Paul Napier, an actor and originator of the Mr. Goodwrench character for General Motors’ ad campaign, died Saturday. He was 84. A cause of death was not announced.
During a decades-long career, Napier appeared in more than 400 commercials and numerous TV shows, including Kojak, Dynasty, Knots Landing, L.A. Law, Coach and most recently Seaquest DSV (1994). He was tapped to portray the original Mr. Goodwrench for GM in 1977. His film work includes Old Grace, The Secret Life Of An American Wife and Time Changer.
Napier was a founding member of the Screen Actors Guild Awards show and served as a producer from the first show in 1995 through 2013. He served at various points as SAG’s 3rd VP and 9th VP, was a member of the negotiating committee for national contracts more than two dozen times and served on the SAG Awards Committee for nearly two decades. He was elected to AFTRA’s Los Angeles board in 1985 and appointed to the national board the following year. He served on the AFTRA board for nearly three decades. Napier also was a longtime member of SAG’s National Honors and Tributes Committee and was among the members who selected Life Achievement recipients.
Napier began his career in Rochester, NY, as a hockey announcer and broadcaster for WBBF radio.
SAG-AFTRA released the following statement on Napier’s death.
“Paul’s successful acting career is just one facet of a deeply engaged and engaging person. Whether it was dedication to coaching youth sports, serving fellow union members or helping to create our highly respected awards show, everything Paul touched was better for his involvement. He gave so much to SAG-AFTRA and to his fellow members,” said SAG-AFTRA President Ken Howard. “Our deepest condolences go out to his wonderful wife Marie, his children and grandchildren and his many friends and fans.”