The sci-fi community has lost another star as it has been reported that Michael O’Hare has passed away on Friday, September 28, due to complications of a heart attack that had occurred 5 days earlier. Michael O’Hare may not be a well-known actor but to science-fiction fans, he carved a spot in the genre as the leader of the space station ‘Babylon 5, Commander Jeffrey Sinclair.
News of his passing was announced by ‘Babylon 5’ creator J. Michael Straczynski who wrote on his Facebook page:
“I regret that I must convey the sad news that Michael O’Hare passed away today. He suffered a heart attack on Sunday and was in a coma until his passing this afternoon. This is a terrible loss for all B5 fans and everyone involved with the show wishes to convey their condolences to the O’Hare family. He was an amazing man.”
O’Hare started his career in theater and even starred in the role of Col. Jessup in the original Broadway play ‘A Few Good Men’ by Aaron Sorkin. This was the same role that Jack Nicholson played in the film version that earned him an Oscar.
He was also the first Caucasian actor to be nominated by the African American theater community of New York for the Audelco Award for Best Actor for his performance in the play ‘Shades of Brown’ which dealt with the saddening effects of apartheid in South Africa.
Besides ‘Babylon 5′, O’Hare has also appeared in several television shows including ‘Law and Order’, ‘The Cosby Mysteries’, ‘L.A. Law’, ‘One Life to Live’, and ‘The Equalizer’ to name a few.
While starring in ‘Babylon 5’ for only one season, both O’Hare and series creator Straczynski decided that the character would depart from the series after the first year. Per Straczynski, the parting was a “mutual, amicable, and friendly separation” and that the character would return for an important destiny, and “the mystery of the Battle of the Line will be explained.” His character subsequently returned to the series for a couple guest appearances in Season 2 and 3 to do just that.
An outpouring of sympathy occurred at the announcement of O’Hare’s passing. So much so that Straczynski posted a Facebook message from O’Hare’s brother Mark, replying to the fans and thanking them for their thoughts and condolences:
“Sorry all I must admit I am not a Facebook user. This was just shown to me. I want all of Mike’s friends and fans a like to know that our family very much appreciates and thank you for all the kind thoughts and words. He was not only my brother but a great friend who I will miss terribly. I can tell you he loved life his craft and being on B5 and all those associated with the show from creator, cast, crew and fans. This all happened so fast it is still a blur to us. This past Sunday he had heart attack. The hospital did everything they could to save him. Unfortunately it took some 50 minutes to revive him. Though we knew this to be a very long time and feared the worse. We still hoped and prayed that just maybe he could somehow pull through. But in the end it just was not to be. It is just so sad the way it turned out. He just never came out of a coma and when he was declared in vegetative state with no more than once percent of brain functions. We the familywere just heart broken. We knew mike would never want to go on with this so we entered him in Hospice for a peaceful and painless passing. Mike will now be reunited with his younger brother and sister whom we lost a while back. So we the family is comforted to know he will be with them again. Again thank you. Mike, I am sure, is smiling down knowing that he was able to touch so many with his craft. God Bless.”
O’Hare is the latest actor who has passed away since the series ended. Richard Biggs, who played Dr. Stephen Franklin, died in 2004 due to complications stemming from an aortic dissection, Andreas Katsulas, who played Ambassador G’Kar, died in 2006 due to lung cancer and Jeff Conway, who played security officer Zack Allan, died last year.
With O’Hare’s passing, in what could only be described as a tribute statement to all those who have passed away from his show, Straczynski wrote on his Facebook page:
“I can only assume from all this that someone in the afterlife has begun pre-production on a Babylon 5 movie. I wonder who’s writing the script.”
We at ScienceFiction.com, send our heartfelt condolences to the O’Hare family during this time of mourning.