Animal House is one of those films that remains a favorite for generations because everybody who goes to college watches it at one time or another. This is why Stephen Furst will be famous forever. Stephen Furst played college pledge Kent "Flounder" Dorfman in the film, and while he went on to play many other great roles in film and television. It's likely the one he'll best be remembered for. Stephen Furst passed away yesterday due to complications from diabetes. He was 62.
Steven Furst's death was announced on his Facebook page by the actor's two sons, Nathan and Griffith. They asked that fans remember the actor by laughing and watching one of his movies. Furst had more than eighty acting roles over the course of his career and was also an accomplished director and producer. In addition to his famous role in Animal House, Furst also played Dr. Elliot Alexlrod on the long-running series St. Elsewhere as well as the role of Vir on the cult classic sci-fi series Babylon 5.
Stephen Furst had been suffering from diabetes for several years, and in the mid-90s nearly had to have a foot amputated due to the disease. Following the close call, Furst became a spokesman for the American Diabetes Association.
Stephen Furst's role in Animal House was one of his first, though it will clearly go down as one of his most popular. So many have found the movie time and again, whether they ever went to college or not. While First's character, going under the pledge name Flounder, was clearly designed to be the overweight nerd to be laughed at, Furst was as funny as anybody in the film. Check him out at his finest in the clip below.
I had the pleasure of meeting Stephen Furst when he was the guest of honor at a science fiction convention where I was volunteering. It was 11 years ago and the actor was going through dialysis due to his health issues, but he made the trip anyway and was in the best of spirits for the entirety of the Memorial Day Weekend. At one point, I found myself dealing blackjack to him as part of a charity casino event. He was having so much fun he asked me if he could deal for a while. There was really no way I was going to say no to Vir. And that's how I found myself playing blackjack with Flounder himself dealing me cards. Not a situation a lot of people likely found themselves in. It's a memory I will always keep with me. He will be missed.