Seinfeld star dies aged 90: 'An incredible actor'

·2-min read

A star known for having one of the best guest appearances on the hit sitcom Seinfeld has died peacefully aged 90.

Philip Baker Hall passed away as he was surrounded by loved ones on Sunday in Glendale, in the US state of California.

Hall had an impressive career spanning half a decade, starring in Paul Thomas Anderson’s first movies, including the short film Cigarettes & Coffee, which expanded into his feature debut Hard Eight.

Seinfeld fans would remember Hall as Lt. Joe Bookman, a detective who pursued a long-overdue library book in the season 3 episode The Library. He also later made another guest appearance in The Finale.

Philip Baker Hall at a Los Angeles premiere.
Philip Baker Hall has died aged 90. Source: Getty

His performance in the sitcom was lauded as one of the best guest roles of the entire series, and led to him being approached for a number of other roles.

"It's funny, Lt. Bookman was one of the last roles I ever auditioned for, simply because so many doors opened up after I did the show," he told Rolling Stone magazine.

"I remember that Jerry [Seinfeld] had a hard time keeping a straight face during the reading. Usually, when you read for things, no one lets on too much, even if they like you. But people were fighting to control their laughter, so when I called my wife afterward, I told her, 'There's no such thing as a sure thing…but I'm pretty sure I got this part'."

He added even 20 years after the episode aired, he would still be recognised on the street as Lt. Bookman.

Many have paid tribute to the actor on social media following the devastating news of his death, with a number of Seinfeld fans sharing his scenes from the sitcom.

"Philip Baker Hall as Bookman on Seinfeld was perfection," one tweeted.

"Philip Baker Hall should have won an Emmy for playing Lt. Joe Bookman, library cop," another said.

"This is, hands down, the greatest guest spot in a sitcom, ever," a third added alongside a clip of the show.

"An incredible actor," somebody else said.

Philip Baker Hall and Jerry Seinfeld film a scene for Seinfeld.
Philip Baker Hall stars alongside Jerry Seinfeld. Source: Twitter

The actor's wife, Holly Wolfe Hall, told Associated Press her husband never retired from acting.

"His voice at the end was still just as powerful," she said.

Hall began his career in theatre in Los Angeles, before moving into TV and movies.

He is survived by his wife, four daughters, four grandchildren and his brother.

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