‘Seinfeld’ Actor Daniel von Bargen Dies at 64

Seinfeld Actor Dead: Daniel von Bargen

Daniel von Bargen, a prolific character actor best known for his role as George’s lazy boss Mr. Kruger on “Seinfeld,” as Commandant Edwin Spangler, the military veteran who oversees the cadets at Marlin Academy, on TV’s “Malcolm in the Middle,” and for his role in a two-part episode of “The West Wing” in which he played Air Force General Ken Shannon, died March 1 in Montgomery, Ohio, after a long illness. He was 64 and had been dealing with health issues for the last five years.

Von Bargen was known for roles as irate or defiant cops, district attorneys, judges, and other authority figures. But he also spent a good deal of his time onstage.

The actor had most recently appeared in Thomas Edward Seymour’s 2009 feature “London Betty,” in which he starred.

But mostly von Bargen was relegated to small but frequently memorable supporting roles.

His film credits include “The Silence of the Lambs,” Woody Allen’s “Shadows and Fog,” “Basic Instinct,” “RoboCop 3,” “Rising Sun,” “Six Degrees of Separation,” “Philadelphia,” submarine thriller “Crimson Tide,” “Lord of Illusions,” “Broken Arrow,” “G.I. Jane,” Steven Spielberg’s “Amistad,” Kevin Costner starrer “The Postman,” “The General’s Daughter,” “Snow Falling on Cedars,” the Coen brothers’ “O, Brother Where Art Thou?,” the feature adaptation of “Shaft” and Jim Carrey starrer “The Majestic.”

In addition to “Seinfeld,” he appeared on daytime soaps “All My Children” as Lt. Cody in 1994-95 and on “Guiding Light” as Joe Morrison in 1993.

In HBO’s 1995 biopic “Truman,” starring Gary Sinise, von Bargen had a good opportunity to showcase his skills in the role of Gen. Douglas MacArthur. He also appeared in the HBO telepic “Citizen Cohn,” in which he played J. Edgar Hoover’s protege Clyde Tolson.

He guested on shows including “NYPD Blue,” “New York Undercover,” “The Pretender,” “The X-Files,” “Arliss,” “Party of Five,” “The Practice,” “Ally McBeal,” “Judging Amy,” “The West Wing” and “Law & Order.”

Born in Cincinnati, von Bargen majored in drama at Purdue University. He worked for years with the Trinity Repertory Theatre in Providence, Rhode Island. He made his Broadway debut in Larry Gelbart’s “Mastergate” in 1989 — playing a military figure, Major Manley Battle — and subsequently appeared Off Broadway in productions of shows including “Beggars in the House of Plenty,” “Macbeth,” “The Cherry Orchard,” “Hurlyburly” and “Uncle Vanya.”

Von Bargen made his screen debut in a 1974 segment of PBS’ “Great Performances” called “Feasting With Panthers,” which followed Oscar Wilde’s five years in prison. He worked occasionally on television until about 1990, after which he made steady appearances on the smallscreen for decades, including in many TV movies.


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  1. JACK ENGLISH says:


  2. Ted Sutton says:

    I worked for 2 weeks with Daniel von Bargen in G.I. Jane in 1994. We were both New York actors. He played tough guys, but he was a generous gentle man who was admired by all who worked with him. And a fun guy to be around when the day’s work was done.

    He was a rock on the set. Always prepared, and always brought his A game. Two of my favorite roles of his were in The Postman, and Brother Where Art Thou? He was really good at it, and he made it look so easy. You never saw him acting. He was always absolutely real.

    He moved to Los Angeles 5 years before I did. I had hoped to run into him at auditions, but I never did. He was an outstanding actor. So much good work in movies & TV. Check him out on IMDB. Very impressive.

    God speed. Know that you were well loved, and that those who loved you will never try to judge your pain. Rest now, Daniel.

    Your G.I. Jane friend,
    Thomas “Ted” Sutton
    Los Angeles

    • Mike says:

      Ted, that was a nice tribute you paid to a fellow actor, fellow New Yorker, and best of all, friend.
      With all the garbage we read about people in your business it’s nice to read something so good about someone and I’m sure that everyone who worked with him through the years share your feelings. Condolences to all and may he R.I.P.

  3. Marty Gillis says:

    Daniel von Bargen was absolutely hilarious! R.I.P. He couldn’t smooth a silk sheet if he had a hot date with a babe………. uhhhh , I lost my train of thought….. 

  4. What an impressive list of acting credits. I remember being very sad when I had read he had tried to take his life a few years back. Thanks for the laughs on Seinfeld. RIP Daniel.

    • Perry Neheum says:

      For those millions who think/thought Seinfeld was funny or even “hilarious,” take it from a deep thinker, the show was completely driven by CANNED LAUGHTER. Separate the script’s actual words and lines from the bursts of recorded audience guffaws and you have zero true comedy. Now we know countless dupes — you, perhaps — the types that live by The Big Bang Theory and other canned-laughers will say, “You just don’t get it.” But we’ll stick to our observations. So go ahead, enjoy the noise that personalities like Ellen receive from audiences that react to studio staffers’ hand-held signs that urge ’em to cheer and make loud sounds akin to laughter after she intones a “joke” or quip.


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