George R. Robertson, Police Academy Legend, Has Died
George R. Robertson, best known for his roles in the Police Academy movies, passed away at 89.
If you are a fan of the Police Academy series of films, George R. Robertson is a man who needs no introduction. He played Chief and then Commissioner Hurst in six movies in the franchise, and after acting in Hollywood for over half a century, it’s fair to say that Robertson became an onscreen legend. Sadly, Deadline reports that the veteran actor died on January 29 at the age of 89.
By the time Police Academy was casting, George Robertson had already been acting in Hollywood for 15 years. Chances are that he saw the quirky police comedy as just another gig, but the movie proved to be a massive hit with audiences. The series went on to have six sequels, and Robertson starred in all but the last one (otherwise known as the weird one set in Moscow).
Like many actors, George Robertson began acting on the stage before transitioning to the screen. Before the Police Academy movies of the 1980s, Robertson’s career was arguably at its high point in the ‘70s. In addition to appearing in the popular television role The F.B.I., Robertson starred in Airport and Norma Rae, two movies that went on to get nominated for Best Picture (he would later appear in JFK in 1991, another film nominated for Best Picture).
The success of the Police Academy films made him a higher-profile star than he was before, and he used this cachet to continue steadily acting in a number of exciting roles. This includes the dramatic TV show E.N.G., the Showtime prestige drama Leap Years, and even portraying Dick Cheney in the miniseries The Path to 9/11. Honestly, George Robertson’s Police Academy experience, where he began as a stern straight man wrangling a cadre of crazy clowns may have been an invaluable experience for successfully portraying Dick Cheney, who was arguably the real-life Hurst of the George W. Bush administration.
Over the years, George Robertson impacted the world with a number of adoring fans, and he was eventually honored for his contributions. For example, he received the Margaret Collier Award from the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, and this award is meant to be a lifetime achievement for veteran actors. Speaking of that academy, it also presents the Gemini Awards, and in 2004, Robertson was named Humanitarian of the Year during the award ceremony.
George Robertson is survived by his wife Adele as well as his daughter Sarah Robertson and a number of children and step-grandchildren. Friends and family members are hoping to organize a memorial for the actor that will be held in late March. In the meantime, the family is asking fans to skip the flowers and simply donate to either UNICEF Canada or Youth Without Shelter.
In the meantime, this is the perfect time to dive back into the movies that helped make George Robertson so famous. As of this writing, the different Police Academy movies are available to rent or buy via Prime Video. Alternatively, you can hop on over to the free streaming service Tubi and watch one of his more unconventional roles: playing the United States president in National Lampoon’s Senior Trip.