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Thread: George Gaynes, star of Police Academy/Punky Brewster, dead at 98

  1. #1
    Elite Member HWBL's Avatar
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    Default George Gaynes, star of Police Academy/Punky Brewster, dead at 98

    Source: Daily Mail

    America's favorite foster father George Gaynes, star of Punky Brewster and the Police Academy movies, dies aged 98
    • Actor George Gaynes was confirmed dead by his daughter Iya Gaynes Falcone Brown on Monday night
    • The actor starred in Punky Brewster with Soleil Moon Frye in the 1980s
    • Soleil tweeted out on Tuesday the universe had gained a 'gigantic star'
    • It was not immediately clear what caused the 98-year-old's death







    George Gaynes, the star of seven Police Academy movies and the cranky foster parent in the 1980s sitcom Punky Brester, has died.

    He passed away on Monday at the age of 98 in North Bend in Washington state, according to Variety. His death was confirmed by his daughter, Iya Gaynes Falcone Brown.

    On Tuesday night his Punky co-star Soleil Moon Frye tweeted a heart-felt memorial to her friend and on-screen adoptive father.


    'The universe just gained a gigantic star. You will be in my heart and soul always & forever. Your little Punky RIP George Gaynes,' Soleil wrote.

    The character actor also famously played a soap opera star who ended up kissing Dustin Hoffman in drag as Dorothy Michaels in the 1982 movie 'Tootsie'.

    Gaynes was a jobbing character actor who appeared in hundreds of TV shows and some 35 movies, the trade publication reported.

    He was also a celebrated baritone singer who starred in plays, musicals and operas in North America and Europe.

    But while his face might be a familiar one, he never achieved name recognition or the kind of fame that goes with above-the-title success.


    Anyone who believes in happy endings will take consolation from the career of George Gaynes, about to become a television celebrity at the age of 64,' The New York Times reported in 1984, when Gaynes was actually 67, shortly before NBC telecast the first episode of 'Punky Brewster'.

    He starred opposite Soleil in 'Punky' from 1984 to 1988, playing building manager Henry Warnimont who finds an abandoned girl whom he eventually adopts.

    The show ran for four seasons, first on NBC and then in syndication, The New York Times reported.

    'The two things an actor dreads most are children and dogs,' he told The Times in 1984. 'I have both in this series.'

    He also appeared for three seasons on the TV comedy The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd starring Blair Brown and his actress wife, Allyn Ann McLerie.

    Gaynes was born George Jongejans in Helsinki, Finland to a Russian mother and Dutch father.

    He was raised in France, England and Switzerland and later during the Second World war he enlisted in the Royal Dutch Navy.

    After the war he traveled to New York, where he joined the New York City Opera.

    There he played Figaro, Leporello in 'Don Giovanni' and assorted fathers, monks and ragpickers, according to the New York Times.

    He also appeared in Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, but he considered himself primarily an actor.

    'I was an acting opera singer, and thatís one of the reasons I left opera,' he said.

    He appeared on Broadway in Cole Porterís 'Out of This World' and in 'Wonderful Town' with music by Leonard Bernstein.

    That same year, he changed his surname to Gaynes and married Allyn Ann McLerie,

    In the 1960s and 1970s, he starred in shows including 'The Defenders', 'Mission: Impossible', 'Bonanza', 'The Six Million Dollar Man' and 'Hawaii Five-0'.

    He also acted in the soap operas 'General Hospital' and 'Search for Tomorrow'.

    His big screen credits included 'The Way We Were', 'Altered States' and 'Wag the Dog'.

    He retired in 2003, according to Variety, after appearing in the feature comedy Just Married, starring Ashton Kutcher and Brittany Murphy and moved from California to Washington.

    In addition to his wife, Gaynes is survived by a daughter; one granddaughter; and two great-granddaughters. His son, Matthew, died in a 1989 car crash.

    It was not immediately clear what caused the 98-year-old's death
    I wonder what killed him. He was only 98!
    Last edited by HWBL; February 17th, 2016 at 04:03 AM.
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  2. #2
    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    It was not immediately clear what caused the 98-year-old's death
    Um, the cause was being 98.
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    Silver Member spiderpig's Avatar
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    One of my favorite lines from Tootsie:

    Gaynes (as lecherous soap opera doctor): "I'm just an old has-been..."

    Hoffman (as Dorothy, fluttering hand to her throat): "Oh - were you ever famous?"
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    Elite Member KrisNine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sputnik View Post
    Um, the cause was being 98.
    Or from boredom, living in North Bend

    I loved him in Tootsie.

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    He was funny in all his comic roles. I remember being shocked when I saw Tootsie because George also played the notorious and ruthless mobster Frank Smith as part of the original Luke and Laura story line. He was really mean!


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    Elite Member msdeb's Avatar
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    i remember him as Frank Smith. wow, that was a long time ago
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    He was so great. Loved his voice. RIP!!!
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  9. #9
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    Rip


  10. #10
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    Soleil Moon Frye's tweet made me tear up.
    avatar made by green_queen@LJ

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    It might have been Obama, on his way home from knocking off Scalia.
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    Elite Member Air Quotes's Avatar
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    No, he was so young!
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    Elite Member sluce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C_is_for_Cookie View Post
    Soleil Moon Frye's tweet made me tear up.
    I went and looked it up because of your post. It is sweet.


    soleil moon frye ‏@moonfrye ∑ Feb 16
    The universe just gained a gigantic star. You will be in my heart and soul always & forever.
    Your little Punky
    RIP George Gaynes
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  14. #14
    Elite Member HWBL's Avatar
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    Yeah, like in the original post:

    Warren Beatty: actor, director, writer, producer.

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