Mira Furlan passed away on January 20th, news which hit heavy with friends and colleagues alike. The Croatian actress had a long career in Hollywood, making some notable appearances on a couple of popular shows throughout the years. Her passing was first reported through her Twitter account in a post made by loved ones in her honor.
At present, Mira Furlan’s cause of death isn’t known. Friends and colleagues intimated that she had been in failing health for a number of years and this wasn’t all that unexpected. It’s incredibly sad news for an actress taken much too young.
Mira Furlan first gained on-screen fame in her role as Delenn on Babylon 5. On the show, she was of the Minbari race who eventually became a Minbar-human hybrid. The show lasted five seasons with Delenn having a romantic arc with Bruce Boxleitner’s Captain John Sheridan. Babylon 5 show creator Michael Straczynski took to Twitter to pay respects in the wake of Furlan’s passing.
He had a number of amazing and heartfelt things to say about Mira Furlan. It’s very much worth reading her whole tribute. Among them was this:
“Mira was a good and kind woman, a stunningly talented performer, and a friend to everyone in the cast and crew of Babylon 5.”
From these words and others that Straczynski offers, it was clear that Mira Furlan put everything into her role. Born in a war-torn Yugoslavia, Furlan clearly brought much of that pain to Delenn whose own character was also part of a world tearing itself apart. That concept was a central theme for many years of the show. She brought this pain with her and was one of the reasons fans clearly were moved by her performances.
After Babylon 5 went off the air, Mira Furlan went on to play another notable role, this time on ABC’s Lost. She played Danielle Rousseau, or “The French Woman” a scientist who had landed on the island years before. She became something of a survivalist and mystery woman for a number of seasons. For a side character, Rousseau had an integral arc and Furlan played the role perfectly as a strong-headed woman who was working to live in extraordinary circumstances.
Lost fans were also quick to offer their sympathies on the loss of Mira Furlan who they clearly remember her Rosseau character fondly. .
Over the last decade or so, following Lost going off the air, Mira Furlan mostly disappeared from the acting scene. She took a random part here or there but for the most part her bigger Hollywood roles ended with that show. She did return to home and acted in a number of different Bosnian films like The Abandoned, Twice Born and With Mom.
Mira Furlan is survived by her husband, Serbian director Goran Gajic. The couple has one child, Marko who is now 23. In all, this a tragedy for fans of Mira Furlan, an underappreciated actress who just happened to have roles on two of the bigger science-fiction shows of a generation.