George Gaynes, Star of Punky Brewster and Police Academy Films, Dead at 98

George Gaynes Dead

George Gaynes, the man TV’s Punky Brewster called “Henry” (and eventually “dad”) from 1984 to 1988, died Monday in North Bend, Wash., at the age of 98.

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 CheersChicago 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.

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