The end of the run for “Modern Family” was also the end of the road for one of the show’s most beloved stars, as the star french bulldog known as Stella has passed away.
According to sources familiar with the situation, Beatrice, who played Jay Pritchett’s prized pooch Stella, died around a week ago, days after stars Ed O’Neill, Sofia Vergara and Ariel Winter finished taping the final episode of the ABC series. It’s currently unclear what led to Beatrice’s sudden death.
The news quickly spread around the animal training community, with one of Beatrice’s former trainers, posting a tribute to the pup:
“My Ride Or Die. Always. #Beatrice,” the message read alongside a photo of Beatrice on set.
The character of Stella was a longtime fan-favorite and used as many plot points during the 11-year series run. Stella was first introduced in Season Two during the episode, “Good Cop Bad Dog,” and made her debut as a problematic puppy hellbent on destroying everything. Stella eventually grew to be the backbone of the Pritchett family, and was the pride and joy of Ed O’Neill’s character … other than Sofia Vergara.
Interestingly enough, Beatrice was not the original dog to play the role of Stella, as she came in and took the spot from another dog, Brigitte, during a controversial shake-up on the “Modern Family” set.
Back in 2012, “Modern Family” producers secretly replaced Brigitte after a fallout with the dog’s owner. At the time, the dog had been hired by a Hollywood animal agency called, Good Dog Animals, which then subleased Brigitte to “Modern Family.”
After the owner refused to allow Brigitte to continue working for the show unless she was able to supervise daily, the show’s producers decided to replace her with Beatrice. Beatrice took over starting in Season Four and carried on with the character of Stella for the remainder of the series.
Beatrice became a staple in Hollywood after landing the role on “Modern Family,” and of course her animal agency touted the talents on their website. According to the Animal Agencies website, “Good Dog Animals,” a description of Beatrice reads:
“You probably know Beatrice as “Stella” from Modern Family. She’s mastered a wide range of behaviors and is always looking to put her skills to the test. She even knows how to skateboard!”
After news of her passing spread around the animal acting community, fans of Beatrice began posting messages and paying their respects to the late furry actress on social media. One person wrote, “So so devastated. Will always love and remember our loving sweet Beatrice. May her beautiful soul rest peacefully.”
Another added, “I’m so sorry! We loved Beatrice… such a special member of our Modern Family!!! Thinking of you!!!”
“Modern Family” ended filming its 11th and final season just days ago, and the other stars reminisced about their time on set. Jesse Tyler Ferguson told ET:
“There’s a great freedom that comes with finishing up an 11-year run of something artistically. I can do whatever I want to do. But the reality of the situation is we all really love each other. When August comes around and it’s a time that we would be going back to work after our summer hiatus, I think we’re all gonna feel a void.”
He continued, “We have a group text that we’re all on, and we’re all checking in with one another. We’ve all gone off already in these new jobs and these new opportunities and people are with their families, and yet we’re still wanting to stay very connected to one another. It’s going to be a group of people that I’m always close with but it’s just going to be in a different way. I’m not going to see them as often.”