Daniel von Bargen finally shuffled off this mortal coil last weekend, after a life filled with accomplishment and brutal pain. Von Bargen’s 30-year acting career made his face–if not his name–familiar to tens of millions of people, but his comedy went hand in hand with misery. The actor suffered from terminal diabetes which caused him to shoot himself in the head at his apartment in 2012. He told a 911 operator he didn’t want to go to surgery to have his toes removed. One of his legs had already been amputated.
von Bargen mined the more tragic circumstances of his life when he played more serious dramatic roles. He starred Off-Broadway in MacBeth, The Cherry Orchard, Hurlyburly, and Uncle Vanya–to name a few. He also appeared in countless films. von Bargen’s face became a household presence during regular appearances on Seinfeld and Malcolm in the Middle in the late 1990s. He had not worked since 2009.