General Hospital alum George Gaynes dead at 98
Well-known character actor passes away.
George Gaynes, who originated the role of Port Charles mobster Frank Smith on “General Hospital,” died at 98 on Monday. Gaynes was best known to many as Eric Lassard in the “Police Academy” movies and as Henry Warnimont in the sitcom “Punky Brewster.” He got his start in show business in the New York City Opera and on Broadway. He starred in the original production of the musical “Wonderful Town” in 1953, as pictured above with Rosalind Russell. He also played soap opera star John Van Horn in the 1982 hit film “Tootsie,” in which he fell for his co-star Dorothy Michaels, Dustin Hoffman’s character who was disguised as a woman. He also played Sam Reynolds on the soap “Search for Tomorrow” in 1971 and 72.
On “GH” Frank Smith was one of Luke Spencer’s (Anthony Geary) first nemeses. Luke worked for the mob boss, and at one point was engaged to his daughter Jennifer, which was a ruse to save himself and Laura from the mobster. Gaynes only played the role for one year in 1980, as other actors took it over. The part was most recently played by Joe Cortese in 2015 as part of Geary’s departing storyline from the soap.
Gaynes is survived by his wife, actress Allyn Ann McLerie, with whom he shared a daughter. He also had one granddaughter and two great-granddaughters. His son Matthew died in a car crash in 1989. His on screen daughter Soleil Moon Frye (“Punky Brewster”) tweeted a sweet message about the actor’s passing. Soaps.com sends thoughts and prayers to his family.
The universe just gained a gigantic star. You will be in my heart and soul always & forever.
Your little Punky
RIP George Gaynes
— soleil moon frye (@moonfrye) February 17, 2016
Photo credit: Museum of the City of New York/Archive Photos/Getty Images
– Dustin Cushman