Actor George Coe, best known as a member of the original cast of sketch comedy show “Saturday Night Live”, has passed away after battling a long illness. He was 86.
Coe, a longtime activist in the Screen Actors Guild, died on Saturday in Santa Monica, California, reported Variety.
Coe acted for more than 50 years of film, television, commercial and stage work.
He had a lengthy career as a commercial performer both on camera and voice over, including six years as the voice of Toyota.
He served more than a dozen years on the SAG national board of directors, having the vice president title for two years and creating the template for what became SAG’s first low-budget production contract.
Born in Jamaica, Queens, Coe’s Broadway theatre career began in 1957 and included performing as M Lindsey Woolsey opposite Angela Lansbury in the original cast of Jerry Herman’s “Mame” and as Owen O’Malley in “On The Twentieth Century”.
He was also an original member of “Not Ready For Prime Time Players”, which was referred as the original cast of “Saturday Night Live” and was credited as a cast member for the first show in October, 1975.
He portrayed the head of an ad agency in “Kramer vs Kramer” and was nominated for an Academy Award for the 1968 comedy short film “The Dove”, a parody of Ingmar Bergman’s films, which he co-directed as well as starred in.
Other feature film credits included “The Stepford Wives”, “Bustin’ Loose”, “Mickey and Maude” and “Funny People”.
His TV credits included “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, “Max Headroom”, “Murder, She Wrote” and “Bones”.
He voiced the character of Woodhouse in the animated series “Archer” and the Autobot Wheeljack in Michael Bay’s “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”.
The Hollywood Division of SAG awarded Coe with the Ralph Morgan Award for service to the guild in 2009.
“It is with heavy hearts that our SAG-AFTRA family says goodbye to George Coe,” said SAG-AFTRA President Ken Howard.
“He was a stalwart unionist and a tremendous presence in our union for many years. He served his fellow actors and the labor movement with conviction and pride. Our deepest condolences go out to his family.”