While Yugoslavian actresses aren't exactly a dime-a-dozen in Hollywood, there's a good chance that audiences will recognize Mira Furlan, whose career kicked off in the mid-1970s and included such fan-favorite TV shows such as Babylon 5 and Lost, among others. Unfortunately, the news was made public this week that Furlan passed away on Wednesday, January 20, at the age of 65.
Mira Furlan's death was announced to the world through her Twitter account, which caused a bit of confusion for fans who weren't initially sure if the post was legitimate, or if her account was hacked. You can look through the images on that post below.
Mira Furlan cause of death wasn't reported in that initial announcement. At the time of this writing, the cause doesn't appear to have been reported anywhere else, either.
However, Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski – he's the "Joe" that Mira Furlan referred to in the tweeted quote above – shared an emotional post wherein he hinted that he and other Babylon 5 vets were aware that the actress was suffering from some unspecified health issue. In his words:
We’ve known for some time now that Mira’s health was failing…I’m not sure that this is the right time or place to discuss the the sheer randomness of what happened…and have all been dreading this day. We kept hoping that she would improve. In a group email sent to the cast a while back, I heard that she might be improving. Then came the call from Peter Jurasik. ‘I wanted you to know that Goran’s bringing Mira home,’ he said. ‘Do you mean, he’s bringing her home as in she’s better now, or is he bringing her home as in he’s bringing her home?’ ‘He’s bringing her home, Joe,’ Peter said, and I could hear the catch in his voice as he said it.
From the premiere episode until its Season 5 finale, which served as the series' final episode, Mira Furlan starred as Babylon 5's Delenn, a humanoid alien from the planet Minbar, whose race was at war with Earthlings before the series started. The character and actress earned a sizable fandom for being quite heroic opposite the show's other leads, and Delenn's romance with Bruce Boxleitner's Michael Sheridan made for one of sci-fi TV's great interplanetary couplings. You can read more about what J. Michael Straczynski had to say about Furlan's work and legacy in his post below.
Mira Furlan's next major role for U.S. audiences came via the head-scratching Lost. Her character Danielle Rousseau was certainly a big part of the mystery when she was first introduced in Season 1, though the answers didn't all come together for a while after that.
Born on September 7, 1955, in Zagreb, Croatia, Mira Furlan first emigrated to the United States in 1991 with her husband Goran Gajic, which is what led to big roles here such as those on Babylon 5 and Lost. Beyond those, she also appeared in episodes of NCIS and Law & Order: L.A., and more recently had a recurring role in Amazon Prime's Just Add Magic, and could be seen in TV movies on Lifetime, ION and other networks. What's more, she voice the Marvel character Silver Sable in multiple episode of the classic '90s show Spider-Man: The Animated Series.
While Babylon 5 fans have for years wanted to see the show return to TV in some way, shape or form, the chances of that ever happening were slim after Jerry Doyle's death, and they're even slimmer now that Mira Furlan isn't around to reprise the role of Delenn. We here at CinemaBlend send our thoughts and condolences to the actress' family and friends during their time of mourning.