Legendary character actor, Lou Cutell, passed away on the 21st of November at the age of 91. Known for his wonderful performances in films like Pee-wee’s Big Adventure as well as classic shows such as Seinfeld and Grey’s Anatomy. Born in New York, Cutell started his acting career back in 1961 with a Broadway show and went on to have star appearances in some stellar projects in the subsequent decades.
In a 2010 interview, Cutell reflected: “Nothing really has changed: once an actor, always an actor. But because today the accent is more on youth, younger actors are forced into the limelight without being prepared, which causes terrible insecurities, resulting in offbeat personal actions. People who have garnered experience from school plays, community productions, stock, etc., seem to have more respect for the craft”.
While commenting on the things that have improved in the world of acting, the veteran actor noted: “What’s better? I think there are more wonderful actors today than ever before. Our generation learned from seeing plays and going to the movies. Actors today have been weaned on television, and that has created more role models for them to observe and emulate.”
He also acknowledged the impact that his Seinfeld role had on his life and the lives of fans: “I am recognised more for Seinfeld and the Assman than any of the hundreds of parts I have played. It is one of the top five favourite Seinfeld episodes. Once, on a shuttle bus from the terminal to an aeroplane, a pilot kept staring at me. He was very dour.”
Continuing, “At one point, he asked me if I was the Assman. After I said yes, he broke into the biggest smile I ever saw and asked if we could take a picture together and at the same time called his wife, telling her he’d just met the Assman. By the time we got to the aeroplane, I had to take pictures with everyone on the shuttle. I signed autographs and I loved every moment of it.”
Cutell’s death was announced by his friend Mark Furman on Facebook: “After 91 years, and a great life, my friend Lou Cutell went home. A film, theatre and character actor. Big Larry in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Ass Man in Seinfeld, Abe in Grey’s Anatomy S12, E4. He took me to Lucille Ball’s house in 1986. Rest in peace Lou.”