George Gaynes, Singer and Punky Brewster Actor, Dead at 98

George Gaynes (top, middle), during his 'Punky Brewster' days. Photo: Gary Null/2012 NBCUniversal, Inc.

George Gaynes, the singer and character actor best known for his work as Henry Warnimont and Commandant Lassard, died Monday in Washington, according to reports. The 98-year-old's daughter confirmed his death for the New York Times, but a cause was not initially noted. Aside from his roles on Punky Brewster and in the Police Academy films, Gaynes also took turns in such series and flicks as Matlock, 1994's Fantastic Four, General Hospital, Tootsie, Chicago Hope, and Wag the Dog, among many others. The Finland-born talent enjoyed an acting career that spanned roughly five decades, and also involved work in the theater and the opera. Gaynes retired in 2003, after appearing in the Ashton Kutcherstarring Just Married. He's survived by his wife, daughter, granddaughter, and two great-granddaughters.