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Ron Glass (1945 - 2016)

Jon Kopaloff / WireImage

Ron Glass (1945 - 2016)

Ron Glass, the actor known best for his work on “Barney Miller” and “Firefly,” died Friday, Nov. 26, 2016, according to Variety. He was 71.

Glass died of respiratory failure, according to his representative, Jeffrey Leavitt.

“Ron was a private, gentle, and caring man. He was an absolute delight to watch on screen. Words cannot adequately express my sorrow,” Leavitt told TMZ.

Glass played the intellectual Detective Ron Harris on the sitcom “Barney Miller” from 1975 to 1982. The show was hailed by critics and police officers for its realistic depiction of police work while also delivering consistent laughs. Much of the humor for his character stemmed from his dapper fashion sense and dreams of becoming a writer. He was nominated for an Emmy for best supporting actor in 1982.

Years later, he was part of another ensemble show, the sci-fi adventure series “Firefly” (2002). Although the series lasted less than one season, it developed a cult following, and a film, “Serenity,” was released in 2005. Glass played Shepherd Derrial Book, a spiritual leader and moral guide to the rest of the crew of the spaceship Serenity. However, there are frequent references to the character’s less-wholesome past.

“Ron Glass was one of the greatest actors to work with. His laugh was beyond infectious, and his generosity was ever present,” tweeted “Firefly” co-star Alan Tudyk.


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Glass was born July 10, 1945, in Evansville, Indiana. He studied drama and literature at the University of Evansville and made his stage debut at the famed Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. He then moved to Los Angeles, California, where he made his first television appearance in an episode of “Sanford and Son” in 1972.

After “Barney Miller,” Glass was tapped in 1982 to play neat-freak Felix Unger in an updated version of “The Odd Couple” called “The New Odd Couple.” The series, which featured an African-American cast, often reused scripts from the earlier Tony Randall-Jack Klugman series. It lasted for one season.

Glass worked consistently in film and television and was a frequent guest-star on many favorite shows. He played Ross Geller’s divorce lawyer, Russell, on “Friends” and made recent appearances on “CSI” and “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”

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