The cohosts of B5AG are mightily tired of saying good-bye to the stars of Babylon 5. If Babylon 5 has a moral center, it’s Stephen Furst’s Vir Cotto.
We have only to look at other intended-recurring characters in B5’s early years to see how important it was for the actors to bring JMS’s characters to life. Mary Woronov as Ko’Dath only lasted for one episode (largely due to an inability to work with the prosthetics), leading to the character’s replacement by Julie Caitlin Brown as Na’Toth. When Brown chose not to re-sign for Season 2, Mary Kay Adams attempted but failed to essay the role, leading to the character’s disappearance.
Is there any question that had Stephen Furst not been up to the task, Vir would have possibly met with an “airlock accident” as well? And yet the “comic relief” soldiered on as the first character to challenge Morden to his face, the first Centauri to display shame before G’Kar, the assassin of Emperor Cartagia, and always–always–Londo’s conscience.
Furst went on to direct episodes of Babylon 5 and Crusade. His DNA is quietly intertwined with the whole of the series–a constant reminder of the show’s theme that it is our individual choices that define us and that humans build communities.
We’ve mentioned here and there in our podcasts about some of the actors on “Babylon 5” who died much too young. Now, for the first time since starting the Audio Guide to Babylon 5, we have to deal with the loss of yet another member of the B5 family.
At the time of posting, actor Jerry Doyle – known best by this little podcast circle as Security Chief Michael Garibaldi – has died. That’s about all that is known at the moment, with no details as to how. After “Babylon 5” wrapped, Doyle moved on to try his hand at politics and then became a popular radio host for conservative views, eventually creating the Epic Times website. Doyle would use this platform to support his former castmates, such as promoting Claudia Christian’s efforts in helping people break alcohol addiction. In the statement linked above, J. Michael Straczynski pointed out how he disagreed with Doyle on almost every issue when it came to politics, but valued him both as a friend and as a consummate professional during his acting career.
RIP, Mr. Doyle. Thank you for sharing your talent with us.
(Moderators have moved comments from “Ship of Tears” threads to here. Everyone is welcome to share their thoughts about Doyle’s and other B5 actors’ passing in this thread.)