The original Police Academy was released in 1984. It was a success, which was a blessing and a curse, as it spawned 6 sequels – the seventh and the last of the franchise was Police Academy: Mission to Moscow in 1994. Police Academy eventually became more known for it’s ridiculous sequels than for the fun movie that it was. I actually enjoyed the first three movies – the original, Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment, and Police Academy 3: Back in Training.
Police Academy had a colorful cast of characters. But we have not really heard from most of them in a while. Here is where they are now:
Steve Guttenberg (Carey Mahoney): Mahoney is the lead character of the first four movies. He was a womanizer and troublemaker “with a heart of gold”. Steve Guttenberg was a huge star throughout the ’80s. In addition to the Police Academy movies, he starred in Diner, Short Circuit, Cocoon in 1985, as well as the sequel in 1988 – Cocoon: The Return. And he also starred in the Three Men and a Baby and Three Men and a Little Lady with Tom Selleck and Ted Danson. After that, Guttenberg kind of disappeared. I remember seeing him in 1997’s Tower of Terror on The Wonderful World of Disney. More recently, he appeared on the 2008 spring season of Dancing with the Stars, where he was eliminated after the third week. He was also in the television show Veronica Mars.
Now it looks like Gutenberg’s next project is Three Men and a Bride, which is in development, and according to imdb, is scheduled to be released in 2012.
Bubba Smith (Moses Hightower): Hightower was in all of the films except for the final one. He is best known for his immense stature and inhuman strength (Hightower practices for his driving test by ripping the front seat out of a compact car [a 1977 Honda Civic owned by Copeland], and steering comfortably from the back). However, he is the most soft-spoken of all the characters. Despite his gigantic size, Hightower has sometimes admitted that he lacks self-confidence, such as when he tells Mahoney that he has not driven a car since he was twelve years old, and fears failing out of the police academy as he will not pass the driving test. His character often breaks things or uses force to threaten the bad guys.
Smith spent nine seasons in the NFL as a defensive end. He was the first overall selection in the 1967 NFL Draft, chosen by the Baltimore Colts (he became the first African-American overall #1 to actually play in a game, as the first overall player with this distinction, Ernie Davis, died without ever playing a single down). Baltimore won Super Bowl V at the end of the 1970 season, earning Smith his only Super Bowl ring.
Smith did not really appear in too much of anything other than the Police Academy movies. But, he was also known for the classic Miller Lite commercials:
[Note: Sadly, Bubba Smith passed away, on August 3, 2011 at the age of 66. See here for some more info]
David Graf (Eugene Tackleberry) (April 16, 1950 – April 7, 2001): Tackleberry was probably my favorite character of the series. He was best known for his love of firearms, and his ability of getting the job done…with overkill. An example of this is when he helped an old lady who lost her money in a pay phone by shooting it and making a bunch of money fall in his hands “Can you identify your quarter, Ma’am”.
After the Police Academy movies, David Graf made small appearances on several TV shows such as Seinfeld, Star Trek: Voyager , and The West Wing. He also played Alice’s boyfriend, Sam the butcher in The Brady Bunch Movie.
Sadly, Graf died of a heart attack on April 7, 2001 while attending a family wedding. He was 50 years old.
Michael Winslow (Larvell Jones): Jones was best known for making his own sound effects with his mouth. He played pranks and deceived both criminals and authority figures. Jones was able to clearly imitate such sounds as a flat tire, a couple noisily eating fast food, gunfire, and, memorably, a badly-dubbed martial arts star when he defeats a pair of hoods bullying an Asian grocer.
Since the fall of 2008, Winslow has hosted the motion picture television series called “Way Back Wednesday with Winslow” on WGN America, which features movies mostly released in the 1980s. Michael continues to perform stand-up comedy around the world.
Marion Ramsey (Laverne Hooks): Hooks had a very soft voice, and often had trouble putting people in line. However, when she was pushed to her limit, she would knock people out or pul her weapon, and screech the memorable phrase: “Don’t move, dirtbag!”
Marion Ramsey has not really appeared in anything significant other than the Police Academy movies.
Leslie Easterbrook (Debbie Callahan): Callahan was basically a female version of Tackleberry. She was a stoic, no-nonsense officer who is both physically and sexually aggressive. She used to train the cadets. When she taught self defense, she performed a demonstration on a cadet, and quickly took him down, and sat on his chest. When she asked for another volunteer, all the male cadets volunteered.
Leslie Easterbrook appeared as a guest on several TV shows since Police Academy. In 2005, Leslie replaced Karen Black as Mother Firefly in Rob Zombie’s The Devil’s Rejects. In 2007, she played security guard Patty Frost in Rob Zombie’s remake of Halloween. In 2008, she played as Betty in the thriller/horror film House.
George Gaynes (Eric Lassard): Lassard was in charge of the police academy. He traveled by golf cart, and tended to destroy things while golfing in his office. He had a big heart, but was clueless. He gave long winded, optimistic speeches about the future of the academy.
George Gaynes was more well known to television viewers for playing the lovable curmudgeon Henry Warnimont, who took in Punky Brewster.
I never watched General Hospital, but Gaines played a mob boss called Frank Smith, who was brought down by Luke Spencer. Maybe fans of that soap could give us more information.
George Gaines has been married to actress and dancer Allyn Ann McLerie since December 20, 1953, and they have two children – Matthew and Iya. George and Allyn live in Calabasas, California.
[Sadly, George Gaynes passed away at his home in North Bend, Washington on February 15, 2016. He was 98.]
G.W. Bailey (Thaddeus Harris): Harris was the bad guy of the police academy. He was always attempting to discredit Lassard and his men, but ends up being the butt of most of the jokes.
He gets pleasure from tormenting and belittling first, his cadets as an academy instructor, and later on, Lassard’s men whom he still holds rank over. Although he is generally disliked by his colleagues due to his treatment of them, those same people end up rescuing him.
In addition to the Police Academy movies, G.W. Bailey was known for playing Rizzo on M*A*S*H.
He returned to college in 1993, attending Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. He graduated in May 1994 with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts, Theater. For the 1999–2000 school year, he was the Artist-in-Residence.
Since 2001, Bailey has served as the Executive Director of the Sunshine Kids Foundation, which provides trips and activities for hundreds of young cancer patients annually. He has volunteered for over fifteen years since being introduced to the organization by his goddaughter, who was diagnosed with leukemia
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