George Gaynes is an American actor best known for his portrayal of Commandant Eric Lassard in the Police Academy films. He was born George Jongejans on 16 May 1917 in Helsinki, Finland, to an artist and a businessman. Gaynes studied singing in Milan and performed in operas in France and Italy before World War II. He speaks seven languages. After the war he moved his career to the US, appearing in acclaimed stage productions of Wonderful Town, Out Of This World, and My Fair Lady. Gaynes first appeared on television in NBC Television Opera Theatre in 1955, following it with roles in The Alfred Hitchcock Hour; The Gallant Men; Mission: Impossible; and Rich Man, Poor Man, where he played Max Vincent. As well as appearing in all seven Police Academy films, his film credits include Tootsie, Vanya on 42nd Street, and Just Married. Gaynes married dancer and actress Allyn Ann McLerie in 1953 and has two children.