Apoptosis, or programmed cell death, is normally responsible for the orderly elimination of aged or damaged cells, and is a necessary part of the homeostasis and development of multicellular organisms. Some pathogenic bacteria can disrupt this process by triggering excess apoptosis or by preventing it when appropriate. Either event can lead to disease. There has been extensive research into the modulation of host cell death by microorganisms, and several reviews have been published on the phenomenon. Rather than covering the entire field, this review focuses on the dysregulation of host cell apoptosis by members of the order Actinomycetales, containing the genera Corynebacterium, Mycobacterium, Rhodococcus, and Nocardia.