George Gaynes of Police Academy, Punky Brewser dies at age 98
George Gaynes, best known as the spacey Commandant Eric Lassard in the Police Academy movies, died Monday, according to Variety. He was 98.
Gaynes is best known to ‘80s fans for a large body of work on TV and film. In addition to his Police Academy role, he was the adoptive father in Punky Brewster and the lecherous soap opera actor in Tootsie. He’s also seen in guest spots on WKRP in Cincinnati, General Hospital, Cheers, Hotel and Matlock, among many others.
Gaynes’ career, however, dates all the way back to 1955 and the NBC Television Opera Theatre. His final role was in 2003’s Just Married.
In a 2004 interview with DVDverdict.com, Gaynes says he’s still recognized on the street by fans, but for which role often varies.
“You know, it depends on the generation and gender,” he said. “The males usually go for Police Academy and the young women now in their late 20s or so go for Punky Brewster. I am recognized quite frequently because they're still playing that stuff on television!”