Any visitor to this site knows that I’m a massive Babylon 5 fan.
I love the show.
As sacrilegious as it is to some science fiction fans, Babylon 5 shares equal place for me with Star Trek, Space: 1999 and Star Wars, three shows that defined my childhood. Each hold equal first place for different reasons, and each is special in its own wonderfully unique way.
But… one way in which Babylon 5 is head and shoulders above most, if not all other science fiction shows (even Star Trek and Space: 1999), is in its story and the way that story was executed.
Yes, Sheridan really pissed me off toward the end of the series and I’ll never forgive the character for the way he treated Lyta, yes the conclusion to the Shadow War was a little rushed but that was the studio’s fault and no one elses, and yes Season 5 had a really average first half, but over all that show kicked ass.
The incredible story J. Michael Straczynski wrote would not have transferred to the screen though, without the excellent performances of its main cast. The characters he created were brought to life, beautifully, by a collection of exceptional actors.
One of those actors was Stephen Furst, who, sadly, passed away on Saturday.
Stephen played Vir Cotto, the efficient, long-suffering aid to Ambassador Londo Mollari. He was Londo’s conscience, his foil at times, and his friend when that character most needed one.
Stephen played the role with humour, sensitivity and passion, making a character that could have been one-dimensional an integral part of that series.
Stephen first came to the notice of audiences in 1978, in the movie Animal House. From there, he appeared in multiple roles in television and film, and eventually moved into directing and producing.
To some, he was Flounder from Animal House or Doctor Elliot Axelrod from St. Elsewhere, to many he was Vir from Babylon 5, but to others he was an activist and spokesperson for the American Diabetes Association.
It was that disease that took Stephen’s life, as it took his father’s life in 1972. Stephen died from complications related to diabetes at his home in California at the age of 63.
He will missed.
J. Michael Straczynski, when he heard the news, made the following posts to his Twitter account:
First, in response to a notification from another Twitter user, Jeremiah Holt:
“Goddamnit… a really decent, great, kind guy.”
“On behalf of everyone who worked on Babylon 5, Stephen Furst will be missed profoundly and everlastingly.”
In another post:
“Lost Babylon 5 Main cast: Michael O’Hare, Andreas Katsulas, Jeff Conway, Jerry Doyle, Richard Biggs, now Stephen Furst, all too soon.”
Space: 2049 extends its deepest condolences to Stephen’s family and, alongside them, his colleagues and his fans, we grieve his loss. Deeply.
It is our sincere hope he is sleeping in starlight, in a place where no shadows fall.