Steve Guttenberg Is Proud of Bill Clinton's 'Police Academy' Mention at the DNC

The Police Academy actor is proud of the film franchise's lasting impact on pop culture, race relations

Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

While 80s comedy franchise Police Academy isn’t known for winning any major awards or for a serious portrayal of police training, star Steve Guttenberg says he’s “proud” of the series’ impact on pop culture and race relations.

“When Bill [Clinton] mentioned Police Academy [in his speech at the Democratic National Convention], that’s when I knew there was truth in politics,” Guttenberg told PEOPLE at the Resident Magazine Cover Party on Wednesday at Hudson Terrace in N.Y.C.

“Because he had told me that privately when I saw him a few years ago. He said that he loved Police Academy. He had a tough few days one time in the White House, it was pretty intense stuff, and he sat down and watched all the Police Academy‘s and it made him feel better. And it was such a great compliment, because it wasn’t Star Wars, it wasn’t Ghost Busters, it was Police Academy.”

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Guttenberg even sees a message in the movie for race relations. “You’ll notice in the first Police Academy, the scene with Bubba [Smith] and Marion Ramsey in which it really spoke to a lesson about race relations,” he said. “The Captain said something really rude to both of them. And in a strange way, my relationship with Michael Winslow and Marion, we’ve been friends for 30 years. We don’t see color, we don’t see religion, we don’t see height. We don’t see gender. We only see friendship. And I think there is something to be said and to be made about that. We can be friends. It doesn’t matter where you come from, your background, your ancestry. It’s really about character, integrity, values, and principles.”

The actor went on to say that real-life police officers frequently praise the series. “Cops always come up and say, ‘That’s how the Police Academy really is,’ ” he said. “My dad was a cop in the 103, which is Jamaica, [Queens] here in New York. He loved Police Academy. But he would have been proud of me, no matter what I did. The one thing about being a policeman is, they’re worth ten times what they’re being paid, because every day, they go out and they’re a target. They’re always a target. You’ve really got to respect them.

“Really, every time you see a police officer,” Guttenberg continued. “Say, ‘Thank you for your service,’ the same thing you do to military [personnel].”

Guttenberg’s latest film 2 Lava 2 Lantula (the sequel to Lavalantula), features several of his Police Academy costars and will be broadcast Aug. 6 on the SyFy Channel at 9 p.m ET.

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