George Robertson, the Canadian actor best known for his role as the police chief (and later commissioner) in the slapstick Police Academy film series, died at the age of 89 earlier this week.
According to a family announcement, Robertson died on Sunday at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto.
“He leaves a legacy of many accomplishments—a splendid career in stage, films, and TV with over 80 roles on both the big and small screen, most notably the original and six sequels of Police Academy,” the family’s online obituary reads. “He began his career on the stage and worked successfully in the industry for the next 60 plus years.”
While his most memorable role was as Police Chief Henry Hurst in the first six Police Academy movies (the character would later be promoted to police commissioner), Robertson appeared in many award-winning films and television series over his multi-decade career.
Besides small parts in the Oscar-nominated films Norma Rae, Airport and JFK, he also specialized in playing historical authority figures in his later years. Notably, he portrayed Vice President Dick Cheney in the 2006 television miniseries The Path to 9/11, late GOP presidential nominee Barry Goldwater in Showtime’s The Reagans, and Arkansas Sen. William Fulbright in the 2003 FX film The Pentagon Papers.
Other credits include the Goldie Hawn film Deceived (1991), political thriller Murder at 1600 (1997), and the teen comedy National Lampoon’s Senior Trip (1995). His last on-screen appearance was in the 2017 TV movie Cradle to Grave.
His family noted that Robertson received the Danny Kaye UNICEF Canada award in 1990 after traveling across Canada and speaking to high schools as his Police Academy character. He would later be awarded the Margaret Collier Award in 1993, presented to him by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television for lifetime achievement.
Additionally, he was awarded 19th Annual Gemini Award in 2004 for his “extraordinary compassion and community involvement (that has had) an enormous impact on the lives of children in Canada and around the world.”
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