George R. Robertson, Chief Hurst Actor in 'Police Academy' Franchise, Dead at 89

His family confirmed his death, which occurred at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 10: Actor George R. Robertson attends the "Still" premiere during the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival at Winter Garden Theatre on September 10, 2012 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images)
Photo: Jonathan Leibson/Getty

George R. Robertson, a Canadian actor best known for playing the stuffy but hilarious Chief Henry J. Hurst in six Police Academy films, has died at the age of 89.

The family confirmed his death at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre on Jan. 29 in an obituary. He was described as a "husband, father, grandfather, actor, writer, painter, [and] humanitarian" and family wrote that he "leaves a legacy of many accomplishments," many of which can be attributed to his lengthy career in movies and TV.

Born in Brampton, Ontario on April 20, 1933, Robertson began his acting career on the theater stage before booking small roles in several TV series including The F.B.I., The Most Deadly Game and Cool Million. But it wasn't until he landed a role in the '80s classic Police Academy, alongside stars Steve Guttenberg, Kim Cattrall and the late Bubba Smith that he got his big break. The movie was a huge commercial success and led to five more sequels between 1985 and 1989.

Editorial use only. No book cover usage. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Moviestore/Shutterstock (1612534a) Police Academy, G W Bailey, George Gaynes, George R Robertson Film and Television

After the film franchise concluded, Robertson continued acting in several TV movies and TV series like The Path to 9/11, The Pentagon Papers and Sundays at Tiffany's. He also held a series regular role on CTV drama series E.N.G from 1989-1994. He took on acting roles up until 2017, with his last two credits being Crossfire in 2016 and Cradle to Grave in 2017.

Robertson racked up about 80 acting credits throughout his career and was awarded the 1993 Margaret Collier Award by the Canadian Broadcast Corporation, according to his family.

Despite his lengthy film career, his family noted that "his most important goals were achieved by helping others." They said following his stint as Chief Hurst in Police Academy, he used his role to speak to youth in high schools across Canada as a UNICEF ambassador — a deed that eventually earned him the Danny Kaye UNICEF Canada award in 1990 for outstanding contribution. He also helped raise money for an orphanage in Chiang Mai, Thailand by walking 529 kilometers (more than 328 miles).

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Robertson had been an athlete prior to becoming an actor, taking part in both hockey and football during high school, and his family said that in his later years, he turned to a different kind of art: painting and writing.

He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Adele; two daughters, Sarah and Ellen; as well as several grandchildren. A memorial service will be held in March.

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