George R. Robertson, the Canadian actor best known for playing police chief and later police commissioner Henry Hurst in the first six films of the Police Academy franchise, died on January 29th. He was 89.
“Husband, father, grandfather, actor, writer, painter, humanitarian George bid this world goodbye, surrounded by his loving family on January 29, 2023, at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre,” Robertson’s family wrote in his obituary. “He leaves a legacy of many accomplishments.”
George Ross Robertson was born in Brampton, Ontario on April 20th, 1933. He spent much of his adolescence involved in school athletics such as hockey and football; he’d then go on to earn his MBA from Columbia University in 1959.
After beginning his acting career onstage, Robertson went on to have a six-decade-plus career in film and television. His first appearance on screen was an uncredited role in the 1968 cult horror film Rosemary’s Baby, with his big break coming in 1984 when he starred in the first Police Academy film. Over the next five years, he reprised 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 accumulated over 80 acting credits to his name, including a guest appearance on 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-wining two-part miniseries The Path to 9/11.
He had minor roles in three films that were nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards: the pioneering 1970 disaster film Airport, the 1979 Crystal Lee Sutton biopic Norma Rae, and Oliver Stone’s 1991 thriller JFK. His final credit was in the 2017 TV movie Cradle to Grace.
In 1993, CBC gave Robertson the Margaret Collier Award, an honor acknowledging lifetime achievement in Canadian film and TV. An activist who served as a UNICEF ambassador, he also earned 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.