Phil Bruns

Philip Bruns, the veteran character actor whose main claim to fame was originating the role of Jerry Seinfeld's dad in the first season of Seinfeld, has passed away.

He was 80.

According to Playbill, Bruns died of natural causes on Wednesday in Los Angeles.

During his five-decade career, the actor was a television mainstay. After making his tube debut on an episode of The Robert Herridge Theater, Bruns appeared in such classic series as Car 54 Where Are You? and Jackie Gleason's variety show, Jackie Gleason: American Scene Magazine, in addition to roles in Route 66 and Here's Lucy.

In the 1970s and 1980s he seemed to be everywhere.

Bruns played the father of the title character in Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and landed guest stints on Kojak, Barney Miller, The Six Million Dollar Man, Colombo, Sanford and Son, Air Wolf, Night Court, Amazing Stories and Mr. Belvedere.

Big screen credits included The Great Waldo Pepper, The Stuntman, The Out of Towners, and Flashdance as well as a host of TV movies.

But it was his turn as strong-willed Morty Seinfeld that he's likely to be most remembered for, despite being replaced after the inaugural season by Barney Martin.

Bruns is survived by his wife, actress Laurie Franks. No word yet on funeral plans.

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