TIME obituary

Actor George Gaynes Dies at Age 98

George Gaynes in Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach.
Moviestore—REX/Shutterstock George Gaynes in Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach.

He was known for his work on Punky Brewster and Police Academy

Character actor George Gaynes, known for his work on the TV show Punky Brewster and in films like Tootsie and Police Academy, has died. He was 98 and his daughter, Iya Gaynes Falcone Brown, confirmed the news, the New York Times reports.

Gaynes was born in Helsinki, Finland, on May 16, 1917, and arrived in New York following his service in World War II. Gaynes first worked in opera and on Broadway before focusing on on-screen roles. He worked steadily during the ’60s and ’70s on sitcoms, dramas and soap operas but achieved the peak of his celebrity in the mid-’80s, when he was in his 60s, with Police Academy and his Punky Brewster role as Henry Warnimont, a gruff apartment manager who becomes the foster parent to a young girl.

“I’m too old, I’ve been at it too long, to be exhilarated,” he said in 1984 of his late success. “Of course I’m happy about it. My wife is happy, because we can travel more, and she can get a new couch cover. But knowing the vagaries of the entertainment business, I can’t take it too seriously.”


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