Born in Helsinki in 1917, Gaynes began his career on the Broadway stage in the 1950s and ’60s, including a starring role in the original production of the musical Wonderful Town.
But Gaynes is best known for playing Henry Warnimont — a grouchy photographer-turned-building manager who raises, and ultimately adopts, a young girl (played by Soleil Moon Frye) — in the ’80s sitcom Punky Brewster. (Update: Moon Frye posted a touching tribute to her former co-star on Instagram Tuesday evening, as seen below.)
Soap opera fans likely associate Gaynes with his early-’80s General Hospital character, mob boss Frank Smith. His small-screen resumé also includes roles on shows like Cheers, Chicago Hope, Matlock and (the original) Hawaii Five-O.
Gaynes’ acting success also translated to the big screen; he portrayed Commandant Eric Lassard in seven Police Academy movies and acted opposite Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie, among other noteworthy roles.
Did you have a favorite Gaynes character? Drop a comment with your memories of the late actor below.