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George S. Irving (1922 - 2016)

Getty Images / Photo by Ben Hider

George S. Irving (1922 - 2016)

George S. Irving, a Tony Award–winning actor who played a role in “Irene” opposite Debbie Reynolds, has died at age 94, according to multiple news sources. 

The actor’s death was confirmed to Deadline / Hollywood by his friend and sometime director David Staller. He died Dec. 26 of natural causes. 

Irving was also a voice actor who voiced the character of the embittered Heat Miser in the Christmas stop-motion classic “The Year Without a Santa Claus.” 

He was born George Irving Shelasky in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1922. He made his debut in the original version of “Oklahoma!” in 1943 and was drafted into World War II shortly after. 

He is probably best remembered onstage for his starring role in “Irene” in 1974. His co-star was Debbie Reynolds (1932 – 2016), whose daughter Carrie Fisher (1956 – 2016), made her stage debut in that play. He won a Tony Award for his role in “Irene.”


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Much later in his career, in 2008, Irving performed a critically acclaimed one-man cabaret show in New York City. That same year, he received the 17th Oscar Hammerstein Award for lifetime achievement in musical theater.

Besides providing the voice of the memorable Heat Miser, Irving was the narrator on the cartoon “Underdog” and also the voice of Geppetto in “Pinocchio’s Christmas.”

The character actor appeared on many television series. He played the obnoxious husband of Edith Bunker’s cousin on “All in the Family.” He also appeared on “The Patty Duke Show.”

Irving was married to the actress Maria Karnilova, who created the role of Golde in “Fiddler on the Roof,” from 1948 until her death in 2001.

He is survived by two children and three grandchildren.

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