George Gaynes, ‘Police Academy’ Star, Dies At Age 98
George Gaynes, known for his roles in Police Academy movies and Punky Brewster, has died at his family home in North Bend, Wash., at 98.
Gaynes was born with the name George Jongejans on May 16, 1917. The Finnish-born American actor was beloved in the entertainment industry for six decades, including prominent roles in film, TV, Broadway and opera. His career began to take off when he switched from Broadway to television in the ’60s and ’70s, starring in some of the era’s biggest hits, like Mission: Impossible and Hawaii Five-O. He starred in all seven movies and the television spin-off as Commandant Lassard in Police Academy, known for caring for his goldfish and riding around on his golf cart.
The actor retired in 2003, with his last role being in the movie Just Married which also featured Ashton Kutcher and the late Brittany Murphy.
“One of the true gentlemen in this business,” said his long-time agent Jonathan Howard.
His wife, Allyn, who starred in the show The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, which Gaynes was a regular on, survives him, along with their daughter and grandchildren. Gaynes’ son died in 1989.