Actor, filmmaker, and producer Stephen Furst, more infamously known as Vir Cotto of Babylon 5 fame, has died. According to his two sons, Furst passed away from complications from diabetes in his home in Moorpark, California. He was 63.
Furst began his career in the 70’s with his breakout role as Flounder in National Lampoon’s Animal House, a role he would reprise in the spin-off series Delta House. His more popular roles since include a recurring role in St. Elsewhere as Dr. Elliot Axelrod, ‘Junior’ Keller in The Unseen, Gonzer in Up the Creek, and perhaps most famously as the Centauri Vir Cotto in Babylon 5. As a filmmaker, he directed many low-budget and independent films, as well as directing several episodes of Babylon 5. His production company, Curmudgeon Films, also produced a number of movies, most notably My Sister’s Keeper, a major box office film, and Atomic Shark for Syfy.
Furst was initially diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 17 and struggled with the health complications relating to the condition during his life and career. He became active in the fight against diabetes and for advanced treatment in the disease, becoming a spokesperson for the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association. After nearly losing his foot to the disease in the mid 90’s, he lost 85 pounds in order to control his diabetes. Regardless, he continued to suffer from complications of the disease, from which he passed on June 16, 2017. He is survived by his wife Lorraine Wright and their two sons, Nathan and Griffith.
Expressions of grief over Furst’s passing have been posted on social media since Saturday by his colleagues and costars of Babylon 5 and Animal House. His sons in particular venerated him as a “brilliant and prolific actor and filmmaker” and “a beloved husband, father and kind friend.”
“If you knew him personally, remember his gift for lighting up a room. And no matter who you are, when you think of Steve, instead of being sad, celebrate his life by watching one of his movies or use one of his bits to make someone else laugh – really, really hard.”
-Nathan and Griffith Furst (Courtesy of Stephen Furst’s Facebook)