Friends star Paxton Whitehead has died aged 85.
The English actor is a Tony Award nominee who has appeared in countless Broadway shows such as My Fair Lady and The Crucifier of Blood – where he played Sherlock Holmes.
Whitehead has also appeared in numerous TV shows including Fraiser, 3rd Rock From The Sun and Mad About You.
But he’s best known for playing Mr Waltham in Friends, in which he’s the boss of Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston) at Bloomingdale’s.
Sadly, Whitehead’s son, Charles, has confirmed his passing to The Hollywood Reporter.
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Whitehead died Friday, June 16 at a hospital in Arlington, Virginia.
His cause of death is unknown at the time of writing.
Tributes for the actor have been pouring in on social media, with one person commenting: “What a legend! RIP Paxton Whitehead.”
Actor Jim Paddock pens: “Heartbroken to hear my dear friend and mentor Paxton Whitehead has passed away. He was an extraordinary actor, a brilliant friend, and [a] truly wonderful human being.
“He meant so much to so many people and always brought a smile to the faces of everyone he encountered.
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Actress Dana Ivy also paid tribute by posting a photo of the pair together.
She writes: “I’ve just heard that my beloved friend Paxton Whitehead has died, on Friday the 16th.
“We first worked together in My Fair Lady in 1964, and the last time was in Importance of Being Earnest in 2010 – friends for 59 years. I loved him so. Heartbroken.”
Whitehead was born on October 17, 1937, in Kent, England and was the son of lawyer Francis Edward Paxton Whitehead.
He started his career by appearing in numerous productions for small touring companies – which led to him being signed to the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1958.
But his work soon took him to the US and in 1961 he directed Doric Wilson’s first play, an off-Broadway production of the comedy And He Made a Her at the Caffe Cino.
The following year, he made his own Broadway debut in Ronald Millar’s The Affair – before embarking on a long touring run and starring in another Broadway show, Beyond the Fringe.
After spending years performing on stage, Whitehead made his first film appearance in Back to School (1986), where he played Dr Philip Barbay, the dean of the business school at Grand Lakes University and the boyfriend of literature professor Diane Turner.
His two most recognisable on-screen roles are as the uptight Hal Conway, the uptight neighbour, on Mad About You – where he appeared from 1992-99 – and as Mr Waltham in Friends in 1998.
In a 2017 interview with Pillow Talking, Whitehead shared that he enjoyed acting in farces – a type of comedy – the most.
He explained: “Everybody says [they] are difficult to do, but it depends.
“You either have a knack for it or you don’t. I think it is hard for some people. I found it not so difficult. I don’t know. I just seemed to respond to it.”
Whitehead is survived by his son Charles and daughter Alex.
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