Two years ago today, on May 9, 2015, I met Jerry "Garibaldi" Doyle for the first time. As "Captain Jaclyn" of Babylon 5 Books, we had talked on the phone many times but meeting him in person felt like a "read the book, see the movie" moment. But that's not why this date is meaningful.
The occasion was shooting footage for two Babylon 5 Books projects that also included Claudia Christian and Pat Tallman. Though Jerry hadn't been on a set in years, his impeccable professionalism remained.
Instead of a 30-minute flight, he drove 6 hours the night before to be 100% certain of making his 9am call time. (Bruce Boxleitner, also scheduled but a 21-hour drive away, was stranded in Canada due to icy weather.)
Though host of his own radio show for years at this point, Jerry Doyle still had that actor sensibility. For example, he brought two changes of clothing -- neither of which was an EpicTimes t-shirt, thank you! -- which was a blessing because he was shooting for two completely different products, though he did NOT know that.
(Let me add that Claudia Christian and Pat Tallman also brought two changes of clothing, which is why these folks are such a joy to work with, and why I am not a producer.)
The results of May 9, 2015 are seen in the Babylon 5 20th Anniversary Cast Reunions Blu-ray & Book Set, as well as the 3-DVD Set "CNN Documents Babylon 5." This footage is his last on-camera appearance before his sudden death related to alcoholism on July 27, 2016. Five hours of Jerry talking about the happiest time of his life.
But this is not a product pitch. It's a confession.
At first I resisted this shoot with the actors because it would cost five figures and put the project dramatically over budget.
This was due in part to B5books.com needing to become a Screen Actors Guild signatory so that we could pay all three actors through their union, at full-scale wages, to help qualify them for health insurance. When I got the call about Jerry's death, I remember being so thankful that I ignored the budget overrun and did the right thing.
(For the record, spending time with J. Michael Straczynski keeps your priorities intact.)
What I know for certain -- because Jerry told me -- is that this shoot got him re-thinking his options and substantially impacted the last 14 months of his life.
There are details that are not mine to tell, but know that Jerry was phasing out his popular, national radio show to focus full-time on his news website, EpicTimes, while rebooting his acting career.
In my last phone conversation with him, two weeks before his death, Jerry told me that he was days away from putting his Las Vegas home on the market and moving back to Los Angeles.
On the day the news of Jerry's death was released, the B5 Books Team put together outtakes and behind the scenes footage from that May 9th shoot. To celebrate his life, we wanted Babylon 5 fans to see that the 1990's version of Jerry was the same one that showed up twenty years later.
That is why today, on the first anniversary of the May 9th shoot since his death, I wanted to be sure that no one missed these clips in the video below. None of this footage is in the final products and, in retrospect, sadly it had more meaning than we could have imagined. Or maybe it's because I still really, really miss him.
-- Captain Jaclyn