Edward Herrmann

Edward Herrmann


Also Known As
Ed Herrmann, Edward Kirk Herrmann, Edward Herrman
Birth Place
Washington, Washington D.C., USA
July 21, 1943
December 31, 2014


The embodiment of erudite, well-bred men of means in American entertainment, Edward Herrmann was an Emmy- and Tony-winning actor whose gift for quiet drama and frothy comedy enlivened such projects as "Eleanor and Franklin" (ABC, 1976), "Love Affair: The Eleanor and Lou Gehrig Story" (NBC, 1978), "Reds" (1981), "The Lost Boys" (1987) and "Gilmore Girls" (The WB, 2000-07). Tall, reserved ...

Family & Companions

Leigh Curran
Actor, playwright. Married on September 9, 1978.


"But you see, I'm cowardly and frightened, I'm basically a nervous person, and I'm reluctant to initiate my own projects. I had been with [agent] Robbie Lantz for a long time, but I couldn't get him on the phone." --Edward Herrmann

"I wear glasses. I usually speak in complete sentences. That makes people nervous." --Edward Herrmann


The embodiment of erudite, well-bred men of means in American entertainment, Edward Herrmann was an Emmy- and Tony-winning actor whose gift for quiet drama and frothy comedy enlivened such projects as "Eleanor and Franklin" (ABC, 1976), "Love Affair: The Eleanor and Lou Gehrig Story" (NBC, 1978), "Reds" (1981), "The Lost Boys" (1987) and "Gilmore Girls" (The WB, 2000-07). Tall, reserved and possessed of a marvelously fluid voice, Herrmann's characters ran the gamut of the rich, intelligent and powerful - from multiple portrayals of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the kindly founder of St. Eligius hospital on "St. Elsewhere" (NBC, 1982-88) to a venal William Randolph Hearst in the feature film "The Cat's Meow" and the emotionally complex patriarch on "Gilmore Girls." In all cases, Herrmann's portrayals found the humanity behind the occasionally stuffy veneer of his roles, which kept him busy in films, documentary narration, advertising and on television and the stage for over four decades. His death on December 31, 2014, following a brief battle with brain cancer, was mourned by fans and peers alike.

Born Edward Kirk Herrmann in Washington, D.C. on July 21, 1943, he was the son of John Anthony Herrmann and his wife, Jean O'Connor. Raised in Grosse Point, MI, he graduated from Bucknell University in 1965 and later earned a Fulbright Fellowship, which allowed him to study acting at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Herrmann began his professional career on the stage in Dallas before making his way to Broadway with Michael Weller's "Moonchildren," which opened in Washington, D.C. in 1971. He soon became a staple of the New York stage, earning a Tony Award in 1976 for the revival of George Bernard Shaw's "Mrs. Warren's Profession."

His first screen role was an uncredited turn as a policeman in the moribund Sophia Loren comedy "La Mortadella" (1971), but within a year's time, he was landing major supporting roles in features like "The Paper Chase" (1973), "The Great Gatsby" (1974) and "The Great Waldo Pepper" (1975). These early roles showed Herrmann's considerable versatility; in "Paper Chase," he was Timothy Bottoms' study partner, while his piano-playing Klipspringer in "Gatsby" is a dyed-in-the-wool heel who takes advantage of Gatsby's wealth. After a brief tenure on the Emmy-winning "Beacon Hill" (CBS, 1975) - an Americanized version of "Upstairs, Downstairs" (LTW, 1971-75) - he received near-universal acclaim, as well as an Emmy nomination, for his turn as the youthful Franklin Delano Roosevelt in "Eleanor and Franklin" (ABC, 1976). The miniseries, which covered the future president's life from his early twenties through his fifties and ascension to the White House, won nine Emmys and put Herrmann on the map as a screen performer of remarkable range. It was immediately followed by "Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years" (ABC, 1977), which covered Roosevelt's 12 tumultuous years as the Commander in Chief. Herrmann was again nominated for an Emmy before giving another critically lauded biographical turn, this time as baseball legend Lou Gehrig in "Love Affair: The Eleanor and Lou Gehrig Story" (NBC, 1978). In subsequent interviews, Herrmann stated that while his turns as Roosevelt were his favorite roles, he was most proud of his performance as Gehrig because he learned to pitch and hit southpaw in order to play the part.

The success of these TV projects lead to starring roles in a few features, including "Take Down" (1979), "The North Avenue Irregulars" (1979) and the odd anti-IRS comedy "Harry's War" (1981), but none were hits at the box office, leading Herrmann to return to regular duty as a supporting player in features and on television. He was the innocent minister killed by war-hungry boys in a PBS production of Mark Twain's "The Private History of a Campaign that Failed" (1981), then essayed Socialist observer and writer Max Eastman in Warren Beatty's epic "Reds" (1981), before earning a recurring role and two Emmy nominations for "St. Elsewhere" (NBC, 1982-88) as Father Joseph McCabe, the founder of the show's hospital setting.

Herrmann's output during the 1980s and early 1990s showed the scope and breadth of his remarkable talents as he segued effortlessly from a singing F.D.R. in John Huston's film version of "Annie" (1982), to a pompous Alger Hiss in "Concealed Enemies" (PBS, 1984), a dramatization of his 1948 trial for treason as a Communist. Herrmann also found time to essay CBS news chief Fred Friendly in "Murrow" (HBO, 1986), became a cult favorite starring as a gentle video store owner who also fronts a clan of teen vampires in the comedy/horror staple, "The Lost Boys" (1987), and channeled his inner ghoul as jovial Herman Munster in "Here Comes the Munsters" (Fox, 1995). He also appeared as a small cadre of upper-class types in Woody Allen's "The Purple Rose of Cairo" (1985), "Overboard" (1987), "Big Business" (1988), the father of "Richie Rich" (1994) and Nelson Rockefeller in Oliver Stone's "Nixon" (1995) - the latter of which earned him a Screen Actors Guild nomination.

Herrmann's warm, precise tone made him an ideal narrator for television documentaries, which he began in earnest in 1997 with The History Channel's adaptation of David Halberstam's "The Fifties." The successful project led to a lengthy relationship with the network through 2008, as well as with PBS' "American Experience" (1988- ) and "Nova" (1974- ) series. Chrysler also tapped him to serve as spokesperson for their Dodge line of cars and trucks in a series of gently humorous commercials between 1992 and 2001, and he earned several awards for his voiceover work for numerous audio books and dramatizations.

The new millennium saw Herrmann busier than ever with several significant roles in television series and feature films. He finally netted a long-overdue Emmy in 1999 for a recurring role on "The Practice" (ABC, 1997-2004) in which he portrayed cast regular Kelli Williams' former law professor who must turn to her after he is charged with murder. Herrmann also played Harrison Beecher, the lawyer father of deeply troubled inmate Tobias Beecher (Lee Tergesen) on "Oz" (HBO, 1997-2003), and enjoyed a rare lead as publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst, whose passion for teenaged actress Marion Davies allegedly led him to murder silent movie producer Thomas Ince in Peter Bogdanovich's critically well-received "The Cat's Meow" (2001). Other solid turns came as Raymond Massey opposite James Franco's "James Dean" (TNT, 2001), Catherine Zeta Jones' cuckolded husband in the Coen Brothers' "Intolerable Cruelty" (2003) and as film censor Joseph Breen, who battled Howard Hughes (Leonardo DiCaprio) in Martin Scorsese's epic, "The Aviator" (2004).

Herrmann gained a whole new audience he had not enjoyed since "The Lost Boys" years - teenage girls - when he was cast in the charming comedy-drama, "Gilmore Girls." His Richard Gilmore, a wealthy insurance executive, was often at odds with his daughter (Lauren Graham), who became pregnant at 16 and tarnished the family name, but shared a deep and warm relationship with her daughter, Rory (Alexis Bledel). Herrmann brought his signature blend of gravitas and wry humor to his role, which embodied the best and worst qualities of grandparents in one complicated and engaging character. Post-"Gilmore Girls," Herrmann maintained his regular schedule of guest appearances on television shows and features, as well as frequent duty as narrator for documentaries. He also enjoyed a story arc in the fourth season of "Grey's Anatomy" (ABC, 2005- ) as a former pharmacist who joins Seattle Grace as an intern, and appeared in the final season of the comedy "How I Met Your Mother" (CBS 2005-2014) as a truculent minister. Edward Herrmann died on December 31, 2014 in New York, following a brief battle with brain cancer. He was 71.



Cast (Feature Film)

The Town that Dreaded Sundown (2014)
You Are Here (2014)
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Redemption: For Robbing the Dead (2012)
The Christmas Pageant (2011)
Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star (2011)
The Skeptic (2009)
Wedding Daze (2008)
I Think I Love My Wife (2007)
Andrew Jackson (2007)
Banned from the Bible II (2007)
Factory Girl (2006)
The Templar Code: Crusade of Secrecy (2005)
The Aviator (2004)
Joseph Breen
Intolerable Cruelty (2003)
Nostradamus: 500 Years Later (2003)
The Emperor's Club (2002)
The Cat's Meow (2001)
James Dean (2001)
The Shaft (2001)
Double Take (2001)
Vendetta (1999)
Better Living (1998)
Anne Tyler's "Saint Maybe" (1998)
Frank Lloyd Wright (1997)
Critical Care (1997)
Soul of the Game (1996)
What Love Sees (1996)
Here Come the Munsters (1995)
The Face on the Milk Carton (1995)
Nixon (1995)
A Foreign Field (1994)
Richie Rich (1994)
Foreign Student (1994)
Don't Drink the Water (1994)
Born Yesterday (1993)
My Boyfriend's Back (1993)
Sweet Poison (1991)
Fire in the Dark (1991)
So Proudly We Hail (1990)
Big Business (1988)
The Lost Boys (1987)
Overboard (1987)
Murrow (1986)
Compromising Positions (1985)
The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)
The Man with One Red Shoe (1985)
Mrs. Soffel (1984)
Memorial Day (1983)
Annie (1982)
The Gift of Life (1982)
Reds (1981)
Max Eastman
A Little Sex (1981)
Death Valley (1981)
Harry's War (1981)
The North Avenue Irregulars (1979)
Portrait of a Stripper (1979)
Brass Target (1978)
A Love Affair: The Eleanor and Lou Gehrig Story (1978)
The Betsy (1978)
Take Down (1978)
Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years (1977)
The Great Waldo Pepper (1975)
The Great Gatsby (1974)
The Paper Chase (1973)
The Day of the Dolphin (1973)
Lady Liberty (1972)

Music (Feature Film)

Annie (1982)
Song Performer

Cast (Special)

The Face: Jesus in Art (2001)
Horror in the East (2001)
History vs. Hollywood (2001)
The Impressionists (2001)
Oldest Autos on the Road (2001)
Hitler's Holocaust (2001)
In Search of Christmas (2001)
The World War II Memorial (2000)
The Body of Christ (2000)
Wealth and Power (2000)
World War II in Color (2000)
Founding Fathers (2000)
Battle History of the Navy (2000)
Modern Marvels Challenge: Caesar's Bridge (2000)
Volcanoes of the Deep (1999)
Fire and Ice: The Korean War (1999)
The Homes of FDR (1999)
Submarines, Secrets and Spies (1999)
Norman Rockwell: Painting America (1999)
Tntla 51st Annual Emmy Awards (1999)
Niagara: History of the Falls (1999)
Icemen (1999)
The Beast of Loch Ness (1999)
Surviving AIDS (1999)
Escape! Because Accidents Happen (1999)
History's Lost & Found (1998)
Frank Lloyd Wright (1998)
Special Effects: Titanic and Beyond (1998)
Deadly Shadow of Vesuvius (1998)
Truman Capote: The Tiny Terror (1997)
F. Scott Fitzgerald (1997)
The Rain of Steel (1993)
Frontline Pilots: Deep Interdiction; Ground Pounders; Hostile Encounters (1993)
Massacre at Malmedy (1993)
Showdown at Leyte Gulf (1993)
Death Tide at Tarawa (1993)
The War Years (1991)
Road to Infamy: The Countdown Years (1991)
The End of a Sentence (1991)
Vietnam: The Reason Why (1991)
The Last Act Is a Solo (1991)
Night of 100 Stars III (1990)
The Beginning of the Firm (1989)
D Day (1988)
The Ragged Revolution (1988)
DeGaulle (1988)
Children of the Open Road (1988)
The Return of Hickey (1988)
The King and the Jews (1988)
The Prodigious Hickey (1987)
Concealed Enemies (1984)

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

Walking Across Egypt (2000)
Atomic Train (1999)
A Season in Purgatory (1996)
Pandora's Clock (1996)
Dear Liar (1981)
Freedom Road (1979)
Eleanor and Franklin (1976)

Life Events


Off-Broadway debut, "The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel"


Feature debut, bit role, "Lady Liberty"


Broadway debut, "Moonchildren"


First substantial role in a feature, Anderson in "The Paper Chase"


Debut as TV series regular, "Beacon Hill"


Co-starred on Broadway in "Mrs. Warren's Proffesion"


Breakthrough TV performance as Franklin Delano Roosevelt in "Eleanor and Franklin" (ABC)


Reprised role as Roosevelt in "Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years" (ABC)


Stage directing debut, "Private Lives", Portland (Maine) Stage Company


Played Roosevelt in "Annie"


Portrayed Alger Hiss in the PBS miniseries "Concealed Enemies"


Co-starred as the headmaster in "The Prodigious Hickey" (PBS)


Hosted "Our Century" on Arts & Entertainment (A&E) network


Reprised headmaster in sequel "The Return of Hickey" (PBS)


Again played the headmaster in second sequel "The Beginning of the Firm" (PBS)


Played Herman Munster in "Here Come the Munsters" (Fox)


Cast as Nelson Rockefeller in Oliver Stone's "Nixon"


Had recurring role on the ABC drama series "The Practice"


Played regular role of the father and grandfather of the titular "Gilmore Girls" on that WB series


Cast as William Randolph Hearst in "The Cat's Meow"


Played supporting role with Catherine Zeta-Jones in the Coen brothers hit "Intolerable Cruelty"


Co-starred with Leonardo DiCaprio in Martin Scorsese's "The Aviator"


Made an appearance in the hit ABC series "Grey's Anatomy"


Made cameo in final season of "How I Met Your Mother"


Movie Clip

Hero (1992) -- (Movie Clip) Like The Suicide? Edward Hermann’s cameo introduces Geena Davis as reporter Gale and Kevin J. O’Connor as cameraman Chucky, then we meet Chevy Chase as news director Deke, Stephen Tobolowsky as exec Wallace, and Christian Clemenson as a rival newsman, in Hero, 1992, also starring Dustin Hoffman and Andy Garcia.
North Avenue Irregulars, The (1979) -- (Movie Clip) He's Not Taking Threats Rev. Hill (Edward Herrmann), baffled by rampant gambling at his church, takes to the air with an ad-libbed crusade, alarming his secretary (Susan Clark), also Patsy Kelly and Douglas Fowley, bookie Harry (Alan Hale Jr.), gangster Roca (Frank Campanella) and parishoners Barbara Harris and Cloris Leachman, in the Walt Disney crime-comedy The North Avenue Irregulars, 1979.
North Avenue Irregulars, The (1979) -- (Movie Clip) God, Are You Home? Opening with Edward Herrmann in a relatively rare lead role, as Presbyterian Rev. Hill, with his kids (Bobby Rolofson, Melora Hardin) arriving at his new church, where the gang of ladies for whom the picture is named are having a crisis, Karen Valentine, Patsy Kelly, Cloris Leachman, Virginia Capers, Barbara Harris and Susan Clark at the fore, in Disney’s The North Avenue Irregulars, 1979.
Reds (1981) -- (Movie Clip) What Haven't We Covered? Portland, Oregon, 1915, a somewhat-contrived version of the meeting of the principals (writer-director Warren Beatty as journalist John "Jack" Reed, Diane Keaton as native Louise Bryant), M. Emmet Walsh the pompous orator at a local civic club, early in Reds, 1981.
Reds (1981) -- (Movie Clip) They Are Waiting For Your Example Moscow, 1917, writer-director Warren Beatty as American radical journalist John “Jack” Reed, with Diane Keaton as his colleague and wife Louise Bryant, swept into supporting a general strike, though not recreating a specific historic event, in Reds, 1981.
Paper Chase, The (1973) -- (Movie Clip) You Haven't Paid Homage Duded-up at the Thanksgiving party thrown by his Harvard Law professor Kingsfield (John Houseman), Hart (Timothy Bottoms) visits with Ford (Graham Beckel) and others, then is stunned to learn his mysterious girlfriend Susan (Lindsay Wagner) is the host’s daughter, in The Paper Chase, 1973.



John Anthony Herrmann
Jean Eleanor Herrmann


Leigh Curran
Actor, playwright. Married on September 9, 1978.



"But you see, I'm cowardly and frightened, I'm basically a nervous person, and I'm reluctant to initiate my own projects. I had been with [agent] Robbie Lantz for a long time, but I couldn't get him on the phone." --Edward Herrmann

"I wear glasses. I usually speak in complete sentences. That makes people nervous." --Edward Herrmann

"[Doing "Annie"] was a disastrous choice, but how else would I get a chance to meet John Huston?" --Edward Herrmann

"You can't have a society with healthy values by creating images of destruction. The way our society works now, if a man wants to have feelings and express them, you're forced to be gay. If you want to hold to masculine values, you have to join the NRA." --Edward Herrmann