Philip Baker Hall, actor known for playing ‘library cop’ on ‘Seinfeld,’ dies

Philip Baker Hall, the character actor best known for playing the “library cop” in an episode of the hit 90s sitcom, Seinfeld, has died. He was 90.

His daughter, Anna, said he died of complications from emphysema, the New York Times reported.

Seinfeld’s “library cop” dies

Hall’s wife of 40 years, Holly Wolfle Hall, said he had been well until recently and that he died surrounded by his family in Glendale, California on Sunday, the AP reported.

“His voice at the end was still just as powerful,” she said.

Throughout his decades on the screen, Hall appeared in nearly 200 movies and TV shows. He had a memorable comedic role as the film noir-inspired “library cop,” Lt. Bookman, who interrogates Jerry Seinfeld over a library book 20 years overdue. Hall reprised the role in the show’s final episode. 

Later in his career, Hall would return to working with Seinfeld creator Larry David with appearances in the sitcom Curb Your Enthusiasm. Hall’s other TV roles included work on Modern Family and BoJack Horseman.

Beloved character actor

The Toldeo, Ohio native also won praise for his work with director Paul Thomas Anderson in the movies Hard Eight, Magnolia, and Boogie Nights.

He had a standout role playing Richard Nixon in Secret Honor. Other movie credits include Say Anything, The Truman Show, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Zodiac, Argo, and Rush Hour. His last role was in the 2020 Netflix series Messiah.

Hall told Rolling Stone in 2014 that he was still being recognized in public as the “library cop.”

“It’s been over 20 years since we shot that episode, and I still can’t go out in public for very long before someone says, ‘My god, it’s Bookman!’ Or: ‘Are you Bookman? I returned that library book, I swear!'” Hall said.

He is survived by his wife, four daughters, four grandchildren and his brother.

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