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

Veteran Actor Also Remembered for Supporting Role in 1982 Theatrical 'Tootsie'

Character actor George Gaynes, who is remembered as for his stints on 1980s sitcom “Punky Brewster,” seven “Police Academy” films, and as a soap opera star with a crush on Dustin Hoffman in drag in 1982 theatrical “Tootsie,” died on Monday at his daughter’s home in North Bend, Washington. He was 98.

Born on May 16, 1917 in Helsinki, Russian Empire as George Jongejans, George Gaynes was an accomplished Broadway musical comedy performer, including appearing in the original production of “Wonderful Town” (1953). He guest starred in dozens of television series throughout the course of his career, and also had regular roles in “Rich Man, Poor Man – Book II,” and sitcoms “The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd” and “Hearts Afire.”

His is survived by his actress wife, Allyn Ann McLerie, his daughter, a granddaughter and two great-granddaughters. His son, Matthew, died in a car crash in 1989.

Written by Marc Berman

Marc Berman

Marc Berman has been writing professionally since 1999 and is the author of the “Mr. Television” for Campaign US ( Most recently, Berman was the creator and Editor-in-Chief of website and newsletter TV Media Insights for Cross MediaWorks. From 1999-2011, he was the Senior Editor for Mediaweek and has also written for The New York Daily News, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and Emmy Magazine, among others. Berman has also appeared on “Entertainment Tonight,” “Extra,” “Access Hollywood,” “Inside Edition,” “The CBS Evening News,” E!, CNN, CNBC, Fox News and MSNBC.

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