from the R.I.P. dept.
Stephen Furst, who played naive fraternity pledge "Flounder" Dorfman in the hit movie Animal House, has died of complications from diabetes, his family said Saturday. Furst was 63.
Furst's long list of credits included the 1980s medical drama St. Elsewhere, on which he played Dr. Elliot Axelrod. He played Vir Coto and was an occasional director on the 1990s sci-fi series Babylon 5.
Vir might have started out as a meek and bumbling character, but over the course of the show, that changed. In many shows, these characters remain static: funny and deferential to their superiors. While he largely remains at Londo's side throughout the show, he becomes a moral figure in the center of a complicated story. Vir became a rare example of a background character who grows in importance over the course of the story, whose seemingly naïve moralistic qualities become the most important guide for the characters around him. He essentially becomes a stand-in for Londo's conscious, calling out his mentor's disastrous decisions, standing up to powerful figures, and often provides the right and just choice during times of moral ambiguity. In doing so, he becomes an indispensable and heroic character in the show, one who actively influences the outcome of the story.