Thursday, September 25, 2014

Actor Stefan Gierasch Passes On

Stefan Gierasch, a character actor who appeared frequently in both films and on television, died 6 September 2014 at the age of 88. The cause was complications from a stroke.

Stefan Gierasch was born on 5 February 1925 in New York City. He studied acting at The Actors Studio. He made his debut on Broadway in Snafu in 1944. In the late Forties he also appeared in productions of Billion Dollar Baby and Montserrat. The Fifties saw him appear in productions of Night Music, Threepenny Opera, A Month in the Country, Compulsion, The Shadow of a Gunman, and Little Moon of Alban. Mr. Gierasch made his television debut in a bit part in an episode of Mr. Peepers in 1952. In the Fifties he appeared on such shows as The Philco-Goodyear Playhouse, You Are There, Goodyear Playhouse, Studio One, Brenner, and Play of the Week. He made his film debut in a bit part in The Young Don't Cry (1957) and appeared in the film That Kind of Woman (1959).

In the Sixties Stefan Gierasch appeared on Broadway in such productions as The Sound of Music, Isle of Children, The Deputy, and War and Peace. He appeared on television on such shows as The Defenders, Naked City, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, The Untouchables, Dr. Kildare, and Gunsmoke. He appeared in the films The Hustler (1961) and The Travelling Executioner (1970).

In the Seventies Stefan Gierasch appeared on Broadway in the productions The Iceman Cometh, Of Mice and Men, and Tartuffe. On television he was a regular on the TV show Nichols. He appeared on such shows as Bonanza, Ironside, Mod Squad, Kung Fu, Switch, Baretta, Dallas, Fantasy Island, Barney Miller, and The Incredible Hulk. He appeared in such films as What's Up, Doc? (1972), The New Centurions (1972), Jeremiah Johnson (1972), High Plains Drifter (1973), Cornbread, Earl and Me (1975), Carrie (1976), Silver Streak (1976), and The Champ (1979).

In the Eighties Stefan Gierasch appeared on Broadway in Brighton Beach Memoirs and You Never Can Tell. He appeared on television in such shows as M*A*S*H; Quincy M.E.; The Jeffersons; Remington Steele; Matt Houston; The Twilight Zone; Murder, She Wrote; Cheers; Miami Vice; and Tales from the Crypt. He appeared in the films Perfect (1985), The Rosary Murders (1987), Spellbinder (1988), and  Megaville (1990).

In the Nineties Stefan Gierasch was a regular on the short lived revival of Dark Shadows. He appeared on such TV shows as Star Trek: The Next Generation, Knot's Landing, The Practice, ER, and Brimstone. He appeared in such films as Mistress (1992), Jack the Bear (1993), Dave (1993), Junior (1994), Murder in the First (1995), and Starry Night (1999). In the Naughts he appeared in the films Legend of the Phantom Rider (2002), Off Track Betting (2003), Cover-Up '62 (2004), and The Hunter's Moon (2009).

Stefan Gierasch was a remarkably versatile actor, as can be seen in his best known roles. He was the witless Principal Morton in Carrie, the colourful but somewhat luckless mountain man Del Glue in Jeremiah Johnson, and both art historian Professor Schreiner and the killer George in Silver Streak. Mr. Gierasch did all of the parts well, as he did all of the roles he played. There should be little wonder, then, that he was very much in demand on stage, in television, and on film.

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