Sunday, June 18, 2017

Vir has gone to the stars

Actor Stephen Furst Stephen Furst has died. He was a favorite of mine based on his performance as Vir Cotto on the science fiction program Babylon 5, but his career far predated that with his part in the movie Animal House and later on NBC-TV's St. Elsewhere.

Furst loved his fans and I have a funny story about Mr. Furst that will I forever hold dear. Ten years (or was it 15?) ago, my friend Sherri and I went to a Star Trek convention in Chicago. Furst was one of the scheduled guests. Back then I used to run nearly every day. Early that particular morning I slipped into the hotel gym and was running on the treadmill for about 15 minutes when Mr. Furst joined me on the treadmill next to mine.

I kept looking at him, thinking "I know this man, but from where?" ... and I could not figure it out... This went on for about 45 minutes. Silently, I left and went to my room and showered. After Sherri and I had breakfast we joined our friends from USS Magellan (a Star Trek group of which we were members at the time).

Later in the day, we went to the convention hall and spent our time listening to the guests speak. When Stephen Furst came on stage it dawned on me who he was.

Now here is why I did not recognize Mr. Furst, something he discussed while on stage, he had lost approximately 50 lbs. in an effort to better his health. He looked very different than his persona on B5.

At one point when he was taking questions from the audience, I stood up to ask him one and he stopped and pointed at me, "You! You're the dude that was running with me at the gym this morning!" When I nodded in the affirmative, and said, "Yes, that was me." He replied, "damn dude, you're a speed demon!"

I loved Mr. Furst on Babylon 5 and mourn his loss. He was a warm, personable comic actor. My condolences to his friends, colleagues, and family. He was 63 and passed away due to complications from diabetes. Rest in peace, sir.

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