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May 29, 2004

Richard Biggs, 44, acted in 'Babylon 5'

From: Cleveland Plain Dealer - Cleveland,OH,USA - May 29, 2004

Los Angeles- Richard Biggs, a television actor known for his featured roles in such series as "Babylon 5" and "Days of Our Lives," died Saturday after collapsing at his San Fernando Valley home. He was 44.

He was taken to the hospital, where he died, said Caren Day, a family spokesman. The cause was a tear in his aorta.

Biggs, a graduate of the University of Southern California, portrayed Dr. Stephen Franklin on the science-fiction series "Babylon 5," which was broadcast in syndication and later on the TNT Network from 1991 to 1998. He also played a doctor on the NBC soap "Days of Our Lives" for five years beginning in the 1980s.

More recently, he appeared on the Lifetime channel dramas "Any Day Now" and "Strong Medicine" and earned favorable notices on stage in Los Angeles productions of Shakespeare's "King Lear" and John DiFusco's Vietnam War play "Tracers."

Born in Columbus, Ohio, Biggs developed a passion for acting in high school after performing in a community production of "The Wiz."

He won a scholarship to USC, where he majored in performing arts. While in college, he taught acting at a school near the USC campus and later at the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum. He eventually developed his own curriculum, which he offered to schools across the United States. Hearing impaired since boyhood, Biggs devoted much of his off-camera time to raising money for a private Orange County school that serves both deaf and hearing children.

He sold autographed pictures of himself to fans at the sci-fi conventions he frequently attended and turned over the proceeds to the school to purchase equipment.

His own hearing problems were diagnosed when he was 13. Completely deaf in one ear and partially deaf in the other, Biggs wore a hearing aid and learned sign language as an adult after doctors told him that he one day would lose all his hearing.

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