George Gaynes passed away on Monday at the age of 98, his family has confirmed. The Police Academy star died at the home of his daughter Ivy Gaynes Falcone Brown in Washington.
The actor was best known for playing Commandant Eric Lassard in all seven Police Academy films and had performed in the Oscar-nominated film Tootsies. George also had a lead role in the 1980s sitcom Punky Brewster.
George Gaynes has passed away at the age of 89
His long-time agent Jonathan Howard confirmed the news of George's death in an interview with Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday, describing him as a "sad, sad loss".
"The last couple times I got in touch with him, even in his 90s, he was always happy to take the call and consider something," Jonathan said. "He was really one of the true gentlemen in this business and was working steadily for 50 years or more. A sad, sad loss. But he had a really long, great life."
George's Punky Brewster co-star Soleil Moon Frye also tweeted to express her sadness at the loss of her on-screen grandfather.
George's Punky Brewster co-star Soleil Moon Frye tweeted about the loss
"The universe just gained a gigantic star. You will be in my heart and soul always & forever. Your little Punky. RIP George Gaynes," she tweeted.
George was born George Jongejans in Helsinki, Finland on 16 May 1917. He was raised in France, England and Spain before settling in New York after the end of World War II.
There he joined the New York City Opera, before getting his first role on Broadway in the musical Wonderful Town in 1950s. George went on to star in a number of films and television programmes, including Hawaii Five-O, Columbo and Chicago Hope.
George retired in 2003 after playing Father Robert in the romantic comedy Just Married, alongside Ashton Kutcher and Brittany Murphy.