Goodbye, Mr. Garibaldi

By Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16589257
Jerry Doyle, Reno Nevada, 2011 By Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16589257

Wednesday, actor and talk show host, Jerry Doyle, died at age 60. Perhaps best known for his iconic role as Mr. Garibaldi on the epic science fiction show, Babylon 5, Doyle had a colorful and fascinating career.

Previously a corporate jet pilot and after a decade as a stockbroker on Wall Street, Doyle made an abrupt career change into acting in 1991, when he moved to Los Angeles. His first television role was on the series Moonlighting where he played the on-screen brother of Bruce Willis’ character. This was followed by a recurring role as a lawyer on the soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful. Babylon 5 was his first significant starring role, starring as security officer Michael Garibaldi. Doyle has quipped that on Babylon 5 he was a “Mick from Brooklyn playing a Wop from Mars.”

Babylon 5 creator, J. Michael Straczynski, issued a statement on the death of Jerry Doyle:

Despite our differences, when Jerry ran for congress as a Republican not long after Babylon 5 ended, I donated to his campaign. Not because I agreed with him, but because I respected him; because there was one area in which we agreed: the vital intersection between the arts of acting and storytelling. In that respect, Jerry was a consummate professional. Regardless of whatever was going on in his life, whether it was marital issues, a broken arm, forced couch-surfing with Bruce and Andreas or other problems, he never once pulled a prima donna on us; he showed up every day on time, knew his lines, and insisted that the guest cast live up to the standards of the main cast, to the point of roughing up one guest star who showed up not knowing his lines. Trust me when I say that after Jerry got done with him, every day he showed up, he knew his lines. And then some.

He was funny, and dangerous, and loyal, and a prankster, and a pain in the ass; he was gentle and cynical and hardened and insightful and sometimes as dense as a picket fence…and his passing is a profound loss to everyone who knew him, especially those of us who fought beside him in the trenches of Babylon 5. It is another loss in a string of losses that I cannot understand. Of the main cast, we have lost Richard Biggs, Michael O’Hare, Andreas Katsulas, Jeff Conaway, and now Jerry Doyle, and I’m goddamned tired of it.

Jerry Doyle will be missed by his many fans. Here are a few highlights of Doyle’s memorable performances:

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