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Old May 25 2013, 01:15 PM   #1
Jan
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Babylon 5 - Why 'Sinclair' left the show

I'm luck enough to be at the big Babylon 5 20th anniversary celebration at the Phoenix Comicon this weekend. One of the many B5 related panels was a special one that JMS requested and asked all the fans to attend. He didn't say why, but said we would be helping him keep a many years promise.

The first part of the panel was...stupid. A mod who wasn't a fan asked JMS a few generic questions and then let fans ask questions (that wasn't stupid, just the first guy) for a while.

For the second half of the panel, JMS shooed to 'moderator' off and talked about Rick Biggs, Andreas Katsulas, Jeff Connaway and Michael O'Hare. It was a true tribute to their courage and grace in ways that inspired him. Rick's love of life, Jeff's courage at beginning his career again with B5 and Andreas' courage and grace at facing terminal cancer. Then he told us about Michael O'Hare.

Toward the last third of season one, both JMS and Michael realized that Michael had a problem of increasingly delusional episodes, typified by paranoia. This can be helped with medication but that takes time and there really wasnt time while the show was shooting. JMS was even willing to shut down production for Michael to be able to get the help he needed but Michael didn't want to be responsible for the show shutting down and asked JMS to let him try to complete shooting. JMS did, and admired Michael was he struggled every day.

After shooting was done, they all knew that Michael couldn't carry on so JMS let him know that when the time came, Michael could come back to complete Sinclair's arc. Thanks to friends, JMS knew when Michael was able to come back and perform in "War Without End". Afterward, JMS promised Michael that he'd 'keep the secret to his grave' but Michael asked him to keep the secret to *his* (Michael's) grave instead. And so...JMS told the story of Michael's struggle today. And he told us how there were times when the fans really helped Michael keep. going.

JMS' admiration for the courage that each man showed was obviously deeply felt and sincere and the entire room (which was full to capacity) gave him a standing ovation and thanked him for what he'd said. It was an amazing experience and, I think an important moment in B5 history.

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Old May 25 2013, 01:16 PM   #2
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Re: Babylon 5 - Why 'Sinclair' left the show

I read that this morning and was quite moved by it. Thank you for showing this to everyone!
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Old May 25 2013, 01:58 PM   #3
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Re: Babylon 5 - Why 'Sinclair' left the show

It is always a little chastening to remember that dishing the dirt isn't always just fun.
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Old May 25 2013, 02:27 PM   #4
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Re: Babylon 5 - Why 'Sinclair' left the show

Wow, thank you for sharing this, Jan. A very uplifting story.
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Old May 25 2013, 02:49 PM   #5
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Re: Babylon 5 - Why 'Sinclair' left the show

Michael O'Hare died?!?! I didn't know that
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Old May 25 2013, 02:57 PM   #6
Gov Kodos
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Re: Babylon 5 - Why 'Sinclair' left the show

Wow, I can only say Michael O'Hare's work in B5 was a joy for me to watch. To know he did it under such straining personal circumstances is remarkable. Thanks Jan.
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Old May 25 2013, 03:18 PM   #7
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Re: Babylon 5 - Why 'Sinclair' left the show

I have to admit, when I just saw the thread title, and not the OP's name, I did an eye roll and thought, "Not this again." I was not expecting this.

Thanks, Jan, for sharing that. Too often we're inundated by celebrities that use and abuse their fame (Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Bynes, etc.), and of course, all the stories people have of sci-fi actors, who, when people meet them are rude, etc.

I never much cared why Michael O'Hare left the show, save I always knew it wasn't because of his ability as an actor. I fully believe he played Sinclair the way JMS wanted, and that the so-called "woodeness" of his acting, was a choice, considering who Sinclair is and what he went through.

This story speaks to courage, trust, and friendship. It also speaks to what made Babylon 5 so great, it had a creator who, while focused on the product, was also concerned with those who were behind it.
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Old May 25 2013, 03:38 PM   #8
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Re: Babylon 5 - Why 'Sinclair' left the show

Thank you very much... wow.
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Old May 25 2013, 03:46 PM   #9
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Re: Babylon 5 - Why 'Sinclair' left the show

shivkala wrote: View Post
I have to admit, when I just saw the thread title, and not the OP's name, I did an eye roll and thought, "Not this again." I was not expecting this.
Indeed.

What a remarkable story and what a struggle it must have been for him. As someone who is suffering depression among other things, I just can't imagine keep up working while having huge delusional episodes that can most likely make even the simplest chores in life incredibly difficult. What a guy!

Also it's a relief for a long time fan that everyone can now stop second guessing why the sudden change happened. It all happened for very serious reasons and it is completely understandable.
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Old May 25 2013, 03:52 PM   #10
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Re: Babylon 5 - Why 'Sinclair' left the show

Delusional episodes can lead to inappropriate behavior. It is unwise to draw conclusions without the whole story.
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Old May 25 2013, 04:25 PM   #11
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Re: Babylon 5 - Why 'Sinclair' left the show

Wow, what an awesome man for trying to stick with it. Michael O'Hare as Sinclair is one of my favourite leads in a TV show, far superior to his successor. Love his tortured performance and the narration he gives in the Season 1 titles is chillingly wonderful.

Rest in peace Valen.
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Old May 25 2013, 04:55 PM   #12
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Re: Babylon 5 - Why 'Sinclair' left the show

shivkala wrote: View Post

I never much cared why Michael O'Hare left the show, save I always knew it wasn't because of his ability as an actor. I fully believe he played Sinclair the way JMS wanted, and that the so-called "woodeness" of his acting, was a choice, considering who Sinclair is and what he went through.
I second this as strongly as I can possibly do so.

O'Hare's portrayal of sinclair in the first season of B5 is not wooden in any sense of the word. Sinclair when we see him is a broken person. He's got what is possibly the worst case of PTSD in the history of the human race. And O'Hare's performance is a nuanced and sensetive portrayal of this.

I had no idea that Mr. O'Hare had passed-onand makes me a little sad. In many ways, his part in B5 was overshadowed by what followed in Seasons 2-5, but he helped lay the foundations of what became a great SF series and deserves to be recognized for that.
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Old May 25 2013, 04:59 PM   #13
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Re: Babylon 5 - Why 'Sinclair' left the show

This is pretty much already known. Jerry Doyle spilled the beans awhile ago on his radio show. He also hinted apparently that O' Hare might have also been using drugs.
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Old May 25 2013, 05:06 PM   #14
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Re: Babylon 5 - Why 'Sinclair' left the show

Hound of UIster wrote: View Post
This is pretty much already known. Jerry Doyle spilled the beans awhile ago on his radio show. He also hinted apparently that O' Hare might have also been using drugs.
Given the way he ballooned up in his later years (dude got huge, and he was already puffy when he came back for his two return appearances), I always figured he was either a late-stage alcoholic or a fan of cocaine.

Intriguing story and tells us a lot more about one of my favorite actors ever to be on my television screen.
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Old May 25 2013, 05:11 PM   #15
Jan
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Re: Babylon 5 - Why 'Sinclair' left the show

Jerry Doyle has never been anything but boorish on the subject of Michael O'hare. The ONLY source (other than Jerry) for rumors of Michael using drugs came from a disgruntled con organizer who stiffed Michael for the payment he was due.

If Jerry was actually aware of the facts of Michael's struggle and still managed to be as unkind as I've personally heard him to be...(deletes harsh laguage)...it doesn't speak well of Jerry in any way, shape or form.

Jan
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