'That '70s Show' Star Don Stark Speaks out on Tanya Roberts' Death as 'That '90s Show' Releases
Don Stark, who returned to the role of Donna's father Bob Pinciotti in That '90s Show, spoke out about the death of Tanya Roberts, who played his on-screen wife Midge on That '70s Show. Roberts died on Jan. 4, 2021, at 71, after developing a urinary tract infection that advanced to sepsis. Stark, 68, said Roberts was at the set in spirit.
"Tanya was a doll, and so great to work with," Stark told MovieWeb on Jan. 20. "I was so sad when I heard about her passing. It hurts when you think about it, but I think about her often and her presence was there on set. I think she would have been very excited about the revival. And, you know, I think she definitely would have come back to be a part of it, even though [in the original show], we were still split up."
Stark starred in all eight seasons of That '90s Show, while Roberts was a main star for the first three seasons. In the world of the show, Midge and Bob divorced. During Seasons 6 and 7, the two tried to reconcile, but they decided separating was for the best. In real life, Roberts left the show after three seasons because her first husband, Barry Roberts, was terminally ill. Barry Roberts and Roberts were married from 1974 until his death in 2006. She was in a long-term relationship with Lance O'Brien at the time of her death.
"Both of our characters [Bob and Midge] were great foils for Red and Kitty," Stark told MovieWeb. "And it would have been magical having her back. But she was there. You may not see her, but you felt her there on set." Stark was referring to how different Bob and Midge's relationship was compared to Eric's parents, Red (Kurtwood Smith) and Kitty (Debra Jo Rupp).
Stark is not the only original series star to stop by That '90s Show. Topher Grace (Eric), Mila Kunis (Jackie), Ashton Kutcher (Kelso), Laura Prepon (Donna), Wilmer Valderrama (Fez), and Tommy Chong (Leo Chingwake) all stopped by to make guest appearances. Prepon also directed multiple episodes of the series.
That '90s Show focuses on a new group of Point Place, Wisconsin, teens, led by Eric and Donna's daughter Leia (Callie Haverda). It is set during the summer of 1995, starting with Leia arriving at her grandparents' house. Ashley Aufderheide, Mace Coronel, Maxwell Acee Donovan, Reyn Doi, and Sam Morelos play Leia's new friends. The entire first season is now streaming on Netflix.
"What I love about That '90s Show is that it isn't a repetition of what we had," Stark told MovieWeb of the new series. "It's a new invention of what existed before, made all brand new. This new cast just embodied it, and fans and viewers will love it."