Portrayed : Stephen Franklin
Date of Birth: 18th March 1960
Date of Death: 22nd May 2004 (age 44)
Richard Biggs

Richard Biggs had a somewhat unsettled childhood as he travelled between Air Force bases where his father was stationed. Because of his itinerant lifestyle he made few friends and changed schools often. When he was seventeen, and living at a missile base in North Dakota, he decided to change his plans for a medical career after playing the lead in a local theatrical production of 'The Wiz'. After that, bitten by the acting bug and never deterred by deafness in one ear, he went on to complete a Bachelor of Fine Arts (majoring in performing arts) at USC's School of Theatre, with the distinguished actor John Houseman as one of his drama teachers. He later went on to give his own acting classes at the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga Canyon.

Like so many other aspiring performers, Richard had a tough time in his quest to get started in his chosen field. His chief difficulty lay in obtaining membership in the Screen Actor's Guild without experience, yet how was one to acquire experience without a union card ? Living in his car for much of this time, he made ends meet by playing small roles on stage, and, occasionally television. He also worked for a while as a telephone operator answering complaints for an LA waste disposal company. One of his local stage performances, as Romeo at the Ensemble Theatre, impressed an agent who took him on and landed him an audition for a part on the daytime soap opera Days of Our Lives (1965). Several auditions later, he got the part, and the SAG card as well.

For most of his career on television, Richard played doctors, an irony which was probably not lost on him: Dr.Tomson in The Twilight Zone (1985), Dr. Lecksis in Beverly Hills, 90210 (1990), Dr.Milo Morton in "Strong Medicine", and, of course, Dr.Marcus Hunter, in 1295 episodes of 'Days of Our Lives', from 1985 to 1992. Richard had done his homework for the part by observing a real plastic surgeon in action. However, having played the same individual for such a lengthy period led him later to express doubts about the one-dimensional 'goody two-shoes' nature of the character, who he would have preferred a little 'rougher around the edges'.

A far edgier and more complex part was that of Dr.Stephen Franklin, the chief medical officer of J. Michael Straczynski's cult sci-fi series Babylon 5 (1994). Richard played the humanly flawed, but mercurial character from 1994 to 1998 (also in three made-for-TV movies, and, briefly, in the short-lived spin-off series Crusade (1999), as part of a first-rate ensemble cast. His performances were often extremely compelling, particularly in the 'walkabout' episodes of season three, culminating with 'Shadow Dancing'.

Post-Babylon, Richard played a detective in Any Day Now (1998), returned to soap opera as Clayton Boudreaux in Guiding Light (1952) and had a brief run as a scientist in the unsuccessful TV spin-off Tremors (2003). The character in his last series, Strong Medicine (2000), was killed off in the show because of the actor's tragic, untimely death at the age of 44. Richard Biggs was eulogised by Babylon 5's Straczysnky as a 'consummate professional' and 'quite simply, a terrific guy'.

Related Cast or Characters