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George Gaynes (born George Jongejans; May 16, 1917) is a Finnishmarker-born Americanmarker actor. He is an accomplished Broadway actor, as well as a film and television star in the United States. He is best-known to movie fans as Commandant Eric Lassard in the Police Academy series, and to television fans as the curmudgeonly Henry Warnimont on the NBC series Punky Brewster, in which his wife, Allyn Ann McLerie, guest-starred as his love interest, and as Frank Smith, the mob boss brought down by Luke Spencer (Anthony Geary) on the soap opera General Hospital.

Life and career

Gaynes was born in Helsinkimarker, Finland, the son of Iya Grigorievna De Gay (later known as Lady Iya Abdy), an artist, and Gerritt Jongejans, a businessman. His uncle was actor Gregory Gaye.

A United States citizen for most of his life, and blessed with a superb singing voice and an amiable stage presence, Gaynes rapidly built a reputation as a Broadway musical comedy performer in the 1940s and '50s (his best-known appearance was in Wonderful Town, the musical version of My Sister Eileen). He had a career on the opera stages of Italy and France before World War II and in the US after the war.

He alternated between stage musicals and both comic and dramatic plays, including his role as Bob Baker in the original production of Wonderful Town (1953), Jupiter in the Cole Porter musical Out of This World , Gilbert and Sullivan operettas and as Henry Higgins in the 1964 US tour of My Fair Lady. In television, Gaynes provided Henry Warnimont's voice for the animated series version of Punky Brewster, and directed several episodes of WKRP in Cincinnati. Films in which he appeared includeThe Way We Were, Nickelodeon andTootsie.

In 1984, he played Commandant Lassard, the titular leader, in the first of seven Police Academy movies, and audiences of the 1980s may remember him as Frank Smith, the Mafia boss who was after Luke and Laura on the popular soap opera General Hospital. In 1994, he played Serybryalzov in Louis Malle's acclaimed independent feature, Vanya on 42nd Street.

Entering films and television in the early 1960s, Gaynes was a regular on the TV daytime dramas Search for Tomorrow and General Hospital, and showed up in such movies as The Group (1968), Marooned (1969) and Doctor's Wives (1971).He also played a role in the sci-fi television series Sliders for one episode, being the aged character of the leading role Quinn Mallory, played by Jerry O'Connell.

He has been married to Canadian-born stage and television actress and dancer Allyn Ann McLerie since December 20, 1953; they have two children.


Year Film Role Notes
2010 Police Academy 8 Eric Lassard
2003 Just Married Father Robert
1997 Wag the Dog Senator Cole
1996 The Crucible Judge Samuel Sewall
1994 Vanya on 42nd Street Serybryakov
Police Academy: Mission to Moscow Cmdt. Eric Lassard
1989 Police Academy 6: City Under Siege Cmdt. Eric Lassard
1988 Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach Cmdt. Eric Lassard
1987 Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol Cmdt. Eric Lassard
1986 Police Academy 3: Back in Training Cmdt. Eric Lassard
1985 Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment Cmdt. Eric Lassard
1984 Police Academy Cmdt. Eric Lassard
Micki + Maude Dr. Eugene Glztszki Played the role of Ravitch in Mel Brooks' "To Be Or Not To Be" 1983
1982 Tootsie John Van Horn
Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid Dr. John Hay Forrest
1976 Nickelodeon Reginald Kingsley
1975 Trilogy of Terror Dr. Chester Ramsey
1969 Marooned Mission Director
1963 PT 109 PT boat base commander

Television roles


  1. George Gaynes Biography (1917-)

External links

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