Fact Check: Did Lance Barber from Young Sheldon pass away in real life?

Premiere Of Warner Bros. 100th Episode Of "Young Sheldon" - Red Carpet
Lance Barber at the WB premiere of the 100th Episode of "Young Sheldon" (Image via Getty/Kevin Winter)

Fans of Young Sheldon have been lamenting the departure of actor Lance Barber, aged 50, on social media. Several posts of X mention the actor being missed, with fans posting goodbye messages and reminiscing about his moments in the show.

Barber played Shedon's father George Cooper Sr. in the spinoff prequel of The Big Bang Theory sitcom. The character, who was heavily criticized in the latter show by adult Sheldon for being a bad father, was given more depth and nuance in the prequel, with Barber's portrayal earning praise.

Following the release of Young Sheldon season 7 episode 12 on May 9, 2024, several fans took to social media to mourn Barber. However, Lance Barber is still alive. Fans are grieving the death of his character, George Cooper, in the show.

Disclaimer: This article contains spoilers for Young Sheldon Season 7 Episode 12.

Lance Barber from Young Sheldon did not pass away in real life

Lance Barber as George Cooper Sr. (Image via X/@YoungSheldon)
Lance Barber as George Cooper Sr. (Image via X/@YoungSheldon)

Contrary to what non-fans may falsely perceive, actor Lance Barber is alive and well. However, his character in the Young Sheldon show has passed away in its latest episode. The cast and fans of the show have been grieving the loss of the beloved father who was portrayed excellently by Barber.

Despite the character's death being an inevitable moment that was foretold in canon, fans were shocked when the death was announced unexpectedly in season 7 episode 12. The Big Bang Theory had already mentioned that George's death took place due to a heart attack when Sheldon was 14. The prequel itself foreshadowed the tragic moment several times during the show.

In season 1 episode 3, George was rushed to the emergency room after suffering from chest pains and breathing issues. The season 4 finale also depicted the character suffering from another mini-heart attack.

Iain Armitage as Young Sheldon Cooper (Image via X/@YoungSheldon)
Iain Armitage as Young Sheldon Cooper (Image via X/@YoungSheldon)

However, fans did not expect the character's death to happen in season 7 episode 12. This particular episode depicted George in one of the most happy and stable points of his life.

He had just been offered a coaching job at Rice College and the family decided to move from Medford to Houston. His relationship with his children and Meemaw was in a good place and so was his marriage with Mary, with whom he previously faced rough patches.

Therefore, the announcement of his death at the end of the episode came as an unexpected shock not only to the Cooper family but also to the fans.

Fans shower praise on Lance Barber for his role in Young Sheldon

The cast of 'Young Sheldon' (Image via Getty/Kevin Winter)
The cast of 'Young Sheldon' (Image via Getty/Kevin Winter)

Lance Barber's portrayal of George Cooper Sr. has been met with acclaim from fans who took to social media to express their gratitude, and grief, over his character.

One fan wrote on X:

"lance barber is my biggest crush. periodt. so sad its a season finale for YS, and HE’s DEAD"

Another X user wished for Barber's Emmy nomination:

"#LanceBarber has long gone unsung as a major player on Young Sheldon. We will miss your wit, your precision, your timing, and your all too full heart. #EmmyNom - just sayin’ Merci."

Meanwhile, the actor said in an interview with TV Insider on May 9:

"I love the writer’s choice to end the episode that way, to tell the story that way because it’s a great device. Everyone will feel that kick in the gut and then [they’re] left swirling in their loss the way that our characters do in that moment."

He also expressed that he thought the reaction to his character's death would be polarizing. He went on to say:

"I have a selfish perspective on it ending the way that it is for my character because I think it’s memorable. Selfishly, as a character actor, I get to play [the part of] America’s dad gets to die on TV. To have that as part of my legacy as a TV actor, I think that’s pretty neat."


Young Sheldon will end its run with a two-episode series finale scheduled to air on CBS on May 16, 2024.

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Edited by Prem Deshpande
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