Ron Glass, Barney Miller and Firefly actor, dead at 71

Ron Glass, the handsome, prolific character actor best known for his role as the gregarious, sometimes sardonic detective Ron Harris in the long-running cop comedy Barney Miller, has died at age 71.

Glass died Friday of respiratory failure, his agent, Jeffrey Leavett, told The Associated Press on Saturday.

“Ron was a private, gentle and caring man,” said Leavett, a longtime friend of the actor. “He was an absolute delight to watch on screen. Words cannot adequately express my sorrow. “

Obit Ron Glass

Glass appears in character as detective Ron Harris in the comedy Barney Miller. Although best known for the role, he appeared in dozens of other shows in a television and film career dating to the early 1970s. (ABC via AP)

Although best known for Barney Miller, Glass appeared in dozens of other shows in a television and film career dating to the early 1970s.

He portrayed Derrial Book, the spiritual shepherd with a cloudy past in the 2002 science-fiction series Firefly and its 2005 film sequel Serenity.

He was Felix Unger opposite Desmond Wilson’s Oscar Madison in The New Odd Couple, a 1980s reboot of the original Broadway show, film and television series that this time cast black actors in the lead roles of Unger’s prissy neat freak forced to share an apartment with slovenly friend Madison.

Glass was also the voice of Randy Carmichael, the genial neighbour and father of four children in the popular Nickelodeon cartoon series Rugrats and its spinoff, All Grown Up.

He also made appearances in such shows as FriendsStar Trek: Voyager and Designing Women. More recently he appeared in episodes of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Early credits included All in the FamilyMaudeSanford and Son and Hawaii Five-0.

Raised in Evansville, Ind., Glass received a Bachelor of Arts degree in drama and literature from the University of Evansville.

After graduation he moved to Minneapolis where he worked in regional theater before coming to Los Angeles to launch his TV and film career.

He was also a member of the board of directors for Los Angeles’ AL Wooten Jr. Heritage Centre, an organization named for a man murdered in a gang-initiation drive-by shooting and dedicated to helping inner-city youth stay safe and receive an education.

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