Daniel von Bargen, 64, made a career out of playing characters, and perhaps his role on Seinfeld was among his most famous portrayals. But he also battled diabetes, and last weekend, von Bargen died from complications resulting from that condition, reported USA Today.
During the final season of Seinfeld, von Bargen played George Costanza’s boss, Mr. Kruger. The talented character actor also took on other roles in television, ranging from Malcolm in the Middle to NYPD Blue. His roles in film were equally diverse, including Robocop 3, O Brother, Where Art Thou? and The Postman.
Sadly, von Bargen’s battle with diabetes overwhelmed him with depression. He shot himself in the head in 2012 in what was reported to be an attempt at suicide. The self-inflicted injuries followed the amputation of one leg and two toes as a result of his diabetes.
A close friend of his talked with The Hollywood Reporter about von Bargen’s passing. Actor Bob Colonna mourned the loss of his pal and recognized his emotional anguish.
“I feel a huge wave of sorrow and relief at the passing of this remarkable man. I treasure the years when I worked with him at Trinity Rep and in a couple of TV films. I admire his excellent body of work in the movies. And I mourn for the darkness and pain that were his final years. God bless him. He was a hell of a guy.”
Von Bargen was particularly celebrated for his role as a sheriff in The Postman, which Kevin Costner both directed and starred in, shown below.
As an actor, Von Bargen was celebrated for his versatility. Fans of Clive Barker and horror movies gave Von Bargan high praise for his outstanding portrayal of the demonic Nix in Barker’s Lord of Illusions. Always at home in films that frighten or go bump in the night, Von Bargen began his acting career with a role in the Silence of the Lambs, appeared in Stephen King’s Thinner and used flesh eating bacteria to kill his victims in a episode of The X-Files television series, The Pine Bluff Variant.
Equally at home on the stage, Von Bargen also found success in live theater. He had a long residency with Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, Rhode Island and won a Theatre World Award for Outstanding New Performer for his role in Larry Gelbart’s play, Mastergate.
Often overlooked in favor of more flamboyant A-list performers, character actors and actresses are the backbone of film, television and theater. Daniel Von Bergen was one of the best of his generation, and he left behind a body of work that we can all enjoy for many years to come.
[Image Via NBC]