Gene Dynarski, an actor whose roles on episodic TV included the irascible Izzy Mandelbaum Jr. on Seinfeld and the victim of a human bat in a memorable 2000 episode of The X-Files, died Feb. 27 in a Studio City rehabilitation center. He was 86.
Dynarski’s death was announced by friend and playwright Ernest Kearney, who writes on his website that Dynarski had been recuperating from a “mild heart episode” for the last month.
“I had visited Gene only a few days prior,” Kearney writes. “He seemed his old self, ranting on about me finding him a lawyer to sue the rehab-center…I could tell by the glances of the staff passing by his room that Gene had managed to piss them off. Dynarski had a genius for pissing people off. And generally, the very last people whom an actor in Hollywood should piss off.”
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In addition to numerous TV credits reaching back to the early 1960s, Dynarski appeared in Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind (as the supervisor to Richard Dreyfuss’ UFO-haunted Roy) and Alan J. Pakula’s All The President’s Men (as a court clerk).
But it was in character roles on episodic TV that Dynarski was most prolific, with appearances, as a sampling, in the 1960s (Ben Casey, The Big Valley, The Monkees, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, and two episodes of Star Trek), the 1970s (The Doris Day Show, Starsky & Hutch, Kojak) and the 1980s (Hill St. Blues, Star Trek: The Next Generation). He made two appearances in 1997 as Seinfeld‘s overly confident Izzy Mandelbaum Jr. who attempted to hoist a television set only to wind up in a hospital bed next to his dad (played by Lloyd Bridges). Dynarski ended his TV career with 2000’s “Patience” episode of The X-Files.
In 1979, the actor opened The Gene Dynarski Theatre in Los Angeles, a small venue that in its decade and a half existence gave early starts to some future big names, including Ed Harris, Elisabeth Shue and Tom Hanks.
Dynarski is survived by two daughters.
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