Stephen Furst, best known for playing Kent “Flounder” Dorfman in 1978’s Animal House, died in his California home on Friday from complications due to diabetes. He was 63.
Furst’s death was confirmed by his sons, Nathan and Griffith.
“Steve has a long list of earthly accomplishments,” Furst’s sons wrote on Facebook. “He was known to the world as [a] brilliant and prolific actor and filmmaker, but to his family and many dear friends, he was also a beloved husband, father and kind friend whose memory will always be a blessing. To truly honor him, do not cry for the loss of Stephen Furst. But rather, enjoy memories of all the times he made you snicker, laugh, or even snort to your own embarrassment. He intensely believed that [laughter] is the best therapy, and he would want us to practice that now. 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.”
Born in Norfork, Virginia on May 8, 1955, Furst made his first credited acting appearance in the 1977 film American Raspberry just one year before breaking out in Animal House. He played Flounder in the comedy classic, a legacy pledge and “real zero” who becomes friends with the disruptive fraternity brothers of Delta Tau Chi — played by John Belushi, Tim Matheson, and Peter Riegert. Furst reprised the Flounder role in the short-lived 1979 follow-up television series Delta House.
After Animal House, television success followed. Furst appeared on numerous series throughout the 1980s and 1990s, including a costarring role on St. Elsewhere, where he played Dr. Elliot Axelrod through the show’s five-year run from 1983-1988. He also made guest-star appearances on Newhart, The Jeffersons, MacGyver, CHiPs, Murder, She Wrote, Scrubs, and many other series. Furst’s other notable television role was playing Vir Cotto on Babylon 5.
In the wake of his death, Babylon 5 costar Bruce Boxleitner tweeted his condolences.
Furst last appeared on screen in 2006’s Basilisk: The Serpent King, which he also directed.