Marion Ramsey, Police Academy star and Broadway actress, has died, Deadline reports. Ramsey died at age 73 in her home in Los Angeles, California, as confirmed by her management team at Roger Paul Inc. While an official cause of death has not been revealed, Ramsey had reportedly fallen ill.
Although she was beloved for her role as Police Academy‘s Officer Laverne Hooks, Ramsey got her start on the stage before she made her debut on the big screen. The actress began her career in Broadway’s “Hello Dolly!” in 1964, and later landed a role opposite Bette Davis in the “Miss Moffat” musical.
While “Miss Moffat” failed to draw in theatergoers, Ramsey got another big break just a few years later with Eubie!, a musical about the life of jazz pianist Eubie Blake. In 1976, she made her first TV appearance in The Jeffersons, but it was nearly 10 years later that she was cast in her iconic Police Academy role in 1984.
Fans of the movie franchise knew Ramsey as the kind cop with the high-pitched voice, Officer Hooks, a role she played for six films, ending with 1989’s Police Academy 6: City Under Siege. She re-appeared as her Police Academy character only twice since the last film: in 1993’s John Virgo: Playing for Laughs and later in 2006, for an episode of Robot Chicken.
Ramsey continued her acting career outside of the Police Academy franchise for years, going on to appear in shows like The Nanny, MacGyver, The Addams Family and Beverly Hills, 90210. She later teamed up again with her Police Academy co-star Steve Guttenberg for projects like SyFy’s Lavalantula and a sequel film, 2 Lava 2 Lantula! In recent years, Ramsey appeared in fewer roles, and her last acting credit is listed as When I Sing, a film about a woman who finally makes it big in the music industry after trying for decades, according to IMDb.
Offscreen, Ramsey was a vocal advocate for AIDS/HIV awareness and performed in Divas Simply Singing, Sheryl Lee Ralph’s yearly fundraising event in Los Angeles. She is survived by her three brothers.
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