Lou Cutell Dies: Seinfeld Character Actor Who Had 50-Year Career Was 91
Lou Cutell, who played the “Assman” on Seinfeld and the rainbow-Mohawked Amazing Larry in Pee-wee’s Big Adventure among 100-plus TV and film credits spanning five decades, has died. He was 91.
His friend Mark Furman announced the news on social media but did not provide details.
“After 91 years, and a great life, my friend Lou Cutell went home,” Furman posted Sunday (see it below). “A film, theater and character actor. Big Larry in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Ass Man in Seinfeld, Abe in Grey’s Anatomy S12,E4. He took me to Lucille Ball’s house in 1986. Rest in peace Lou.”
Cutell might be most recognizable to TV fans for his one-off Seinfeld role as Dr. Howard Cooperman in the 1995 episode “The Fusilli Jerry.” It featured Kramer (Michael Richards) picking up his new license plates at the DMV, only to find that they are someone else’s vanity plate that reads “ASSMAN.” He assumes that the plates must belong to a proctologist, and those familiar with the episode will know why Frank Costanza (Jerry Stiller) ends up at specialist Dr. Cooperman’s office.
But Cutell’s screen career began more than 30 years earlier with guest roles on such classic TV series as The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Wild Wild West, My Three Sons and many others. In 1965, he has a featured role as Dr. Nadir in Frankenstein Meets the Spacemonster, a so-bad-it’s-good sci-fi film that also was known as Mars Attack Puerto Rico and other titles. The 2004 documentary The 50 Worst Movies Ever Made ranked Spacemonster at a lofty No. 7.
Born on October 6 ,1930, in New York City, Cutell began his showbiz career in theater. He played William Berry in The Young Abe Lincoln, which had a brief run on Broadway in 1961 and played Off-Broadway for a while after that.
By the late-1960s, Cutell was becoming a busy character actor on TV, guesting on such series as Room 222, The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its spinoff Bridget Loves Bernie. He also had big-screen roles in the Dustin Hoffman-Faye Dunaway western Little Big Man (1970), the Zero Mostel-Gene Wilder romp Rhinoceros (1974) and as a frightened villager in Wilder’s Mel Brooks classic Young Frankenstein (1974).
Cutell continued as a busy character actor through the 1970s and into the 2010s, with his most recent credits including a guest shot on Grey’s Anatomy in 2015 and playing various characters on the elderly-prank-the-young’uns series Betty White’s Off Their Rockers. Along the way, he would appear in such TV classics as Lou Grant, The Bob Newhart Show, Barney Miller, Knots Landing, T.J. Hooker, The Wonder Years, Mad About You, Will & Grace and How I Met Your Mother. He also played the father of Bob Einstein’s Funkhouser character on Curb Your Enthusiasm and had a multi-episode arc on Alice.
His many film credits over the decades also included The World’s Greatest Lover — again starring Wilder — Foul Play, The Black Marble, Legal Eagles, Voyager, Jimmy Hollywood, Wedding Crashers and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.
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