Join or Sign In

Sign in to customize your TV listings

Continue with Facebook Continue with email

By joining TV Guide, you agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge the data practices in our Privacy Policy.

Stephen Furst, Babylon 5 and St. Elsewhere Star, Dies at 63

The actor passed due to complications from diabetes

Amanda Bell

Film and television star Stephen Furst has passed away at the age of 63.

The actor, who was perhaps best known for his small screen roles inBabylon 5 andSt. Elsewhere, died on Friday from complications associated with diabetes, his family confirmed to CNN.

His son Nathan Furst explained, "It was from complications from diabetes. Over the last several years it was getting worse a little bit. Sort of the typical things that tend to happen when you have diabetes a long time."

Furst was known best for his work in '80s and '90s fare, including his memorable role as Kent "Flounder" Dorfman in Animal House.


Animal House, Universal Pictures

The actor's struggles with diabetes lead to his eventual work as a spokesman for the American Diabetes Association.

He first got his start in the acting industry, he told the Chicago Tribune, because, "I'm one of the most insecure people in the world, always have been, and when you're a fat kid, you try to make the fat jokes before other people make them. I went to high school in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and we had these guys, they were surfers. They didn't like me, never talked to me. And if they didn't like you, they threw toothpicks at you. After I did a play, it was different. I found out I was pretty good at something."

Furst later explained that he made an effort to get ahead of the disease in recent years, telling IGN in 2002, "When my parents died they both were 47, and they died of complications of different diseases; one being diabetes. I became a diabetic at 17, and went on this road of kind of self-destruction, eating-wise, until I was 40. Then, of course, I lost all this weight. I went from 320 pounds to my current weight of 175 pounds."

A great deal of that weight loss happened during his turn as Vir Cotton on Babylon 5, which proved to be a surprise to viewers and a challenge to costumers. He admitted, "I came in, and the wardrobe was just hanging off of me. I didn't mention that I'd lost weight to them, so the first couple episodes on year four, you'll never see my back towards camera, because I was safety pinned together."

Furst also starred in TV's short-lived shows Delta House, Have Faith, Misery Loves Company, and Freakazoid!, as well as voicing roles in Jungle Cubs and Buzz Lightyear of Star Command.