Mira Furlan sadly passed away this week. The Croatian actress will always be remembered for her roles in two influential genre shows; as Delenn in Babylon 5, and Danielle Rousseau in Lost. Both series meant so much to so many people, and she was such a vital part of both.
“Only one Human captain has ever survived battle with a Minbari fleet. He is behind me. You are in front of me. If you value your lives, be somewhere else!”
As the Minbari ambassador to Babylon 5, Delenn was the heart and soul of the science-fiction saga and the actress starred in every episode. The character was originally conceived as being male before changing sex in the second season whilst continuously played by Furlan, and it’s fascinating to see how that concept was portrayed through the make-up effects in the pilot episode.
On Twitter the creator of the show J. Michael Straczynski wrote, “Mira was a good and kind woman, a stunningly talented performer, and a friend to everyone in the cast and crew of ‘Babylon 5,’ and we are all devastated by the news.” She joins a tragically long list of Babylon 5 cast members who have passed too soon.
During the first season of Lost, when Furlan was introduced as the creator of the mysterious broadcast detected by the survivors, she expanded the fantastical possibilities inherent in the premise and helped really flesh out the show. I remember being absolutely blown away to see Delenn appear out of nowhere! It was a lot easier to be surprised by unexpected casting like this way back in 2004 and just made me fall in love with the show even more. Show producer Carlton Cuse wrote of her time on Lost: “Mira gifted us all with her grace, intelligence and talents. She was a vital person whose artistic gifts contributed so much to defining the mysteries of our show. She will be truly missed.”
She passed at the age of 65 due to complications from West Nile Virus, and will be missed not only because of her acting legacy but because she was a wonderful person. On her personal website she left a final note:
Take care of yourselves today, everyone.