George Gaynes

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George Gaynes
George Gaynes 1964.jpg
Gaynes in 1964
BornGeorge Jongejans
(1917-05-16) May 16, 1917 (age 97)
Helsinki, Grand Duchy of Finland, Russian Empire
Years active1940s-2003
Spouse(s)Allyn Ann McLerie (1953-present) 2 children
 
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George Gaynes
George Gaynes 1964.jpg
Gaynes in 1964
BornGeorge Jongejans
(1917-05-16) May 16, 1917 (age 97)
Helsinki, Grand Duchy of Finland, Russian Empire
Years active1940s-2003
Spouse(s)Allyn Ann McLerie (1953-present) 2 children

George Gaynes (born George Jongejans; May 16, 1917) is a Finnish-born[1] American singer and actor of stage, screen and television and voice artist

Gaynes' most recognized role in cinema was arguably that of Commandant Eric Lassard in the Police Academy series. To television fans, he is perhaps best known as the curmudgeonly Henry Warnimont on the NBC series Punky Brewster; as high-powered theatrical producer Arthur Feldman on The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, in which Gaynes' real-life wife, Allyn Ann McLerie, co-starred as his love interest; and as Frank Smith, the mob boss brought down by Luke Spencer (Anthony Geary) on the soap opera General Hospital.

Life and career[edit]

Gaynes was born in Helsinki, the son of Iya Grigorievna De Gay (later known as Lady Iya Abdy), a Russian artist, and Gerrit Jongejans, a Dutch businessman.[1] His uncle was actor Gregory Gaye.[1]

A United States citizen for most of his life, Gaynes rapidly built a reputation as a Broadway musical comedy performer in the 1940s and 1950s (his best-known appearance was in Wonderful Town, the musical version of My Sister Eileen). He had a career on the opera stages of Italy and France before World War II and in the US after the war.[citation needed]

He alternated between stage musicals and both comic and dramatic plays, including his role as Bob Baker in the original production of Wonderful Town (1953), Jupiter in the Cole Porter musical Out of This World, Gilbert and Sullivan operettas and as Henry Higgins in the 1964 US tour of My Fair Lady. In television, Gaynes played the role of Henry Warnimont, the eventual foster father for Punky Brewster in the eponymous series. (He also provided the voice for Henry in the animated Ruby-Spears version of the show.) Behind the camera, he directed several episodes of WKRP in Cincinnati. Films in which he appeared include The Way We Were, Nickelodeon and Tootsie.

In 1984, he played Commandant Lassard, the titular leader, in the first of seven Police Academy movies, and audiences of the 1980s may remember him 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.

Entering films and television in the early 1960s, Gaynes was a regular on the TV daytime dramas Search for Tomorrow and General Hospital, and showed up in such movies as The Group (1966), Marooned (1969) and Doctor's Wives (1971). He also 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.

Gaynes has been married to Canadian-born American stage and television actress and dancer Allyn Ann McLerie since December 20, 1953; they have two children.[1] In addition to Gaynes joining the cast of his wife's series The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd in 1989, he and McLerie had previously worked together on Punky Brewster, when she guest starred in a first season episode as a love interest of Henry Warnimont's.

Filmography[edit]

YearFilmRoleNotes
2003Just MarriedFather Robert
1998Police Academy: The SeriesCmdt. Eric Lassard
1997Wag the DogSenator Cole
1996The CrucibleJudge Samuel Sewall
1994Vanya on 42nd StreetSerybryakov
Police Academy: Mission to MoscowCmdt. Eric Lassard
The Fantastic FourProfessor
1989Police Academy 6: City Under SiegeCmdt. Eric Lassard
1988Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami BeachCmdt. Eric Lassard
The Numbers GameDon Salvatore
Un tassinaro a New YorkThe Admiral
1987Police Academy 4: Citizens on PatrolCmdt. Eric Lassard
1986Police Academy 3: Back in TrainingCmdt. Eric Lassard
1985Police Academy 2: Their First AssignmentCmdt. Eric Lassard
1984Police AcademyCmdt. Eric Lassard
Micki + MaudeDr. Eugene Glztszki
1983To Be or Not to BeRavitch
1982TootsieJohn Van Horn
Dead Men Don't Wear PlaidDr. John Hay Forrest
1980Altered StatesDr. Wissenschaft
1976NickelodeonReginald Kingsley
Harry and Walter Go to New YorkPrince
1975Trilogy of TerrorDr. Chester Ramsey
1973The Way We WereEl Morocco Captain
Slaughter's Big Rip-OffWarren
The Boy Who Cried WerewolfDr. Marderosian
1969MaroonedMission Director
1963PT 109PT boat base commander

Television roles[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]