A veteran of television and film who captured the hearts of nerds around the world in his role of Shepherd Derrial Book in Firefly, actor Ron Glass died late on November 25th 2016. His agent has confirmed the new of his passing and a number of grieving friends have already shared many of their own personal tributes. The reports released so far have not gone into a lot of detail aside from informing fans that he died peacefully overnight in his home in Los Angeles.
Glass had a long and fulfulling career that spanned many decades and over seventy credits in both television and film, with his most recent work broadcast as recently as 2014. Keen eyed and eared consumers will recognise his contributions in everything from Star Trek: Voyager to Teen Angel to Rugrats! to Fable II. Though his longest running role was as Detective Ron Harris in the sitcom Barney Miller, which he played for a total of seven years, it is his place aboard Firefly that many will remember him for.
He was hesitant about the role of Shepherd Book at first, due to an aversion to science fiction caused by a distaste for the heavy prosthetics and long hours in the make-up chair that had become a trope of the genre. Reassured that he would not have to worry about that, it is said that he fell in love with the script and so sealed his place in the hearts of one of nerd culture’s most passionate followings.
What made his character so fascinating – to both viewers of the show and Glass himself – was the way he merged his personal Buddhism with the fundamental Christianity of the space traversing pastor.
A role model in both life and film, Glass lived a life of dedication and achievement, as passionate about his art as the fans that followed it: “They are so loyal and supportive and enthusiastic. They have just kept me soaring.”
Whether you follow the humanist Buddhist teachings that inspired Glass or the Christian afterlife stories of Shepherd Book, or whatever you believe is the next chapter, we can let it be a mystery, ’cause how you get there is the worthier part, and Ron Glass has been among the worthiest.