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George Gaynes

  • Birthplace: Helsinki, Russian Empire (now Finland)
  • Birthday: May 16
Date of passing: 
February 15, 2016

Obituary

Obituary: 

George Gaynes was an actor best known for his role as Henry Warnimont on the 1980s sitcom Punky Brewster. He also had memorable roles in the Oscar-winning comedy Tootsie and the Police Academy films.

Gaynes played the reluctant adoptive parent to Soleil Moon Frye’s Punky Brewster, whose character found herself abandoned with her dog at a supermarket. The comedy ran for four seasons, from 1984 to 1988, and was nominated for three Emmy Awards, including two nominations for outstanding children’s program. Gaynes also provided the voice of Warnimont in the short-lived animated version of the series.

Additionally, Gaynes had roles on the television series West Point, The Defenders, Cheyenne, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Bonanza, Mission: Impossible, Hawaii Five-O, Hogan’s Heroes, Columbo, The Six Million Dollar Man, Cannon, McMillan & Wife, McCloud, General Hospital, Quincy M.E., Cheers, Matlock, The New Lassie, Dinosaurs, Chicago Hope and WKRP in Cincinnati, for which he also directed an episode, in 1982.

George Gaynes was an actor best known for his role as Henry Warnimont on the 1980s sitcom Punky Brewster. He also had memorable roles in the Oscar-winning comedy Tootsie and the Police Academy films.

Gaynes played the reluctant adoptive parent to Soleil Moon Frye’s Punky Brewster, whose character found herself abandoned with her dog at a supermarket. The comedy ran for four seasons, from 1984 to 1988, and was nominated for three Emmy Awards, including two nominations for outstanding children’s program. Gaynes also provided the voice of Warnimont in the short-lived animated version of the series.

Additionally, Gaynes had roles on the television series West Point, The Defenders, Cheyenne, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Bonanza, Mission: Impossible, Hawaii Five-O, Hogan’s Heroes, Columbo, The Six Million Dollar Man, Cannon, McMillan & Wife, McCloud, General Hospital, Quincy M.E., Cheers, Matlock, The New Lassie, Dinosaurs, Chicago Hope and WKRP in Cincinnati, for which he also directed an episode, in 1982.

Gaynes is also known for playing Commandant Eric Lassard in all seven Police Academy films, starting with the first of the series, in 1984. The films followed a group of good-hearted but incompetent neophyte cops. The actor also appeared opposite Dustin Hoffman in the 1982's Tootsie, about an unsuccessful actor who disguises himself as a woman in order to get a female role. The film received 10 Academy Award nominations, with Jessica Lange winning for best supporting actress.

Additionally, Gaynes appeared in the films Joy House, with Jane Fonda; The Group, with Candice Bergen; Marooned, with Gregory Peck; The Way We Were, starring Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford; Harry and Walter Go to New York, with James Caan, Elliott Gould and Michael Caine; Nickelodeon, with Ryan O'Neal, Burt Reynolds and Tatum O'Neal; Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, starring Steve Martin; To Be or Not to Be, with Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft; Micki + Maude, with Dudley Moore; The Crucible, with Daniel Day-Lewis and Winona Ryder; and Wag the Dog, with Hoffman and Robert De Niro.

Gaynes got his start on Broadway in the 1950s, starring in the original production of the musical Wonderful Town.

He died February 15, 2016, in North Bend, Washington. He was 98.

 

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