Edward Herrmann, the prolific, Emmy-winning character actor best remembered for is portrayals of upper-class characters, especially his 7-season run as Richard Gilmore on The Gilmore Girls, has died of brain cancer at age 71.
Born in Washington, D.C and raised in wealthy Grosse Pointe, Michigan, Hermann graduated from private liberal arts college Bucknell University. He then studied acting as a Fullbright Scholar at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
After a start in theater, Herrmann launched his screen career in the early ’70s appearing in such high profile films as The Paper Chase (1973), The Day of the Dolphin (1973) alongside George C. Scott, and two Robert Redford films, The Great Gatsby (1974) and The Great Waldo Pepper (1975). He then made his first biggest impression as Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the made-for-TV movies Eleanor and Franklin (1976) and Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years (1977) which led to his first and second Emmy nominations.
In the 1980s, Herrmann turned up on the big screen as Max Eastman in Reds (1981), FDR again in Annie (1982), Henry in The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985) and as Goldie Hawn’s father in Overboard (1987). On TV he earned his third Emmy nomination for a couple of guest spots as Father McCabe on St. Elsewhere (1982)
The 1990s found Herrmann playing Richie Rich’s father in the 1994 film and Nelson Rockefeller in Oliver Stone’s Nixon (1995), as well as guest spots on hit television shows Wings (1995) and Homicide: Life on the Street (1996). He finally won an Emmy for his 1997 portrayal of Anderson Pearson on The Practice.
In the 2000s, Herrmann played William Randolph Hearst in Peter Bogdonavich’s The Cat’s Meow (2001), the model train and model obsessed philanderer Rex Rexroth in Joel and Ethan Coen’s Intolerable Cruelty (2003), and Joe Breen in Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator (2004). On TV he had a 6-episode run on Oz (2000-2003) and of course 154 episodes of Gilmore Girls (2000-2007).
In addition to his portrayal as FDR in Annie and the twin TV movies, Herrmann also provided the voice of Roosevelt in Ken Burns’ 2014 documentary series The Roosevelts.
According to various reports, the actor had been fighting brain cancer and had been admitted to the ICU in early December. His status never improved.
Edward Herrmann married twice and he leaves behind 3 children.