George William "G.W." Bailey (born August 27, 1944) is an American stage, television and film actor. Although he appeared in many dramatic roles, he may be best remembered for his "crusty" comedic characters such as Staff Sergeant Luther Rizzo in M*A*S*H (TV-Series 1979-83); Lieutenant--and later, Captain Thaddeus Harris in Police Academy (1984-94), Captain Felix Maxwell in Mannequin (1987) and as Detective Lieutenant Louie Provenza from TNT's television crime drama The Closer, in which he was featured in all 109 aired episodes across seven seasons, starting in 2005. He currently stars on the TNT series Major Crimes, a spinoff of The Closer, continuing in his role as Lt. Provenza.
Bailey was born in Port Arthur, Texas. He went to Thomas Jefferson High School in Port Arthur with Janis Joplin and Jimmy Johnson. He started college at Lamar University in nearby Beaumont and transferred to Texas Tech University in Lubbock. He left college and spent the mid-1960s working at local theater companies before moving to California in the mid-1970s, where he landed roles on television programs of the day such as Starsky and Hutch and Charlie's Angels. His film debut was in A Force of One (1979), an early Chuck Norris film. He then got his breakout role as Rizzo in M*A*S*H. He also did a star making turn as Tom Berenger's hilarious sidekick in Rustler's Rhapsody (1985).
He returned to college in 1993, attending Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. He graduated in May 1994 with a Bachelor's of Fine Arts, Theatre. For the 1999-2000 school year, he was the Artist-in-Residence.
In the late 1990s he starred in three of TNT's acclaimed "The Bible Series" films, Solomon (1997), Jesus (1999), and Saint Paul aka Paul The Apostle (2000; where he played the pivotal role of Paul's missionary companion, Barnabas).
Since 2001, Bailey has served as the Executive Director of the Sunshine Kids Foundation, which provides trips and activities for hundreds of young cancer patients annually. He has been a volunteer for more than 15 years since being introduced to the organization by his goddaughter, who was diagnosed with leukemia. On January 17, 2013, it was announced that G.W. Bailey will reign as Bacchus XLV in the Mardi Gras parade Krewe of Bacchus.
A Force of One (1979),
Alcatraz: The Whole Shocking Story (1980) (TV),
Murder in Texas (1981) (TV),
St. Elsewhere (1982-1983),
Simon & Simon (1984),
Police Academy (1984),
Earthlings (1984) (TV),
Warning Sign (1985),
Rustlers' Rhapsody (1985),
Short Circuit (1986),
Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol (1987),
Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach (1988),
Police Academy 6: City Under Siege (1989),
Write to Kill (1990),
A Mother's Justice (TV film; 1991),
Police Academy: Mission to Moscow (1994),
The Jeff Foxworthy Show (1996-1997),
Saint Paul (2000),
Home on the Range (2004) (voice),
The Closer (TV series; 2005-2012),
Cake: A Wedding Story (2007),
Cupcake Wars Guest Judge (2012),
Major Crimes (2012-present)
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