George Grizzard

George Cooper Grizzard Jr. (April 1, 1928 October 2, 2007) was an American Emmy Award- and Tony Award-winning actor of film, stage, and television. He appeared in more than 40 films, dozens of television programs, and a number of Broadway plays.

George Grizzard
George Grizzard with Patricia Barry in The Twilight Zone episode The Chaser.
George Cooper Grizzard Jr.

(1928-04-01)April 1, 1928
DiedOctober 2, 2007(2007-10-02) (aged 79)
Manhattan, New York City, U.S.
Years active1955–2006
Partner(s)William Tynan[1]

Life and career

Grizzard was born in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, the son o f Mary Winifred (née Albritton) and George Cooper Grizzard, an accountant.[2]

Grizzard memorably appeared as an unscrupulous United States senator in the film Advise and Consent in 1962. His other theatrical films included the drama From the Terrace with Paul Newman (1960), the Western story Comes a Horseman with Jane Fonda (1978), and a Neil Simon comedy, Seems Like Old Times (1980).

Grizzard guest-starred several times during the 1990s on the NBC television drama Law & Order as defense attorney Arthur Gold. He also portrayed President John Adams in the Emmy Award-winning WNET-produced PBS miniseries The Adams Chronicles. In 1975, Grizzard played a Ku Klux Klan attorney in the NBC-TV movie Attack on Terror: The FBI vs. the Ku Klux Klan about the murder of three civil rights workers in Mississippi.

Grizzard made his Broadway debut in The Desperate Hours in 1955. He was a frequent interpreter of the plays of Edward Albee, having appeared in the original 1962 production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? as Nick which won him a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album along with his castmates. He also appeared in the 1996 revival of A Delicate Balance and the 2005 revival of Seascape. He also starred in You Know I Can't Hear You When the Water's Running.

In 1980, he won an Emmy for his work in The Oldest Living Graduate. He starred as reporter Richard Larsen in The Deliberate Stranger, a television movie about serial killer Ted Bundy. He won the 1996 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play for A Delicate Balance. Additional Broadway credits include The Creation of the World and Other Business, The Glass Menagerie, The Country Girl, The Royal Family, and California Suite.

He also appeared in The Golden Girls as George Devereaux, the late husband of Blanche Devereaux (played by Rue McClanahan), as well as Jamie Devereaux, George's brother.

Grizzard made a guest-star appearance in the outdoor drama, The Lost Colony, as the comedy character Old Tom on Roanoke Island, North Carolina, in the summer of 1984. The show was directed by Joe Layton.

In 2001, Grizzard played Judge Dan Haywood in a stage production of Judgment at Nuremberg opposite Maximilian Schell under the production of actor Tony Randall. Grizzard appeared as Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the Kennedy Center in 2004.

Grizzard's last film appearance was in Clint Eastwood's Flags of Our Fathers.

He was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 2002.[3]


Grizzard died in Manhattan of complications from lung cancer. According to his New York Times obituary, his only survivor was his long-time companion William Tynan. Grizzard had kept his sexuality private during his life.

Selected TV and filmography


  • Robert Berkvist (3 October 2007). "George Grizzard, Actor Noted for Albee Roles, Dies at 79". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-04-02.
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