Edward Herrmann

Active - 1971 - 2014  |   Born - Jul 21, 1943 in Washington, District of Columbia, United States  |   Died - Dec 31, 2014   |   Genres - History, Drama, Comedy, Comedy Drama, Visual Arts

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Born July 21st, 1943, Tony-winning American stage and film actor Edward Herrmann used his Fulbright scholarship to study at London's Academy of Music and Dramatic Art; several years of regional theatre led to movie and TV work. In 1977 Herrmann offered the first of his many interpretations of Franklin D. Roosevelt in the TV movie Eleanor and Franklin (He'd later be a singing FDR in the theatrical feature Annie [1982]). The actor was frequently dissatisfied with his own performances, feeling that with a little more time he could do much better. Such was the case of his portrayal of baseball great Lou Gehrig in the TV drama A Love Affair: The Eleanor and Lou Gehrig Story (1979), though Herrmann was proud of the fact that he learned to pitch and bat southpaw, something that a previous movie Gehrig, Gary Cooper, never quite mastered. His occasional villainous movie appearances notwithstanding, Edward Herrmann is to most viewers the very embodiment of intelligence and integrity; he was decidedly well cast as the erudite host of several historical documentaries on the A&E Network. In 2000, Herrmann joined the cast of Gilmore Girls as patriarch Richard Gilmore, and continued appearing in supporting roles in movies, including the headmaster in The Emperor's Club (2002), film censor Joseph Breen in The Aviator (2004) and an accountant in Factory Girl (2006). Once Gilmore Girls ended in 2007, Herrmann returned to episodic TV, with runs on Grey's Anatomy and a recurring gig on The Good Wife. In 2014, he returned to his familiar role of FDR one last time, voicing the president in the Ken Burns documentary The Roosevelts: An Intimate History. Herrmann died in 2014, at age 71.

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  • Attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts on a Fulbright scholarship.
  • Won his Tony Award for Mrs. Warren's Profession the same year (1976) that Kelly Bishop, his costar on Gilmore Girls, won her Tony Award for A Chorus Line.
  • Played FDR numerous times, including in the 1976 TV-movie Eleanor and Franklin; the 1977 sequel Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years; and in the 1982 musical Annie.
  • Was a vintage-car enthusiast who restored several autos.
  • Recorded many audiobooks, voiced numerous TV commercials and narrated programming for The History Channel.