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George Gaynes

George Gaynes

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Also Known As: George Jongejans Died:
Born: May 16, 1917 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Finland Profession: actor, director, opera singer, acting teacher

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

This bushy-eyebrowed actor and opera singer best known for playing older fops, blustery vain fools, and the curmudgeonly Henry Warnimont on the NBC series "Punky Brewster" (1984-86). Under his real name of George Jongejans, Gaynes 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 appearances in Gilbert and Sullivan operettas and as Henry Higgins in the 1964 US tour of "My Fair Lady". Gaynes' feature film work began with a small role in "P.T. 109" (1962), and he played small parts in Sidney Lumet's "The Group" (1966), Sydney Pollack's "The Way We Were" (1973) and Peter Bogdanovich's "Nickelodeon" (1976). His first substantial screen role was in Pollack's 1982 comedy "Tootsie". In this Dustin Hoffman vehicle, Gaynes was John Van Horn, the silly old soap opera actor whose big kick is sticking his tongue into the actresses' mouths during love scenes. It turned out to be the magic his film career needed. Mel Brooks cast Gaynes as one of the troupe of Polish actors in "To Be or Not to Be" (1983), and in 1984 he played Commandant Lassard, the titular leader, in the first of...

This bushy-eyebrowed actor and opera singer best known for playing older fops, blustery vain fools, and the curmudgeonly Henry Warnimont on the NBC series "Punky Brewster" (1984-86). Under his real name of George Jongejans, Gaynes 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 appearances in Gilbert and Sullivan operettas and as Henry Higgins in the 1964 US tour of "My Fair Lady".

Gaynes' feature film work began with a small role in "P.T. 109" (1962), and he played small parts in Sidney Lumet's "The Group" (1966), Sydney Pollack's "The Way We Were" (1973) and Peter Bogdanovich's "Nickelodeon" (1976). His first substantial screen role was in Pollack's 1982 comedy "Tootsie". In this Dustin Hoffman vehicle, Gaynes was John Van Horn, the silly old soap opera actor whose big kick is sticking his tongue into the actresses' mouths during love scenes. It turned out to be the magic his film career needed. Mel Brooks cast Gaynes as one of the troupe of Polish actors in "To Be or Not to Be" (1983), and in 1984 he played Commandant Lassard, the titular leader, in the first of seven "Police Academy" movies. At the same time, Gaynes' TV career was also on the rise. Having begun in TV in the 1950s and marking time in the daytime dramas "Search for Tomorrow" (1971) and "General Hospital" (1980), he went on to be featured in several miniseries and TV-movies. His chance for primetime stardom came with the NBC series "Punky Brewster", in which he was the curmudgeonly Henry Warnimont who takes in and raises an orphaned little girl. Gaynes also provided Henry's voice for the animated series version of the show. After the demise of "Punky Brewster", he played a recurring role on "The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd" (on which his wife, Allyn Ann McLerie, was a regular), and was the air-headed Senator Smithers on "Hearts Afire" during that show's 1992-93 season. He has also directed several episodes of the syndicated sitcom, "WKRP in Cincinnati".

In 1994, Gaynes was a member of the cast of Louis Malle's acclaimed independent feature, "Vanya on 42nd Street", as Serybryalzov, the impoverished estate owner married to the much younger Yelena (Julianne Moore). He was also featured in the film adaptation of Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" (1996).

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Just Married (2003)
2.
 Wag the Dog (1997) Senator Nole
3.
 Crucible, The (1996) Judge Sewall
4.
 Police Academy VII: Mission to Moscow (1995) Commandant Lassard
5.
 Fantastic Four (1994)
6.
 Vanya on 42nd Street (1994) Serybryakov
7.
 Stepmonster (1993) Norman
8.
 Police Academy 6: City Under Siege (1989) Commandant Lassard
9.
 Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach (1988) Commandant Lassard
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1935:
Stage debut, "La malade imaginaire", Lausanne, Switzerland
1940:
Opera debut, "The Wizard", Teatro della Triennale, Milan, Italy
1943:
Was sub-lieutenant in Royal Netherlands Navy
:
Served in Royal British Navy
:
First and second basso, Opera House, Mulhouse, France
1950:
New York Broadway and opera debut, "The Consul", Ethel Barrymore Theatre (billed as George Jongejans)
1955:
Early TV appearances: as The Dancing Master, "The Would-Be Gentleman" (CBS Special); "One Touch of Venus" (NBC Special)
1957:
London stage debut, "Bells Are Ringing"
1962:
Film debut, "P.T. 109"
1964:
Played Henry Higgins in US tour of "My Fair Lady"
1971:
TV Series debut, regular role of Sam Reynolds on CBS daytime drama "Search for Tomorrow"
1975:
TV-movie debut, "Trilogy of Terror"
1976:
Miniseries debut, "Captains and the Kings"
1982:
Breakthrough film role as soap opera actor John Van Horn in "Tootsie"
1984:
First "Police Academy" film as Commandant Lassard; Gaynes has appeared in six sequels
:
Played Henry Warnimont on NBC sitcom, "Punky Brewster"
:
Provided voice of Warnimont on "Punky Brewster" animated series on NBC
:
Appeared as Arthur Feldman on "The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd"
:
Played Senator Smithers on "Hearts Afire"
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Education

College Classique Cantonal: - 1937
Scuola Musicale di Milano: - 1938 - 1939
Actors Studio: New York , New York - 1953 - 1958

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Allyn Ann McLerie. Actor. Married December 20, 1953.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Gerritt Jongejans. Businessman.
mother:
Iya Grigorievna Gay Jongejans Lady Abdy. Artist.
daughter:
Iya Gaynes.
son:
Matthew Gaynes.
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