Stan Kirsch Dead: ‘Highlander’ and ‘Friends’ Alum Dies at 51

Stan Kirsch in Highlander Moviestore/Shutterstock

Stan Kirsch, a New York-born actor who most notably appeared on the 1990s Highlander series, died on Saturday, January 11. He was 51.

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Kirsch’s wife, Kristyn Green, found the actor hanging in their Los Angeles home’s bathroom, TMZ reported on Tuesday, January 14. Though paramedics reported to the scene, he was immediately pronounced dead.

“We responded to an ambulance, suicide call on Saturday the 11th at 3:40 p.m.,” the LAPD PIO told Us Weekly on Tuesday. “Coroner’s office will have additional details.”

The Los Angeles County Dept. of Medical Examiner-Coroner later confirmed to Us that Kirsch’s death was ruled as a suicide.

Green, who wed Kirsch in 2009, confirmed the news of her husband’s death via Facebook. “I want to thank everyone for the outpouring of love and support,” Green, 37, wrote on Monday, January 13. “I haven’t been able to respond to all the texts, calls, emails — but have read or listened to every single one of them. I feel surrounded by love and am forever grateful to each and every one of you.”

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Green also shared a statement that was posted to Kirsch’s official Facebook page on Monday. The message stated that Kirsch’s Los Angeles-based acting school, Stan Kirsch Studios, would be “closed for the next 2 weeks” to allow time to “process and grieve” the loss.

“He was so loved and we are all just devastated,” the statement continued. “Thank you for your understanding and respecting our privacy during this incredibly difficult time.”

Kirsch was a child actor before taking a hiatus to focus on his academics, graduating cum laude from Duke University. He later made his return to the acting world, notably playing Richard H. “Richie” Ryan on six seasons of Highlander from 1992 to 1998.

Kirsch’s career also included acting credits through roles and guest appearances on Friends, JAG, Invincible and General Hospital. He famously played Monica Geller’s high school fling, Ian, in a 1995 episode of the NBC sitcom. He additionally produced, wrote and directed short films, including Straight Eye: The Movie.

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Kirsch and Green opened Stan Kirsch Studios in Los Angeles in 2008. According to the school’s website, the late actor’s “no bulls–t approach incorporates all acting methods, practical tools and how to utilize them in the audition room and on set.” The school aims to “train actors to make strong, text-based choices based not simply on a role itself, but the material’s genre, network, director and writer.”

General Hospital’s Mark Lawson is among those who can attest to Kirsch’s work. In an extensive Instagram statement, the soap star opened up about how much his late acting coach meant to him after first moving to Los Angeles to forge a career as an actor.

“I was in a Lesly Kahn Bootcamp class with another teacher and heard your voice coming into the Studios on Cole (that’s how far back we go). I was star struck. I was the biggest goddamn nerd for Highlander,” Lawson, 40, wrote on Monday, January 13. “I couldn’t even talk to you the first time I was introduced to you. And somehow I ended up in your ongoing class. And man did you have your f–king hands full.”

Lawson noted that Kirsch taught him “nuance” and “stillness,” and added that Kirsch was his “first big brother” in Hollywood. He also regarded his former teacher as “brilliant.”

If you or someone you know is suffering from suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. 

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