Jessica Ellis
November 26, 2016 2:09 pm
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

All shows, all ships, need a father figure, and for the amazing, short-lived Firefly, that kindly voice belonged to Shepherd Book. According to Variety, Ron Glass, the 71-year-old actor who portrayed the mysterious man of the cloth in Joss Whedon’s sci-fi epic, has passed away.

Ron Glass was a native of Evansville, Indiana, and studied theater and literature at the local university. His early jobs included acting in several classic shows of the 1970s, like Sanford and Son, Hawaii 5-0, and All in the Family.

His big breakout, however, was on Barney Miller, where he played Sargent Ron Nathan Harris, an ambitious cop with dreams of becoming a writer.


While fans of 70s TV certainly recall Ron Glass for his fun and humanizing performances, those of later generations may have a closer connection to his work in Firefly, where Glass blended his infectious comedic abilities with a nuanced portrait of a man torn between his faith, his future, and a hidden past.


Firefly was cancelled before we got the full backstory on Shepherd Book, angering┬á many fans. In fact, Glass’s portrayal was so popular, the creators wrote The Shepherd’s Tale, a graphic novel explaining his background.

As a Firefly fan favorite, Ron Glass clearly felt deep appreciation for his fans love and dedication to the show and his character, and frequently expressed gratitude for it.

We know you’ll keep soaring, Mr. Glass, and we won’t forget you. Thank you for all of your beautiful work, and rest in peace.