Jerry Doyle, a Libertarian talk radio host and actor best known for his 5-season long co-starring role on the cult science fiction series Babylon 5 died on Wednesday in his Las Vegas home. He was 60. His family made the news public via his official Twitter account.
Born in Brooklyn in 1956, Doyle began his adult life intending to pursue a career as a pilot, obtaining a Bachelor’s in Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He made a living soon after as a corporate pilot before transitioning to a career as a stock broker in the 1980s, but in his early 30s he made an abrupt career change, moving to Los Angeles to become an actor. His first major gig was a guest role on Moonlighting. Other roles followed, including a stint on the CBS soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful. But it was for his first starring role as constable Michael Garibaldi on the J. Michael Straczynski-created sci-fi series Babylon 5 that he would be most remembered.
Set in the 23rd century, Babylon 5 concerned the adventures of a group of humans and aliens living aboard a space station (the titular Babylon 5) designed to function as an interstellar United Nations where formerly adversarial people could work out their problems peacefully. Throughout the series, dramatic political and social changes unfold as the nascent alliance came into conflict with powerful, ancient enemies. Through it all, Doyle’s Garibaldi served as the show’s everyman, a streetwise, recovering alcoholic, working class character who loved Looney Tunes cartoons and old movies and expressed healthy, sometimes paranoid skepticism about crucial events and characters, but whose moral compass was never in doubt. About the role, Doyle once quipped that he was “a mick from Brooklyn playing a Wop from Mars.”
Doyle remained with the show through its entire run, debuting in the pilot movie in 1993 and continuing through several made for TV films produced after the series ended in 1998. He also continued to act in other roles.
During his Babylon 5 period, Doyle experimented with his own production company, which produced a series on World War II aircraft called Keep Em Flying. It was during this time that he also became politically vocal. After a run for congress in the 2000 election in which he was defeated by Democrat Brad Sherman, he became a frequent guest on the conservative Newsmax Media TV, and eventually transitioned to hosting his own radio show, the Jerry Doyle Show, which aired on the Talk Radio Network that by 2012 saw a weekly average of 3.75 million listeners. He later took over the show The Savage Nation for a brief time, before launching his own platform Epic Times in 2013.
Doyle was found unconscious in his home, and a cause of death has not been yet been determined. He was married to his Bablyon 5 co-star Andrea Thompson from 1995-1997, and had one child. He never remarried.