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Subject: ARCHIVE: April 7, 2001 ~Comic actor David Graf, best known as trigger-happy 'Cadet Eugene Tackleberry (later Sgt. Tackleberry) in the "Police Academy" film series, dies of suddenly heart attack at 50. ...

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Date Posted: Saturday, April 07, 11:43:44am

American actor, known for his role as 'Sgt. Eugene Tackleberry
in the Police Academy series of comedy films, of the 1980s. ...

Paul David Graf
(April 16, 1950 April 7, 2001)

Early life and education ...
Graf was born in Zanesville, Ohio, and later moved to Lancaster, Ohio, graduating from Lancaster High School. He studied theatre at Otterbein College in Westerville, a suburb of Columbus, OH, where he graduated in 1972. He attended graduate school at The Ohio State University until 1975, but dropped out to pursue his acting career.

Acting career ...
Graf made his first television appearance as a contestant on the game show The $20,000 Pyramid in December 1979, where he teamed with actress Patty Duke. (He would later appear on subsequent versions of the show as a celebrity contestant, twice with Duke.) As fate would have it, years later in April 1987, now as an established actor, Garaf would return to the gameshow "The $20,000 Pyramid", as a celebrity guest. ...

...As a struggling actor in the early 1980s, he also took small roles in popular TV shows,
including M*A*S*H, The Dukes of Hazzard, Airwolf, Hardcastle and McCormick and The A-Team.
He made his film debut in 1981 when he played Gergley in the drama Four Friends.

...Graf later played the trigger-happy Cadet Eugene Tackleberry (later Sgt. Tackleberry) in the 1984 comedy Police Academy, and starred in each of seven sequels. In 1986, Graf had a role as Councilman Harlan Nash on the short-lived sitcom He's the Mayor. In 1992, Graf returned to play a minor role as a police officer again for the comedy series Seinfeld during its fourth-season episode "The Ticket" and also appeared on Night Court. He played Tackleberry for the final time in a guest appearance on the short-lived Police Academy: The Series.


...Graf also made various guest appearances following his role in the Police Academy series,
including a repeating part in The West Wing, several appearances in Star Trek: Voyager
episode ("The 37s") and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. In the latter series, he played
a Klingon called Leskit in the fifth-season episode "Soldiers of the Empire". ...

Graf was Lt. Weismann in the movie Suture in 1993 and Ralph Brinker in the Disney Channel movie Brink! in 1998. Graf made a guest appearance in an episode of the short-lived ABC sitcom Teen Angel as a camp leader for Steve Beauchamp's little sister Katie, in the 1997-1998 season. In 2000, he made an appearance on The Amanda Show as a paramedic who accidentally swapped pagers with Amanda Bynes. He also made an appearance on Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman season 2 episode 20 as a reporter for the Daily Planet.

...Graf also had a small role in 1995's The Brady Bunch Movie, portraying Alice's boyfriend Sam Franklin, the butcher. In 1996, Graf also made a guest appearance on TV's "Promised Land" (which was a spinoff of Touched by an Angel). He played the role of a grieving husband whose wife died while working for a company and he went there trying to find answers to her death.

Graf guest starred in several episodes of ABC's sitcom Step By Step in the 1990s. He also starred in the second episode of the third season of ABC's Home Improvement as angler Chuck Norwood. Some of his last acting performances were two guest appearances as Pentagon staff member Colonel Chase in the series The West Wing ("The Drop-In" and "The Portland Trip") and as Jacques Douche in the Son of the Beach TV series episode "Grand Prix". Graf's last acting role was the Nickelodeon sitcom, "The Amanda Show", just three months before his death.

Personal life ...

Graf married Kathryn Graf in 1983. They had 2 sons.

Death ...

...Graf died of a heart attack on April 7, 2001 during a family wedding in Phoenix, Arizona, sadly just 9 days before his 51st birthday. Graf was preceded in death by his father, and survived by his wife of 17 years, Kathryn Graf, two sons, Daniel and Sean; mother and brother who reside in Zanesville, Ohio. His widow, Kathryn, wrote a stark, one-woman play chronicling her life after his death entitled "Surviving David", examining coping with her life after the sudden death of her actor husband. He was buried at Forest Rose Cemetery in Lancaster, Ohio, near his father, who also died at age 50. His funeral was attended by all the main cast members from the Police Academy movies. ...

Links ...

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Subject Author Date
Graf had the same birthdate (April 16) and deathdate (April 7) as actor Barry Nelson, only years apart (obviously). (NT)Odd factoids!Saturday, April 07, 11:47:54am

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