Friends Actor Paxton Whitehead Dead at 85

Paxton Whitehead, the tenured actor who appeared in numerous sitcoms throughout his career including Frasier, Mad About You and Friends, has died at the age of 85.

By Kisha Forde Jun 20, 2023 12:28 PMTags
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The Friends, Frasier and Broadway communities have lost a beloved member.

Paxton Whitehead—the English actor and playwright whose career spanned nearly 70 years and included countless roles in films and television sitcoms—has died at the age of 85.

Whitehead's son Charles confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that his dad died at a hospital in Arlington, Virginia June 16. His team also reflected on the loss, sharing that Whitehead was "loved and respected by his family and everyone who knew him."

"He was a cherished client, a luminary in the acting world who is renowned for his extraordinary talent and dedication to his craft," his agent told E! News in a statement. "He was admired for his versatility and many roles he performed on stage, TV and film. His contributions to the world of entertainment will be cherished and remembered for years to come.

After making his Broadway debut in the 1962 play The Affair, Whitehead went on to appear in numerous Broadway productions including The Harlequin Studies, My Fair Lady and The Crucifer of Blood, among others. He received an honorary degree in arts from Trent University in 1978 and was nominated for a Tony for his role in Camelot two years later.

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Whitehead went on to appear in dozens of television shows and films throughout his tenured career, landing guest roles in Murder, She Wrote, Ellen, 3rd Rock from the Sun, The Drew Carey Show, Mad About You, Frasier and Law & Order. He also appeared opposite Jennifer Aniston in two episodes on Friends as Rachel's boss at Bloomingdale's.

In his later years, Whitehead continued to work within the realms of Broadway and regional theater, last appearing on stage in 2014.

Shortly after his passing, English actor Jim Piddock shared a tribute to honor his friend's legacy.

ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

"Heartbroken to hear my dear friend and mentor Paxton Whitehead has passed away," he shared in a statement to Twitter June 19. "He was an extraordinary actor, a brilliant friend, and truly wonderful human being. He meant so much to so many people and always brought a smile to the faces of everyone he encountered."

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