Richard Erdman death: Community actor who played Leonard on the show dies aged 93

The actor also appeared on The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents

Jack Shepherd
Monday 18 March 2019 09:38
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Actor Richard Erdman in 2013
Actor Richard Erdman in 2013

Richard Erdman, the actor best known for playing the character Leonard Rodriguez on the TV show Community, has died, aged 93.

Film historian Alan K Rode confirmed the news to The Hollywood Reporter, later writing on Twitter, writing: “Goodbye pal. Dick Erdman 1925-2019.”

Erdman had been at an assisted living facility in West Hills, California, and reportedly had age-related dementia that was recently exacerbated by a fall.

While best known to younger fans as the elderly student Leonard in Community, Erdman had a long career in Hollywood, including playing the main character in 1963's The Twilight Zone episode "A Kind of a Stopwatch".

He also played Leo, a patient in a veterans' paraplegic ward, in The Men (1950). The film marked Marlon Brnado's on-screen debut, with one critic writing at the time: "Brando is impressive, however, he has a few things to learn from a Hollywood actor named Richard Erdman.”

Other distinguished roles included portraying Sgt "Hoffy" Hoffman in Billy Wilder's Stalag 17 (1953), as well as regularly appearing on Where’s Raymond? and Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

Community co-stars Ken Jeong and Yvette Nicole Brown paid tribute on Twitter, with Jeong sharing a video montage of Erdman's best moments on the show.

Brown wrote: "I knew the day we’d have to say goodbye to this lovely man would come sooner than any of us were ready. But knowing that doesn’t make it any easier. Richard Erdman was JOY walking. Anyone who saw him on Community gleeflully stealing every scene he was in knows that’s true."

Erdman leaves behind a daughter, Erica, from his second wife Sharon Randall, who he was married to from 1953 until her death in 2016.

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