It is with great sadness that Cult Faction must report that Commandant Eric Lassard himself George Gaynes has passed away on Monday at the age of 98 years old. The tragic news was broken by his daughter.
His longtime agent, Jonathan Howard, told The Hollywood Reporter that his death was “a sad, sad loss. But he had a really long, great life.”
Gaynes is known to generations for his role in the Police Academy movies but that was just the tip of the iceberg. Entering films and television in the early 1960s, Gaynes was appeared in such films as The Group (1966), Marooned (1969) and Doctor’s Wives (1971). He also played notable roles in Altered States (1980), Tootsie (1982), Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid (1982), and The Fantastic Four (1994).
As well as film, Gaynes has notable TV roles such as Frank Smith, the Mafia boss who was after Luke and Laura on the soap opera General Hospital. In 1994, he played Serybryalzov in Louis Malle’s acclaimed independent feature, Vanya on 42nd Street. Other shows included The Defenders, Bonanza, Mission:Impossible, Hawaii Five-O, Hogan’s Heroes, Columbo, The Six Million Dollar Man, Cannon, Macmillan & Wife, Rich Man Poor Man, Quincey M.E., Cheers, Dinosaurs, Blue Thunder, and of course as Henry Warnimont in Punky Brewster.
One of his last roles was in 1999 when he played a role in the sci-fi television series Sliders for one episode, being the aged character of the leading role Quinn Mallory, played by Jerry O’Connell.