What happened to Sally on McMillan and Wife? The Rise and Fall of the Show After Susan Saint James’ Departure

“McMillan & Wife,” a beloved 1970s police procedural TV show, thrived on the on-screen chemistry between its leads, Rock Hudson and Susan Saint James.

However, when Saint James left the show, the dynamic shifted, leading to the show’s decline. Sally’s character faced drastic changes after that, so let’s find out what happened to Sally on McMillan and Wife.

Life Beyond Acting

Saint James, now 77, has rarely returned to acting since the 1990s. In a 2021 interview with Page Six, she expressed that she never felt the “bug to go back” to acting.

Despite occasional one-episode cameos on TV, she has found fulfillment beyond the entertainment industry.

A tragic incident struck Saint James’s family in 2004 when her 14-year-old son Teddy died in a plane crash.

The plane crash involved his father, NBC Sports Chairman Dick Ebersol, and his 21-year-old brother Charlie, who survived.

What happened to Sally on McMillan and Wife

The family tragedy had a profound impact on Saint James’s life, marking a difficult period beyond her acting career.

The On-Screen Chemistry

Rock Hudson portrayed Stuart “Mac” McMillan, a San Francisco defense attorney turned police commissioner, while Susan Saint James played Sally, the titular wife.

Sally’s wit and resourcefulness endeared her to fans, and her character was integral to solving crime mysteries. Saint James’s charm kept viewers captivated.

What happened to Sally on “McMillan and Wife”?

The writers chose to kill off Sally and the couple’s son in a plane crash, altering the show’s dynamics. In Season 6, the absence of Sally became a pivotal change for “McMillan & Wife.” 

With McMillan now a widower and other core actors departing, the series transformed into a solo police detective show, deviating from its iconic couple dynamic.

Susan Saint James’ Departure

Saint James left the show after five years due to reported contract disputes. This departure prompted NBC to rename the series simply “McMillan” for its final season.

Despite the change, the on-screen partnership that defined the show evolved into a solo venture for McMillan, who never remarried after Sally’s death.

Post-“McMillan & Wife” Career

After leaving “McMillan & Wife,” Susan Saint James went on to film 122 episodes of CBS’s “Kate & Allie” and took on roles in movies such as “Outlaw Blues” with Peter Fonda and “Love at First Bite.” Her career showcased versatility beyond the iconic role of Sally.

Susan Saint James’ Exit from Acting

In the 1990s, Saint James decided to step back from acting to prioritize her family. Juggling a hectic lifestyle with four children, she realized the toll it took on her health, developing kidney stones.

In a 2002 interview with CNN, she reflected on her decision, saying, “I thought everything was fine because I was one of those people juggling knives and melons.”

Sally was killed along with her son in a plane crash on “McMillan & Wife.” The departure of Susan Saint James from “McMillan & Wife” marked a turning point for the beloved TV show.

Her exit, driven by contract disputes, led to a shift in dynamics and ultimately contributed to the show’s decline.

Beyond acting, Saint James embraced family life, stepping away from the limelight to prioritize her health and well-being.

The family tragedy in 2004 added a layer of personal hardship, shaping Saint James’s life in profound ways.

While her iconic role as Sally remains etched in television history, Susan Saint James found contentment in a life that extended beyond the glamour of the entertainment industry.

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