“George Coe, an actor with extensive credits and a longtime activist in the Screen Actors Guild, died Saturday in Santa Monica, Calif., after battling a long illness,” reports Dave McNary in Variety.
The story adds the Coe, 86, “acted for more than 50 years of film, television, commercial and stage work. He had a lengthy career as a commercial performer both on camera and voiceover, including six years as the voice of Toyota.”
On the very first episode of “Saturday Night Live,” on Oct. 11, 1975, when the show was known as “NBC’s Saturday Night,” Coe was billed as one of the original Not Ready For Prime Time Players.
According to the book “Live From New York: The Complete, UnCensored History of ‘Saturday Night Live,’ by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales, “The young performers were supplemented by an older Broadway actor named George Coe, who helped with narrations and commercial parodies and stayed around for one season only.” Coe was 46 at the time, compared to John Belushi, for example, who was 26.
Coe’s Oscar nomination came in 1969, for the Best Short Subject, Live Action film “De Duva: The Dove.”
Adds Variety about Coe, “He served more than a dozen years on the SAG national board of directors, having the vice president title for two years and creating the template for what became SAG’s first low-budget production contract.”