Jerry Doyle, actor, would-be politician, and talk radio host, has died. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Doyle was found dead at his Las Vegas home Wednesday, July 27. Laura Metzger of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said the death did not appear suspicious and there were no signs of foul play. The cause of death will not be known for some weeks.
“Clark County coroner John Fudenberg said Thursday that an autopsy was scheduled, and it will take several weeks and toxicology tests to determine a cause of death.”
The Wrap stated that many fans hoped the rumors of Doyle’s death were just another internet hoax. His website, EpicTimes, explained why many fans thought the announcement of Doyle’s death was either a joke in poor taste or a case of computer hacking.
“The brevity of the announcement immediately led people to believe that the post was a hoax, that his account had been hacked. Unfortunately we can confirm that was not true.”
As an actor, the 60-year-old Jerry Doyle was best known for playing Chief of Security Michael Garibaldi on the television show Babylon 5. Doyle described his character as “a Mick from Brooklyn playing a Wop from Mars.” Garibaldi was a rich, complex character: a courageous fighter, a loyal friend, an avid fan of Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century, a (mostly) recovering alcoholic, a lover of Italian food, a lapsed Catholic, and a veteran with PTSD whose stubbornness sometimes made him his own worst enemy.
Fans of Babylon 5 have been sharing memories of Jerry Doyle and his character Michael Garibaldi on Facebook and Twitter.
Singer Tom Smith called Garibaldi “a fantastic, distinctive character.”
“Garibaldi was one of the “reference” characters on B5 — like Ivanova, he was one of the easier ones to follow along with, and entry point for the casual viewer, just a guy trying to do his job as well as he could, and caught up in bigger and nastier stuff as the series went on. Thing is, Jerry (somehow I can’t call him “Doyle”) was great at it. He wasn’t so much sarcastic as sardonic, dropping little zingers into conversation even as he did his best to drop the bad guys. And, oh, how we loved that bit about the Egyptian god of frustration. Garibaldi was a fantastic, distinctive character in the middle of a pack of fantastic, distinctive characters, one of the best ensembles ever on a TV show, and we cared about him because Jerry Doyle made it so easy, even necessary, to care about him.”
Writer Jeffrey Witthauer referred to Garibaldi as a flawed, heroic “everyman.”
“Jerry Doyle didn’t share the politics of most of us, but Garibaldi was our hero. He was the everyman, the man caught up in cosmic events who had no ambitions of being a leader, or a champion, or a villain, but found that his every decision affected the universe. He was a character who made good choices, and who made bad ones, and had to live with the consequences of both. He was flawed and heroic and I loved him.”
Although Jerry Doyle played the security chief of a space station on Babylon 5 and voiced Captain Charlie Simian, a space-going chimpanzee on Captain Simian and the Space Monkeys, he was not himself a hardcore science fiction fan. At the science fiction convention ConDor, he expressed surprise that most of the audience he was addressing would happily go into space if given the opportunity, at their own expense, despite the risk. As far as Doyle was concerned, Michael Garibaldi was merely a character he played. He portrayed a man who worked on a space station, but had no particular desire to go into space himself. Doyle told the audience that he was just a stockbroker who’d become an actor.
Jerry Doyle’s true interest was politics. J. Michael Straczynski, the creator of Babylon 5, described Doyle as being “just to the right of Attila the Hun” in an obituary posted on Doyle’s website EpicTimes. Doyle ran for Congress as a Republican candidate, but lost to Democrat Brad Sherman. Doyle often guested on the television shows Midpoint and Fox and Friends as a political commentator. He had a syndicated radio show, The Jerry Doyle Show. Doyle was founder and president of the website/podcast network EpicTimes and author of the book Have You Seen My Country Lately? America’s Wake-Up Call.
Jerry Doyle earned a B.S. in Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and was a professional pilot. He went through several career changes: from pilot to stockbroker, from stockbroker to actor, from actor to radio host/political analyst. He appeared in the movies Open House, Storm Watch, and Lost Treasure, and guest starred in many TV shows, including Moonlighting, Beverly Hills 90210, JAG, NYPD Blue, and Renegade. Doyle was briefly married to his Babylon 5 co-star Andrea Thompson, but they divorced.
Gerald T. Doyle, July 16, 1956 – July 27, 2016. RIP
[Photo by Douglas C. Pizac/AP Images]