Larry Sherman, a veteran film and television character actor who got to pal around with football greats Doug Flutie, Herschel Walker and Jim Kelly when owner Donald Trump hired him as spokesman for his short-lived USFL New Jersey Generals football team, died August 26 at a hospice in Melville, NY. His son Charles, a Los Angeles-based publicist, told Deadline he was 94 and had been ill for some time.
A vivid New York face and, occasionally, voice, Sherman had cameos in films from North By Northwest (as Cary Grant’s cab driver) to The Hustler to Butterfield 8 to Midnight Cowboy (where he dropped dead in front of Jon Voigt’s Joe Buck outside Tiffany & Co.) to When Harry Met Sally... In the trailer for Taylor Hackford’s The Comedian, he can be seen very briefly on a TV screen, mouthing the word “poopie.”
Like many New York-based actors with an aversion to palm trees and natural light, Sherman found a home and a living in Gotham-based series. In addition to cameo roles on Royal Pains, The Sopranos and other shows, he spent more than two decades as Judge Colin Fraser on Law & Order, generally limited to announcing “Guilty” or “Not guilty.” He also was the late Steven Hill’s stand-in.
“My Dad loved working with Jerry Orbach and Sam Waterston,” Charles Sherman said. “He came up with Walter Matthau, Paul Newman, Sidney Poitier and that crowd.” Sherman’s varied career also took him into the world of quiz shows, where he served as a writer on The Joker’s Wild.
Born in Syracuse, NY, Sherman earned degrees in theater and journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He made his Broadway debut in Clare Parrish’s 1946 farce Maid In The Ozarks, which billed itself as “the worst play in the world.” He also appeared in Jed Harris’ production of The Traitor, in 1949.
Early on, Sherman became a sports journalist, covering local teams and the Olympics for the Long Island Press and Newsday, as well as the Herald Tribune. In addition to working for Trump in the USFL, Sherman was PR director for the New York Arrows, of the Major Indoor Soccer League.
Sherman is survived by Marion, his wife of 60 years; two children, Charles and Flory; and two grandchildren, Jonathan and Brett. Donations in his name may be made to the World Jewish Congress. Funeral services will be private.