One of my favorite aspects of ABC's Modern Family is its "extended family" – so it is with a heavy heart that we report that Beatrice – the French Bulldog who played Jay Pritchett's (Ed O'Neil) furry sidekick Stella. Pop culture and entertainment website The Blast reports that the adorable canine passed away a week ago – only days after filming the long-running sitcom's series finale.
As fans of the ABC series recall, Stella was introduced during second season episode "Good Cop Bad Dog", when Gloria (Sofia Vergara) forces Jay to sit through a really bad business proposal – but Jay breaks the poor man down and opens his eyes. In his quest to find himself he leaves his dog Stella, with Gloria. Though Jay decides at first to take the dog and give her away, he ends up changing his mind – and thus his bond with Stella begins.
It is pretty ironic that Gloria was the first one to beg for them to keep Stella, because as long-time viewers of the show know she truly does not like the dog. Jay's tenderness whenever the pup was around will forever be one of my favorite memories of the show- Stella always brought out the best in Jay for us to see, and was a perfect example of how he grew as a character over the course of 11 seasons.
Though in the story of Stella, there was actually one other dog who held the part: Brigitte, who was ousted in 2012 after a casting shake-up. Eight years ago, the Modern Family producers came to a professional logjam with Brigitte's owner. The owner held Brigitte off-set and from working unless the producers agreed to be able to supervise production daily. Beatrice would go on to assume the role beginning with the fourth season, and would play the part through the series' remaining seasons.