Remembering Edward Herrmann: Gilmore Girls Creator Recalls the 'Audition' That Changed Everything

Edward Herrmann Death

Edward Herrmann was Amy Sherman-Palladino’s first choice to play Lauren Graham’s TV dad, but the Gilmore Girls creator knew she faced an uphill battle landing the Emmy- and Tony-winning acting vet.

In the wake of Herrmann’s death on Wednesday from brain cancer, Sherman-Palladino shared with TVLine the surprising story that led to Herrmann’s against-all-odds casting, and the moment she came face-to-face with Richard Gilmore.

[FYI: When an actor “reads” for a role, he is essentially auditioning.]

When we were casting the part of Richard on Gilmore Girls, we all sat around saying, ‘If we could only get Ed Herrmann.’ So we sent the script to his agent who said Ed will come in and meet, but he won’t read. We said fine — great. Set it up. The agent said, ‘But I need you to understand — he will not read.’ We said we get it — no reading. The agent said, ‘He’s Ed Herrmann. He’s worked with Woody Allen! He was in Reds! He will not, under any circumstances, read!’ We were like ‘Hey, if he’ll even sit down and talk to us, we’d be honored.’ So Ed came in. He sat down and said, ‘I like it. It’s funny. Should I read?’ We sat there in stunned silence as Ed opened the script and proceeded to read. And just like that, Richard Gilmore was sitting in front of us. And that’s when I knew this show was charmed… To our patriarch, I thank you. I miss you. And I could never repay you.

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69 Comments
  1. CourtTV says:

    This made me tear up! He’ll be missed.

  2. Cathy says:

    Such a class act, cannot be replaced.

  3. Roger says:

    Right in the feels! He was so damn charismatic.

  4. serena says:

    Literally just teared up reading this. He was a great actor and I absolutely loved him on GG. He was definitely perfect for that role and I couldn’t imagine anyone else but him. RIP

    • yurie says:

      Literally here’s some glue to put yourself back together. Jokes aside, the guy was solid and the most stable part of GG.

  5. TV Gord says:

    Well, if you wanted to make a 53-year-old man cry, mission accomplished.

  6. spindae2 says:

    Ed was such an exceptional actor! Just this morning they streamed Ritchie Rich and I was so sad. RIP, my prayers are with his family!

  7. DramaMomma says:

    I like him more with each story that comes out.

  8. vicki says:

    Love him. He was talented, humble and a lovely human being.

  9. Yogi Chelsea says:

    No one else could have been Richard Gilmore.

  10. wgsecretary says:

    I got a little teary eyed at that. Wow. What a classy guy. He was a great actor.

  11. Barbara says:

    I join the other posters with tears in their eyes! He will be missed! R.I.P.

  12. Jan Wasserman says:

    Gilmore Girls is my all time favorite show. I have watched it on ABC Family so often, every day for years. Richard Hermann has left a great legacy.

    • Lisa says:

      I have rewatched the whole series at least 5 times. The funny thing is every rewatch brings new insight to the characters and new emotions. Sometimes I rooting for Jess other times for Dean. GG is the best written show in TV history IMO and perfectly cast.

  13. Dennis says:

    I loved this show so much every character was perfect and fit together so well and he was a big part of it

  14. Amie says:

    Loved him in everything he did, from The Paper Chase to Eleanor and Franklin and Reds and The Purple Rose of Cairo and, of course, Gilmore Girls. Always a class act. Always a first-class actor.

  15. DW says:

    What a great actor and person. Talk about nailing a role. He was just perfect and will be greatly missed.

  16. Loz says:

    Awwww… That’s nice. He will be missed

  17. Jess says:

    He was like a surrogate grandpa to all of us die hard GG fans! He will be missed!

  18. Alice says:

    I loved him and everything he played in but I do miss the Gilmore girls watched every episode wish there was more

  19. Kristine says:

    This was awesome! I have been a fan of gilmore girls for many years. I fell in love with it after my mothers passing, and watched every season about ten times if not more. I loved Lorelei’s parents as the Ed’s character reminded me exactly of my own father. Since I heard the news of his passing, I have been again watching the show on netflix for the third time since it became available. Thank you for letting the world know how “Richard Gilmore” became apart of our lives.

  20. Cheryl says:

    My prayers to his family and friends. Mr.Hermann was made for the part of Richard Gilmore. He was a huge talent and will be missed.

  21. Crystal says:

    I LOVE the Gilmore Girls and Mr. Herrmann was fantastic in that role. He will be missed. Praying for his family…

  22. Babbs says:

    He was wonderful in everything he did. This is such a loss in so many ways – one more gentleman gone.

  23. Holly says:

    Sooo sad to hear he was a great icon and legend he will be missed

  24. Misty says:

    This is such a moving story and I am so glad that Amy decided to share it! It gave me an invite to the greatness of the men!! Thanks for the memories on one of my favorite shows Edward Herrmann

  25. Camille Frisone says:

    He was an amazing actor who brought “Richard Gilmore” to life and made him part of the family. He was a true gentleman and we were blessed to experience his talent and truly his personality clearly shined through his characters! God bless his family and most sincere condolences.

  26. Audrianne Hill says:

    What a talent. This loss is heartbreaking.

  27. Lin says:

    he was perfect. Sometimes boorish, sometimes gentle, but we always loved him

  28. Sonnie says:

    wow, i’m speechless. I read it and have tears in my eyes, i could hear his voice saying those words. He truly was perfect in that role and his others. So sad, so young.

  29. Jer says:

    Amy’s words were so touching. I teared up as well. Such a beautiful way to honor his memory. I, too, agree that the show wouldn’t have been what it was without him. No one else could have played that role. In general, I liked him in almost any role he was in — so talented! I hope he has all the peace and happiness he could have ever wanted.

  30. That is making me feel emotional, it is how Richard Gilmore would behave. A sad loss to the acting profession.

  31. Kuke says:

    I love this story, I love Gilmore Girls, and I love him playing Richard. But I find it funny that his people kept insisting he wouldn’t read because of who he was and all his credentials. Do you know what I remember him for? Not Reds, not FDR. I remember from car commercials. And Gilmore Girls.

  32. This brought tears to my eyes. He will be missed.

  33. Linda Steele says:

    My favorite show Gilmore Girls.
    Edward Herman was perfect as Richard Gilmore. I’ve seen him in other roles and loved him in everything. So natural. He is in the category with the greats Jimmy Stewart. John Wayne . & many more. He was real and will be truly missed RIP Edward Herman. Love you always ,,God Bless your Family & Friends

  34. Kay says:

    GREAT casting on this show. Spent many hours cuddled up with my daughters watching it. (I was a single mom who could relate) He was tge perfect Gilmore dad. Loved the show.

  35. Kathy says:

    Loved Gilmore Girls! Own all the DVDs! The entire cast was wonderful; but Mr.Herrmann as Richard Gilmore was absolutely the best!!! My daughter and I watched faithfully week after week, season after season! Thank you for such a wonderful show!

  36. Sheryl says:

    Edward Herrmann was a great actor. Loved him on Gilmore Girls! Prayers going out to the family! RIP Edward Herrmann you will be missed

  37. cristina says:

    I could never have pictured anyone else in that role. The chemistry between him and Kelly Bishop was so perfect, you would have thought they were real life husband and wife. He added a touch of class to every show he was on. He will be missed.

  38. Rocio says:

    Our deep condolences from Guayaquil, Ecuador

  39. vickie stanley says:

    A true professional. Always loved him. Never knew his politics nor his beliefs. He only made certain that the audience got what it came for – his amazing talent. You will be sorely missed.

  40. Debbie bowles says:

    I thought Ed Herrmann was especially good in his scenes with Alexis Bledel. He gave a warm and loving portrayal as Rory’s grandfather on Gilmore Girls .

  41. eolandra says:

    I always wondered how Edward Herrmann came to play Richard Gilmore. Whenever I would be watching Gilmore Girls and he was in a scene, I would end up “googling” him and seeing his amazing background and I would just wonder how he came to be a part of the Gilmore Girls family. This was a wonderful tribute. I am so sorry to hear of his passing but I am so glad I got to watch a master actor in such a lively, funny and heartfelt show.

  42. Thanks for sharing that TVLine.. best entertainment blog/site on the internet!!

  43. Gaby says:

    Perfection! He never seemed like he was too good for any show!

  44. Shawna says:

    Damn ninjas onions.
    Ed Hermann was a tall tall man. He made any role better, any cast shine.

  45. Debbee says:

    I also am tearing up he was such a great actor even in his younger days and rolls he was great !
    He will Truley be missed RIP we err all so awed to watch you on the silver screen & TV screen such a great Actor and human !!!!!

  46. Akri says:

    A larger than life actor and a class act who will be missed forever.

  47. Lee Ann Gonyou-Ather says:

    This is one of my favorite shows, I only have 2 seasons on DVD & hope to find more. He was so wonderful in this show…loved it!

  48. irishmary24 says:

    I was soo dreaming of a Gilmore Girls reunion. No one could take Edward Herrmann’s place as Richard Gilmore. He was a great actor. He will be missed.

  49. Carolina says:

    Heart broken. All I can think about is that scene when Kelly Bishop’s character says; “No, Richard, I did not sign up to your dying, in fact I demand to go first” Mr Herrmann, thank you for the memories. I will miss you.
    PS: You made a great Vampire in the Lost Boys too.

  50. Shira says:

    Irreplaceable. The great actor, the man behind him and the fabulous “charmed” show