Police Academy's George Gaynes dies at 98

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 17 February 2016
Police Academy's George Gaynes

George Gaynes as Commandant Eric Lassard in Police Academy

'Police Academy' star George Gaynes has died aged 98 at his home in North Bend, Washington State

'Police Academy' star George Gaynes has died at the age of 98.

The actor passed away at his family home in North Bend, Washington State, his daughter Iya Gaynes Falcone Brown confirmed after a prolific career that spanned six decades in film and TV.

The American actor - who was born in Finland - was most famous for his role as Commandant Eric Lassard in the 'Police Academy' comedy films and for playing Henry Warnimont on the NBC TV series 'Punky Brewster', in which his wife, Allyn Ann McLerie guest-starred as his love interest.

Born on May 16, 1917 in Helsinki, George cut his acting teeth in his 30s and enjoyed a healthy career on Broadway before he made the move into television in the '60s and '70s and starred in some of the biggest shows of the era such as 'Mission: Impossible', 'Hawaii Five-O', 'Hogan's Heroes', 'The Six Million Dollar Man', and 'Columbo'.

He then moved into films and had a small part opposite Dustin Hoffman in the Oscar nominated 1982 movie 'Tootsie'.

Then in 1984 aged 67, George landed the role that went on to earn him international fame, as the hapless Commandant Lassard in 'Police Academy' who was regularly seen caring for his various goldfish and riding around in his golfcart and destroying his own office as practised his golf swing.

He starred in all seven movies and the 90s television series spin-off.

The actor retired in 2003 and his last role was in 'Just Married', alongside Ashton Kutcher and Brittany Murphy.

His long-time agent Jonathan Howard paid tribute to him, saying: "One of the true gentlemen in this business."

George is survived by his wife Allyn, 89, their daughter Iya and grandchildren. His son, Matthew, died in a car crash in 1989.

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