Remembering Animal House’s ‘Fat, Drunk and Stupid’ Flounder

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John Belushi’s “Bluto” Blutarsky trying to cheer up Stephen Durst’s Kent “Flounder” Dorman in National Lampoon’s Animal House

The bastards got Flounder! Stephen Furst, the actor who played the freshman fraternity pledge, Kent “Flounder” Dorfman, at the fictitious Faber College in the surprising 1978 box-office hit, National Lampoon’s Animal House, died on June 17, 2017, of complications from diabetes. He was 63 and lived in Moorpark, CA.

The public first heard of Furst’s death when his sons, Nathan and Griffin, shared the news on their father’s Facebook page urging fans that “instead of being sad… use one of his bits to make someone else laugh – really, really hard.” (See the complete testimonial below.)

National Lampoon’s Animal House, directed by John Landis, made a huge star of John Belushi, who played “Bluto” Blutarsky, a member of the school’s fraternity perpetually troubled Delta house. Other members of its cast that went onto Hollywood careers were Tim Matheson as the caddish frat brother Eric “Otter” Stratton, Peter Riegert as frat brother “Boon,” his oft-ignored girlfriend, Karen Allen as Katy, Tom Hulce as fellow fraternity pledge “Pinto” and Kevin Bacon as a ROTC enrollee.

“I have a husband named Dean Wormer at Faber. Still want to show me your cucumber?”

Other actors in prominent roles included John Vernon as the college’s Dean Wormer, Donald Sutherland as a pot-smoking professor and Mary Louise Weller as sorority sister Mandy Pepperidge.

[Verna Bloom, who played the Dean’s wife, Marion, died January 11, 2019, at age 80. She had roles in Clint Eastwood’s High Plains Drifter and Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ.]

The classic comedy smash made a hit of Otis Day & the Knights’ version of “Shout” which they performed at the Delta house’s infamous toga party.

The movie also spawned dozens of catchphrases.

When Dean Wormer is reviewing the Delta house pledges’ grades, he tells Flounder that his GPA is 0.2: “Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to get through life, son.”

When the fraternity goes on a road trip, wrecking Flounder’s car in the process, Bluto does his best to cheer up the disconsolate pledge. Otter realizes it won’t help, and says: “Flounder, you can’t spend your whole life worrying about your mistakes. You fucked up… You trusted us.”

Related: John Belushi obituary

Animal House was filmed on a shoestring budget of a reported $2.8 million. Its box-office and home video revenue is said to have exceeded $141 million. Like many films depicting students, the cast was much older than the characters they played. When the film was shot in fall 1977, Belushi was 28, Matheson was 29, Rigert was 30, Allen was 26, Hulce was 23 and Furst was 22.

Durst’s sons’ testimonial read, in part:

Steve has a long list of earthly accomplishments. He was known to the world as an brilliant and prolific actor and filmmaker, but to his family and many dear friends he was also a beloved husband, father and kind friend whose memory will always be a blessing.

To truly honor him, do not cry for the loss of Stephen Furst. But rather, enjoy memories of all the times he made you snicker, laugh, or even snort to your own embarrassment. He intensely believed that laugher is the best therapy, and he would want us to practice that now. 

If you knew him personally, remember his gift for lighting up a room. And no matter who you are, when you think of Steve, instead of being sad, celebrate his life by watching one of his movies or use one of his bits to make someone else laugh – really, really hard.

Sincerely,

His sons Nathan and Griffith Furst

Furst went on to regular roles on the small screen in St. ElsewhereBabylon 5, and a (very) short-lived Animal House spin-off, Delta House.

RIP, Flounder

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