George Gerdes, a character actor and musician whose work has spanned the stage and screen, has passed away at the age of 72. The news of his death was confirmed by his life partner, Judy Johns, to The Hollywood Reporter. Gerdes reportedly passed away on New Year's Day, January 1st, after he suffered a brain aneurysm the day prior. Gerdes is known for his decades-long career in film, television, and theater, with notable roles in projects like The X-Files, Bosch, A Few Good Men, Single White Female, and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.
Born in Queens, New York, on February 23, 1948, Gerdes quickly developed a knack for imitating television personalities. He graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 1969, and went on to establish a unique career as a folk/pop artist. Gerdes released two albums for United Artists Records. - 1971's Obituary and 1972's Son of Obituary. His music earned critical acclaim and some notable fans, including Joni Mitchell, who referred to his song "Say So What Else Is New" as "the happiest sad song I've ever heard".
"George's songs and performances were unlike anything I've ever heard before or since," Terre Roche, a friend of Gerdes and founding member of The Roches, told The Hollywood Reporter in a statement. "The songs were beautifully crafted. But when he mounted the stage, it was as if he had become a channel for all sorts of characters from out of the movies as he effortlessly held rapid-fire conversations between Buster Keaton, Elvis, the Wicked Witch of the West, Laurel & Hardy and myriad others from his youth."
Gerdes began to appear in theater in the 1980s, including on Sam Shepard's Fool for Love and Aaron Sorkin's A Few Good Men. In the 1990s, he appeared on film and television as Reverend Calvin Hartley in the 1994 The X-Files episode "Miracle Man", the superintendent in Single White Female, and made appearances on Seinfeld, NYPD Blue, Walker, Texas Ranger, and Chicago Hope.
As his career went on, he made appearances on episodes of Alias, Numb3rs, True Blood, Lost, and Bones. His most recent roles included playing Ray Scales on Bosch, the Udevalla Detective in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Dwight Eisenhower in The 11th Green.
"George was a triple threat," Roche continued. "A great singer-songwriter and an actor as well. Not to disparage the worth of big stars, but in many ways George was too deep and profound to become a big pop sensation. Many of us New York City singer-songwriters of that era owe a great debt to George's influence. He once told me that as a child he wanted to go inside the television with all the people he encountered there. With his acting career, he went on to fulfill that dream for himself."0comments
Donations in Gerdes' name can be made to the Meher Spiritual Center.
Our thoughts are with Gerdes' family, friends, and fans at this time.