R.I.P. Turhan Bey (B5’s Centauri Emperor), 1922-2012

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    Turhan Bey, the actor who played the dying Centauri Emperor in Babylon 5 (and later returned to play a Minbari mentor in season 5) died on September 30th. [LINK]

    Born in Austria as Gilbert Selahettin Schultavey, the son of a Turkish diplomat, Bey assumed his stage name shortly after moving to the United States with his Jewish Czech mother from Vienna to escape the Nazis and being discovered by talent scouts from Warner Bros. studios.

    His popular name was “Turkish Delight” — a reference to his suave good looks that made him an ideal partner to exotics like Maria Montez in escapist Technicolor adventure fantasies set in faraway places. He starred or had major roles alongside the big stars of the era in films such as “A Night in Paradise,” “Out of the Blue,” and “The Amazing Mr. X” until the popularity of the genre faded in the 1950s.

    Moving back to Vienna, he made living as a photographer and occasional stage director, again returning after a brief film and television comeback in the 1990s that earned him an Emmy nomination for his performance as the venerable Turval in the “Babylon 5” space fantasy TV series.

    Steve WSteve W
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    I can’t picture what he looks like, and the photograph with that article shows him looking away from the camera. I’d look him up, but I can barely keep my eyes open right now.


    It was super late when the news came down, so I didn’t go all screen-grabby, because if I fire up a single episode of Babylon 5, I tend not to unplug until half the season later. Anyway, here you go:

    The Coming Of Shadows – as Emperor Turhan (the character was retroactively named after the actor some time after this episode)

    Learning Curve – as Sech Turval

    Also from The Coming of Shadows, and I had forgotten this until watching it, the freakiest shot of Kosh in the entire series:

    Steve WSteve W
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    I’m amazed he decided to undergo the transformation into a Minbari. That’s a lot of time in a make-up chair under layers of smelly latex and glue. I guess he really enjoyed his time on the show to put up with it.


    Everything I’ve read suggests that he was just about the most agreeable, affable guest star to walk in the door. Just happy to have the work, even if it meant he was going to lay on a hospital bed and get a visit from a Vorlon.

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