Police Academy's Commandant Lassard dead at 98

Posted at 12:39 AM, Feb 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-17 00:45:52-05

The versatile character actor who played Commandant Eric Lassard in the "Police Academy" movies and Henry Warnimont on "Punky Brewster," died Monday. He was 98.

 His death was confirmed to the New York Times by his daughter, Iya Garnes Folcone Brown.

Gaynes' career dates back to the 1950's playing one off guest roles on television and 35 movies throughout the decades. His work on "Tootsie" and the "Police Academy" movies during the 1980's made his face familiar to millions of Americans.

He landed the lead role on NBC's "Punky Brewster" following his movie success.

He was born in Helsinki, 1917. After being interned in Spain for three months during World War II, he enlisted in the Royal Dutch Navy and served for the duration of the war.  He moved to New York City after the war and started work at the New York City Opera.

Gaynes retied to Santa Barbara, California in 2003.  He later moved to Washington to stay with his daughter's family.