a drunken night in. When Izzie confessed she was in love with him, George considered transferring to another Seattle hospital to avoid being tempted to cheat again. George and Izzie then had a short romance before realizing they didn’t actually have any chemistry. Towards the end of T.R.’s run on Grey’s, character Lexie Grey (Chyler Leigh) revealed she too was in love with George but he never pursued a relationship.
How did George die?
As George grew closer to the chief of trauma surgery, Owen Hunt, he began to think about possibly joining the US Army to work as a trauma surgeon like Owen once did. At the end of Season 5, George suddenly joined the Army and as his friends tried to convince him to stay in Seattle instead, a severely injured John Doe patient was brought into the hospital. As the episode continued, the John Doe seemed to have a particular interest in Meredith and tried several times to trace the numbers “007” into her hand. When Mer finally realized the disfigured patient was actually George, she and the other surgeons rushed to save him, but it was too late.
At the time, George’s best friend, Izzie, was battling cancer. Just as Meredith realized John Doe was George, Izzie flatlined and the Grey Sloan doctors were trying to save both characters at the same time. The very end of the emotional episode showed Izzie riding the hospital’s elevator all dolled up in her Season 2 hospital prom dress. When she reached her floor, the elevator doors opened and she was greeted by George, who was dressed in an Army uniform. As the two stared at each other, viewers didn’t know if George died, Izzie died, or both as Season 5 ended on a major cliffhanger. Season 6 began with the revelation that George had died but Izzie survived.
Why did George leave Grey’s Anatomy?
In 2007, fellow Grey’s actor Isaiah Washington — who played Preston Burke — reportedly used a homophobic slur to refer to his co-star T.R. while onset. Following the unfortunate incident, Isaiah was fired from the show. Two years later in 2009, T.R. revealed he was leaving Grey’s after Season 5 due to a “breakdown in communication” with showrunner Shonda Rhimes, his character’s decrease in screen time, and his personal decision to come out as gay. To this day, we still miss seeing George on Grey’s!
George and Izzie on Grey’s Anatomy. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
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