FBI Director James Comey's sudden termination Tuesday afternoon came as a shock to many, including Comey himself, who first saw the news on TV. According to reports from The New York Times, the government official was fired so unceremoniously, he actually believed it was a prank:
Mr. Comey was addressing a group of F.B.I. employees in Los Angeles when a television in the background flashed the news that he had been fired.
In response, Mr. Comey laughed, saying he thought it was a fairly funny prank ... Shortly thereafter, a letter from Mr. Trump was delivered to the F.B.I.'s headquarters, just seven blocks from the White House.
Comey's firing, however unorthodox, is a good reminder that folks both ordinary and famous are often relieved of their duties in shocking ways.
Here are a few other high-profile, memorable terminations.