George R. Robertson, Canadian actor best known for playing police chief and later police commissioner Henry Hurst in the first six films of Police Academy franchise, died on January 29. He was 89.
“Husband, father, grandfather, actor, writer, painter, humanitarian George departed this world, surrounded by his loving family on January 29, 2023, at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center,” Robertson’s family wrote in his obituary. “He leaves a legacy of many accomplishments.”
George Ross Robertson was born in Brampton, Ontario on April 20, 1933. He spent most of his youth involved in school athletics such as hockey and football; He then went on to earn his MBA from Columbia University in 1959.
After beginning his acting career on stage, Robertson went on to have a six-decade-plus career in film and television. His first screen appearance was an uncredited role in the 1968 cult horror film Rosemary’s babywith his big break coming in 1984 when he starred in the first Police Academy film. Over the next five years, he reprized his role as Henry Hurst in five of the franchise’s six sequels. He also guest starred in the short-lived spinoff sitcom Police Academy: The Series.
Robertson has accumulated more than 80 acting credits to his name, including a guest appearance in an episode of the 1980s iteration of The Twilight Zone and and a supporting role as Vice President Dick Cheney in ABC’s controversial, but Emmy-winning two-part miniseries The Road to 9/11.
He had minor roles in three films nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards: the pioneering 1970 disaster film. airport, the 1979 biopic of Crystal Lee Sutton Norma Raeand Oliver Stone’s 1991 thriller JFK. His last credit was in a 2017 TV movie Cradle to Grace.
In 1993, the CBC awarded Robertson the Margaret Collier Award, an honor that recognizes a lifetime of achievement in Canadian film and TV. An activist who served as a UNICEF ambassador, he also received the 2004 Gemini Award for humanitarianism.
Robertson is survived by his wife of 61 years, Adele, as well as their two daughters, Sarah and Ellen.