Best known to filmgoers for his role as the excitable, trigger-happy Eugene Tackleberry in the long-running Police Academy series, character actor David Graf was highly regarded among filmmakers for his notable and generous contributions to the Screen Actors Guild.
Born in Lancaster, OH, in 1960, Graf attended Otterbien College in Westerville before making an early appearance as a struggling actor on the popular game show The $20,000 Pyramid with actress Patty Duke. Taking small roles in such popular sitcoms as M*A*S*H and The Dukes of Hazard in the early '80s, Graf made his film debut in 1981's Four Friends. His big break would come three years later, with his debut as Sgt. Tackleberry in Police Academy, launching a lasting character in a series that would span nearly a decade and six sequels. Keeping frequent work in television through the course of appearing in films such as Guarding Tess (1994) and The Brady Bunch Movie (1995), Graf held recurring roles in the popular Beauty and the Beast, High Tide, and later in the highly praised White House drama The West Wing. Graf also became involved with such Star Trek spin-offs as Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager.
As a Hollywood representative of the Screen Actors Guild, Graf won the respect of his fellow actors through his tireless efforts to ensure their fair treatment in the vast and intimidating Hollywood system. Fellow board members praised his many active roles in various organizations dedicated to the betterment of conditions within the acting community, noting his service as a testament to Graf's genuine and selfless concern. While attending a family wedding in Phoenix, AZ, in 2001, Graf suffered a fatal heart attack -- just eight days before his 51st birthday.