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Veteran character actor Henry Polic II, who played the Sheriff of Nottingham on the Mel Brooks’ series When Things Were Rotten and Jerry Silver on Webster, another ABC comedy, has died. He was 68.
Polic, who also found cult fame as the voice of the evil Scarecrow/Dr. Jonathan Crane in Batman: The Animated Series, died Sunday in an assisted living facility in Sherman Oaks after a long battle with cancer, his longtime manager Brad Lemack announced.
Polic was a popular game-show player, appearing often on The $25,000 Pyramid and its later incarnation, The $100,000 Pyramid, both hosted by Dick Clark. Polic was a game-show host himself, running ABC’s Double Talk in 1986.
Polic played Dracula on the short-lived 1970s NBC series Monster Squad and guest-starred on dozens of shows, including Alice, Mork & Mindy, Eight Is Enough, Murder, She Wrote, Sheena and Saved by the Bell.
In addition to his work on Batman, he lent his voice to the series The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang, Smurfs, The Dukes and Midnight Patrol: Adventures in the Dream Zone.
On Webster, Polic played the sarcastic Jerry Silver, the secretary and confidant to Katherine (Susan Clark), on 54 episodes of the series, which ran on ABC and in syndication from 1983-89.
Born in Pittsburgh in 1945, Polic attended Florida State University and earned a master’s degree in acting. Following graduation, he was drafted and stationed at Fort Riley in Kansas, then became associated with the Missouri Tent Theatre, the Player’s Theatre of Miami and Phoenix’s Southwest Ensemble Theatre, among others.
His move to Los Angeles in the early 1970s led to his TV debut as the Sheriff of Nottingham on ABC’s short-lived 1975 comedy When Things Were Rotten, starring Richard Gautier as Robin Hood and Dick Van Patten as Friar Tuck.
Polic’s film credits include The Last Remake of Beau Geste (1977), the Joan Rivers-written Rabbit Test (1978), Oh, God! Book II (1980), Bring Him Home (2000) and All You Need (2001).
Polic appeared in more than 70 regional and local productions, including the world premiere at the Pasadena Playhouse of the eventual Broadway hit Sister Act: The Musical, in which he originated the role of Monsignor Howard.
Other theater credits include Long Beach Civic Light Opera’s production of 1776, Long Beach International City Theatre’s Putting It Together, Music Theatre West’s Never Gonna Dance and the world premiere productions of A Couple of Guys at the Movies and Is This Your Life? (written expressly for him), in which he starred.
Polic’s directing credits for the stage include Neil Simon’s Fools for the Actors Co-op in Hollywood and for the Rubicon Theatre in Ventura; the world premiere of Jim Geoghan’s Two Gentlemen of Corona; the world premiere production of Nebraska; both the Los Angeles and New York productions of Brine County Wedding; and a box-office record-breaking production of Dracula for American Stage in St. Petersburg, Fla.
As a celebrity auctioneer and event host, he helped raise more than $2 million over the years for charities including the Adam Walsh Foundation, Concern Foundation for Cancer Research, American Diabetes Association and the Leukemia Foundation.
He taught a class in acting for the camera at the Emerson College Los Angeles Center and a course in acting and performance at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in L.A.
Polic was a member of The Actors Fund since 1973 and a member of the organization’s western council, which honored him last year with emeritus status.
A memorial scholarship fund has been established in Polic’s name at Florida State to provide funding to assist the School of Theatre’s annual production of new works. Contributions can be made by contacting Fred Salancy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Survivors include his sister, two nieces and a nephew.
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