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Exclusive: Community Casts Deadwood Actor 12 Years Chevy Chase's Junior as Pierce's Dad

NBC’s Community has cast an actor to play the presumed-dead dad of Chevy Chase’s Pierce — and he’s definitely not who anyone would expect to see as the patriarch.

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TVLine has learned exclusively that character actor Larry Cedar — who is arguably “best known” as opium addict/crook/card sharp Leon from HBO’s Deadwood, and happens to be 12 years younger than Chase — will portray Cornelius, the eldest Hawthorne, in an early Season 3 episode.

“We’re taking the Estelle Getty approach,” exec producer Dan Harmon jokes, referring of course to Golden Girls, where Bea Arthur was actually a bit older than her TV mom. “Instead of getting an actor who is actually old enough to be Pierce’s dad in real-life, we’re going to a younger actor who we can make feel old in different way.”

Pierce, who exited the Greendale study group in the second season finale, “is going to have no shortage of trials to overcome this season,” Harmon reveals. “Pierce is going to have an encounter with his father — who we may have thought was dead, but it turns out is still very much alive and very much a force in Pierce’s life — after he makes a decision with the Hawthorne Moist Towelettes company that his dad doesn’t approve of.”

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TVLine has also learned that actor Jerry Minor — who briefly popped up in the tag of last year’s season-ender as the janitor cleaning up the paintball war, and well as in Season 1 — will reappear in the same episode as Cedar. The Saturday Night Live/Carpoolers alum will once again play the Greendale custodian, who still sees real promise in Troy’s abilities as a plumber and tries to convince him to join the fold.

Community‘s third season launches Thursday, Sept. 22 at 8/7c on NBC.