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Stephen Furst (born Stephen Nelson Feuerstein; May 8, 1954 – June 16, 2017) was an American actor and film and television director. After gaining attention with his featured role as Kent "Flounder" Dorfman in the comedy film National Lampoon's Animal House and its spin-off series Delta House,[1] he went on to be a regular as Dr. Elliot Axelrod in the medical drama series St. Elsewhere from 1983 to 1988, and as Centauri diplomatic attaché Vir Cotto in the science fiction series Babylon 5 from 1994 to 1998. Other notable film roles included the college comedy Midnight Madness (1980), as a team leader in an all-night mystery game, the action thriller Silent Rage (1982), as deputy to a sheriff played by Chuck Norris, and the comedy The Dream Team (1989), as a good-natured mental patient.

Stephen Furst
Stephen Furst, July, 2014.jpg
Furst in 2014
Born Stephen Nelson Feuerstein
(1954-05-08)May 8, 1954
Norfolk, Virginia, U.S.
Died June 16, 2017(2017-06-16) (aged 63)
Moorpark, California, U.S.
Cause of death Complications related to Diabetes mellitus
Alma mater Virginia Commonwealth University
Occupation Actor, director
Years active 1975–2016
Known for
Spouse(s) Lorraine Wright (m. 1976; his death 2017)
Children 2
Website stephenfurst.com

Contents

CareerEdit

As actorEdit

 
Furst at the 2013 Phoenix Comicon

Furst worked as a pizza delivery driver while looking for acting jobs in the mid-1970s, and included his head shot in pizza boxes. After Matty Simmons saw his photo, Furst was cast as Flounder in National Lampoon's Animal House (1978).[2] He reprised this role in the 1979 spin-off series Delta House. Others include 'Junior' Keller in The Unseen (1980), as Gonzer in the feature film Up the Creek (1984), as Dr. Elliot Axelrod in the television series St. Elsewhere (1983–1988), and as Vir Cotto in the science fiction television series Babylon 5 (1994–1998). Furst was amused by the report that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un modeled his haircut after Furst's character in Babylon 5.[3]

In 1979 he played the role of an overweight high school tuba player coerced onto the wrestling team in Kieth Merrill's feel-good underdog film, Take Down. Also in 1979, as pointed out above, he reprised the Flounder character in the ABC sitcom Delta House. He also reprised the character and repeated his famous line, "Oh boy, is this great!" in the Twisted Sister music video for "I Wanna Rock."[4]

In 1980, he played the character of Harold in the cult classic movie, Midnight Madness,[5] and the character of "Junior" Keller (the unseen) in the horror movie The Unseen.[6] In 1983, he also appeared in a supporting role as Aldo in the provocative ABC TV movie The Day After.[7] In 1989, he played the character of Albert Ianuzzi in the film The Dream Team.[8]

In 1983, Furst also appeared in an episode of CHiPs titled "Fun House," alongside Erik Estrada, Tom Reilly, and Heather O'Rourke; in this installment, Furst acted out a student who belonged to the college fraternity "DDT."[9]

In the 1995 animated TV series Freakazoid!, he voiced the character Fanboy. Also in 1995, he took a hiatus from Babylon 5 to star in a short-lived TV series, Misery Loves Company. In 1997, he played Derby Ferris in Little Bigfoot 2: The Journey Home.[10] He also voiced a young Colonel Hathi in Season 2 of Disney's Jungle Cubs, had a starring voice role as Booster in the 2000 series Buzz Lightyear of Star Command,[11] and also played a hulky walrus named Dash in the 2000 Disney movie The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea.[12] He starred in Magic Kid[13] and its sequel.[14]

In 2002, he guest starred in an episode of Scrubs.[15]

As directorEdit

Furst directed many independent and/or low-budget movies, including the 2001 low-budget movie Title to Murder, starring Christopher Atkins and Maureen McCormick,[16] and the direct-to-video children's movie Baby Huey's Great Easter Adventure.[17] He also directed three low-budget movies for the Sci Fi Channel: Dragon Storm in 2004,[18] Path of Destruction in 2005, and Basilisk: The Serpent King in 2006; he additionally co-starred in the last two films.[19][20]

As producerEdit

Furst produced My Sister's Keeper, based on the Jodi Picoult novel, starring Cameron Diaz and Alec Baldwin.[21] He produced other several films under his production company Curmudgeon Films.[22] Atomic Shark aired in August of 2016 on Syfy, during "Sharknado Week". Christmas in Homestead premiered on the Hallmark Channel during the holiday season of 2016. Cold Moon, a psychological thriller based on the Michael McDowell book, is set for a theatrical release in October 2017 in the United States.[22] Cold Moon won "Best Horror Film" at the 2016 Laughlin Film Festival.[23]

2016 Criticism of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and SciencesEdit

Furst wrote a letter, later published in Variety, criticizing the Academy's portrayal of its own members as racist and resistant to diversity and suggested the Academy's response to the 2016 #OscarsSoWhite was ageist and sexist. He suggested that most members of the Academy do not watch the films nominated for awards, and that the Academy should start by ensuring those who vote have watched the films.[24]

Personal life and deathEdit

Furst was married to Lorraine Wright, an entertainment lawyer, from 1976 until his death.[25] The couple had two sons, both in the entertainment business. His older son, Nathan Furst (born 1978), is a television and film composer. His younger son, Griff Furst (born 1981), is an actor, director and musician.[25]

Both of Furst's parents died from complications of diabetes.[26] Shortly after his father's death, Furst, too, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at the age of 17.[27] He reached a weight of 320 pounds and had uncontrolled type 2 diabetes by the age of 40.[28] After almost needing to have his left foot amputated due to diabetes complications in 1996, Furst reduced his weight from 260 lbs to 175 lbs.[27]

Starting in June 2006, Furst co-hosted the Renal Support Network's webcast "KidneyTalk" with Lori Hartwell.[29] He became a spokesperson for the American Diabetes Association and authored the book Confessions of a Couch Potato.[30] As a celebrity spokesperson for the American Heart Association, Furst said, "I thought I was more powerful than the disease of diabetes, but in reality, I was letting it take control of me. Now, I've decided to take control of my life."[31]

On June 16, 2017, Furst died from complications related to diabetes at his home in Moorpark, California, at age 63.[32]

Selected filmographyEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Animal House Gallery". New York Daily News. June 25, 2011. 
  2. ^ Neumer, Chris (2003). "Animal House: The Movie that Changed Comedy". Stumped. Retrieved 28 October 2015. 
  3. ^ "Kim Jong Un gets a Babylon 5 Centauri hair-do". Boing Boing. Retrieved 2017-06-17. 
  4. ^ "TWISTED SISTER's 'I Wanna Rock' Featured In WaMu Commercial; Video Available". BLABBERMOUTH.NET. 
  5. ^ Maltin, Leonard (1995). The Disney Films (3, illustrated, revised ed.). Disney Editions. p. 316. ISBN 9780786881376. 
  6. ^ Mulay, James J. (1989). The Horror film: a guide to more than 700 films on videocassette. CineBooks. p. 245. ISBN 9780933997233. 
  7. ^ Parish, James Robert; Pitts, Michael R. (1990). The great science fiction pictures II, Volume 2 (2, illustrated ed.). Scarecrow Press. p. 102. ISBN 9780810822474. 
  8. ^ Gritten, David, ed. (2008). The Movies That Matter: From Bogart to Bond and All the Latest Film Releases (24, illustrated, revised ed.). HarperCollins Publishers Limited. ISBN 9780007271061. 
  9. ^ "CHiPs S6, E19 – Fun House". Goojara. 
  10. ^ Grant, Edmond (1999). The Motion Picture Guide: 1999 Annual (The Films of 1998) (revised ed.). CineBooks. p. 236. ISBN 9780933997431. 
  11. ^ a b Evans, Greg (17 June 2017). "Stephen Furst Dies: ‘Animal House’, ‘St. Elsewhere’ Actor Was 63". Deadline. Retrieved 19 June 2017. 
  12. ^ Hischak, Thomas S.; Robinson, Mark A. (2009). The Disney Song Encyclopedia. Scarecrow Press. p. 202. ISBN 9780810869387. 
  13. ^ Television Guide, Volume 42. Triangle Publications. 1994. p. 289. 
  14. ^ Craddock, Jim (2004). VideoHound's Golden Movie Retriever, Volume 2005. Visible Ink. p. 511. ISBN 9780787674700. 
  15. ^ Rosen, Christopher (17 June 2017). "Animal House star Stephen Furst dies at 63". EW.com. Retrieved 19 June 2017. 
  16. ^ "Title to Murder | 2001". HOLLYWOOD.COM. 
  17. ^ Ellis, Ralph; Andone, Dakin (18 June 2017). "Stephen Furst, actor who played Flounder in 'Animal House,' dies at 63". CNN.com. Retrieved 19 June 2017. 
  18. ^ "Dragon Storm". Scifi-Movies. 
  19. ^ Freer, Sloan. "Path of Destruction". RadioTimes. 
  20. ^ "Basilisk: The Serpent King (2006)". The Bad Movie Marathon. 
  21. ^ Pinkerton, Nick. "My Sister's Keeper (PG-13)". LA Weekly. 
  22. ^ a b "Stephen Furst, actor who shone in Animal House, dies aged 63". The Guardian. Associated Press. 18 June 2017. Retrieved 19 June 2017. 
  23. ^ "2016 FILM SCHEDULE". Laughlin International Film Festival 2016. 
  24. ^ Staff, Variety (2016-01-26). "‘Animal House’ Star Stephen Furst Protests Academy Rule Changes". Variety. Retrieved 2017-06-17. 
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y "Stephen Furst". HOLLYWOOD.COM. 
  26. ^ Russian, Ale (19 June 2017). "Animal House's Stephen Furst: His Heartbreaking, Inspiring Battle with Diabetes Before Death at 63". People. Retrieved 20 June 2017. 
  27. ^ a b Wulff, Jennifer (June 4, 2001). "Fratboy Slim". People. 
  28. ^ "Stephen Furst: Laughter Is the Best Medicine". Diabetic Living Online. Retrieved 2017-06-17. 
  29. ^ "Renal Support Network". RSNhope.org. 
  30. ^ Furst, Stephen (2002-09-09). Confessions of a Couch Potato (1 ed.). Alexandria, Va.: American Diabetes Association. ISBN 9781580401449. 
  31. ^ "'Animal House' Star Ignored Diabetes Alarms". Consumer HealthDay. Retrieved 2017-06-17. 
  32. ^ "Stephen Furst, Flounder in 'Animal House,' Dies at 63". The New York Times. Associated Press. June 17, 2017. 
  33. ^ a b c d e Tyrkus, Michael J. (2000). Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television, Volume 28 (illustrated ed.). Gale. p. 122. ISBN 9780787631871. 

External linksEdit