Actor Stephen Furst, beloved for his role as Kent “Flounder” Dorfman in the smash-hit comedy National Lampoon’s Animal House, passed away this Friday at the age of 63. His sons, Nathan and Griffith Furst, paid tribute to their late father in an uplifting Facebook post which urged fans to honor and celebrate the actor’s life through laughter rather than tears.
“To truly honor him, do not cry for the loss of Stephen Furst,” his sons wrote in the Facebook post. “But rather, enjoy memories of all the times he made you snicker, laugh, or even snort to your own embarrassment.”
His sons wrote that Furst believed laughter was the “best therapy,” and explained that their father would have wanted people to stay positive and cheerful despite the sorrowful news.
“If you knew him personally, remember his gift for lighting up a room,” his sons wrote. “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.”
The statement mentioned that Furst, who was celebrated on the public stage for his contributions as both an actor and a filmmaker, was also treasured by those fortunate enough to know him in his private life. His sons described Furst as “a beloved husband, father and kind friend whose memory will always be a blessing.”
Thanks for entertaining us, Mr. Furst. You will be missed. https://t.co/fLDgPeCxq2
— Adam Smargon (@recycler1973) June 18, 2017
Tributes to the late actor have come flooding in from social media, including tweets from a number of Furst’s friends and former colleagues.
I am heartbroken to learn of the passing of my friend Steven Furst. A kind heart , great talent and beautiful human being.
— Howie Mandel (@howiemandel) June 17, 2017
On behalf of everyone who worked on Babylon 5, Stephen Furst will be missed profoundly and everlastingly.
— JMichael Straczynski (@straczynski) June 17, 2017
I just received news of the passing of another member of our #Babylon5 family. Stephen Furst "Vir Cotto," RIP, my friend.
— Bruce Boxleitner (@boxleitnerbruce) June 17, 2017
Stephen Furst’s most memorable roles were as a lovable fraternity pledge in the John Belushi comedy Animal House, as well as Dr. Elliot Axelrod in the television series St. Elsewhere, and as Vir Cotto in the series Babylon 5.
But Furst also appeared in numerous other shows and movies, lent his voice to characters in animated projects, and worked as both a director and producer. With his son Griffith, Furst ran the film company Curmudgeon Films, producing movies such as My Sister’s Keeper and Cold Moon.
His other son, Nathan, told CNN that his father’s death was the result of complications due to diabetes.
“Over the last several years it was getting worse a little bit. Sort of the typical things that tend to happen when you have diabetes a long time,” Nathan said.
Stephen Furst was diagnosed with Type II diabetes when he was only 17 years old — a disease that ran in his family, and ultimately took the lives of both his parents at the age of 47. Furst would later go on to become a spokesperson for the American Diabetes Association.
Rest in peace, Stephen Furst. https://t.co/mVUb9UnSUQ
— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) June 18, 2017
According to his sons, Furst died in his home in Moorpark, California, surrounded by friends and loved ones.
Linked below is one of Furst’s funniest moments from Animal House, in a clip that’s likely to make you laugh. And as Nathan and Griffith mentioned in their Facebook post, that’s precisely what their late father would have wanted.
[Featured Image by Robert Gabriel/AP Images]