George Gaynes


Actor

About

Also Known As
George Jongejans
Birth Place
Helsinki, FI
Born
May 16, 1917
Died
February 15, 2016

Biography

Whether he is best remembered as the screwball Commandant Lassard from the "Police Academy" (1984) franchise, the grumpy but kind hearted Henry Warnimont from the series "Punky Brewster" (NBC, 1984-88), or the amorous soap opera star John Van Horn in the comedy "Tootsie" (1982), actor George Gaynes was a fixture in '80s American pop culture. Originally born in Finland in 1917, Gaynes stu...

Family & Companions

Allyn Ann McLerie
Wife
Actor. Married December 20, 1953.

Biography

Whether he is best remembered as the screwball Commandant Lassard from the "Police Academy" (1984) franchise, the grumpy but kind hearted Henry Warnimont from the series "Punky Brewster" (NBC, 1984-88), or the amorous soap opera star John Van Horn in the comedy "Tootsie" (1982), actor George Gaynes was a fixture in '80s American pop culture. Originally born in Finland in 1917, Gaynes studied at the Coll├Ęge Classique Cantonal near Lausanne in Switzerland and later went on to study opera at the Music School of Milan in Italy. He would serve in both the Dutch and British Navies during World War II, before eventually relocating to the United States to focus on acting. He began racking up starring roles in Broadway shows like "The Consul" and "Wonderful Town," and eventually enrolled at the Actors Studio. After marrying a fellow Broadway actress, Allyn Ann McLerie, Gaynes and his new wife relocated to Los Angeles, where he began appearing on TV series like "Bonanza" (NBC, 1959-1973). His memorable role in "Tootsie" would come in 1982, quickly followed by the first of seven "Police Academy" movies in 1984. That same year, Gaynes began starring opposite the precocious Soleil Moon Frye on "Punky Brewster." He would go on to play the recurring character of Arthur Feldman on "The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd" (NBC, 1987-1991) and make notable appearances in films like "The Crucible" (1996) and "Wag the Dog" (1997) before retiring from acting in 2003. Gaynes died in 2016. He was 98 years old.

Life Events

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

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

Family

Gerritt Jongejans
Father
Businessman.
Iya Grigorievna Gay Jongejans Lady Abdy
Mother
Artist.
Iya Gaynes
Daughter
Matthew Gaynes
Son

Companions

Allyn Ann McLerie
Wife
Actor. Married December 20, 1953.

Bibliography